# Memorizing math facts / learning "grit"

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My kiddo has always blown through math (occasionally doing 10 lessons in a row just because they were fun). But lately he's really slowed down. He's gone from doing 2 lessons in 15 minutes to doing 1 lesson in an hour. Concepts are fine, but the doing is slow because it's multiplying by larger numbers and long division with remainders, and he just hasn't memorized his upper multiplication facts yet. So we're working on getting those memorized. But I guess I'm not sure what to do in the meantime. Taking an hour to do a single lesson is painful when he's just adding up eights until he gets that 9x8 is 72 (and in the meantime, he's looked around, read the writing on his pencil -- "Look Mom! It says Nebraska Math! I'm doing math!" -- and gotten very distracted multiple times). So I'm tempted to just focusing on the facts and quite the other lessons for a while (Singapore 3A). My husband is concerned that this is allowing him to continue skating by and we're getting ourselves into a situation where he won't learn to work through hard things (e.g., "grit"). He is advanced in math, so there's no harm in slowing down. But I'm not sure it's the right thing to do because it just makes this portion of things take longer.

We were in a similar situation when he started subtracting 3 digit numbers with renaming: got the concept, but it took him *forever.* We just plodded through it and were very glad when it was over and we moved on to something else, but I'm just wondering if we should do something different in this instance.

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If your child is willing and able to sit through an hour long lesson at his age, I think he has adequate "grit". I'd resolve to spend no more than half an hour on the lesson (with a multiplication chart to help him out) and then spend an additional 15 minutes on flashcards or multiplication war or a review sheet on times tables or whatever you feel is most helpful for memorizing those.

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I'm not really sure crunching math numbers is the place to *require* "grit".  That sounds like a quick path to a math-hating child, frankly.

Can you do math card games to work on multiplication?  How about "war" where each person turns over a card and the first person to call out the product wins the cards?

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If you give him a well formatted multiplication table, does it help?

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How old? You might grab BA 3A and work on that while drilling math facts then go back to Singapore when he has them.

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What do you mean by a "lesson" in Singapore Math? We did SM up to 6B, and I never had my dc do more than 3 or 4 pages. When the problems were difficult, we did fewer pages. Sounds like you may need to go more by time rather than a "lesson." Some of the topics are super easy, and 4 pages get done really fast (e.g., measurement), but the longer multiplication, and 3 digit subtraction require a lot of focus. They are tiring for young children.

My youngest is also advanced in math, and I always let him use a multiplication table that he completed himself for the long multiplication problems. It takes time for all those math facts to sink in. As soon as he knew them, he ditched the table as it slowed him down.

Beast Academy is a wonderful supplement.

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Five Times Five Is Not Ten might be worth looking at for memorizing facts. I haven't used it yet but I have used the one before it, two plus two is not five, for DDs addition facts. It's been great.

I agree with building grit, but, honestly, it sounds like he already has plenty. We also go for longer math lessons, but being willing to spend an hour plugging away at basic addition/multiplication with only some distraction is pretty impressive in itself.

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Oh, great! Thanks, All! This is exactly what I was thinking, but wanted some reassurance. I've talked with hubby some about the grit thing because it was something I didn't learn until grad school, honestly, and we want to do better with our kiddos (especially ones who may be bright and skate by easily early on). But I had a hard time verbalizing why I felt like this isn't the the right time or situation for just forcing him to just keep plowing through. When we hit this spot with subtraction, I did just slow it down (maybe he'd do a page or half a page at a time, rather than an entire "exercise" in the workbook) and work on subtraction facts with flashcards, games, or xtramath. I have been adding in BA slowly, but his reading is a little lagging behind his math skills, so it's also very slow going there, too (and with three younger kiddos, I don't quite have as much time as I'd like to sit and just read everything *to* him). He can use a multiplication table easily - does it help them learn those facts to use one, though, or is it a just a stop-gap measure while he learns them other ways? (I honestly have no idea! :) )

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I would use a multiplication table during math lesson, and add in a fact drill of some kind outside of lesson.  The best fact drills are the ones YOU don't have to help with- Xtra Math, Big Brainz Timez Attack, XGerms Multiplication...

You can also teach separate multiplication hack lessons- x4 is the same as x2x2, x9 is x10-x1, x6 is x2x3, x5 is x10/2, etc, etc.  Quickly calculating a product is as good or better than having it memorized.

I'd move more slowly through the book so you have time to add in the extra drill and/or multiplication hacks.

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You can also teach separate multiplication hack lessons- x4 is the same as x2x2, x9 is x10-x1, x6 is x2x3, x5 is x10/2, etc, etc.  Quickly calculating a product is as good or better than having it memorized.

I'd move more slowly through the book so you have time to add in the extra drill and/or multiplication hacks.

He came up with a bunch of these on his own, which is kind of fun. :) He likes to double things and then double again, especially. Silly boy.

Thanks!

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He came up with a bunch of these on his own, which is kind of fun. :) He likes to double things and then double again, especially. Silly boy.

Thanks!

He'll have fun when learning square roots and a number squared :)
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He can use a multiplication table easily - does it help them learn those facts to use one, though, or is it a just a stop-gap measure while he learns them other ways? (I honestly have no idea! :) )

I think the table really helps them remember the facts, as they see them over and over. And they don't just see the specific product they're looking for, they see it in relation to other factors and products on the table. There is far more learning involved in the multiplication table than using a calculator, for example.

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When facts were slowing mine down, I gave them review single-digit fact sheets to do instead of their current lesson and required xtramath.org every day. Until they passed xtramath multiplication & division, they couldn't move on in their book. We posted their scores every day on our white board.

It took two months, but then they started clipping along in their math again because the grunt work wasn't slowing them down.

It was totally worth it!

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Use a table, move on to fractions, percent, etc.

For learning the facts, I like the 60 second sweep, both online and printed. Also, writing their own table and then using it can help, even if he just writes one weekly, daily is better depending on how fast he writes.

Here are blank tables.

http://www.donpotter.net/pdf/multiplication-matrix.pdf

Edited by ElizabethB
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When my son was learning the facts, we just played a simple game of count bys whenever we drove anywhere.   typically picked two random numbers between 1-10 and started skip counting.  For  example: hold one finger- 3; hold up two fingers-6; 3 fingers-9 so on.  If he got them right, he was done. Whenever, he would miss a fact, we would start over the number over.   To keep it a game, sometimes we would both play. He would give a fact and then I would the next fact.  With just these few minutes a day, he mastered the 1-12 table very quickly without any extra work.

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My oldest took forever to master her math facts (working memory and processing speed issues). During that time, we continued her regular math work (Beast Academy) and daily alternated between the following: practicing math facts via Timez Attack or Reflex Math, or filling out a multiplication table to use for that day only (after which we recycled and she filled out a fresh one the next day). During that time we also tried Times Tales which seemed great at first, but really didn't get the job done.  :(  Three years it took us. Three danged years. Now they are rock solid and life is beautiful. I would say don't hold your son back but definitely practice facts daily.

Edited by ZaraBellesMom

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