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What way of teaching math facts (add, sub, or mult) worked best for you?

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I'm looking into some different ways to teach math facts for good retention.¬† I would like to hear what worked best for your family.¬† Addition, Subtraction, or Multiplication are all of use to me ūüôā

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We've used XtraMath (free) with moderate success and ReflexMath ($35/year) with great success. Both are online.

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I've not found anything that works better (for us) than the Saxon method. In fact that was the focus of our math discussion yesterday and my kids all agreed that their solid retention of math facts is because of how Saxon introduces each "family". I've also found that the understanding as to why 8  +4 = 12 is there rather than just rote memorization. I've always found it amazing that with a few easy manipulatives and fact cards the math facts are down solid, every kid, every time.

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We didn’t worry about facts while exploring for quite a while, and then we eventually did verbal drills after the daughter had really solid mental tricks for figuring things out. We also moved forwards: we introduced multiplication way before the addition facts were memorized, and just kept working on everything at once with small numbers. It kept us from getting bored :-).

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Well my dd had terrible visual memory and unmediated ADHD and struggled to learn math facts. My ds has great visual memory (per testing) and for him they’re relatively easy (considering he has SLD math lol). 

So sometimes it’s something else, not the magic curriculum. 

Fwiw Ronit Bird is what I’m using with him.

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For my boys (all four), using Math Mammoth 1 and 2 solidified their addition and subtraction facts so well that we didn't need to do any extra practice. For multiplication, I used flash cards for all four and that worked well. Sometimes I had to do them more than once, though. They would forget some by the beginning of 4th grade, and sometimes even in 5th, they needed to review a few. 

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Fact integration.  Working on all operations to totals 10 and under.  Then all operations to totals 20 and under.  Then up to 100.  Lots of block work.  Lots of play. 

I have 3 kids I'm working with right now.  We started with numbers 1-10 two weeks ago, slowly learning colors and sizes of the blocks while consistently pushing a little more each lesson.  This is our third week and the kids are easily answering and understanding questions like 4/3x6 and know all their facts to 10.  We use the first Gattegno book for blockwork and follow it up with Miquon pages for written.  We start work on up to 20 next, and we'll hang out there until at least Christmas.
By the time we get to the end of this year we'll add in more multiplication games like war (shouting the product first instead of biggest card) and Prime Climb, along with the Brownie Skip Counters and Thinkin' Logs free paper toys from The Toymaker (scroll down to find them in the math and learning section). 

My youngest started with MEP which does a lot of fact integration but not to the same degree.  It's a lot more in the way of puzzles and practice.  Ds did well with it and then okay with Rightstart, but some of their methods were maddening (how do you circle 33 1/3 beads in the abacus picture??).  He switched to Gattegno and we're both much happier for it.

My oldest did well learning multiplication and division with Math U See.  He liked that the chart was shaded so he only had to learn half.  It made it seem more bite sized and manageable, especially after he circled the lines he knew: 1x, 2x, 5x, 10x.  From there he only had 6 sets of facts to work on one at a time.  I've taken the same idea for kids that need that little push, making it gentle and easy for them.

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Kate Snow's "_____ Facts that Stick" books were perfect for my very visual learner and good enough for my kids who are not super visual. She uses a combination of visualizing with 10 frames, games, and drill worksheets. 

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We do XtraMath. It's easy and basically flashcards. It's alright. We've also done Times Tales for my dd11 who probably has dyscalculia. It worked wonderfully for her, although it is just nonsense stories for remembering multiplication, not actual math theory. But that's what she needed, so it worked. She retained more from a few viewings of that dvd than she would have from a year of drilling.

I only did any of those after they had been taught the concepts in their regular math programs. It was more for fluency than as an introduction.

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For addition/subtraction we used the CLE flashcard system which teaches in families. When learning addition, I also taught DS that the equal sign is like the center of a balance, thus both sides must be equal (5+3=3+5). When we moved to subtraction, I went beyond what his curriculum was teaching at the time (they got to it later though) and had him tell me why 8-5=3 (because 3+5=8). Multiplication has been a whole new animal. DS understands the concept and can figure out the answer, given enough time, but memorizing his times tables has been HARD. We had to slow down and take a break from our curriculum to give more time to cement the facts. Learning to skip count is crucial and DS is finally realizing this and now he's actually practicing it daily. Incorperating fun board games beyond his age range that require higher math skills has been a great motivator. I also found a free downloadable PDF of some left brain multiplication flash cards that make no sense to me but was ingenious for DS. He remembers the pictures/characters after only a couple times of studying them on my phone. I haven't even had a chance to print them yet! (Ex: Skate Eight on Surfing Seven equals Fishy Sticks / 8x7=56) The pictures had me scratching my head at the nonsensicle method but somehow they work and are downright hilarious to DS.

Edited by Servant4Christ
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We used Singapore which is strong on teaching mental strategies for rapid calculation.  We used ten frames and cuisenaire roads.  And then we drilled for a couple of minutes every time we got on the car to go somewhere.  And we played chuck the hackey sack and say the fact a lot.  Something about mixing the physical movement in seemed to help the brains work faster.

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Well, it wasn't a matter of what worked best for ME¬†(your thread title, lol) ...¬†It was all about finding what worked best for math struggling DS#2. ūüėȬ†

DS#1 seemed to be born knowing his math facts, so I honestly can't recall ever *doing* math facts in any way with him. But DS#2... He is a very visual spatial learner, which means he is about "whole to parts" (math facts are "parts to whole" learning), and he is a concrete processor (meaning he needs tangible and visible connections and real-life "meaning" for learning to "stick" (math facts are very "abstract", and their connection to real-life use is subtle).

So.... what worked here:
- skip count songs and Schoolhouse Rock: Multiplication Rock (catchy, and stuck in his mind, and he could run through the song to find the needed math fact)
- triangle flashcards, which connect 3 numbers as "fact families" (reduces memorization by 75%, as FOUR math facts are embedded in ONE fact family -- example: 6, 7, 42 gives you the facts of 6x7=42, 7x6=42, 42/6=7, 42/7=6 -- AND, it makes a meaningful connection between those numbers)
- connecting a picture and short "story" to a math fact make it memorable, and to help embed in long term memory (visuals and story tend to go straight to long term memory) -- so things like Times Tables the Fun Way, or Times Tales, or 
- teaching of math fact "tricks" (such as adding 9 is like adding 10 then subtract 1; or, multiplying by 10, just add a zero -- multiply by 5 is multiply by 10 and cut it in half)
- using a 100 number chart to help him find "patterns" in the multiples -- some Miquon worksheets do that

What also helped, once he started getting some math facts ((i.e., meaningful real-life use of math facts):
- playing dice games that required adding or multiplying
- playing board games using money -- requires adding and subtracting and exchanging different denominations
- seeing connections between numbers/math families/math facts through discovery with cusienaire rods (and, again, Miquon worksheets) 

What did NOT work here:
- any kind of math fact drill, esp. if it required writing of answers -- especially if timed (total melt down!!!!) -- Calculadders, Saxon math drill sheets, etc.
- any kind of timed computer drill (again, timed = total melt down)
- any kind of timed hand-held electronic math fact drill (you guessed... timed = total melt down)
- Math Wrap-Ups (memorized the wrap pattern rather than the math facts, LOL)

Other things we tried -- hard to tell if it helped or not: 
- Math-It -- based on teaches math fact "tricks" and drilling those facts in small batches with flash cards
- Number Muncher -- computer game with "munching" the correct math fact

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On 10/16/2019 at 8:59 PM, BakersDozen said:

I've not found anything that works better (for us) than the Saxon method. In fact that was the focus of our math discussion yesterday and my kids all agreed that their solid retention of math facts is because of how Saxon introduces each "family". I've also found that the understanding as to why 8  +4 = 12 is there rather than just rote memorization. I've always found it amazing that with a few easy manipulatives and fact cards the math facts are down solid, every kid, every time.

+1.

I'm quickly becoming a Saxon convert with my younger kids. One is dyslexic and supposedly math facts were something i was told not to expect her to ever be able to memorize by the "expert" diagnosticians. Well. Saxon is proving them very wrong. I let her do everything from stand on her head, to lay under the table with a flashlight while I show her the cards- anything to make it fun, but she's memorizing them, and once she has them she's lightning fast.

My kid who is super strong conceptually is also benefitting from Saxon. He is amazingly good at picking up more advanced concepts, but tbh, his retention sucks, and he absolutely had to have something like Saxon for the reinforcement. But his brain does look at it in a different way. For instance, he'll still be prone to look at 8+8 and say "oh that's 14+2" and I'm like, well however it works as long as the answer is right.! Saxon's method has definitely also helped him with speed, which in turn has helped us be able to go into more advanced concepts on the side outside of Saxon- that keeps him engaged and his brain busy, but Saxon just has some way of worming it's way in there that sticks. 

I also bought TimesTales for him, as that's the way his brain works- stories. I think it would confuse the heck out of my dd, so I don't plan to use it with her,  but he loves memorizing stories and things, so Times Tales has been a good hit for him too. 

One thing I don't do is time them to a limit yet though. It causes too much anxiety. If they want me to time them, I do, but we only use it to compare again their previous time. The timed thing is what turned me off of Saxon for a loooong time, as it's the first homeschool program I bought for my oldest coming out of public school and it was a disaster for where she placed, but came out of a public school system who was very anti- math fact. So to Lori's point, you have to figure out the kid! 

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Seconding the recommendation for Reflex Math by Explore Learning.  The $35/year is steep enough to cause pause for me...But my kids have been wild about it!  Like actually asking for / hoping / wishing Mom would spring for it.  As in, completely self-motivated to jump on, first thing in the morning...  I actually have to say, "OK, I think it's about time to wrap things up for today."  (I should add that DC do not have access to screens or any other video-type game playing on a regular basis, so this could be part of the draw.)

We don't do much (any other?) online learning, but I saw what it did for my older DD, now using for my younger DD and seeing rapid progress.  I love that I can log in as the educator and get a ton of stats / feedback on which fact families she is fluent with.  "Fluency" is defined in this program by answering any given fact in less than 3 seconds.  Of course, my eventual goal is faster than that - rote memorization.  I'm convinced that DD1 built a great fact foundation with this program that is carrying her more easily through higher math today.

I will continue to use a variety of methods (Singapore mental math "strips", manipulatives, Ten Frame, rods, dice, playing card games, various board games, etc.), but, for the time I can allot to math facts each day, Reflex is well worth the cost...and it definitely *gets done* every day, which would, sadly, be more than I could say, if I were directing each math fact myself.  

ETA: Reflex offers a free 30-day trial, so one can see how it works and get a feel for it before making a decision.  They also have good customer service.  Geez, I sound like I'm paid to promote their service (I'm not).  

Edited by vonbon

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I have a really short attention span kiddo who doesn't do well with rote memorization.  Jumping on the bed while doing math drills worked better for addition than what we were using at the time (Math U See...which was great for place value but didn't work for us on helping to memorize math facts).   But eventually even that didn't work (he got really good at addition to tens and doubles but we sort of hit a wall after that...not literally, though he literally did put a hole in our wall once trying to do a trick move on the bed.   LOL).  

After that we used Addition Facts that Stick (and Subtraction Facts that Stick) and that worked wonderfully!   Short scripted visual/tactile lessons that really helped my son think about the math and why things worked like they did, followed by a week of games for practice after every lesson (so easy).   We ended up taking two weeks on most lessons, but still, it worked for my kiddo. 

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For addition/subtraction, the most useful thing for us was cutting index cards into triangles and having the student write the numbers in the vertices and the operations in the middle of the sides. (Idea from Kitchen Table Math, which is chock full of useful early elementary math ideas.) The student covers a number and tries to solve it.

For multiplication/division, weirdly all my girls had magnificent retention with these flash cards. I can't really explain it, but having the visual of a distinct colorful fish associated with each multiplication fact made memorization almost effortless. To this day we all associate clown fish with the number 56. We played concentration, war, whatever; any game that would get those cards in front of little eyes. When they got the multiplication facts down well, we played "factor fish," where I would name a product and if the other player guesses the factors she wins the card.

We also used alphabet blocks for multiplication, so the commutative property and calculation of area were intuitive later.

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TouchMath was the only thing that helped my oldest son understand.

memorizing sequences for multiplication. We practiced counting by 7, 8, etc. daily.


Schoolhouse Rock rocks! ‚Äú3 is a magic number!‚ÄĚ

NEVER timing a daily CLE drill. I don’t believe in doing that. I’m more interested in accuracy than speed.

Letting him use a fact sheet so we could move forward while he worked on getting the facts down.

I couldn’t use Saxon for oldest as he had other issues that made copying impossible. The daily CLE drills were magic for him.

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Old fashioned drill with flashcards.  My older boy is a math whiz, but found memorizing the math facts close to impossible -- and we tried *everything*. In the end, we decided to go with 3 times a day, 7 days a week, for 3 months.  It seemed that frequency was the key. He asked me how fast he should go, and I said "I have no idea, give me the pack and let's find out." I think I was at about 80 cards in under 60 seconds, so that was his goal. To beat his mother. When he accomplished that feat, he quit the cards.  

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On 10/17/2019 at 3:56 AM, Momto6inIN said:

We've used XtraMath (free) 

This, everyday, on the bus to school, on the bus back. I like it but she hates the timed nature of it. I find her looking out the window sometimes. But the timed nature is what makes it literally a couple minutes each time.  We’re still not there though (XtraMath tells me we started on October). 

Edited by madteaparty

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cuisinaire rod activities (Miquon, Education Unboxed)

factoring lots of numbers and then writing out the associated multiplication and division facts

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Just as a note, while the facts are certainly important, I actually think that knowing how all the shortcuts work is more important. So I think working on those first is a good idea. It’ll also help with all the facts eventually (at least it did for us), but it’s also an investment into algebraic thinking which pays off at higher levels of math.

For addition, our shortcuts were counting on and making 10s, and generally moving ‚Äúpieces‚ÄĚ from one number to another. There‚Äôs also ‚Äúdoubles and near¬†doubles,‚ÄĚ which I‚Äôm not sure we used explicitly, but probably came up organically (since we were also doing multiplication.)¬†

For multiplication, really internalizing why all the properties work and how to use them took us a good long time. It took us a while to be able to explain why the order of multiplication doesn’t matter, we spent a while exploring the fact that if we want to figure out 7 sixes, say, we could add 5 sixes and 2 sixes, and that we could also split into equal groups: say, 6 eights just just two (3*8)s, so we just need two 24s.

For us, really understanding the properties was a goal in and off itself, so while it didn’t immediate help us memorize, it didn’t matter. And once it was all internalized, it did make her faster even if she forgot a specific value on the times table.

 

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