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  1. #1
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    Default Struggling with Multiplication and Division

    I just started homeschooling my 10 year old daughter. She had been struggling with Math in PS and getting extra help. I was curious about what level I should begin teaching her and was surprised when the assessment through MobyMax indicated that she was just at a grade 2 level. No wonder she hated math class and was struggling so much....she had holes inside of her holes when it came to her math skills. I'm super ticked off that the school just sort of pushed her through. I need advice on how to teach multiplication and division. What are some really good work books or websites that can really break it down. Also I learned by flash cards and timed tests a bazillion years ago, should I introduce them to my daughter to see if that will work? Thank you!

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  3. #2

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    For us it has been a matter of trial and error to find what works. I think having gaps in math facts is quite common for public schoolers, as my DD and most I have met certainly have them. And it causes a lot of frustration as they have to dedicate so much time to something that should be quick, that they miss out on learning more advanced skills.

    What we have used (in chronological order) after I started homeschooling my daughter at 8.5 years old:
    1) Multiplication Explorers from Natural Math. We did this first off as it seemed to be something that would be fun (we were in a semi-deschooling stage), and it was. And at this stage I also did not realize how my daughter did not have her addition/subtraction facts down so I thought she should be learning her multiplication facts. But really, she had earlier gaps she needed to fill in first, so the learning did not stick. She still had fun though.
    2) Math games. Like those from Right Start math). To practice and put the skills to use.
    2) Books and tips from Kates Homeschool Math. The website has lots of free stuff like simple tests to gauge where they are at for the different math facts and then tips on how to teach them. And if you want more in depth guiding on teaching them, you can get the books. It was after finding this site and using the tests that I realized we had to go right back to addition/subtraction facts first before we could move on to multiplication.
    3) My daughter is strongly visual spatial and this means she understands the big picture before she understands the parts. I read somewhere that it is better for visual spatial people to just work on filling in the full multiplication table rather than learning each times table separately. Then they can see it as a whole and figure out its patterns and how they could learn it. This is a lot of what the Natural Math course does, but I just did not realize how it fit for my daughter at the time we did it, and she was still in a phase where she was really not ready to learn multiplication. Anyway, I got her to fill the multiplication table out every day for 2 weeks in a row, and we discussed each day how she had done it and what patterns she found.


    So if I was doing it again, I would use the tests of Kates Homeschool Math first (addition facts first, then subtraction, multiplication, and division) to find out what stage she was at. Then only start working on multiplication once she had the others sorted. A lot of my daughter's issues with learning multiplication were that she was not ready to yet (did not have addition and subtraction facts sorted) and I was trying to teach her in the wrong way (not targeted to her visual spatial ability).
    New Zealand-based. DD 10 (year 5 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 5 (year 0 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

  4. #3
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    Thank you! I will try your suggestions!

  5. #4

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    I know some public schoolers who struggle with math too. I think part of the problem with the way public schools teach math is that they are constantly rushing to cover topics, and rushing to finish the book just to say they did. But learning math is a slow process and it takes lots of practice.

    One thing that really helped were multiplication flashcards. Memorizing and getting the facts down. Once they do that, multiplication problems go much faster. It will also help them when it comes time to memorize division facts, and division will go much easier. And by the same token, it would not hurt to memorize addition and subtraction facts. Timed tests help reinforce the memorization, but it might depend on how anxious it might make the student.

    I used Kumon workbooks for practice and fluency. Kumon is repetitive. We didn't do every page and not every day. Just a couple of times a week or I'd assign a page for weekend homework.

    I use a workbook called Math Steps by Houghton Mifflin as a main text, because it's very comprehensive and fairly advanced. But it's a rather dour-looking book, with no attractive pictures and printed on newsprint with small spaces for answers. It can also be hard for the parent who isn't comfortable with math to teach. But it can be a very good reference for what should be covered per grade level.

    The book About Mathematics by Marilyn Burns is a very good read for more fun ideas about how to introduce math concepts and games. Throughout, Burns also gives an excellent perspective/philosophy on how to go about teaching math.

    We also play games that we make up ourselves involving math or pretend, and incorporate math into our daily activities--count and add money, estimate, use fractions and measurements, multiply and divide, add and subtract. This stuff reinforces work done in a workbook.
    Last edited by vicsmom; 02-01-2019 at 05:52 PM.
    Homeschooling an only, DS9

  6. #5

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    And I agree with Vicsmom re. timed tests; it depends. My DD flips out if I suggest timing on anything. It makes her super stressed and anxious. So we don't time anything these days.

    Flash cards I think also depend on what sort of learner your child is. I know for my daughter, who is very visual spatial, that flash cards don't work because it is rote learning/memorization of individual facts whereas she learns the big picture first. However, I am also very visual spatial, and because I was not aware of this or helped with this as a child I made myself learn how to learn with flashcards because that was "how you learned things" when I was in school.

    Another thing I thought of that my daughter likes is multiplication songs on YouTube. She likes the Mr. DeMaio Multiplication Songs.
    New Zealand-based. DD 10 (year 5 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 5 (year 0 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

  7. #6

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    Search the archives here for multiplication, math fundamentals, etc. Zillions of suggestions!
    (Multiplication dice is still my favorite. My baby is just starting multiplication now, Im chomping at the bit to get out the dice!)
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  8. #7

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    I'm sorry for not making this clear, but I would teach the general concept of multiplication first and keep reinforcing the concept in different ways, through play or real life examples. Then I would use the flashcards as a supplement to have DS memorize the math facts. We would start with 0's and when those are learned quickly, we go to the 1's, and then the 2's, and so forth. Every child is different, but the memory work helped him tremendously when he had to multiply with 2-digits and 3-digits and division as well. We would just take a short stack of whatever number he was working on and go through it once a day. Didn't take long. And we'd do a math lesson on top of that. Doesn't have to be long either.

    With the timed tests, DS didn't like being stopped when the time was up and not being allowed to finish the work. So we reversed it. How long would it take him to finish the sheet of problems? And he would try to improve on the time. But I think in general, these cause a lot of anxiety because the child is focused so much on his performance, rather than on learning the times tables.
    Homeschooling an only, DS9

  9. #8

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    We have been homeschooling for a while, but we delayed some of the formal learning. So it wasn't until 4th grade that we really started to formalize his learning. Sometimes it works out better later anyway.

    We tried lots of different curriculums, but it turned out some of the simpler things were best for us. Here are some ideas of what worked, but your milage will vary.

    Critical Thinking workbooks Mathematical Reasonings. We started at second grade level and he is moving though it very quickly. It is a spiral curriculum, which means that they will see an idea briefly and then move on to something else and come back to it later. So the student keeps revisiting the topic regularly. It works well for us. While it is fairly easy for him and we complete quite a bit of work each day, it was a way that I could make sure that we didn't miss anything.

    Khan Academy videos. Over all I like the program, quizzes and format, but the online aspects didn't work for us, but the videos are excellent. They explain math effectively. I highly recommend them.

    Math Antics videos on YouTube. Another great sources for how to do math.

    Games. I find games are some of the most effective ways to practice math. Cribbage and Yahtzee are favorites here. There are lots of games that focus on math that are wonderful, but lots of everyday games will work too.

    For multiplication, the Schoolhouse Rock videos were the best for memorization. You can find them on Youtube or purchase a DVD.
    A mama, who teaches college writing, as well as help her 11-year-old in
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Struggling with Multiplication and Division