My daughter is learning multiplication in school, and is finding it rather frustrating, to say the least. Truthfully, her frustration is less about multiplication itself and more about learning the times tables, which is a necessary part of performing multiplication in a timely manner. Although I will admit that it’s a rather ‘foggy’ memory, I remember trying to learn the times tables, and the pure tedium and frustration that was part of the process. After all, when it comes right down to it, there is ultimately only one way to do it…through lots of repetition and memorization.
Let’s face it, the Multiplication Table can be pretty overwhelming at first, so the task of learning it needs to be broken down into manageable chunks. Having said that, it’s helpful to point out to kids that they probably know a good number of the facts already (i.e. 1’s, 2’s, 5’s and 10’s). That being said, it seems to me that the most logical approach for learning what they don’t already know, would be to learn each times table (e.g. 3’s) really well before moving on to the next (e.g. 4’s). What I’ve read on the subject, seems to support this approach.
Clearly, my daughter wasn’t the only one who was struggling with the times tables, as I received several emails from her teacher pleading with parents to “please, please, please practice multiplication facts”. Her pleas sent me to the internet for some guidance. I figured that I wasn’t the first parent to struggle with this and was hoping that people with some knowledge on the topic, would have taken pity on parents everywhere and revealed some techniques we could use. Thank goodness I was right! Here are some of my favorites…
How to Easily Memorize the Multiplication Table (The Great Courses – Professor Arthur Benjamin)
I especially love Professor Benjamin’s trick for learning the 9 times table.
Best Way to Teach 3s Times Tables (Jennifer Beal)
Jennifer is a teacher who has been teaching kids their times tables for a long time. I really like her approach for teaching the 3 times tables because it involves visual as well as auditory cues which enhance memory. This video also touches on a similar strategy for learning the 4 times tables.
Multiplication Made Easy (Talesof4thGrade)
This video provides lots of great strategies (typically rhymes) for learning the times tables. In addition, the audio is done by a younger person, which kids might also appreciate.
Once your kids have learned their times tables, have them go to this website for some timed practice with electronic flash cards (note: selecting a ‘starting level’ of 3 will present them with flash cards testing their knowledge of the 3 times tables, etc.).
There are so many times in daily life that your children will use multiplication, so it is worth spending some time now to make sure your children have learned their times tables. Hopefully, the strategies shared in the above videos will make your job a little easier! Please leave me a comment to let me know how these strategies worked for you.