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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Math Facts Resources Reviews

As promised, below are reviews of three different programs to aid in teaching your child math facts. I, personally, have found the most effective tool is good old fashioned flash cards: begin with the answers included and then remove the answers after they have visually memorized the fact with the answers. Then, review the flash cards every day until they know them cold. After that, review now and again - weekly, then monthly and then with practice tests once in a while (Calculadders is a good practice test program for math facts). However, if they still struggle or you prefer to add some help in the learning process - below are some ideas.

FlashMaster
www.flashmaster.com

FlashMaster is definitely my favorite gadget for helping my kids practice their math facts. This small hand-held electronic device can be programmed in many different ways to customize the facts presented. It has several levels and can be timed if desired. It also keeps your children's results so you can check up on their progress. This is a great gadget for on-the-go homeschoolers - just keep it in the car for a little "carschooling" fun!

I paid around $50 for ours, but you can purchase it from Amazon or Sonlight Curriculum for around $45.00.

Again, this is a program that helps your children practice
their math facts, not necessarily learn them. Read on for resources that will aid in the actual learning of math facts.


Math n More's Flash Facts
by Jan Bedell
www.littlegiantsteps.com

Although somewhat expensive, I found this program to be helpful in actually teaching the math facts for a child that struggled with the flash card method. This program was developed by a certified neurodevelopmentalist, and it uses all the different learning styles of children to teach math facts. It teaches to auditory, visual and kinesthetic learners all at once. Every child can succeed with this program. In fact, this was the program that convinced me that my children needed to see the facts (including the answers) before they could memorize and provide the answers when using flashcards.

This program involves showing your children flashcards with the answers and having them listen to the facts read with the answers - while they look for the facts on a pre-printed sheet. Then, they go through the cards again without the answers and listen to the facts without the answers - while they write the answers on another sheet. A little parent involvement is necessary, but the child is required to listen to the facts read with earphones on. I remember my son using the earphones and being shocked as they read facts that he knew the answers to. "How do I know all these answers?" he asked. It was that easy for him to learn his math facts. Ever since we started using this program, our facts practice has been all review.

The cost is $24.99 for each program (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division). So, for all the your facts, you'll dish out more than $100. But, if you are really diligent to use it, your child will learn their facts well.


Times Tales: A Trigger Memory System
www.timestales.com

For those tough to remember math facts, a little extra help is sometimes needed. This is especially true for your nonmathy, creative child or visual learner. Times Tales is a great program that will help solidify those harder to memorize facts in the six, seven, eight and nine categories. Using stories and images, as well as characterizations for each number, this program does the trick. In fact, I'll never forget that 7 and 8 were driving down the road and going one mile over the speed limit. Yes, 7 and 8 were going 56 miles per hour. I have that image indelibly etched in my brain and will likely never forget that 7 x 8 is 56.

I hope that helps some of you get started on the journey to getting those math facts down!