You can teach math facts to your child; learn some of our strategies in this blog post.
Let’s say you and a friend are each making a cake. You both know how to make it and understand the recipe. However, your friend gets to use the fancy mixer which sits on the counter, while you use that old hand beater that is hard to crank. You both have the possibility of ending up with a yummy cake; however, one of you experiences more frustration along the way. In fact, if you knew that was the only tool you were ever going to be able to use, you might find cake-making a lot less interesting or even something you avoid.
The math student who does not have the tool of knowing math facts without counting or long pauses is likely to lose interest as well.
The Struggle with Math Facts
If you are a parent who is feeling the pain of watching your child struggle in math, knowing the problem might be that they have not memorized single-digit math facts, you are not alone. In my 25+ years of supporting parents, with at least one parent with this exact issue each day.
For some, flash cards, drill sheets, promises, and incentives seem to work. The results reveal, however, that many of the learned math facts slip away from short-term memory after a break from school.
Flash card abuse is a problem for me as I try to encourage my children’s math fact memorization: “I just showed you this flash card two minutes ago!” are words I wish had never slipped from my mouth; I think that may be why I am so passionate about this subject.
Flash cards and drill sheets do not teach, and for most students. the sheer willpower needed to get those facts into rote memory will not make them stick.
While timed drill sheets are another method that might work for some, for others this creates anxiety attacks. Think about it; what if you as an adult wanted to learn something and the instructor said, “Just do it faster, and I will time you”?
Is It Really All That Important?
You might be thinking this is all fine and good for an elementary student. However, what if those methods only further developed a counting habit and your student is now a 4th grader or higher?
Many years ago one of my customers called regarding a 16-year-old who didn’t know single-digit addition and subtraction facts without counting. Consequently, this was causing tremendous angst in math. At that time the only option for success was Alpha, which is designed for a 1st or 2nd Grader. Now THAT is a hard conversation to have!
Years later I received a call from the mother of this young man.
She proceeded to tell me how he mastered his facts in just a few using her only option of using the Alpha level. Additionally, over the next few years, he reviewed several other lower levels. Ultimately, he attended college on schedule, proudly heading straight into college math. I don’t want to think what would have happened had they not had the courage and fortitude to know what they needed and did what was required to get there. How sad that would have been for her son to continue considering himself a failure in math because he did not have the basic tools!
Learn About An Effective Remediation
The good news is, you no longer need to put your older student in 1st or 2nd-grade materials to address fact fluency. Our Accelerated Individualized Mastery (AIM) for Addition and Subtraction product is designed for an older student. It is designed to be an effective remediation to set your student up for success as they move into more complex concepts. Fact fluency can be a game-changer for your student.
Contact our team to learn more and to put together an individual plan for success for your student(s).
Good morning. Thank you For this post that I stumbled upon. The timing couldn’t be more perfect!
I’m sitting with my 13 year old who regressed terribly in math a couple of years ago. And we are still struggling. We do multiplication facts almost daily, and they still don’t stick. I don’t know what to do. I have ignored the addition and subtraction, thinking that she has enough fingers to get by. Please help. Regards B
Thanks for commenting, Bridgitte. We would love to help you with your math problems. Please go here for the different ways you can contact our team: http://mathusee.com/support/
Lisa Augustin says
Thank you for this article Sue! I was so worried about my 5th grader until I had a consultation with you!! I am forever grateful!
Sue Wachter says
Thank you Lisa! Your comment means a lot! Collaborating with parents such as yourself is a privilege.