In the morning I'm queen of multitasking. There always seems an endless checklist of things to get done before the school bus pulls up. With hair going in every direction, I try to get everything done in time. Every once in a while, I'll forget a sandwich and off I go to chase the bus. Gratefully, I've had a lucky streak of not forgetting anything lately. Today I added one more task to my morning routine.
As my third grade son (way too slowly) brushed his teeth, I stood next to him reciting multiplication tables. My hope is that some of those multiplication facts will absorb into his video game addicted brain. Up to this year, my wise guy third grader has always done well in math. I never had to worry about whether or not his math homework was done correctly. Like my husband, he thinks like a math guy. I'm a word gal, so I like to steer clear of those tricky number problems :) When one of the kids has a homework question, I will ask if it is word or number related. In my mind's eye, I can see my husband sigh when it's a math question. He doesn't want to be up to bat sometimes when watching his sports channel. Anyway, I'm now stepping up to the plate to help my third grader with his times tables. I can handle third grade math questions. My sixth grade son knows to wait for his dad when he is stumped. My oldest is actually in an advanced math class, so I would definitely look a little perplexed when confronted with one of his problems.
When I was a kid, we were all told to memorize our multiplication tables. I think that was a very effective method to learn multiplication, and consequently division. For some reason, my son's school is employing a new mental math method to teach multiplication. I watch my son trying to figure out the multiplication problem by adding all the numbers in his head. It's the first time that I've seen him look frustrated over a math worksheet. I don't want this new math method to shake his confidence in his math ability. Now he is starting to dread his math homework. That is why I decided to have him memorize the multiplication tables. If I have to supplement his math education at home, that's what I'll do. I know that it can only help. Memorizing worked for all of us. Why abandon a tried and true method? Maybe this mental math practice will help him immensely when he gets into the older grades. I'm sure that there is some proven benefit to this teaching strategy. But for now, I'm going to put on my "math hat" (scary for me) and help my third grader get past this little hurdle. He will probably get sick of me when I start asking him to recite tables during different points of the day. Since I do have 4 kids, this quick stop and learn approach will have to do for now. Ten minutes here and there will hopefully make a difference for him. I just have to remember to take those little pit stops during my busy day. I think it's time for one of those big mommy fridge reminders "Do the times tables" :) Once it's in writing, it will stick in my memory. Hopefully, so will his multiplication tables!!
Happy St. Patrick's Day!! A day for joy and smiles!!