In this modern, technology lead world it is easy to overlook the importance of basic mathematics and mental arithmetic. When every mobile phone has a calculator built in, and every website automatically adds up your shopping cart, who needs to add up in their head? The fact is that mathematics is a vital life skill and as adults we know it is something we use every day in our adult lives. We know that it is essential that we teach our children how to do maths from a young age, but sometimes it is easy to overlook the simple steps we can take at home. We can all remember learning our times_tables at school _ one times one is one, two times two is four, and so on _ but there was a reason why we learnt this way, because it works. But it's not just about learning the times tables in sequence through repetition, it's important to get kids practicing with varying levels of multiplication problem. Working through problems and then checking the answers afterwards is a simple way to practice multiplying numbers.
Who's Fault? _ Is it his fault that he lacks confidence with word problems? Not entirely. Our actions, as educators, seem to imply a belief that solving word problems should come more naturally than simpler operations like arithmetic and algebra. Many parents and teachers feel justified in encouraging (i.e. forcing) a child to work hundreds or thousands of math worksheets, drill multiplication tables, long division... but few encourage solving hundreds of story problems. One suspects that the relative ease of creating and checking ordinary math worksheets keeps the focus of math education on simple, atomic operations at the expense of more holistic story problems.