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.
If you have read my article "Helping Your Child With Basic Arithmetic? Stay Away From Worksheets" then you know that I am not a fan of traditional worksheets. After writing that article, I found another credible teacher who has written many ezine articles expounding on the benefits of worksheets. I decided some clarification of position is in order. The primary problem with most math worksheets is that the problems are already written out and the child need only write the answers. For learning and practicing the basic skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, it is much more beneficial for the child to write out the entire fact and say the entire fact out loud. A child will learn a multiplication fact much faster if they are writing out 6 x 8 = 48 at the same time they are saying "six times eight is forty_eight" than if they just see 6 x 8 = ___ and only have to supply the 48. Rather than using worksheets, a better method is to use individual size white boards and have the child writing entire facts many times. Having a child writing 9 x 7 = 7 x 9 = 63 while saying "nine times seven is the same as seven times nine and is equal to sixty_three" is many times more successful than a worksheet with 9 x 7 = ___ and the student just thinks the answer once and then writes that answer on the duplicate problems.