We have been working hard on helping Bug memorize his addition facts. I struggled with basic facts all the way through school, despite doing well in high school math. In honors algebra 2, I was still counting my addition facts by making dots on my paper. In pre-calculus, I did multiplication with tally marks. You can imagine how relieved I was to get to use a graphing calculator on tests. I think it was so we could tackle more difficult questions, but I was using it to figure 7 x 8.
Sad isn’t it?
I don’t know if it is a good thing or a bad thing, but I project these insecurities right on my kids when I am planning our homeschool curriculum. I want them to have a solid, effortless grasp of these simple concepts. I don’t want them to have to think about it, I want those facts memorized.
It has been wonderful being a part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, because I was given a copy of Math Made Easy: Addition Teaching and Learning Made Easy to use with Bug for memorizing these facts.
This program is meant to be completed in 6 weeks, and ideally, at the end of those 6 weeks, the child would have all their facts memorized. The program takes those pesky facts tables, gets rid of them. One of the first things you teach the child is the commutative property, the fact that 2+3 is the same as 3+2. By making sure your child knows and understands this up front, they no longer have to memorize two facts for 3 and 2, they simply have to know that those two numbers together with an addition sign, in any lay out, always equal 5.
By doing this, and eliminating the 0’s and 1’s (which are taught quickly before you start the 6 week program), the child only has to memorize 36 facts.
That’s it. Easy right?
Broken down over six weeks, the child is only responsible for memorizing 6 facts a week. The program consists of daily flash card use (which are double sided to reinforce the commutative property 2+3 on one side, 3+2 on the other), fun worksheets with coloring, cutting, pasting, puzzles and other fun activities, daily and weekly fact quizzes, and games.
This program is quick and easy to implement. There is only one page of parent instructions to read, and then you can jump right in. We used xtramath.com with Math Made Easy for daily review because while it is recommended to review the facts daily with timed quizzes, daily reviews are not included.
Bug’s favorite part of Math Made Easy was the worksheets. I enjoyed that they were independent and a different way to review. He took the book with him to his room during quiet time since he is past needing a nap, but Mama is learning that I need that break. It’s “fun” enough that at 6.5, he doesn’t mind doing it during his free time.
In 6 weeks, I do think he has a stronger grasp of some of the math facts, but not all of them as I had hoped. I think if we were to try this again during a school break (instead of trying to do it with another math program) we would have much more success with having all the facts cemented. It would make an excellent supplemental program for a student who should have their facts memorized and doesn’t, and I think it would work best if they focus solely on this program, drilling the flash cards and playing the games for those 6 weeks. It is recommended for grades 1-2, and I used it with a young first grader.
Math Made Easy also has a multiplication program to help in the memorization of those math facts. I enjoyed the addition program so much that I think I’ll purchase this program to try as well in a year or two. Each program is priced at $24.95 and can be purchased from their website.