Math facts, confidence, and attitude

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  • Michelle Brumgard

    I just reviewed a 2012 SCM post about choosing a Math curriculum. We are using MUS Beta. August-December we completed Alpha to review and/or learn in the way I did, the Math facts, with my second grader. She previously attended public school. I resorted to flash cards to really get her to grasp the math facts. She hates the mention of brining the flash cards back out for review. Help me decipher where we can change things moving forward. For one, I really like the way MUS teaches. My daughter rarely uses the manipulatives and I wonder if I should just make her even though she seems to grasp a concept without them. She inevitably groans when I hand her the day’s worksheet and then proceeds to take quite awhile. More days then not, she ends up crying or saying she doesn’t understand. Yet, when I ask her to walk me through a problem, she knows it. So, I guess my question is how can I help her not dawdle and complain for one? Should I look into another curriculum? Every time I look at something different, I come back to liking MUS more. Maybe I’m just not finding it? Lastly, do you have any websites or apps for an iPod that help review Math facts your kids enjoy? Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully it makes sense. I’m feeling at a loss wih this almost daily struggle.


    I require them to use the blocks the first two days of a new concept.

    Free fact practice online – we’ll be using XtraMath this summer for fun.  There are many others.  We also like Math Facts Now software for a no frills offline practice that gives you a lot of options to create lessons focusing on only the fact families they need the most work on.


    Math Lessons for a Living Education is free now, and is similar to Math U See.

    Math U See has a skip counting songs cd that my kids like.

    Sometimes sitting with the child while they do their math helps, kindly redirecting them if distracted,  and encouraging them to ask questions if needed helps.


    For your question regarding apps, my ds12 is enjoying Math Slicer on the iPad – maybe it can also be used on the iPod. I also have one called Math Ninja Lite that he hasn’t played, but you’re daughter might like it.



    Michelle Brumgard

    Thank you ladies! I downloaded the free living math and the apps. If I can just implement some fun ways to reinforce the facts, I think we will be okay. The XtraMath looks really well. I was also look at Khan Academy. Anyone have experience with this site?


    Khan Academy is great.  My kids use that before they transition into their next level of math to make sure they mastered all of the concepts before they move on.  They like earning avatars and points, and I like that they are learning math concepts in a different way from a different teacher.

    My kids also use Xtra Math.  Specifically this year my 9YO has been going onto Xtra Math 2x/week to master his facts.  He is done with addition, almost done with subtraction, and will move onto multiplication within the next few months.  There’s really no magic about the program – consistency is key.


    We learn math facts by playing games.  Right start math has a book with 300 math games, sorted by addition, money, fractions, multiplication, etc.  these games are often modified from familiar family games like “go fish” which RS calls “go to the dump”, etc.  it has been such fun to play these and does not feel like painful learning.  We even took the cards (we bought the RS decks) on vacation, per the kids’ request.

    Hope this helps.


    When my ds is dawdling or it just seems like he’s not really engaged in the worksheet, I do the problems with him orally. We get through the sheet faster and it gives me a chance to change it up a bit. Plus, it saves his hand for copy work as he becomes fatigued with too much writing, and that includes  digits. And we’re using mus, as well.


    My kids have disliked using the blocks at times. Though we are using c rods and singapore math. I realized when done with the blocks it makes it so easy they think they don’t need them anymore. But that is the point of the blocks, they are supposed to make it easy. I shared this with my daughter. She is 7. I told her how the blocks make it sooo easy to see what the answer is, even how to find the answer (do I add or subtract?). I told her I want her to use the blocks, I want her to use this ‘cheat’ to make math easy. I told her eventually she’ll have done it so many times with the blocks the answers will just pop in her head and then she won’t use them anymore. Now she uses them happily, though I do sometimes have to remind her to use them.


    I am using MUS Gamma with my DS7.  He hates doing the worksheets, so most of the time I just write the problems on our big whiteboard.  We are working our way slowly through the multiplication facts, and I demand that he practice his facts every day, but we also play a lot of games and I found a couple of websites that have math games.  We do have the MUS manipulatives, but I only use them if he is not understanding the concept.  I think that the last time we used them was when we were learning his 9 facts.  When we get to the review tests in the test booklet, then I normally ask him to do those worksheets.

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