Topic | Why is it?


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  • Why is it that my son after 1 week can recite Abraham Lincoln’s entire life, the facts of the Civil War and describe the Monitor, but cannot remember his math facts after 2 years??  What do you try when flash cards don’t work or copywork?  The only facts he is good at is 6-9 times table, we had a program called Times Tales that turned it into stories.  Does anyone know of anything like this for addition, subtraction, division?

    I don’t know of any product, but when this happened to one of my daughters when she was in the early grades. to stop her frustration and ours (lol) we gave her a table chart and let her use it for her math lessons.  Within a few months, through using the chart, she had memorised the facts and was able to put it away and work without.  A teacher friend of ours recommended this method, as she was afraid that my daughter might end up math phobic if she continued to fail with the other methods.  She was in PS at the time, and it worked like a charm.  Just a thought – we think that once the pressure was off her, she could relax, concentrate and by repetition using the chart, the facts stuck.

    Thanks, this is a wonderful idea.Smile

    You are most welcome, I hope it works for your son – good luck.  Blessings,  Linda

    Rachel White

    How about some audio memory math to music method? I don’t think that’s the way to say it (I just woke up). But there are several different companies that make math facts set to music for the purpose of memorization. Most are “kid-type” music. However, there is one that I use that incorporates classical music, called Classicial MAth to Classical Music, which can be purchased through Amazon or Sing n’ Learn. There’s an excellent descritption of it at Sing n’ Learn.


    Beth Covalt

    My son, now 12, had the same problems, and we thought he would never learn them.  So, we did the same thing, allowing him to use the charts.  This way he could learn higher level of math skills without getting bogged down with the facts not yet imprinted in his memory.  Also, allow your son to use a calculator to practice the facts.  The repetition and kinesthetic nature of using his fingers while visually inputting the information will be beneficial.  My son can now do his work without the charts.  It may take time, even a couple of years, but that is the beauty of homeschooling.  You can graciously allow him to learn at his pace.  We didn’t have good results from music CD’s; however, we have another child who learns best auditorially.  Try it out and see if it helps.  (Now, if you have any tips to help my son learn his history facts Laughing.)

    The last post talks about the learning styles a little and I have to say – after purchasing a test to determine the best learning styles for my daughters we found that we have one off the chart visual learner and the other a combination of all three of the basic learning styles.  My point is that knowing now that my one daughter is a highly visual leatner, we have been able to adapt her learning in our homeschool to take this into account.  Lectures and tapes etc do nothing for her, but DVD explanations, history, and mapping/diagrams/charts, notetaking from lectures and highligting important information in her books, has made a huge difference.  This is why she did well with the charts – seeing the multiplication tables in front of her daily when she was younger, helped her cement those facts in her head.  She is a very creative girl and I am so glad I was able to realise her best learning style – everything has become much easier for her since then.  In high school, even something as simple as highlighting information with a red pen, helps her to learn what she needs to accomplish the work.  Little changes, but big results – she will have to utilize a lot of different skills in college (because of the lecture format), but help is out there for all types of learners – it is just knowing it in the first place.  So if you have a child who struggles – check out there learning style, it might well make all the difference and avoid a lot of frustration.  For those who may be interested I used The Concise Learning Styles Assessment for ages 7-adult by Jill Dixon, available at, along with a Learning styles book I had – which I cannot remember the title of right now.  Hope this helps as well.

    The only thing we do for history is read living books and he writes in his notebook.  We finished Abraham Lincoln by D’Aulaire, Abraham Lincoln: A Photobiography, Just a few words, Mr. Lincoln, and Jean Fritz’s Stonewall.  I also printed off a few things off of this website for our notebook.

    He’s more of an auditory learner, but does not care for music songs that are silly.  He likes classical music, but not the geography songs or math songs that we have tried.  He will look at the pages while I read to him and just gets it.  I think its more of a matter of what interests him.  History is interesting to him so he retains it, but math is not. I am probably not he best math teacher as I always excelled in math, so when he doesn’t get it after one or two examples its hard not to lose patience. I actually was one of those kids who loved every subject, so its hard to have a child who doesn’t want to learn on his own.


    Times Tales worked great for my son too. You might like to know that they recently updated it to include division.



    My daughter is the same way! She could figure out math facts, but didn’t have them memorized. I let it go for a long time because I didn’t see the need to force it.  Finally this summer, I insisted that she memorize them. I’m glad I waited, because unlike when she was younger, wasn’t torture any longer for her to memorize them at age 10.

    She likes to sing the facts (not to music, just on her own) as she goes through the flashcards. It drives me crazy to hear the same short melody over and over as she goes through the stack of cards, but it helps her focus.

    Also, another game that really helped her was playing the card game “War” but instead of each player putting down one card at a time, they put down two cards. You can either add or mulitiply the two cards to see who has the higher number and wins that hand. Hope that makes sense. It really helped to play that game as it’s essentially flashcards disguised as a game.

    For kids who don’t memorize the math facts easily (some kids seem to know them instantly!), I think patience and repetition, repetition are needed. And then a bit more patience on top. I thought my daughter would never learn her math facts, but she has them down now. Keep the faith that it will happen. (Though I admit I get some facts mixed up…6 x 8 has forever stumped me!)


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