Is your child having trouble with memorizing her times tables? For a lot of children, memorizing the times tables presents no trouble at all. However, for some children, memorizing the times tables seems to be nearly impossible, regardless of how much they practice. If your child is having trouble memorizing the times tables, the information in this article might be just what you need.
You have likely heard before that different children learn in different ways. However, if you have one or more children whose learning styles differ from your own, or from that of their teacher, then this simple fact can be the source of a lot of tears and frustration. My youngest daughter, who is 9, has been struggling and having a lot of trouble memorizing her times tables. Similarly, it took her an entire school year to learn her addition and subtraction facts. As a 4th grader, she should already be quite proficient with her times tables, but we are still working on the 2’s and 3’s. We had been working on these for several weeks, and she had only memorized about half of them.
I realized that it was time to try something different. We homeschool, so I do not put a lot of pressure on my children to learn new concepts quickly. We simply try several approaches, and work on the concept until mastery is achieved. However, as I watched my daughter have so much trouble memorizing the times tables, I knew we needed a different approach.
My daughter is the type of child who loves to draw. She will literally draw for hours and hours, nearly every single day. After doing some Internet research about Creative Learners, I started talking to my daughter about how I could help her overcome the trouble she is having memorizing her times tables. She began spilling out ideas about making each number into its own character. I gently interrupted her, and suggested that she take down a new drawing pad, and draw everything she was thinking. Somehow, I hoped that this would be the key to helping her overcome the trouble she is having memorizing her times tables.
In less than ten minutes, she had excitedly sketched out half a dozen pairs of numbers. It was obvious to me that something about this approach was clicking with her, and that we may have just found the key to helping her overcome the trouble she’s been having memorizing her times tables. Each pair of numbers (for example, 2×3 or 2×9) had been given arms and legs (and in some cases, matching accessories), along with a story.
Eight and three were drawn with tube socks and gym shoes, sweat flying off their brows, and my daughter explained that, “Three and eight are going jogging, for twenty-four hours“. Three times zero and three times three were drawn as girlfriends who were going out to a club, “Three times one gets in with 9 I.D. cards, but three times zero doesn’t because she has no I.D. card, ” my daughter explained. Her eyes were lit up and she was smiling and laughing, having a fantastic time. And when she closed the cover of the drawing pad, she could remember each and every one of those pictures, and the correct answer that correlated with each. She had made more progress memorizing her times tables in those ten minutes than she had made in four weeks of trying to learn them in the traditional manner of rote memorization.
Personally, I could never have learned times tables in this manner as a child. Truthfully, her method makes no sense to me even as an adult. But it has been highly successful in helping her to overcome her trouble with memorizing the times tables. Additionally, she’s doing what she loves to do, and is having great fun. So, while I am thoroughly relieved that she has overcome her trouble memorizing the times tables, what I am most pleased about is that she is mastering them in a way that brings her joy instead of feelings of repeated failure.
If your child is having trouble memorizing the times tables, consider trying this unique approach. It may not seem conventional, and it may even seem confusing to you if you have a different learning style than your child. However, for children who are constantly drawing and doodling, or who perceive things in a very visual way, encouraging them to create pictures and stories for numbers might be just what you need to help them overcome the trouble they are having memorizing their times tables.