Teaching Multiplication

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I’ve only dreaded one thing about homeschooling: teaching multiplication. I had terrible experiences in public school with math and in particular, learning multiplication. I remember like it was yesterday. We were learning the multiplication table. Each week learning a times table. At the end of the week we had to stand up in front of the class (!) and recite the weeks times tables. I was incredibly shy as a child and this traumatized me for sure. All I could think about was talking in front of the class and I could never focus on actually learning my multiplication facts. Needless to say, it was a rough year for me. And math never really got easier because I thought I was just bad at math. I didn’t realize it was because I wasn’t taught correctly so I could actually learn.

Multiplication Resources We Use

We went through quite a few math curriculums before landing on Masterbooks Math Lessons for a Living Education. It really was the best fit for my daughter. She doesn’t like doing a lot of busy work. And she doesn’t like doing the same thing over and over again everyday for months at a time. Masterbooks has a lot of variety, the lessons are quick and simple, and easy to follow. And she loves the story that is intertwined throughout the book. And while it is technically a workbook, I add in a lot of hands on resources for my kinesthetic learner.

Since my daughter is a kinesthetic learner I wanted some hands on resources for her to use to hopefully make teaching multiplication a little easier for both of us. In comes Jack and Link. They have the most amazing wooden resources for all stages of learning. When I saw their wooden multiplication table I ordered it immediately! I knew this would be used all the time for memorizing and checking multiplication facts. Yes, I could have just used a piece of paper with the multiplication chart on it, but I knew my daughter would love the interactive aspect of the slider. Also, it’s just really pretty!

I also wanted to find something that would help with memorization that didn’t include the answers already on the board. The multiplication fact family board was perfect! This board can be used by tracing numbers in sand or salt, using wooden numbers, or even stamping number stamps into play dough. My daughter typically uses these wooden numbers while using the board.

Another great resource we’ve been using are these multiplication/ division flash cards from Masterbooks. When I first saw these cards on their website I had an aha moment. Just seeing the numbers in a triangle and how they all connect blew my mind. The backs have both the multiplication and division facts. I knew they would be perfect to use with the fact family board. I have them separated using these post it tabs and keep them in this bamboo storage box.

We recently started using this number bond board for quick reviews of facts. It’s used as a similar way as the fact family board but it’s just the top half of the house. She typically uses the wooden numbers for this but sometimes will add in the salt for tracing the numbers. We use this for days when my daughter just needs a quick refreshing. The board goes perfectly with the multiplication/ division flash cards!

To bring everything together I also added some multiplication songs. I just searched YouTube and found this set of songs. My daughter loves them! We would learn a new one every few weeks and memorize the tune and numbers. These songs have helped her while working with the fact family board to help the facts stick. And now she sings them in her head when working on multiplication problems. I keep a small index card in her desk with the song tune titles for each number set in case she forgets.

Implementing the Boards

When she began multiplication she practiced learning one set of times tables before moving onto the next. On the first day of a new set I would play the multiplication song for her several times while looking at the multiplication fact board. Then she would try to sing it by herself.

The next day she would go through that number set of flash cards and say them out loud. I would hold the front, triangle side out to her and she would recite the multiplication and division facts for each number set.

The next day she would use the fact family board. She would go through the flash cards of one set of numbers while filling in the blanks of the board. Then she would flip the card over to check her answers. She would do this every time she was learning a new times table.

Now that she has memorized most of her times tables she only needs to practice once a week. This is where the number bond board comes in. Once a week she will go through her times tables using this board. As she places the number in the blanks she will say the multiplication/ division facts out-loud. We also sometimes use the flash cards for this.

She uses the multiplication fact board almost daily to check her work. Once she is done with her assigned multiplication for the day she will go through and check the answers on the board.

For extra practice she uses the multiplication/ division math facts from Arrows and Applesauce. I laminated and bound these sheets into a small booklet. This way she can use a dry erase marker on them again and again. She typically does these once a week or two. We don’t time them though because that stresses me out just thinking about it!

Now that I’ve gone through teaching multiplication I realized it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. With so many amazing resources available now, it makes teaching so much easier. I hope this post encourages you not to be nervous about teaching multiplication like I was. Let me know in the comments if this was helpful or if you have another great way/ tool to use to help teach multiplication!

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