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Helping a Child Learn to Multiply

Date: 12/12/97 at 22:40:22
From: Mark A. Humiston
Subject: To help my son with math

What is the best way to help my son learn multiplication? Is there a 
fun way?        

Thank you.

Date: 12/22/97 at 13:14:59
From: Doctor Lim
Subject: Re: To help my son with math

Hi there,

As one parent to another, I can understand what you are going through. 
My child also had a hard time. I too almost gave up. After trying out 
various methods, she has become pretty good at it and is doing well in 

There is no easy way of getting the times tables into his head, but 
there are ways of making it fun so that he and his brain do not think 
that it is work.

You can help him learn multiplication tables as a song.
Try looking at this site:   

Make it into a game.
Call out numbers to him and get him to answer.
For example, say 4 times 3 - he gets to say 12.
It does not matter if he takes  hours to do it, just let him do it on 
his own time. That way he is not pressurized.

Once he gets it right, say the question again to him. This time he 
should be able to say the answer much more quickly. Do this whenever 
you have time. I do this this during car rides or during play time 
with my daughter. Of course, I sweeten it for her by giving her points 
for getting the answer quickly. The number of points she gets is 
exchanged for toys or something that she likes.

Make a card game.
Cut out regular size cards - any size you like.
Print 3 x 4 on one side and 12 on the other.
Print all the tables that he has to learn on them.
Put them down either way.
If he sees 12, ask him what will give him 12 .
Is it 2 x 6 or 3 x 4 ?
Both, of course, are acceptable.
If he sees 3 x 4, tell him to think of the answer.
He gets to keep the card if he gets the answer right.

My students find learning the nine times tables to be the hardest.
After using this method it became a breeze.

Put his hands face down flat on the table. 
Number your fingers from the left.

left hand       right hand
1 2 3 4 5       6 7 8 9 0

If he has difficulty remembering, try writing the number on the back 
of his hand.
Think of a number to multiply by 9.
Let us say 7 x 9
Close the 7th finger.
He should have 6 fingers open on his  left and 3 fingers open on 
his right, and 7 x 9 = 63.

Now try it out with 4 x 9.
Close the 4th finger.
He should have 3 fingers open on his left and 6 fingers open on his  
right hand, and 4 x 9 = 36.

Computer programs that teach multiplication are another idea. My 
daughter loves playing with the programs. In playing the games, she 
gets to learn the multiplication tables without knowing it.

Keep up the good work. Don't worry. As I have learned, expecting too 
much at one time can be disastrous both for you and your child.
By setting short-term goals with my daughter, it became a great joy
when she got the problems with multiplication right. She also was more 
motivated when she saw herself improving. I also become more patient 
when I learned to calm down and not get agitated when she got her 
problem wrong.

Make learning fun and both of you get to enjoy quality time together.

Yours sincerely,

-Doctor Lim,  The Math Forum
 Check out our web site!
Associated Topics:
Elementary Multiplication

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