Best way to teach times tables over holidays

(60 Posts)
neveronsunday Fri 26-Jul-13 09:53:51

DS needs to work on his tables.

We have Squeebles on my phone which is great for practice, but not so good for teaching them in the first place.

I don't want him to feel like he's in boot camp over the holidays so need a fun way for him to learn them.

He can already do 2,5,10 & 12.

All suggestions welcome.

alanyoung Thu 22-Aug-13 07:42:20

Toffeewhirl, the real test will be (as you strongly hint) when he returns to school and he is one of just a few youngsters in his class who can answer the teacher's times tables questions. He will literally run out of school the day the teacher asks, 'What are seven eights?' and he and only a few others know the answer instantly.

Good luck.

ToffeeWhirl Tue 20-Aug-13 01:26:45

4th Sept, alan. I agree that the main thing is for me not to forget to practise with DS, as he certainly won't remind me. There is no excuse not to stick at it, really, because it takes so little time. I have already told DS that if he sticks at it he will find Maths much easier next term and I think he is keen on that idea, as he really struggled last year.

I'll let you know how we get on.

alanyoung Mon 19-Aug-13 15:54:47

Toffeewhirl, as with anything, as I am sure you will appreciate, little and often is much better than heavy, infrequent doses. The trick, however, is not to forget if you can. Make it a passion for you as it is for him and you will really see results. Remind him now and again how well he will do in maths compared with his old self (and possibly his class mates) once he gets back to school.

When is that, by the way?

Keep up the good work - you won't regret it!

ToffeeWhirl Sat 17-Aug-13 16:17:16

Alan - we are still sticking at it. I do notice that if I forget to do it for a day or two, DS seems to forget what he's learnt, so little and often seems to work best.

He has also started playing this game on his DS. He seems quite motivated to play it and he knows learning his tables will help him.

alanyoung Sat 17-Aug-13 15:22:25

Corriedale, did you download my method and, if so, how is it going?

alanyoung Wed 14-Aug-13 08:06:39

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alanyoung Wed 14-Aug-13 08:03:29

Toffeewhirl, Thanks for your comment. I know it can be a little difficult doing this type of work in the summer holidays when some children can't really see the relevance of it, but if you can persevere you will definitely find it worth while as there will be a discernible difference in maths ability come the new term. Hopefully DS2 will appreciate that too. As you say, it doesn't take a great deal of effort to learn each new fact.

CorrieDale Mon 12-Aug-13 19:46:06

I am definitely going to be checking out alanyoung's method for dd but in the meantime DS learned them quite quickly by doing the magic way to learn your tables in one week. You learn the unknowns in pairs. So, 6x8 8x6 48. Which means you only have to learn half as many. Takes a lot of the grunt work out of it. Dd has done her 2s this holiday using that system and is working in her 5s and 9s. We are only getting her to do them to keep DS company as he practises his handwriting - poor lad! Tables no trouble, handwriting massive problems!!!

ToffeeWhirl Mon 12-Aug-13 19:45:10

alanyoung - we are still persevering, although DS2 is not very enthusiastic. However, he has learnt several Times Tables facts that he didn't know before with very little effort and it only takes a few minutes a day, so I'm sticking with your method.

MrsStarwars Mon 12-Aug-13 19:28:42

Hi there I have been inspired by this thread to work on times tables with my ds who is going into year 4 in sept. he is not massively confident with maths, but has grasped the 2,3,4,5,10 and 11 generally ok. Today he learned how to work out the 9 times tables. We worked on rounding up to 10 so 2x9 becomes 2x10 minus the 2, 3x9 becomes 3x10 minus the 3 and so on. Within half an hour he was pretty confident with the whole 9 times table and giving quick answers. My plan is to persevere with the others over the rest of the hols.

Juanitalaloca Mon 12-Aug-13 15:12:48

Just noticed this thread. My daughter was having a few problems with the 6, 7, 8 and 12 timetable and we've spent the summer holiday listening to a great CD, which was given to us by a friend. It's called The Times Tables Album - Maths for Music Lovers. I don't usually recommend products, but we've been so delighted with this and it's really helped her a lot. The only thing is that the songs are sung by a girl, although I'm sure a boy would enjoy them too - they're not the usual annoying affair - more like a good pop album. Hope this helps.

alanyoung Sat 10-Aug-13 21:05:59

Any more feedback? I'd be very interested to know how all this is going in your family. Thanks.

alanyoung Thu 08-Aug-13 06:48:52

Just had a thought... If you are a bit embarrassed about doing maths in a garden centre in front of other people, why not take photographs of displays and show them to your children at home on a large screen if possible so they can work out the number of objects in, say, six rows of flower pots with four pots in a row?

That way you might be able to choose the better displays in advance.

alanyoung Wed 07-Aug-13 15:55:25

Thegamesafoot, yes, why not try the method for addition and subtraction. I think there is one difference, however, and it is this:

Number bonds for addition can be visualised and this is why it is so important to know which pairs of numbers make 10 as once, say, it is known that 7 + 3 = 10, it is only a small step to realise that 7 + 4 = 11 etc. Multiplication of numbers is difficult to visualise. it's not easy to see, for example, that 8 x 7 is fifty six and therefore this either has to be learnt or you have to go through the sequence to get to it. But why not give it a go - I'd be very interested to know how you get on.

You say you don't 'do' maths with your nearly year 1 DD much yet. If I may say so, I think that's a mistake. To me, it's rather like waiting until she's about six before you start to teach her to speak.

As I have said before, there is so much maths around us, it's the most natural thing in the world to discuss it from a very early age. Just looking around me this morning, I have seen carrots of different lengths in the kitchen that can be measured for length (in cm, of course) and weighed (in grams), the weight of a bus written on its side as 6440 kg, I've poured a couple of glasses of orange juice (how many can you pour from a one litre carton?) etc, etc. There are shapes all around us - what's this shape called, how many sides, edges does it have? It's just everywhere and hard to avoid once you are aware of this, so please give this a go too.

I know I keep writing comments about maths on mumsnet and some people probably get fed up with seeing my name, wondering who this pompous old git is, but I really believe very strongly that if all parents did this elementary maths with their children and all children knew their tables by seven or eight, the level of mathematical achievement of children in this country would go through the roof. So keep up the good work.

thegamesafoot Tue 06-Aug-13 20:27:52

alanyoung firstly thank you so much for the resources and also the info on how to get started smile

My DD, also moving to year 1 in Sept has picked up skip counting easily for 2s, 5s and 10s however before thinking of extending this I think she needs to be more secure with number bonds to 20 (she's reasonable to 10 but not fast and currently I rarely "do" maths with her).

Reading through your hand book it occurs to me that the same principals apply to addition (and therefore subtraction) - so knowing that 6+3=9 and particularly facts that cross the 10s (don't know the maths speak for it) like 8+7=15 helps you to eventually know 136+13=149 and 318+37=355 without having to chunk (as I have to so I can work out these sums mentally)???

I had been thinking of going down a visual route, so x red blocks and x yellow blocks for all of the number bonds to 10 or maybe dice as well so the dots become a fixed visual for mental calculations. Reading your hand book make me wonder if that would work best following your method i.e. with one number bond introduced each day, to 10, then work on speed and then 11 to 20?

Again thank you so much you've really helped me see a clear road ahead and for someone whose not maths confident that's really very valuable.

alanyoung Tue 06-Aug-13 07:55:27

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richmal Tue 06-Aug-13 07:41:27

alanyoung, just thought I would say a quick thanks. My dd is older at 10 and basically is OK on her times tables, but is about to do 11+ so your work sheets are proving really valuable for revision.
Having scanned through the last pages, they'll be really helpful for building up her interest in numbers.

alanyoung Tue 06-Aug-13 06:55:51

I think I would do whatever seems easiest for your children. In one sense they are all equally easy or hard because each is just a soundbite to be learnt. Why should 'six eights are forty eight' be much harder than 'eight twos are sixteen'.

Just relax about it and let it happen. No worries! Kein Angst!

Thank you, what I was thinking with ds is whether it would be better to teach say all of the 2x table facts first, or whether it is better to do the lower numbers of tables 2, 5 and 10, before moving on to the higher numbers which seem to be harder for them.

Both girls seem to be enjoying it, and even ds came out with the answer to 7x2. Dd2 is learning some of dd1's facts too by osmosis. Dd1 hasn't asked to do the grids again since first assessment - but is looking forward to them when we go on holiday. She is looking forward to showing her new teacher her knowledge.

alanyoung Mon 05-Aug-13 10:34:48

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Thank you alan so basically wait until he is seeing times tables in the environment and is counting in multiples then start on the programme - I would have thought it might be easiest to start with the lower half of the tables 1, 2, 5 and 10 first - e.g. 4x5 as these are easier to extrapolate from the world around him. He is nowhere near that yet (not that I expect him to be - he's not quite 4) - he has conservation of numbers, and is starting to add and subtract 1 from numbers up to 10. It is just knowing when to start on the learning of facts. From my assessment of the girls I think I will be teaching him before the school manage to.

I did the grids with the girls tonight -dd2 is just going into yr 2 and had lots of missing knowledge at level 1- but she says that at school they only recite the number sequences - 2, 4, 6, 8etc- they don't yet do 2x3, (she is top table) and that is why she has been trying to teach herself from the wall chart. Bearing that in mind she did get loads right too so she has a good start. We also discussed the commutative law - which she seemed happy with. I will go over that with her again over the next few days. She also isn't expected to know them for a few years yet.

The main child I am doing it for though is dd1, going into yr4, I did assessment 2, and there were 11 missing facts (including 10x10 - which she got wrong on the sheet and verbally when I wrote out the facts she needs to know- she did then say that she knew it really and got confused with 10x11, but much to her disgust it is still on the list). She also admitted that when they are chanting in class that she just mouths to the ones she doesn't know, and that when they do grids (like yours- though don't know if they are from your site or another) - the teacher highlights incorrect ones which they then correct at their leisure - generally by counting on her fingers, but they don't practice those ones in isolation. So the facts she doesn't know have never been isolated for her. She is desperate to do more of the grids because she says she enjoys them, but I've told her we need to learn the extra facts first. We did 3x6 for her today and 3x2 for dd2, who has also now learnt 3x6 by listening to dd1.

I'm hopeful that when she goes back in September she will be confident at level 2 and maybe learning the facts for level 3. Thank you, she is eager to fill in the gaps, so hopefully she will persevere.

alanyoung Fri 02-Aug-13 22:11:57

Valiumredhead, I agree wholeheartedly about how important times tables are.

valiumredhead Fri 02-Aug-13 11:33:54

Tables not takes

valiumredhead Fri 02-Aug-13 11:33:38

Just to add,I think takes are the most useful thing ever apart from adding and subtracting, so useful for everyday life add an adult and so hard if you don't know them.

valiumredhead Fri 02-Aug-13 11:31:19

Ds moved from primary to middle school and barely knew his tables, he learned them in a week, back to front and upside down. It was really hard, he even went to sleep with a poster by his bed so he could look at it. It wasn't nice to have to hot house him in such a short period of time so the sooner you start OP the better imo to spread it out a bit.

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