Aug 12, 2012

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Math Made Easy

Memorizing math facts has got to be the hardest part of elementary math. We have tried (and you have heard me talk about) lot of different ways to do this drill. But I have to say, I think I have finally found the method that works for us. It's not flashy, it's not "fun" but it is easy... It's Math Made Easy

Kaytie, Nate and I used the Homeschool Multiplication Package  package for a few weeks. It consisted of this book.

This book consists of, well, yes, worksheets, but worksheets rather like this one:

Worksheets that my kids thoroughly enjoyed doing!

But wait, let me start from the beginning. First, there are lessons plans to introduce your children to the concept of multiplication. Then are plans to show them a couple of "tricks" to remember all the 0 facts, the 1 facts, the 10 facts and the 11 facts. Then the kids are shown that multiplication is commutative. 3x5 and 5x3 both equal 15. Now there are only 36 facts left to learn. Kaytie and Nate were pleased at the sight of the chart with all the facts they already knew marked off!
These 36 facts are divided into groups of six facts a week. This is where the promise of learning all your multiplication facts in six weeks comes in. So the six weeks doesn't technically start until you master everything in the above paragraph. And the 12 facts are not included.
But this is where the best part of the program shows up. There is a list, near the front of the book that shows you (the teacher) which facts the students will learn each week. Our first step each day was to say that week's facts three times. (This was not mentioned in the book, but we did it anyway. I figured that having it all laid out there for me was too good of a chance to pass up.) Then we did our worksheet. Each day of the week (Monday through Friday) has ONE worksheet to do. The kids either color-by-number, solve a code, work a puzzle, draw sets, or do a page like this one:

There is a pre-test and a post-test in the book, but we didn't use those. We didn't use the pre-test because I knew the kids knew exactly ZERO multiplication facts and we are still in week five, so we aren't ready for the post-test. I am eager to see how they do, though. 
There are flashcards and games in the back of the book for further drill. We used both for review purposes at the end of the week. 
The games are, in my opinion, the con of the program. One of the games had no instructions and despite several crew members emailing asking for some, none were ever forthcoming. But, as I said before, we used the games for review, so I could easily see not needing or using them at all.
There are several things I liked about this program. It really is easy. The kids enjoyed it, even the pages I feared would be considered a little more dry and boring. It's non-consumable, because permission is granted to make copies within your family. And it is easy to copy because it is comb-bound so I could lay it flat on my copier and just push the button. But the best part about this program is that it works. By Tuesday the kids both knew at least two and usually three or four of the facts for the week. By Friday, they knew them all. And they have retained them as well. Simple, painless, and effective. You can't ask for any more than that!
I am currently saving my pennies to buy the addition package for the younger children.

My kids' opinions:

Kaytie: I like it because it is easy and very fun. It is really helping us learn math a lot easier. And it helps us to learn new facts fast. 
Nate: I think it's cool and I like it a lot. I learned the facts quickly!

Check out what other Schoolhouse Review Crew members are saying about this program here.

DISCLAIMER: I received this book for free for the purpose of this review. All opinions are honest and my own.

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