Top Tips for Learning Math Facts

So now that we know why our kids should learn their math facts, how about some tips on how to help our kids learn their basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division?  We’re continuing our summer series that focuses on the foundation skills kids need for early elementary learning, with math facts. 

K5 Math Facts

Just to recap quickly, it is very difficult for students to tackle higher order math when they are not fluent with their basic math facts.  Students who have to use other methods to recount their math facts, take away their attention from the multiple steps necessary to solve more complex problems – often failing at the task at hand.

Here are some tips on how to help your child learn their math facts:

Set a routine

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your kids learn all their math facts in a short time.  Set a routine for practice and make sure it’s a regular routine.  This is where your judgment comes in.  You know your child the best and will know what routine will work best for him or her.

Little and often

You can’t do it all at once.  Make sure you tackle small chunks of math facts at a time. 

Only move on when they’re ready

Once your child has learned one set, move onto the next.  Then repeat, to make sure they are truly committed to memory.

Practice should be cumulative

Structure the practice in a way that facts which have been previously mastered continue to appear along with the two or three new facts that are being learned.

Use verbal chains to memorize each fact.

Make sure your child practices by saying the whole problem and the answer aloud.  In this way, students memorize a verbal chain. For example when they hear/see 5X5, they won’t be able to stop from saying/writing 25.

Mastery = automaticity 

Automaticity is the ability to say the answer to a problem immediately after reading the fact.  There should be no hesitation.

Set realistic goals

Take into account the speed at which your child can write, on in the case of K5 Math Facts – type.  The speed at which your child can write/type limits how fast they can respond to each question.  Mastery means the instant recall of facts and should not be limited to your child’s writing or typing skills.

Pay attention to corrective feedback

You’ll need to pay attention to math facts where your child hesitates or give an incorrect answer.  K5 Math Facts does this automatically, but if you are learning the math facts on paper, you’ll need to monitor these math facts and ensure they are provided with further tests on these facts. 

Short practice sessions

Realistically, your child won’t be able to focus on drills for more than 2-4 minutes at a time.  So keep the sessions short and succinct.  This is not a race, it’s a marathon.

Set a process for progress monitoring

As your child progresses, the number of facts they master increases.  Periodically, you’ll want to test the mastered math facts.  So set up timed tests to make sure they continue to be fluent at the learned facts.

Celebrate success!

We all respond well to rewards.  Set a goal with a reward attached to it and celebrate your child’s success once they have reached that goal.