Before we talk about how NOT to teach multiplication to your child, first of all, why is knowing multiplication facts important?

*Talking about self-confidence: Ignacio (grade 4) grows up with Mathnasium and his unmatched multiplication & division skill can beat bigger students ðŸ˜Š - click the pic to watch his action*

Not knowing multiplication facts will create hard times for a student to do fractions, equations, algebra, and other more complex math concepts. If by the end of the final year of elementary school your child still cannot do multiplication and division up to 12 skillfully, you should be alarmed and take action right away.

“OK I get it” – and then you’d google ‘how to teach multiplication’ and you know what you will find? They will tell you to teach your child to memorize and recite times tables (“yes, this is it,” you would think, “because this was what I learned a long time ago and it worked”) including practice skip counting. Well, remember what they say? Do not believe everything you see on the internet! Just like using GPS, you have to be cautious of the direction they give or you can find yourself in the middle of a train track .. lol

__The Downsides of Memorizing Times Tables__

Of course it makes us – parents – know what 6x7 is; we are the product of memorizing times tables after all. But reciting times tables does have some negative impacts.

**Relying on skip counting – when they forget multiplication facts**

It’s more common than you think for middle- and high-schoolers to rely on skip counting to solve multiplication (pic below). This method is like using finger counting to solve addition: very inefficient and time consuming.

When adding fractions, for example, it will take forever for them to complete this task. They would be stuck in processing the multiplication part instead of solving the real question. And more often than not, the answers they get are incorrect or half correct. Why? Because they would just simply multiply the denominators instead of finding the least common multiples, which would create big numbers that are too difficult to handle. Another possibility is they don’t know how to reduce the fractions. Limited multiplication skill will give them a hard time, and they would not enjoy math!

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**Unable to solve multiplication of bigger numbers mentally**

Times tables are typically taught up to times 10 or 12. Bigger than that, students have difficulties solving it using mental math, so how would they solve 23 x 5? By getting a paper and pen, and using the algorithmic way: stacking the numbers vertically to find the answer. A Mathnasium student would be able to answer mentally and quickly that the answer is 115 because it’s just half of 230 – or another way is to just add 100 (from 20x5) and 15 (from 3x5). But why mental math is important – as long as the answer is correct it doesn’t matter, right? Ummm .. not really. Using mental math means they have a deep understanding of the magnitude and relations of the numbers. Having a deep understanding of a math concept is the goal of the Mathnasium method.

__Learning Multiplication – Mathnasium Way__

Before jumping into multiplication, a student needs to posses the prerequisite skills to enable them to learn much easier. And along the way, they will learn the strategies instead of memorizing multiplication facts – for example to learn times 6 they can just double times 3, and as mentioned earlier, times 5 is just a half of times 10.

This way, kids are learning multiplication the smart way, not the hard way (who finds it fun to memorize and recite numbers?). And more than that, they can expand and apply their knowledge to bigger numbers – and of course ultimately it will train them to use their logical thinking to approach problems. Want to know more about our method? Feel free to contact us!

*It’s pretty easy to forget things you memorize and near impossible to forget things you understand ~ Larry Martinek, creator of the Mathnasium Method™*