For the past month I have been tutoring Marine recruits who are struggling with the math portion of the ASVAB test, which is required to join the military. It is really sad to see people over eighteen years of age still struggling with basic math concepts. It has inspired me to have my younger students become proficient with their basic facts so that they can spend more time learning the larger math concepts.
So why learn math facts?
- Automaticity allows you to see the numbers in your head, leading to less mental energy used.
- It allows you to manipulate numbers more easily.
- Decreases the probability of making errors in calculations.
There are many wonderful websites that make this process fun for children. One that I’ve been using is math magician. You pick the type of operation that you want to focus on and then refine the parameters that you will use. For example, I have several students who will be entering 4th grade and I want to make sure that they have their multiplication/division facts mastered. I will either pick a number that they have not mastered or one hundred mixed facts. The site provides a timer based on the test that is being taken. If they complete it in the allotted time, they receive a certificate with the percent that they correctly answered. The students really enjoy it.
Here are some websites that I have found to be useful:
Make a goal of so many minutes a day to work on facts, such as 20 minutes. This short amount of time invested will make all the difference in long term math skills.
Teacher’s websites are a great source of information to assist your child academically. Most teachers have websites that inform you about what is going on in the classroom, the weekly schedule for specials, assignments that are due, etc. Often you can find spelling lists for the week or even the year. This is great for when your child says that they left their homework at school or that they can’t remember when something is due.
What do you do if your child’s teacher doesn’t have a website or it isn’t up to date? Check for another teacher in your child’s school that is at the same grade level. Teachers often, though not always, work together so the students are reading the same stories or working on the same math lessons. If I am working with a student and I’m not finding information on the teacher’s website, I look at a different school within the district, find the grade level and see if they have resources that will help me.
If your child’s teacher has a tab for links on it, make sure to take the time to visit it. Many textbooks now have links that allow you to go in the book and review lessons. The link will have any passwords that you need. If not, ask your child or your child’s teacher. There are also educational game links that will help to reinforce concepts in a fun way.
Thanks to the time that teachers have taken to find and list resources for you, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Take advantage of these free resources to enrich your child’s education.