Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Times Tables Strike Again

I'm often amazed at how some things change drastically over time while other things don't change one bit. Mason's struggle with the multiplication tables (third grade...ugghh) brings back memories of my own battle with the same thing. It didn't take me long to realize that the flash card method of memorization would mean months of dedicated "drill and kill" (fancy education terminology) on my part if I didn't find some other tool...fast.

Flashback to a third grade version of myself sitting in a wooden rocking chair, listening to multiplication songs through gigantic black headphones for hours on end. I hated those songs. But I do know my multiplication facts now (most of them) so I guess they helped.

I couldn't find the exact tapes I listened to as a child, so I had to find other methods of torture...err...help for Mason.

Timez Attack - A video game download complete with fantasy worlds and levels that have to be mastered before moving to a new one. It was really hard in the beginning because Mason couldn't type in the answers as fast as the game wanted him to. I had to sit with him sometimes and type in the answers as he dictated. I also had him write down some of the ones he just couldn't remember after millions of repetitions. Then he had his own cheat sheet to use on the "tests." Now he plays it 30 minutes a day on his own - it's been a lifesaver!

YouTube Videos - When he just couldn't remember several facts in a set, like those pesky 6s and 7s, I found annoying songs on YouTube for him to listen to several times in a row. He likes them about as well as I liked my tapes, but they do seem to help with retention...which is the goal afterall.

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