Those pesky little math facts…

Of all the subjects we surround ourselves with in the broad feast of a Charlotte Mason education, math ranks right up there with grammar as my personal hang-up.  I didn’t enjoy either subject in public school, and it can be intimidating to teach something you are not personally fond of. Thankfully, there are people who find JOY in it and share their knowledge.  (I did have a job after college that was MATH all day long *GASP* and, in that instance, I realized that I needn’t be afraid of math. I found satisfaction in organizing those numbers and in making them balance and tally correctly).  Believe it or not, math makes sense when used in context for a real purpose! That is why Charlotte Mason advocated teaching our children math with lots of manipulatives before doing math on paper.  Like nature study prepares us for more advanced science, manipulatives in math prepare us for all those symbols in a math worksheet.  We already know the process, now we are learning the names of the processes.

What does that have to do with the title of this post???  Well, we are rapidly advancing through the levels of Math U See – and we are trying hard to make sure that we KNOW the math facts inside and out before we progress into unfamiliar territory…that will help our math-phobic kiddos so much with more advanced stuff.  But memorizing a page of facts is hard for most people –  add a processing disorder, and you have a serious dilemma!

I have been pondering for a way to work at memorizing these facts without overwhelming everyone with page after page of problems or hundreds of manipulatives. You can purchase lots of things intended to help your re-call of all these facts on demand, including learning them by singing with classical music.  I looked that one up and decided that I do not want to think of my times tables every.single.time we listen to Mozart, Bach  or Handel.  Ackk!  (Since we listen to them regularly I would go nuts, lol!)

In a previous post, I shared how we memorize scriptures and review our ASL signs.  It occurred to me that a consistent daily 5 minute review of our boxes is working wonderfully well, so I created a math facts box just like the other two.


The box for those review cards is set up similar to our Scripture Memory Box:

  • Get an index card box from Walmart.
  • Get some tab dividers
  • Label the tabs Daily, Odd, Even, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Then number a set 1-12. Make one called “TO DO”.
  • Print the free Math Box Cards and cut them apart – (I glued them onto index cards).
  • Place 1 card behind the Daily tab, and the rest behind the “to do” tab.

Start reviewing the card daily. When everyone has it memorized, move it to the “odd” divider. Pull a new one out of the “to do” pile and place it behind the “daily” tab.  Repeat this process as each family is memorized.  You will only say the one behind daily, and any that correspond with that day – odd or even numbered day, day of the week and day of the month.  I went only went to 12 on my days of the month since I was only doing the tables to 12.  When I reach month of the day 13, I will just start over on day 1.

However, I also need them to be able to visualize this in their heads, so I created a Fact Family Tracing Cards that they use their fingers to trace the fact families as we say them.  In this way, they are using as many senses as I can utilize – tactile, auditory, and visual.  So far, so good! =)

Click on any of the links above to download the PDF files.

Edited to add: Since reading Dianne Craft’s materials on helping kids with APD, we now have HorseyGirl put color on her tracing pages of facts since she learns in color pictures, not black and white.  It seems to have helped.


One thought on “Those pesky little math facts…

  1. Tristan

    That’s a good idea. I like the idea of tracing the facts too. I’ve considered doing math facts in copywork before. Maybe I’ll try that for a few sticky facts for each child.


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