Multiplication Memorization (and beginning division too)

Alrighty, this little review (non-perked, I just found the product and liked it) is for homeschoolers and public schoolers alike. If you’ve got a kid, young or older, struggling with memorizing their times tables, this annoying program works amazingly fast. (It even works on, ahem, moms who maybe checked out in 3rd grade because those darn flashcards were so pointless and dull.)

We’ve always used Singapore Math workbooks. I love them, and really wish I’d learned math myself this way. It is really good at laying a strong foundation of understanding rather than just rote memorization. One does need some rote memorization in their lives though, and flash cards were not cutting it for us. Encouraged with the awesome results we are having with Xtramath, I went scouting around for something to help with multiplication memorization.

(Xtramath will get there, the boys are just busily working their way through passing off addition and subtraction first.)

Times Tales

I had the Times Tales DVD and Times Tales flip book on my wishlist at Amazon but had been previously put off by the combined price and some of the reviews. The reviews are glowing but complain about a couple of things.

Those things? Are totally valid. The DVD is narrated by a really sweet-sounding woman who might be reading a nursery rhyme to a room full of toddlers. It’s a little off-putting to me, but hasn’t bothered my children at all. The illustrations, DVD graphics, and animation are pretty dreadful, but again, no complaints from the peanut gallery.

Fairly crappy illustrations

Still. Holy crow you guys. This works and works really fast. I was a bit confused when everything first arrived. I tried using the manual and telling the stories using the flip chart. “Stories” is a bit of a stretch. Each story is really more like 1 or 2 sentences. She warns you in the manual not to try to figure it all out, so I just popped in the DVD and fired up Part 1.

If you get the DVD, you don’t have a whole lot of use for the flip chart book. It does come with the manual though, that I’m not sure you can get any other way. The manual contains some tear-out flash-cards (the paper is glossy and pretty nice), some test sheets, and some other activities like crossword puzzles and some games.

Tests and tear-out flashcards

The flip book just contains the pictures of the stories and we haven’t found much use for it yet. If you’ve got bright kids who aren’t struggling with learning disabilities I’d almost say skip the book/chart all together and just get the DVD. The test sheets in the manual are pretty nice though, but you could make your own.

Watching Times Tales

All four of my kids were riveted. Ages 3, 6, 8, and 10 (6 year old is on the floor in the above picture). I was surprised. My 3 year old knows all the characters and what number they stand for. He knows most of the stories. My 6 year old? Passed off Part 1 after a mere hour of learning the stories. The older boys were exclaiming, “OH! You just have to remember the stories! I GET IT!” Pretty amazing after struggling with memorizing the 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9 times tables for months and months.

My kindergartner passing of part 1

It doesn’t go over the 1, 2, 5, 10, or 11 times tables since those are pretty easy. It also leaves you on your own for 12s which to me, aren’t easy at all, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

At the end of Part 1 and Part 2, it helps kids make the connection between multiplication and division. All they have to do is remember who is missing in the stories.

Introduction to division

Pretty smart. Using mnemonics worked when I was memorizing bones and muscles in nursing and midwifery school, don’t know why I didn’t think of using the method for learning multiplication. Highly recommend!

Have you had success with flashcards? I think my little learners are quite visual like me, so this whole stories/pictures thing works really well for us.

Comments

  1. amanda says

    oooooh I just love you!

    After you mentioned Xtramath a while back, I decided to give it a whirl with my (really, really math resistant) just-turned-six year old and my math whiz ten year old who had gotten rusty on his math facts. What a blessing it has been!! My six year old initially got a score off 14, but after just 2 weeks of work, she’s up to a 27! Yes, it’s still a ‘failing’ grade, but the improvement has been amazing! And without any tears!!

    Meanwhile, my ten year old sailed through addition with a 100 after about a week and is now trudging through subtraction (his least favorite set of math facts).

    But while I’ve been thrilled with my six year old’s progress, I’ve sort of been holding on to some anxiety in the back of my mind about multiplication. She really has a hard time grasping the concrete facts of numbers and what they mean – she’s very right brained. But this? This is perfect for her!! I cannot wait to give her more math tools that make her feel clever instead of deficient!

    Thank you so much for all the awesome product recommendations – they really do help those of us who thought we had it all figured out until child number 2 came along! ha!

    • says

      I’m so glad! Let me know how this works out for you, I’m so happy with it!

  2. Katie says

    This is a great reminder that we all think differently! I think that I would find this utterly baffling. My oldest is like me and has had no trouble memorizing his times tables. But my second son definitely thinks differently, and I bet he would love something like this when the time comes! If I hadn’t thought about it, I might’ve just gotten frustrated that he wasn’t getting it as easily :-)

    • says

      Could I borrow some of your brain waves? I’d love for some things (like math) to just make sense.

      • Katie says

        We can trade straight across! I’ll take some of your design/illustration brain waves ;-)

  3. Jorja says

    Oh ohoh THIS might be better for my Emma! She HATES Xtramath with a passion. Rote memorization is impossible for her. Her mind isn’t wired that way! But Math told with stories?!?!? That sounds like her! She is a voracious reader and loves all things literary so this path might help Math click better for her. Thank you so much for reviewing these things! Wonderful!

  4. Kiera says

    Wow! This looks awesome, and I think I will definitely get it for my kids. What is freaking me out right now is that when I was a teacher I had a kindergartener who had an almost impossible time learning his numbers, and the way I was finally able to teach them to him was to have him visualize each number as a picture, eerily similar to the number pictures in the stories here. Cool!

    • says

      Ha! You could have invented the program… (and probably drawn better pictures… shhh).

  5. Emily says

    Do you know the trick for 9’s? I just learned it and it so helped my 9 yr old. So hold hands out in front number them 1 – 10. Now multiply 9×7. bend 7th finger down. To the left of that finger you have 6 fingers up. To the right you have 3. the answer is 63. How about 9×3? put 3rd finger down. answer is 27. This really helped us with nine. Thanks for sharing this product. We may have to give it a try.

    • says

      My sister explained this to me a while ago, cool eh? I didn’t know that you could add the answer to the 9s times tables up to get 9 either… I know, seriously number impaired over here. eg: 9 x 7 = 63, 6+3 = 9.

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