Sunday, August 22, 2010

Helping Your Child Memorize Their Basic Math Facts

Why Practice Basic Math Facts:

• Having a quick recall of basic facts comes in handy when your child is doing long division or multi-digit multiplication (not to mention algebra and more!)

• Automatic recall of basic math facts frees up the brain for deeper comprehension of the skills/concepts being taught.

How to Memorize Basic Facts:

• Using flashcards of basic facts (one operation at a time, please) flash the cards to your child at a fairly fast pace—you don’t want to give them too much time to think or use their fingers!

• Put the correctly answered cards in one pile.

• Put the hesitated/wrong cards in another pile.

• Take the hesitation cards and have your child write down the entire fact (4 + 7 = 11) on a separate piece of paper. Have them write fairly big.

• Next have your child trace the entire fact with one color crayon as they say the fact aloud.

• Have them repeat the above step with a different color crayon. (This memorization technique is called “Rainbow Writing” and is useful for memorizing spelling words, too.)

• Now flash the hesitation cards to your child, again making two piles.

Did they increase the number of automatically answered facts?

Only work for 10-15 minutes. The brain likes to work in short bursts!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Using Timers

Timers are a great tool to help get chores and homework done in a timely manner (pun intended)! Timers help children stay focused and on task (adults, too).
Play “Beat the Timer” to eliminate whining when it’s time to do homework or chores:
  1. Decide a reasonable amount of time to complete the task at hand. Be sure to allow enough time for your child to be successful—you don’t want her to be discouraged.
  2. Brainstorm a reward for “beating the timer” such as a minute of free choice time (reading, family game, etc.) for every minute left on the timer.
  3. Get everything ready to complete the task.
  4. Set the timer, say 1-2-3-Go!
  5. When the task is completed, stop the timer and record how many minutes your child saved.
  6. When all tasks are completed, have your child add all of her saved minutes.
  7. Now it's time to reward her for doing such a great job.  Praise her profusely!
Just because a task is mandatory shouldn’t make it feel laborious. Making chores and homework “fun” helps keep kids motivated!

Do you have other tools to help kids stay on task? Leave a comment below.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010


• Agendas are like appointment calendars for kids.
• They help kids keep track of their responsibilities at their job (school).
• Agenda books make great communication tools for parents/teachers, too.
• The most important thing about agendas is to have the child use them:
     1. Students must write down their assignments when they are assigned with a notation of when they are due
     2. Students should also check off their assignments when completed (and put them in their “Take Home” folder which should then go into the backpack with the agenda book!)
• Check the agenda book daily—some teachers require the parents to sign it.
• The more attention you give the agenda, chances are your child will, too.

Does your child use an agenda book?  Leave me a comment below.