Homeschooling With the Multiplication Machine
Learning Multiplication Beyond the Turn N' Learn
I recollect my father being adamant that my brother and I learn our multiplication tables. He was severely strict about it, to the point where we hated the yellow, tubular Turn N' Learn pencil case that had both division and multiplication markers on it. To be honest, I didn't even know it was a pencil box until I tried finding it online recently! I was curious to get one for my children, seeing as how I am currently homeschooling them. I was not able to find a decently priced Turn N' Learn pencil box, as it's considered a vintage item apparently. (I'm that old?) I figured I'd try a few alternate options.
Multiplication Tools That I Tried Through Trial and Error
I tried some multiplication apps, but they aren't very sophisticated; the graphics are poorly done, and the glitches within the apps are too bothersome to deal with. I did buy them multiplication workbooks and calculators, with the idea that if they use the calculator in addition to the workbooks, they might retain the numerical facts better. That didn't work. I even tried playing good, old-fashioned Schoolhouse Rock videos that I discovered online, but the interest was feigned at best. I then headed over to Lakeshore and discovered something that worked: A Multiplication Machine.
The Multiplication Machine
The is a large 8 1/2" by 9 1/2" plastic frame that houses equation buttons. The first equation number starts with 1x1 and ends with 9x9. When a child is faced with an equation problem, they merely gently press down on a white button, and the answer immediately pops up. The eighty-one buttons are locked in place and only pop-up when it's needed. The buttons and numbers are large enough for a child's fingers. I discovered that this 'machine' also comes in a division, addition, and subtraction format. Multiplication Machine
Upon reading reviews regarding the Multiplication Machine, parents indicated that the pop-up buttons were more entertaining then flashcards. People enjoyed the fact that it was portable, and could be taken on long car rides, and that it was an excellent tool in promoting the memorization of multiplication facts in children. Since the product is sturdy and durable, it was a win for many parents who tried it out, and therefore, it's a win for the children who are to learn their multiplication tables.
Math = Fun
For the meantime, I'm having my children use the Multiplication Machine in addition to their multiplication workbooks. In my mind, learning math should be fun as well as educational. Learning math should not be traumatizing! One of the best ways to learn multiplication facts is through memorization, and memorization can happen through repetition. Therefore, I feel the children, using the Multiplication Machine to answer the multiplication problems in the workbook, will slowly come to a point where they won't even need the machine anymore. And maybe someday, when they're adults, the multiplication will be considered a vintage item that brings back fond memories of their homeschooled days.
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© 2017 Charlotte Doyle