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Baby Eagles, History Thematic Units, Memorizing Multiplication

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, April 05, 2010
Vol. 11 No. 20, April 5, 2010, ISSN: 1536-2035
© 2010, Heather Idoni - www.FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to The Homeschooler's Notebook!

If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!
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Notes from Heather
-- Convention Notes
Helpful Tip
-- More Calvin and Hobbes
Winning Website
-- Live Baby Eagle Cam
Reader Question
-- Multiplication Tables
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

I would appreciate everyone's prayers for our safe travel to Cincinnati
this week!  I would also appreciate prayer for our success.  "Success"
in this case means having our booth set-up in a timely manner, zero
stress (ha!), my 2 oldest boys getting along splendidly and behaving
professionally (I know they will, but...) and being able to distribute about
1,500 FREE audio CD sets of the first story in our Sugar Creek Gang
series, "Swamp Robber"
.  If you are coming, don't miss Beloved Books
at booths 413-415.  In addition to our audio selection, we are bringing
hundreds of wonderful used books and 1/2 price brand NEW books! :-)

I'm excited about my neighbors, too.  Although I've interviewed Amanda
before, we've never met in person.  Hopefully she will at her
booth adjacent to mine part of the time.  And then Catherine Levison is
just across from me.  It is fun to have good neighbors!

The disappointing thing about being a vendor at a great convention like
this, is that there is really no time at all to enjoy the speakers.  As
a homeschool mom myself, I really miss out on the encouragement and
refreshment.  I'm not too sad this time, though, because the highlight
of my trip is seeing my best-friend-in-the-world for the very first
time in "real life" -- Jodi W. from Iowa.  I can't wait to hug her! :-)

-- Heather


Do you have comments to share? Please do!
Send your emails to: mailto:heather@familyclassroom.net


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  • Middle Ages (Early/Late Middle, Byzantine, Vikings, Mughals)
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Helpful Tip

"Hi Heather! I meant to pipe up on this topic in your last newsletter.  I wrote
a short little article on using Calvin and Hobbes to teach your child to read.
This is what inspired my boy to learn to read and to be a budding cartoonist.
We lived with Calvin and Hobbes for several years and he is still a favorite
in our house."

-- Colleen in Guam


Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: mailto:HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Winning Website


"This is a live stream from an eagle's nest at Duke Farm in New Jersey.
Baby eagles have hatched!  Watch as both parents tend to the chicks,
bringing them a variety of food.  Mom eagle is still very protective,
blocking them from the wind and keeping them warm.  A little patience
rewards you with the sight of the two fluffy white chicks peeking out
from time to time!"

-- Jodi W., www.HomeGrownHearts.com/

Last Issue's Reader Question

"My child will be taking a Dual Enrollment Math course this Fall at our
local community college. He has always had difficulty memorizing the
multiplication facts. However, he understands all math concepts and did
exceptionally well on the college entrance exam... of course using a
calculator to figure out any multiplication.
The syllabus for the Dual Enrollment Math states that NO calculators
will be allowed for the first 8 lessons. Any suggestions on what I can
further do to prepare my student for success in this area?  Thanks!"

 -- Chris in SC

Our Readers' Responses

"Has your son been diagnosed with a learning disability?  If so, the
requirement might be able to be waived.  Check with the college to see
what they say about helping kids with learning disabilities.  Even if
not diagnosed, he may still be able to get some accommodations for this
if he talks to the instructor." -- Cheryl W.


"Here is a method I've used for memorizing math facts that was recommended
by a neurodevelopmentalist that I worked with several years ago:

Make a voice recording of what's called 'skip counting'.  Record the skip
counting by 2's, 3's, etc. all the way up to 12's.  (You might do an
internet search for this kind of recording that is all ready to use.)  Say
them at a nice even pace.  The student could also record them.  Then have
the student listen to them several times per day, a few times in a row.
Then test the student on the skip counting.  Ask him to repeat the pattern
out loud or to write it on paper.  Perhaps it would help to have him listen,
repeat it out loud, and then write the pattern.  Then he will be using all
3 modalities (auditory, visual and kinesthetic).  He can practice anytime --
while doing chores, etc.  Once the 2's are memorized, then move on to the
3's etc.  Don't work on several at a time.

After this is done, you can then start recording multiplication and division
facts.  I know this sounds tedious, but repetition is the key here.  Record
starting where the student has problems.  If he's fine on the 2's and 3's,
start with the 4's.  ALSO, make flash cards or buy them with multiplication
and division facts.  Work with him every day on the visual flash cards and
have him listen to the audio facts.  Test him on the facts using widely
available math fact sheets.  It really only takes about 15 to 20 minutes
per day.  Oftentimes offering small rewards will help with this process.

I know there are programs available on the internet which help with math
facts.  Do a search for this, as there are some good ones that are free.
You may find something online that is essentially a flash-card program,
and he could use that instead of flash cards.  At his age, all this should
go fairly quickly.

The neurodevelopmentalist that I worked with insisted that research showed
that kids who did not memorize their math facts would have unnecessary
trouble with math until they did.  I know your son is great on the conceptual
side of math, and so he's been able to compensate.  In general, memorization
is really good for the brain, especially at an early age.  Some of us just
need to work harder at it than others." -- Cathy P.


"Ah yes, rote multiplication learning can be awful for many.  Maybe movement
with learning will work.  Besides, he'll get some physical education going
at the same time!
Now, 0 thorough 2 are pretty easy and so are the tens (just add a zero,)
so you're really only working with 3,4,5,6,7,8,9, 11 and 12! (an achievable
goal of just 9 sets.)
Get a basketball net and ball (if you don't have one) and dribble while
saying each of the number sets and then shoot when the set is completed.
Saying the sets out loud helps too.  If you don't have these, then try one
of those little paddle boards with a ball and try hitting the ball to the
paddle for each set.

Perhaps you are worried that he might only be able to remember these if he
has a basket ball in hand!  However, if this happens, just transfer the
movement to finger taps and that should work too.  At some point he should
be able to remember them well.  I must admit that when I spell Mississippi
I still hear my internal voice singing it in rhythm, but I never spell it
The whole family can also help at mealtime.  If you say grace, add a thanks
for the multiplication tables too!  Each meal has a set and the whole family
does the set with him (out loud) before you eat.  That's three potential
interactions a day, and it takes so little time that it can be fun too.
Sometimes adding movement and rhythm can break up the feeling of just
learning by rote!" -- Gloriana


"Chris -- There is a free multiplication game by Big Brainz that is called
Timez Attack.  It is a video game format that reviews and drills the kids
in multiplication facts.  My girls are the 3rd time through the whole game
(their choice).  It doesn't let them move on until they conquer each times
table.  But they are having so much fun, they don't care!" -- Linda K.


"Instead of him memorizing multiplication facts in sentence form (i.e. 6 X 2 =
12), he can memorize the facts in skip-count form.  For example, for the 6's, he
can memorize '6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, etc.' to a chant, tune, or song that he
likes.  He can have a different tune for each line of the multiplication table.
While it may seem silly or juvenile, it's a matter of what works for YOU.
Whatever strategies or mnemonics you use to help you learn/retain the material
is your business.  While he may be more comfortable doing skip counting in
'private', he can silently recall facts (in his head or under his breath) in
public.  This is just a suggestion as it well known that we retain things that
we learn/hear put to music or some type of tune/rhythm.  Hope you'll give it a
try!" -- Robin in MD

Answer our NEW Question

"Dear Heather -- Thank you for the Homeschooler's Notebook e-newsletter.  I
really enjoy it and all of the helpful information that's in it.

I am looking ahead to the upcoming school year and trying to figure out what
curriculum my freshman will need.  Right now, I am stuck on deciding which
literature program to go with.  They all seem to be really good.  If anyone
can give me their reviews on a program that they liked or even disliked, it
will help me greatly in my decision making.  Thank you so much!" -- Jennifer


Thank you for the kind words, Jennifer! :-)

To our readers:  If you would like to share your recommendations for Jennifer,
please send your email to: mailto:HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

Ask YOUR Question

Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

Send it to mailto:HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if we can help you out in a future issue!

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Next - Convention Strategies, Story Jumper, Choosing Curriculum
Previous - British Literature, Bird Migration, Beloved Books in Cincinnati

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