Monday, August 6, 2012

Math Made Easy

Jake, my 6-year-old has always liked math. He's always been very good at it. He figured out a while ago all on his own how to count by 20s by counting by 2s (ie 2, 4, 6 = 20, 40, 60 etc.) He multiplies numbers often, though he doesn't understand that's what he's doing. He grasps math concepts well.

So, why does he struggle with addition? Oh, he hasn't always been this way. As the year has gone on, he's forgotten the solutions to many problems. Even easy questions like 3+4 and 4+5 were met with an "I don't know." Then he'd take a while to count it out in his fingers, which he'd never done before. It was frustrating. Last year, he could answer them in his head. This year, he claimed he couldn't do it. So what happened?

I'm not sure if it was boredom or a lack of self-confidence or what. All I know is that my bright, math-minded little boy was regressing.

I knew instantly that this book would hold his attention. The lessons are very short and fun. He has always liked workbook pages, especially ones that included coloring. This book has the student finding sums for coloring pictures, decoding secret messages, unscrambling pictures, matching, and story problems.

But what makes this book different from any other book I've ever seen???

The technique. The student learns only 6 facts a week for 6 weeks.

But that doesn't add up, you say? That's only 36 facts out of 100.

Let me explain. You start by eliminating all facts with 0 and 1 as addends since children learn those very quickly. Then, you teach that whenever certain numerals are together with an addition sign that the answer will always be the same (2+3 and 3+2.) Once you remove all the 0s, 1s, and duplicates, you are left with only 36 facts to memorize. The remaining facts are randomly introduced so that the student is forced to rely on memory. According to their philosophy, "this presentation has been found to be the best suited for high levels of comprehension and quickness in the learning of the addition facts."

Sure, it sounds simple, but how did it work for us? Below are the equations for week 2. I gave Jake a challenge on day 4 of the week. If he could correctly answer all the problems in less than 30 seconds, I would make him vanilla pudding.

7+9                  4+8
5+9                  3+5
2+4                  6+7
9+7                  8+4
9+5                  5+3
4+2                  7+6

I did not make him that pudding.

He answered them correctly in 28 seconds and then made the pudding himself! I'm telling you, this format for learning addition facts works!

The book also comes with a few simple games and flashcards for review. Honestly, the games are nothing spectacular, but the rest of the book speaks for itself.

I am thoroughly impressed with how well this technique has worked for my son. In fact, my husband said as I was sitting down to type, "This should be an easy review. All you've done is rave about this." Yep. I definitely plan to purchase this for my other children as well. I found out after we were a couple weeks into the program that it is acceptable to reproduce the worksheets to be used within your immediate family. Of course, it would have been nice to know that before I had him write/color in the book, but regardless, I think it is completely worth the $24.95 to buy another copy.

Seriously, this is math made easy.

Math Made Easy also makes a book for learning multiplication facts. You can find reviews of that along with more reviews of the addition version on the Crew blog here.

* Disclaimer - I was given this program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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  1. I have to say, I love the look of it! Not sure if it would be a good fit for my youngest but we may have to try it out this year and see. At that price it's not a huge loss if it doesn't.

    1. I am impressed how well this format has worked in our home. I hope it works in yours, too! :)