Math Woes

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We use Singapore Math for our math curriculum. We have always used Singapore math for our math curriculum.  I really love Singapore Math.  Really, I do.


But, it is lacking in drill.  I knew that going in.  Homeschoolmath,  Well-Trained Mind, and Time4learning all say basically that.


OK, so we’ll drill. But I found out early on that my son that can sniff out extra work like a bloodhound does NOT do drill well. I tried timed tests to make it like a fun game. Those made him nervous. Writing multiplication tables? Forget it! These methods made my life miserable. Yes, I know, there are definitely some character issues that need to be dealt with. We do work on those and the Lord gives me windows of encouragement enough to keep me from total despair. But I digress.


To teach his multiplication tables I took some time away from Singapore and used 10 Days to Multiplication Mastery.

That didn’t work very well either. It wasn’t that he couldn’t do his multiplication tables or that he didn’t understand multiplication. It was just that he wasn’t very quick.

Did I mention that my husband values speed? He is of the persuasion that math facts should be instantly spit out. This is also the man that memorized all the nations and capitals of the world for fun. But I digress again.


So, basically I quit. I decided he knew his multiplication facts. He’ll practice them as he uses them. It’s good enough. Math got better. He was still somewhat slow in computation, but he seemed to be getting it.


But yesterday we were doing a review lesson in my beloved Singapore Math. It was so terrible. He really hates the review lessons not because of the review per se, but because they’re in the textbook and he has to write on a separate piece of paper. After a couple of hours to do about 10 problems, I checked his work and about half were wrong. The kid actually argued with me that 8X8 is 68 and that’s how he had learned it. So today I pulled out the multiplication flashcards because it was obvious that my no-drill philosophy was failing. However, when I went through the flash cards he got them all right and with reasonable speed. Huh?


Now I’m not sure what to do. I think I’ll continue with the flash cards daily to see if his speed will increase. He didn’t complain so at least that wasn’t so bad.


At least my days are never boring!

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5 thoughts on “Math Woes”


    I have some of the same issue with my oldest son. He picks things up very easily. But review! OH NO! He doesn't like to do things to death. I work very hard to keep things new and fresh for him with minimal review. Now you know which things they need to review and of course you do that.

    My son is the same way with his facts. He can spout them out like a crazy person, but to write them down? NO WAY!

    Just saying, I so understand.

  2. We've had the same problem with Singapore. We love it, but we hate taking the time needed to drill the facts.

    Here are a few things we like though, when I remember to do them. We play freeze tag, but instead of needing someone else to unfreeze you, you have to answer a question. It works for all kinds of drill, but it's especially helpful for math. We also play War with the flashcards and whoever's card has the highest answer wins the hand. Oh, and I buy "fun" workbooks at the Dollar Store that have favorite characters, etc. for when we just HAVE to sit down and drill. And, sometimes I write a bunch of numbers in sidewalk chalk and have them jump onto the right answer. (Can you tell I have a kinesthetic learner?) 8)

    I hope that helps some!


  3. I can sympathize! My oldest (age 13, 9th grade) is the balker in the crew, but my youngest (age 10, 5th grade) is slower to learn. She really likes the math wrap-ups (hands-on variation on the flash card thing) & Math Blaster (the computer game). The balking thing is harder to get around. Did you read Deborah's article on the rebel? She had some good ideas on there even if you child's not a full-blown rebel.

    I'm on the TOS Crew & saw your intro. Hope you get to review a few things, too! I also live in NC (Concord).

  4. I can sympathize! We had lots of stress over math with my 9 yr old daughter until we switched to Right Start Math by AL Abacus. They have a games book that is seperate from the curriculum that I would highly recommend. Now math is not a chore! We do one lesson and one game a day and the repetition is really helping her master her facts. We love games!

    Heidi in NH who is also uses TOG

  5. I think I am a little late, but I went through something similar and found an awesome math program that really hits all learning styles. With drills, concrete facts and word problems. Its call Math-U-See, you can find them on the web. I would never go back to use anything else. It starts at primary through high school. They will send you a demo cd to watch for free, it is worth a look. Good luck. Selena

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