EDUCATIONAL CENTER > Math >> Math Facts

As parents we’re always looking for ways to help our kids. Here is one surefire thing that you can do – help them master their math facts.

When I was a kid, memorizing my math facts involved endless hours of flashcards and timed worksheets – or at least it seemed that way – UGH! Fortunately things have changed…

When I was a kid, memorizing my math facts involved endless hours of flashcards and timed worksheets – or at least it seemed that way – UGH! Fortunately things have changed…

*less of these…. more of these!!!*

While flashcards and timed drills still have an important role to play in the learning process, now there are also a ton of fun options available that can help your kids practice their math facts every day. You’ll be able to keep them excited and motivated as they make their way towards that all important goal of mastering their math facts!

Since we have calculators and computers to help us with computations these days, it might be tempting to assume it’s enough for your kids to understand the concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Do they really need to spend time memorizing their math facts?

YES!!! Students that successfully master their math facts in early elementary school are more likely to:

1) Be confident in their math skills

The old adage “knowledge is power” applies here. When students master their math facts in the early elementary years, those timed tests at school every week are no longer tedious and discouraging, but fun to race through and confidence builders. Students head into the upper elementary grades thinking, “I’m good at math” and geared up for the challenges ahead.

2) Have more success learning the complex concepts of higher level math (including fractions, decimals, algebra, geometry, calculus, etc.)

Can you imagine trying to read

Here are a few problems to remind you of what’s waiting for your kids just around the corner in the upper elementary grades, middle school, and high school. The students that have their math facts on automatic recall will undoubtedly have an advantage when asked to: figure out the “least common denominator” when adding fractions, “factor polynomials” in algebra, and finding integrals in calculus.

3) Perform better in other subjects that require strong math skills including:

While flashcards and timed drills still have an important role to play in the learning process, now there are also a ton of fun options available that can help your kids practice their math facts every day. You’ll be able to keep them excited and motivated as they make their way towards that all important goal of mastering their math facts!

**Why are math facts so important?**Since we have calculators and computers to help us with computations these days, it might be tempting to assume it’s enough for your kids to understand the concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Do they really need to spend time memorizing their math facts?

YES!!! Students that successfully master their math facts in early elementary school are more likely to:

1) Be confident in their math skills

The old adage “knowledge is power” applies here. When students master their math facts in the early elementary years, those timed tests at school every week are no longer tedious and discouraging, but fun to race through and confidence builders. Students head into the upper elementary grades thinking, “I’m good at math” and geared up for the challenges ahead.

2) Have more success learning the complex concepts of higher level math (including fractions, decimals, algebra, geometry, calculus, etc.)

Can you imagine trying to read

*Harry Potter*if you were still using phonics to sound out the words? Similarly, in math, your kids are going to struggle if they don’t have their math facts mastered before they get to the more complex math concepts.Here are a few problems to remind you of what’s waiting for your kids just around the corner in the upper elementary grades, middle school, and high school. The students that have their math facts on automatic recall will undoubtedly have an advantage when asked to: figure out the “least common denominator” when adding fractions, “factor polynomials” in algebra, and finding integrals in calculus.

3) Perform better in other subjects that require strong math skills including:

4) End up “loving math”!!!

Once kids have their math facts mastered, they have a strong foundation that they can keep building on through the years.

Alternatively, for kids who don’t know their math facts, things can domino in the wrong direction – it’s like trying to build a house without using any nails – guaranteed frustration and anxiety.

INSET: Given that many of the good jobs in the future will require strong STEM skills, wouldn’t it be great if you could help your kids get off to a confident start in math? To read more about the increasing importance of STEM, click here.

**What’s the timeline for mastering math facts?**

The term “math facts” generally refers to single digit addition (1+3, 5+8, 7+9, etc.) and multiplication (2x4, 3x9, 7x8, etc.), and their counterparts in subtraction (5-2, 10-4, 16-8, etc.) and division (8÷2, 54÷6, 72÷8, etc.).

Check with your teacher and school to find out their specific curriculum goals, but here are some general grade-level expectations for mastering math facts:

2nd Grade: Addition and Subtraction

3rd Grade: Multiplication

4th Grade: Division

As a rough benchmark, your kids have “mastered their math facts” when they are able to correctly answer 30 problems in less than 1 minute.

**How do your kids reach a level of “mastery”?**

As your kids learn their math facts for each operation (first addition, then subtraction, followed by multiplication, with division last), they’ll move through different stages:

1) Accuracy

*Using a variety of strategies, they can figure out the answer to a math fact problem.*

2) Fluency

Some examples of mental math strategies include:

Some examples of mental math strategies include:

- Counting on
- Making ten

- Decomposing a number leading to a ten

- Using doubles to create equivalent but easier sums

3) Mastery

When someone asks your name, you have an immediate answer. The goal in math is to achieve that same automatic response when asked math facts in a rapidfire situation.

In order to really master their math facts, your kids need to practice, practice, practice. A steady routine of 10-20 minutes every day really helps with this type of memorization. Worksheets and flashcards are useful tools – you can go to www.MathFactCafe.com to create your own custom worksheets for free. But if you really want to get your kids to practice every day, it’ll help to include some options in their routine that are more engaging. Here are some ideas to help you make it fun and get it done:

They automatically know the answer without having to think about it.They automatically know the answer without having to think about it.

When someone asks your name, you have an immediate answer. The goal in math is to achieve that same automatic response when asked math facts in a rapidfire situation.

How can you help your kids master their math facts?How can you help your kids master their math facts?

In order to really master their math facts, your kids need to practice, practice, practice. A steady routine of 10-20 minutes every day really helps with this type of memorization. Worksheets and flashcards are useful tools – you can go to www.MathFactCafe.com to create your own custom worksheets for free. But if you really want to get your kids to practice every day, it’ll help to include some options in their routine that are more engaging. Here are some ideas to help you make it fun and get it done:

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