Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

July 14, 2006

Multiplication Tables

Filed under: Homeschooling — texased @ 9:27 pm

My son knows his multiplication tables. You may not be impressed since he would be starting high school this fall and you would expect someone who is in the middle of an Algebra I book to know basic multiplication facts. But here’s the interesting part, I didn’t teach him.

I tried, I really did try. And since it’s often a mulitiplication question that non-homeschoolers ask your kid to see if he’s really learning, I was pretty anxious for him to master the tables. So we tried work sheets, videos, songs, books, whatever. But he would have none of it. I would lay in hammock while he climbed the tree and try to get him to go over the fives or sixes. Nope. Pokemon cards didn’t work. I offered him $20 if he would learn them up to the tens. What can I say, money has never been a big incentive for him.

I guess I could have gone the “or else” route but he has never been one to respond well to threats either. If we don’t give him a reason why he needs to do something (he doesn’t have to like it, he just needs to know the reason) he gets stubborn and things get ugly. So we generally reserve threats for those things we consider really significant or essential and somehow, multiplication tables just didn’t seem to fall into the category.

Since our approach to math has been somewhat haphazard, it didn’t really strike me that he knew the tables until we started an actual textbook for algebra. I knew he understood the concept of multiplication so I allowed him to use a calculator. However, occasionally I would get the question like “6 times 8 is 48, right?” After a while, I realize that he knew them. He may not win any speed contest for reciting his multiplication tables but he knows them. So does it really matter that he was thirteen before he could “prove” it?



  1. Thanks for making me feel better.

    My son still does addition & subtraction
    with his fingers. He’s nine now and ready to start multiplication. Honestly,
    I’ve been dreading it – he’s so resistant to being taught. It makes me a
    little crazy. He likes learning but he hates being taught.

    Makes me want to run off screaming some days – but your post here made me feel
    a little better. So thanks once again.

    Comment by Unique — July 30, 2006 @ 8:01 am

  2. So very glad I found this truly great site 🙂

    Comment by directory — November 6, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

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