Trying Times

I feel like I’m living my childhood all over again and not in a good way.  Josh is really struggling with math right now, which was never a strong suit for me in school.  Specifically he’s having a hard time because he is in 5th grade and he doesn’t know his times tables.  And unfortunately, I don’t know that they’ve yet to find a way to do math without rote memorization.


I have vivid memories of trying desperately to memorize those damn things.  Vacations, kitchen table, tutors.  I still have to stop and think for a while if I need to know what 8×6 is.

Umm… 8×5=40+8 more is 48!

I’ve learned several tricks on my own to figure things out and I’m trying to teach them to Josh.  He’s picked up a few of them (Colten has also picked them up so he tries to help too.  But Colten’s one of those annoying people that get math right off the bat.  I mean seriously, he’s got a 96% in algebra.  Show off.)

I’ve always liked the trick of using your hands and fingers for doing the 9s.  My 4th grade math teacher Mr. Terry taught us this.  But here’s a video on it and she’s got a cool English accent so it sounds much more impressive!

I’m 39 and I still do my 9s this way.  And you know that’s still something I’ve never understood…  Why can’t we use our fingers?  They’re always with us, if we have a way to figure out math problems using them, then what’s the issue?  I don’t really know the answer to that and I’ve always told both my boys that they can use their fingers.

I found this nifty trick on Pinterest.  I still don’t have it down quite yet.  I always forget that I’m supposed to multiply the fingers on top to get my ones number answer.  Click through the picture for the whole post on


They are actually beyond this now and are working on dividing 2 numbers into 3 numbers.  I think he may be starting to get it, but not knowing the times tables makes it all the more frustrating for him.  And so we work on them each night and try and get them locked in his head.  I feel for him and have told him many times that some people just get it and others don’t, but even if we don’t, we still have to try to get it because we just can’t get away from math.

Anyone have any other shortcuts and tricks we can try?

3 thoughts on “Trying Times

  1. Oh, my!! I understand how you’re feeling!!! You are speaking Greek and he only understands English. I remember Jim searched the net for help in refreshing his math skills when he applied for this job. There were several apps available. Have you checked there? Perhaps his teacher has some suggestions also. I will see if Jim still has the app on his phone. Prayer helps you breathe easier!!!

    • I have an app on my Kindle that he plays with each night that he doesn’t already have math homework. I don’t know what it is called, but it lets him practice his facts and I can choose what level he works at. As he goes along, he can take timed tests to earn coins and then trade those coins in for different backgrounds on the app.

  2. Pingback: Simple tricks to make the 9 times table easy (math)

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