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If your adolescent is struggling in math you need to know for sure that he knows his basic math facts to an automatic level. By “automatic level,” I mean he does not have to expend mental energy remembering them. If he does not, then he is unlikely to do well in higher level math co...

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Basic Math Facts are the key to Success in Higher Level Math

Posted by: Livia McCoy on Feb 08, 2011 in School Success, Parent Involvement, Livia McCoy, Kids Math, Kids Learning, Fun Learning Activities


Livia McCoy
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If your adolescent is struggling in math you need to know for sure that he knows his basic math facts to an automatic level. By “automatic level,” I mean he does not have to expend mental energy remembering them. If he does not, then he is unlikely to do well in higher level math courses like pre-algebra and algebra.

When he begins using integers, he must learn the rules for using both positive and negative numbers when he adds, subtracts, multiplies, and divides. If the number facts are automatic, then he will only have one level of thinking to do. (How does this negative sign change the way I work with these numbers?). But if he is still struggling with the basic facts, he must think on two levels. (What do these numbers mean? What do these signs mean?) He may wind up making errors he might not otherwise make.

When dealing with basic math facts, a calculator will not solve the problem. The calculator just adds yet another level of thinking. (What do these numbers mean? What do these signs mean? How do I enter this into the calculator?) He is better off without the calculator.

Test your child’s skill with basic facts. See how long it takes him to go through a stack of multiplication flash cards answering each one correctly. If he takes a long time to get through the stack, he needs to practice some each day. He needs to be able to answer them quickly almost without thinking. This is true for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing numbers up to twelve. Continuing to practice—even five minutes a day—will increase his speed. This will help him tremendously in whatever math course he is taking.

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Comments

  1. Posted by - Johnathan on Sep. 27, 2011

    Shame on some schools who just hand a kid a calculator instead of focusing on basic math facts. It's too easy to give up on teaching the child the basics. The issue happens when the child's math facts are not "sticking." In turn, teachers say "he just can't do it or I have taught him this ALL year and he still can't remember them." Obviously they have been teaching him wrong ALL wrong or in some cases their entire educational career...Thank you for posting this blog! -
  2. avatar

    Posted by MarshellaSmith on Feb. 09, 2011

    Math is the most interesting and important branch of mathematics. We need math in our daily life. So, students need to learn this from the very beginning. But, unfortunately nowadays, children are very likely to avoid math. I don’t understand why they do so. Besides parents and school teachers, online tutors are best persons to encourage students to give attention to it. They provide 1-to-1 tutoring to the students. There are several online tutoring services available to help students across grades for a very nominal cost. Some of them specialize in math, especially math; for instance, tutorteddy.com. Students with difficulties in math or science can try it.

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