Math Facts / Drill - Many ideas!

Rebecca in Ohio
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 1:54 pm

Math Facts / Drill - Many ideas!

Unread post by Rebecca in Ohio »

Hi - With my 1st Grader we use a combination of Calculadder (Level 1) and the drillpage on the Math-U-See website. Anyone can use that drillpage, even if you are not using MUS.

We also tried doing flashcards but they seemed to stress out my ds so we are taking a break from them right now. Maybe we'll try back with them in a few weeks/months.

You can also drill with dominoes, dice or use a deck of cards and play war.

HTH, Rebecca
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Unread post by tiffany »

We have used Leap Frog Turbo Twist, Quarter Mile Math and Math Wrap Ups from Usborne. No parent involvement required. We switch off weeks.

Sometimes we'll throw another math cd-rom into the mix, but we usually save that for sick or crazy days. Math Blaster is one of my favorites, but it is not intensive drilling.

For my 1st grader, I decided not to concentrate on memorization or drills. He does play Reader Rabbit Math and Math Blaster (both computer software) that offer a fun way to quiz math skills. Singapore Math also has their own CD-roms. I'm not sure what they have for 1st grade.

Math practice really works great on the computer. My kids have branched out and learned some new concepts this way also.
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Unread post by kellybell »

My kids like Quarter Mile Math on the computer (you compete against yourself, trying to beat your own score). It's pricey though.

Good old-fashioned flash-cards might help. She could do them alone, perhaps using a timer to try to beat her old score, seeing how long it takes for her to do the deck of them. The drugstore has those. We use the triangular flashcards from the Donna Young site; I don't know if they are still there. There are two sets: one for addition and subtraction (the "fact family" is on the card so you can drill for 2+ 4 = 6 or 6 - 4 = 2 or 6 - 2 = 4 depending on which corner of the triangle you cover up) and one for division/multiplication.

And, I really, really like the book Games for Math by Peggy Kaye (check your library and then see if you like it too). Some could be adapted to alone-play.

If she's comfortable doing a game "just with Mom" (less intimidating than siblings) then some good ones for math are Yahtzee and Monopoly Jr. (but that reinforces addition and not subtraction).

Oh, and don't forget the math windows that MFW sells. For addition and subtraction, they have simpler versions than the ones for ECC and above.

You might want to try those with a timer and each time the child beats his time by 5 or 10 seconds (assuming you got all the problems right or missed less than an agreed upon number) then he gets a treat or sticker or candy or dime or whatever. You could do the same thing with a stack of flash cards and a timer but this would require you to be there.

Also, I've seen these gadgets Walmart and don't know what they are called, but they'd be fun to simply "play with" to get facts down. They are plastic squares about 10 inches on each side with a grid of buttons in the middle. Each button has a fact on it, and when you press it down, you see the answer through the button. It's not electric, but the buttons are just clear enough that you see the answer when you press down (because the answer is under the key) but opaque enough that you can't see the answer when the button is sprung back up. If your kid likes to fiddle with things, that might work. I think it's just a few dollars.

Also, we have the Scholastic's Time Tunes cassette which has cheesy songs to learn skip counting and multiplication.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
Heather (WI)
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Unread post by Heather (WI) »

I also found a really nice write-on wipe-off board (that we bought) with addition/subtraction/multiplication/division facts on it (and also the states and their capitals) at Wal-mart!! This would be good for both "Adventures" AND math!!
Love in Christ,
Heather (WI)
MFW user since 2004:
and starting Ex-1850 in Aug. 2008!!
Donna T.

math facts

Unread post by Donna T. »

We use the math window card that came with 1st grade.

You could also try copywork if your child is up to the extra handwriting. I've heard that works very well. There is actually a math facts copywork book available from Queens Homeschooling Supplies. Also, you may want to try the Learning Wrap-ups. They are available from Timberdoodle or from an Usborne rep. They are really neat and fun.

We've been working on math facts quite a bit but I don't really expect much of it to stick for now.
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Unread post by Rainy »

Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 4:03 pm

I wanted to answer your question referring to Quarter Mile Math, Rainbow Rock, Wrap-ups, and Triangle flash cards. We have used all of these. My children really like Rainbow Rock and we also have Vroot and Vroom. The only problems with it are that it doesn't keep track of their progress, and they want to keep going to their favorite sections instead of what they need to work on. We just recently got Quarter Mile Math and love it. It saves their scores and they are always trying to beat their score.

I also use wrap-ups with 2 of my children. One other child doesn't like them and prefers some special write-on erasable flash cards we have. I use these during math drill time.

The triangle flash cards we didn't like. I don't even know where they are now.

One child uses the computer while the others use the other products. I also get books from the library they can choose from to look at during this time. Right now we have a stack of books on money for them to look at if it is not their computer day.
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Unread post by Fly2Peace »

Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 6:57 pm

We also like Sing, Spell, Read and Writes program for math drill. Again, just basic +, -, /, *, but if your dc like to sing it is fun.

Unread post by cbollin »

tiffany wrote:I have thought about getting a music type drill, but I wasn't sure which ones would be good. I have always shied away from those thinking she would always have to go through a song in her head to remember her facts. I would like something she could do independently if possible.
Posted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:01 pm

From Sing N Learn, I got the Troxel math songs. I like it for addition songs. Comes with a little book to read along. My 2nd child likes it. Oldest hates it. Now this company has lots more math song options. Not sure which are good/bad or drive you crazy. Don't forget to look at your favorite local retail stores or library --- they carry many of the same titles.

For multiplication ---- we all prefer School House Rock Multiplication Rocks. It's how I learned to multiply when I was in 2nd grade (Saturday morning cartoons).
Shelly Best
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Unread post by Shelly Best »

Posted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:46 pm

A very low budget and simple idea would be to purchase the addition/subtraction math fact charts from MFW @ $2.50 total cost for two charts. They are simple and effective charts that you put over a blank sheet of paper to fill in the answers. The point of using these charts is to get your child from 5 minute drills to 1 minute drills with 100% correct. They are meant to be used for daily drills, a painless and effective approach to helping your child master math facts.

Another activity would be the "I Can Do" kids math videos. The videos can be bought in a set for $80.00 They are addition, subtraction, multiplication, division exercise videos while doing P.E. exercises.

I believe God gave us women the extra touch of creativity just so we can get through road blocks like this with the help of each other!!
Julie in MN
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:22 am

I have brought 3 kids up thru the math drill phase & it isn't fun :o( Few humans in general seem to enjoy monotony. In my opinion, it doesn't really matter what you do, but you must do it consistently in order to make it thru this stage in as short a time as possible. And usually it's nice to have some variety in your technique. Some thoughts:

* I agree that the songs do hold them back after a while. Still, I chose to bring them in because of my ds's personality. My son adores the songs from "100 Sheep Skip Counting Songs From the Gospels," and we still listen to them on occasion, but I really had to wean him from songs at one point. He loved it, & I just had endure the weaning stage :o)

* I vote in favor of learning the facts one group at a time, rather than tackling all of them at once. Start with addition no matter how old the child is, and I wouldn't add subtraction until addition was mastered (or almost there). You might even narrow it to addition up to the 5's before you go on to 6-10.

* Flashcards are inexpensive & easy to use. About halfway thru the memorization process, I find they become hard for me to use quickly enough.

* With my oldest son's multiplication facts, we actually taught a "fact of the day." When he was learning 6x8, this was written on index cards on the bathroom mirror, cereal boxes, back door, etc.!

* Quarter Mile is good because it is very focused on math drill. It seems rare for a "game" not to bury the drill in a lot of other stuff. But it can be pricey, & if your kids are NOT fast on the keyboard, it can be frustrating (not a problem for my dc).

* Paper drills (made even cheaper with the Math Windows) are a standard in the school system. Kids just get used to the fact they will do 5 minutes of these every day during the "math drill" years in public school. Schools often shoot for say 100 problems in 5 minutes or 1 minute or whatever. When the goal is achieved, you move to the next operation (+- etc.), or next level of difficulty (2-digit etc.). You can find these types of things free on internet or buy them from CalcuLadder & others. Right now my youngest son is doing paper drills daily at home & hates it, but nevertheless he must do them -- right thru the summer! Although he is frustrated with each new skill, by the end of it he says "it's so easy!"

* Marker boards are also somehow more fun than worksheets for most kids.

* Games are a fun break. I don't think they solidify the speed skills, but they are still practice. And they are a motivator -- my ds can "see" why knowing the facts better would have helped him have more fun -- & win! A few of the games out there have little tricks & strategies that may help get over a difficult hump, but eventually I think plain, old memorizing must be done.

* Drill for single digit facts can be done orally, but that may not be independent. At the place that I tutor, they have a sheet with all the math facts for each operation, & each digit. The student practices these with a timer, & doesn't pass until it can be done in a certain number of seconds, & it must be smooth, "without thinking."

HTh, Julie
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Unread post by kellybell »

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:20 am

One thing that works for our family is to reward certain steps. You want to set the reward goal as something attainable but as something that will require some work. Work with the dc to see what a good reward would be. Perhaps a video purchase (something maybe you'd get for your schooling anyway, like a Moody video, etc.) or a trip to the ice cream parlor (that works for us). Maybe having a special friend over or (gasp) having the privilege of skipping math (or chores) for a day or two! There are many possibilities and each child is motivated by different things.

When my oldest two went to school they did "Math Fact Attacks" nearly daily and when a child hit a certain goal, she got a ribbon to take home. That probably cost the school a penny a ribbon, but it motivated the kids ("Oh, if I can only learn these facts I'll get the next ribbon -- it's YELLOW.")

Just a thought.
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Unread post by txquiltmommy »

Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 10:39 pm

We are drilling facts and starting at the beginning of second grade again this year. And my third grader isn't quite as rusty, but even he needs review and is making silly errors in simple computation. Time to brush up on the old facts!

My friend taught me a cute trick.......I have the boys take a deeeeep breath, then fill out their facts chart as far as they can before letting their breath out. (We only do this once each day so they don't get light headed!) Our goal is to get one more fact down than we did the day before.

Once they can fill out the entire page on one big breath we are skipping math (which comes early in the morning) and going out for donuts instead! So far, the incentive is working because ordinarily they loathe practicing their facts!

Hang in there, Kim. Math review is a FACT of life! :)

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Fri Sep 01, 2006 5:19 am

My 7 y.o still uses manipulatives (including her fingers), as well. I've noticed recently it has become more in the imitative style of the concepts taught in Singapore. She is seeing the "number bonds" on her hands. So 3 +4 has become 5+2 which she knows is 7. She is in 1A. And the more that she has done it this way, the quicker she is remembering her drills. I don't know if that is good or bad, but she is getting faster and retaining the material. She is a very visual person. We taught her to talk with visual cards (PECS). Maybe it's just her.

We have the math windows, and I prefer to use them taped on a dry erase board instead of paper. Or any erasable surface (chalk board, smooth concrete) instead of using paper.

We do flash cards and an online math drill that was fun for my girls (from math u see --- you don't have to use math u see to use their drill). I like the variety.

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Unread post by tkbbrl6 »

Posted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 4:23 pm

You might try some computer games - I've found over the years that my kids loved to play the games and they generally scored 'higher" points when they could answer quicker so this helped them to learn their facts in a fun way and get quicker!

There is also a card game - I think it's QuikPix - that helps kids to learn them more quickly.

Also - keep in mind if your dc struggles at all with written work he/she might be quicker if you do oral drills - but then when you place written drills in front of them they slow down.
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Unread post by bethben »

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:27 pm

We use something called Flashmaster. It's basically an electronic version of flash cards. it has + - x and division. It's not exciting but gets the job done. I'm also going to start with math wrap ups. Just a little plastic piece that you can practice math facts.

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Unread post by henryteachers »

Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 7:28 pm

One incentive for what you are already using is this:
Each time my 2nd grader passes off her + or - facts with flashcards, she will get a paper scoop of ice cream to place on the wall. At the end of the year, we'll have a ice cream party with scoops and toppings for each fact learned (+1s, +2s, etc.) You could add in multiplication or division too. I did this with my 3rd graders when I taught school. She's passed off two so far, so she's on her way. Here's an example:
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Unread post by shannon »

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:02 pm

We have been using Math Facts in a Flash by Jan Bedell, a neurodevelopmentalist. Basically, they listen to a CD with 5 math facts a week. The CD takes 2 min. Then you review those 5 facts a couple of times a day, which only takes a minute or two. Then later in the day, they fill out a sheet with the same facts while listening to the CD again. Finally, they do a math drill sheet at the end of the day, reviewing the previous weeks facts. It sounds complicated, but it really involves little of my time, and the kids like to listen to the CD. It really seems to be working. Hope this helps!
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Unread post by niki »

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:50 pm

In ECC we have a scheduled drill for Mon - Thurs, and I'm so glad it's scheduled, we really need it here, but I need a handful of tricks up my sleeve to keep it from becoming mundane!

Sometimes I do write on the dry erase board.

One other thing I found is they love the timer!?!?!? They think it's fun beating their record!
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Unread post by mgardenh »

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 8:55 pm

I use a game called Dino Numbers with my daughter. She is really into dinosaurs. Not the greatest game technology-wise and I do not like it that when you get the answer wrong there is a funny part in one of the areas. But the gist of the game is they have to go around eating hay bells and collecting cows and milk. The have to answer a math fact for each thing they collect. My daughter is six and has her addition facts down pat pretty much.

There is also math blaster (About $30) I herd it is great for boys. There are also other math games out there. Do a google of math games you can find some free online ones and well as ones to purchase.

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Unread post by Lainie »

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 11:31 pm

I love helping kids with math timings. Below is part of a handout I used with the second graders from when my dc were in school (this is our first year hs full time). This is the one that helped the majority of children.
Lord bless you, Lainie

  • Math timings don’t have to be painful! Every parent of a second grader has experienced the tears and frustration that sometimes come with math timings. But, it doesn’t have to be that way!

    The great majority of children that struggle with math timings understand the underlying concepts of addition, subtraction and/or multiplication and division. The purpose of the math timing is not to teach the children the concept. The math timing is to encourage the memorization of math facts. Simple math problems such as 2+2 or 3+1 should immediately be recognized as 4. Just as each student has had to memorize the shape of letters in the alphabet, students should memorize basic math facts. The alphabet is the building block for words and reading, just like basic math problems will become the building blocks of more complex math in later years.

    So how do we conquer the math timing? First, make certain that your student understands the concept being taught, such as addition. If they do not understand the concept, you can still use the tips that follow since they will need to memorize the math facts at some point anyway. But you’ll need to reinforce the concepts.

    Listed below are tips to help students memorize. These tips do NOT teach concepts. They only reinforce memory.
    1) On an index card, write the math fact your child is currently working on. Let’s say it’s adding 4. Write all the adding 4 facts.
    1+4=5 6+4=10
    2+4=6 7+4=11
    3+4=7 8+4=12
    4+4=8 9+4=13
    5+4=9 10+4=14

    2) There is a website where you can scroll down the home page and see worksheets on the left side. Click that. Then scroll down until you see PDF Worksheet generator. Click on that and you can customize a worksheet for whatever you are working on (adding 4 or multiplying 3). N1 values are 0-25. I only mark them up to 10 or 12, leaving 13-25 unchecked. N2 value is the # you’re working on, let’s say 4. On the top you choose add, sub multi, or div. Only mark one type of problem for now. On the bottom, # of problems you want. I’ve always used 300. This way there is so much repetition on the same 11 or so problems. I always select the minimal font size and row height to save paper. Print the worksheet out.

    3) With the index card in front of him, have the child answer the problems going as fast as he can. By taking off the pressure to come up with the answer, the student works on the memorizing of the fact by seeing the correct answer and writing the correct answer. If the child is really struggling with memorizing, I suggest he also say the answer out loud at the same time.

    4) We consider the math fact memorized when they are able to answer 100 problems (of the same type like adding 4) within 5 minutes. Create a 100 problem worksheet using the same website.

    5) Unless the child is really motivated, I don’t do more than two “100 problems in 5 min” timings in a week. I only have them work on a set of 300 problems once. Repeat the timing if they need it. There should be an improvement each time. But after 300 problems, they usually pass the first time.

    6) Keep reviewing, maybe every other week. Again customize a sheet with the ones mastered. Make 100 problems in five minute just to keep up their facts and keep adding a new fact each week. The website also has online flashcards that are fun and provide immediate feedback.

    7) For the math facts, I use a spiral bound set of index cards (at any office supply store) so their facts are all in the same place.
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Unread post by TriciaMR »

Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 11:32 am

1. One way we drilled math facts was "Candyland Math." Get out your candy land board (if you have multiple children, each one has a stack of their own flashcards) and show them the card. If they get it right, they get to draw a card and move their guy, or they can move the number of spaces of their correct answer. To make it harder, if they get it wrong, they have to move backwards the number of space of the correct answer. This made it more fun.

2. Just make up a story, and draw pictures around the number. Try to make the story emotionally appealing. (Diane Craft'd say use blood and guts and such, too, especially with boys.) For example, take 6 x 8 = 48. Take the 6 and make it into a boy (draw a boy with a 6 on his shirt). Take the 8 and make it into a house (just draw a house around it, maybe making the 8 the front door). Then, draw a dog around 48. The story might go like this: there was a 6 year old boy who had to walk to school all by himself everyday. He had to pass 8 very scary houses. It got to the point that he was too afraid to walk to school. To help him out, his dad gave him a big strong dog named 48. The story doesn't matter, and doesn't even have to make sense with the numbers. You just have to have pictures with the numbers in them. (I know, for us more left-brained types it doesn't make much sense.) Just make it dramatic, or appeal to the emotions. I did sort of a similar thing with subtraction facts to help my daughter, and it really did help. I was amazed.


Posted Fri May 01, 2009 9:02 am by TriciaMR
I used to play CandyLand math with my dd. You could do the same thing with Chutes-n-Ladders. Since you have two playing against each other, that would make it more "competitive" and help them try to do faster. After a while, I would get my kitchen timer and set it to 10 seconds, then 8, then 5 - trying to get her to answer faster.

We tried MathBlaster (computer game), but the "bad guys" scared my dd too much. But, I have a friend who has boys, and they loved MathBlaster. Tried Mia Math, and it was too much story and not enough math. So, We now have a 3 year subscription to Quarter Mile Math - it is the one computer math game that my dd REALLY likes. She loves to choose the "horses" rather than the "race cars." But, she'll stick with it and try to do better than her last time.

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Unread post by Homeschooling6 »

Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 11:50 am

1. We use wrap-ups, (which is $30.00 a year per child but my kiddos like it), copy the math problems, and the old fashioned "flash card" drill.

2. There is also a site that you might want to google. It's called Olney's Series of Mathematics. You can print the book out. It has a neat way of teaching the child to look at a math problem and know the answer just by looking at it. It was printed in 1839 I think.

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Unread post by LSH in MS »

Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 2:42 pm

We have used Math-it in the past,
but mostly use the Mathusee online drill page at
Kristi in GA
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Unread post by Kristi in GA »

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:12 am

I use a couple of free internet sites with my boys. They hate for me to time them, but this site does it and they think its great. You have one minute to complete 20 problems. If you get a 90 or 95% and higher it will say you mastered it and you can print out an achievement certificate. There are numerous sites (addition, sub, multip. div). It's called are you a math magician. ... hsadd.html

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Unread post by lyntley »

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:58 am

My kiddies love doing the math windows.

They get a special treat if they get a preset number of problems correct in a preset amount of time. Usually a date with mom for lunch or after dinner at Starbucks.

When we hit a rough spot in Singapore, we do a week of MUS printable worksheets. To build up that particular skill. I like the Turbo Twist idea for the car. We tend to get a bit antsy on car rides . Maybe we'll put that on the wish list.

Posted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:31 am

We have the math windows for daily drill. We set a timer for 5 minutes and do the recommended addition monday subtraction tesday mult wed. etc. For my little guy he would just alternate add. and sub windows. When addition mastery was recommended he would work just addition window until the desired amount had been achieved in 5 minutes.

We also occasionally use Mathusee on line worksheet generator when there's a problem getting a particular number mastered like 8's. I can have him drill just his 8's for a week and then get back to the windows.