“I love that you have made math an active endeavor (and so do my kids). And just so you know—the instructions to SHOUT the circled numbers were hilarious to my six-year-old. She thought that part was fantastic!”
—Parent of Public School Students
“I asked the kids what they thought of the lessons… they both said ‘It’s GREAT!’ My son (age 8.5) said, ‘I like the games and practicing the skip counting… I like the how many? game best… it is fun to do the tossing.’ My daughter (age 6) said, ‘I like the counting… it’s really fun…I like putting the tic tacs and kisses into the compartments… it is fun to skip count.’
It seems to me that is the most anyone could ask for out of a math lesson!! I am enjoying it to…the lessons themselves as well as the fact that my kids are asking for it! I can honestly highly encourage this program to anyone who is interested in helping their child truly understand multiplication and actually love it.”
—Former Elementary School Teacher and Parent
“What a treat on the 1st try! My son loved counting beans in the egg cartons and learning to count by 2s. He particularly liked the variety methods of practicing, counting with me, counting by jumping or by clapping. When we moved to the workbook he loved circling the numbers in the chart. A real thrill was at the end of the first day of trying the skip counting method (we were doing “2s”). While he was falling asleep he asked, “Mommy, can you skip count by 4s?”
The 4 things I like most about ‘Multiply With Me, Learning to Multiply Can Be Fun’
1. Concepts are presented in small accessible chunks
2. Lessons set up so there is review of the previous lessons, that way the material is renewed and connected the new lessons
3. Physical movements and manipulatives to use, my son especially thrived on this
4. Multiple kinds of activities to learn and exercise the concepts”
—Dr. Jacquie Lopez-Higgins, PhD. Biochemistry
“My daughter has benefitted greatly from Multiply With Me! She is on the road to multiplying and understanding grouping numbers together. The physical part of Multiply With Me is super. Catching and throwing a ball while she counts has made numbers much more exciting. The action part has created a smiley face instead of stress.”
“I began Multiply With Me when my daughter finished third grade. What a difference it was to use Multiply With Me It was a no-stress way of learning and a lot of fun. Since my daughter was 9, we skipped ahead a bit, but it was a fun way to reinforce what she had already learned (or should I say memorized?). I think she gained a stronger understanding of the relationship between numbers. She enjoyed the clapping and other movements that went along with the lessons. In fact, one of her major complaints about school was that she had to sit for 45 minutes or so while doing math. I think younger children and even children at her age need to move during class. It is hard for them to sit still, let alone concentrate. The movement helped her focus in an effortless way on the math. She is now in fourth grade, and I think she has an understanding of multiplication that goes beyond memorization. Recently she told me that she knows how to multiply so well that she’s helping a friend in class!”
— Architect and Parent
“I am writing at this time to express my delight with your book, Multiply With Me. My son and I love it and I am greatly impressed with the mathematical teaching concepts you have made available to young children. Although I have been teaching my son how to read since he was a baby, I have had little idea how to teach him mathematical concepts other than simple counting. Your book gave me the words and method with which to begin his love of mathematics and he was readily able to grasp the lesson even at age 5. Never before have I had the experience of doing math “work” with him while he was giggling and jumping around. I suspect this technique may be especially useful with young children because there is little need to sit quietly.
From my experience teaching mathematics in both high school and college, I am aware of the need to improve our students’ confidence and competence with basic mathematics. I often ran into algebra students who could not factor without a calculator and I suspect that this failure begins maybe as early as third grade when students are first learning multiplication tables.
Your concept of using body and voice while skip counting as well as the two-finger approach to reading numerical sequences, is quite intriguing. Involving so many areas of the brain simultaneously makes perfect sense to me in regard to the potential increase in mathematical achievement for a child.
Your directions are so clear and creative that any parent would be able to do these lessons with his/her child. Every child who completed even a handful of these lessons would gain in confidence and well prepare him/her for third grade mathematics. And any tool that can increase confidence and affection for mathematics cannot help but increase the pool of adult candidates for careers in mathematics.”
—Actuary and Parent
For which ages is the Multiply With Me, Learning to Multiply Can Be Fun program appropriate?
This program can be used as soon as a child can count to 144. I encourage parents of children two years old and up to read the book and begin when their child shows signs of readiness. Children as young as two or three can begin some of the activities by counting their steps and other physical movements.
Can this program be used with any child, even a sedentary girl?
All children benefit from movement. Sedentary children just need more encouragement to engage in physical activity. Because this program encourages engaging in physical activity while simultaneously strengthening your child’s math basics, it is appropriate for all children.
It is impossible to get my son to sit down and work. Can your book Multiply With Me, Learning to Multiply Can be Fun help my child?
There is no need to sit down to work with Math and Movement. The entire program can be completed while standing up or moving around. Most children (85%), like your son, are kinesthetic learners which means that they learn better by moving.
How does jumping around help my young child learn? What’s the connection between movement and learning?
Many research studies have shown that movement enhances learning. Too much sitting results in decreased circulation and a subsequent decrease in concentration, while certain kinds of movement stimulate the release of dopamine and noradrenaline in the brain, which are important in learning.
Physical fitness is like miracle-gro for the brain. Exercise stimulates the gray matter in our brains to produce a brain chemical called the brain-derived-neurotropic factor or BDNF. The extra BDNF helps new neurons (and their connections) to grow.
A new book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by Harvard MD John Ratey, argues for more physical fitness for students to improve academic performance and reduce obesity. His book summarizes some recent research, including:
California researchers found a correlation between fitness and test scores in both upper and lower-income brackets. In both groups, children who were more fit performed better academically. A professor at the University of Illinois duplicated these findings.
In Titusville, Pennsylvania, where 75% of children receive free lunches, the school day was restructured to shave 10 minutes from academics and put it into physical education. Scores went from below state average to 18% above in math and 17% above in reading.
Can you recommend other books that support the idea that movement enhances learning?
I recommend Brain-Based Learning and Enriching the Brain by Eric Jensen; also Smart Moves by Carla Hannaford and What’s Math Got to Do With It? by Jo Boaler.
What’s so important about learning to skip count? Shouldn’t we be concentrating on addition and subtraction?
Knowledge of skip counting facilitates the process of learning multiplication, division, factoring, fractions, decimals, percents, algebra, and advanced math. Addition and subtraction can be learned simultaneously with skip counting. Teaching children the ABCs helps a child learn to read in the same way that teaching children to skip count helps a child learn mathematics.
What can I do to help my child succeed in math?
Commit your time and financial resources to supplemental math training just as you do with sports or music. Fill your house with books that weave math concepts into the literature. Ask questions and create your own problems for your child to solve. Continue to develop your own math ability so that you can be your child’s private tutor. Sign up for Suzy’s Free Math Tips to receive email suggestions on how to further help your child succeed in math.
I read many books with my children. Is it necessary to also practice math?
The same benefits of reading to your child hold for practicing math at home. Your practice of math together helps your child understand the importance of developing solid math skills. Your experiences will create a lifetime “positive math” memory, catapulting your child to math success.
Should I encourage my child to memorize math facts?
Learning multiplication requires understanding. When a child comprehends multiplication, he/she can use it as a building block for learning additional math. Math becomes abstract and confusing for a child who uses rote memorization to memorize multiplication facts without understanding the meaning of multiplication. I encourage the practice of multiplication through movement and continual practice until your child has an automatic recall of the math facts. Children who do not have automatic recall with their addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts will be at a disadvantage in future math classes.
My son already hates math. How will this program help?
A child’s hatred can be transformed by including movement with learning math. If your child loves to move, then he/she will be encouraged to do so while practicing skip counting. His/her knowledge of skip counting will be used to facilitate the process of learning multiplication, division, factoring, and advanced math.
Why do I have to do this with my child? Isn’t it the school’s job to teach my child?
In school, children are taught the mechanics of how to multiply and then given a minimum amount of practice time. Children need more practice time to ensure a level of fluency in multiplication that will transfer into mathematical confidence.
The same concept is true of reading. It takes many hours for a child to become a competent reader. It is common knowledge that parents need to read to their children and have their child practice reading at home in order for a child to be successful in school. Asking a child to take Algebra without being confident in math basics is like asking a beginning reader to read War and Peace.
I have math anxiety and failed math in school. Can I still use this program with my child?
Yes. Multiply With Me, Learning to Multiply Can Be Fun is a scripted course. Just read what you are to say and how your child should answer. Minimum preparation time is required. You will feel more confident in your own math ability as you work through the program with your child.
If I have math anxiety, does it mean that my child will develop math anxiety as well?
No. Math Anxiety is a learned response. Math anxiety is defined as “the panic, helplessness, paralysis, and mental disorganization that arises among some people when they are required to solve a mathematical problem.” Tobias and Weissbrod (1980). Math anxiety develops over time in some children who feel uncomfortable with math. Math anxiety is not genetic. It will not be passed on through your genes, however, if you continually tell your child about your bad experiences with math and how he/she will most likely feel the same about math, you may be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You can help your children by monitoring their mathematical progress. Be sure that they continue to be comfortable with math. Children who are not comfortable with math in elementary school are at risk for developing math anxiety. Help your child by helping yourself overcome your feelings. Suzy’s Math Tips will also help you. These tips provide ideas on how to help your child succeed in math.
Some books to help in overcoming math anxiety include: Succeed With Math-Every Student’s Guide to Conquering Math Anxiety and Overcoming Math Anxiety by Sheila Tobias, Conquering Math Phobia by Calvin Clawson, and Fear of Math-How to Get Over It and Get On with Your Life by Claudia Zaslavsky.
We have so little time. I love your ideas and want to help my child but don’t see how I can squeeze one more activity into our already over-booked schedule.
Consider taking the Fifteen Minute Math Challenge. Commit yourself to spending fifteen minutes a day engaging in an enjoyable math-related activity with your child. Some possible activities include: reading a book that involves a math concept, solving a puzzle together, building with blocks, playing a board game (board games strengthen one-to-one correspondence), or doing jumping jacks while skip counting by threes.