I had a terrible time teaching JellyMan his math facts. First I tried silly songs. Then I tried bribery – “You tell me what 8×7 is, JellyMan, and I’ll give you this Hershey’s Kiss.” Then I tried flashcards. Then I added bribery to the flashcards. And then, in despair, I forced him to write each fact ten times. And I let him eat Kisses while he wrote them. Not my proudest parenting moment, let me tell you. And it was all for nothing, because he still didn’t know his math facts, and worse still, he was under the impression that math = chocolate.
Embarrassing fact: I never learned my math facts as a child. I didn’t learn them until I started drilling JellyMan!
So I bought Math-It, and I went with the timeless ”you will learn this and you will learn it right now or else” approach to teaching. Math-It is a little program designed to teach children their math facts and how to figure quickly and accurately. It’s supposed to be fun. It isn’t really, unless you’re the sort of person who thinks it’s fun to beat your own time record in anything from the 300 meter dash to how many boogers you can pick in 30 seconds. No matter, though. JellyMan knew his math facts cold inside a week, and that’s all I cared about. He could also add a page long column of six digit numbers quickly and accurately without having to count on his fingers. He could also double any number without thinking much about it and he could subtract any number from any other number without error. All this in a week! Anemone had the same success a few years later, only we were starting from scratch so it took her a normal school year to learn the material.
I bought the basic Math-It kit from the Elijah Company way back when. (They are no longer selling curriculum, but they still have a website with free homeschooling articles and inspirational home-business materials for purchase.) Basic Math-It comes with a guide book for use with Pre Math-It, Math-It, and Advanced Math-It, a booklet called “How Stevie Learned His Math” and three math fact card games called Addit, Dubblit, and Timzit. (Don’t ask about the spelling, because I just don’t know.) It also came with an audio cassette, but I don’t remember what is on it. I remember listening to it once and not particularly liking it, so I never used it again.
The above picture is of the Timzit game. The Addit and Dubblit games look much the same, so I won’t bother posting pictures of those. I have just one complaint about the materials - the little cards just don’t hold up to the abuse a couple of six and seven year olds can inflict on them. I was always having to replace cards. It would be much better if the cards were laminated. If I were going to buy this set again, I would laminate the cards myself right away.
I consider the real gem of this program to be the “How Stevie Learned His Math” booklet. It is written as if the instructor is speaking directly to a child, and it blew my little mind. So this is how my grandparents can figure so quickly in their heads! I chucked all the basic math I learned in elementary school and now I do it his way. It’s so much quicker and easier. The Guide Book is good, too – it sums up what kids “should” know by what grade up to grade 8, and serves as a quick refresher course for those of us who spaced out on math the first time around. (I’m betting there are a lot of us!) There aren’t any worksheets; if you want your child to practice on paper you’ll have to make your own. We frequently used a whiteboard.
I’ve hung onto Math-It over the years because I always planned on purchasing Advanced Math-It as a refresher course before starting algebra. I forgot, of course, and JellyMan has gone on to algebra without it, but he doesn’t seem to be suffering for it. I could go ahead and buy it and then take a Math-It vacation. I’m sure the kids would enjoy a week away from Saxon – I know I would.