## Monday, August 6, 2012

Phew!  Two math products to review in just a few weeks!  However, this one is a little different because instead of delving into fractions and pre-algebra concepts, it focuses on something a little more basic:  mastering multiplication facts.  Don't be fooled.  Just because my sons are entering 5th and 7th grade this school year doesn't mean they don't still use their fingers or go through an entire song in their head before telling me what 9x8 is.  And that means that they never memorized them.  Boy, are we in trouble.

Even though "Multiplication Teaching and Learning Made Easy" is geared for grades 1-6 and even though most of the exercises looked a bit juvenile for their liking, I've still made them sit down and go through the program.  I don't make them color every worksheet (and there are alot of coloring sheets with clowns and kitties and bunnies that made my sons look at me like "Whaa?").  But there is still some quality material here that I think is worth some merit.

For instance, I love the way the author teaches the simple things first.  The Zeroes.  The Ones.  The Tens.  The Elevens.  And then she shows you that if you look at a multiplication fact chart (1x1 through 12x12) and cross off all the 0,1,10 and 11 facts and then cross out all the duplicate problems (keep 2x4, nix 4x2, etc.), that you only have 36 problems remaining to memorize!  Split that up into 6 weeks and you only have to memorize 6 facts per week!  That is more than doable!

There is a pre-test to give on day one, a post-test to give on day 36 and plenty of resources packed in the back.  There are perforated flashcards, a "Chutes & Ladders"-style math game, a spinner-type study tool, and a game where you build a Native American Indian's headdress by adding feathers that match the math facts.

I'll admit, at my first glance of the cover (rainbows and balloons), the copyright date (1989) and the interior pages (remnants of a coloring book from my childhood--and I'm kinda old), I was turned off by this product.  However, I like the way the author has broken it all down into manageable lessons.  And judging from my sons' current method of multiplying, the teaching tool NEEDS to be simple like this to work.

The only other negative that I would point out is the price.  I'm not quite sure the collection of worksheets is worthy of a \$24.95 price tag.  The copies of the pages don't seem as clean and crisp as other products on the market, it has a comb binding, and honestly, there are many pages that in my opinion, would not be utilized with children in the older range of the age bracket (especially boys) just for sheer lack of interest.  So I'm not sure the value warrants the price.  There are some parents who may feel this is completely reasonable and have no problem with the cost.

So my final word on Math Made Easy is that it could use an updated look to appeal to today's children and it might consider a \$19.95 price point.  But the heart of this program is quite good.