If you see the advantages of presenting the single digit multiplication facts on the Cartesian coordinate system of the X•Y Chart, but don’t wish to display a chart in your home, you can still use this design to help your child. The suggestions below don’t quite form an algorithm or a recipe, but if you would take the time to play with your child in this fashion, your child will start to enjoy math.
Help your child learn to count from 1 to 10 as soon as possible. Learning to count is fun, especially with mom or dad. Do this at odd times, but frequently. It could be in the car, at the table, going to bed, or when you’re just killing time. Not only will your child learn to count, but your child will see that math is natural.
When your child can handle paper and pencil and can count to 10, have him or her complete a connect-the-dots problem from the Activities Kit. Teach the over-and-up method to find the dots using the X and Y coordinates. Let this take hold by doing more in the weeks to come. Show your wonder at the fact that your child took those intimidating, lifeless coordinate pairs and turned them into pictures using the graphing system and following instructions. Don’t force this, but don’t hold them back either. I’ve done this classes of kindergarten students without a problem!
Begin skip counting. Start with twos: 2,4,6,8, 10. Continue as far as she or he can count. Switch bigger numbers. 5’s are easy. This is fun. Take turns saying the next number in sequence. Later show how those skip-counted numbers appear in the rows and columns on the X•Y Chart. Skip counting leads directly to multiplication.
Now use the X•Y Chart for multiplication. Show how finding the product of a multiplication problem is the same as finding the dots in the connect-the-dots problems. Point out how this product is the area of the rectangle and well as the result of skip-counting by second number the first number of times,
Your attitude as a parent can make a big difference in your child’s success in school. During my years of teaching algebra, I often met students who were proud to admit that they couldn’t do math or didn’t like math. They would say that they picked this up at home. The activities suggested here are not difficult and can be fun for both parent and child. What a difference this can make in your child’s future math classes!