Alrighty, this little review (non-perked, I just found the product and liked it) is for homeschoolers and public schoolers alike. If you’ve got a kid, young or older, struggling with memorizing their times tables, this annoying program works amazingly fast. (It even works on, ahem, moms who maybe checked out in 3rd grade because those darn flashcards were so pointless and dull.)
We’ve always used Singapore Math workbooks. I love them, and really wish I’d learned math myself this way. It is really good at laying a strong foundation of understanding rather than just rote memorization. One does need some rote memorization in their lives though, and flash cards were not cutting it for us. Encouraged with the awesome results we are having with Xtramath, I went scouting around for something to help with multiplication memorization.
(Xtramath will get there, the boys are just busily working their way through passing off addition and subtraction first.)
I had the Times Tales DVD and Times Tales flip book on my wishlist at Amazon but had been previously put off by the combined price and some of the reviews. The reviews are glowing but complain about a couple of things.
Those things? Are totally valid. The DVD is narrated by a really sweet-sounding woman who might be reading a nursery rhyme to a room full of toddlers. It’s a little off-putting to me, but hasn’t bothered my children at all. The illustrations, DVD graphics, and animation are pretty dreadful, but again, no complaints from the peanut gallery.
Still. Holy crow you guys. This works and works really fast. I was a bit confused when everything first arrived. I tried using the manual and telling the stories using the flip chart. “Stories” is a bit of a stretch. Each story is really more like 1 or 2 sentences. She warns you in the manual not to try to figure it all out, so I just popped in the DVD and fired up Part 1.
If you get the DVD, you don’t have a whole lot of use for the flip chart book. It does come with the manual though, that I’m not sure you can get any other way. The manual contains some tear-out flash-cards (the paper is glossy and pretty nice), some test sheets, and some other activities like crossword puzzles and some games.
The flip book just contains the pictures of the stories and we haven’t found much use for it yet. If you’ve got bright kids who aren’t struggling with learning disabilities I’d almost say skip the book/chart all together and just get the DVD. The test sheets in the manual are pretty nice though, but you could make your own.
All four of my kids were riveted. Ages 3, 6, 8, and 10 (6 year old is on the floor in the above picture). I was surprised. My 3 year old knows all the characters and what number they stand for. He knows most of the stories. My 6 year old? Passed off Part 1 after a mere hour of learning the stories. The older boys were exclaiming, “OH! You just have to remember the stories! I GET IT!” Pretty amazing after struggling with memorizing the 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9 times tables for months and months.
It doesn’t go over the 1, 2, 5, 10, or 11 times tables since those are pretty easy. It also leaves you on your own for 12s which to me, aren’t easy at all, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
At the end of Part 1 and Part 2, it helps kids make the connection between multiplication and division. All they have to do is remember who is missing in the stories.
Pretty smart. Using mnemonics worked when I was memorizing bones and muscles in nursing and midwifery school, don’t know why I didn’t think of using the method for learning multiplication. Highly recommend!
Have you had success with flashcards? I think my little learners are quite visual like me, so this whole stories/pictures thing works really well for us.