# Times tables can only be learnt by rote

#### madh4ofwaipu

Hello,

In writing this post I sat for a long while thinking. I wiki'ed rote learning...Rote learning is a learning technique which focuses on memorization.

To start I was angry and sad and confused...and I think it is important to share that with others who are going through the learning stages of unschooling.

My original post was like this:

"Times tables can only be learnt by rote" This discussion has been lightly touched again in our little family after a large heated one.

Many people have learnt their times tables, in school, singing 1 and 1 is 2. If it works then great. I feel everyone is different and for some this method does not work. It did not work for me.

I have been told basically that is my problem (and it is) but everyone should be able to learn it by rote.

There is a feeling in my family that "you'll never be a success" if you do not know your times tables (and other things).

I feel that I am a success. Before becoming a mother I was a Landscape Designer and used Math every day all day.

I saved money enough to buy my own property (in cash) and build a garage to live in by 26yrs old.

I am also terrible at spelling and could not read until 13yrs and have anxiety, stress and depression. I suppose if anything these 'set backs' have helped me achieve. I read, read, read and read more...and day by day as I de-school I grow more and more happy.

For my children...I have looked at things like "Multiplication Rock" and other games which involve money or quick counting. (My children are only young yet so there is not too much pressure). Already my DD understands the ideas of the 2x tables through counting truck wheels and stepping stones. So through my observations I feel we are already heading down the track of self learning.

I still do not know all of my times tables but I do understand how they work. I am not saying I wouldn't like my children to learn their times tables as I do see it as a good skill for games, shopping ..life. But do they have to be fearful parrots?

I would like ask for some links or more ideas to learn 'times tables' as well as some information to be peaceful and share that you do not have to learn them by rote.

End of first post.

I am still in the stages of de-schooling and for me rote learning meant chanting and sitting down and having drills. It meant FEAR! And rote learning does not have to be.

I understand that de-schooling takes time. I am scared because of my own lacks I will fail my children.

I hope that I can share this

Thank you

Megan

In writing this post I sat for a long while thinking. I wiki'ed rote learning...Rote learning is a learning technique which focuses on memorization.

To start I was angry and sad and confused...and I think it is important to share that with others who are going through the learning stages of unschooling.

My original post was like this:

"Times tables can only be learnt by rote" This discussion has been lightly touched again in our little family after a large heated one.

Many people have learnt their times tables, in school, singing 1 and 1 is 2. If it works then great. I feel everyone is different and for some this method does not work. It did not work for me.

I have been told basically that is my problem (and it is) but everyone should be able to learn it by rote.

There is a feeling in my family that "you'll never be a success" if you do not know your times tables (and other things).

I feel that I am a success. Before becoming a mother I was a Landscape Designer and used Math every day all day.

I saved money enough to buy my own property (in cash) and build a garage to live in by 26yrs old.

I am also terrible at spelling and could not read until 13yrs and have anxiety, stress and depression. I suppose if anything these 'set backs' have helped me achieve. I read, read, read and read more...and day by day as I de-school I grow more and more happy.

For my children...I have looked at things like "Multiplication Rock" and other games which involve money or quick counting. (My children are only young yet so there is not too much pressure). Already my DD understands the ideas of the 2x tables through counting truck wheels and stepping stones. So through my observations I feel we are already heading down the track of self learning.

I still do not know all of my times tables but I do understand how they work. I am not saying I wouldn't like my children to learn their times tables as I do see it as a good skill for games, shopping ..life. But do they have to be fearful parrots?

I would like ask for some links or more ideas to learn 'times tables' as well as some information to be peaceful and share that you do not have to learn them by rote.

End of first post.

I am still in the stages of de-schooling and for me rote learning meant chanting and sitting down and having drills. It meant FEAR! And rote learning does not have to be.

I understand that de-schooling takes time. I am scared because of my own lacks I will fail my children.

I hope that I can share this

Thank you

Megan

#### Sandra Dodd

-=-To start I was angry and sad and confused...and I think it is important to share that with others who are going through the learning stages of unschooling.-=-

Angry at us? Angry at rote learning?

What is important to share?

-=-I have been told basically that is my problem (and it is) but everyone should be able to learn it by rote.-=-

Don't believe everything someone tells you.

-=-There is a feeling in my family that "you'll never be a success" if you do not know your times tables (and other things).-=-

Don't base your life or your self image on feelings in your family. Lots of people feel and say LOTS of things. You should disregard every bit of it that doesn't make sense.

-=-I still do not know all of my times tables but I do understand how they work. I am not saying I wouldn't like my children to learn their times tables as I do see it as a good skill for games, shopping ..life. But do they have to be fearful parrots?-=-

They don't need to be parrots.

They don't need to be fearful.

http://sandradodd.com/timestables

You should not be fearful, either.

Sandra

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Angry at us? Angry at rote learning?

What is important to share?

-=-I have been told basically that is my problem (and it is) but everyone should be able to learn it by rote.-=-

Don't believe everything someone tells you.

-=-There is a feeling in my family that "you'll never be a success" if you do not know your times tables (and other things).-=-

Don't base your life or your self image on feelings in your family. Lots of people feel and say LOTS of things. You should disregard every bit of it that doesn't make sense.

-=-I still do not know all of my times tables but I do understand how they work. I am not saying I wouldn't like my children to learn their times tables as I do see it as a good skill for games, shopping ..life. But do they have to be fearful parrots?-=-

They don't need to be parrots.

They don't need to be fearful.

http://sandradodd.com/timestables

You should not be fearful, either.

Sandra

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

#### Jenny Cyphers

***I still do not know all of my times tables but I do understand how they work. I am not saying I wouldn't like my children to learn their times tables as I do see it as a good skill for games, shopping ..life. But do they have to be fearful parrots?***

I learned the times table, but it took while because the concept of it didn't sink in until much later. Right before I read your post, I saw this on facebook...

It's multiplication, but completely visual. The visual pattern makes so much sense for me. It twisted my brain a little at the sheer simplicity of it and the fact that it's so completely different than anything I was ever shown in school.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-P5RGdjICo%c2%a0

There are so many ways to learn something! Maybe your kids shouldn't learn the times tables, maybe some other way would be better understood. One need not understand the times tables to understand how to multiply.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

I learned the times table, but it took while because the concept of it didn't sink in until much later. Right before I read your post, I saw this on facebook...

It's multiplication, but completely visual. The visual pattern makes so much sense for me. It twisted my brain a little at the sheer simplicity of it and the fact that it's so completely different than anything I was ever shown in school.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-P5RGdjICo%c2%a0

There are so many ways to learn something! Maybe your kids shouldn't learn the times tables, maybe some other way would be better understood. One need not understand the times tables to understand how to multiply.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

#### Stephanie Schrier

That was a very interesting video! I've never seen anything like that!

In elementary school I had a math teacher who was supposed to teach us substractions by showing us the "RIGHT" method. When he noticed that no one understood he sad: "Forget everything I just explained..." and continued to show us a different method that used addition within the substraction, which we understood much better! He got in huge trouble with other teachers and the parents who claimed that EVERYONE needed to know the same method. Much later I understood why: teachers had to grate the method used, not the answer. And parents were no longer able to help their children with their homework.

I am still thankful that he had the courage to show us a different way to solve a problem. I am still amazed that he needed courage in the first place!

I am from Holland and spent two years in a Canadian high school. I failed my first math test there, because the METHOD was wrong (the answer right!). The same happend to a fellow exchange student from Germany, who had a different method as well, but different from mine.

Stephanie

Alexander (22m)

To: [email protected]

From: jenstarc4@...

Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2012 19:12:33 -0800

Subject: Re: [AlwaysLearning] Times tables can only be learnt by rote

***I still do not know all of my times tables but I do understand how they work. I am not saying I wouldn't like my children to learn their times tables as I do see it as a good skill for games, shopping ..life. But do they have to be fearful parrots?***

I learned the times table, but it took while because the concept of it didn't sink in until much later. Right before I read your post, I saw this on facebook...

It's multiplication, but completely visual. The visual pattern makes so much sense for me. It twisted my brain a little at the sheer simplicity of it and the fact that it's so completely different than anything I was ever shown in school.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-P5RGdjICo

There are so many ways to learn something! Maybe your kids shouldn't learn the times tables, maybe some other way would be better understood. One need not understand the times tables to understand how to multiply.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

In elementary school I had a math teacher who was supposed to teach us substractions by showing us the "RIGHT" method. When he noticed that no one understood he sad: "Forget everything I just explained..." and continued to show us a different method that used addition within the substraction, which we understood much better! He got in huge trouble with other teachers and the parents who claimed that EVERYONE needed to know the same method. Much later I understood why: teachers had to grate the method used, not the answer. And parents were no longer able to help their children with their homework.

I am still thankful that he had the courage to show us a different way to solve a problem. I am still amazed that he needed courage in the first place!

I am from Holland and spent two years in a Canadian high school. I failed my first math test there, because the METHOD was wrong (the answer right!). The same happend to a fellow exchange student from Germany, who had a different method as well, but different from mine.

Stephanie

Alexander (22m)

To: [email protected]

From: jenstarc4@...

Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2012 19:12:33 -0800

Subject: Re: [AlwaysLearning] Times tables can only be learnt by rote

***I still do not know all of my times tables but I do understand how they work. I am not saying I wouldn't like my children to learn their times tables as I do see it as a good skill for games, shopping ..life. But do they have to be fearful parrots?***

I learned the times table, but it took while because the concept of it didn't sink in until much later. Right before I read your post, I saw this on facebook...

It's multiplication, but completely visual. The visual pattern makes so much sense for me. It twisted my brain a little at the sheer simplicity of it and the fact that it's so completely different than anything I was ever shown in school.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-P5RGdjICo

There are so many ways to learn something! Maybe your kids shouldn't learn the times tables, maybe some other way would be better understood. One need not understand the times tables to understand how to multiply.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

#### Mary Whited

Oooooooo, thanks for sharing that video!

What beautiful sense it makes -- will share that with my math-loving 12

year old today.

Another visual math helper that we've discovered is the 'math triangle.'

According to our local 'living history museum' this was used in the 19th

century. I blogged about it last year:

http://attachlings.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/learning-new-stuff-d/

My son, the aforementioned 12 year old, told me that the 'triangle' was

interesting and helpful but what really, really made it fun to use was

watching the glee with which I attacked it as a concept.

That is the norm for my 3 children (ages 12, 8 & 5) When I get excited

about something -- when I am engrossed, engaged and inspired -- they are

THERE ready to explore with me.

That is SO MUCH better than my experience with math (or anything, really)

as a child. I remember so clearly being threatened that if I did not

memorize the times table I would get a beating. You bet I memorized it --

and would have anyway because a teacher that I liked asked me too. But to

be threatened with physical violence at home (a 'normal' part of my life)

took all the joy and fun out of it.

My children, thanks to the wise words of parents here as well as in my

'real' life, get to learn things because they intrigue, because it is fun,

and because it is how our family enjoys spending time together.

My eldest child will be quite intrigued by the method shown in the youtube

video, but they all will have fun with it when they see Mama 'geeking out'

over it. ;)

peace,

Mary

On Sat, Jan 21, 2012 at 10:12 PM, Jenny Cyphers <jenstarc4@...> wrote

What beautiful sense it makes -- will share that with my math-loving 12

year old today.

Another visual math helper that we've discovered is the 'math triangle.'

According to our local 'living history museum' this was used in the 19th

century. I blogged about it last year:

http://attachlings.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/learning-new-stuff-d/

My son, the aforementioned 12 year old, told me that the 'triangle' was

interesting and helpful but what really, really made it fun to use was

watching the glee with which I attacked it as a concept.

That is the norm for my 3 children (ages 12, 8 & 5) When I get excited

about something -- when I am engrossed, engaged and inspired -- they are

THERE ready to explore with me.

That is SO MUCH better than my experience with math (or anything, really)

as a child. I remember so clearly being threatened that if I did not

memorize the times table I would get a beating. You bet I memorized it --

and would have anyway because a teacher that I liked asked me too. But to

be threatened with physical violence at home (a 'normal' part of my life)

took all the joy and fun out of it.

My children, thanks to the wise words of parents here as well as in my

'real' life, get to learn things because they intrigue, because it is fun,

and because it is how our family enjoys spending time together.

My eldest child will be quite intrigued by the method shown in the youtube

video, but they all will have fun with it when they see Mama 'geeking out'

over it. ;)

peace,

Mary

On Sat, Jan 21, 2012 at 10:12 PM, Jenny Cyphers <jenstarc4@...> wrote

>[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

>

> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-P5RGdjICo

>

> There are so many ways to learn something! Maybe your kids shouldn't

> learn the times tables, maybe some other way would be better understood.

> One need not understand the times tables to understand how to multiply.

>

#### Bob Collier

--- In [email protected], "madh4ofwaipu" <megan2@...> wrote:

You may find Alfie Kohn's classic article "What Does It Mean To Be Well Educated?" an interesting read:

http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/welleducated.htm

Bob

>When my son was removed from school at the age of seven, I told him we would learn the times tables as soon as it became obvious that he needed to know them. That turned out to be when he was 15, almost 16, after he chose to start at vocational college and was required to take an assessment test (literacy and numeracy). Even then, we ended up spending less than a day on the topic because he had already become competent at multiplying two numbers in his head 'by osmosis' over the years and only needed to familiarise himself with the table system itself. He certainly wasn't asked to recite the times tables (or sing them) at the assessment. He would have been asked multiplication questions in the test and, if so, would probably have got them right. He top scored on both the numeracy and literacy tests. All of which suggests to me that knowing your times tables is nowhere near as important as some people would like me to believe.

>

>

> There is a feeling in my family that "you'll never be a success" if you do not know your times tables (and other things).

>

You may find Alfie Kohn's classic article "What Does It Mean To Be Well Educated?" an interesting read:

http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/welleducated.htm

Bob

#### Julie

Memorizing times tables Without understanding can Only done by rote, but what kind of goal is that?

Actual, real learning and comprehension can happen in innumerable ways, at various ages and stages of life, and for countless individual reasons.

My 6 year old James asked about division the other night. I gave him a brief explanation and 2 examples of why you might want to know how to divide up something equally (10 slices of pizza for 5 people and nine marbles split among three people). He didn't get the answers off the top of his head, but was able to talk through how he was figuring it out, used his fingers, and came up with the answers.

I don't think that him reciting a table by rote would've been nearly as interesting as a discussion about and purposes of figuring things out and solving a real world-type problem.

Julie M

James, 6

Tyler, 4

Audrey, 2

Actual, real learning and comprehension can happen in innumerable ways, at various ages and stages of life, and for countless individual reasons.

My 6 year old James asked about division the other night. I gave him a brief explanation and 2 examples of why you might want to know how to divide up something equally (10 slices of pizza for 5 people and nine marbles split among three people). He didn't get the answers off the top of his head, but was able to talk through how he was figuring it out, used his fingers, and came up with the answers.

I don't think that him reciting a table by rote would've been nearly as interesting as a discussion about and purposes of figuring things out and solving a real world-type problem.

Julie M

James, 6

Tyler, 4

Audrey, 2

>

> My original post was like this:

> "Times tables can only be learnt by rote" This discussion has been lightly touched again in our little family after a large heated one.

> Many people have learnt their times tables, in school, singing 1 and 1 is 2. If it works then great. I feel everyone is different and for some this method does not work. It did not work for me.

> I have been told basically that is my problem (and it is) but everyone should be able to learn it by rote.

>

#### Beverly

--- In [email protected], Sandra Dodd <Sandra@...> wrote:

>Perhaps to put some minds at ease...My daughter (now 18, and a freshman in college) is the one I mentioned on the pages Sandra posted the link to, who knew her 6 tables at a very early age because that was the tax on a dollar. She never really did memorize her times tables...figures out the ones she needs from ones she knows. She got an academic as well as a talent scholarship for college. She is in a professional actor training program in Ohio. Some people told me she needed to memorize her timestables and the presidents ans the states etc. bescuse she would never learn to memorize anything with out the practice. Fast forward to today...she can pick up any monolouge or script and with in MINUTES, she has it down pat. Same with vocal music etc. She needs to do this and so she does it! She started taking colleg classes right before she turned 15, taking Italian that first year. She had no problem memorizing all she had to because she WANTED to be there and did what she had to do.

> http://sandradodd.com/timestables

>

> You should not be fearful, either.

>

> Sandra

#### Caroline

To begin just a little hello everybody, for it's my first post here.

Please forgive my english cause just as my name doesn't say it, I'm a french speaker, from Montreal.

Well are time tables important to know by hart? Before I became a mother of three boys, I was studdying mathematics and computer science in university. Know what? I don't know my time tables. I never knew them and never will. Of course I know a part of it, the ones I used more probably. And if I need a result I can't remember, then I calculate! I did it so often that I saw patterns in the tables and developped tricks to do it faster. Anyways maths can't be about remembering something by hart, it's about thinking, logic and algorithms. I'm pretty sure that if in school people wern't made remembering a lot of nonsense to do maths and making real maths, I wouldn't see so many disgusted faces when I say I studied maths.

Just cooking and playing and building, I see my 7 yo boy doing and learning so much mathematics! He's getting many concepts that I would never have been able to explain if I tried. Math are everywhere, there's no way to avoid learning it!

Caro

Please forgive my english cause just as my name doesn't say it, I'm a french speaker, from Montreal.

Well are time tables important to know by hart? Before I became a mother of three boys, I was studdying mathematics and computer science in university. Know what? I don't know my time tables. I never knew them and never will. Of course I know a part of it, the ones I used more probably. And if I need a result I can't remember, then I calculate! I did it so often that I saw patterns in the tables and developped tricks to do it faster. Anyways maths can't be about remembering something by hart, it's about thinking, logic and algorithms. I'm pretty sure that if in school people wern't made remembering a lot of nonsense to do maths and making real maths, I wouldn't see so many disgusted faces when I say I studied maths.

Just cooking and playing and building, I see my 7 yo boy doing and learning so much mathematics! He's getting many concepts that I would never have been able to explain if I tried. Math are everywhere, there's no way to avoid learning it!

Caro