Math - kids count on fingers!??

Everything from basic math up through high school!

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Postby hmschooling » Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:51 am

Honestly, have you memorized your math facts? I never did and still aced all my math classes all through school and college. My daugter just isn't ready to memorize all those "boring facts". Last year, at age 5, she was able to add and subtract 3 digit numbers with borrowing/carrying. She also dreads writing, she sometimes writes backwards and takes FOREVER to finish just a few simple problems. So, I let her dictate (no clues from me!) and she can do 3rd grade math or better as a 6 year old without doing the writing and without memorizing the facts.

I'd say move on! Just stay on their level, no holding back, and eventually, those skills will develop. If it were something absoulutely necessary, by all means, stay back. But, for something that can just be memorized later(not learned, he already learned to add and subtract, just can't memorize them), just do it later :o) Your child will not suffer by even never memorizing the facts. Just like my daughter won't suffer by not yet writing all her own math homework...she is 2-3 grades ahead by doing things the way we do. :)

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Postby Theodore » Tue Nov 06, 2007 10:22 am

As long as you are able to quickly compute an answer, having the answer memorized isn't important. I do think that all basic addition, subtraction, and multiplication should be memorized, since it's important for doing larger operations, but there are ways to make this more fun. Math-based board games such as Muggins, computer games such as Barnum Quartermile, etc.

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Postby scatteredpearl » Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:53 pm

Granted we are not officially home schooling but to work our way into it this is what I did.


Time limit 1 minute

1+'s Earn a Bowl
2+'s Earn a Spoon
3+'s Earn a Banana
4+'s Earn a Scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream
5+'s Earn a Scoop of Chocolate Ice Cream
6+'s Earn Scoop of Strawberry Ice Cream
7+'s Earn Chocolate Syrup
8+'s Earn Redi Whip
9+'s Earn Sprinkles

He had to complete all the basic facts in the 1 minute time limit in order to "earn" and after he "earned" them all we had a Banana Split Party.

We'll do the same thing for subtraction and multiplication. We may change the time though. The thing is he knows his facts, just remembering them quickly is what this will do.

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Nobody Asked Me, But ....

Postby gdwarner » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:05 am


Had to chime in on this old thread.

I would suggest that if your child is counting on his/her fingers, why not teach them the right way to count on their fingers?

Here is a link to the book "The Complete Book of Fingermath," by Edwin M. Lieberthal.

Basically, this method teaches the reader how to use his or her fingers to add, subtract, multiply, and divide -- faster than with a calculator, in some instances.

The right hand represents the ones, with the thumb representing five.

The left hand represents the tens, and the thumb represents 50.

Numbers are represented by placing various fingers flat on the table. For instance, to represent 14, you would place the left forefinger and all of the right fingers on the table (no thumbs, now ...!). Pressing all 10 digits on the table give you 99 (the left thumb is 50, the four fingers represent 40, and all the fingers on the right hand represent 9.

Alas, I never got too far beyond basic addition before I managed to misplace (forever, unfortunately) my copy of the book ... but if your kids are going to count on their fingers anyway, they should do it this way!

Here's a 5 year old doing some rather heavy math -- including adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.

Good luck ......


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Making math fun is important at any age

Postby kolds » Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:37 am

A great way to teach children to memorize math in a fun way is to start the day or math class with a poem, or song reviewing one set of facts.
The article below gives a great example and this one includes movements to get the extra energy out.

Bob Hazen
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counting using fingers

Postby Bob Hazen » Sun May 04, 2008 7:01 pm

As Ted Pride said in an earlier post on this thread, I've written elsewhere about fingers. Briefly, the main reason why kids still use their fingers is because they haven't had enough practice and experience with counting, counting, counting - which includes adding and multiplying. One way to get them to count more is to have them listen to Skip Count songs. These songs get stuck in their heads and they do lots of counting when they don't even realize it. Young children use fingers because they also haven't counted enough, and older kids use fingers for the same reason - they haven't counted enough and come to the confidence or the conclusion that shortcuts work consistently and effectively. So have kids count lots of things - and skip count lots of things too, esp. with the support of having listened to those catchy tunes on the skip count song CD's.

Bob Hazen

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Postby kennys_mommy » Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:35 am

Well, I'm not too worried about Kenny using his fingers to add on.. look, I'm almost 43 and I have to use my fingers to add. I can do it in my head if I'm with a boss or someone and I don't want to look like an idiot, but if I'm alone - 9+5 - I whips out my fingers...

Sorry I'm no help with that one.
"I don't know how old the devil was when he rejected God's authority, but my guess it would be 15"
- Parent of a 15 year old son -

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