Hearing your child learning their times tables takes parents back to a time when you were doing the same at school. However, in recent times there has been some debate as to how important they really are to a child’s education. That ended last year when Schools Minister Nick Gibb announced that by 2019, all children leaving primary schools in the UK will have to take a times tables test.
With times tables now set into the educational curriculum, we’ve listed some reasons why learning your times tables is important along with some helpful tips.
It helps your child to learn the basics
For children in primary school times tables are a great way of exercising the brain. They become the basis for learning how to calculate quick mental maths and problem solving, working like a road map of numbers. It perfectly sets up the basics and once learnt the knowledge should remain with them for life. For example, if a child knows that 5 x 7 = 35, they can quickly understand that 5 x 70 = 350, or 50 x 7 = 350, and so on.
Times tables helps other maths topics
Your child should know all of their times tables by the time they reach the end of year 4. These building blocks can also be transferred over to other areas of maths, even though they are often taught separately. For topics like long multiplication, division and even fractions and percentages.
It makes life easier in secondary school
Learning times tables during primary will help your child’s education in secondary school. When it comes to more complicated maths like algebra, or other subjects like physics, biology, chemistry and ICT, a strong understanding of times tables will provide a solid foundation for learning.
Practice makes perfect
Practise times tables with your son or daughter whenever you can. It is best to practice in short bursts and it can be done anywhere at home, or even when you have five minutes alone with them outside. Constant repetition is the key to success here and before they know it, the tables will be stuck in their memory.
Teach and learn using their environment
Relate the times tables to the everyday things they do or use at home. If they love football you can ask them to count the number of rows of seats along and across to find the total number. Or at the supermarket see if they can count how many cans or jars are on the shelf using the width and depth of the product. We continue to use the basics of maths throughout our entire lives both at home and at work, so the earlier your kids start, the better.
Complement how they learn in school
It’s important to understand how your child is being taught their times tables in school so you can complement that at home. If you aren’t sure of the best approach at home, ask the tutor for any tips as they will be more than happy to offer their help.
Find out what works best for your child
Not everyone learns in the same way so find out what works best for your child. You can try the traditional chanting method used in classes, putting them into a song, writing them out, or even buying special games or puzzles that make learning part and parcel of the fun they’re having.