Are times tables driving you and your homeschool insane?
Do you have a kid who is struggling with times tables, math facts, and all the things?
Looking for the fast and easy way to learn multiplication?
I have so been there!
I don’t remember how I managed to stumble across Times Tales, but it has been nothing short of a miracle in our homeschool.
At the risk of sounding overly dramatic (something I have been often described as), it may have saved our homeschool.
Our first year of homeschooling went really well…except for…
My daughter hated math.
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When it came time to teach math every day, it felt like a veil of darkness fell across the room.
To be truthful, I sometimes fantasized about kicking math off a cliff, dusting my hands off, and walking away.
If anything was going to derail our homeschool that year, it was math.
The problem was math facts. A huge piece fo 1st grade is being introduced to your basic subtraction and addition facts and my daughter HATED it.
I tried all kinds of games and fun ideas I found on Pinterest to spice up our curriculum.
Using play dough, candy, domino tiles, or playing cards didn’t seem to help at all. She always seem to give me this look that said, “I know what you’re doing there, mom.”
I tried switching our math curriculum (several times). I tried online math games and apps on my phone.
We took a total break from math at one point and didn’t even talk about it for a couple months.
I reached out to a friend of mine who is a public school math teacher and asked her, “I mean how important are math facts anyway? Can we just skip this and she’ll pick it up naturally as she gets older.”
I received a pained expression and firm, “No. That’s not how that works. She needs a firm foundation in math facts to build on.”
When I went to see our homeschool evaluator and explained where we were with math, he also gave me a pained expression and said:
“You should know that kids who struggle with addition and subtraction facts usually have an even harder time with multiplication.”
I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. This math fact nightmare would never end!
We entered third grade with an excitement for world geography and creative writing, but I was watching our math curriculum out of the corner of my eye.
I felt like a multiplication time bomb would go off any day.
Eventually our curriculum did hit multiplication, but I was ready for it.
I had come across a product called “Times Tales” somewhere along the way.
I paused my daughter’s math curriculum for 2 weeks and we just focused only on Times Tales (about 10-30 minutes per day).
By the end of the first, she took this multiplication test very casually while eating a sandwich and handed it to me like it was no big deal:
I tried to mirror her very casual attitude, but inside I was exploding!
There had been no tears! No struggle! No fight!
She did Part 2 the following week, and again casually handed me her text like it was no big deal:
Times Tales is a completely new and fresh approach to teaching and memorizing times tables.
The child watches a short 30 minute movie that has several very short stories in it.
The child is encouraged to remember the story in order and that the math fact answer is “hidden” in the story.
For example, one story has Mrs. Week (looks like the number 7) and Mrs. Snowman (looks like an 8) driving in a car together.
They drive over the 55 mph speed limit – so they are going 56 mph.
That’s the whole story they have to remember.
Later the child is asked to retell the story verbally to ensure they remembered it correctly.
Later in the video they are quizzed on this knowledge and then it is revealed that they knew the answer to the multiplication problem hidden inside the story!
We do not allow our kids to watch a whole lot of TV, so when I do turn on something, it is definitely going to grab my kids’ attention.
The format is cartoon based and has a narrator’s voice telling the stories.
I wouldn’t say that it was amazing animation by any means, but it was much more engaging that it would have been to have an adult speaking in a classroom format.
There are several parts of the DVD where the student is prompted to fill in missing parts of a story, retell the story, or answer a multiplication fact.
I thought that was a great method to keep kids engaged and retaining what they’re hearing.
Several times the student is prompted with a friendly voice to go back and rewatch the stories if they couldn’t answer certain questions.
As I have greatly struggled to teach math facts over the years, I have found that so many methods out there require the teacher to be heavily involved in planning, setting up games, drilling kids, etc.
Times Tales required me to push play on a DVD. That was pretty much it.
I did choose to sit with my daughter, so that I could learn the stories too. I wanted to be able to prompt her with details of a story if she needed help.
After the first video day, I just handed her one worksheet per day from the printable CD. It would take her maybe 5 minutes to complete.
It was nice to have those short math days!
As I said, there was one worksheet per day to complete.
Sometimes it was a crossword puzzle, dice game, or even flashcards with the little cute number characters on them.
It was very manageable and my daughter never resisted starting or completing the work.
If you can’t take a break from your math curriculum while doing Times Tales, I would say you could add it on with little issue.
My daughter shuts down when she is timed. She just gets very anxious and can’t think.
This made the majority of math games very stressful for her.
I loved that Times Tales had a very gentle approach and none of their review work required speed.
Times Tales tells you in the DVD to take things slow.
Watch the first DVD and take an entire week to review before you watch the second DVD.
Let all the new information settle in before adding any more on top of it.
I love that Times Tales provided this structure and gave the parent permission to take it slow and relax.
My 2 younger kids are kindergarten and preschool aged. They wanted to watch the Times Tales DVDs too and I noticed they were memorizing the stories already!
I love that they are already setting the ground work for making times tables even easier for them to grasp when we get to that point.
A lot of the quality apps and computer games for reviewing math facts online had monthly or yearly costs that were more than what the entire Times Tales program cost.
I paid roughly $20 for my Times Tales DVD and I would have easily paid over $100 for the results I received.
Multiplication fact memorization with no tears is nearly priceless to me!
When you have multiple kids to homeschool, it is always nice to buy curriculum that can be recycled to younger kids some day.
All I have to do is push play on the DVD and print out fresh worksheets from the included printable CD when the time comes for my younger kids.
I didn’t realize when I bought Times Tales, but division is included!
At the end of the video, the cartoon shows how simple division is: All you have to do is look at the numbers and see which “character”(or number) is missing from the story.
For example, one of the stories is that the 6th grade class played musical chairs (chair looks like a 4) for 24 hours.
The multiplication fact is 6 x 4 = 24.
Well, after that is mastered, the child is shown a division problem of 24 divided by 6=?
The child is encouraged to remember the story with 24 and 6 and think about which character is missing from the story (the chair that looks like a 4) in order to complete the division problem.
I think it is brilliant and I can’t wait to use that method when we get to that stage of our math curriculum!
Probably the most important thing on this list would be that the program works!
My daughter learned the multiplication facts in 2 weeks and it was a breeze. She also retained the facts and continues to do well during our weekly math fact review times.
If you also have a kid who struggles with math, you know how amazing and exciting that is!
I know I just gave you a lot of glowing praise, but there are some things I didn’t love about Times Tales.
In order for this review to be really helpful to you, I want to make sure you know everything before diving in.
I knew this going in, but I was still kind of irritated about it.
The Times Tales program states that is meant to help you with the most difficult multiplication problems to remember.
The 2 times tables are not included and some of the 3 and 4 times tables are also not included.
My daughter has been able to pick those up with skip counting and it hasn’t been much of a problem.
The 5s, 10s, 11s, and 12s times table facts are also not included.
The 10 and 11 facts are pretty simple and my daughter has had no problem with those. She already knows how to skip count by 5s, so that hasn’t been an issue for her either.
Blessedly, she isn’t expected to learn the 12 fact table until 4th grade.
I actually reached out to Times Tales and asked if they had another miracle product I could buy for the 12 multiplication facts. They responded quickly and politely to tell me they don’t cover the 12 times tables.
I love the Times Tales method and I wish they would produce another product that covered these areas.
As I said earlier, I love that speed is not encouraged…but that also means that my daughter is not lightning fast with her multiplication facts.
We have continued reviewing multiplication every week in order to keep them fresh, but she has about a 2-5 second delay on answering some of the problems, depending on which one it is.
I think that’s because she’s searching her mind for the story that goes along with the fact.
This is not a huge deal to me, because I think speed will come with time. And also she’s not crying while reviewing the math facts – so that’s a huge win for me.
I want to go over one more time exactly how the program works and what I bought.
Times Tales offers a lot of different products and bundles, so I wanted to be clear what I bought.
I bought “Times Tales DVD – Memorize the Upper Times Tables Fast!” for 21.95 (at the time of this post). It comes with a DVD and a CD of printable worksheets.
You can quickly find this on the Time Tales website by going to the All Product tab and selecting “3-6 Grade.”
Part 1 introduces the student to the number characters: Butterfly (3), Chair (4), the 6th Grade Class (6), Mrs. Week (7), Mrs. Snowman (8), and Tree House (9).
My student started to stress out a little that she would not remember all these characters and stories, but I urged her to just calm down and enjoy the cartoon.
No pressure at all.
Once the stories are over, the student is prompted to retell each story in order. The order is greatly stressed.
If you child cannot remember a story, they are gently prompted to go back and watch it again.
From there, the child is shown a multiplication question on the screen, but the numbers are actually the characters from the story.
For example, 8 x 4 will look like Mrs. Snowman and a chair with a multiplication symbol between them.
The student is asked to retell the story and add the missing numbers from the story.
My daughter actually gasped when she realized she knew the answer!
Once the student masters the multiplication facts with the cartoons, the characters are taken away and the same multiplication facts are asked with plain numbers.
This is shown in kind of a game show format to keep the kid engaged and a bit excited that they actually know the answer.
Times Tales instructs you to take a full week to just review the Part 1 facts that have ben learned.
I did one brief worksheet a day and that seemed to be fine.
There is a Part 2 on the same DVD. On the second week you will just repeat the process with the new facts.
Unlike many curriculums, you can actually try Times Tales for free!
Their website has a 15 minute free download with the 9×6, 9×7, 9×8, and 9×9 facts.
This is a great opportunity to show the video to your kid and see what they think BEFORE you buy it.
I showed it to my kid and she got really excited to see how easily she could learn these harder facts. It definitely made it easier to introduce the whole DVD when it came in the mail.
To try it out, just click the Times Tales image below, scroll to the bottom of the page, and select “9 Times Tables- TIMES TALES FREE SAMPLE DOWNLOAD”
When I was in 3rd grade, I remember learning the times tables by old fashioned memorization.
A method I have come to learn is rather unaffectionately referred to as “drill and kill.”
I love that I did not have to go through that with my 3rd grader! I would say we actually had fun doing it!
If you are on the fence, please scroll up and check out that free download. Your kid will be so thankful you did!
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