Posted by CheshireKat on November 29 2010 02:19 PM
Hey mmonty, I'm Kat, welcome to the forum! Something that helped me when it came to learning times tables was to be able to see it visually. Understanding the concept of what it means to multiply across the board like that is half the battle. If your daughter doesn't understand what is actually happening (that when you multiply 3 x 4, you are creating four "groups" of 3 and counting them all up) she will never be able to really get times tables.
Try using something very tactile, like M&Ms or Skittles (which have the added benefit of also being a tasty reward for having worked hard). Write out a multiplication problem from her times tables... keeping with the example above, use 3x4. Ask her to show you what it means. If she can't, then show her. Create four groups of three pieces of candy, and show her that 3x4 basically means the number 3, four times. Have her add them up and give you the answer.
Now show her 4x3, which is the same but grouped in a different way. Being able to touch the pieces and manipulate them may help her to understand what is going on in space - that you have 12 candies both ways, they are just grouped differently. One is 4 groups of 3, the other is 3 groups of 4. She should be able to figure that out more easily with a visual and tactile representation (the candies) than just by staring at the paper. That is what helped me, anyway, and I have also used this when tutoring children about her age in the past, two of whom I suspect were dyscalculic.
Once you know that she understands what is going on, it's really just a matter of rote memorization. Let her pick out some flash cards that she likes, and set aside time in the afternoon after school or in the evening after dinner and homework to do the flashcards with her. Reward her for taking the initiative to do them herself if she does, and even if she doesn't, give her some kind of reward for successfully completing say, 10 cards. She doesn't have to go through the whole pack every night, just make sure she's doing SOMETHING with them every night, even if it's only a few cards a night. The more she sees them, the more easily she will start to memorize them. It's important that she understands what multiplication is, which is what the M&Ms above are for, but the honest truth is that times tables are mostly just memorization, which takes time.