Teaching Multiplication? This might help.

Recently we, meaning my kiddos and I, had the opportunity to try out Table Fables. It is this adorable website that helps kids learn their multiplication tables. I'll put it out first thing; we did receive a free trial for my honest feedback, that being said we honestly did love it!

Apparently as of January 2016 the UK government announced every child needed to have the times tables up to 12 memorized by the end of primary school, hence the creation of this fun website. I will fully admit to being blissfully unaware of this in my American homeschool life.

Table Fables is designed so that children will have fun with learning their multiplication tables and believes "no child should be left behind." They use inspired learning to teach multiplication in a funny way, with hilarious characters and silly stories.

Let's start with the stories. I love teaching through stories, it is what drew me to the Waldorf philosophy of teaching. These stories are not waldorf-esque but they are wonderful none-the-less. Think total kid humor! The first day we signed on the giggling was infectious and we were rolling with laughter by the time we got through the first series of videos. Through all the silliness there were true lessons being taught. My favorite is the number one, who is a candy cane that gets eaten by everyone else. The getting eaten is silly and makes the kids laugh every time, but the lesson is amazing when multiplying number one he "gets eaten" and becomes the other number. The other stories are just as fun with hidden gems of learning under all the silly.

The characters in the stories have become part of our everyday conversation. The kids draw pictures of them and use the adorable accents when talking about different numbers. Anything that gets my kiddos playing and thinking about multiplication is wonderful.

On a more serious note, all my kiddos used this site. My 12 and 11 year old enjoyed it just as much as my 8 year old twins. For the older kids it was a fun review of their tables, but for the twins it was the first time they would be doing some of the tables. They were pretty solid on 2, 5, and 10 but hadn't really done anything with the other tables.

The program starts with a introduction to the number characters. the videos explain how to use the site, but if its still confusing you can set up a tutoring session. I sat next to the twins while they watched the videos and did the daily lessons, and had to use our cuisenaire rods when the worked on division, but other than that I was totally hands off. At times I wondered if they were really learning or just getting through the lesson, but that was probably just my hyperactive mom brain on the worry cycle, because after 17 days I could randomly ask the twins any multiplication problem and they would know the answer most of the time.

The site comes with challenges that if completed the kiddos can earn money and prizes. You read that right money. I was honestly not thrilled about this because I really try to instill intrinsic motivational factors in the kiddos, but I went with it to see how it would turn out. Turns out my kiddos stuck with it straight for 17 days (the length of the challenge) but then backed off after the challenge was over. There are always new challenges to start but I think they just needed a break. Being unschooled homeschoolers this fits their regular pattern of learning. So turns out the prize did motivate them, not in a bad way just a different way than I am used to.

The only slightly negative thing I will say is at the end of the challenge they will need to complete a 50 question quiz. Once they get them all right they complete the challenge. They have as many times as they would like to try, so no real pressure, but to kids who aren't used to tests and quizzes this caused a little anxiety, especially when they accidently hit an extra number when typing in their answer. But again that is typical for my homeschool kiddos.

Overall, we really enjoyed this site and everything it has taught the kids. it covers multiplication, division, time, addition and subtraction, and in the future fractions. You can try the site out with a free 7 day trial. I'd recommend seeing if it would work for your family' www.tablefables.net

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