### {Schoolhouse Review} ~ Times Tales

I am very excited about this next product. I don't usually say that, but this one was a HUGE HIT in our family and I am very happy to tell you about Times Tales from The Trigger Memory Co.

Many of you know that I have a precious child that really struggles with math. I do believe she has some form of dyslexia, and as we are getting higher into learning, I am realizing it is really affecting her math retention.

I have tried many ways to teach her multiplication, so I was a bit skeptical when this product came up on The Crew.

Times Tales starts off in a very non-threatening way, with stories. That's right, this math program is actually built completely around stories. Each number becomes a character, and the characters are set into stories.

Now you might be thinking that the stories are something like this:

"Jack has 9 marbles each in 4 bags, and so he has 36 marbles in all."

No, the stories actually don't make sense like that. These stories don't explain the way to solve the problem, instead, they teach ordered number memorization. While watching the first part, Dasher learned that 8 (Mrs. Snowman) and 4 (the Chair) worked together to get 3 buttons and 2 mittens. (Because every snowman needs buttons and mittens!) This then translates into 8 x 4 = 32.

Weird, huh? I thought so too, as I was watching it. I did not learn math this way, but I was willing to give it a shot.

We watched Part 1, which is a half hour long. There are 8 facts covered in the first part; these are not 2 x 2 but some harder facts, like 8 x 4, 4 x 6, and 7 x 3.

The student is guided through the stories in the lesson, and then quizzed at different increments to make sure they are remembering the numbers in the stories. If at any point the student begins to get confused or does not remember a story, they are to go back and watch that section again.

The second step is to print off the Part 1 Printables. There are 12 pages of worksheets to do, that once again review the stories and show the student how these stories are actually math facts. There are flashcards, a crossword puzzle (to review the stories), math worksheets, and a dice game.

I did have some problems printing the documents. I opened the pdf in Adobe Reader, and it would flatten the page, and then say that no pages had been selected. I ended up going into my Advanced options and choosing "print as image", and that worked.

As soon as we finished the lesson, Dasher really, really wanted to do the worksheet. This was where I realized we were onto something. Dasher, who has only learned her x2's and x5's up to this point, did a worksheet of all these facts and got every single one right.

I was really shocked. This was an incredible breakthrough for us. Let me tell you, having a child with a learning disability is tough. She knows she struggles and tells me at times, "My brain is broken." To see her face when she realized she had gotten these all correct, I truly almost started crying.

She was so excited she wanted to watch part 2 right away, but in the instructions we had been told to spend a week doing the worksheets and to do Part 2 in week 2.

I also decided to do a little experiment.

Nutsy is doing 3rd grade math and just beginning to do multiplication. I wanted to see if she could pick this up just as fast, so the next day she watched Part 1. And yup, you guessed it, she got the worksheet completely correct the very first time.

For the rest of that week we did the worksheets that are provided. Each day they got perfect scores on their papers.

The second week we watched Part 2, which is just like Part 1. There are 8 new stories for students to learn, this time the facts include 9 x 7, 6 x 6, and 7 x 8. And would you believe it, both girls did the worksheet and got perfect scores.

One very neat thing about the videos is that at the end of each part, it turns the question around. It asks,

"56 / 8 = who is missing?"

When that came up I stopped my girls, thinking that this was moving too fast and was going to get them confused. They looked at me and told me, "Mom, of course it is 7!"

Truly, you can tell that I was impressed.

Since we have finished the program,  I have them do a worksheet of these problems two days a week, so they don't forget. Dasher has told me she LOVES this math, and wishes they had stories for addition and subtraction. She is 15, and at the beginning thought the stories were a bit silly, but when the light dawned and she realized these silly stories were teaching her hard math facts, she fell in love with the program.

I HIGHLY recommend this math aid! I don't understand the dyslexic brain, but I do know that for years I have tried to teach multiplication to Dasher and in two weeks, we had the facts down. This does not teach the easier facts, (x2's, x 5's) but those are easily taught to students using a clock or skip counting.