I am honored to introduce to you MultiplicationNation.com. This is an online learning tool that supports kids as they learn their multiplication tables and yes, it was developed by my dear friend, Alex.
If you are looking for a way to empower your kids and engage them in the learning process (without sitting down and forcing them to practice their flashcards and nagging and fighting and…because we know that doesn’t work and also fractures your relationship,) I suggest you check this out!
Don’t just take my word for it. Alex was kind enough to write a bit about his inspiration for creating this tool (see below) and if you go to the website, you can see his credentials! WOW!
Or if you’ve heard enough and you are ready to get started –
Visit www.MultiplicationNation.com, and use coupon code VICKI30 to receive a 30% discount today!
Rethinking My Thinking,
What happens when one of the country’s top teachers fails as a parent
Guest post by Alex Kajitani
I’d been a successful, award-winning math teacher for 10 years—lauded for my innovative approach, I’d even been featured on the national news. So when it came time for our daughter to learn her times tables, all I could think was: I got this.
My daughter was going to be the one who could recite any math fact on demand. No way my daughter would be the kid struggling in class, or sitting in the back avoiding being called on.
We sat down at the kitchen table. I gave her my best “here’s what-made-me-the-Teacher-of-the-Year and has worked for so many kids before you” lecture. Ten minutes in, I looked up from my own brilliance and saw my daughter. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. Then she yelled, “I don’t understand this!” and stormed out of the room.
And there I sat. In silence. With all my fancy teaching awards and clever math knowledge—and an empty chair beside me. My wife, who had observed from the other room, just gave me that look. What a disaster.
It turns out that what makes you a Teacher of the Year at school doesn’t even earn you “Parent of the Afternoon” at the kitchen table. I knew, in that moment, that this was testing my parenting skills along with my teaching abilities.
As Vicki Hoefle teaches us in her book Duct Tape Parenting, “If you’re not willing to rethink your thinking, then it won’t matter how many strategies you employ.”
It was clearly time to rethink my thinking. Instead of envisioning my daughter as an ideal student who would absorb information on demand, I needed to see her as the complex human being she is. Smart, clever and open to learning, yet vulnerable and intimidated, especially when it comes to new skills.
I forced myself to come up with creative ways to explain the times tables to her, to help her memorize and retain them. Drawing on her ability to learn through music, movement, a few bad jokes and, yes, rote memorization at times, I worked with her just a little bit each evening. Her tears were eventually replaced with smiles (and only a few eye rolls). She mastered her times tables in an engaging way, at a pace she felt comfortable with. Whew.
The biggest epiphany I had from this experience was this: If I, an experienced math teacher, was struggling with helping my own child master her times tables, then this was something parents were struggling with at kitchen tables everywhere.
My mission became clear. I wanted to create something that would help EVERY kid master their times tables, and help EVERY parent avoid the tear-stained disaster I’d experienced. I knew the methods that I used to help my daughter should be accessible for any parent, anywhere.
Mastering the times tables in math is like learning to read in language arts—it’s the foundational skill that makes all the difference. Kids who know their times tables have a much greater chance of succeeding in math going forward; kids who don’t know them, continue to struggle. I’d seen this in my own students, and I decided it was my new job to help as many students as possible gain this crucial skill—without the stress.
So, I created MultiplicationNation.com, the first-of-its-kind, interactive, online times table teaching program. I searched far and wide for the best technology platform available to allow me to teach other kids their times tables just as I taught my daughter, from any device, anywhere, and actually have fun doing it.
I’ve watched my daughter become more confident in math now that she knows her times tables, and I see that confidence transferring to other parts of her life as well. I’m now committed to partnering with other parents and teachers, through MultiplicationNation.com, to help all kids gain confidence in math, and in life. (And I really do mean all kids—for every ten memberships purchased, we donate one to a student in need.)
As parents, we never know what situation will leave us, or our children, in tears. But I do know that sometimes we all need a little help. And, as Vicki says, sometimes we just need to be willing to rethink our thinking.
To help your child master their times tables, visit www.MultiplicationNation.com, and use coupon code VICKI30 to receive a 30% discount.
Alex Kajitani is the 2009 California Teacher of the Year, Top-4 Finalist for National Teacher of the Year, and a nationally renowned speaker, and author. He is still striving to be named “Parent of the Afternoon.”