Monday, October 12, 2009

October 12th True Confessions

I have a dark secret.

I do not have a memory for numbers. At all. In the 3rd grade we were required to memorize the multiplication table starting from the lower numbers and working our way up. It took me so long to complete the task of committing each to memory that the assignment ended before I was past 5x! I was so discouraged and ashamed that I never did finish. Instead, I developed a math phobia, though fortunately certain multiplication facts somehow did stick with me over the years of math that followed (for example: 6x6=36 and 9x9=81).

Still, in high school and college math classes, I depended on my calculator to make up for my basic math deficits. And it did. Until now. Now I don't get a calculator, and honestly, it freaks me out.

It is ironic that in my journey to grad school, the thing I am studying the most is third grade material. It is diminishing to my self-esteem, and I find myself regretful that I am "wasting" time now patching up things I let slip in the past. But this is a timed test, and seconds count. I need to be able to do the basic math almost without thinking so I can do the more complex math without hesitation.

If anyone has any tips for memorizing 5+ in the multiplication table, I am interested. My neice reminded me yesterday that I can use my hands to do 9x every interger through 10. I plan to memorize the 9x, but this is a good tool for double-checking my work so I can practice, say, while sitting in traffic. It also will make it easier for me to double-check my calculations during the test.

Any other ideas?


  1. I had a math pobia for many years as well. Memories of Sister Pauline walking the aisles with yard stick in hand, ready to swat the outstretched palms of anyone who got an answer wrong or took too long to stammer a reply. My advice - flash cards. If you learn by doing, review the flash cards while taking a walk. Also, making songs out of them helps. Good luck!

  2. Ooooo, yes, I am gonna try making my flashcards and taking them on a walk! Good idea.

    I memorize everything with songs too :-).

    Thanks for the ideas!