I loved math as a kid, but thanks to my wife’s diligent homeschooling, my kids are way ahead of where I was. I didn’t start learning the multiplication tables until I was 9; my 7-year-old already knows multiplication and division by heart. This success has a lot to do with a great program called Math Fact Scholars. My own contribution is a script for generating math practice sheets, which my wife has found very useful.
The greatest obstacle to math success is fear bred by unfamiliarity. Most people are perfectly capable of being good at math, but when we act afraid of math, when we apologize to kids or try to over-simplify it—minimizing kids’ work and maximizing that of the teacher—we ultimately teach children to be afraid as well. It’s this lack of confidence that causes so many kids to shy away from math. They convince themselves beforehand that they are not good at it and that they cannot really succeed. This leads to them putting forth less effort, and to the teacher requesting less and less.
Math Fact Scholars works so effectively because it uses the tried-and-true method of repeated practice rather than trying to over-simplify. It provides workbooks that go through every number + 1, then +2, and so on up to 12. Then it goes through subtraction, multiplication, and division. The pages not only enforce thorough practice, they also teach mental strategies for doing the problems faster.
Once a week the kids gather and take tests, which they must complete within a short amount of time. They keep retaking a test until they pass it. All of this practice eventually yields fruit. They become experts at arithmetic at a pace that suits their own individual strengths and needs.
CatholicFamily.Fun’s Math Practice Generator complements this process by allowing us to generate printable math worksheets on the problems that stump our kids the most. It is highly customizable, allowing you to precisely tailor what kind of problems should appear. At the same time, it randomizes the problems and even avoids putting two of the same or similar problem side-by-side or above-and-below one another.
You can try it out here. Alternatively, you can download the script at GitHub and use it offline on your own computer. It requires nothing other than a modern browser (preferably Firefox) and a working printer. Let us know in the comments if you find it useful. 😀
Special thanks to Dr. Drang, whose code inspired this generator.