Family · Homeschooling

Drill Time

triangle-math-card.jpgWhen we first began homeschooling I discovered that if I put information on a flash card of sorts, the kids memorized the information better. This was true for math facts, obviously, but also for vocabulary work, some history and science information, and most recently, forms of the verb “be” along with the helping verb list. In addition to math facts for Maggie I use cards for various sight words I discovered in a list in this (very helpful if you don’t know what you’re doing) book.

At first I would try to begin Math with a drill. I would begin English with the vocab drill. And so on. Well, if the kids were working at different paces, the drill would just get dropped. So the last two years we have incorporated about 15-20 minutes a day we call “drill time”. During drill time we all do ALL of the drill subjects together. Maggie’s cards are separate, but she still answers her card in turn.

In order to make life a little more exciting, the boys came up with a fun way to do drill time. If they give the proper answer for the card, they run and tag the front door and run back. They do this relay style and slap hands with the next “answerer” in line. This is good for our family because after twenty minutes of running back and forth, a little bit of that pent up-winter energy is spent. Warning: this isn’t necessarily the safest activity….especially if the kids are in sock-feet on a hard wood floor. We do have wipe outs periodically, but nothing that has kept them from getting up and going again.

Side Note: I love triangle flash cards for math (one set for addition and subtraction; one set for multiplication and division) because it helps them learn the number families. You cover the top number for addition, one of the bottom corners for subtraction (same approach for multiplication and division). I also like that I only have two sets of cards for all four types of facts.

How do you get your kids to memorize information? I’d love some fresh ideas!


12 thoughts on “Drill Time

  1. I love triange flashcards! They just make sense!

    When my students were learning their multiplication tables, we did an ice cream motivational thing. They had to learn specific number sets – like the 0s and then they got a bowl, 1s – 1 scoop of ice cream, 2s 2 more scoops, 3s choc. sauce, etc. It made for a fun party at the end of the multiplication unit. We had pictures of all the things and the kids would cut out whatever they had earned that week. If you’d like master copies, I have them in the garage in my 3rd grade math stuff. 🙂 Make sense…..probably not. Just email me if you are interested

  2. I just put together a game for my dd using colored squares that I wrote sight words on. I laid them out on the floor making a rectangular grid. For each row, she had to announce the word she knew and then jump on it. When she got to the end, she got a treat. It would work well for vocabulary, presidents, math answers, and states and capitals. We call it The Jumping Game. And it was a good way to use up some fading construction paper we had around. Kind of like flash cards, but with exercise.

  3. I never saw triangle flashcards. Love that. I’ll have to remember that for when we’re ready.

  4. Suzanne, I am totally going to use your idea when maggs gets ready to learn the multiplication tables. That won’t be for another year, I think.
    Courtney, that is a fantastic idea. I love incorporating physical exercise, especially on days when they can’t get outside to play. thanks.

  5. I’ve done the ice cream thing before and the kids love it! I also put a lot of things to music. I have a song for the multiples of 6 and 7, linking verbs, range/median/mode, conversions, and even for the parts of a heart. Now granted, by the end, they all start sounding the same, but it helps the kids learn it. Actually the linking verb song I learned in 8th grade and still remember it!

  6. So I don’t have anything to add… but as a mom gearing up for her first year of homeschooling I am loving these posts and all the ideas!

  7. Oh Laurie, I am loving your home schooling posts. I wish you were closer and you could teach my kiddos and I would take pics of your kiddos. HEE HEE. I love the triangle flash card idea. Never heard of that before.

  8. I’ve never seen triangle flashcards, either. Will hafta look into them.

    Music and memorization, of course, have gone well together for centuries, which is how long I feel I’ve been at this. So why haven’t I heard of triangle flashcards.

    We made up a game board that served for review of many subjects. YOu lay open (as flat as possilbe) a file folder–we used dark blue. Then take sticky dots and make a “path” like in CandyLand. Coins or borrowed game pieces work as “men” . Make 2 stacks of index cards. One will be subject-specific (eg. geography). A second stack will have a number printed on each card (1-5 or whatever) plus “go back 3”, “Lose a turn,” etc. Child takes one of each card on his/her turn, so her turn might go like this, “4” on one card, and the question “Name the largest continent on earth” is on the other. First one to the end wins. Sorry, I should have posted this looooooooooooong comment instead.

  9. Well, I thought of something to add. My middle daughter has difficulty with learning math facts. For her, triangles weren’t very helpful. Presently, we recently found out from a friend about a thing called ‘wrap-up”. It combines learning math facts with working a string around a ‘key’ shaped object with numbers on one side and answers on the other. There is a key for each set: one for 1’s, one for 2’s, one for 3’s, etc. So the answers are only for that set. I hope it works, because presently, she counts most answers out(i.e. 7×8)! I think there is some progress, but it is too early to tell. Hope this helps someone! I found it in a teacher resource store.

    I was curious about the musical multiplication answer from Kristin. I was wondering where you find something like that.
    Especially in case the wrap-up isn’t as helpful as I’m hoping.

  10. Its really not that great as I am not a musical genius. We do the multiples of 6 to the tune of the military “Sound Off” chant. We go from 6 to 60. Then we do the multiples of 7 to the tune of Row Row Row Your Boat. We do the 8’s to the tune of “This Old Man.” You have to be creative to get all the syllabes to matching notes. I figured it out in the car once because my kids had such a hard time with it.

  11. I teach reading and have been trying to find the words to Helping Verb song that I learned in elementary school about 30 years ago. It was sung to the tune of the Alphabet Song and went like this:
    “Be, am, is , are, was, were, been,
    may, can, might, must, should, would, could,
    shall, will, do, did, have, has had…
    these are the helping verbs my lad”

    That was the first verse, but there was a second vere for linking verbs. Does anybody know it? I would love to put the rest of the pieces together for this.


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