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Multiplication Board

Multiplication tables were one of our greatest problems in maths. Last year somehow I made him write the tables.

But this year it is problems and also division.If I had not found this post on Tiffany’s Child’s play I dont know what I would have done. With the help of this board and with the help of the patterns I was able to reach his brain at last. Even I dont know the tables correctly. So it is a great relief to see him do it nicely.

I think the basic thing to do easy maths is to learn the tables. Addition tables, multiplication tables and division tables. That is what always keeps me behind.

Siva preparing for his Maths exams.


Black out !

Exams are going on in full swing and both of us are exhausted. Today Ruby has Hindi exam. Saturday , that is three days before we had written all the question answers, meanings and opposites.

Even though he couldn’t remember some of them I should say I was happy with what he did. I marveled how nicely he is writing with minimum spelling mistakes.

After that we tried to learn the difficult ones. We  made a chart and stuck it on the wall.

I was relaxed. We just needed to brush up the note and text.

And yesterday when we sat down to revise, slowly I realised with horror that he doesn’t remember a single word or qn answer or even how to write the alphabets.

He is blank !

His connection with the note and text has been erased. I could feel the emptiness.

With only 2 or 3 hours in hand I didn’t know what could be done. I abruptly stopped the revision. There is no point in going forward. It will only confuse him further.

What will I do if this happen ? Or what will I need to reconnect to my memory ? That was my question. Then I realised the biggest aid will be a visual stimulus supported by an auditory stimulus.

As students , we have tried this while preparing for our physiotherapy exams. Two or three hours before the exam we will all gather and  some body in the group will read out the important points .

If some one has not prepared a certain portion we will briefly explain the points as small chunks for short term memory,  so that the qn. doesn’t have to be left unanswered. ( STM can store the maximum of 7 chunks for a single point , after that the ability to retrieve decreases ).

Every body is to listen keenly and concentrate on the sound. Each of us  will take turns and thus for each topic we will have a different sound memory.

When it comes to remembering, I think sound stimulus is more powerful than the visual memory of printed papers. Especially if what is in the paper doesn’t make much sense.

So instead of asking Ruby to write the  answer I showed him his books , page by page and read it to him loudly and in a relaxed way with emphasis to areas that were difficult to him. Then I send him to sleep. In the morning also I did the same thing.

Now he has gone to school. Whether he will remember them or not , or will he write them all upside down I don’t know. And he may not realise it.  I can see the blankness in his eyes.

Any of these can happen . And I think that is the most frustrating problem with dyslexia.

I wish him ‘ clair voyance ‘ ( clear vision ) !, let him find the correct orientation of letters. And then he will be able to write and complete the exam.

You should write, my dear. Other wise they would never know !

When Siva has to write about something he will write about it so personally that it may not at all connected to the main subject in one glance.

I am overwhelmed how widely and how vividly he relates it to his experiences . The problem is he has so many ideas he don’t know which one to put first or how to connect them. And he may come up with some thing not related to it in first sight. ( if you want to know how exactly exceptional child’s thought process goes , see this post by ” child play .)

Last week Siva had a question. What do children do for children’s day ? And his answer is ” I and my sister will play a ‘broad’ game called fairy land. ” Even I didn’t remember the fact that that they were playing it on that day with real candy and lollipops and had a great time. But that would not score marks. They are supposed to write what ever body will normally do or what they are supposed to do.

Today they have GK exams and yesterday we were preparing . I asked him to write about or say a few sentences about holidays.

He stared at me for more than ten minutes. I had to fight back my instinct to give suggestions. Good that I had some home work reading!

Then he came up with this. ” I help my mother in gardening………………..I play with my sister . ( after much prodding ) ………………… Some times…………. we have…………. ice cream.”

I was on the verge of tears . ” Is this how you enjoy your holidays ?

( ” Am I bringing them up in some jail ? “)

patience , patience . I told myself.

I told him not to take the question so personally. Just say how kids enjoy their holidays . Again staring!!!!!!!!!

Now I have almost 10-12 sentences ready in my mind.And is ready to pounce on him.

Ok , tell me what all comes to your mind when you think of  holidays ? ” Fun- ice cream – gardening———–  I go to my father’s office. ( ?????? )

Oh God. there seems to be a crack in my  sweet composure . The sensitive mom is coming up front ! How could he ? Is this how I bring them up ? Is this pathetic they celebrate their holidays ? I took it rather personally.

What about the parks, trips, beaches , games, video games ?

” oh yes ! sometimes… when my mother gives me time…… I play video games ! ” He looked at me triumphantly. with joy that he could bring up one more sentence.

But I give up. I am horrified ! What his teacher will think if she sees this ? Some thing as nasty as child labour ?

Almost one hour has gone And I gave up. He has more than 25 pages to cover and has to mug up almost every word.

I winded up  telling him this .

” For the first sentence you write what the word means. You can select any of the sentences you have learned from your old books.  Then Concentrate on the pictures that come to your mind . The next few sentences you write what all are connected to it. Think of the words that come to your mind and make a sentence with each word. ( think what all of us are supposed to do for the asked qn. Don’t think what you did. ). Close the paragraph with a common statement. I love this , or it is important or some thing like that.

I don’t know how much good this will do. Now he has gone to school and I am so much taken up by his answers. Do they really spend their holidays so dryly ? Or is it just one other trait ?

Yes ,I know he sees every thing about the holidays in his mind. But the chain of thoughts are  so never ending he doesn’t know where to break up and make a sentence.

I am stopping this post in mid way without any closing statement . Because I don’t know what has to be done . To break the ice and to help him open up. To break the chain of thoughts and to remind him that he should write more and think less. And teacher would never know he thinks  so much about it and writes so less.

You must write them down, My dear. Otherwise they would never know how  beautiful your thoughts are and how deep you think . ( my eyes are filled with tears ) You must write them down. Some how!

But How ?