As the end of the year closes in on us like the narrow end of a very pointy trapezoid, it's easy to let your thoughts slip to holidays, presents and all things calorie laden... But for those of us with younger grade school kids, some might contemplate the beginning of next year when many schools kick off their math fact programs with real enthusiasm. Now I'm not proposing stuffing stockings with multiplication flash cards, which I'm sure is barely a step above a lump of coal... But a little math prep over the holidays may be just the boost our young Euclid's need to start the new year off with some extra confidence. It's easy to lose track of how difficult memorizing the multiplication facts can be. There are strategies of course, and we all seem to rely on memory tricks for a span of time, like the ones I've highlighted in my rules for learning multiplication post. But if you need an in depth perspective, I found this article really reminded me of some of the mechanics that we went through learning these facts ourselves. We may not want to continuously assess our kids in one of nine different phases of the process (I'd be needing something special in my eggnog if I was a teacher trying to follow this particular program program rigorously with 25 or more kids, for sure), but it does highlight how complicated the learning process really looks under the hood of the sleigh, as it were. In the end, though, frequent readers know my thoughts... Keep drilling until your student has the facts down hard, cold and fast. Then, stuff them full of cookies, because math is hard work, and nothing says "Good Job!" like something with frosting and sprinkles. Here are some links to some multiplication worksheets to get you started... Multiplication WorksheetsFact Family (Mixed Multiplication and Division) Worksheets Finally, for you clever folks out there looking for a little brain exercise to work off those Hershey's Kisses that I think were supposed to be kitchen decorations in that little candy dish, but, they taunt me, oh, how they taunt me... Anyway, here's a quick 12 question quiz for your inner 8th grader to mull... Are You As Smart as an 8th Grader?