We hear it all the time.
"My child's so smart! My child's a genius! He's brilliant! So creative!"
And then follows the inevitable...
"But I can't teach him anything, because he just won't sit still!"
(We use "he" and "him" throughout this post, because this problem overwhelmingly happens to boys - including our own. Our girls were model students for us. They listened attentively to every word. They sat still, and did their work most of the time. We thought we were master teachers. And then our boys came along...)
Now, what should the questions be? Well, it depends on the age of your child. The sky's the limit. Any question with an answer from 1 to 100 will suffice.
1) When your child is just learning numbers, point to a number on the chart, and have him pronounce it. If he's correct, have him shoot it.
2) Flash cards are great for this! Just have your kid tell you the correct answer out loud before shooting, because Nerf guns are rather imprecise.
3) Do Flash cards without the cards. Meaning, don't show the card to your child, but instead say it aloud to him. It's a good skill to be able to add or subtract or multiply without seeing the numbers on paper.
4) Do word problems. Your child is more likely to fight through the frustration that comes from word problems, if there's the chance to take a shot afterwards.
5) This isn't math, but it's a bonus. Use it for geography. Put a world map on the wall (or a country map, or a state map, etc.), and have them shoot certain countries or oceans as you call them out. This is surprisingly fun. So much so, that the teacher has even been known to take up arms a time or two. (Those European countries are downright devilish to hit on a world map. Good luck shooting Switzerland with a Nerf gun.)
Okay, now some will say "Yeah, those sound fine, but it's much more efficient to just have them say the answers out loud to me, or write them on paper. We can go much quicker that way." Guess what? They're right! And if your kid is able to sit still and concentrate well enough for your liking, then by all means do what's most efficient. Our girls did great in that regimen. And we intend to get our boys to that point, as well. But at this stage for our boys, well, it just ain't happenin'! And we're gonna do what works. Even if it's not the most efficient technique.
Oh, and even if your child doesn't need "Shoot-the-Number" to stay on task, it's kinda fun to offer it anyway on special occasions. Our daughters don't need it, but they're not averse to pulling the trigger, by any means!
Just be warned. A stray projectile sometimes (often?) manages to strike the teacher. By accident, of course.
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Brian and Melanie Fulton both earned doctoral degrees in mathematics at Virginia Tech. They formerly taught math at the university level, and now run a hobby farm while accuracy-checking collegiate mathematics texts. They homeschool their four children, frequently employing the aid of chicken, dairy goat, cat, and dog tutors.