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Sequential Timed Math© Review by Diane Wheeler

Karen Hunter
Through the Back Door Educational Resources
(530) 677-6935

True Wheeler Confessions: We are not strong on math around here. Literature? We soar. History? We eat it up! Math facts? Hmmmm...we struggle. So, in researching ways for my children to increase their speed, accuracy and confidence level in the area of math facts, someone reminded me that my friend Karen Hunter had created a program that fits our needs perfectly.

As a newly retired public school teacher, Karen has taught students of varying ages and levels of academic prowess. She, too, is strong in language arts, but found that it was her math program about which the parents could not stop raving. In a program that required only ten minutes of class time a day, she was seeing her students meeting and exceeding the standards set for them by the state. She knew she had a good thing going, and decided to make it available to the rest of us. The result is Sequential Timed Math. What a gift!

Beginning with addition, the material moves on through subtraction, multiplication, and division. The program aims for mastery, with the understanding that mastery of these facts is essential before moving on to advanced mathematics.

As Karen states in her introduction, "The philosophy behind the format is that students should look at the answers provided in the answer column on each practice page, and check them time and time again to answer the problems on the rest of the practice page." Yes, you read that right. On the practice page the answers are included. These should be looked at, rather than using fingers for counting or other methods that might slow the student down. The goal is to look enough times that, eventually, the answer is known. Each of the practice sheets is timed for three minutes. Once those pages are done in closer to two minutes, and without looking at the answers, it is time for the mastery test. The answers are not provided, and in order to achieve mastery, students must get every problem correct.

This program is appropriate for any student that needs to learn their facts, or to improve their computation speed. For early elementary students learning their facts for the first time, or for older students that need remedial help with the basic operations, Sequential Timed Math can help. Students are racing against themselves, not others, so families with students of different ages and capabilities can run the timed practice and mastery sheets together with ease. Students will take as little, or as much, time as necessary to reach mastery.

The binder includes everything you will need for your family. There are black line masters that you have permission to duplicate for your children. There are charts for marking progress and certificates that can be awarded when each level of mastery is achieved. Each operation is color coded, with a pocket holding the masters and the answer keys included.

Sequential Timed Math does not pretend to be a complete math program. Students need to work with manipulatives and be given instruction in the concepts of each operation before beginning the program. Direct instruction, through the math curriculum of your choice, would round out the math program for your students.

If you are interested in more information, you can call Karen at Karen at (530) 677-6935, or send her an email at

Research shows that if math facts are not cemented in our minds, it is next to impossible to move on to more complex mathematics. Our minds cannot be busy processing basic operations AND take the information on to a higher level. The facts need to be known, and known to mastery, for success. I recommend Karen Hunter's Sequential Timed Math as an affordable, well-organized program for guiding your students to mastery in their math facts. I have my stopwatch ready. How about you?

-- Product Review by: Diane Wheeler, Senior Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine