I basically learned by playing doctor with the girl next door.

i forgot how i learned it .. by addition method , then by table and then using all sorts of technique :D

My Uncle taught me several methods, including how to do it on an abacus & a slide rule & the Trachtenberg Speed System. I remember one particular School Teacher being terribly upset that I used Finger Math to multiply on my hands! (Add the folded fingers to get the ten's digit, multiply the standing fingers to get the one's digit. Easy.) Why not, they are always with me!! She reacted like I was casting evil spells or something and my mathematical future was in jeopardy!!! But she couldn't stop me, even when she was holding my hands I just moved my fingers in my head. But eventually she browbeat me into memorizing everything up to 25x25.

I like your uncle, and hate your teacher. Having studied to be a secondary math teacher I would have no qualms about students using their fingers, it tells me that they KNOW what multiplication is. I much prefer that than a magical unquestioned calculator.

@c00lfac3: You can do Finger Math without understanding multiplication or how/why your hands give you the correct answers. Explaining that actually involves more sophistication (Algebra) than memorizing the Tables. And extending it to problems beyond 10x10 is tricky! Also, read the comments on my "I really do!" story for my math experience with a 2nd Grade Teacher: ht`tp://www.experienceproject.com/uw.php?e=2383908

Had a teacher tell me to always think of counting money...never made a mistake again!!!!

Memorize and trust in my first answer without questioning it

I was taught to memorize the tables, but I never did. To help me with the harder ones, I just added that many times in my head. I know that 7 x 4 = 28, so I just add 3 more sevens to the 28. It seems like a lot, but I struggled with math so bad that I just had to come up with ways to do it on my own, successfully. Try different methods to help realize what best works for you/someone else, or ask them what they like to do, and incorporate that into your learning methods.

Times tables

I just had s3x and it happened!

I remember starting with 1; repetition. 1 x1, 1x2, until I learned that anything times one is that thing. The memorized the tables. had to teach my boys the same way. Is there another way? Would the abacus remove the need for all that memory work?