About Penny

Penny Topsom founder of Multiplication Rules!

From my own experience, I can understand why many children struggle with numbers, particularly with multiplication and division, and why so many close down their 'maths brain'.

I was the invisible child at school, the quiet one labelled 'stupid and lazy'. It wasn't until I was 16 years old, having struggled through school, that I was finally diagnosed with dyslexia.

After failing my maths CSE, I went to Art College to study Clothing Design (after all, sketching pretty dresses had nothing to do with maths – or so I thought). Much to my disappointment, I was faced with converting metric and imperial systems, taking measurements, calculations…there was no escape!

Fast forward 20-something years, I now have three children who are also dyslexic. I've always tried to maintain a positive attitude towards maths for their benefit, but secretly still loathed it.

Multiplication Rules! materialised when my middle son, Harvey, asked "Why are they called times 'tables' when they look like a list?" In an effort to explain, I drew a grid and numbered the squares 1-15 – in each square, I wrote 2, 4, 6, 8, and so on. We quickly noticed a simple, repetitive, number pattern that applied to all the 'even' times tables (2, 4, 6, etc.). When we looked at the 'odd' times tables (3, 6, 9, etc.) an equally simple, repetitive pattern emerged. Suddenly, learning times tables had become much easier.

Multiplication Rules! is a simple, fun way to teach children times tables and division. Having worked with schools all over the country, I've realised that the most important thing is helping children to enjoy learning. Once they enjoy learning, the rest will follow.

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