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When the parent becomes the teacher

Mar 27, 2020 | Kristie Svejda


In the midst of these serious times and multiplying priorities, The Hollub & Svejda Group shares this multiplication tip for parents serving as teachers.

Hands with fingers touching

Elbow bumps to parents as teachers.

Full disclosure, I write this advice as a non-parent with the utmost respect to all the parents pulling down double duty of our future leaders. You are true heroes.

A special thanks for the inspiration on publishing this math shortcut from my high school friends whose children collectively sighed when they broke the news they weren’t going to school for two or more weeks and would be taught at home. They went onto have the most hilarious texts like:

  • Passed 3rd grade math today, didn’t even need the answer page. – Anonymous
  • The sidesplitting meme that says: If you see me talking to myself this week, mind your business. I’m having a parent-teacher conference. –unknown
  • Nothing says love like your kid preferring to be in school than at home with family.

My how times have changed. In the midst of these serious times and multiplying priorities, we at the Hollub & Svejda Group wanted to lighten things up and share this tip to make multiplication fun for the whole family. It's also a good exercise in keeping your hands to yourself and away from your face.


This little math trick comes from Elliott Hollub. His Dad, Sol, was a self-taught math wizard who emigrated from Russia to Chicago at age 7.  Sol went onto teach Elliott this trick in 1946 when Elliott was 7-years old and living in Chicago.

Hold your hands out, palms facing your chest and fingers. Each finger has a value.


Pinkie: 6

Ring Finger: 7

Middle Finger: 8

Example: middle fingers touching

Each finger either touching or below (including the middle fingers) counts as a value of 10 (10x6). Each finger above are multiplied by each other (2x2). Thus 8x8=64. This works for any of the fingers touching, like pinkie touching index (6x9) = 54.

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Values in action