there are shortcuts you can use to avoid all that! If you use the Help feature on the Google Docs toolbar you can find instructions for creating an equation AND using shortcuts. The shortcuts are the key to saving time. The key you always need to be able to find, is the backslash key, which is right over the Enter key on a PC. When you are working inside an equation box you just type the backslash key first, immediately followed by the shortcut command of the function (example with multiplication, below)
4 \times 5 = 20
and you get 4 x 5 = 20
Although using just the keyboard math symbols is faster, they don't take you past typical elementary school math "writing." Being familiar with using Google Docs Equation is useful when you frequently need to write math symbols that cannot be found on the standard keyboard, but are using fractions, square roots, exponents and beyond.
This is the limit of what I know so far. For more knowledgeable assistance I suggest you ask your tech person at a middle or high school, or the math department lead teacher.