I came home from my recent homeschool conference with a demo DVD for Math-U-See. I’ve seen other moms talking about it in various on-line homeschooling groups and I wanted to check it out for myself.I popped in the DVD and invited my sons to watch it with me. After a couple minutes, 8 year old Alex said,
“Are we going to get this, Mom?”
I told him that I was thinking about it, and that’s why we were watching the DVD. Then Alex said,
“Can we get this, Mom?”
As Steve Demme’s math lesson continued, I was quickly sold on this curriculum and knew I would not need to look any further. My kids were laughing and enjoying the math lesson. Six year old Caleb really liked the “decimal street.” So I told Alex that we would probably get it someday.
“I really like this Mom. Can we please get it now, Mom?”
I saw no reason why we had to do that last workbook in the other curriculum we were using so I searched on-line to see if I could find Math-U-See discounted. I discovered MUS swap, a yahoo group exclusively for buying and selling Math-U-See. I was able to buy some of what I needed used, saving the cost of shipping and a little more if I had bought the books all brand new.
Math-U-See is a mastery approach
The mastery approach is different than what I have seen in other math curricula. Steve Demme, the author, likes to call it math you understand. Instead of jumping back and forth between operations, each skill is mastered before moving on to the next one and review is built into each lesson so students won’t forget how to do things. Workbook levels are named after greek letters instead of grades so kids who are “behind” won’t feel like they’re below grade level. I’m not going to explain everything here about Math-U-See. Just go to their website and check it out for yourself!
Putting the math blocks away once or twice a day became tedious. You have to line them up in rows and neat stacks in order for them to fit in the cardboard boxes they came in. I wanted the wooden carrying case sold by the company, but it carries a hefty price tag. Someone on the support group told me that they had found a tackle box that fit the pieces, so I went to Meijers and found a box for under $5.00. Wonderful. Problem solved.
My teacher’s manuals and student workbooks wouldn’t stand up straight and they were falling all over each other whenever things were taken off the shelf. This was driving me crazy. So I also found magazine holders for about $2.00 each (I left the $9 fashionable polka dotted ones at the store where they belong since they were only made of fabric covered cardboard) These sturdy holders are the perfect size; each one holds all the books and DVD for one level.
Math-U-See offers lots of support
- placement tests so you know what level your child should start in
- a live chat at the website if you’re having trouble with a math problem (hopefully I won’t need that until we get to high school level)
- on-line drill practice.
- on-line worksheet generator if extra written work is needed for mastery in particular lesson
- a yahoo group for math-u-see users
- another yahoo group exclusively for buying and selling math-u-see curriculum
- company reps available to answer questions
- a fun blog (click below)
- a math-u-fan club
- t-shirts and tote bags
Caleb wants a decimal street t-shirt, Alex prefers the chocol-8 shirt and I think every mom needs the tote bag . You never can have enough canvas totes! (I’m sure my husband would disagree)
Playing with the manipulatives
Caleb likes to make patterns with the blocks and 2 year old Mary always takes the unit blocks and puts one on each finger. Her baby brother plays with the hundred blocks, but dropped them and wants Mary’s little green ones.
read a review of Tapestry of Grace curriculum