Sunday, March 18, 2012

Math Curriculum

Math U See
                        Math·U·See was written by Steve Demme, “a homeschool dad, for the homeschool community.” The math curriculum is designed for grades K-12. 

This past school year, was my first year homeschooling my daughter. As I spoke to friends and did some research, I came across the curriculum Math U See. I visited the web site Math U See and really liked what I read. The curriculum is a mastery approach designed to give the teacher an understanding of when the child is ready to move on to the next lesson. The curriculum is designed with step-by-step procedures for introducing, reviewing, and practicing concepts. Math U See is self paced and focuses on the unique needs of the individual child. The teacher is provided with “tools, skills, and training needed to present an explicit, structured, systematic, and cumulative program using multi-sensory teaching techniques.”  The curriculum includes a DVD which helped me understand how to teach the concepts in every lesson. Once I viewed the DVD, I would explain the lesson to my daughter and she would complete the assignment found in the workbook.
Highlights of the Program
     ·         Math skills are taught explicitly
·         There is a definite, logical sequence of concept instruction that is systematic and cumulative
·         A structured, step-by-step procedure for introducing, reviewing, and practicing concepts
·         Multi-sensory tools to engage the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic channels simultaneously in rapid succession
·         Continuous, ongoing assessment and progress monitoring allow for frequent opportunities to re-teach.

The curriculum starts at the Primer level and goes up to Calculus. In the Primer level your child will learn how to write numerals from 0-9 but also addition and subtraction, basic counting, skip counting, shapes, telling time, and will also be introduced to the manipulative block system. In calculus, the student would be taught derivatives, integrals, calculus applications, differential equations, and much more. Since my daughter knew the concepts taught in the primer level, I decided to place her in Alpha. In this level, the student would learn place value, counting to 20, unit bars, simple addition, counting to 100, skips counting by 10s, solve for the unknown, and many other topics.  The Alpha Instruction Pack contains the instruction manual with lesson-by-lesson instructions and full solutions, and the DVD with lesson-by-lesson video instruction.The cost for this was $40.00. The Alpha Student Kit contains the student text with lesson-by-lesson worksheets and review pages, as well as, the Alpha Test and Activity Booklet. This cost $25.00. 

Finally, I needed to buy the manipulative block set and this cost $35.00. The blocks are used in all of the Math U See levels from Primer to Algebra 1. There are 88 pieces in a colorful base 10 set of stacking blocks used to teach all aspects of arithmetic. The same blocks are used in conjunction with the inserts to illustrate key algebra and decimal concepts. The set consists of five each of the 2s, 3s, 4s, 6s, 7s, 8s, 9s, and 100s; seven 5s, twenty units and twenty –one 10s. 

Sales Team - Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 6:00 pm EST
Phone: 888-854-6284 (MATH)

PO Box 8888
Lancaster, PA 17604

My Experience:
            At this point in time, my daughter does not enjoy the curriculum Math U See. She has complained in the past of it being “boring.” I supplemented with some math computer games and this seemed to work, however, it’s hard to get on the computer because my husband is taking on- line classes. Since using the computer was not going to work, I modified my strategy by not requiring her to complete all of the math problems. She would decide what math problems to complete the odd numbered ones or even. I also introduced the clock before the curriculum did. 

I purchased the second level Beta and will be using it here shortly. I thought of switching to another curriculum but I really like the mastery concept. There’s a difference between memorizing a concept and understand it.

My Overall Thoughts:
What I really appreciated about the Math U See website, was the demonstration video. I also found useful the worksheet generator. This option would allow me to choose worksheets on a range of topics, print them out, and have my daughter complete the assignment. The assessment option helped me in deciding which level I should place my daughter in since the curriculum is not by grade levels. I really enjoy using the Math U See curriculum and would recommend it to families that are interested in a mastery program versus a spiral approach.

A link to the specific Homeschool Crew Blog post
The product was received free of charge for review purposes.

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