Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Math U See

One of the many things I love about homeschooling is that, with the wide array of choices out there, you can find the curriculum that works best for each child.

My first choices for A were: Life of Fred Fractions and Math U See.  I know A is a very visual, tactile, kinesthetic learner.  She likes to see and touch things.  And I knew she would be amused by the LoF story.

We started with LoF, it was not a fit for P, I gave her the choice between Math U See and Teaching Textbooks.  She chose Teaching Textbooks and has LOVED it.  She willingly and happily works ahead.  A LOVED LoF, but once we were done with the Fractions book, I wanted a more "meat and potatoes" curriculum for A, since Teaching Textbooks worked so well for P, I ordered it for A.  Big Mistake.

A is not computer oriented.  P has time restrictions on her computer use.  A would rather read a book or draw a picture or make something with clay.  P would spend her whole day playing Webkinz or looking up videos on youtube.

A hated Teaching Textbooks.  After shelling out over $200 for it, I didn't really want to spend more money on another program, so we tried Aleks for free and she didn't like that either, as it is all on the computer.  We tried a Singapore workbook from Barnes & Noble, she liked it for a few days and then we were back to fighting over it.  We tried Math Mammoth for free...still arguing.

Finally, I gave her the placement test for Math U See, she placed in the Epsilon (Fractions) Level. I shelled out another hundred bucks, hoping that Math U See would end our daily math squabbles.

The take-away message here is: go with your gut.  Not all programs work for all kids (even kids in the same family).

It has been several weeks, A has now completed 6 lessons in Math U See.  We no longer fight over math.  She has taken the initiative to work ahead in the book.  She has always gotten an A.  I told her that since we started late, she will have to do math over the summer.  She said that was fine, she likes Math U See.

She LOVES the fraction overlays.  She can now see what 1/16 looks like compared to 3/24.

A had two years of a traditional math program in school and then 2 years of Everyday Math.  Everyday Math does not teach for mastery, it is a spiral program.

A is the kind of kid who learns better if she is able to master a topic.  Spiraling makes her anxious.

Math U See teaches for mastery.  It moves sort of slow, but the student is able to REALLY grasp each concept.  There is NO DOUBT that they understand it by the time they finish a unit.

To start a new lesson, we watch Steve Demme's lecture for that lesson on DVD together.  Then A does the first page of exercises for that lesson, if she gets them all correct, at Steve Demme's suggestion, she moves ahead to the Systematic Review which reviews all previously taught math concepts.  After completing all three pages of Systematic Review, she takes the unit test.

I like that it moves slowly and there is a lot of practice for each new concept.  I like that there is a review of previously taught math concepts so those skills don't get "rusty".  I like that there is a DVD (there is also a text book which I have perused, but so far we have not needed to consult it in order to do any of the exercises, but more than likely as things get progressively more difficult, we will need to consult the text).   I also really like the manipulatives.

I am not sure if this particular program would work for P, she LOVES the feedback from Teaching Textbooks and often works ahead in that program.  In fact, I will be placing the order for Math 5 in a few weeks.  But, this works for A and it has eliminated our fights over math and she is learning and enjoying it, and really, that is all that matters.

I was not asked to review this product by
Steve Demme or Math U See.
I am not making any money or getting any free products from this review.
Although, I would certainly not turn any free products away.