Saturday, March 13, 2010

Math-U-See, We saw, We loved

A few weeks ago, I blogged about our math troubles and our eternal search for the right math curriculum. See here. Let me just get something off my mind right now about my homeschool sisters in the trenches. You know who you are! I am insanely jealous of you who just pick a supply company, buy the whole set of curriculum and fly with it. Because my boys have different needs, learning styles and personalities, I am forever tweaking what we use, adding new things and dropping the duds. Thanks for listening.

One company that I have been using for 5 years and plan on sticking with is Math-U-Seee. This program is not designed like any other program I have seen. Part of the draw for my boys was the fact that they watch their math lesson on a dvd. Now the newness of a math movie has worn off, but it is still a nice touch. Once in a while, I teach it out of the manual. I like having the option of watching it with the boys and pausing it at key moments.

It has a different approach. It spends the entire year on one concept, in a very creative way. When I try to explain that the whole 30 lessons are covering multiplication, it sounds weird even to me. The author, Mr. Demme to my boys, the math saint to me, teaches around the focus area. For instance when BennyG was learning about decimals and percents, it covered some of these areas.

* Exponents
* Place Value with Expanded and Exponential Notation
* Metric System: Origin, Meter, Liter, Gram and Greek Prefixes
* Metric System: Latin Prefixes
* Metric System Conversions
* Multiply Decimals by 1/100 or .01
* Finding a Percent Greater than 100%
* Reading Percents in a Pie Graph
* Multiply All Decimals
* Computing the Area and Circumference of a Circle with π = 3.14
* Solving for an Unknown
* Dividing a Decimal by a Decimal
* Decimal Remainders
* Transform any Fraction to a Decimal and Percent
* Mean, Median, and Mode
* Probability
* Point, Line, Ray, and Line Segment
* Plane
* Symbols: Similar, Equal and Congruent
* Angles: Definition and Symbols

In fairness, I have to add a word of caution to those parents who are concerned about the results on the standardized testing. There were concepts that BennyG has learned later than traditional students. I am o.k. with that. He has learned them very thoroughly and I like that idea. MattyG is currently in Algebra and because he is ahead of BennyG, I have already seen the fruits of this program.

Now let's talk personal experience. One of my children, who shall remain unnamed, at difficult times has decided that Mr. Demme hates his guts. Now, I think it is cute that he really believed that Mr. Demme created this math program to frustrate him. I love this, I have a scapegoat in the house. I may be the grammar and punctuation police, but Mr. Demme is the math bad guy. Now before you start hating this curriculum, don't. Most the time, Mr. Demme is loved and understood by all. In fact when we first saw the Algebra video, they gasped at his hair loss. He is known to them. It's just when the math is tough, (ex. multiple digit division that we all use a calculator for) this child takes it very personal. I always laugh at this. Hey, Mr. Demme, "Do you stay up late at night like I do and plot evil against my children?" "Are you thinking of more chores or harder ways to do a problem?" If I see Mr. Demme at a homeschool conference, you can bet I will ask him.

I'm not getting worried about the weird homeschooler who harbors bitterness at the guy in the movie. The boys have met the math guy in person. They actually met his youngest son, too. Mr. Demme signed their math books. He's just like the guy in the movie! I did hear him speak. This man had a lot to say and it wasn't about math. He is a dad to four sons and has an incredible testimony of God's hand in his life.

One thing I worship love about Math-U-See is the word problems. They have removed the ability for my children to say. "When am I ever going to use this stuff?" I know everyone has either said, heard or thought this at some point in their math life. The word problems are based on problems that really could happen and are applied to real life.

About the manipulatives. We rarely used them throughout our schooling. My kids have created amazing things with the blocks, and used the fraction overlays a few times. They just are those type of kids. They are audio-visual learners. Hands on is play for them. Some families cannot live without them. I, being on the let's lean on the side of caution, bought the starter set, the completer set(never used once), the fraction overlays and the decimal inserts. I would not have enjoyed needing them, and waiting for my order to come in. Now because the program is so reasonably priced, I still feel like Math-U-See is a great value.

In case you are thinking I work for the company and this is a long shameless promotion, let me clear things up. It's just my experience. I pay the same price you would to use this fabulous program.

My testimony:

Before Math-U-See, my homeschooling math classes were a mess. Now that I have seen the Math-U-See light, I am free. I am free to search for perfect programs in other subjects.

Thanks for stopping by,
TerriG, who is still wishing for a fun signature line

*Note: This is the first of 2 posts about Math-U-See the second one appears HERE.
I realized I have so much more to say, I should have made this a 3 part blog, forgive me?


Melodie said...

As a first time Math U See user, I would like to say I love this math. I wish I had taught my oldest son with it, but its perfect for my younger son which is all that matters.

TerriG said...

I still have more to say about this program. It's a great fit for our family.

groovyoldlady said...

Ah Terri. With my first two children I bought an inexpensive curriculum that went all the way from 1+1 to pre algebra. It. Was. Horrible. All of us hated it, but we were dirt poor and I couldn't afford to replace it, so we suffered on through. My younger girls have NO IDEA what horrors they have missed by our using Math-U-See. It's an awesome choice!

TerriG said...

I hear you! Sometimes we get what we pay for. I love your user name.

ssmurray said...

Mr. Demme is loved in our house too! Thanks for the great review.

Sam said...

So far, so good :) Thanks for sharing the review. Part one is coming on my blog Tuesday. My first impressions, shall we say!

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