Friday, August 31, 2012

Math U See

The past two years have been a whirlwind of math programs. Number 1 (oldest daughter) started out with Abeka in 3rd grade. Since then we've dabbled with Time4Learning, Mcruffy, Shiller, and Bob Jones math programs. That's FIVE different programs in two years.
Abeka gave us a headache.
Time4Learning seemed to have too many holes and Number 1 didn't always understand what they were saying.
Mcruffy was just.....ok. We quickly worked through it but couldn't find anything to love.
Shiller was a neat concept but it just never fully caught on with Number 1. And I had a hard time placing her within the program since we didn't start at the beginning.
Bob Jones is what we used the most of last year. It was close to perfect. We really enjoyed how it focused on one math concept per chapter. I'm not sure if BJ is considered mastery or a loose spiral method. But it's definately closer to mastery than anything else we've used. The one problem I had was not so much with the program but with me. Number 1 was using the 4th grade level. I was able to teach her but I found teaching some of the concepts starting to get difficult even though I knew how to work the problem myself. So I got to thinking. It's only going to get harder. I don't want to let her down and be the reason she fails at math. So I knew it was time to get help. If I stuck with BJU, I would have to get the videos to go with the program. Which majorly ups the price ($350 for DVD's and textbooks or $300 for online and textbooks). Or I had to go with a different program. Either way, I needed something with more parental support.

It came down to two considerations. Teaching Textbooks (computer based) and Math U See (video based). Both are highly praised in the homeschool world. They both had pros and cons for us. In the end, I went with Math U See because of it's mastery approach. TT is spiral. We have been using Math U see all summer long for both girls (10 yr old and 5 yr old).

So what do we think? So far so good. Usually by now we might be getting discontent and running into problems.
I started both girls in Alpha. I know Number 1 would have placed in a higher level had I tested her but I decided to start her at the very beginning. This program is set up very different than others and I didn't want her to miss out on anything. Mr. Demme is a wonderful teacher (according to Number 1, he's the best she's ever had!) and he has so many neat ways of teaching and helping you to remember concepts. I didn't want Number 1 to miss any of that. One way in particular that Math U See has helped her is to quit adding with her fingers. She's really nailed down addition and subtraction facts. We've quickly worked through Alpha in just a couple of months and recently started Beta.
And since I'd really like to have all my kids using the same program, I skipped the Primer book and went straight to Alpha with Number 2 as well. She loves working with the blocks. It's been really good for her too. There's no colors or lively characters on any of the pages. I suspect a very slight attention disorder with Number 2 so it helps to have no fuss straight black and white pages. She can already order place value through hundreds, say and write 1-20, and knows her +0 and +1 addition facts. We are now working on saying and writing 1-100.

I hope we have finally found the math program we will be sticking with all the way through.

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