Homeschool.com’s Product Reviews
| Math U See Ages 3-8, 8-12, Teens, $20-$55
Math-U-See provides a firm foundation in mathematics for students of all aptitudes. The mastery-based approach allows students to move at their own pace whether they are naturally gifted in mathematics, struggle with mathematical concepts, or have special needs.
The Math-U-See curriculum covers elementary through high school Math, starting with an introduction to Math and progressing through Calculus. There is also a Stewardship course – a Biblical approach to personal finance.
We reviewed the Math-U-See Pre-Algebra materials. A video of a sample lesson, as well as an overview of the specific course can be seen here. The overview video is especially educational as it shows the importance and usefulness of the manipulatives – they’re an integral aid in teaching the course (s) and they’re very effective! As a bonus – they’re easy to use!
The Pre-Algebra series includes:
With the above, teachers/parents are provided with the tools, skills, and training needed to present an explicit, structured, systematic, and cumulative program using multi-sensory teaching techniques. They are provided with all the tools necessary to teach the Math-U-See 4-Step approach, which includes:
Step 1: Prepare for the Lesson
The parent/teacher watches the DVD to learn the new concept and to see how to demonstrate it with manipulatives (if used). The parent/teacher also studies the written explanations and examples in the instruction manual. The lessons are explained very well – and this is extremely helpful if you’re a parent that’s a little rusty on a topic.
If appropriate, and many parents do this, the student watches the DVD with the parent. Thus, the video acts as an instructional vehicle. Older students in the secondary level who have taken the responsibility to study math themselves can watch the DVD and read through the instruction manual on their own – thus combining Steps 1 (this step) and 2 (below).
Step 2: Present the New Topic
In the demonstration phase, the parent presents the topic, and demonstrates hows to use the manipulatives to solve the problems. The parent explains the whys, the whats and the hows of the concept.
Even if you had trouble as a younger person in math, the DVD and lesson material are very clear, and make it much easier this time around. You can do it!
Step 3: Practice for Mastery
In the practice phase, the student works through the examples in the student text. If the student is interested in, or needs to work through additional problems, the Math•U•See website has an E-Sources section which includes online drill and downloadable worksheets. Very nice!
Step 4: Progression after Mastery
Once mastery of a new concept is demonstrated, the student proceeds to the review pages of the lesson. At this point mastery is demonstrated by the student teaching the new material back to the teacher. This is really the goal of Math-U-See – the student being knowledgeable enough about a topic that s/he can explain and teach it to others – because then the student really knows it, and understands it. At that point, the student has mastered the material.
As part of mastery phase, the student has a chance to go on to “honors” material. This material is optional but recommended for a student who will be moving on to higher levels of math/science courses. We definitely recommend that kids complete the “honors” lessons, if at all possible.
Following “honors”, the student proceeds to test taking. The student moves on to the next lesson only after passing the test, and showing mastery of the new concept as well as continued mastery of concepts found in the systematic review worksheets.
Math-U-See quotes an ancient proverb, “Tell me, I forget: Show me, I understand; Let me do it, I will remember.” And then adds, “Let me teach it and I will have achieved mastery!” This is the goal of Math-U-See – for students to achieve mastery – to be able to teach material back to their teacher.
To meet this goal, they supply all the necessary the tools – the rest is up to you!