I’ve used Math U See as my homeschool math choice since Day 1. We love it. I will continue to use it. BUT–here’s what I wish someone had told me.
1. DO NOT RUSH.
In the beginning my son whizzed through the lessons. Which was great. He had mastered the lesson. However, halfway through book 2, Alpha, he really took a lot longer to master the concepts and retain the information. It bugged me. I worried. Did we need to switch curriculum? Nope. Just slow down. Play adding and subtraction games. Go back and review. Take a month if you need to master something. You won’t regret it later.
2. It SEEMS weird at first, stick with it.
If you’re just starting with Primer, stick with it. If you were an elementary school teacher (like me), the way this curriculum progresses is very different. However, stick with it. The lessons come together and your children will have a very solid mathematical foundation.
3. Should I buy the Music/Skip Counting Cd with Book?
YES! I bought the music and skip counting book just this passed year and it’s EXCELLENT. The songs are a little hard to get at first, but my kids enjoy them and I think it’s an excellent way to break up the monotony of some lessons. (Buy it here.)
4. If this guy teaches on the DVD–do I get off scott free?
Yes. And no. It depends on the day. Some lessons (and depending on the student), the DVD does the lesson and my boys can do a lesson with little to no help. However, some days we need to watch the lesson several times AND I have to sit and work through their questions as they go through their workbooks. So, be present. Some days I totally put on the DVD and walked off to do dishes or nurse the baby and that was a BIG mistake. A mistake that has set us back weeks at a time. I know, I know..bad mommy moment.
5. Check for Mastery Often
I’d say you need to review the ‘topic’ of each lesson about twice a week. Make sure they still know what a unit, ten, hundred is, how to make ten, etc. Math U See does an excellent job of spiraling, but making sure young students have really grasped that concept, especially after summer break, is really important. Again, be there and see how well they can re-teach you.
6. Buy the Block Organizer
I’ve spent way too much money on curriculum at this point, but I wish I had bought the block organizer they sell on their website (see here). I just keep mine in a plastic tub and having them separated out would be nice. If you had the extra money to spend and like things to be neat and organized, buy it. It’s on my list as soon as I can get it.
7. Buy Mathtacular from Sonlight
Mathtaculer is a program from Sonlight that I just bought this year. I bought the set that comes with a DVD with 4 hours worth of beginning math mini lessons and it comes with lots of great manipulatives. My boys watch about 3-5 lessons a week and sit and play on their own with their counters and clock and rulers. It is also a great stand alone program for a Pre-K or Kinder student. **These are my own opinions and Sonlight has no clue who I am. Except that we pay them a ton of money each year. But they don’t know about my blog. The end.**
8. Buy the Instruction Manuel…and USE it.
I didn’t feel that the instruction manual for Primer was too important and I often didn’t use it. However, in hind sight, it hurt us. There were lots of ideas that would have helped my kids better understand a concept and in turn, master it. Right now we are still reviewing, but as soon as we pick up with normal lessons, I’m following ALL the Instruction manual’s ideas–regardless of how repetitive it is!
9. Teach Your Kids Separately
This may be totally wrong of me to say, but from MY experience in homeschooling my 2 boys (now 6 1/2 and 4 1/2 in Alpha and Primer) is that the younger child needs to really grasp the concepts before they hear teaching from another book. It’s been confusing for my younger son. Again, this is totally subjective to you, your student, and their math abilities–but if you need to make sure that your toddler or baby are busy or napping for this to happen, do it. I thought I could teach them at the same time this year and it SO isn’t working. They need individual time. Rookie mistake.
10. Laminate your Decimal Street poster and Clock Poster
I have a 2 year old and crawling, knawing on everything 8 month old. Laminate those big posters. The end.
I hope this helps anyone out there who were pondering these same things! If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them if you leave a comment. I’m a very happy Math U See momma, but I do wish I had know this stuff first.