10 Things I Wish I Had Known About Math-U-See

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.


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.




  1. These are all good. I will check out that item from Sonlight for A since she is pre-k this year.

  2. Colleen P says:

    Good advice! I am still trying to figure out how to approach this year with a math-savvy 4.5 year old and my 7 year old who needs to repeat part of alpha. We keep our blocks in an art caddy/tackle box (not sure what it was intended for) from the Container store. It separates them nicely and has a bonus handle for carrying. I discovered that last fall by searching for “container math blocks” on pinterest.

  3. We LOVE MUS! I think it is our favorite subject!

  4. Thank you so much for all the great tips!!! This is our first formal year homeschooling. Our son is in Kindergarden and we bought MUS Primer, I did wonder if you recommended the Sonlight supplement if this is our first year with MUS or just for after the Primer level.

  5. You’ve totally convinced me to try MathTacular Educational Kit! My oldest is 4.5 and we’re doing Sonlight, and it’s just not interactive enough, I’ve been searching through all the other curriculums and just didn’t find a good match. I’m also a former classroom teacher, and it’s sometimes TOUGH to ‘get over yourself’ (at least that’s the phrase I commonly use with myself) and realize that it may look different at home, but it’ll be ok.

  6. JenniferM says:

    Why did you get the other math program from Sonlight. I’m a Math U See user as well (Epsilon) and Sonlight user. Did you see gaps? Reinforcement purposes? I ask because we still are stuggling occasionally with multiplication facts. You are right about SLOW down. Totally worth a few extra months to make sure things are memorized!

    • Mainly to break up monotony. My second son isn’t as gung ho about Math U See as child #1. They make the Mathtacular DVDs for older grades (like your son). THe one I linked to prob. isn’t what you need. Search ‘Mathtacular 2’.

  7. melissa mods says:

    My sons are 9, 10 and 12yrs. We have never used this program. .would it be too hard to start at these ages?

  8. Thanks for the suggestion to laminate the poster! I had mine laminated at Staples for less than $2 =)

  9. We put our MUS worksheets in page protectors and the kids use ultra thin dry erase markers to complete their work – that way I can use one student workbook for all of the kids. We also purchase at the Homeschool Convention to save on shipping.

  10. Thank you so much for this list. We did MUS Alpha for our first year of homeschooling and now that my daughter is in second grade I just bought Beta. She HATES it. 🙁 I love it!! But she moans every time it’s math time. Maybe I am going to fast? Do you finish all the pages? Maybe we should do more games.

  11. Thank you for the tips! I am new to homeschooling and have a 6 year-old kindergartener this year. (I gave him another year to play, be a boy, etc, but he is bright and catches on easily…) I bought a used Primer instruction manual and a book of extra practice sheets. It is the old version, I guess. Either way, I didn’t realized until I just looked that I am supposed to have a student book also with worksheets, tests, etc. 2 issues… 1. If I order it from the website, I’m afraid the new version of Primer won’t match up with the old. 2. Are the extra practice sheets similar enough to the concepts in the student book that I can just use it instead? In other words, do I need the student book? Thanks for your help!!

  12. Hello. Thank you for the tips about MathUSee. We have never used it before and are thinking about. It seems that you use Sonlight as your main curriculum. What do you like about MathUSee versus Horizons? Thanks.

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