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Reviews for Math in Focus


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#1 A home for their hearts

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:11 AM

Has anyone used this? I like the looks of it but it's so expensive. We've tried Primary Mathematics and it's just to hard for me to teach. The HIG are not a lot of help. It looks like MiF might be easier to use. So, tell me more about it.
thanks!
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#2 alisoncooks

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:20 PM

I've been looking at MIF, too, but I can't justify the cost! About 2x as pricey as SM and about 4x as much as Math Mammoth bought printed! Unreal.

But it looks great. :p

#3 sbgrace

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:52 PM

I'm using it. I finally feel like I found a math "home" for us so worth the cost. I haven't yet bought, or needed, a teacher's guide though so it's actually cheaper than what we were using (RightStart) by quite a lot. So far I've used 1B-2b and we're in 3A right now. Grade 2, at Rainbow, cost me 69.46 for one child (workbooks a and b 9.73 each, textbooks a and b at 25.00 each). I just needed workbooks for the other child. Because you are purchasing two full color, hardback textbooks and workbooks that seem to be "more" as well obviously you can't compare SM or MM in terms of cost of production. That said, they are obviously pricing for school systems and if either of those would work as well here I'd do it. I own a lot of Singapore and all of MM.

I like that it's conceptual math from an Asian math perspective that's so easy to implement for me. I like seeing where we're going and why clearly so the sequence and organization appeals to me. One child really loves the appearance. He's not overwhelmed by the amount of problems--either on the pages or assigned. He likes the color in the text too. It's very incremental which, for myself and one child particularly, we needed. I don't want any missing steps or conceptual leaps!

Basically I feel we're getting strong conceptual math in a form that's been easy and enjoyable for teacher and students here compared to other things we've used so I'm happy!
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#4 alisoncooks

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:59 PM

So you've not needed the teacher's guides? I've wondered if they were necessary since that's the bulk of the price....

#5 sbgrace

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 03:44 PM

So you've not needed the teacher's guides? I've wondered if they were necessary since that's the bulk of the price....


You don't need the TM for grade 1 or 2. I'm not done with the level but I can't see needing it for grade 3 either.

The text explains everything. You'll have a chapter with a short "big idea" introduction page, a recall prior knowledge page with examples worked, and a quick check page to make sure the child has the prior knowledge. Then each chapter is divided into 3-4 sections. I'll give an example from third grade:
Chapter 4-Subtraction up to 10,000
Recall Prior Knowledge (in this case subtraction with regrouping in 1's and 10's)
Quick Check ?'s about prior knowledge
Lesson 4.1--Subtraction without Regrouping
Lesson 4.2-Subtraction with Regrouping in Hundreds and Thousands
Lesson 4.3--Subtraction with Regrouping in Ones, Tens, Hundreds, and Thousands
Lesson 4.4-Subtraction Across Zeros

Every chapter will also include a couple of games (some interesting, some not), a hands on activity idea of some sort, Math Journal, and a Critical Thinking/Challenge type section.

Word problems are integrated into all the chapters and sometimes chapters will focus exclusively on word problems and word problem strategies (bar models like Singapore).

The chapter tests/assessments were in the 1st and 2nd grade workbooks and they are in the textbook in 3rd grade. There are cumulative reviews as well.

Anyway, within each section (say 4.1 above) you will have a teaching section which introduces the topic and shows the thinking/concepts behind solving the specific kind of problem. Then you will have a guided practice section (with problems to work through together) followed by an individual practice section. At the end of the individual practice section it will tell you to do specific workbook pages. Those workbook pages are paged to the section (say workbook 4.1).

That's too much detail I know. But my point is, so far anyway, as long as you can work the problems yourself I can't see the need for the teacher's manuals. The order of presentation is very clear and I just go at the pace we need. For example, in one section I might go through the text and workbook in one day. In another I might go through the text one day and the workbook the next. Or, if I feel we need extra work, I can do the text and guided practice, then the individual practice the next day, then even split the workbook pages up. There is plenty of room for adjustment within the set up. I like, though, how it is so incremental. It just leads the child through to the next step. I also find the explanations to be very concept focused and presented clearly.

I did want to say I'm glad I did RightStart though. Math in Focus is very much like Singapore. I actually think RightStart is stronger in focusing on mental math (they do it first and to mastery; MIF and Singpore also do mental math obviously but approach it differently). I also really like the abacus! I think Singapore's Challenging Word Problems can't be beat for word problems compared to any program I know of. But it's just as easy to add CWP to Math in Focus (if wanted/it's not necessary and MIF does cover word problems well) as it is to Singapore because the sequence matches in terms of topics introduced in particular grade levels.
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#6 alisoncooks

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 03:56 PM

[...] That's too much detail I know. [...]

Ah, one can never have too much detail. :p
Thank you, that was very helpful!

#7 A home for their hearts

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:35 PM

sbgrace

Thank you so much! You have helped a lot.!

#8 Chelli

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:42 PM

Ask and you shall receive!

I just reviewed Math in Focus on my blog last week.

Also, besides not buying the TM (although you can get them used on Amazon for 1/4 of the price if you really want them), I also buy the textbooks used from Amazon for about 1/2 or less than 1/2 of what they cost new.

For example, I bought both MIF textbooks and workbooks for third grade for around $50 by purchasing the books used and the workbooks new.

#9 A home for their hearts

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:34 PM

Ask and you shall receive!

I just reviewed Math in Focus on my blog last week.

Also, besides not buying the TM (although you can get them used on Amazon for 1/4 of the price if you really want them), I also buy the textbooks used from Amazon for about 1/2 or less than 1/2 of what they cost new.

For example, I bought both MIF textbooks and workbooks for third grade for around $50 by purchasing the books used and the workbooks new.


Your review was very helpful. Thanks for the tip on buying on amazon!

#10 alisoncooks

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:50 PM

This thread has been very helpful (or not...since I'm now reconsidering math for next year. :p)

Anyway, I'd like to get the opinion of some MiF users:
Since the program is being labeled as Singapore Math for US public schools... does that mean it's SM watered-down? Or is it equally rigorous in content and scope & sequence? (I know it's kind of the "new kid on the block" but I'm sure someone else has look into this & done the research for me. :D :D)

What do you think? Will it bring you to the same place in the end? As equally prepared for middle school maths?

#11 Chelli

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:03 PM

I don't think I'd call it watered down. I use it alongside Challenging Word Problems from Singapore Math (like sbgrace), and I find that the scope and sequence of what is covered is almost identical between the two programs. What I've heard, but don't know for sure since I've not used Singapore, is that MIF breaks the steps into smaller pieces so that some of those "big leaps" that occur in regular Singapore math are not present in MIF. I definitely think that you would end up at the same place although MIF goes through 8th grade and I believe that both Singapore Standards and Singapore U.S. both stop at 6th grade.

#12 jer2911mom

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:16 PM

Also, besides not buying the TM (although you can get them used on Amazon for 1/4 of the price if you really want them), I also buy the textbooks used from Amazon for about 1/2 or less than 1/2 of what they cost new.


I agree. I just bought the 2A TM used on Amazon for $29 + shipping. I calculated it would have been about $88 if I had bought it on Rainbow Resource as part of the homeschool pack. It is listed as much higher on the MIF website. I would definitely look at Amazon if you are wanting the TM but don't want to pay full price.

HTH,
Kathy

#13 alisoncooks

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:23 PM

I have to say, I ordered a few levels of MiF (used -- there's NO WAY I'd pay new prices).... but I'm quite impressed. I particularly like the looks of the workbooks and textbooks. I'll probably merge those with SM Standards. I've been able to sit down and compare Singapore 1A and Math in Focus 1A and they're pretty comparable.

Anyway, just wanted to throw that out there. Big thanks to the posters in this thread!!!

#14 Annie Laurie

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:33 PM

I've been so tempted to try MIF, it looks like it would be a perfect fit. I like Righstart a lot, but sometimes the way things are explained is too vague or doesn't click for me, and it can feel a little convoluted in its implementation. I really like orderly, sequential programs, I liked CLE for that reason. But I prefer the mental math emphasis in RS, so that's what we use, and my kids like it. I don't think they'd want to switch, and they're old enough that I don't think we should. But I do think they'd end up liking MIF, since it also has games and a similar approach. And it would be easier for me to implement. I'm afraid to take a chance at this stage though, not to mention the expense when I've already invested in all the RS levels.

Maybe I'll try MIF someday when my toddler is school age.

#15 MamaChristina

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:55 PM

I bought 2 or 3 of the MIF student textbooks off Amazon for 99 cents. They were brand new. We use CLE, but are using MIF for enrichment and for summertime math. :drool:

#16 SweetandSimple

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:56 PM

My kindergartener just started MIF a few weeks ago. We're using 1A. So far, I really like it. I bought the TG and texts used, so the price was reasonable. I really like having the teacher's guides... I like having the explanations of how to teach things, and I like having all of the answers right there!

#17 valborga

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 07:16 AM

I know it's been a while since this conversation was posted, however, I was wondering if anyone could be so kind as to help list the books I would have to purchase so as to have a complete set. There are so many workbooks and handbooks, I'm a bit lost as to what to buy.

 

I found this website with an offer but in the thread below I saw there were some who were able to obtain certain books on Amazon for much cheaper prices. 

 

This is what I found: 

 

https://www.homescho...tm_medium=email

 

I am looking at the kindergarten and 1st grade books. Can anyone tell me what of the list in the link provided above should I purchase?

 

Thank you so much in advance.



#18 Dramorellis

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 09:38 AM

I have only ever used the text and workbook. I just this year, as we transition into 4th-5th, have found the need for the TM. I can usually get the text and workbook for under $20 on Amazon and ebay. I got the TM for around $40 on ebay. I have not found a need for the other books and I really don't think I would use them for K-1st at all. There are built in assessments and chapter tests already in both of the books. I personally would check Amazon first and just get the two books. I really see no need for the TM at that level. The layout of the text is very straightforward and makes it intuitive for me to explain the topics. 



#19 SparrowsNest

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 10:49 AM

I have used Singapore with my older kids (took me three tries to finally figure out what's going on there!  I couldn't get the big picture (and I absolutely must see the forest, not just the veins on a leaf... and I just couldn't get past all the book-juggling, it seemed to clumsy and superfluous. I mean, I get it now, but seriously, there was a definite learning curve there...).  

 

I decided to get MiF as our math spine for my very hands-on 1st grade daughter.  We've only been using it couple of weeks, but the difference I'm seeing is that MiF walks you step by step through the use of the manipulatives.  I mean, it's basically fool-proof from that perspective.  That is very helpful for me because it's just not the way I think about math (I'm very procedural and 'work the algorithm' in my math thinking).  You will still be juggling a few books, but I'm sort of worn down on that after using Singapore. :)

 

Anyway, I think we'll stick w/ MiF  for 1st and I will revisit when we're ready to go into 2nd.   



#20 umsami

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 12:01 PM

You can buy the text used cheaply on Amazon.  Then buy a new workbook (I used CBD).  The teacher's guides are available on the publisher's site for free. :)

 

For us, it was a tough transition in 4th grade, but I think if you started off earlier it is a great program.



#21 sbgrace

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 02:48 PM

I know it's been a while since this conversation was posted, however, I was wondering if anyone could be so kind as to help list the books I would have to purchase so as to have a complete set. There are so many workbooks and handbooks, I'm a bit lost as to what to buy.

 

I found this website with an offer but in the thread below I saw there were some who were able to obtain certain books on Amazon for much cheaper prices. 

 

This is what I found: 

 

https://www.homescho...tm_medium=email

 

I am looking at the kindergarten and 1st grade books. Can anyone tell me what of the list in the link provided above should I purchase?

 

Thank you so much in advance.

 

I didn't use K, and I think it is different. It looks like the instruction is in the teacher's manuals. You might be able to find used copies of TM for a lot less money. For grade 1-5, I didn't need teacher's manuals. The instruction really is complete in the student texts. 

 

I always purchased the student texts and workbooks (so 1a and 1b student text; 1a and 1b student workbook). Once I purchased extras, and that was a waste. The text and workbooks are plenty.

 

I can see the value of having the answers in the TM's when a child reaches independence. The child could then do independent practice and/or the workbook on their own, and you could grade later without having to calculate the answers yourself. You could get used TM's for far less. I had one who was never independent, so that wasn't a factor here.
 



#22 Mergath

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 03:24 PM

We tried it for a while last year, and while I liked the look of everything, dd had zero retention with it. I don't know if it was a clash between her learning style and the program or what, but she does much better with MM.

#23 SilverMoon

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 07:44 PM

I somewhat keep my eye on MiF for my 7yo. She's doing Horizons a grade ahead and has a fabulous foundation. Her bouts of "this is too easy" and regularly doing two lessons a day are getting more frequent. MiF is my back pocket idea if this becomes problematic.

 

Just to be sure, I'd need a 3a textbook, 3a workbook, 3b textbook, 3b workbook? The 3a TM, 3b TM, assessment book and enrichment book are totally optional?   (I'm so used to my "order two workbooks and done" routine. :o )

 

 

You can buy the text used cheaply on Amazon.  Then buy a new workbook (I used CBD).  The teacher's guides are available on the publisher's site for free. :)

 

For us, it was a tough transition in 4th grade, but I think if you started off earlier it is a great program.

Link? I vastly prefer having the TMs for ease of correcting if nothing else.



#24 Dramorellis

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Posted 06 August 2015 - 08:59 AM

I somewhat keep my eye on MiF for my 7yo. She's doing Horizons a grade ahead and has a fabulous foundation. Her bouts of "this is too easy" and regularly doing two lessons a day are getting more frequent. MiF is my back pocket idea if this becomes problematic.

 

Just to be sure, I'd need a 3a textbook, 3a workbook, 3b textbook, 3b workbook? The 3a TM, 3b TM, assessment book and enrichment book are totally optional?   (I'm so used to my "order two workbooks and done" routine. :o )

 

 

Link? I vastly prefer having the TMs for ease of correcting if nothing else.

That's what we have always done. Just the textbook and workbook. This is the first year I got the TM. I will say that we use BA for enrichment but there is nothing in the text the references using anything other than the workbook. I always work the problems next to him so I have not really needed it for correcting however I can definitely see how that would be helpful to have.



#25 SilverMoon

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Posted 06 August 2015 - 10:22 AM

That's what we have always done. Just the textbook and workbook. This is the first year I got the TM. I will say that we use BA for enrichment but there is nothing in the text the references using anything other than the workbook. I always work the problems next to him so I have not really needed it for correcting however I can definitely see how that would be helpful to have.

 

Thanks! It's the answer key I'm after for saving correcting time. With Horizons DD/7 will tell me if she doesn't understand the new concept and complete the whole lesson on her own, with me at elbow or in the same room. Helping when she doesn't perceive the need for it makes her prickly. LOL Her scores and understanding are excellent, so there's no need to fix what isn't broken.

 

DD/7 dabbles in BA, but here it's a fun extra, like a Zaccaro book.



#26 chiefcookandbottlewasher

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Posted 06 August 2015 - 09:10 PM

Get the MIF ISBN numbers from Amazon and use Bookfinder dot com to find the best used price for textbooks and teacher guides. I bought the workbooks new, I think on Ebay, for a good price. You can get a low priced CD on Ebay for all the "extras" if you want them—the enrichment, reteaching, practice sheets and tests. You print them out yourself. Don't buy individual "extra" books as that adds up to more $$.

 

I switched from Singapore Standards to MIF this year (for my 2 DD's). I used Singapore Standards for K-3 with my DS when he was homeschooled. I liked it fine. However, my DS used MIF at his private school in 4th grade and  I saw it and really liked it. I find MIF to be more in depth than the other Singapore materials, as well as more thorough and engaging, at least for my girls.