4wildberrys Posted May 27, 2009 Share Posted May 27, 2009 gave me this awesome response to my inquiries about the program after reading some pretty disparaging thoughts about whether MUS is enough for 'college bound' or 'math bright' kids. This is for you moms using MUS and loving it, but feeling pressure to switch to something 'more rigorous' for high school! Katie Thank you for writing and giving me an opportunity to assure you that MathUSee will more than equip your student for college, upper level science, advanced math applications, and standardized testing such as the ACT and SAT. There are several issues being raised in the comments by the â€œadvisorâ€. I will respond first in in a general sense addressing the big picture and then go through the â€œreviewâ€ more specifically point by point. At the end of these responses I have included several testimonies from students, parents, and one from a college professor. I hope my explanation will help to restore your confidence in your original decision to switch to MathUSee. You and your student will do well and in a few short years be glad you made the switch and did not hearken to the nay sayers. Blessings Steve Demme General Comments on Math Education in the U.S.A. As you are probably aware, when it comes to math, the U.S. does not fare well when compared to other nations. Our education experts have responded by increasing the quantity of math topics in math textbooks. They reason that more is better and more material will produce stronger math students. But this has not been the result. Interestingly, countries that excel in these international comparisons spend more time on essential concepts mastering the material instead of hustling through a dizzying array of math subject matter as we do in America. Subsequently our math curriculum in America has the reputation of being a mile wide and an inch deep. My conviction is to improve the quality of each lesson by spending as much time as is necessary for students to thoroughly master a topic before moving on to a new subject. I believe one concept understood is better than three that have been covered in a table of contents. Most of us who have been through the school assembly line recall that it is possible to pass a class without understanding what we have been taught. By the time a student has completed the MathUSee curriculum he will have studied the same math topics as his contemporaries in other math curricula PLUS he will understand what he has been taught and be able to apply this knowledge in upper level science course and other advanced math applications. The sampling of testimonies will bear this out. But one in particular from an Academic V.P. of a respected college will illustrate this best. He told me in no uncertain terms that their students had come to them with excellent test scores but they didnâ€™t have the requisite math knowledge to complete the one required science class. They knew how to do math on paper but they didn't understand the underlying concepts of math and were not able to apply what they had â€œlearnedâ€ from the textbook in their upper level science course. (The science class in this case was physics. I didn't ask the professor's permission to quote him so this is purposely vague). Review of the Comments from the â€œAdvisorâ€ I selected sentences in the comments you sent to me from the forum and they are in green. My comments follow in blue. â€œI can only speak in general terms on MUS. 1. Obviously I can speak to MathUSee since I authored it. But I also taught 4 levels of Saxon, the 76, Algebra 1/2, Algebra 1, Algebra 2 in the classroom and tutored from several other books. I chose these books for my classes because I like the word problems and spiral review in each lesson. It is a very different set up than Saxon, more of a mastery approach than spiral approach. 2. When I wrote MathUSee I incorporated what I think is the best blend of mastery and spiral. In each lesson we have several Lesson Practice pages which focus exclusively on the new topic and these are followed by several Systematic Review pages which reinforce topics previously taught. Our students have time to thoroughly master each topic AND review all that they have studied up to that point. So an entire year is mostly dedicated to fractions, while another year is mostly dedicated to two-digit multiplication etc. 3. MathUSee was written for home educators. This is a very different approach to teaching. A home educator is more of a tutor than a classroom instructor. Tutors move at an individual studentâ€™s pace, whereas classroom instruction moves at the pace of a textbook. Tutors teach children with textbooks, classroom instructors teach textbooks to children. We do not have grade levels or â€œyearâ€ expectations on any of our levels. A level may take 6 months and it may take a year and a half. We encourage teachers to move at the pace of their student. I thought it interesting (and providential) that fractions and multiplication were commented on. Recent studies have observed that the reason American students do not do well in Algebra is because they do not understand multiplication and fractions. Another reason we do not have grade levels, is that some students may need to go back and take a refresher course on fractions or decimals before delving into PreAlgebra or Algebra 1. Math is sequential and builds upon previously mastered topics. Where a student is placed is just as important as moving at his pace. There are not many homeschool friendly Calculus programs out there 4. We are 4-5 lessons from completing the MathUSee Calculus which will be out this fall. Since the fall of 2008, we have been teaching a group of MathUSee students who had completed PreCalculus as juniors and were eager to be a part of our beta testing group. One young man had finished PreCalculus as a sophomore. I think what is most important is that you have the tools to successfully teach the math to your student so that they can do well. 5. I couldnâ€™t agree more. And we have many tools. In addition to an Instruction Manual, a Student Text, and a Test Booklet, we also have instructional DVDs, manipulatives, Honors lessons (now a part of the Student text), ongoing support from qualified tutors, online forums, and other online resources. So overall, it seems like their sequence of courses is about 1/2 year to 3/4 of a year behind a typical sequence in high school math. 6. Since we move at the studentâ€™s pace, our sequence canâ€™t be behind. If you read the testimonies you will notice that many of the students were ahead of traditional grade level expectations. In MathUSee we encourage students to move at their pace. If they need longer to master a topic they have that freedom. If they understand a new topic quickly they are encouraged to keep moving. Since we use manipulatives, abstract concepts are learned more readily. Again I've not actually delved into the MUS books themselves 7. MathUSee is much more than books. While we continue to improve our books, the focus is on understanding math (math you understand or math you see). Teachers (and many students) learn the concepts of math from watching the DVD and students (and many teachers) experience and understand math through the use of the hands-on manipulatives. My post here is too LONG---so I am going to post the Testimonials on the next post :001_smile: Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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