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birchbark

"Learn Math Fast" curriculum

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I've only recently come across this curriculum in spite of many years of homeschooling, research, and forums. I think the title may have thrown me off; I think it sounds kind of gimmicky, not like a solid curriculum.

But I've been pretty impressed with what I've seen. It uses the incremental, mastery method that I've loved in vintage math texts, but with big clear print, white space, and printable worksheets. The instruction is right in the text with every step illustrated so no need for a teacher's manual. The books are "levels" not grades, and you place your child according to ability and go at your own pace. You are encouraged to re-do lessons whenever there is uncertainty or confusion. 

The program covers grade one right up to high-school level-math, so there's continuity. With this aspect and the clear lesson layout, I would feel more confident recommending this program over vintage math texts, especially to newbies. 

I've ordered the first couple books to try out, but I'm just wondering if there are any users here who can offer their thoughts. 

http://www.learnmathfastbooks.com/index.html

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It does look nice, doesn't it? I haven't used it but I've seriously looked at the Algebra levels. I love that Volume 6 focuses on real-life applications of algebra. I have this in the back of my mind if the current algebra I've picked for next year doesn't work out. Just thought I would give you a bump. Have you done a google search for reviews? There are a few from bloggers and other homeschool message boards.

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Yes, I have found a handful of blog and Youtube reviews, and they are helpful; all positive! 

One of the things I miss from "the old days" on these forums was the sheer volume of curriculum experience represented. You could ask about the most obscure curriculum and be sure to find at least one person who had used it. These days it seems like everyone uses the same five or ten programs. 

But I thought I'd take a chance and see if any WTMers had used LMF. I plan on using it for a bit and hope to post a review in the future.

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4 hours ago, birchbark said:

Yes, I have found a handful of blog and Youtube reviews, and they are helpful; all positive! 

One of the things I miss from "the old days" on these forums was the sheer volume of curriculum experience represented. You could ask about the most obscure curriculum and be sure to find at least one person who had used it. These days it seems like everyone uses the same five or ten programs. 

But I thought I'd take a chance and see if any WTMers had used LMF. I plan on using it for a bit and hope to post a review in the future.

Yes, please do return and give a review. I find the reviews from blogs very unreliable since the bloggers are often given the materials for free, and they are ALWAYS positive. They also never seem to use the materials for very long, since there is always a new program to try out and review. The first blog review I clicked on had also glowingly reviewed 9 other math curricula. 

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My ds16 used books 3, 5, and 6 this year. We started the year with another algebra 2 text book, but stopped to do these books. Since there are only about 30 lessons in each book aside from the tests, I went all the way back to book 3 to get a solid review of algebra. Also, the sequence is different from other curriculum. Slopes are introduced in book three. Concepts are broken down and practiced in each lesson. The other text we were using introduced too many steps in a lesson. LMF breaks the steps down and you practice it and then you add to it in the next lesson and practice that. I noticed that some math concepts were broken down into three lessons that showed up in one lesson of the other text we had on hand.

The author's way of explaining concepts were so simple and easy to follow. My son went through the books almost all on his own. He had to email the author a couple of times, and she responded right away and offered to even talk with him on the phone. She sincerely wanted him to understand the math concepts. DS did find a mistake in the answer key and she thanked him, told him he earned a gold star, and gave us a discount on future purchases.

There is no review. At times, the lesson will say, if you don't remember how to do this part, go back to lesson #_ of volume #_.
There was one lesson in volume 6 that I really wish that there were more practice problems for. I think it was on mixtures and percent concentrations. There are some extra practice sheets for other concepts on their website though. The last test in book 6 was really long. I would break it up into two days instead of one.

My dd14 did books 3 and 5 this year, too. She did much better with these than other books. Math use to make her cry, but I think she is making friends with math now. ;) 

We'll continue with the geometry book, volume 7, next year.

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I heard of this for the first time this week as I was researching vintage math texts...again.  I keep coming back to them.  I've decided to try Strayer Upton for now, but please do come back with reviews for those of you who have purchased this.  It looks great!

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We are using these this year too. The math is explained very well. She puts things in the multiplication lesson like to multiply 11 by double digits you spread the other number apart, then add those two digits together and then put the answer in between the two digits you spread apart and that's your answer. That's probably in other math programs and i just never noticed it before, idk? Anyways, it's just seems to make math very easy to understand.

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9 minutes ago, JaneEyre said:

We are using these this year too. The math is explained very well. She puts things in the multiplication lesson like to multiply 11 by double digits you spread the other number apart, then add those two digits together and then put the answer in between the two digits you spread apart and that's your answer. That's probably in other math programs and i just never noticed it before, idk? Anyways, it's just seems to make math very easy to understand.

As you've explained it here, this sounds more procedural than mathematical.  What does "spread apart" mean?  Do you mean you multiply the other number by 10 and by 1 and then add the products?  Like 23 x 11 is 23 x 10 plus 23 x 1 = 230 + 23 = 253?  Does she give the reason this works?  You can actually do this with any two double digit (or larger) numbers--that's what the multiplication algorithm is doing--it's just that with 11, it's really easy to do in your head.  All good programs will point this out (not necessary the 11 thing specifically, but how the multiplication algorithm works) and have students do various activities to solidify the concept.

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Any updates from y'all who have used LMF? 

Considering it for my 11 yo math-struggler.

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Yes, I guess I said I'd come back and review, didn't I? 🙂 I used book two with my 5th-grader for a short time last year, and this year I've been using book one with my 3rd-grader.

For the most part, I really, really like it. The math is clearly explained and very step-by-step. My kids have had no problem understanding the explanations on their own. I was a little worried about that with my 3rd-grader; the book got into mental math tricks fairly quickly and I wasn't sure that she would understand them.

I like when students have regular parental involvement in their math; however, if you really need a math program that your kids work through on their own, this would be a good one for that. I have seen none better in their explanations (in the print-based category). You can tell it was written for homeschoolers. Of course it works equally well for doing math together. 

The instruction is very incremental and would be excellent for filling in gaps or developing confidence.

Mental math is emphasized and little tricks to help that are taught.

The only "fussy" part about it is needing to print off the worksheets. And monitoring when more review is needed; the review is not built in like most programs. You need to be able to see when your student needs more review, and go print another sheet. I suppose you could have your student copy the problems in a separate notebook too.

And I do wish there were more story problems. Strayer-Upton wins in that department.  

I haven't used it very far up in the levels, but at this point I would still recommend it as an excellent math program.

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10 hours ago, birchbark said:

Yes, I guess I said I'd come back and review, didn't I? 🙂 I used book two with my 5th-grader for a short time last year, and this year I've been using book one with my 3rd-grader.

For the most part, I really, really like it. The math is clearly explained and very step-by-step. My kids have had no problem understanding the explanations on their own. I was a little worried about that with my 3rd-grader; the book got into mental math tricks fairly quickly and I wasn't sure that she would understand them.

I like when students have regular parental involvement in their math; however, if you really need a math program that your kids work through on their own, this would be a good one for that. I have seen none better in their explanations (in the print-based category). You can tell it was written for homeschoolers. Of course it works equally well for doing math together. 

The instruction is very incremental and would be excellent for filling in gaps or developing confidence.

Mental math is emphasized and little tricks to help that are taught.

The only "fussy" part about it is needing to print off the worksheets. And monitoring when more review is needed; the review is not built in like most programs. You need to be able to see when your student needs more review, and go print another sheet. I suppose you could have your student copy the problems in a separate notebook too.

And I do wish there were more story problems. Strayer-Upton wins in that department.  

I haven't used it very far up in the levels, but at this point I would still recommend it as an excellent math program.

...and now I want to buy another math program....lol

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The set really helped my 5th grader who somehow forgot all her math facts over the summer. We needed something to help her her back on track and help with confidence.  Oldest DD used Mastering Essential Math Skills but this DD really needed things broke down a bit more. The beginning of the program really helped review and soldify her math facts. She liked the way the lesson was written - very conversational.  We only went through book 1, though, returning to our previous program (she was just ready). 

Edited by alisoncooks
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