# What is Math-U-See like?

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I've heard about it, but please, can someone explain to me, in easy to understand terms, LOL, what it's like to use it for a kindergartner? Math is not my strong point, and though I know teaching K is very easy, I still get frustrated b/c math is not my dd's strong area, either. Maybe if we switch to something totally different?... She has trouble staying focused on math b/c it just does not interest her. She can write numbers 0-10 and recognize numbers through the 20s, but I feel like she is falling behind. She definitely cannot write numbers past 20 and I've heard she needs to count and write all numbers to 100 by the end of K.

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I have been using MUS Primer with my daughter who is 5. I started it with her ab 4 1/2. She likes it okay. Several of the chapters in the beginning deal with hundreds place value, and learning the layout of the MUS blocks. I skipped over those chapters, because the big red hundred blocks did not interest her, and I felt the chapter on learning the blocks was redundant, since they use the blocks in every lesson, I knew she would pick it up. She doesn't seem very interested in the Primer book, but does love counting, calendar, and some other math related activities that we do. I am going to switch into either Horizons or Saxon with her.

Now, my son, who's been through Alpha, Beta, and Gamma and is now going into Delta has really loved MUS. He loves math, but gets overwhelmed easily. A Beka and Saxon did not suit his learning style very well, where the spiral method is used. (that's where they learn a new concept every day, and continue to practice it through out the book.) With MUS, the books cover a process of math, and use a master approach. The student learns a new math lesson once every week, or longer if needed, and then works on that concept until it is mastered. For instance, Alpha is single digit addition and subtraction. The book is centered on this concept, but does add in other lessons on measurement, money, time and simple geometry concepts. (Finding perimeter by adding all the sides up.) Every lesson contains 3 practice sheets, that only provide problems that re-enforce the lesson just taught, and 3 review sheets that provide practice on all concepts taught up to that point. For a child who is not strong in math, I think this is an excellent program. You can move at your child's pace, so they don't feel overwhelmed. Or speed through the lessons if your child picks it up quickly.

You can check out their website at www.mathusee.com and they have scope and seqence and sample pages available to view before purchasing.

Whatever you choose, I hope it works out for you.

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Steve Demme, the author of the program, teaches each lesson on the DVD. It's approx. 5-7 mins. for each lesson, and he uses the blocks and explains the concept. My kids like to watch the DVD, so we all watch them together, and then I use the teacher manual to make sure I've got my bases covered when explaining anything further should they have questions. Also, I have not checked this out, but I've been told that they have teacher help on their website. So that's an added plus.

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My first advice is always to determine your child's learning style. Cathy Duffy's books are great for this. She also tells which programs are better/worse for the different learning styles.

We've used MUS from K to Algebra. What I most remember at the K level is Decimal Street.

Ds is 13 now, but I remember well when we played Decimal Street. There is a home for the 1s, a mansion for the 10s, and a castle for the 100s. The castle is on the left, the mansion is in the middle, the home is on the right.

First, I showed him a number, say 362. I had 3 100s living in the castle, 6 10s living in the mansion, and 2 1s in the home. Then, I would walk away and ds would pretend to be a tornado and mess up all the blocks. Then, he would be a dog and come barking to find me and show me what the tornado had done. Then, we would put things back in the right spot and he would tell me the number: Three hundred sixty two. He loved playing this game, and we played it over and over again. Before we played this game, if we were at a hotel and our room number was 362, he would call it three-six-two. This is MUS's way of helping the children SEE that 362 is 3 100s, 6 10s, and 2 1s.

Eventually, you can show regrouping with Decimal Street. Only 9 of any kind can fit in the buildings. When there are more than 9, 10 combine and move to the bigger building. Again, the children SEE the reason for what they are doing. Teaching place value is one of MUS's strengths.

MUS is so easy to use. At the beginning of the week, I watch the DVD or read the TM. I present the lesson to my son, and he works on his own the rest of the week. The DVDs are there to hold your hand. The lessons are short and sweet. The lesson build little by little until your child knows a whole lot.

This old thread has my detailed review in it.

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We've tried Horizons, Abeka, Saxon, and MUS. MUS is a perfect fit for my accelerated aspie. We start the week by watching the lesson together and then my son does the worksheet independently. Then Tues-Fri he wakes up and starts working on a worksheet before I ask him too! This is huge, my son hated math last month and now he's a totally different kid.

We are actually using it in conjunction with Singapore math. I am new to singapore and so far I'm loving it. If I had to pick just one to use I'd probably go with MUS because my son prefers it.

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We just adore MUS. Neither dd nor I like math particularly, but we both find it wonderfully do-able, and more importantly, understandable, with MUS.

The strength of the program is twofold:

--The videos are excellent. Steve Demme is a fabulous teacher with a knack for explaining things simply. In particular, I have found that I understand finding the area of various shapes sooooo much better than I ever did before. Steve Demme makes great use of the manipulatives to make things clear.

--I love being able to stay with one topic (like multiplication) for an entire book. For dd this has been a real blessing. She was formerly doing Singapore, which covers many topics over the year. For dd this meant she had to move on to a new topic before really cementing her understanding. With MUS she can stay with one thing and build on it.

My one recommendation for this or ANY math program is that you supplement heavily with drill or math games for math facts for the rest of the student's academic career. Easy recall of math facts makes advanced math operations soooo much easier.

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I am disappointed to see a 4.5 yo labled as not very good at math.

She is so little, just because she isn't strong in or interested in formally learning math right now, it is okay.

At this age what is making her not good at math is your stress and worry about it, not not getting the lessons.

I truly think getting all worked up about this is going to hurt her math skills more in the future then not doing any math for a year or two. Don't make this a battle, it really is okay to take it easy at four or five or even six.

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We just adore MUS. Neither dd nor I like math particularly, but we both find it wonderfully do-able, and more importantly, understandable, with MUS.

The strength of the program is twofold:

--The videos are excellent. Steve Demme is a fabulous teacher with a knack for explaining things simply. In particular, I have found that I understand finding the area of various shapes sooooo much better than I ever did before. Steve Demme makes great use of the manipulatives to make things clear.

--I love being able to stay with one topic (like multiplication) for an entire book. For dd this has been a real blessing. She was formerly doing Singapore, which covers many topics over the year. For dd this meant she had to move on to a new topic before really cementing her understanding. With MUS she can stay with one thing and build on it.

My one recommendation for this or ANY math program is that you supplement heavily with drill or math games for math facts for the rest of the student's academic career. Easy recall of math facts makes advanced math operations soooo much easier.

Wonderful reviews! Do you have any particular drill or math games you would recommend?

I am disappointed to see a 4.5 yo labled as not very good at math.

She is so little, just because she isn't strong in or interested in formally learning math right now, it is okay.

At this age what is making her not good at math is your stress and worry about it, not not getting the lessons.

I truly think getting all worked up about this is going to hurt her math skills more in the future then not doing any math for a year or two. Don't make this a battle, it really is okay to take it easy at four or five or even six.

OK, maybe I should not say that she is "not very good" at math. But I do think it is okay for me to be concerned enough about her math skills that I explore new avenues, rather than just sticking to one curriculum. :)

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I looked at Math U See as well, and it seems to be a great program. But I really liked Math on the Level. It's a K-8th curriculum that teaches skill mastery, as well as engages them in fun, real ways to use math. And it's designed to be very flexible so you can skip from one concept to another if they just aren't ready or aren't getting it. It's one of the few curriculums that takes a child's maturity level into account.

I also love that it's only 5 review problems a day (but not at this beginning stage), and it comes with a full record keeping system to where your child reviews all of the concepts that they've learned every 3 weeks.

But at this beginning age, all of the instruction centers around enjoying using numbers and playing with them on a daily basis. One of the books is just activities and ideas to help you enjoy 'playing' with (and later applying) math.

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I would have quoted, but I would be quoting everyone. lol.

My first choice would be no curriculum. Make speghetti numbers, count with a chart, and teach adding, etc. with things, not paper. I would recommend Rightstart, Math on the Level, or Livingmath.net. MFW K was perfect for math at that age, but you can't buy the math separate. :(

DD went to K for a few months. This was what they did. Yes, they have to count and right to 100. Once. At the end of K. And they copy it.

I am also disappointed at seeing concern for a newly 5 year old not being good at math. She really doesn't need to be doing any of it yet.

I switched from MUS to Abeka. DD liked MUS for the first couple of weeks. Then mastering the addition facts is all you do for half a year, if not more. Then it is subtraction facts. I know it works for some kids but wow, she was bored to death and lost all zest for math. I have talked extensively about it on here and the Winterpromise forums. I think I will go ahead and add it to my blog when I have time.

When you use Abeka you don't have to add any kind of drill. It is all done for you. Thank you Abeka!!!

I noticed that DD was really slowing down on her speed drills and so I warned her that she couldn't dally and I was going to have to give her less time. She started panicking and erasing things and told me that it made it harder to write the numbers because she was in a hurry. So now I give her the paper and she reads the problems to me orally and supplies the answer. She is done in a quarter of the time. She knows the facts, she just can't write them that quickly. (She hates flashcards and the MUS online drill, so this is finally what I figured out.) Anyway, I have noticed forming the letters is pretty difficult for her so now she does her math orally and math copywork separately. That way she works on one skill at a time. Math WWE style!

A lot of little ones can do well with oral math or certain styles but not the traditional workbooks. KWIM?

Edited by Lovedtodeath
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If I might suggest, the benchmarks you're setting make me wonder if you've fully accounted for (most) children's needs to have "numbers" have a "concrete" value.

MUS does this though their "blocks". But you are already using one of the best programs available (Singapore) and if you added an \$18 set of Cuisenaire Rods, and have your daughter use those to help solve equations, "see" that 37 is (3) tens and one (7 "unit") then her math understanding might take-off.

When she understands how numbers "work" she'll be able to write to 99 in a day or two. No big deal. Your task is to make the concepts clear and developmentally appropriate. And not to get caught up in the wrong kind of assessment.

The big thing with MUS, it seems to me (and I have only reviewed the samples, videos and followed posts for years, but not used the program) is deciding if it fits a child's nature. MUS author Steve Demme does a great job of explaining concepts in a way that really makes it easy to comprehend. Then you spend a year building on that basic skill. A year on addition. A year on subtraction. A year on multiplication. Division.

For some children this is fantastic, and just what they need, And others will be bored to tears. So know what kind of learner you have before you decide to switch.

But either way, look for ways to make the concepts more comprehensible to a young mind, and don't get thrown off by some sort of public school standard of what she should be doing.

Bill

Edited by Spy Car
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OK, maybe I should not say that she is "not very good" at math. But I do think it is okay for me to be concerned enough about her math skills that I explore new avenues, rather than just sticking to one curriculum.

But she doesn't need a math curriculum at 4 or 5. For most kids it really isn't going to help thier math in the long term, and especially if it is stressful or upsetting.

I think Spy Car hit on an important point too. I think you see that it has taken her 5 years to even be able to count well to 10 and so so to 20, 100 seems like light years away, but really once a kid understands numbers they come quick, not just to 100, but much bigger.

If you have a child that is gifted, it is very common to have some asychronous (sp?) developement. So just because you expect her language skills to be advanced, there is no reason to expect her math skills to be. And I would say for a child who wouldn't even be in K for 4 months and wouldn't be at the end of K for 13 months, she isn't behind. Again, I don't see anything in the posts I read that should make you feel like she is falling behind and that her math skills should be a concern at all, and I still feel like the stress you might be adding to this part of her day is probably the biggest handicap of all.

I just wanted to add that if what concerns you is keeping up with the school standards, then from everything I have read, MUS is not for you.

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I've heard she needs to count and write all numbers to 100 by the end of K.

The one thing that you need to keep in mind is that the end of K is over a year away. She will do fine. She has plenty of time. It's not even the beginning of K yet.

DD's preschool taught this by just counting to 100 together while pointing to a chart. They started by counting to 10 and gradually added more numbers. They counted to 100 for the first time on the 100th day of school and made a big deal out of it.

So, maybe you could aim for writing to 100 on the 100th day of K and work up to it gradually. It is not a big deal.

Oh, in MUS K they learn to count and write to 20 if I remember right.

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Knowing the flow and pattern of verbal counting is a totally different thing than understanding that a number represents a tangible amount (like 3 beans = three), and then they also have to learn to recognize the written numbers that correspond to the numbers that they say. So, they need to be able to learn that a one and a four is called fourteen.

The neat thing about numbers, is that there are patterns to it. Kids learn patterns by repetition and play. Counting objects in books, finding numbers on signs (we're looking for 3's today), making a "5 day" where everything is in 5's (5 carrots on her plate, 5 crayons), counting buttons, sorting colors and then counting them again...making playdough ropes and then forming the numbers...there are so many fun ways to familiarize her with all the aspects of numbers. You can do this much more quickly and effectively than a preschool or K situation, as you have all day with her. :D

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My son LOVES Math U See. He had problems sitting through other math programs and started Math U See at 4, per his request. We are on Primer which I believe lays a great foundation for later mechanics in math. I think Steve Demme presents the lessons SO well. The primer lessons are quite shorter than Alpha and other levels but it's good for beginners so they are not forced to sit through LONG lessons. One of the greatest things is the blocks are the only manipulative you need for awhile, then you add a few things here and there but nothing really expensive. You can see a sample on their site MathUSee.com. I let my son watch it and he begged me for the program and what's best is I get a break to play with my 3 year old for those few minutes while he's working on math. I really think your child would like it but have her watch the sample video and see. I think the BEST thing is that he explains things in very easy to learn ways. I don't know how he managed but he can "paint a picture" for the child and relate it to everyday things. AND what I like the best is he teaches everything with the blocks. My kids LOVE the blocks and think it's so cool. I like it because they don't have to have a million different, expensive materials. Oh, and he uses the See It, Say It, Build It...maybe not in that order but basically it helps children who learn through auditory, visual, and/or hands on learners. I strongly believe it's a well rounded program. We are supplementing this with Christ Centered Curriculum Math as my oldest son LOVES math. I don't know if I will substitute with my middle son yet or not, I guess it just depends how much he likes math. Anyways, I believe the program would be worth a try and honestly if it didn't work out, the resale value of math u see is quite higher than most used materials so you wouldn't be out much.

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I will say that what I have heard of Primer is that it lays a great foundation. I don't think you would mess anything up with it. Alpha is the hardest level to get through due to the mind-numbing repetition.

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