What was your least favorite subject in school? For me it was math! So when I started homeschooling, teaching math made me super nervous! I was so afraid I’d jumble it all up and mess my kids’ math brains up forever! Actually… surprise, surprise, math has been my most fun subject to teach so far! I am loving using Demme Learning’s Math-U-See homeschool math Alpha program (which we received for review) in both the physical and Digital Packs.
What is Demme Learning’s Math-U-See all about?
I’d heard friends rave about Math-U-See for years. But now that I’ve read about their system of hands-on math learning, I totally get why they love it. Because I love it too!
The basic principle is aligned with Montessori math concepts of learning numbers 0-9 and focusing on place value as the foundation for understanding math. The program is designed to teach math concepts as they unfold – from place value to adding 0, adding 1, adding 2, etc. It’s just so logical to me!I feel like I’m learning along with my kids and finally understand how math works!
And the simplicity! Oh! There is a big box of math manipulative “integer blocks” that are used in every lesson (so far!). Instead of a zillion different pieces, the blocks are used from everything like counting, adding, subtracting, making shapes, and telling time. Kids even love to build and create with the blocks (and the curriculum explains how this is actually a learning experience as children innately begin to understand addition facts through this play!).
The Alpha program physical set includes an instructor’s book, DVD lessons, student workbook, assessment workbook, and the box of math manipulatives. The Digital Pack has instructor guide available online, plus streaming video instead of the DVD. The student workbooks are not part of the Digital Packs, however, you can create your own worksheets with or without an image of the math manipulatives. Using Demme Learning’s Math-U-See at Home
Here’s how we go about math now with the Math-U-See program: Demme Learning provides online placement tests to assess which level to get for your child. I feel my six year old would’ve done well in the Beta program, however, the online placement test suggested he still didn’t understand a few key concepts for that level, so I decided to go with Alpha just to be sure he had a solid math foundation. Plus, his little brother is soaking up the concepts alongside him!
I watch the videos the night or two before. Each lesson is really just a few minutes long (so far, at this level! I don’t know how long the lessons are later). I also read through the instructors book and highlight key facts. The instructor’s book very nearly mirrors what the video lesson shares, but I like to mark it down so I don’t have to keep popping the DVD in every time I want to remember something.
The next day, I have my boys watch the video lesson. Now, we’re not big on video learning, but it’s more like a quick demonstration of the concept using the blocks, and the boys have the blocks in front of them too, so I have them copy what they see on the screen so they are actively watching. Because we can watch the lesson online with the Digital Packs, we can take this program anywhere to complete our learning!
After the video, we complete the practice pages. Each lesson provides three pages of practice, and three pages of cumulative review (review of ALL lessons thus far). Typically, I have my 6 year old complete one page a day. Then, I’ll have him take the assessment page. What I love about the worksheet books is how they are still hands on: coloring, drawing, or using the blocks to answer the problem. There are “fun pages” at the end with dot-to-dots and other activities that provide math practice in an exciting way!
The blocks are used both to demonstrate lesson concepts, and for practice. There is a poster of “Decimal Street” (their place value concept) in the box, but I also created a foam board Decimal Street at Night for the boys to play on, so it would be sturdier and moveable! Plus, since playing with the blocks is encouraged, I usually pick one day a week for “block play” where the boys build and create with the blocks.
Oh! And the Digital Pack also includes MP3’s of skip counting songs and a PDF songbook! We love playing those in the background during play time!
The program is designed so you move at your child’s pace. We’d already learned adding and subtracting by 0, 1, and 2 previously, so I only had my son do one worksheet for each just to get him used to the new program. If you hit a tough spot, complete more practice on that concept. Here’s where the Digital Packs come in handy: create additional worksheets for a particular lesson if you feel your children need more work on a concept!
Final Thoughts about Demme Learning’s Math-U-See
We’ve enjoyed the hands-on math with Demme Learning’s Math-u-See curriculum. I am pretty sure I’ll be moving on to Beta for next year with my oldest.
Cost-wise, I find it to have an affordable price point, especially considering you’ll use about half of the materials with multiple students.
- A Universal Set includes: Integer Blocks, instructor set, student workbooks, and 12 months of the Digital Packs for $153. (That’s a $208 value).
- You’ll never have to purchase the Integer Blocks again, and can continue future years with either the physical set ($90) or the Digital Packs ($38).
- There may be additional resources needed at higher levels.
What have your experiences been teaching homeschool math? And read what other homeschool moms have to say about Demme Learning’s Math-U-See program (at various levels!):