Math has been a bit of a struggle for us. And when I say “us” my thoughts stray back to my 6th grade math class. I can remember my teacher (a narcoleptic Mr. Carr), but little else. I should point out that my memories of math during my school years is a mixed bag. Until I reached college. In college, I killed it…strangely enough.
Nevertheless, my son struggles with dyscalculia. Mostly, he has difficulty remembering math facts. This has become more of an issue for us as we’ve approached the algebra years. I want him to have a better handle on being able to manipulate and understand numbers better. So we’ve gone back to the basics. We recently were blessed with the chance to review the Alpha Level Digital Pack from Math-U-See's new Digital Packs by Demme Learning. We were doubly blessed to receive a complete physical set of the program as well.
In case you haven’t heard about Math-U-See, you need to know a few things. It is a skill-based, multi-sensory curriculum that uses video instruction. It is intended for use with K-12. There are many levels available for use depending on where your student is at. I appreciate that the levels are not based by grades...merely need and skill level.
The digital packs are a new venture for Math-U-See. The Alpha pack includes:
~ 12-month access to steaming instruction vidoes
~ A Instruction Manual (PDF)
~ Skip Counting Songs mp3
~ Songbook (PDF)
~ Digital Manipulates
You will need to purchase the student workbook.
One of the great features of the Math-U-See program is Steve Demme. He is the creator and instructor in all of the instructor videos. Josiah enjoyed his engaging and natural teaching methods. He explains things in a way that we all wonder why we were never taught that way in the first place.
A HUGE benefit to the Digital Pack in this regard was that Josiah was able to view his lessons using a variety of devices. His Kindle. His Daddy’s tablet. My Kindle. The computer. My laptop. We were able to “do math” on a trip out of town without packing the DVD player.
The Digital Pack also features online manipulatives. The blocks are the foundation of Math-U-See’s method. I personally prefer the physical set of blocks for Josiah. He is older than most kiddos using the Alpha lessons, but he seems to absorb the material better when he can actually build the problems. This is not to say that the online manipulatives aren’t helpful. In fact, he would probably tell you that he prefers those. They are simply much “cooler.” You will need access the online manipulatives with Chrome or Safari. I will say that the digital manipulatives are much easier to cart around. ;<)
I appreciate that the Digital Pack also includes a helpful tutorial on how to use the online manipulatives.
I need to tell you that one of my favorite things about Math-U-See (and there are many) is that there are many opportunities available for mastery. You will never be in short supply of materials for reinforcement. If your child is like mine (and needs a few trips around the block before it sticks) he or she will benefit from plenty hands-on experiences. I found the Parental Resources section to be exceptionally helpful.
When we were given the chance to choose what level to review, I felt like Josiah would benefit from Alpha most of all. I greatly underestimated where he is in his math journey. Alpha focuses on place value, addition and subtraction (single digit). He is just zipping right along. I will say that this review has given him much more math confidence, so I don’t regret my decision at all. However, he might have been better challenged by moving up to Beta (which focuses on multi-digit adding and subtraction, along with regrouping).
If you are brand new to Math-U-See, I suggest you go poke around the site a bit. There is a "What Curriculum Set Do I Need" button just for you. Demme Learning is also responsible for the excellent Spelling-U-See curriculum (which is what we use).
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