Our Family

Our Family

Friday, March 29, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: Math U See

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Math is one of those subjects that worries homeschool parents, especially when you start getting into the upper grades.  I know one of the first things I was afraid of when I started homeschooling was teaching Math beyond Algebra.  Even though I had taken math all the way to Calculus, it has been a few years, and is one of those things that you do forget if you don't use.  Math U See has curriculum for ages K-12 that takes away parents fear of teaching math.  I was very excited to have an opportunity to review Algebra 2 with my 16 year old daughter.

Math U See believes that the reason we study math is to apply it in everyday situations.  It is a complete, skill based, multi sensory program for grades K-12.  The program is mastery based, meaning that each level covers a concept thoroughly allowing the student to completely understand it before moving on.  Since it is a mastery based program, Math U See's levels are not based on grade.  They offer placement tests to determine where you should begin.  You can find those here.  Lessons are taught by DVD and worksheets are used for the student to practice what has been taught in the lesson.  Manipulatives are used for Primer through Algebra 1.

Before I get into the review part of this review, I want to talk a little bit about my history with Math U See.  I started out using Math U See my first year of homeschooling.  Then, for various reasons ( curriculum was given to us, we bought something else based on a friend's recommendation, we reviewed different curriculum) we switched around a bit. None of those other curricula really stuck with Chelsea, and she started falling further and further behind because she did not fully understand the concepts.  So, last January, I switched her back to Math U See and she has been doing great!  I since then switched all of my children 1-11th grade back to Math U See.

Now let's talk about Algebra 2.

There are 2 components to Math U See Algebra 2.  First, the Instruction Pack ($72) which contains: the hard cover Instructor's Manual with lesson by lesson instruction and detailed solutions and the DVD with detailed lesson by lesson instruction.  The second component is the Student Pack ($32)  which contains  the softcover Student Workbook with lesson by lesson worksheets, review pages, and honors pages.  It also contains the soft cover Test Booklet.

Algebra 1 is needed before taking Algebra 2.  The first few lessons review Algebra 1 before moving on to new materials.  There are 31 lessons in the text.  The length of time spent on a  lesson will vary by student.  Math U See recommends a 4 step approach:

Step 1-Preparation for the Lesson- Watch the DVD and read through the Instruction Manual for that lesson.
Step 2- Presentation of the New Topic- Choose problems from the Instruction Manual to present to the student working with them until the are comfortable.
Step 3- Practice For Mastery- Students complete as many of the lesson practice problems until they understand the new material.  Algebra 2 has 2 pages of lesson practice problems with additional pages being available on the Math U See website if needed.
Step 4- Progression After Mastery- Once the new concept is mastered, students move on to the systematic review pages for that lesson. There are 4 regular systematic review pages for each lesson, plus an Honors page.  After completing those you can take the lesson test.

Table of Contents

  • Exponents
  • Rational Expressions
  • Scientific Notation
  • Combining Like Terms
  • Radicals: Basic Operations and Simplifying
  • Factoring Polynomials
  • Fractional Exponents
  • Solving Equations with Rational Expressions
  • Imaginary and Complex Numbers
  • Conjugate Numbers
  • Cubes and Pascal's Triangle
  • Binomial Theorem
  • Completing the Square
  • Quadratic Formula
  • Discriminants
  • Applications Using Percent
  • Isolating a Variable
  • Ratios
  • Unit Multipliers and Metric Conversions
  • Distance = Rate x Time
  • Motion Problems
  • Graphing Lines
  • Graphing Parallel and Perpendicular Lines
  • Graphing Inequalities
  • Distance Formula and Midpoint Formula
  • Conic Sections: Circle and Ellipse
  • Conic Sections: Parabola
  • Parabola: Maxima and Minima
  • Conic Sections: Hyperbola
  • Solving Systems of Equations: Lines and Conic Sections
  • Coin Problems
  • Consecutive Integers
  • Chemical Mixtures
  • Age and Boat in the Current Problems
  • Solving Equations with Three Variables
  • Vectors

You can view a sample lesson by clicking here.

You can see sample videos here.

Chelsea (16) has been using Math U See Algebra 2 completely on her own.  She usually takes about a week to complete one lesson.  She watches the DVD, reads through the Instructor's Manual, and completes the lesson practice problems.  The next several days she completes the Systematic Review pages until she completely understands the concept, then moves on to take the test.  After completing the test, she grades it and goes back and corrects any problems she has missed.  Chelsea spends an hour per day 4 days a week on math.

I love Math U See!  As a mom of 7, I need a math curriculum that does the bulk of the teaching for me in the   upper levels.  Chelsea likes to work independently and does not want to wait for me to sit down and teach her lessons.  Not to mention, it has been a few years since I was in High School and have taken Algebra 2 (although you'd be surprised at how quickly some of those formulas come back to you.)  I like the ability to bring the "teacher" into the house via DVD.  I think the fact that Mr. Demme is actually teaching a class makes the videos more interesting.  With Math U See she can be completely independent.  If she doesn't understand the concept right away, she can always go back and watch the video again.  If she needs more practice problems, we can simply print off more from the website.  I love the inclusion of Honors worksheets if you choose to complete them.  I love the word problems.  Math U See teaches in a way that is easy to understand.  She is learning the necessary concepts and that knowledge builds and helps her to understand the next concept.  She cannot "guess" her way through Math U See (like you can with programs that give multiple choice answers.)  She has to work out and solve the problems to get to the correct answer.  The Instruction manual does a good job explaining the topic and you can see each step of the solutions.

I asked Chelsea what she likes about Math U See.  She said, " I like the instruction videos.  Mr. Demme takes math and makes it fun and interesting.  I really like his funny (sometimes corny) jokes.  The step by step instruction is presented very clearly and makes sense.  There is nothing distracting about Math U See.  You just watch the videos and do the work. I can understand it!  I like that I can do the work by myself and at my own pace."

The Crew reviewed all of the levels of Math U See.  Click on the banner below to see what other Crew Mates had to say.

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