We previously used the maths curriculum provided by Theocentric Christian Education (T.C.E) who was our service provider. We decided this year to choose our own curriculum providers for the subjects we chose to do. This type of home-schooling is known as “eclectic” style. The word eclectic means to derive ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.
When you have a service provider such as T.C.E you receive a box of books for the grade you are registered to do. Therefore, you are limited as far as choice of curriculum. When I began home-schooling my knowledge was limited so I chose to use a service provider and cover all my bases. With T.C.E we did BJU maths up to grade 6. I found this maths amazing, but I found the preparation and from a home-school moms’ perspective a little overwhelming. I kept doubting if I could get the lessons across clearly, so my kids understood the particular section, and it was daunting. I enjoy maths and the topics were not difficult, but I knew that my daughter understood better when she was able to physically see and touch counting blocks or fraction shapes. I also went online and found BJU offered pre-recorded online maths lessons that were so much fun, and she would have loved it, but it was costly once converted to South African Rands.
My son in Grade 7 started with Mastermaths which is also an excellent programme, but I felt I wasn’t getting through to him the way I needed to. We went onto the Mastermaths website and found that they also offered pre-recorded online maths lessons. Because Mastermaths was more reasonable for the year, we bought the online package, and we would log in and watch a lesson each day before he tried the exercises. This was much better for us and I felt like he and I were learning together, instead of me trying to get the message across to him.
I kept hearing my friends who were home-schooling speak about Math U See but never fully understood what it entailed. This year when we decided to move to a more eclectic style of home-schooling, I immediately started researching more about Math U See. My friend leant me one of her kids books and DVD for my daughter and we used it a few times. My daughter did not love it at first, in fact she was quite apprehensive watching a maths lesson on a DVD or listening to a ‘granpa’ teach her. She resisted this method at first. My son loved it because as I said he was used to watching the lesson online from last year. But they both eventually adjusted well and now we are well on our way, and they are enjoying Math U See.
Math U see comes with different levels for whatever stage your child is at. They do not work with the grade your child is in, but rather the level of understanding of your child. The books are named according to the Greek alphabet rather than grades. The first step is to do the assessments to find which level your child will be on. In our case my daughter started on Epsilon which is the book on fractions. This book focuses on basics of fractions getting more challenging as we go on. We also bought the fraction overlay kit which is recommended as when Steve (the author) teachers he prompts the child to use the fraction cards. The learning is also cemented very well when used in conjunction with the math manipulatives. My son who is now in grade 8 started with the Pre-Algebra books and we also bought the maths manipulatives that are recommended for that book. We bought our teacher books and DVDs second hand on the home-school Facebook group as well as the Oikos website. You could do the assessment on the math U See website or the Oikos website (Oikos is a local South African family run business). Oikos also has done all the hard work of converting the currency from the dollar to the rand, and of course postage will be much cheaper. The Math U See package for each level has a teacher guidebook which has an explanation of the lesson found on the DVD, as well as the answers at the back of the book. There is the student book which your child will use daily. It also has the DVD which you will watch for every new lesson for example, Lesson 1 has a lesson to watch on the DVD, thereafter Lessons 1A-F, this will take you 6 days to complete. You then move onto Lesson 2 watch the lesson and the child completes lesson 2A-F etc. At the end of about 8 sections there is a test which you can use as an assessment. The Pre-Algebra book is slightly different as it has an honours lesson at the end of each section. It also has a test at the end of about 8 lessons. Hopefully, this has been helpful for you to understand Math U see a little better.
Deborah Pretorius is a mother of 3 kids and a BCom graduate on the amazing adventure of home schooling her family.