Prep and Use of Math-U-See

All five of my children work at different paces and are all in different levels so it has been difficult keeping up with them. I have tried several different curriculum and none fit as well as Math-U-See (MUS.) As we are moving along in MUS, I have tried several methods of how we use the workbook and how we schedule lessons. Here is what we do now and has worked quite well for several years.



Goodbye Bindings


First, I cut off the bindings and put all the worksheets into a 3 ring binder and slip the workbook cover into the front panel so the cover can easily be seen. (And, obviously, I put the backside in the back.) This is much easier and more functional, for my children for several reasons.

Reason #1 - Several of my kids get annoyed with the workbook intact and claim they can't do it in the book (so they would be ripping them out anyway.) It annoys me when all the worksheets are ripped and torn, and they pull bits of paper off where they tore it crooked. So to save my sanity, I had the bindings cut off at my local print shop.

Reason #2 - When I skip a worksheet, I remove it. So they don't do every single page in the workbook. (One year, my 1st grader kept doing worksheets I didn't schedule and I kept having to redirect her and it took us longer to get through the book. At least she got lost of practice, right?) Sometimes they need to do all of the worksheets in the lesson, but most of the time, they can skip two or three of them and move on to the next lesson.

Organizing the Binder


Next, I put the MUS Grading Sheet in the front pocket of the binder for easy access. I draw a big line where we have finished a marking period. (I grade like the schools according to marking period, because my children are quite motivated to get good grades. And of course they all have good grades!)

I put the sheets they can skip in the back pocket of the binder just in case I need to pull one out because they need to practice a previous lesson.

Weekly Lesson Planning


Each Sunday night I go through and schedule the next week's lessons. I love sticky notes so I write the week we are on and M,T,W,T,F down the side and add the page they are to complete each day, including whether or not they need to do drills on the computer. (We use www.xtramath.com.)

Grading


When it comes to checking their workbook pages, I have my older children check their pages with the teachers manual by themselves. (6th grade and up.) They are honest about it and they give me the number grade using my handy grader (see first photo above.)

I write down their lesson numbers and letters in my Homemade Lesson Planner and as they complete a lesson I record their grade (and they write it on the Grading Sheet.) This way, we have 2 sources for their grades and the worksheets can be thrown away.

My Review of Math-U-See


I survived math in elementary school and somehow flew under the radar through high school. It must have been committed to short term memory and as soon as I graduated it was flushed, because I am relearning the upper level math. The only other thing I can think is that Mr. Demme (of Math-U-See) presents math in a way that I can understand. It is very visual with the manipulative's and the DVD of Mr. Demme teaching. I see it and understand it. The manipulative's help children who are hands-on. The DVD is helpful for the auditory learners. This curriculum reaches so many learning styles. Because of that, all five of my children have been able to learn from it and we will be using it straight through high school.


I love finding a curriculum that works (for different reasons) for each one of my children. I love sticking with one curriculum. It's painful and inconvenient to have to shift from one program to another to find a good fit. That fight is over for math. Math-U-See all the way!