Monday, March 14, 2016

Review of Demme Learning's Math-U-See

Demme Learning Math U See Review
One of the best things about being on the Crew is that sometimes you get the opportunity to review things that you have always wanted to use, but have never (for whatever reason) gotten around to trying before. I had that experience recently when I got the chance to review Demme Learning's Math-U-See. I don't think there is a homeschooler worth her salt who has not heard of Math-U-See before. They are almost always discussed among the most elite math programs. What I had not previously heard of were their new Digital Packs! The Digital Packs give you a year's worth of access to the same instructional videos that you could previously only access through Math-U-See's DVDs. The Digital Packs also offer instruction manual PDFs and digital manipulatives (where applicable). What they don't include are the student workbooks. Buying these separately is a very cost-effective and easy option, though.

Demme Learning Math U See Review

This review came at a perfect time for us, because both Therese (14, 9th grade) and Nicky (12, 7th grade) were kind of stagnating in their respective Geometry programs. Nicky was almost done with his, but I was getting the feeling that he had stopped paying attention (if you know Nicky that won't really shock you). Therese, because of her ongoing health issues, had never really gotten traction with her Geometry program, so I was very happy for the chance to have her start over with a program that I had always been anxious to try anyway. Thus, both Therese and Nicky began work with Math-U-See's Geometry: Nicky with the Geometry Universal Set, and Therese with the Geometry Digital Pack. Because we are new to Math-U-See, they very generously sent us the Universal Set (which includes access to the Digital Pack), and I then purchased a Student Pack (workbook and tests) for Therese to use in conjunction with the Digital Pack. Demme Learning Math U See Review
The full version of Math-U-See's Geometry (the Universal Set) comes with the following components: an instruction manual with complete solutions, instructional DVD, student and text workbooks, and full 12-month access to the Geometry Digital Pack. Using this set, Nicholas watches the week's DVD lesson and then proceeds to do the corresponding pages in the student workbook. The workbook provides for one lesson each day and includes an extra lesson, requiring more in-depth thinking, that can be completed each week to turn the class into an Honors level course. Because each lesson takes such a short amount of time (N.B., my kids are only in week 4 of Geometry, and both of them have had some Geometry before, as noted above), there is a ton of flexibility in this course - which I love! What I mean by that is my kids can do an entire week's worth of lessons in one day (excluding the Honors lesson - that takes an extra day) if that's what I choose for them to do. In other words, if we are short on time, they can do a lesson (if it's a non-video day) in a fairly short period of time. If we have more time on a given day, they can do several worksheets that day. Therese, in particular, has found that she can do a week's worth of Geometry (including Honors) in about an hour and a half. That's actually critical for her, as she only has until August to do the whole course if she is going to remain/get back on track to finish her freshman year this school year.

So, in general, what does a lesson look like? At the beginning of the week, you watch around a 20 minute video. The video is the same, whether you are using the DVDs in the Universal Set or the streaming videos in the Digital Pack. The lesson gives you all the information you'll need for the lessons for the week. The lessons are found in the student workbook, and are comprised of 20 problems each day (the Honors lesson is different). There are 30 total weeks of lessons.Demme Learning Math U See Review
The Digital Pack
The advantages of Math-U-See's Digital Pack should be immediately obvious. The number one advantage is that you no longer have to sit at your computer to do math. You can do math anywhere (well, anywhere you have Internet access, that is)! If you are short on computer screens, if your computer doesn't have a DVD drive (an increasing phenomenon), if you do a lot of school on the run, or if you depend heavily on devices (like iPads and phones) for school, you will love the Digital Packs. 

When you sign on to your MUS account online and select a lesson, this is what you will see:

Selecting the lesson summary will take you to the same information that was previously found in the Geometry hardback textbook, so if you are trying to pare down your schoolroom (and I *definitely* know what that feels like!), you will appreciate having that information online only. 

The test solutions are also included in the Digital Pack (and are not in any way hidden, which may or may not be a concern for some parents). 

How the Digital Packs Stack Up

Because Demme Learning so generously provided us with the Universal Set, Nicky has been using the DVDs exclusively during the review period, and that has worked fine for him, but after seeing how flexible and easy the Digital Pack is to use (in other words, watching Therese sit on the couch and do math using the online videos - the same videos Nicky has to sit at the computer to view while other kids wait in line to do their schoolwork), I know we will be finishing out the course using the Digital Pack exclusively. DVDs are just so easy to misplace!

What's more -- I don't think I'm ever using another math program over the long haul. In fact, I am sorely tempted to start the twins on MUS Digital Packs, like, yesterday. They can *do* multiplication and division, but I don't know that it's ever really clicked the way it did for my older two. I think it would with Math-U-See. And given the cost-effectiveness of the Digital Packs, I can't think of a good reason not to pursue MUS. I think they would love it. 

If you, like me, have thought about Math-U-See in the past, but didn't really know if you were ready to take that plunge into a different kind of math, I really encourage you to click the banner below to read all of the Crew reviews. I am betting you'll be ready to see why so many parents say that their kids can't wait to do math when that math is Math-U-See.

Demme Learning's Math-U-See Review

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