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# is MUS too simple?

Tagged: Math U See, MUS, Zaccaro

- This topic has 17 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated 8 years, 2 months ago by Mysterious Lady in Pink.

- AuthorPosts
- debonliParticipant
We are used to Abeka, but I am making the switch to CM. The MUS prealgebra seems so simple, so vanilla. What are the benefits?

BookwormParticipantUNDERSTANDING math.

760. 750.

Those are the SATmath scores of my kids, who used only MUS. DO the honors pages. They are not vanilla. It works. They need to DO the work to mastery. Do that, and it’ll work.

debonliParticipantThank you. I will follow your advice.

Michelle BrumgardParticipantI love this testimony Bookworm! My daughter is in second grade. We are homeschooling for our first year. After testing her, we have decided to do Alpha. As someone who excelled in Math, it saddens me the way she has been taught Math. So, we are starting over and already three lessons in, I can see her struggles since mastery and math facts are foreign to her based on her public education. Loving MUS so far!

amama5ParticipantBest wishes for your first honeschooling year MrsBrumgard! There is so much help and wisdom on this forum.

lhartzParticipantBookworm, since you are very familiar with MUS even at the high school level, what do you think about starting with MUS Geometry without having done MUS Algebra. My son did Saxon Algebra 1.

BookwormParticipantGeometry won’t be a problem. You may have a little trouble when you begin Algebra II as I’ve previously heard some people say that the two Algebra I’s stop in a different place. I’d compare the MUS and Saxon topics covered in I and II to make sure you don’t miss anything.

TristanParticipantBookworm, any advice on motivating my oldest to do the Honors pages? Math is the area she struggles. We’re in MUS nearly to the end of PreAlgebra (lesson 26 is next) and she started with Alpha in 3rd grade, so she’s gone through all the levels between 3rd and now (8th). Even I find some of the Honors pages challenging (seeing patterns in a series of numbers on a chart comes to mind) and with math already being so much work to her, is there a way to encourage her to tackle the Honors pages?

missceegeeParticipantGood question, Tristan. I’ve hired a math tutor for dd because we needed to cover so much ground this year. DD has completed epsilon 20 – zeta 22 since September. The goal is to have her through pre-algebra by the end of August and ready for Alg. I at the beginning of 9th. The tutor sets the work pace currently because they are moving so fast over fractions/decimals, but if I don’t keep the tutor next year, I may have the same issue with motivation for the extra work at that point.

TristanParticipantOne thing I’m considering Christie is having her focus on the Honors pages this summer. Most summers we just keep going with new lessons in math, but maybe not this year. Actually, she is set to finish PreAlgebra in February so we could do Honors pages in Feb/Mar/Apr, or however long it took, and then move into Algebra I with our usual work through the summer slowly schedule. As you can see I really don’t know what we’ll do. 🙂

BookwormParticipantDo the honors pages a few lessons LATER. That will help some. The summer idea isn’t bad, either. And don’t grade them so much, and let them stew a bit first before you step in to help. The honors pages develop “thinking” skills. These can take a bit to develop, especially for those of us who don’t naturally “think” numbers. But we can all improve!!! I also have another book recommendation that teaches some really good problem-solving skills plus is a lot of fun. I really like this guy, we’ve done almost every book he’s ever produced!

http://www.prufrock.com/cw_contributorinfo.aspx?ContribID=217&Name=Edward+Zaccaro This is the page for this guy. He is really something else! Met him once at a convention. We pretty much bought one of everything at his booth, and loved it all. The book I’d recommend is Challenge Math, or Becoming a Problem-Solving Genius. (find this one at Amazon) These are leveled–each section has an easy section, all the way through “Einstein” and you can choose the levels you use. I recommend starting in easy and moving through until your child is challenged and having to think pretty hard, but not totally frustrated yet. You’ll learn some stuff you haven’t taught yet–there is some trig and calc in each book! But they get you thinking in a math-y way, and they are fun.

Mysterious Lady in PinkParticipantWe used the Zaccaro Primary Grade Challenge Math and I really liked it. Question on using these: if you start young enough, would you go through it again (or yet again) doing harder levels as they get older? And do you have a child do just one level once you determine a good level (expert, genius, etc)?

I tend to not want to “miss” stuff so sometimes I <ahem> kill the enjoyment by making my kids do more than perhaps they should, haha. Or maybe it’s just working for too long a time — yes, yes, short lessons should be a part of my very being after all these years, but I have a knack for forgetting. 😉

Mysterious Lady in PinkParticipantOK so on MUS specifically, not wanting to hijack the original thread, but what do MUS users think of a student starting MUS at the pre-algebra level? Or does it depend on their previous experience with math, do you think? Thanks!

BookwormParticipantI see no reason why a child can’t pick up MUS at pre-algebra. But then MUS just makes sense to me.

As for the Zaccaro books, I tend to have them work as far as they can without getting too frustrated. I’ve had kids really struggle at one level, and then do almost all the ones in the next section, all the way to expert, and then be back struggling at a lower level again. If you’ve already done PGCM, and they are heading on up (it seems like just the other day your “round 2” started arriving, lol!) I’d consider trying Becoming a Problem Solving Genius. It’s a little different than the challenge math series but also fun.

Mysterious Lady in PinkParticipantOh I know — the years go so fast!! I have to force myself to stop calling them my “littles” because when my older crew was in the 6-10 range I thought they were so old! haha

OK so I was just looking at Zaccaro’s books…I didn’t realize there was an Upper-Elementary Challenge Math (that one was published in May 2014, I guess?). I’m trying to figure out the rough order of them, if one exists. Would you think like this (based on the description on Amazon…perhaps not accurate)?

- Primary Challenge Math (gr 1-4)
- Upper-Elementary Challenge Math (gr 3-5)
- Challenge Math for Elem & Middle School Students (gr 4-8)
- Real World Algebra (gr 4-9)
- Becoming a Problem-Solving Genius: A Handbook for Math Strategies (gr 4-12)
- and then all the others…whenever? any particularly good ones?

Ugh…so many thoughts running through my head. Maybe this isn’t the place for that. Thinking through what my 5th grader could use — could Zaccaro be an integral, even main text, to lead up to MUS pre-algebra…maybe?

Regarding the use of Zaccaro books: if you were going to assign it, would you just say “work for x minutes” and then have them pick up where the left off next time, whether that meant the same lesson or a new one?

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