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Ok, I know this has been discussed quite a bit on here and I have read most if not all of the previous posts, however, I am one who loves to get everything lined up neat in a row. I have been doing some extensive research on both MUS and Life of Fred for our new math. They are two quite different programs and I would like some feed back if you will.
First I have two that need new math, and 11yo who has just fully gotten the basics of math down +,-,X’and/. The other 14yo has a good grasp of math and is ready for algebra. They are both math reluctant.
My concern with MUS is the use of manipulatives, I have watched the demo and read the reviews and I am still concerned that they will become dependent on the manips. I am also concerned that my 14yo will become discouraged, I have read he teaches different methods for solving the problem. Not that this is a bad thing, in fact, I was quite impressed with the ease of solving many of the very difficult problems. I just don’t want her to get confused and discouraged.
Life of Fred, looks more fun and quite less like math which intrigues both girls. Has anyone used this first hand and can give me some details into how it has worked for their family? My 11yo and I did one sample lesson and when we were finished she was amazed that she had just done math. I am concerned this program seems to good to be true.
Any and all input is much appreciated.
Thank you in advance and God Bless,
Karen is here visiting this week, and we’ve been discussing Life of Fred vs. Math U See. Here are some thoughts for you.
I am still concerned that they will become dependent on the manips.
It was Karen’s experience with MUS that by the time her kids got to decimals and beyond, they didn’t need to use the manipulatives. She tried to encourage them to use the manipulatives if they needed to, but they weren’t dependent on them and rarely used them.
I have read he teaches different methods for solving the problem.
It seems like Steve teaches the “regular/long way” to solve the problem. Then after the child has mastered that method, he may show a short-cut that she can do. It hasn’t caused any confusion with our kids.
Life of Fred, looks more fun and quite less like math which intrigues both girls. Has anyone used this first hand and can give me some details into how it has worked for their family?
I got the Beginning Algebra course for my daughter this year. She had gotten stalled out in the MUS Algebra course, and I had heard about Life of Fred here on the forum, so I thought I’d order one book and see what it was like. She has enjoyed it and is progressing nicely, but I wanted Karen’s expert opinion on it (since she’s very strong in math). Karen had an opportunity to look through the book in detail this week, and here are her thoughts on Life of Fred.
- It is a good math curriculum. He covers the material well. There are enough practice problems scattered throughout the chapter and again at the end.
- As somebody who is strong in math, I found the stories a little tedious, and long-winded, and wished that he would just get to the point. But I can see how, with someone who is not strong in math, that approach could be maybe a more gentle approach than “here’s the formula, here are the steps to do it” kind of thing.
- I don’t like the answers listed at the end of the chapters near the problems. It invites cheating. Though he doesn’t give the way to work the problems, he does give some explanation that could cause temptation since the answer is within the student’s line of vision. Personally, I would rather that the answers were not so close at hand. The author realizes that. Throughout the book, he says something to the effect of, “If you just read through those and looked at the answers but didn’t do the problems, you don’t get the award.” So I’m not sure why he didn’t put the answers elsewhere.
- Compared to MUS: It covers a lot of the same material. The main difference seems to be that MUS tends to give you some equations to work, then word problems. LOF does more verbalizing of the problem. Not “word problems” per se, but the author likes to talk you through the thought process behind the math. He’s kind of chatty. Very much an option for someone who may be hitting a brick wall with a traditional math book, and maybe for a parent who isn’t as strong in math.
Hope this helps!
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