Hi! Another math question! My oldest son is only 6, so I am looking for advice on whether to push with Math-U-See or switch now while things are early. We started him in Primer last year when he was showing interest. My mom used Math-U-See to teach my (now 18yo) brother so had a manipulative set for us to have. They loved it, so many others love it, we loved it at first… but now we are half way through Alpha and struggling. My son for a while has hated to use the blocks. I know he “gets” a lot of the concepts, but he would rather count in his head than use blocks. He is also struggling to memorize facts and is forgetting things (like place value) he knew solid a while back. I know a lot is that the novelty has worn off and he is just a little boy with energy and is bored. When I get creative and we do math with legos or what not, he does great! I have looked into going without a math curriculum, but I am the type of personality that really needs a roadmap. I don’t mind taking a long, windy road, but I need the map. I looked at RightStart and I like the variety and I think he would like the games, but it’s a lot of money to put it to a “maybe this will be better”. I really, really don’t want to kill his love of learning, which he has in spades. I just printed off that huge RightStart B sample and he is reading it telling me how he wants to try it as I type. Of course, that could all just be because it is something new. Anyway, does anyone have any advice on whether I should push with Math-U-See or change it up? If push, any ideas how I could change it up so it’s not a drag? If something new, any suggestions for what might be a good fit but still providing me with a good guide to follow? Thanks so much!
I just posted a similar question! I am thinking about switching to Right Start for one of my children. The rest do great with MUS.
I would love to hear what others think about this.TristanParticipant
What I’ve done is make a deal with the child – we use the blocks for the new lesson and the first two days of practice. Then it’s up to them if they want to use the blocks the rest of the week. However the catch is if they start missing a lot of problems we go back to using the blocks every day.
I have a mix of children who can ‘see’ it in their head and those who need the blocks for every single problem. Be flexible but not so flexible that you lose out on the benefits of the blocks for introducing each new concept.
Also on RS, I would be sure you have enough time available before switching. I’ve heard it’s great, some here love it, but it is way too time intensive for me with eight kids. With MUS I really only have to teach math one day a week and then am just available to help if needed. RS would require me to teach math lessons every day to all children. We would get nothing else done with mom…LOL!RicheleParticipant
May I suggest Ray’s New Primary Arithmetic along with Ruth Beechick’s Teacher’s Guide for an inexpensive roadmap? When introducing new concepts, use concrete objects found in your own home – those will be free (pennies, beads, buttons, craftsticks, matchsticks to name a few). If you find that your son is gaining real mathematical thinking, the Ray’s series can be continued into jr. high and even business math in highschool.
Here are some things to remember about manipulatives from Charlotte Mason’s point of view:
Though the term math manipulative did not exist in Charlotte’s time, the use of concrete objects as aids in conveying ideas is significant in her method of teaching arithmetic.
- All the manipulatives you need can be found in your own home—beads, buttons, and craft sticks to name just a few. A variety of simple objects should be used rather than a single specially-designed manipulative so the child doesn’t form a hard-and-fast connection between the math facts and the manipulative.
- Manipulatives are only a tool to the presentation or investigation of an idea. If a manipulative’s use requires too much teaching, it becomes more important than the idea it is to represent.
- Arithmetic tables should not be memorized until the child proves the facts first through the use of manipulatives.
- Allow your child enough time to work with the manipulatives but then progress to working with imaginary objects. Once the child can mentally picture the number, or has grasped the abstract, put away the manipulative until the introduction of a new concept.
“A bag of beans, counters, or buttons should be used in all the early arithmetic lessons, and the child should be able to work with these freely, and even to add, subtract, multiply, and divide mentally, without the aid of buttons or beans, before he is set to ‘do sums’ on his slate” (Vol. 1, p. 256).
Agreeing with Richele. We are switching from MUS to RightStart just for the very issue of only one manipulative in MUS. I only have a K dd and games are all we play for math. We talk about math in daily conversation and activities. I know of people who supplemented MUS with RightStart’s Math Card Games and Abacus Activities book. Rainbow Resource carries their products a bit more inexpensively or you can search homeschool classifieds. I have all three Family Math books and the sheer number of games in those is more then enough to keep us busy. She will ask to play games but all MUS worksheets got me the eye roll and sighs…… Lol! Math u see IS an excellent program but for smaller children, I think the use of a variety of manipulatives and materials peeks their interest more than MUS. HTHRebekahyParticipant
I could have written Tristan’s post word for word… except for the part about 8 kids, we’re only on our fifth, but I do the same thing with the blocks – my oldest doesn’t like them because they “take longer”, but she has to use them at the start of a new concept because otherwise she memorizes the method, but doesn’t fully grasp the concept. So we have a similar bargain and I’m on the same page when it comes to RS – looks fun, but no way can I do it with five kids (me personally – others probably could).QuirkyMamaParticipant
Thanks all. I have thought about this a lot the last several days and I can’t figure out why I can let go of traditional ways of doing things with every subject BUT math. (And from reading other posts, I know I’m not the only one!) I’ve taught reading when desired and without a written curriculum. Every other subject is simple without bells and whistles; mostly good books. I have a 6yo who begs for the next part of history (we just started SCM module 5) and a 3yo who will ask if “they were REAL wolves” when I finish reading from Little House on the Prairie and I thought he was only playing trains. All three boys (even the 15mo) will dance/bounce around the house when Wagner’s Ride of the Valkeries is played and the younger two bring me a toddler Bible when I am reading a Bible story with the oldest. So I am fully seeing how wonderful a CM education can be and we only just started! But when it comes to math, I freak out. I am so scared to do it any other way but the traditional way. Thank you Richele for reminding me that “back in the day” people learned quite well without paying top dollar for all the bells and whistles. I still have some things to think about, but thanks all for giving me some food for thought and a few ideas to ponder.
This post has really helped me. I know this is a bit late for posting this, but I came across your post as I was looking for help with the same EXACT situation with my son.psreitmomParticipant
We are beginning Math On the Level next month. This is doing math through games and real life stuff. It is a one time buy which will take us to pre-algebra. I need the guide, and this set gives all the concepts needed to learn up to pre-algebra. They can be covered any way the parent sees fit. but, I like having ideas and a way to keep track of which concepts are learned, which need reviewed, and which are new. You can find out more on their website. It is http://www.mathonthelevel.com. I met the author at convention and she is available to help anytime. She is a homeschool mom just like we are and taught her children this way.Erin RobinsonParticipant
We’ve used MUS for 8 years with 4 children and they hate the blocks, too. We only use them when they’re really stuck on figuring a concept out. Otherwise, we just leave them alone. 🙂retrofamParticipant
I researched and tried a lot of math programs last year. Next year my plan is Mastering Mathematics along with Dr. Wright’s Kitchen Table Math VVolumes 1-3. I am also building my math manipulatives collection. I seriously considered Right Start but after 6 pages of reviews, I decided against it because my dd has a short attention span and isn’t an auditory learner. RS sounds difficult to tweak and many reviewers said the kids tired of it after a couple of years. I may use some of their manipulatives.
There are many different curriculums that could be used as a spine, but the most important thing is to use various games and manipulatives to keep it understandable and fun.
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