Math-U-See and SAT’s

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  • KSGrace

    Has anyone who has used the Math-U-See program had a child take the SAT or ACT’s? How did they do? My husband’s only concern about homeschool is making sure that the math curriculum is rigorous enough for college testing.

    Also…my son will be in the 7th grade and I believe from the placement testing that he would start with Pre-Algebra. Are the manipulatives necessary for this level?

    Thank you for your input.


    Thanks for asking this great question.

    I was looking at Math-U-See for the first time yesterday and was really impressed.

    My husband has the same concerns about homeschooling being rigorous enough preparation for college testing. I will be very interested to read replies.

    I would also be interested to hear about people’s experience regarding preparation for college testing in other areas besides maths.

    Warm wishes,




    I’ve used MUS for eight years. And given my sons’ bent for science, we have been concerned also about making sure they are well prepared for college (and the necessary things like testing!) Here is what we’ve found and discovered:

    We have to give Iowa (or similar) tests every year here. It’s a pain, but it has allowed me to draw some conclusions about MUS and standardized testing. My oldest is 14, so he has not taken the ACT yet, but I’ve been able to observe his scores. And what I’ve noticed is that MUS students sometimes don’t “top out” the Iowa test in the early grades. My sons tested fair, but not extremely well in math in 2nd-5th grades. About 6-7th grade, though, something happens. Somehow, something clicks, and my sons’ test scores have dramatically improved. My thinking on this is that in early years, MUS does not always introduce topics in the same order as standard textbooks, and does not stress speed as much. But after several years of working and understanding the concepts, when they get pre-algebra age, it all just continues to make sense, they have a good conceptual understanding, and pre-algebra and word problems just do not throw them, and scores improve. I can’t guarantee that it will continue to hold well for college boards, but as I remember, the math sections are just not that awfully hard. Basic grounding in algebra and geometry will help you do well. I was a TERRIBLE student in math, and didn’t do too badly on the tests (24 ACT score, 640 in GRE which is similar to SAT)

    OK. The other piece of information I have to offer is this. We respect Dr. Jay Wile of Apologia very much. Our kids are very science oriented. When I noticed Dr. Wile had a talk CD on preparing for high school, I bought it and listened to it several times. In it he discusses math programs that prepare one well for college math and science. He mentioned MUS favorably, but said they needed a few harder word problems to really challenge students. At a homeschool conference a few years ago, I got to talk to Steve Demme and I mentioned to him what Dr. Wile had said. He said yes, they were aware of that, and that their Honors math booklet–an extra booklet of add-on problems to challenge older kids–really addressed that concern very well. Honors booklets are available for pre-algebra and up, and let me tell you, they are indeed challenging!!!!! (I can usually find where my son got off track in the NORMAL book problems, but my dh is needed to help us out on the honors problems!) My dh and I (he is very good at math) both feel very comfortable that this add-on addresses the potential weakness spotted by Dr. Wile, and we have no concerns as we watch our sons learn. We both feel they are being well equipped for college testing and college work.

    I do recommend this talk on CD, which is available at Apologia and also other carriers like Rainbow Resources.

    Hope this helps some!

    Michelle D


    Wonderful! Thank you so much for the valuable info. I feel much better about MUS now. I really liked the idea of it…just wasn’t too sure of how it would play out in testing. Thank you both for your replies.


    My middle dd used MUS through Algebra 2. She will begin college this fall on scholarship. MUS worked for her just fine. My youngest ds used MUS through PreAlgebra and is now getting A’s in PS Math classes. My youngest dd never liked MUS and is using Teaching Textbooks.

    My youngest ds didn’t use the manipulatives in PreAlgebra but his older brother didn’t get Algebra until it was explained with the manipulatives. He had to move the blocks around himself not just watch the video.

    So as with other materials the mileage you get from MUS varies according to the student.


    Ditto Bookworm totally. When we took our oldest (17 at the time) to community college for dual credit classes, the counselor asked (knowing he was hs’ed) what math curr. we used. When I said MUS, she said: Oh good! We’ve had problems with the kids who used Saxon. They seem to have lots of holes.

    That surprised but encouraged me!

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