SCM Elementary Math vs Math U See

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  • KF

    Our family has done SCM Elementary Book 1 and it really concretely helped our children grasp the math visually and therefore mentally BUT our very independent children would like to do math on their own some days if possible and so weren’t always liking relying on me to teach them 100% (if that makes sense) AND I’m not sure where I’d go next once we cap out of the SCM Elementary Math at Bk 6. We attempted TGTB math (seemed too choppy to them – it seems as though they don’t like spiral) and also Math Mammoth (didn’t explain things well for them though mastery based). The only other math program that I know of that would teach visually concretely is Math U See (RightStart was too many games for them and they hated it).

    We loved the money incorporation in SCM Elementary Math and not sure if Math U See would be as helpful in that area? Does anyone have to supplement calendar or money concepts for Math U See? A pro for Math U See that I can immediately see is it goes all the way up through Calculus – our children do not like to curriculum hop and so I know would prefer to stick with something all the way through IF it truly is a good fit.

    Something I’m concerned about for either math curriculum is that in our state we’re required to do standardized testing and while I know that the scores don’t matter if I know they’re grasping everything I have taught them, they have the personalities that they do not like to be surprised by not-learned concepts on a test or exam and so the scope and sequences of both have me wary of continuing to use.

    Any help or insight would be much appreciated in comparing and contrasting SCM math to Math U See.


    Choosing a math curriculum is challenging! I have not tried either, but am using Beauty and Truth math. It is true to Charlotte Mason’s philosophy, and from my experience would work for what you described. What levels? They currently have through 6th grade (arithmetic, practical geometry, and algebra), but are planning to complete through high school. It is a delight.


    I have a daughter with whom I was working through the first SCM math book. She does well with numbers and was also wanting to have the math papers like her older siblings ( who are using MUS), so I purchased Beta for her. She is doing well with it and enjoys it more than SCM. But, like you mentioned, I wanted to make sure she was getting the practice with money as well. While she probably would catch on as she got older and works with money in everyday life, I still wanted her working with it a little bit each week now, so we I have her do three days of MUS and two days of SCM math. So far it is working out well. MUS does have them working with money but I would say in a different way. It’s not as involved as far as solving problems using the coins. They learn the value of each coin and how to add and subtract money and count it. As for calendar, they learn the months and days and ordinal numbers along with them (i.e. third month of the year, first day of the week, etc.) I also struggled the first handful of years figuring out which math would work best for our kids, but MUS has worked well for us, so that’s what we’re sticking with. I really appreciate it because Steve Demme explains things in a way I never learned and I’ve had many “Now I get it!” moments myself. Ha ha! Hope this will help you.


    I LOVE Math U See (not all of my children do, but I do!)  One of the reasons I haven’t even tried SCM math is that I have too many children for me to be the one actually teaching every lesson.




    We have always used MUS, started HSing before SCM had their program which looks amazing if it is the right fit for your family.

    I really like MUS because it is independent for them to work on once they understand the new lesson. The scope and sequence is different than other elementary math programs with the mastery approach, but the lessons include reviews and build on each other so there is constant practice. I can’t remember which level but it does cover money values. I never thought too hard about money and calendar work, often seen in early elementary, because we were always doing it casually on the side. Picking up and counting coins, and always checking the calendar for what was happenig each day.

    In our state we did yearly testing starting at 3rd grade, and yes some concepts were not covered yet because the different S&S, but the ones that they had learned they knew very well. It was never an issue and I just told the kids to make a guess for the things they had not learned yet. By the time they reached pre algebra they had a very solid foundation in math. We have used all the levels and currently in pre-calculus/trig.

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