You’re at a homeschool conference and you overhear a conversation between two parents. One is unfamiliar with Math-U-See. In describing us, it’s likely the other would say, “You know, the one with the blocks!” And we’re fine with that. Our manipulatives are at the heart of who we are. But they’re only the most visible, memorable part of our math program. Here are four more things that, added together with the integer blocks, make us unique:
1) We’re Skills-Based, Not Grade-Based
Our focus is on concept mastery; math is cumulative, and each concept builds on the one that precedes it. This is why we use the unusual Greek letter names instead of grade levels in our lower levels. Each focuses on one primary topic, starting with addition and subtraction, then multiplication and division, and finally fractions and decimals. Our upper level math, starting with Pre-Algebra, follows a similar path to other high school math programs.
2) We Provide Thorough Instructor Support
You get an instruction manual and videos for your selected level. We ensure you have a thorough understanding of how to model and teach each concept. And if you have any questions, our top-notch Customer Service team is standing by!
3) Our Student Materials Are Clean and Uncluttered
They focus on practicing and reviewing concepts, while our tests allow students to show and apply what they have learned. If your student demonstrates mastery of a particular concept, there’s no need to complete every Student Workbook page. There’s no busywork, only useful practice and review.
4) We Focus on Conceptual Understanding
Students learn not only how to do math, but why. We build on the bigger framework underlying all math topics so students can build on previous understanding. We encourage memorizing formulas and facts, not as an end in itself, but so that students don’t experience cognitive overload and can zero in on learning new concepts and skills.
But we can’t be done without talking about the blocks. (Plus our other Manipulatives, the Fraction Overlays and Algebra/Decimal Inserts). Considered together, our Manipulatives are something special, if we do say so ourselves. In some recent research on manipulatives use, you will see that ours check all the boxes:
• They’re used from pre-K into high school. Everybody uses manipulatives for counting…but factoring polynomials? How cool is that?
• The manipulatives allow students to “see” concepts, first physically, then mentally as concepts get more abstract.
• Our manipulatives are only math manipulatives. They’re not teddy bears or coins or fluffy ducks. They don’t represent other objects and they have no extra features that can be distracting for learners.
• The instructional materials clearly demonstrate how the manipulatives represent the concept presented. Students then use the manipulatives to “teach it back”, demonstrating their understanding of that concept.
All things considered, we’re pretty proud of our award-winning math curriculum. We have helped countless students – and parents! – see the beauty and fun that can be found in math. There’s nothing better than those “Aha!” moments when a student who thinks they’re bad at math really gets a math concepts. The light bulb comes on, shining brilliantly and filling them with the confidence to conquer the next challenge.
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