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Do I Really Have Everything I Need for Upper Level Math-U-See?

How is a homeschooling parent to know what additional materials might be needed with the upper levels of Math-U-See?

It’s week three of a new school year. You purchased your Math-U-See Geometry curriculum months ago at your area convention, and you’re sure you have everything you need. You begin reading the Lesson 3 information on angles, and you’re suddenly seized with panic as the bolded words rulers and protractors leap at you from the page! While you’re sure you can find a ruler somewhere, a protractor just isn’t something you have tucked away in the arts and crafts cabinet.

So how is a homeschooling parent to know what additional materials might be needed with the upper levels of Math-U-See?

Generally, information regarding additional materials is located in the front matter of the Instruction Manual. In the case of Geometry, under Step 1 of “The Suggested 4-Step Math-U-See Approach” it states:

For this book, you will need a straightedge or ruler, a protractor, and a compass for measuring angles. I do not encourage calculators for most work at this level. However, they may be useful for a few concepts. These are noted in the lessons.

In case you prefer a broader view of what additional supplies might be needed across multiple levels, they are:

Calculator Scientific Calculator‡ Ruler Protractor Compass USA Map World Map†
Pre-Algebra X
Algebra 1 X X
Geometry X X* X X X X*
Algebra 2 X X* X*
PreCalculus X X X*
Calculus X

*These items are optional.

†World map should show longitude and latitude.

‡Scientific calculator should contain trigonometric functions, inverse trigonometric functions, logarithmic functions, and be able to convert between degrees and radians.

Online Calculation Tools

You may be able to find websites or apps that will be an acceptable (or even superior) substitute for some of the items listed. These resources have excellent calculator options, as well as other valuable resources:


These resources can serve as useful references for some word problems:

World Atlas
Google Earth

Here are some additional resources you may find helpful across multiple levels:

1. The Resources by Level page on the Math-U-See website contains record-keeping forms, various graph paper, and additional problems for some levels. The Math-U-See Worksheet Generator also provides options for creating additional Pre-Algebra worksheets.

2. A flashcard/quiz application allows students to review important terms and definitions while taking a break from the physical books. Plus, inputting the information into the app alone may help with learning! A couple of resources you may find useful are Quizlet and StudyBlue.

3. While never required, a graphing calculator can be a useful supplement to any of the courses Algebra 1 and above. While it should never be a substitute for manual graphing and required calculations, it can be a useful check of completed work. The practice will help the student gain familiarity prior to college entrance exams or future courses requiring its use.

For now, close up the books and break the day up with a little unplanned field trip to the store for that protractor. Oh, and while you’re there, you might want to grab a compass, and not the directional kind. You’re going to need it very soon!

Get a free consultation from a Math-U-See expert.

About Lisa Shumate

Lisa serves as a Learning and Development Specialist with Demme Learning. While she holds a B.A. in Legal Studies from the University of Central Florida, she seems to find herself consistently pulled towards education in some capacity. Lisa and her husband Chris have been married for 30+ years and are the parents of three homeschool graduates.