Our Math This Year: Math-U-See

OurmaththisyearI am on my 8th year of teaching with Math-U-See. And so far this year has been my easiest! Last year was my hardest. But that is true for just about everything.

I have three in Math-U-See. Beta, Gamma, and Pre-Alegbra. And so far they all say their math is easy this year. Last year they complained the whole year how hard it was. I don’t know what changed?

How we Math-U-See.

On Monday everyone watches our favorite teacher. That would not be me! It works best for them to watch the video. They are visual learners. And having the online lesson instead of relying on keeping the DVD in the same spot has been WONDERFUL!! I can have them all watching their lessons at the same time -two on the iPads and one of the computer! Although my oldest doesn’t do his math at the same time as the younger ones. The only thing I hope Math-U-See will work on is an app for these digital online lessons, so the kids can get to them instead me having to log into my account on the iPad. They also do two of the lesson sheets on Monday.11862958_10204610974770546_424085121_o
Robby, my 8th grader this year, does one sheet- if he gets 100% he may take the test. If he gets a 100% he moves to the next lesson.
Tuesday-Thursday my two other kids do two sheets. Unless I see the sheets are stressing Isaiah out, then he does one. AnnieQ finished one lesson-all sheets in 2 days. It was easy for her (besides getting stuck on a word problem that went something like this: there are 10 oranges in each bag. How many bags do you need for 50 oranges? She finally did get it- I had her draw it. She just didn’t know why some one would want so many oranges!!)

Friday is to be test day. I typically don’t do test because my style of grading is they have to keep correcting their mistakes. By Thursday the sheets they do are correct the first time. If they are not, then I pull more practice sheets from their Worksheet generator on line. I also use the test sheets too.  But by then they know how to do the lesson.

11259771_10204691216416537_1498742017_oOne area that my kids do not do well with is memorizing facts. AnnieQ is in 4th grade, but doing 3rd grade level math. I did that on purpose cause 1st grade she screamed with every lesson. Every one.  So I stopped math. All together. And restarted the next year. Last year she was still counting on her hands. We still struggled. But still had concepts down.  I used online drills both from Math-U-See and MathBoard. And something happened this year. She knows them. She is not counting on her fingers. I have to remind myself that my kids have early childhood trauma. Their brains are still growing and connecting differently than other children. This has made learning a little harder for them. And homeschooling challenging for me. While AnnieQ may be 4th grade her brain is functioning at a 2nd-3rd grader level. But you met her and she will wow you with her personality!! 

But I am seeing them move faster now. So as we head toward multiplication I feel that this was the year for her to learn them unlike if she was in public school and she would have had to learn them in 3rd grade. She has a much stronger base going forward now. We have conquered 0,1,2’s so far!! 

Isaiah is doing much better this year too! Last year he had a hard time with just addition of 0’s and 1’s. Imagine my frustration!! But he is memorizing the facts, even listening to AnnieQ’s lesson’s and understanding them!!

What’s New this Year?

Last year I bought the Math-U-See App. It was a great addition to our program. AnnieQ has sensory issues and the feel of the blocks got to her. I got the wooden organizer which helped her. But now she doesn’t even have to feel them! Isaiah likes the blocks, but also like the app. Robby has not needed them yet this year, he does a lot in his brain. But it is coming. I have three sets of the Algebra blocks…. I am not sure how that happened. But he has used them before and when I taught Algebra 5 years ago we used them then.11884208_10204610827006852_926965581_o

I love the digital packs they have now!! We always lost the DVD’s. No matter how much I had it organized-that DVD disappeared. I am thinking sometimes, the kids made them disappear!! LOL But now- no excuses!! And I love all the extra sheets that are there to download, and the fun songs are there to listen too! Worth checking it out!

I had a friends 9 years ago say if you are going to homeschool you have to look at Math-U-See. I watched the intro DVD and then ordered for my first year homeschooling our son. I have taught since then I think 18 math classes over the years. Some years I have not taught or we have taken a break. But we love Math-U-See.  

And having to do 3rd grade public school math homework now with one of our foster loves I appreciate Math-U-See more!! 

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Reusing Drink Caps for Math Counting

I have been homeschooling for 6 years now (I guess longer if you want to count pr-k and below).  Back when I had one child I put together a lot of hands on activities for him.  I had more time on my hands then!  I always loved to recycle when I could.  I had an idea with lids to drinks to make some sort of counting lids.  So I collected them for a few weeks.  Painted them with some chalkboard paint (I am not sure why, I guess it was black and we had it).  Punched out different color circles and stamped numbers on them.

At the same time I also had a huge square that I stamped the circles on, 1-9 so Robby could put the lids on there.  But that board is long gone.  But as I was cleaning I found the bucket of caps I made for him.  Now I get to reuse them with Isaiah!  I may put a few coats of modge podge on top to help keep the numbers on.  It is fun finding these fun little treasures.

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A Math Lesson According to Isaiah

I am siting at the table with my 5-year-old.  He has 5 Ritz mini crackers.

“Mommy, I have 5 crackers.” He says.

“Very good Isaiah.”

“2+2=1” Isaiah says.

“No it doesn’t.” I say. He counts his crackers again.

“Isaiah, how many crackers would you have if you ate one?” I asked.

Popping one in his mouth he says “4”

“Good!  Now if you had two crackers in each hand, how many crackers would you have?” I asked.

He puts two in each hand, looks at them and me and smiles.  “8-cause I took them apart”

Then he stuffs them all in his mouth and says with a full mouth-“Now I have zero!”

sigh….and that is a math lesson by Isaiah.

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10 Resources for Summer Math Enrichment

Robby, my now new 5th grader, is done with school!  Did I just say that? 5th grade?  Wow!  I informed him that even though he was done with school, we was going to have to practice math everyday.   Early on Robby thrived in Math.  He loves math.  He is a perfectionist in Math.  He does not count on his fingers, he loves to do mental math.  But when we had a huge melt down over 9-7 and I knew we needed basic review this summer.  I told him 5 minutes a day.  So I have reasearchd sites for worksheets and awesome online math sites.

  1. We used this to learn Romal Numerals.  It is fun, cute, and shows all the different ways Romal Numerals are used!
  2. Math is Fun has lots of great things.
  3. Kid Zone has lots of worksheets and even has some summer themed ones
  4. Teacher Vision has some really nice ideas, but it is a membership site.  But it looks like the first 5 down loads are free so you can test it out to see if you want to keep the membership.  I like that.
  5. Family Education offers many links for many summer time learning activities.  Worth checking them out.
  6. Learn with Math Games has lots of resources to use.
  7. Education.com has an amazing amount of nice looking worksheets, activities and articles for parents!
  8. Math-U-See has an online worksheet generator.
  9. Lots on online math games
  10. Cool Math for Kids also has lots of great lessons, practice, games and online activities.


Math can be found anywhere.  Think in terms of word problems, without them knowing it.

“If I had 2 forks and I need 6 total, how many do you need to bring to me?”

Have a great summer!  Don’t forget to read!  And let me know what math are you doing this summer!

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A Fun Web site find! Khan Academy

Every now and then I find fun amazing things on the internet!  OK all the time, but some are some that wow me!  You got to check out Khan Academy.  They have a whole bunch of FREE videos for Math, science, Finance, Humanities, test prep and so much more!  Great for middle school and high school.  So so exciting!  Hope you can go check them out!

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Math Upside down

Homeschooling comes with many joys-like starting when you feel like it -good for the oldest one. Or doing Math upside down.

Upside down that’s right. When Robby gets frustrate he tends to sit and slide into weird position. And since today it seems that all his multiplication skills have been drained out of him he is very whiney and frustrated. I really think it is due to being off for a few weeks and not wanting to get back into school work, I know I am having a hard time getting back into the swing of house work.

But in the process of not wanting to do the work (which for the record he is now quietly doing the work after an hour of whining and complaining) I found him upside down on the chair working on the floor. Hey what ever floats your boat! When he was younger he did spelling that way on the couch-up side down. Maybe there is something to it, allowing kids to move while learning. Kids naturally are made to move-alot.

This is one of the things I enjoy about homeschooling, not sitting down all day, or being restricted to one room. The whole world is our class room. And as I say this I have two sitting in class rooms now, I may need to reconsider some things over.

Next thing to conquer “What kind of horse stays up late?” that is Robby’s question…..





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And why do I need to learn this Algebra….

Let’s face it, every kid who doesn’t like math or fully understand it says “Why do I need to learn this?  Where am I going to use it?”  And when asked the other day it made me remember asking the same thing.  I wonder where am I using it now?  And as I looked down at the worksheet I realize, well I learned it for this moment…to teach my child.  But really I didn’t know 24 years ago when I was learning Algebra what I was going to be doing.  At that time I wondered why I am learning this?  I loved my teachers, but Algebra was hard to learn.
So I did some research….why do you need Algebra?
First it is required and is needed for ACTS and SATS

The rest, check out the web pages….
Algebra in the Real World
http://www.homeschoolmath.net/teaching/why_need_square_roots.php – this site has many other sites on the bottom with great links.

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Math in One Day?

My two older children are so different but yet alike.  My oldest one-10th grader- doesn’t like math.  He struggles with some of the concepts and because he didn’t get a good foundation when he was younger it is hard for him.  For him if he could run away and never do math he would be perfectly fine with that!
Now my 3rd grader-he has his daddy’s brain (thank goodness cause mine works more like my older one) and loves math.  Today he decided he was going to do all his math sheets in one day.  That is 6 sheets of math.  He decided that since it was easy he was just going to get it done and be finished.
They both have their reasons for running away from math or diving into it all at once.  The don’t want to be doing school work and like having their free time.  I can understand that…just the older one is going to be still be doing school work while the younger one is done…
Sooo I wonder what we will get done today?

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