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*The Math U See curriculum is one of the top picks of homeschooling parents for math. It is a self-paced program that teaches mastery of math concepts using manipulatives and workbooks. *

Are you considering homeschooling or researching different math curriculums and feeling overwhelmed?

If you answered yes to these questions, I have been in your shoes. That is why I thought I would write a detailed review on the math curriculum I chose for my son and the reasons why I love it.

## What is Math U See?

Math U See is a mastery math program that uses auditory, visual and tactile approaches to teach mathematical concepts. It is different from other curriculums, including those used in public schools, which use a spiral approach.

Math U See requires students to master a concept such as addition and subtraction before moving to more complex subjects such as fractions, multiplication and division.

### Mastery vs Spiral Approach

There are two main approaches to teaching math in many of the homeschool curriculums you can find in the market today. One is mastery based, which requires the child to master the concept before moving further and builds a strong knowledge foundation.

The other is spiral, which introduces many math subjects to the student at the same time and then circles back to offer more practice.

Each has its pros and cons. If you have a gifted student, spiral might work best as it advances quickly.

The downside is that sometimes, especially when students have to share a teacher’s time, they develop knowledge gaps and fall behind. If you have a struggling student that needs more practice, mastery might be best.

### Does it align with Common Core?

Although the program as a whole correlates to common core standards, it differs on what level, grade and age concepts are introduced. This might impact your choice of curriculum if your child:

- is coming out of public school to be homeschooled
- will be entering public school in the elementary or middle school grades after being homeschooled
- will need to complete tests in your school district for legal requirements

If your child is coming out of public school, he/she might have gaps in math concepts that might be impacting their learning or they might have learned math using a different system. In either case, you might need to start at a lower level or use the AIM program instead.

If your child will be homeschooled for a short time and then introduced to the public school system before 7th grade, they might have gaps because Math U See does not align perfectly with the common core standards.

If your state requires your child to be tested in certain grades, they might not have been exposed to math concepts for that specific grade using the Math U See mastery curriculum.

However, if you don’t like the common core standards or plan to follow it, then it really is a matter of deciding which approach works best for your child, which is a big pro of homeschooling.

### Why You Should Consider the Math U See Curriculum

I will go into more detail in the Pros and Cons section, but in a nutshell, this is why you should consider the Math U See Curriculum for your kids.

- The lessons are short and to the point and yet it includes enough review to ensure the student has full comprehension of the subject before moving to more advanced lessons.
- Extra practice sheets and instructional videos are available online to help students master and parents teach the concepts.
- The instructor’s manual is compact and the curriculum doesn’t require any prep work.
- The curriculum includes digital lessons that are great for independent learners to do work on their own.
- The manipulative blocks integrate well with the workbooks – great for tactile and visual learners.

### What Should a Child Know Before Starting the Math U See Primer Level?

Before I get into the details of the curriculum, let me give you a baseline for what a child should know before starting the Primer level to ensure they successfully grasp these concepts.

- count to 10
- identify numbers on their own and put them in logical order
- subitize numbers from 0-10 (correlate dots to numbers)
- identify colors and shapes
- understand basic concepts of addition using objects (1 block + 1 block = 2 blocks)

If your child has a solid foundation of these concepts, he or she will be able to easily advance through the Math U See Primer curriculum.

If you have any challenges with the program at the start, consider building a stronger foundation first.

## Pros of Math U See Curriculum

Now let’s dive deeper into what makes the Math U See a great curriculum for homeschoolers.

1 . **Intuitive for young learners**

Even if the Math U See method at times doesn’t seem intuitive to adults, it is very intuitive to young learners.

**2. Short and easy worksheets for daily work**

In the primer level, the worksheets are short with only 4 exercises per page. The student can do an entire chapter in one day or complete one worksheet a day a week.

In the Alpha level, there are around 20 problems per page.

**3. Mastery through repetition, manipulatives and gradual work**

This curriculum builds on knowledge using repetition, math manipulatives and gradual work.

Each chapter has 7 worksheets for the student to practice the concept until it is mastered.

If the child needs additional practice, extra exercises are available online.

**4. No prep instructor’s manual and lessons**

If you feel like homeschooling is a lot of work, my advice is to choose a curriculum that requires little to no preparation in advance of each lesson. This is especially true if you are a busy parent, a parent with multiple children or simply a first time homeschooling parent with no background in education.

When I chose curriculums for my son, I chose the least amount of work possible because I wanted it to be fun for him as well as for me.

And the Math U See curriculum did not disappoint.

The instructor’s manual breaks down each lesson for the parent in 2-5 pages. The actual instruction takes less than 10 minutes.

Once the parent gets familiar with how the curriculum works, the instructor’s manual is not needed for most of the lessons.

My son could spend 10 minutes doing one worksheet or about an hour to do a whole chapter (7 lessons).

**5. Manipulative Blocks are great for tactile learners**

The math manipulatives are a big plus of this curriculum. A child can learn to count and add visually using the blocks. The worksheets reinforce the concepts.

The student starts to memorize the color of the blocks in relation to the numbers and do mental math.

I bought this organizer to keep the blocks tidy.

**6. Life size correlation of workbook with blocks**

The Math U See workbook uses life-size examples of the manipulative blocks for math equations. This means the student can visually discern the number of squares and correlate to the correct block size and number. This helps with self-correction.

As the curriculum progresses, the size correlation is challenged to see if the student can do math without relying on the blocks alone.

**7. Instructional videos**

The videos are really helpful for independent learners or for first-time homeschooling parents who need to brush up on a math concept.

If you learned math the “old school way”, you will want to watch the videos to understand how to teach using the Math U See method and manipulative blocks.

**8. Does not align with common core standards**

The levels in Math U See **do not align** with common core standards used by public schools. This is a pro if you plan to homeschool long-term or just want your child to have a solid knowledge of math regardless of grade level or age.

Each book of the curriculum focuses on one or two major concepts at a time. The primary math levels are divided as follows:

**PRIMER** – number recognition, **counting**, place value, skip counting (2,5,10), **basic addition** and subtraction, beginning solving for unknown numbers, word problems and telling time.

**ALPHA** – more fluency/mastery in **adding and subtracting** all single digit numbers, expands on the concepts covered in Primer.

**BETA** – **problems involving addition and subtraction**, money, measurements, inequalities, basic geometry and graphs.

**GAMMA** – **multiplication**, calculating area, interpreting data, basic fractions and measurement problems.

**DELTA** – **division**, Roman numerals, angles, lines, area and volume.

**EPSILON** – **fractions**, common factors, basic decimals, area and circumference, quadrilaterals, graphs, coordinates.

**ZETA** – **decimals**, exponents, negative numbers, dependent and independent variables, plane geometry and ratio reasoning.

We started with the Primer level to cover kindergarten math, but have found that it expands to some first grade math as well, according to our state’s academic standards.

Alpha (the next level up) covers the same concepts of Primer more in depth.

There is however a downside to the singular focus of Math U See Curriculum and I will cover that in the cons below.

## Cons of Math U See Curriculum

Although I really like the Math U See curriculum, here are some cons for consideration.

**1. Black and white pages are bland**

For children younger than 6 years old, the black and white pages are utilitarian and quite bland. Compared to competitor curriculums such as Singapore Math, the workbooks can be quite boring.

**2. Manipulatives are not toys**

Although the manipulative blocks are a big pro of this curriculum, they can also be a con. They can be distracting to young children who want to build with them vs. learn math.

**3. Blocks don’t stack well**

The manipulative blocks don’t stack well which can be frustrating. This might actually be on purpose so children don’t use it as toys, but if your child has problems with fine motor skills, it might be a problem.

**4. Requires handwriting skills**

This is a con for young gifted children. The primer level for example is aligned with Kindergarten level and it requires quite a bit of handwriting numbers without the handwriting practice.

If you are starting a younger child with this curriculum, it might be challenging in the beginning to work out a system that works for you and your child.

With my son, I bought number stickers for him to use as answers, but eventually I just started writing the answers my son gave me verbally.

I found that trying to incorporate handwriting skills at his age (3-4) with learning math concepts led to frustration and distraction. As he gets older and develops his handwriting skills further, I will have him write the answers himself.

**5. There are no rewards**

The Math U See does not include any type of reward system such as stickers for completing the work. For children that are motivated by rewards, this can be a bummer.

I bought my own stickers as rewards for finishing a lesson. This seemed to be particularly encouraging to my young son. For older kids, this might not be an issue. It really comes down to your personal style of teaching and your student’s drivers of motivation.

**6. Sometimes the progression of lessons do not bridge well **

At times, the concepts didn’t bridge well in the primer curriculum. I found this particularly true during the middle of the Primer workbook when a child is asked to learn place values (units, tens and hundreds) before he or she learns to count to 20.

During these times, we set the curriculum aside and used other resources to bridge the gap and then came back to the curriculum.

The disconnect wasn’t so great that it added a lot more work and it might not affect an older child.

**7. Curriculum Cost**

The Math U See curriculum is costly to start compared to competitors like Singapore Math.

The Primer Universal Set for example, which includes the workbook, instructor’s manual, access to videos and the manipulative set, costs U$142.

However, I found the cost worth it as the materials cover the entire year and reduces my work as a parent. The manipulative blocks are also used for several levels so if you plan to homeschool for a couple years with the Math U See program, it pays off.

**8. DVD and CDs**

The curriculum comes with an instructional DVD and there is an optional CD with songs that can be purchased later. The DVD format was obsolete for our household since we no longer own anything with DVD player, so it remained unopened.

Thankfully, the instructional videos are available online as well. Unfortunately the song CDs are not available as MP3.

**9. Does not align to public school’s grade level work**

If you are not sure if homeschooling is a long-term choice for your family or are homeschooling a child who has attended or will attend public/private school, this curriculum might make it difficult to correlate one-to-one with common core standards during the primary years.

And if you are transitioning to Math U See from a traditional math program, your child might have a harder time adjusting to the method which builds upon prior knowledge without lengthy explanations – i.e. it assumes your child has mastered prior concepts and knows how to work with manipulative blocks.

If there are any areas of weakness, it will be hard for the child to follow.

Math U See offers a placement test on their website and customer service support to help you decide what curriculum level might be appropriate for your child.

## Summary of Math U See Curriculum Review

Most homeschool math curriculums will have pros and cons, but so far, the Math U See program has been a great math curriculum for us.

We are almost done with the Alpha level and I am amazed by how fast and easily my son was able to progress using the Math U See method. Very often I will call out addition or subtraction equations to him and he will answer verbally without any need for manipulatives.

It makes me so happy to see how much he enjoys math and in fact, the best compliment I have for this curriculum is that my son asks to do math everyday, even on weekends or when we are on vacation!

As a parent that has not been a big fan of math my entire life, that sounds strange, but wonderful to my ears! I wish I had learned math this way…

To learn what other curriculums we might consider for math in the future, watch this video:

Products I bought alongside this program:

If you liked this homeschooling review, you might also like these other articles:

- Timberdoodle Curriculum Review
- Our Favorite Educational Games and Toys
- How to Homeschool with Kumon Workbooks

This website contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate and participant in other programs, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

NaturallyInspired

Math U See DOES align with the Common Core Standards. Please see the website for more information.

https://mathusee.com/common-core-state-standards/

Jana

Thank you for this. I think it wasn’t available when I was researching it, but glad it is now. I will edit the post.