Due to my not planning and not buying too much ahead of time this academic year, I find myself needing to order the next levels of math for both of my children. They are both using Math U See.
My 8 year old is finishing up the “Foundations” level. He started this back when “Foundations” was the current curriculum. In 2004 Math U See reorganized their program and changed the names of their new programs. The new programs are still not linked directly to grade level but here is what it basically is:
First Grade: Alpha
Second Grade: Beta
Third Grade: Gamma
The old program was:
First through Third (in one thick book): Foundations…
In my younger son’s prek-4 year (2004-2005 academic year) he did the entire “Introduction” than moved on to “Alpha”. As of today he is in the last third of the “Alpha” book. I just ordered the “Beta” curriculum today from the MUS website. He is 5 years old and technically in Kindergarten. (Can you see how grade levels with homeschoolers are mushy?)
In my older son’s Kindergarten year he began “Introduction” (while aged 5.5). In my older son’s First Grade year (age 6) he finished “Introduction” and then moved on to “Foundations”. He is 8 now and in the beginning of his Third Grade year yet is finishing up “Foundations” which is the Third Grade part of the book. In order to transition to the new curriculum he will be using “Gamma”, so I ordered that today.
I did a quick check over at the Well Trained Mind Sale and Swap board to see if I could find used curriculum with clean pages. I did not find it. Prices on eBay for Math U See curriculum tend to be on the very high side, sometimes exceeding the full retail price for new materials purchased through the official Math U See website. I still cannot figure this out at all. Why, why would someone buy used materials on eBay for an equal or higher price than buying brand new materials at full retail from the Math U See official website??
In case you are not aware and are curious, Math U See cannot be purchased from homeschooling vendors or bookstores. You won’t see their products in the Rainbow Resource Center catalog. You must buy directly from the Math U See website. MUS has official distributors around the country who actually do the sales and ship the materials to you. The nearest distributor to your home address is the distributor that will service your area (from what I can gather; my distributor lives in a state that borders my home state). In the past my orders have arrived in 2-3 business days. I have never had a problem with their customer service. If you buy their materials at their official vendor booth at homeschool conferences the price is the same as if buying from the website (except you don’t pay shipping if they have the item in stock at the conference).
There is also a “Math U See Users” chat list on Yahoo Groups! for discussion about this curriculum. Some of the members are distributors so they are all very positive about this curriculum.
My only complaint about the program is that by using it my children don’t memorize all the math facts. The program wants the children to memorize all the math facts in order to make performing operations easier and faster for the children. My children get all the concepts and like the workbooks. They both like math. I just wish something were different to help the students memorize math facts. We have been supplementing with flash cards, Wrap-Up’s, audio recordings of math songs, and math content computer games.
If you are curious about Math U See, they have a frequently asked questions section on their website.