Monday, March 14, 2016

Math-U-See Digital Packs {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

Our family has been big fans of Math-U-See for years and years. Addison started ages ago when we borrowed a copy of Beta from friends to do some remedial, catch-up math work the summer between her second and third grade years. Something clicked when Addison started working with Math-U-See, and Addison hasn't stopped thinking mathematically since. She has finished all the Math-U-See courses, is studying independently for the Calculus AP exam, and is planning to major in mathematics (and engineering) in college. We've come a long way since her tearful early elementary  math days.

Brennan has been using Math-U-See his entire school career as well, including Math-U-See Algebra 2 from Demme Learning this year.  We were recently able to try their new Digital Packs.

The Math-U-See Digital Packs include the same great instruction that we love about this program. Steve Demme completely and clearly explains all of the math concepts in a way that makes sense for my kids. Instead of having to hunt down the correct DVDs for my children to view the lessons (a frequent occurrence), we can just log into our account. The streaming videos also allow us to work places other than in front of the TV in the living room.

In addition to the instructional videos, the Digital Pack also includes access to the printed textbook materials (explanation and sample problems for each lesson), lesson solutions, honors solutions, and even the test solutions. The lower levels of Math-U-See Digital Packs also include access to online manipulatives, but Algebra 2 doesn't use the blocks the way that the earlier math courses do.

Normally, the lesson summaries and solutions are found in the hardcover Instruction Manual. It is handy to have online access to this information, but I'm not convinced that this option is best for my son. Some students can work independently through the problems and consult the answer key when they run into trouble. Other students will give up easily and flip over to the answers without putting forth the effort needed to conquer the day's math concept.

I contacted Math-U-See about having the answers so readily available to students. I was told that the company is already working hard on developing the second iteration of digital materials. They hope that the next iteration will have the solutions separated from the instructional materials, either by putting them in a separate location or making them password protected. If making sure your student does not have easy access to the answer keys is important to you, you might want to wait until their next release to try the Digital Packs.

Another big limitation to the Math-U-See Digital Packs is that right now they only provide the instructional materials -- what is normally found on the DVDs and in the Instruction Manual. In order to use this as a complete math program, you would also need the corresponding Student Pack which includes the workbook (with five to seven practice pages for each lesson), honors work pages, and the tests.

We still love Math-U-See and highly recommend their products to any (and every) homeschool family. Their new Digital Packs also provide a great way to easily access the instructional materials without keeping up with DVDs and bulky books. Once they are able to secure access to the solutions, this will truly be another first-class Math-U-See option!

The Algebra 2 Digital Pack with twelve months access costs $61, and the corresponding Student Pack costs $41. If you'd prefer using DVDs and a hardback textbook, the Algebra 2 Instruction Pack costs $78.

Demme Learning's Math-U-See Review

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1 comment:

  1. Anybody else reading this...yes, Cristi does recommend them to everyone! She's got us hooked!



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