## Tuesday, July 19, 2011

### Math-u-See or something else?

For math instruction, we've been using Math-U-See.  We started out with RightStart Math which just wasn't a good fit for us.  The lessons were too long and kind of boring and I had way too much to do to prep for each lesson.  So far, we've been very happy with Math-U-See.  We watch the instructional DVD and then practice on our own and then do the accompanying worksheet.  We've learned a lot and I feel like the program is building a good foundation.

I'm worried though.  Z1 doesn't seem to know how to subtract 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5.  It's very important that he masters them.  Math-U-See teaches these subtraction facts through addition and this approach is pretty cool (to me).

Here's the method:

When subtracting 9, you need 1 to make hidden 10.
When subtracting 8, you need 2 to make hidden 10.
When subtracting 7, you need 3 to make hidden 10.
When subtracting 6, you need 4 to make hidden 10.
When subtracting 5, you need 5 to make hidden 10.
When subtracting 4, you need 6 to make hidden 10.
When subtracting 3, you need 7 to make hidden 10.
When subtracting 2, you need 8 to make hidden 10.
When subtracting 1, you need 9 to make hidden 10.

So in the example 15 - 9, the student would think "when subtracting 9, you need 1 to make 10 (the "10" in 15) so 15 - 9 = 5 + 1 = 6.  I don't know . . . looks confusing as I type it but the blocks make is so incredibly plain.

Anyway, the fact that Z1 doesn't know these facts makes me think that maybe MUS is not effective for him but I don't want to give up on the program just yet.  I've been drilling these facts on paper and on the computer and over the next two weeks, we will be doing these lessons over.  It's very important that he masters these facts before we move on to subtraction with regrouping.

Z1 bucks at the idea of "going back" to Alpha level so I'll have to frame it in a different way.  Hopefully, this review will be all it takes to get these facts solidified in Z1's mind.  But I'm doing research and looking into Singapore and Saxon math.  Truth be told, though, I do not want to go down the road of looking for yet another math curriculum.  I hope Math-U-See works for this year at least.