Tuesday, March 15, 2016

PreCalculus from Math-U-See {a Schoolhouse Review Crew review}

Demme Learning Math U See Review

My best friend started telling me how amazing Demme Learning's Math-U-See was a long, long time ago.  Hands-on, with manipulatives, and Steve Demme just makes so much sense, she told me.  I was happy with what we were already using, so I didn't pay a whole lot of attention. 

Different kids, though, often need different approaches.  A few years ago, I did jump in and it was the best decision I could have made for my younger kids.  Now that they have introduced digital math with their Digital Packs, I have gotten my eldest to try it out too.  For this review, he has been working through PreCalculus.
Demme Learning Math U See Review

Is it just me, or is the very sound of the word PreCalculus intimidating?

I did go through Calculus once upon a time, but that was a very long time ago and I'm not making any claims that I remember much.  Mr. Demme makes it so I don't have to figure out again. 

Math-U-See is so easy to use, especially with my teens.  Connor watches the video, does a worksheet or two, depending on whether this is a new concept or one he already knows, and moves on.

The newest thing from Math-U-See is the Digital Pack, which comes with the Universal Set and can also be purchased separately.  I wasn't entirely sure about this, but it turns out that we love it.  So what do you get?
  • You get 12 months of access to the Digital Pack. 
  • You can stream all of the content from the DVDs. 
  • You can access a pdf of the student textbook, listed as a Lesson Summary here, and as the Instruction Manual for the physical textbook.
  • You can check out the solutions for the worksheets, quizzes, and tests.
  • You have access to a record-keeping sheet that can be used in tracking grades.
  • You have easy access to additional MUS resources.
For lower levels, you can also access digital manipulatives, but there aren't any at the PreCalculus level.

What do you need?
  • You need decent internet to access the streaming.  
  • The Digital Pack does not include the workbook or tests.

What do we think?

We are loving this.  Connor does not have to tie up the television to watch math.  Some of the lessons are pretty long at this level (Lesson 9, Proving Trigonometric Identities, is over a half hour) and he has four younger siblings who also need the television for various schoolwork.  Connor being able to stream his math video frees the rest of us up.

He prefers the short pdf file for each chapter of the text as well, like the one at left.  He doesn't have to keep track of the book, nor try to keep it nice for his siblings.  He can easily access it from any internet device, so dragging a big textbook around is something he can avoid.

I can pull up the solutions, and let me tell you, the solutions book is something I can never keep track of.  Now I don't have to.  However, my only real complaint about the Digital Packs is that the solutions are all right there, easy to access for anyone.  I've been told they are working on that, so those will need a separate password or something, but as it stands at this time, the student has easy access to all of the answers.

Bottom line:  the Digital Pack is making it so easy for math to happen for him.  
Demme Learning Math U See Review
As I get to the end here, I realize I didn't even touch on what is covered in this course!  Back when I was in high school, there wasn't a "PreCalculus" course.  After Algebra 2, we took Trigonometry for a semester, then Analytical Geometry.  Calculus came after that.  I've always been a little confused as to what exactly PreCalculus even is, but going through the Math-U-See version, it seems it could just as easily be titled Trigonometry.

The first lesson, in fact, is called "Introduction to Trigonometry" and it proceeds to go through all kinds of lesson titles with words like "Angles," "Sine," "Cosecant," and "Logarithm."  I keep thinking I need to work through the videos myself, just to see if Mr. Demme can get me to understand all of this again.  Well, umm, actually, to understand it at all.  The first time through, I could process the stuff enough to get As and Bs in class, but I certainly never understood it.

Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew had the chance to review Math-U-See levels from Primer all the way up through PreCalculus, as there isn't a Digital Pack for Calculus quite yet.  Definitely go and check those reviews out so you can see how this worked in other households and with less complicated math!

Crew Disclaimer

1 comment:

Michele said...

Sounds great. Guess I need to try this for Algebra for Salem! Thanks for the review!