Monday, March 14, 2016

Math-U-See's New Digital Packs - A Review

So Math-U-See, from Demme Learning, has come up with a product that is sure to make a lot of homeschool parents very happy, Digital Packs, for enhanced mathematics learning at home. If you have an internet connection, you can have Math-U-See's streaming video instructions delivered right to your laptop or desktop--Mr. Demme at your doorstep!

I was selected to review a 12-month subscription to the Digital Pack for Algebra 2. I was sent the student books in physical format, and given access to the 12-month online teaching dashboard. This was very easy to find and use. You login to the website and then select, "My Digital Packs." Once there, you select the course you have paid for, then select the lesson, and off you go. (A note: the Student Book and the Test Booklet must be purchased separately as they are not included with the purchase of a Digital Pack.)

This is what the dashboard looks like with Lesson 1: Exponents, in-process. Click to enlarge it so that you can read the sidebar. They have made this as simple and easy to navigate as possible. I have used a lot of online programs, and some of them are unbelievably confusing. Not this one! They know their audience wants "get up and go" and they have done that for us!

The selected lesson can be played as many times as your student (or you, the teacher) may need. Then your student will use the physical books to work out the problems. The books contain two lesson worksheets that pertain to the specific lesson, and then three extra review pages, followed by an honors page. The solutions are found in the same dashboard on the right, and are detailed so your student can work out where they erred if they miss a problem. Also included on the right are the PDF lesson summaries that are the instruction from the physical teacher book. So you are really getting all the same information you'd get via the hardback book, but it is all in one place, and printable if you desire, or not. 

The only issue with the dashboard display is that all the solutions are available on the right hand side, so that means all the answers are one click away. So, if you are using this, you really do have to make sure that your student watches the video, and then shuts the screen off so that they can do the work without using the solution keys that are easily accessible. I am not sure why they chose to do it this way, but I do hope they offer a parent login and a student login in the future. It is really the only undesirable issue I found with this program. 

At the bottom of the dashboard, under "Additional Resources," you find a link entitled, "Downloadable Math-U-See Resources." This is a gem of a link! Depending on the level you are using, you have access to drills, extra practice worksheets, webinars, e-learning resources, general math and secondary math level downloads, math fact sheets for review, word problem tips, record-keeping sheets, graph paper printouts, and any updates or corrections to the books.

What does Math-U-See's Algebra 2 cover? I am glad you asked! This is the entire Table of Contents for this level:
We determined that my child was at this level by taking the assessment for this level found on the website. It requires a parent to share some information in order to access the assessment, but I have not been contacted by MUS, and they have not shared that information with anyone that I can tell. I find it a little strange that they require that information for an assessment, but I did need him to take it so I gave it. They ask for name, email, and phone number. We determined that this was his level, and so far, we have been correct in this assessment. These are his thoughts on the program:

The Math-U-See Algebra 2 program is a fantastic way to learn math. I find that the teacher explains his subject really well and he enjoys it a lot. I have grown to like math even more since I started using this book. He gives you two separate lesson pages so you can get to understand the subject. Then after those pages he gives you three review sections to further engrain the recent subject in your brain. After that, he gives you an Honors page, which brings in subjects from your math past and new ones that you might not have heard about. So far, I have grown to love this curriculum and to love math. I hope that you will have this same experience!

I am very pleased with the newest addition to the Demme Learning universe! Their math programs have always been good, but now they are even better. The cost of the Digital Pack is $61 for a full 12-months of access. The Student Book and Teacher Book are $41 for the set. So for $102, you have a whole year of Algebra 2! The video lessons are well done, and enjoyable for my student. (He says he likes math even more, and I love that!) To see a sample of any of the levels, click on the level of your interest on the Product Overview page. Once your level loads, you will find a sample to watch on that page. You can also find more information on their YouTube page. Excellent work, Demme Learning!

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Demme Learning's Math-U-See Review
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