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Copyright Quiz, Grammar Tips, Math-U-See For Me?

By Heather Idoni

Added Friday, July 18, 2008

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 9 No 57 July 18, 2008
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2008 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!
If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!




Notes from Heather
-- Curriculum and Copyright
Helpful Tip
-- Simple Game for Grammar
Winning Website
-- Grammar Monster
Reader Question
-- Anyone Use Math-U-See?
Additional Notes
-- Searchable Archive
-- Our Email Group
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Heather

Curriculum and Copyright Issues

From a reader:

"I came across this website today; your readers might be interested
in it. Sometimes in our efforts to be frugal, it's easy to cross
the line and compromise our standards of ethics."


Take the "Copyright Quiz" at the link above and see if you pass!


Do you have comments to share? Please do!
Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

[Editor's note: This simple game could be adapted for many
different subjects beyond grammar -- and keeping it fairly
easy will not disappoint a hungry child. Have fun with it!]

A Simple Grammar Game for Young Children

"The last time my son wanted a snack, I made this game up.
He had to give me verbs. Every time he said a verb I would
take 1 step closer to the kitchen. If he said a noun or
something else, I took a step back."

-- Gina, HomeschoolingBOYS.com Email Group


Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Winning Website

Grammar Monster - http://www.grammar-monster.com/

This handy site teaches punctuation and grammar rules with brief
lessons and examples. After each explanation there is a short
test. The site is pretty easy to navigate and is useful for
review; it is also handy as a quick reference when one is unsure
of the correct use of a punctuation mark. Grammar Monster isn't
"kiddish" and seems to be geared more toward older students or
adults. It even features a section on writing for business.

-- Cindy, www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I am considering the use of Math-U-See for my nine year old this
year. I would appreciate hearing from any of you that may have
tried this. Would you recommend it? Also, this program requires
manipulatives. The starter set is $30 and the completer set (which
is also recommended for my daughter's math level) is $35. Thus,
my second question -- do you feel that the manipulatives are help-
ful or could the program be done without them? I look forward to
hearing from you, as I value your input!" -- B.J.

Our Readers' Responses

"We have used Math-U-See for a few years now (with my son, 12, and
now my son, 6 yrs). We find it an excellent math program. We
generally use the manipulatives to actually learn the concepts being
taught, but once mastered, my son doesn't use them again until the
next concept being taught. After homeschooling for nearly 20 years,
Math-U-See is the best we have used." -- Michelle in Australia


"My kids love this program. I love the teaching DVD that comes with
it; if you get stumped as to how to explain a concept, the DVD is
invaluable for that. Wonderful curriculum!" -- Tangy


"We have used Math-U-See for 9 years, and we plan to continue. I
highly recommend it. When we started, I did invest in both sets of
the manipulatives, and I do agree that they're necessary. The
entire program is based on them (hence the name 'math you see'),
and, especially if you incorporate the DVD into your teaching, it
will be difficult -- even counter-productive -- to try and do it
without them. I think that if you are looking for a way not to use
manipulatives, you might be happier with a different program.
Good luck!" -- Mindy


"Dear B.J. -- I believe that the manipulatives are what make the
program great! We have two boys and a girl (8,7,5) who love Legos
-- and so naturally, they love the program. Using the video and
the blocks is easy; we watch the video together and then they work
very independently with their blocks or the workbooks. I don't
know how long I will use this program but I know I will for several
more years. You can save money by buying used books and/or blocks."
-- Cindy in Montana


"We have used Math-U-See for 2 years (upcoming will be the 3rd)
and we LOVE it!! In my opinion the blocks are necessary. I origi-
nally purchased only the first set, then went back and got the
completer set so that both kids could use them at the same time --
and the higher the level of math, the more manipulatives you will
need. We don't use them every day, but many of the lessons do use
them as an integral part of illustrating the lesson. Once you buy
them, then you have them and you will not have that expense again.

My children enjoy the break from 'mom teacher' to having Steve
Demme teach their math lesson via video. He is engaging and easy
to follow. As a former teacher (having used many different math
curriculums in various school systems) I find Math-U-See to be a
great program. I like the way it is laid out and provides many
opportunities for review and practice. (You can skip these where
they are not needed.) I like that it is not heavy in artwork and
graphics - it's no frills - just math on the pages.

My only caution would be if your child is a great math student,
he/she may find it boring and too repetitive. I would consider
my oldest son, who has used the program the most, to be an
'average' math student. He needs the simplicity and straight-
forwardness of this program. But if you do have an advanced
student you could easily supplement with some inexpensive problem
solving books from Mailbox or Barnes and Noble." -- Michelle in VA


"I recommend Math-U-See. We started with Math-U-See, stopped it,
tried two other programs, and are now back to Math-U-See. We
stopped because I was unsure about the repetition of using the
manipulatives, and moving slowly through one operation before
moving on to others. Now I see how important that really is.
The kids really need to master the basics before moving on, and
the manipulatives are essential. The program is totally designed
around using them and they really help. Eventually, they use
them less and less as they get the concepts." -- Jan M.


"Math U See is great. I would suggest going back to Alpha so
your child can learn the Math U See 'talk' from the beginning
and be sure there are no gaps in basic math skills. Yes, the
manipulatives are very helpful. I took an 11 year old and a 13
year old all the way back to Alpha and it took under 18 months
to get them through Pre Algebra and Algebra. The difference in
their math skills and understanding is unbelievable. It was
worth every penny I spent on all of those levels and manipulatives.
Yes, we devoted a ton of time and money to math the past year,
but having the kids solid in math has been worth it."
-- The Lugbauer Family


"I made this same consideration when my son was just turning 8
(3rd grade) coming out from public school. At that time I was
told by some of their representatives that I might want to con-
sider a more textbook approach like Horizons or BJU for 2 reasons:
1) He was doing very well in Math while not so much in other
subjects so 'relearning' the method for him might be a stab at
his confidence -- and 2) based on a few questions they thought
his learning style might find the method distracting. We did not
purchase it and he has done well with several other curriculums.
But at the time I thought it would have been a good program and
the VideoText Interactive math people recommend it for lower
elementary levels." -- Sue


I highly recommend Math-U-See! It's an awesome program! I
switched to Math-U-See after using Saxon and it has been wonderful!
My oldest loved math but after a few years using Saxon he hated
math. I bought MUS and he now loves math again! The program is
very flexible; the kids are not doing worksheets just to do work-
sheets. The program stresses mastery of the concept, not mastery
of how to do worksheets. :-)

As for the blocks, yes you need them. They are a vital part of
the program and are extremely useful in showing the students how
to find the answer. My husband never 'got' algebra, but after
seeing algebra done with the blocks, he understands it now. The
blocks are a one-time investment. Check around on ebay or used
homeschool curriculum fairs to see if you can get them cheaper.

I know for us Math-U-See has been a lifesaver! My children enjoy
it very much. Good luck to you." -- Beth


"I have a high-functioning autistic son who is nine years old.
Math-U-See is the only math curriculum that has worked for him
because the concepts are demonstrated with the manipulatives.
They can work with these over and over again in order to see what
is being done, and they are necessary to the curriculum. Mr. Demme,
the writer of the curriculum, demonstrates each new lesson on the
DVD that comes with the curriculum, which my son actually enjoyed
watching himself (it is intended for Mom to see how to teach the
lesson, but becomes a great time-saver when your child enjoys
seeing it, and learns from it.) After seeing that, we tried it
ourselves with the manipulatives, and I would reinforce what my
son needed in order to understand what he was doing. Then we went
on to the written part of the lesson. There are pictures of the
manipulatives next to problems to help the child getting started
with the new concept picture what he's doing, and a few word
problems on each page for practical application. I highly
recommend this curriculum for seeing and understanding 'why' the
math is actually being done." -- Joy in PA


"I can't recommend Math-U-See highly enough. After 2 or so years
of crying our way (my daughter and myself!) through math, my husband
had enough. He went online, found Math-U-See, made an executive
decision and ordered it. We saw immediate and marked improvement
in my oldest daughter's confidence and comprehension. Steve Demme
loves his subject and makes it enjoyable for the kids. The lessons
are clear and thorough with plenty of practice and review, without
being so time-consuming that they take up half your school day.
In fact, I feel they fit well with that tenet of Charlotte Mason
instruction (short lessons).

I do think the manipulatives are necessary, even though they use
them less as they become accustomed to understanding the concepts.
Often my less math-challenged son thinks he completely understands,
but ends up needing the blocks to really get it." -- Angela


"We love Math-U-See!!! The DVD teaches a concept clearly and then
if my daughter (8th grade now) has any questions regarding that
concept or previously taught concepts she can go back and review
again and again. We like the layout of each week: a new concept
taught, several days of practice, and then 2 days of review of the
new and past concepts, then a test. If my daughter feels confident
early in the week I will let her pretest. If she doesn't pass she
has to continue with the scheduled week. If she passes the pretest
then we move on to the next week's lesson. This is our sixth year
and I (as the teacher/mother) am convinced of the program. Yes,
the manipulatives are important and well worth it. We plan to
continue this program throughout High School."


"I love this math program. I've used it for all three of my sons.
My oldest is a self-starting independent learner. My other two are
not. The program works equally well for all of them. Even though
you do not need the manipulatives for every lesson, I wouldn't do
the program without them. Especially for kids who don't get every-
thing the first time or who forget, having a a touchable learning
aid gives them another way to remember and reinforce the concept.
'Doing' is a very important part of learning, and while we're always
looking for ways to save money on our school supplies, I think the
investment for the manipulatives is worth it." -- Donna


"We have used MUS for the last year and half for our children ages
12, 10 and 7. It has been a real blessing to us. We watch the DVD
together and usually the children grasp the lesson immediately; we
seldom even use the teachers manual to expound on the lesson. It
is so wonderful to have Steve Demme teaching my children. They
are each on their individual levels and the older 2 finished a year
course within 6 months of starting. My eldest aims to finish the
current course in 7 months. They don't need to do all the practice
sheets if they grasp the concept immediately, but I do insist that
they do all the word problems and the review pages.

My older two use the manipulatives less than the younger child as
they had a fair amount of maths under their belts before we switched
to Math U See. The manipulatives do help with the middle and younger
child. I would recommend Math U See any day!" -- Wendy in SA

Answer our NEW Question

"Next year I am implementing a 'question box', one for each child
(I have a 13 year old and a 4 year old -- both boys). In the
question box I want to put questions for them to find the answer
to (for the 13 year old it will require some research -- for the
4 year old it will his 'daily task'). Some of my ideas are
answering science questions, fixing punctuation, grammar and
vocabulary in a paragraph, geography questions, researching
authors works, and of course some living math problems. Oh, I'm
also planning on adding fun things like 'Math Immunity' for the day!

I could make up all my own questions, which it looks like I might
have to as I haven't been able to find a good resource to use.
I'd like something that has age appropriate suggestions and/or
divided by subjects or even an article that could contribute to
suggestions of what to put into a question box. Any suggestions?
Thanks -- homeschooling parents are THE best resource in the world!"
-- Lori D.


Do you have ideas for Lori or some good resources to recommend?

Please send your answer to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net

Ask YOUR Question

Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if we can help you out in a future issue!

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[Note: This ministry is especially for Christian parents, but
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have any technical difficulties.]

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