DS is almost finished Alpha MUS. He hates math. I think he's bored with it. I'm wondering if he would like something that introduces more concepts instead of the drill-and-kill type mastery.
I do like the idea behind MUS and I don't know if I want to give it up entirely just yet. But I'm wondering about supplementing with something else and if anyone has any experience with supplementing MUS.
I'm going to a homeschooling conference in April where I hope to find a new math curriculum for us (I hope RightStart is there! I want to see it in action!) but in the meantime I need some ideas to supplement.
So far my ideas are to play the card game "War" by flipping over 3 cards and adding them all. The highest sum wins. DS loves games and I hope it works for him. But I have no other ideas.
We use Math U See and I like it for dd.
Dd is also doing some Miquon Math occasionally. The red book seems to go along pretty well with MUS Beta so far. I only have the orange book and the red book. We don't use the cuisenare rods.
I have a book called Family Math which has many game ideas. We have a couple of computer games with math- Jump Start Math Booster & Mighty Math Zoo Zillions- and the Sum Swamp board game. We have made up our own board games using what is in the MUS lessons.
We used Miquon for my first DS when he was younger, with the Cussinaire Rods.
We both liked it for the most part, but when it was said and done, he didn't retain very much and didn't know his facts. (And he is very bright. He has been reading at a college level since he was about 9, and just generally is an intelligent boy.)
Anyway, it was harder for him to move into more advanced math after Miquon since he didn't remember a lot and didn't have his times tables down. We ended up having to back-up and re-learn.
We recently switched to Rod and Staff math and really like it. It is really straight forward and we just skip what we don't want to do. I like that is so practical, real life stuff, like making change and things. (That was really big for DH. Once when DD was doing Miquon, a friend asked her to make change and she couldn't do it. Miquon didn't cover it, and so we hadn't made time to do that yet. With R & S now, my DC can do those daily things and I don't have to make an extra point to do it.)
We have also used the Flash Kids series- red workbooks from Barnes & Noble- and some Kumon workbooks. They are good for just learning basic things or whatever, but not really a full curriculum if you want it to be complete.
We also have fun doing flash cards now. DS and DH will face off and it's pretty exciting to watch. =)
You might check out Math Mammoth. http://www.mathmammoth.com. It's available to download online and very inexpensive. It's been a really good fit for us :)
I wasn't sure about recommending another curriculum but as Lemon Pie ventured there I thought I would recommend Noble Knights of Knowledge... creative approach and little drill and kill.
We love Right Start. My kids ask if we can "play" math. It's principles come from Asia. It tells you what to say so if you aren't that great at math, no worries.
Plus, it has a tonnes of card games to play to reinforce the lessons.
For ex. my daughter loves The Banker. We have monopoly money that we trade to make the least amount of bills. Or Corners is when there is a number on four sizes of a square and we have to make sums of 15 and whoever connects them all and has the largest number at the end wins. Just examples of the games and how fun they are. I find it is a wonderful time to have fun with them and connect while learning. They also have a lot of manupulatives so it keeps the little ones busy as well. One can be building with blocks, another can be making things with colored tiles and another can be playing with an abacus all at the table. Can you tell I am enthusiastic about our curriculum?
We like to play Black Jack.
Many times I found that when my Math U See student was bored I was not moving her at her pace. She was ready to move on and I still wanted to or needed to wait till it fit the schedule of the day. Life happens and sometimes I found it hard to keep up with it. One of the wonderful things about Math U See is that it is a mastery program were you can move them at their pace. So when this happened, I would ask myself, can she teach me the concept? Can she apply it with word problems? Another words, do I know she knows this concept and knows how to use it in real life? Can she picture it and has it move to the "know it" stage of understanding? If so I just need to move her on. Some students are gifted in math and can see the concept right away. Others need to stay in the "see it, say it, do it" stage much longer. This is another wonderful gift of Homeschooling and Math U See. We can see that for each concept when they are getting it. I know sometimes we would run across a concept that would just take a long time. That was when I had a hard time waiting for that little light to go on....ohhhh I see it!!!! ... I love that look! So if we watched the DVD together, she could teach it to me, could do the samples from the Instruction book and the some word problems, I might pick a few problems on each page of the lesson (to make sure I hit both the new concept and some from the review section) and move her on. I never wanted to move her at a pace that left her behind. But I never wanted to let her get to the bored stage either. So great job mom for seeing this and looking at what to do. I know there are lots of moms that encourage each other on the Math U See facebook page as well that might have more ideas. And if you ever get stuck you can always call the Math U See 888-854-6284 number and someone will be glad to talk about what to do next.
A second for Math Mammoth. My dd loves it, and it's a very easy and fun curriculum for me to teach, as well. It helps that it's really inexpensive!
Both my daughter and I were bored with MUS.
Then we started RightStart, and I love how they teach math! We're never bored now. I think their approach gives a great foundation for math. Even I, a previous math major, am seeing math in a new light. The only drawback is that I find myself not getting to it everyday, as it isn't just a "here's a worksheet, now do your work" type program. So I supplement with Math Mammoth when I'm feeling lazy. :) She misses RightStart when we go too long without it though.
I second the recommendation to contact the company. I've found them to be very helpful when we've run into problems. A couple other things we've tried when we hit a rough spot with math (or any subject, for that matter) are to either take some time off OR spend a couple weeks doing as much math as possible, just to see how quickly we can zip through a section. Depends on whether the frustration is caused by needing more challenge or needing a bit of time to relax and not feel pressured to know something just because it's next in the book.
At Alpha level, we also spent many days just playing with the blocks. No problems to solve, but their brains still figure things out. :)
Hope math becomes super-fun soon, no matter what you decide!
Thanks everyone for the advice!!
I'm having a hard time telling if he is just not getting it, or if it isn't challenging enough for him. He gets all the concepts, but he will stare at a problem such as 13-7= for a long time and then roar saying "I hate this!!" Some problems he knows instantly by looking at them. I guess I am unsure about what "mastery" means. Does it mean that he has all the facts understood and memorized, or just understood? To me it means that he looks at a problem and can identify the answer almost instantly (or like within 5 seconds...kwim?), which he can with a lot of them, but not all of them.
When he looks at it a long time you might want to, right then, have him build it (if your not already). Maybe if you go back to the adding and subtracting chart you could narrow it down to just a few of those 7's & 8's that are frustrating for him. When my dd was having troubles it also helped me to see where she was having a problem. So I had her teach it back to me and I could see the issue. Sounds to me like you described mastery perfectly. "Some problems he knows instantly by looking at them"...those are mastered.
If he is doing well with the word problems, you know he knows how to use the concept in real life. And it may just be getting those few fact down. If he can't do the word problems it may be the concept he is struggling seeing. Then I'd go back and watch the DVD and build it, say it and do some more problems. However, there were times when we just hit a wall. Then I, like GracefulMom, just took a short break and I am always amazed how many times we come back and the light would go on and she would get it.