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FAQ


General Questions


Q:

What is the difference between Math-U-See and other programs?

A:

We teach by Concept, not by Rote Memory. We are a Mastery program, not a Spiral approach. We are multi-sensory. Visit What makes us unique? for details.

Q:

Is Math-U-See a complete curriculum?

A:

Yes. Math-U-See is a complete K-12 skill-based, multi-sensory curriculum with video instruction.

Q:

How does Math-U-See prepare students for standardized testing?

A:

Math-U-See covers core concepts found in standardized testing. Its focus on concept mastery gives students the tools to excel in a variety of different circumstances including testing.

Q:

How do I decide where to place my student?

A:

Placement is based on skill level, not grade level. Please call our customer support team for help with your individualized placement questions.

Q:

If I haven’t previously used Math-U-See with my older student, can they start at their level or must they start in Alpha?

A:

Students may start at any level if they have mastered the mathematical skills taught in previous levels of Math-U-See. Placement is based on skill level, not grade level. Please call our customer support team for help with your individualized placement questions.

Q:

Can a student start Algebra 1 without having previously used Math-U-See?

A:

It is possible to use Algebra 1 without completing the earlier levels of Math-U-See. The prerequisites necessary to be successful in our Algebra 1 level are: a mastery of all basic operations, fractions, decimals, percents, integers, and basic understanding of exponents and roots; an understanding of standard, expanded, and exponential notation, and ability to convert between various notations; an ability to determine the least common multiple and greatest common factor for a set of numbers; an ability to manipulate, simplify, and solve basic algebraic equations; have completed our Pre-Algebra course or an equivalent course.

Q:

What levels are included in your high school math?

A:

Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, PreCalculus, Calculus, and Stewardship make up our Secondary Math courses. Pre-Algebra or an equivalent course is a prerequisite to Algebra 1.

Q:

Can an older student learn the lesson concept on their own by watching the lesson video?

A:

While Math-U-See encourages teacher/parent participation in our program, we recognize that some students can be successful in learning the Upper Levels of Math-U-See on their own. We suggest that there should be guidance from a committed parent or teacher, so that if the student struggles, the parent will be able to assist.

Q:

Can I buy the DVD or the student workbook separately? I don’t use the Instruction Manual or the Tests booklet.

A:

No, these are sold in sets. The Instruction Pack includes the Instruction Manual and DVD. The Student Pack includes the Student Workbook and Tests booklet.

Q:

Do we really need to use manipulative blocks?

A:

The manipulative blocks are integral to Math-U-See. We have found that those who are most successful in mastering and understanding each concept are those consistently using the manipulatives as recommended through Algebra 1.

Q:

Do I really need two sets of blocks?

A:

Two sets will allow you to have ten pieces of each number. This is helpful when building the clock in the Primer through Beta levels. It is helpful to have the extra pieces when building larger problems in the Beta, Gamma and Delta level. If you have multiple students working at the same time in the same level, it is very helpful to have two sets. Each student would be able to build without having to wait on the other student.

Q:

What is the Classic curriculum?

A:

The Classic curriculum refers to an older series of math books entitled Foundations, Intermediate, and Advanced, which were replaced in 2004. Call our customer support team with questions.

Q:

What do the titles of the general math series books mean?

A:

They are the first six letters of the Greek alphabet. Using Greek letters expresses sequence without indicating grade level. Math is sequential. One of the distinct elements of Math-U-See is that we are based on developing sequential learning skills. Our sequence progresses according to skill level rather than grade level.

Q:

What is the Math-U-See sequence for high school math courses?

A:

Math-U-See uses this sequence: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, PreCalculus and Calculus. Algebra 1 is the first book to be done in the upper level sequence, as it is a prerequisite for both Geometry and Algebra 2. After you have completed Algebra 1, you can proceed to Geometry. Pre-Algebra or an equivalent course should be completed prior to Algebra 1.

Q:

What level of Math-U-See should my student finish before taking chemistry?

A:

The student should have finished Algebra 1 before starting chemistry. If your student is taking Algebra 2 at the same time as chemistry, contact us for a suggested alternate order of lessons that may be helpful.

Q:

What level of Math-U-See should my student finish before taking physics?

A:

At the minimum, a student should have finished Algebra 1 and Geometry before beginning physics. The basic trig functions, which are used in physics, are presented at the end of the Math-U-See Geometry course. Taking physics and Algebra 2 together should work for most students. Some students may already be in PreCalculus when they begin physics, which will be to their advantage, although not absolutely necessary.

Q:

When does Math-U-See allow the use of calculators?

A:

If you are confident that your student can do the basic operations easily, you may allow calculator use in Pre-Algebra and up for the more cumbersome problems, such as surface area. We encourage students to continue to do shorter problems without a calculator. A scientific calculator is needed for PreCalculus.

Q:

In which level is Trig included? Why is it not its own category?

A:

Traditionally, trigonometry was the course taught before calculus. Today, it is more customary to call the same course precalculus, perhaps because calculus is now offered in most high schools. By either name, the course is essentially the same — lots of trigonometry and some advanced algebra topics. Math-U-See combined the names and calls its course PreCalculus with Trigonometry.

Q:

What grading system does Math-U-See recommend?

A:

Math-U-See does not have a recommended grading system. The primary purpose of test taking is to confirm that the student has mastered each concept as you move along. If you want or need to give grades, you may use any system that makes sense to you, and that you feel fairly reflects your child’s progress.

Q:

Does Math-U-See publish any international editions?

A:

Math-U-See publishes special editions for several English-speaking countries. For contact information go to our International Distributors page.

Q:

What payment methods do you accept?

A:

Our online shopping cart securely and efficiently handles credit card payments from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover credit or debit cards. Contact us at 888.854.6284 (MATH) to learn about alternate payment methods we accept.

Pricing Questions


Q. Will the prices change in 2013?

Yes. View the updated prices at our Store.

Q. When can I buy the updated books?

A. The books are now officially available for purchase as of March 4th, 2013.

Q. Will Math U See repurchase from customers with older editions?

A. No. Please see our 60-day return policy for any returns.

Q. Will you be selling the individual portions to go along with their old materials?

A. We do not plan to sell the additional materials, such as Application & Enrichment pages, as individual elements. They have been incorporated into our current Instruction and Student Packs.

Q. Can I just purchase just the Instruction Manual?

Yes. For a limited time, customers who have our existing Instruction Packs will be able to purchase an upgraded Instruction Manual without re-purchasing the DVD.

Q:

Are there special offers or discounts for large orders?

A:

Math-U-See offers an excellent value for a video/DVD based curriculum. We strive to keep our prices reasonable, but do not have any special offers. You can check our Clearance Cart for items that are available at a discounted rate.

Q:

Do you sell used Math-U-See books?

A:

No. Check our Clearance Cart to see if the items you need are available at a discounted rate.

FAQs about the Updates


Q. Has the Instruction Manual changed?

A. Yes. We added more teaching tips and more examples to give parents and instructors additional tools to help their students learn. We clarified definitions of terms, made explicit primary concepts that had previously only been implied, and added secondary concepts which had previously been absent.

Q. Has the Student Workbook changed?

A. Yes. As part of this update we have extended the activities, now called “Application & Enrichment” pages, to the entire Greek Letter series. Some of these new pages take concepts presented in a lesson and apply them in real-world settings. Some reinforce concepts through fun and engaging activities. Others introduce topics not previously covered.

Q. Has the DVD changed?

A. No, the DVD video lessons have not changed. You will see a new cover, but all the content on the DVD is the same.

Q. Has the Test Book changed?

A. Yes. The activities pages for Alpha and Beta have been removed and integrated in the Student Workbook as part of the Application & Enrichment pages (one per lesson in the new editions of Primer through Zeta). Edits were made to the Tests themselves to reflect edited wording in the Workbook. The Tests and Student Workbook are consumables and are sold together as the Student Pack. Customers will receive the updated Tests when they purchase the updated Student Workbook.

Q. Can I just purchase just the Instruction Manual?

Yes. For a limited time, customers who have our existing Instruction Packs will be able to purchase an upgraded Instruction Manual without re-purchasing the DVD.

Q. Can I just purchase the workbook?

A. No, the Student Packs come with both the Student Workbook and Tests. These books are both consumables and should be purchased for each student.

Q. Just how different are the updated products from the previous edition?

The biggest differences are in Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, and Zeta. These previously had no application and enrichment content, so the new Application & Enrichment pages following each lesson represent all new content (making up 15-20% of the updated Student Workbooks).

Alpha and Beta previously had some enrichment content, called “activities,” which were in the test booklet. Primer had downloadable activities that were available on our website. These were all updated in this release to full Application & Enrichment pages and moved into the Student Workbooks. Beta also has two new Appendices.

All of the Instruction Manuals have new teaching tips, suggestions, and expanded explanations. All of the Instruction Manuals and Student Workbooks have been revised and updated with corrections and other changes that clarified concepts.

We have adjusted the titles of some products. Student Text became Student Workbook. Test Booklet (or Test and Activity Booklet for Alpha and Beta) became Tests. Student Kit became Student Pack. We redesigned covers on all the updated books, added a new and improved Curriculum Sequence page (this document plus the Table of Contents document replace the Scope and Sequence), and an updated How to Use section.

Q. Will the old product align with the new? If I purchase a new Student Pack, will I be able to use my old Instruction Manual?

A. The updated Student Packs are backward-compatible with the content in previous editions. However, there have been significant improvements to both our Instruction and Student Packs. The new content in our Student Packs, such as the Application & Enrichment pages, will not be supported by previous edition Instruction Packs. There is expanded content in the new edition of our Instruction Manuals. Based on customer requests, they were revised to improve our explanations and add more teaching tips. These new manuals also support the additional content added to the Student Packs, such as solutions to the Application & Enrichment pages in the Gamma-Zeta levels. Because of the significant added value, we recommend updating to our improved instruction manuals.

Q. Will there be an issue going from the old product in one level to the new in the next level?

A. No. The new level will contain additional material, but the concepts and content will build on previous content as they always have.

Q. I have an older Instruction Manual and a new Student Workbook with the Application & Enrichment pages. Can I get the solutions for these new pages?

A. As a courtesy to our customers, we’re providing the solutions to the Application & Enrichment pages that follow the Systematic Review pages in the Student Workbook (usually indicated by the letter “G”) for Gamma through Zeta as a pdf. These solutions are available on our Parent Resources page. (Please note, Primer, Alpha, and Beta Application & Enrichment pages don’t have solutions.)

Q. If I just purchased, can I return my product and wait for the new?

A. Customers may return any partial or whole orders within 60 days of receipt of shipment, provided that the material is in “like-new” and resalable condition for a refund or exchange of those items, less shipping costs. (No marks, physical damage, etc). To initiate a return, the customer must call customer service to receive a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number. Once Math-U-See has received the item(s), the customer can expect refund or exchange in 10-15 business days.

Q. Why are the new editions not available on the website?

A. They are only available in printed form.

Q. Are the solutions to the new pages going to be available on the website?

A. Yes. The answers are available in the Updated Instruction Manuals for each level. However, you can download the solutions for the new Application & Enrichment pages on the Parent Resources page.

Q. Will Pre-Algebra be updated within the year?

A. This is something that our editorial team is looking at closely. We expect to have more information on this over the summer.

Q. Why is there a new discussion of state standards?

A. In the past, each state had its own individual set of standards which lay out what topics should be covered in school. These often were different from each other, and many textbook publishers focused on the larger states like Texas and California. In the early 2000′s states began working together to see if they could develop a consistent set of expectations for education.

In 2009 the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers announced a Common Core Initiative, which would develop a set of common expectations for education. Standards for English and for Mathematics were released in June of 2010, under the title Common Core State Standards. The mathematics standards have been independently adopted (with minor variations) by 45 of the 50 states (as of 2013).

You can learn more about this at the Initiative’s website, www.corestandards.org.

Q. So what exactly do these standards consist of?

A. There are separate sets of standards for English/Language Arts and for Mathematics. The Mathematics standards are also divided into two categories. The first category is the Standards for Mathematical Practice, which lay out general principles for how mathematics should be taught at every level. The second category is the Standards for Mathematical Content, which list specific topics that should be taught at each grade level.

Q. Why are the Common Core standards such a topic of discussion right now and how do they relate to Math-U-See?

A. As with most changes and legislation, there is a lot of debate and some disagreement. We carefully reviewed the Standards and we welcome their emphasis on conceptual understanding. For over two decades, Math-U-See has stressed the importance of conceptual understanding in mathematics education. Our curriculum focuses not only on mastery of procedural skills but also on understanding the concepts and principles which explain and support skill mastery. The Standards for Mathematical Practice, like Math-U-See’s educational philosophy, stress an approach to mathematics that is built around conceptual understanding and procedural fluency. The Standards for Mathematical Content apply this focus on procedure and understanding to specific ideas and skills.

Our alignment with the Content Standards does not change Math-U-See’s distinctive sequence or philosophy.

While we endorse the focus on conceptual understanding of mathematics as exhibited in the Common Core State Standards, and we see value in topics covered in the content standards, we are not in the position to take a stand on their implementation.

Q. Is this update a Common Core update?

A. We had multiple goals in our 2012/2013 update to Primer – Zeta. Our first and primary goal was to expand our curriculum by adding Application & Enrichment pages for every lesson. In the process of developing these Enrichment pages we did include all of the mathematical topics that are required in the Common Core State Standards for grades K-6. We also improved and clarified our explanations for all topics, whether they were CCSS topics or not, and included other customer requests such as more practice and explicit instruction in solving word problems.

Q. Why did Math-U-See choose to cover the Common Core mathematics content for grades K-6?

A. After studying the standards, we concluded that the topics listed that were not already covered in our books were useful topics for any student to learn (regardless of whether they were required to or not). This was the most important factor in our decision. This revision cycle has been a valuable way to ensure that we’re teaching in a truly concept-focused way.

Some of our customers have asked whether Math-U-See prepared them for standardized tests. Now that we know what topics the new tests will be covering, we can more easily prepare students by covering all the topics which will be on the tests. However, we never intend to change our emphasis on teaching concepts rather than teaching to the tests.

Finally, we felt that this would be helpful for our school customers who are required to purchase new curricula in order to teach the CCSS.

Q. How does this affect our homeschool customers?

A. Homeschoolers will not be directly affected. They may be indirectly affected, especially in states that require testing, as testing will change to reflect Common Core content.

Q. How does this affect our school customers?

A. It varies depending on state; many now have guidelines requiring schools to purchase only Common Core aligned textbooks, and almost all of the 45 states will be introducing tests based on Common Core standards starting in 2014.

Q. Was the previous Math-U-See curriculum in line with the Common Core standards?

A. Previous editions of Math-U-See have shared the same philosophy and the same emphasis on understanding core mathematical concepts that the Common Core Initiative is asking for. On the other hand, there were some topics that we did not cover at all, and many more concepts that we did cover but not in as much detail as the CCSS required.

Cathy Duffy, respected author of 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum and cathyduffyreviews.com, says in her review published July, 2012: “The program covers all basic math concepts and all of those in the elementary-level Common Core Standards, but it does not try to correlate the teaching of concepts at the same grade level or in the same order as the Core Standards. Everything gets covered eventually, but in a more sensible order than the standards, in my opinion.” (http://cathyduffyreviews.com/math/math-u-see.htm)

Q. What sort of changes did Math-U-See make in order to cover these topics?

A. There were quite a variety of ways that we updated the curriculum in order to cover these topics, but most of them fall into these four categories:

  • In many cases the CCSS required understanding of a concept that was implicit in our curriculum already but not explicitly stated.
    For example, the concept that 3/5 is three times as large as 1/5, and that the numerator of a fraction (e.g. the 3 in 3/5) is telling us the number of times the unit fraction (1/5 in this case) is multiplied, is a concept that we believe most students would have understood after taking Epsilon, especially if they used the fraction overlays. Nonetheless, we felt that this required concept would be easier to understand if stated explicitly, so we tweaked the instructions in order to do so.
  • Some concepts that we felt Math-U-See students should understand from the instruction we had already given, but for which we provided very little practice in our older editions.
    For example, we did not have many word problems that involved solving for an unknown, even though we had a lot of word problems and a lot of regular solving-for-an-unknown problems. We solved this by changing some of the word problems in our Systematic Review pages so that they would require solving for an unknown.
  • In some cases the CCSS required understanding of a concept which had not been covered at all in Primer – Zeta.
    For example there are a number of basic statistical concepts, which are not central to the CCSS, but which are not covered anywhere in the older Math-U-See editions. These we covered by introducing them in new Activity and Enrichment pages toward the end of Zeta. By including them as Enrichment pages we hope to provide instruction in what we believe is a valuable topic, but one which is not required in order to move on to the next level.
  • In a few cases the CCSS required understanding of a concept at an earlier level than the Math-U-See curriculum does. Many of these did not apply (since we are not a grade-level-based curriculum), but in some cases we added an Appendix covering topics that we thought might be helpful (for example the concept of halves and quarters for Beta students) at an early level even though we cover it in more detail later.

Other Questions


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A. Visit our About page for more information.

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