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Numbers, counting, and addition…oh the joys of Kindergarten math! If math wasn’t your favorite subject in school, teaching it can seem scary. Here’s how Timberdoodle makes math simple!
A special thanks to Timberdoodle Company for sponsoring this homeschool series of posts by graciously sending us this complimentary curriculum kit to see what we think. All opinions are our own!
The Timberdoodle K Handbook suggests completing one lesson each week.
Math-U-See curriculum is designed to take a child from the very basic mathematical concepts (for instance lesson one shown above is “number recognition”) to mastery of concepts through instruction, review, and practice.
The Math-U-See kit comes with:
• Instruction Manual
• Student Workbook
• Instruction DVD
• Integer Block Set
If you aren’t sure if Primer level is right for your student, Timberdoodle offers a Placement Tool for the Math-U-See levels, found here.
Confession Time… I Dislike Math…
For those that don’t know, I’m a Second-Generation Homeschooler. Basically, this equates to having some very strong memories and opinions about the curriculum I used growing up, and what I want to use with my kids. And I’ve never liked math.
In Elementary school, I completed Bob Jones workbooks, which were fine for beginning math, but I do remember that I used punch-out paper integer blocks in the program. While they were visual, they were flat, and I feel that the 3-D element of Math-U-See blocks adds to visual and kinesthetic comprehension.
As I got older, I began doing Saxon math, and the rote worksheet and testing of that curriculum left me viscerally hating mathematics. I promised myself that my children wouldn’t endure that!
In contrast, Math-U-See’s multisensory approach appeals to my desperate desire for a different kind of math program. I dislike the rote memorization, swallow and regurgitate information approach to modern education. Math-U-See states that their goal is “to help produce confident problem solvers who enjoy the study of math”, and that while their approach includes memorization, it is more focused on helping students understand and apply math concepts for real-life application. Sign me up!!
Starting with Math-U-See
I was visually drawn to Math-U-See from the first time I saw it. First, it’s a manipulative-based curriculum, meaning students touch and move around the 3-D integer blocks as they count and learn math concepts.
I love that concepts are introduced in a step-by-step, logical format. If you have more than one child, the teacher book, DVD, and integer set can be used year after year, and only the student workbook will need to be replaced.
In addition to the physical DVD and teacher book, Timberdoodle kits also come with a code to get access to the Math-U-See Digital Pack, which includes the instruction videos online, a PDF of the instruction manual, a few printable worksheets, math songs and coloring sheets, and a digital application for using the integer blocks. These are very cool resources that I’m still beginning to explore and utilize!
The lesson book sets out of three step approach:
1. Prepare for the lesson.
2. Present the lesson and explore the concept with your student
3. Let the student practice the concept
It’s recommended that the teacher read the lesson (usually a couple pages long with illustrations), and watch the video lesson in order to fully understand the lesson’s concepts. After preparing, you introduce the lesson to the student, and watch the video lesson together if desired. My daughter absolutely loves the video lessons, and we find that the added video element enriches our studies.
After exploring the lesson concept, open the student workbook and help the child to put the concept into practice. Each lesson has 7 (front and back) pages of practice sheets and activities. The Primer worksheets include tracing, counting, coloring, matching, dot-to-dot, and writing numbers. The sheets start easy, and progress to more difficult.
There are 30 lessons in Math-U-See Primer covering major concepts and skills including:
• Place value
• Geometric shapes
• Reading and writing numerals
• Beginning addition and subtraction
• Telling and writing time
• Skip Counting
• Beginning word problems
The Timberdoodle handbook recommends completing one lesson per week, which can be done in one day, or spread out over several days. My daughter did tire of the worksheets in one sitting, and does best with 2-4 pages per day instead of all 7. Every child is different, so you can customize what works for you!
Math Challenges with Math-U-See
If you or your child are looking for a colorful and engaging workbook that will teach math concepts, Math-U-See won’t fit the bill. The main focus of Math-U-See is teacher-led (at least at the beginning levels), interacting together, and then having the student practice with black and white workbook pages.
For our family, this approach works very well. My daughter is very social and excels with interactive lessons and engagement.
Timberdoodle allows you to customize your curriculum kit and as such, if Math-U-See isn’t the right fit for your student, you can switch it out for colorful Mathematical Reasoning workbooks, Horizons Math, or another program currently being offered.
Final Thoughts on Math for Kindergarten
What I desire most for math curriculum for our family is a solid, practical program that allows me to teach the concepts without a lot of busywork. So far, we are thrilled with Math-U-See Primer and enjoy the lessons together.
You can find Math-U-See Primer here.
You can view the entire 2020-2021 Timberdoodle Kindergarten Curriculum Kit here.
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