A Schoolhouse Crew Review of the Precalculus Digital Pack from Math-U-See: Can This Solve Our Math Woes?

I’ve talked many, many (many, many) times about my rocky relationship with math curricula. Math is the one subject in our homeschooling that we’ve seemed to constantly struggle with. Years ago we made a brief switch to Math-U-See. For various reasons, we didn’t stay there. But I had one child who really thrived with the program. At the time, I was still in the mindset that we must all Do. The. Same. Curriculum. And I switched all of the children…despite the success that this one had.

When I found out that we could have the opportunity to review the new Digital Packs from Demme Learning (makers of Math-U-See), I was very excited. Kathryne- my oldest who is now an 11th grader- is the one who thrived on Math-U-See previously. She’s still struggling with high school math, so I chose PreCalculus, the math she needs to have completed for next year, for our review.

Review of streaming math instruction from Demme Learning

We received the PreCalculus printed student workbook and printed test book in addition to the PreCalculus Digital Pack access. The Digital Pack includes 12 months of access to the streaming instruction videos as well as printable resources such as the course instructions and answer keys. The PreCalculus program has 30 lessons. Each lesson includes an instructional video, four sections of practice problems (A-D), lesson tests, and an additional honors lessons if you are using the program for honors instruction.

Homeschool math
The first thing that my very structured daughter wanted to know was- “How long should a lesson take?”. The answer, according to the instructions PDF, is – “It varies.” The object in Math-U-See is not to complete the lesson. The object is for the student to demonstrate mastery. So if a lesson is totally mastered in a couple of days, that’s okay. If a lesson takes more than one week, that’s okay. This was a little frustrating to her until I explained that there is much benefit in working through lessons she understands quickly and having more time to work on harder lessons. We haven’t completed a high school level of Math-U-See, but I think it probably balances out and allows most students to complete the course within a year. (She’s thinking about her transcript.)

The first component of the lesson is the video instruction. When we used Math-U-See some years ago, the videos were all on DVD. Now there are Digital Packs available as well  The PreCalculus Digital Pack has 30 lesson videos. The videos range from around 10 to around 20 minutes long. (If you’ve seen the original Math-U-See videos, the lessons are taught by the same teacher who teaches the original DVD lessons) The Digital Packs are accessed by logging into your account on the Demme Learning store site. Each time you login, you can access any of the thirty lessons as well as all of the printable resources available.

Streaming video instruction

One thing that works really well for Kathryne with the Math-U-See program is the instruction from a real, live teacher. He is standing in front of a class- although I don’t think you ever see the class members. It was good for her before, and it worked well again with the streaming video from the Digital Pack. The instructor is very good at explaining concepts- even difficult concepts- to the students. Because he’s teaching to an actual class, he has pauses for them to answer and he gives feedback.

Streaming math instruction

The video instruction begins with simple examples that illustrate a concept and goes on to more difficult examples. With each example that is worked through, the class is given opportunities to answer. This means the student watching the video also has opportunity to think through how they would solve it before just seeing the problem worked out.

Homeschool math

After the video, there are pages of practice problems. This book has four sets – an A-D section- for each lesson (except the first two). In the workbook, there is also an additional section for honors practice. If you’d like to give honors credit for the course, your student can do this extra work. There is also a lesson test for each lesson. The Digital Pack includes answer keys for the practice problems, the honors problems, the lesson tests, four unit tests, and a final exam. We were also able to print off of the Digital Pack page a worksheet to keep track of scores on the lesson practices and tests. At the bottom of the Digital Pack page, there is a link to another page with general printable resources for various levels of Math-U-See.

Math worksheets

Math drills

Homeschool math

The way that the practice problems are set up was good for Kathryne as well. She was able to do as many or as few as she needed to before moving on.

I think that Math-U-See may be a good fit for Kathryne once again. The type of instruction and the mastery practice really seem to fit her well. I love the convenience of the Digital Packs because now she can watch the lessons from any computer or device. This beats the old DVD system where we had to go to the one place in the house where we could play a DVD. Now you can even use them on the go. She’ll be using the remainder of PreCalculus as her math next year. And we may just survive high school math!

Other Review Crew members reviewed this and other levels of Digital Packs from Demme Learning. You can see what they thought by clicking the banner.

Demme Learning's Math-U-See Review

Streaming math instruction

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