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Math U See Pre-Algebra Review

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Have you used Math-U-See? When we were in Germany, I had one Math-U-See DVD that I picked up used, and that was that. It was difficult to get the materials where we were at, so I never really looked closely at the program despite having heard incredible things about it.

But . . . You guys. I can’t believe I went so long without this program. This review is another one of those glowing reviews, because seriously, I am re-thinking the math program I (no joke) just dropped three hundred on at the convention. If I can talk my husband into it, I am totally jumping ship with the little kids.

So…. how is that for an introduction? Do you see where this review is going yet?

Math U See

What I Used:

For this review, I was sent the complete Pre-Algebra set (which includes the teacher’s manual, textbook, student workbook, test booklet, Math-U-See blocks, and the algebra and decimal inserts).

How it Works:

Math-U-See uses tactile blocks in various colors to teach math concepts in a visual way.

For example, look at this picture:


Can you tell what math problem it represents? This picture is positive six, plus negative three. You are “in the hole” three. So, how many do you have left? Positive three. You can see both the problem and the answer right there.

What about this picture?


This one is trickier. Here, you are getting into more complicated problems. Do you see how the blocks have smooth surfaces? You can’t visually see what numbers they represent. They could be anything. They are a mystery. They are “x”

This problem is two x squared, plus two x, plus three.

How cool is that? The DVD will explain how to use the blocks to both set up and visualize the problems, and, how to solve them.

Our Experience:

This program is super easy to use. I work full time, which means our family prefers programs that are less teacher intensive. This program is perfect for our needs. Over the weekend, I read the textbook to see what Bug will be doing, and how the blocks are used for the lesson. Then, on Monday, I have him pop the DVD in the player while I am at work, and he completes the first worksheet using the blocks to help him. When I get home from work, I review the worksheet with him, use the blocks to explain any problems he may have missed, and give him instructions for the next day.

If he struggled, I will have him watch the DVD lesson again while I am at work before getting started on the second worksheet. If he did great, I have him just do the worksheet (still using the blocks as a visual aid). We continue with this pattern all week, until Saturday, where I give him the chapter test (without the blocks) to make sure he has the concept mastered.


Bug is very (very) young for Pre-Algebra. He is only 9 years old (a math wiz) and we have been in a bit of a holding pattern with math because I didn’t want to move him on to Pre-Algebra too fast despite him having mastered all the pre-requisites. However, this program is absolutely perfect for him. He loves the format and the blocks. He is learning quickly and totally “gets it.” The blocks make abstract concepts much easier to understand, and I am confident that he will thrive with this program.

Final Thoughts:

One of the reasons I did not look closely at this program as a complete curriculum years ago is because the levels are set up in a bit of a non-traditional way. Instead of “Second-grade math” covering a bunch of different topics, you move one topic at a time, one book at a time through the curriculum in the early years. For example, you learn single digit addition and subtraction in one book, multiplication in one book, decimals and percents in one book. After seeing how the program works, I understand why it is set up this way (you use the blocks in a different way for each kind of problem, and once it is mastered, you move on) and I am no longer “worried” about the different scope and sequence.

I really love that this program includes “honors” level worksheets which you can choose to add to the program for an extra challenge. They include word problems that really make Bug stop and think. I also enjoy the tests, and use them as a way for me to be SURE Bug has mastered the concepts before moving on.


I think this program is wonderful for anyone with visual or tactile learners. This program is also wonderful for parents who are looking for something a little less teacher intensive (wahooo for video lessons!). It is IDEAL for parents who want to accelerate math in the early years (not saying I recommend this, I’m just saying it is possible) or parents who are looking for a little extra support for specific skills in math (for example, your child needs more help with fractions).

Really, I think this program is just wonderful, and it probably would be wonderful for you.

Enter to Win:

Math-U-See has offered a full level of their math curriculum to one lucky winner! Use the widget below to enter to win!

Do you have questions about Math U See?


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