Should you start with MathUSee Primer or Alpha?
Little Miss has been using MathUSee Primer for a couple months, and the more I share about our experience with this program, the more questions I have received via email and Facebook. I wanted to take a quick moment to give you a closer look at the Primer level, so you can decide for your family if your little one needs to start with Primer, or if they should start with Alpha.
What is special about MathUSee?
MathUSee is a program that is totally different from the other math curriculums on the market. This program helps kids master math topics by teaching them to build the programs with colorful blocks, so they can visualize the answer. It works very week with visual and kinesthetic learners, and promotes fast recall of basic math facts in the early grades by helping kids “see” the answers to their math problems.
Where can you start with MathUSee?
A common misconception about MathUSee is that you need to use ALL the books for your family to be successful with the program. That’s just not so. MathUSee is a “mastery based” math program, meaning that each book, and each chapter is going to teach your child a certain skill, and you should expect them to master that concept before moving on to the next topic. Many other math programs are grade level based, and teach with a “spiral” method, meaning a topic may be introduced in the Kindergarten book, and is built on in the first and second grade books. It can be hard to move in and out of a curriculum program (although not impossible) if they are “spiral.”
Because MathUSee is a topical curriculum, you could use it as a supplement if your child is struggling, or jump in at any book, at any level. My oldest has used MathUSee Alpha, Gamma and Pre-Algebra as a supplement to another program, but Little Miss is starting with the program from the beginning and I plan to have her follow it all the way though. Our family has found value in the program using it both ways, as a supplement, and as a core curriculum.
So really, you can start anywhere with MathUSee (use their placement tests online to find your child’s sweet spot).
What is the difference between MathUSee Primer and Alpha?
Prime is really the baseline starting point for MathUSee. It covers a number recognition and counting skills by helping train kids to see and recognize amounts of objects at a glance rather than needing to stop and count the items. It covers everything from writing numbers, counting skills, number lines, number recognition and the basics of connecting numerals with the amount they represent.
Alpha on the other hand assumes your child has mastered counting and can recognize numerals and can quickly count/recognize small amounts of items. It immediately goes into place value and addition of single digit numbers, where Primer spends time preparing kids for this level of math. Some kids won’t need the practice counting and recognizing numbers, and for those kids, you can go ahead and start them in Alpha. From one Mom to another, I’d like to encourage you to not push your child ahead in math if there is any uncertainty in your mind. MathUSee is affordable enough that you could get Primer and work through it at double pace if your child is a little advanced. That way, you would know 100% that they are ready to tackle Alpha.
I totally skipped Primer with my oldest, but now that Little Miss is doing it, I can see where it would have benefited him back then. I don’t regret taking the extra time to solidify basic counting and number skills, allowing her a little extra time to mature, and helping her get into the swing of Kindergarten without overwhelming her with topics she isn’t quite ready to tackle.
Do you have any additional questions about MathUSee? Ask them here, and I will find the answers for you!