Review: Math-U-See Delta Digital Pack from Demme Learning

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We love Demme Learning’s Math-U-See !  My boys, who are now as high as the Delta and Gamma levels have been using the program since the very beginning.  Even my 5 year old is using the Primer level now.  They have added Digital Packs to their math product offerings and recently Ezra and I have had the chance to review the Delta level.

Math-U-See is something of a unique program in the world of math curriculum.  This is a mastery type program.  This means children are to understand completely (or master) one concept before they even think about beginning the next one.

This is a program that also puts to use a fantastic assortment of useful manipulatives.  I emphasize useful here because we’ve tried a few programs (math and other subjects) where the manipulatives sounded nice in theory but really only provided an unnecessary distraction that didn’t really aide in the learning process.  In this case I think the Math-U-See manipulatives absolutely enhance understanding and are essential to all levels of the program.   This, however is a review of the digital program so I’ll save my longer review of manipulatives for another day.  Math U See Building Understanding_zps65k2otme

Finally, this program is not built upon the idea of grades but on levels.  Can I tell you how the LOVE this! Children feel more free to progress at their own pace! In fact my older son is working at the Gamma level while his younger brother is working one book higher at the Delta level.  Of course they realize one is ahead of the other but they know that it doesn’t really matter.  One of my sons zooms ahead in math and the other needs more time.  Books without GRADE 4 (or 5 or 6 or whatever) splashed across them makes all of this much more comfortable for everyone.


Delta_zpsuozoaaonWhat is the Math-U-See Digital Pack?

As I mentioned before, Math-U-See has a few different pieces to it.  There are the manipulatives, the Student Pack which includes a workbook and a test book, and an Instructor’s Pack that has the teacher’s manual and a DVD.  Math-U-See also offers several online (or E-Learning) resources for you like the Worksheet Generator and the Online Drill Page.  The digital packs gather the Instructor’s Pack (including streaming the instructional DVD’s) and the online resources together in one place that you can access easily from your computer.  

 

 

With the Delta Digital Pack you will 12 months access to the following:

  • The Delta Instructional videos streaming for any internet connected device or computer
  • The Teacher’s Instruction Manual in PDF format
  • Lesson Solutions
  • The Skip Counting Songs as Mp3s as well as the songbook in PDF format
  • Access to digital manipulatives.

Important Note: In order to use this program you will have to purchase the physical Delta Student Pack. 

The Delta Level of Math-U-See focuses on division.  It is at this level that children learn to divide single and multi-digit numbers as well as other math topics.  They use converting measures (such as ounces to pounds) to practice the division skills as an example.  Each lesson begins with a video lesson and now that we have the Delta Digital Pack my son watches these online via his computer.  I usually watch them to so that I can understand how he is being taught so that I can assist him if he needs it.  These videos are pretty basic.  You’ll find Mr. Demme in front of a white-board very clearly teaching whatever the concept of the moment is.  His explanations are incredibly easy to follow.  He makes math seem so easy.  I personally appreciate the lack of crazy graphics or gimmicks.  It takes just a few moments (5-10 minutes at most) to to watch him do a lesson and we are done.  After that my son does a page or two from his Student Workbook a day until one lesson is complete (there are 7 worksheets plus a test page in the test book).  Most days math is over in 15-20 minutes MAX.  If I find he needs more practice I just hop onto the Online Worksheet Generator and create him more practice programs.

Accessing the Digital Packs

Getting to the Digital Packs is a little bit of head scratcher.  I was completely confused for a while.  I think I was trying to access it before my morning coffee.  I had expected a simple log-in from Math-U-See’s main webpage but there are more steps involved than that.  First you’ll need to go to http://www.mathusee.com/ and click on “Store.”  Then you’ll need click Log-In and do just that.  Next you’ll need to click on “My Digital Packs.”  Finally you’ll need to click on a drop down box to reveal the Digital Pack you’ve purchased.  Oh wait!  There is one more step!  There is another drop down box that needs you to choose the lesson number you are on.  Once you’ve completed these steps your steaming video will appear.  I’d love it if there were fewer steps.  One basic page to go to, a quick log in.  Maybe each level I’ve purchased displayed as buttons where I just click on it and poof! I’m at the next lesson with maybe some arrows to go back and forth between lessons if need be.

Once you are all logged in and have chosen a lesson your screen will look like this.

Once you are all logged in and have chosen a lesson your screen will look like this.

 

This screen that I’ve shown you is key because it has the links to absolutely everything you need in this digital pack (minus the student workbook and test book).  Get yourself here and navigating is easy.

The digital manipulatives are fun and handy.  There is a video explaining to you just exactly how they work.  The first time you use them there is also a description screen. They are exactly the same a the plastic blocks that you can purchase.  The digital version uses all of the same colors and contain the overlays that you’ll use at various levels.  You can write problems out right within the program too.  If you’d like you can purchase the app separately for your iPad in the Apple App Store.

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A small snapshot of what the digital manipulative app looks like.

 

Why We Like the Digital Pack

Recently we have found ourselves taking our homeschooling on the road from time to time.  We’ve been known to homeschool in doctor’s waiting rooms, while tailgating in parking-lots while waiting on someone, and even in places like Starbucks and Panera.  We can keep chugging along with our math lessons easily!  I just make sure my kids have their student workbooks, a pencil, and our iPad.  I do not have the haul the big bulky box of manipulatives (and most likely loose a few while we are out) or even any of my teacher’s books.  How convenient.

In addition to the convenience we no longer have to keep track of the DVDs!  One of my sons scratched the daylights out of one of our Math-U-See DVDs (but of course he claims he didn’t do it).  No more DVDs solves that problem.

The Cons of the Digital Pack

If you have a child who really needs to touch and feel the manipulatives then you’ll want to get yourself a set (or two in the higher levels) of those anyway.  My only other real concern is that you are only given access for one year!  I can certainly see life happening and a family needing more than year to get through a level of Math-U-See.  Simply expecting a baby and then giving birth can be enough to slow things down considerably.  The year long expiration date also means you will have to pay for it all again if your younger children want to use it in the future.  I’d love to see a “lifetime” option… even if it did cost considerably more.

Overall

I think I will be a permanent subscriber to the Digital Packs.  They are just that convenient.  We already own the physical manipulates so when those are easier for my children to understand they will always be there.  I’ve always appreciated Math-U-See.  Because of the reviews I write we’ve tried other programs… FANTASTIC programs.  Some that we still use regularly… but Math-U-See is our core math program that we always seem to come back to.  It works that well for us.

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