For ages I've wanted to pick up Math-U-See. I had two intentions. One, to get Harry on a regular math program and two, to give Catherine review because she really loved the approach in the Math-U-See demo DVD. So I've been on the lookout for months on used curriculum sites and email lists.
Then I decided to unschool again and thought I might just pick up the ever-so-much cheaper Miquon to use as play with our Cuisenaire rods.
But you know how, when your ride is late for some important thing and just as you give up and head to the phone to see what's holding them up, they appear? Well, just a couple of days later on a Canadian used curriculum list up popped the old Math-U-See Foundation and Intermediate programs for $70. That's a whopper of a deal for what's basically four Math-U-See levels. Forgetting all about unschooling and Miquon, I pounced and miraculously, was the first person who responded.
15 minutes after I said I'd be delighted to buy them I remembered that I'd just committed to spending $70 on something I has decided not to use. Cue nausea.
Because I'm a coward I didn't tell the seller I wasn't interested. I still bought it and figured Catherine would still love the videos. Of course now I had a math program without the all important and somewhat expensive math manipulatives. Cue second wave of nausea.
I ordered the starter set of Math-U-See blocks (I was committed now) and waited.
The program hasn't arrived yet but the blocks came today. We ran up to the post office, got home and tore into the box. The kid's eyes lit up. Catherine played with them for an hour and had a ball. Harry got into them shortly after and darn it all, if all that nausea wasn't for nothing.
The cuisenaire rods were fun but it's with the Math-U-See rods that Harry is actually connecting the manipulative with numbers. It's obvious why when you take a quick look at the two kinds of manipulatives:
Or it would be obvious if I took a better picture (blue is MUS, orange is cuisenaire).
The Math-U-See rod has the ones marked right on it. The cuisenaire rods are smooth. First thing Harry did today was count all the ones in every Math-U-See block (except the hundred). Then he started measuring his Thomas engines with them. Then he started stuffing them in the container trucks and counting them. And the he started with the stacking because best of all, the Math-U-See blocks stack like Lego.
The nausea is well and truly gone. I stumbled into the math manipulative that seems to work for Harry and fit his style. Okay yes, it's the first day and there's always the First Day Gloss when new stuff arrives in the house but this does seem to get him playing with numbers in a way the pattern blocks and the cuisenaire rods and the poker chips and the many other manipulatives in the house haven't.
I'm happy. And it only took a small fortune to acheive that.