Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Demme Learning Math-U-See Digital Pack REVIEW

Demme Learning Math U See Review
Mr. B has always been a whiz at math, but nearly 2 years ago he was hit with an illness than very nearly claimed his life. He lost a great deal of math skills during this time, forcing us to go back to the very basics of 2+2 and 3-1. We worked our way back through to multiplication, but he was getting hung up on the more difficult concepts, such as double digit multiplying. It's almost as if the illness just wiped his memory banks containing math facts. We had been struggling since then, trying to find something that would work for us. I can't tell you what a relief it has been to be able to review Math-U-See Gamma Digital Pack by Demme Learning. Gamma is the level that focuses on the mastery of multiplication.

For this review, we received 1 Math-U-See Gamma Universal Set which includes  Math-U-See Gamma Digital Pack, and the complete Math-U-See Gamma physical set that includes tests, student book, teacher's instruction manual with solutions, DVDs, and manipulatives. 
What is Math-U-See Gamma Digital Pack?

Math-U-See Gamma Digital Pack is a digital version of the physical set without the student book. You will need the student work text and tests to properly use the digital pack. I would like to see the student consumables added to the digital packs as I think that would only enhance an already great product. Perhaps even a way for the child to complete these online!

The digital set, which is a 12 month access period only,  includes all of the videos online for you to stream, as well as PDF versions of the teacher's instruction manual, digital manipulatives, and solutions keys. There are also a variety of resources available such as log sheets, worksheet generator, graph paper to print, skip counting song, etc.

How did we use this?

We do a little math each day, to not only avoid overloading him with math, but to keep reinforcing skills. The layout of Math-U-See is quite lovely for this type of plan because it is mastery based which means there's a lot of practice for each lesson before moving on. I was able to focus on one lesson each week, while doing a page or two from the student text each day. 
We watched the DVD or online instructional videos together, which helped him to catch on more easily. After that, I would read over the teacher's instruction manual and have him read along with me, then I left him alone to do the worksheet while helping him when needed. I frequently refer back to the instruction manual to help him when he gets stuck. With the digital pack, I don't have to pull out everything unless I want to. All of the videos are included online. You just simply choose your level and the lesson. 

I love that I can pull up the instruction manual in a pinch! It is so handy to use!

The answers to the practice work and tests are also included online. This is really great because he can do his work, give it to me, and I can grade it while he's working on other things. I can just pull it up, check it off, and go back to other work I'm doing. 

The digital manipulatives are GREAT! We have had a LOT of fun with these!

Ok, so I admit it. We didn't JUST use it for math! 

Mr. B really liked using these not only for the lessons, but for fun. These go to a higher number than you can go with the physical set of manipulatives. In our case, I found Mr. B got a little too distracted playing and drawing, so for the most part I had him work with the physical set of blocks. I think it also helped him to be able to physical grasp the blocks. 

Our Thoughts

This is a really great concept. It was quite handy to have the digital videos on hand, especially when we redid our entertainment set up and ran a cable short on hooking up the blu-ray player. I was unable to play the DVD on this day, so having the digital video was a definite advantage. Our internet connection has not been up to par the last couple of months for some reason. As a result, a couple of times we had some issues with the videos not streaming properly. That is something to consider if you are known to have internet troubles. The ability to stream videos and access materials anytime from anywhere with Internet connection is a huge bonus! He can go to Mamaw's and I don't have to pack a bunch of books!

It was very nice to be able to refer to the instruction manual online. If you have the physical copy, you could refer to one while your child refers to the other. It was handy to be able to just click a hyperlink and have the PDF pop up exactly where it was needed. The same can be said for the digital solutions. I can just click the set I need and *POOF* there it is. No need to go grab another book or risk sneaky eyes seeing the answers. 
Demme Learning Math U See Review

I honestly can't say enough good things about Demme Learning and Math-U-See Gamma. It breaks down each component in such a way that Mr. B is easily able to grasp the concept and retain it. The lessons are broken up into easy to follow sections, making life so much easier and math time so much happier. The worksheet generator is great to provide additional practice, as do the online drills. The digital manipulatives are a nice feature because you have the ability to count to a higher number with the digitals. The physical manipulatives are a nice, hands-on way of "feeling" the math come together. My son loves them, and I will often find him playing with them on his own doing math. 

Does Demme Learning Math-U-See Digital Packs Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?
You can easily set your own schedule. The digital is a 1 year membership, so there is a time limit of sorts. Once I knew Mr. B had sufficiently mastered a lesson, we moved on. I did not have him complete each and every worksheet just because it is included. You could skip, but since this is math, and each lesson builds on the one before it, I don't suggest doing so unless your child has mastered the previous sections already.

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

There is no specific grade mentioned, just levels. The website features placement exams that will help you to determine the proper level placement. The digital packs are only for the specified level, as are the physical sets. There are no hidden fees that I have found.  The digital pack is only able to be accessed for a period of 12 months. 

3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?

You can shorten the lessons if you need to. We found the daily work to go by smoothly and quickly because I spaced out each lesson. So we would do page 1A on Monday, 1B on Tuesday, 1C on Wednesday,...and so on. Once he had that mastered, we moved on to lesson 2. Then it was 2A, 2B, etc. We never experienced any issues with Mr. B getting too bored, or anything like that. He loves the blocks and all of the colors. The digital manipulatives are great, and we used them to play games together, also. 

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.

It is not unit study based. It's math. Simple as that.  

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