Frequently Asked Questions about Math-U-See

Here's a whole list of frequently asked questions about using the Math-U-See program. These questions are compiled from the queries we have received from homeschooling parents over the years.

If you have any particular questions, you can contact us here:

Questions about Math-U-See

Q. What is the difference between Math-U-See and other programs?

A. We teach by Concept, not by Rote Memory. We are a Mastery-based program, and therefore are different from the normal school based "spiral approach". We teach using multi-sensory and hands-on tools throughout the Math-U-See program and through the further Trainings we offer for parents, teachers and tutors. 

Q. Is Math-U-See a complete curriculum?

A. Yes. Math-U-See is a complete K-12 skill-based, multi-sensory curriculum with video instruction. You can see the entire program and how it works here.

Q. How does Math-U-See prepare students for standardised testing?

A. Math-U-See covers core concepts found in standardised testing. Its focus on concept mastery gives students the tools to excel in a variety of different circumstances including testing.

Q. How do I decide where to place my student?

A. Placement is based on skill level, not grade level. Please call our customer support team for help with your individualised placement questions.

You can start by taking our free diagnostic test here: Online Placement Test

Q. If I haven’t previously used Math-U-See with my older student, can they start at their level or must they start in Alpha?

A. Students may start at any level if they have mastered the mathematical skills taught in previous levels of Math-U-See. Placement is based on skill level, not grade level. Please call our customer support team for help with your individualised placement questions.

Q. Can a student start Algebra 1 without having previously used Math-U-See?

A. It is possible to use Algebra 1 without completing the earlier levels of Math-U-See. The prerequisites necessary to be successful in our Algebra 1 level are: a mastery of all basic operations, fractions, decimals, percents, integers, and basic understanding of exponents and roots; an understanding of standard, expanded, and exponential notation, and ability to convert between various notations; an ability to determine the least common multiple and greatest common factor for a set of numbers; an ability to manipulate, simplify, and solve basic algebraic equations; have completed our Pre-Algebra course or an equivalent course.

Q. What levels are included in your high school math?

A. Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, PreCalculus, Calculus, and Stewardship make up our Secondary Math courses. Pre-Algebra or an equivalent course is a prerequisite to Algebra 1.

Q. What does the designation “Honors” mean in the Upper Level courses?
Does completing these lessons mean that my student has completed an Honors course?

A. The Honors pages are provided as easy, downloadable practice pages with our upper-level courses (Pre-Algebra through PreCalculus) are intended to extend the concepts presented in the lessons, much as the Application and Enrichment pages in the Greek Letter levels, and are not designed to meet the requirements of a high school “Honors”-level course. These additional activities serve to round out a student’s understanding of the main concepts already being taught. Even if a student completes all of these pages, the designation “Honors” cannot be added to the course description on the student’s transcript.

Q. Can an older student learn the lesson concept on their own by watching the lesson video?

A. While Math-U-See encourages teacher/parent participation in our program, we recognize that some students can be successful in learning the Upper Levels of Math-U-See on their own. We suggest that there should be guidance from a committed parent or teacher, so that if the student struggles, the parent will be able to assist.

Q. Can I buy the DVD or the student workbook separately?

A. Yes. Although we now offer the online video content included in your Instruction Manual when you purchase from us, you can also purchase the DVD separately by contacting our friendly team here.

Q. Do we really need to use manipulative blocks?

A. The manipulative blocks are integral to Math-U-See. We have found that those who are most successful in mastering and understanding each concept are those consistently using the manipulatives as recommended through Algebra 1.

Q. What do the titles of the general math series books mean?

A. They are the first six letters of the Greek alphabet. Using Greek letters expresses sequence without indicating grade level. Math is sequential. One of the distinct elements of Math-U-See is that we are based on developing sequential learning skills. Our sequence progresses according to skill level rather than grade level.

Q. What is the Math-U-See sequence for high school math courses?

A. Math-U-See uses this sequence: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, PreCalculus and Calculus. Algebra 1 is the first book to be done in the upper level sequence, as it is a prerequisite for both Geometry and Algebra 2. After you have completed Algebra 1, you can proceed to GeometryPre-Algebra or an equivalent course should be completed prior to Algebra 1.

Q. What level of Math-U-See should my student finish before taking chemistry?

A. The student should have finished Algebra 1 before starting chemistry. If your student is taking Algebra 2 at the same time as chemistry, contact us for a suggested alternate order of lessons that may be helpful.

Q. What level of Math-U-See should my student finish before taking physics?

A. At the minimum, a student should have finished Algebra 1 and Geometry before beginning physics. The basic trig functions, which are used in physics, are presented at the end of the Math-U-See Geometry course. Taking physics and Algebra 2 together should work for most students. Some students may already be in PreCalculus when they begin physics, which will be to their advantage, although not absolutely necessary.

Q. When does Math-U-See allow the use of calculators?

A. If you are confident that your student can do the basic operations easily, you may allow calculator use in Pre-Algebra and up for the more cumbersome problems, such as surface area. We encourage students to continue to do shorter problems without a calculator. A scientific calculator is needed for PreCalculus.

Q. In which level is Trig included? Why is it not its own category?

A. Traditionally, trigonometry was the course taught before calculus. Today, it is more customary to call the same course precalculus, perhaps because calculus is now offered in most high schools. By either name, the course is essentially the same — lots of trigonometry and some advanced algebra topics. Math-U-See combined the names and calls its course PreCalculus with Trigonometry.

Q. What grading system does Math-U-See recommend?

A. Math-U-See does not have a recommended grading system. The primary purpose of test taking is to confirm that the student has mastered each concept as you move along. If you want or need to give grades, you may use any system that makes sense to you, and that you feel fairly reflects your child’s progress.

You can view the complete Foundations and Advanced levels of the program here.

Q. Why do I need the Algebra/Decimal Inserts?

A. Our manipulatives are integral to the program and essential to student success. The Algebra/Decimal Insert Kit is used in Math-U-See’s Zeta, Pre-Algebra, and Algebra 1 curriculum to demonstrate concepts such as: representing, adding, subtracting, and multiplying decimals (Zeta); representing algebraic expressions and solving equations (Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1); and representing, adding, multiplying and factoring polynomials (Algebra 1). The Algebra/Decimal Insert Kit is to be used with the Integer Block Kit.

Q. What’s in the updated Algebra/Decimal Insert Kit?

A. This Kit includes: 20 red hundredths blocks; 4 red snap-in squares; 4 green snap-in squares; 15 blue snap-in strips; and 15 gray snap-in strips. There’s also a booklet illustrating the concepts that the Inserts can be used to demonstrate.

Questions about pricing

Q. What payment methods do you accept?

A. Our online shopping cart securely and efficiently handles credit card payments from Visa, MasterCard, credit or debit cards. We also offer Afterpay for parents and Purchase Orders for schools and organisations. 

Yes, you can find out more by contacting our friendly team here.

Q. Are there special offers or discounts for large orders?

A. Math-U-See offers an excellent value for a video/DVD based curriculum. We strive to keep our prices reasonable, but do not have any discounts available. However, sometimes we run giveaways and contests for homeschooling families. You can keep an eye on our Facebook page where we will announce any special offers, prizes and giveaways as they come up.

Q. Do you sell used Math-U-See books?

A. No. By purchasing second-hand Math-U-See products, you won't have access to the online Member Dashboard, videos, bonus resources and other member-specific content.

Q. Can I just purchase the student workbooks separately?

A. Yes, each student going through the level again will need their own Student Kit. This means they will be able to practice and confirm their understanding of each concept as they work through it. 

Further reviews


Kelly George: Fearless Homeschool

Kelly George from Fearless Homeschool also reviews that Math-U-See program and how she has been using it effectively with her three kids, one of whom is on the spectrum. She goes into new activities and spontaneous maths play, as well as all the information behind the program.

You can read Kelly's Math-U-See review here.

If you have any further questions, you can contact us directly.

Cathy Duffy: 101 Top Picks for Homeschooling Curriculum

Cathy Duffy, respected author of 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum and cathyduffyreviews.com, says in her review published July, 2012: “The program covers all basic math concepts and all of those in the elementary-level Common Core Standards, but it does not try to correlate the teaching of concepts at the same grade level or in the same order as the Core Standards. Everything gets covered eventually, but in a more sensible order than the standards, in my opinion.” 

Remember: This is an American site, so you will have to come back to Maths Australia to order any of the materials. 

You can view Cathy Duffy's Math-U-See review here.

We're here to help anytime,

The Team at Maths Australia

Some posts on our blog contain affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and purchase an item from a third party, we may receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain that of the author of the post.

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