Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Demme Learning's Math-U-See Primer Digital and Physical Pack Review

My family had the privilege of trying the Demme Learning's Math-U-See Primer Digital Pack and Primer Physical Pack for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Schoolhouse Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

With Math-U-See Digital Packs you can have access to which ever Digital Pack you purchase from any web browser for 12 months. These contain streaming instruction videos along with other items you can also access online for helping your student learn the math they need to. However, Digital Packs do not include the student workbook or tests, these can be purchased separately from the Math-U-See Catalog. I received access to the Primer Digital Pack.

Primer Digital Pack Contents:
  • 12-month Access to Primer Streaming Instruction Videos
  • Instruction Manual PDFs
  • Lesson Solutions PDFs
  • Skip Count Songs MP3s and Songbook PDFs
  • Other Online Resources
  • Math-U-See Digital Manipulatives, using Chrome or Safari browsers

Getting to and using the Digital Pack after it has been purchased is easy. Once you have purchased the Digital Pack you can login to your account on Demme Learning's Catalog homepage by clicking the Login link at the top of the page and entering your email and password. Use the password you used when you registered. You will automatically be directed to the My Dashboard page which you can view order information and recent account activity as well as update your account information. Once there you will see a link that you can click on named, "View Digital Packs" or alternatively you can click on the link at the top of the page called "My Digital Packs" while you are anywhere on the website. After you get to that page you can select the correct digital pack you will want to work on in the pull down menu under Select a Level. Once that is done another pull down menu will pop up to Select a Lesson. Before you do this; however, you should watch the Digital Manipulatives Demo so you can get the hang of using this interactive program. After the demo you can open the Digital Manipulatives by clicking the link above the demo. The Digital Manipulatives will open in a new page. I want to mention that I use Firefox and I had no problems while using the Digital Manipulatives. Once you select a lesson you can play the Streaming Instruction Video and/or click on printable PDF links for a Lesson Summary and Lesson Solutions. There are also Additional Resources that you can also listen to or print out.

We received the Primer Universal Set (Physical Pack) which has everything to teach an introduction to mathematics for preschoolers through kindergartners. It teaches major concepts and skills that include: counting objects and developing numeracy, understanding place value, recognizing number names and symbols, reading and writing numerals, understanding addition and subtraction with concrete and representational models, understanding and writing the symbols +, – and =; and addition and subtraction of select numbers. It also covers additional concepts and skills that include: telling and writing time by hours and minutes, recognizing & drawing rectangles, squares, and circles; measuring length by repeating units, introducing halves and fourths, counting by 2s, 5s, 10s, and 100s; learning basic geometric shapes, and reading, writing & interpreting word problems.

Primer Universal Set (Physical Pack) Contents:
  • Instruction Manual with Complete Solutions: Physical instruction manual with lesson-by-lesson instructions for the teacher and answer keys.
  • Instruction DVD: Lesson-to-lesson video instruction on DVD.
  • Student Workbook: Physical workbook for students with lesson-by-lesson worksheet pages, review pages, and application & enrichment pages.
  • Integer Block Kit: 133-piece plastic manipulative block set that includes 20 ones and tens, 13 fives, and 10 each of twos, threes, fours, sixes, sevens, eights, nines, and hundreds blocks, plus the Decimal Street™/Block Clock poster all in a box with handle to keep them tidy. Use from Primer through Algebra 1.
  • 12 months of access to the new Primer Digital Pack: See above.
  • Skip Count Songs MP3s and Songbook PDFs: Help your student learn skip counting. Two versions of the songs available on the MP3, one with Christian lyrics, and the other with the lyrics taken from science and literature. Song lyrics and music in the PDF.

How We Used This and Our Thoughts:

I thought Primer would be nice to start this program with my daughter Zari who is in preschool since I was unfamiliar with it. She has been learning to recognize and write her numerals and count to higher numbers. I thought it would be a great introductory math for her too.

Demme Learning's Math-U-See Primer Workbook using the Physical Integer Block Kit

Because we have never used Demme Learning's Math-U-See programs we received the Primer Universal Set (Physical Pack) to compare to the Digital Pack on its own. I wanted to see for myself how these were different. Also I thought that having a set of the actual manipulatives would help us with the hands-on aspect better than the online version. The Digital Pack doesn't come with the student workbook or tests even in PDF format, so I am glad I received the Primer Universal Set in addition because it does come with those and oddly enough includes the Digital Pack with its purchase as well.

Demme Learning's Math-U-See Primer Digital Instruction Videos

We loved that the Digital Pack was all online. You have everything except for the student workbook at your fingertips online so that it is easier to take everything on the go if needed. The streaming math instruction is the same as what is on the instruction DVD that comes with the Universal Pack. These along with the instruction manual were helpful in Primer, but I could use the student workbook without them. However, I could see that these would be so much more helpful in the older math packs and why visual people would love the streaming video better than the manual. The Digital Pack has PDFs of the Instruction Manual and solutions instead of the physical book that the Universal Pack comes with. I do like using the physical integer block kit better than the Digital Manipulatives. I also wish the Universal Pack came with the CD and physical music book to the skip count songs because these are offered to purchase separately, but it only came with the MP3s and PDFs that the Digital Pack comes with to listen to by streaming online and look at.

Demme Learning's Math-U-See Primer Digital Manipulatives

The physical integer block kit that the Universal Pack has is a lot easier to use with the text than the Digital Manipulatives. The Digital Pack streaming video and Instruction DVD which are basically one in the same in different formats refer to the physical integer block kit a lot in the teachings. I like having a more hands-on tactile experience while teaching my very active preschooler. She learns better when she can touch an object and the manipulatives can go over the empty squares or pictures of blocks in her workbook too. I, however; didn't like that the physical integer blocks in the kit weren't made of very good quality. They did not want to snap together and stay that way until you took them apart like some I have seen. The Digital Manipulatives were fun to play with though. You could drag them into a snap grid on the screen, click twice on them to flip them over, and right click to turn them. I used these in addition to the physical ones to show Zari how to manipulate them on the screen by herself and let her draw pictures with them and the mode that it could be switched to draw or write with colors. I liked to enforce the written numerals with the blocks so I had her use the mouse to draw the number with a color I chose and put how many ones blocks it was on the screen beside it.

I am excited to use more of the Digital Pack along with the Universal Pack. In my honest opinion though I think that it would be better to purchase the Universal Set or Level Up Set (if you already have blocks) than just the Digital Pack because it comes with everything in the physical format too. But if you do get the Digital Pack and Student Workbook only you will have everything you need on-the-go with internet access from any browser, so it might be just the ticket for you. This digital math is great for homeschool math especially!

See the individual prices and descriptions for Primer here. The Primer Universal Set (Physical Pack) is $131. If you would like to get the Primer Digital Pack it is a very affordable $31, but does not include the student workbook or tests. You can purchase the Primer Student Workbook additionally for another $33. If you already have the physical Integer Block Set ($80) I suggest that you purchase the Primer Level Up Set which is $62 to save some money.

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Demme Learning's Math-U-See Review

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