We have been using Math-U-See for a couple years now and I must say that it has been an amazing curriculum for us. The teacher manual explains everything very nicely and you also get a DVD that has videos for each lesson incase you need some more help. A lot of people say that it is helpful to watch the videos with your child. If we ever come across a concept that I am not able to explain well enough then we will use the DVD but as a chemistry major I took math classes through calculus 3 and have a great understanding of math. I love that the curriculum includes a test booklet. As well has the Math-U-See website has pages you can print out if your child needs a little extra work. The block set is incredible helpful for when your child is first starting out and soon they will start to memorize the math facts and will not need the blocks to aid them in problem solving. The lessons typically go through A-G pages of work. Some people move onto the next lesson without finishing all the pages because this curriculum is mastery based but we use all the pages provided so that she gets all the practice in. While Math-U-See is mastery based it is not common core (or new math). I love this! First reason is that common core is illegal in our state, Texas. Second reason is I think new math is stupid. You use old math along the way in new math but in a much more confusing and elongated way. Nothing was wrong with old math. You arrive at the same answer either way though.
The student booklet will start with a grade log page. If you do not need to keep track of grades then you do not have to use this page. Even though we do not need grade record for Texas I use this page. It allows me to see at glance what concepts our daughter had more trouble with, if any. Something really nice about Math-U-See is that the work is not always the same. Some pages, mostly on G pages, the book will have your child solve the math problems and then color the sections accordingly thus forming a picture. The first few pages of each lesson will have the work for the current lesson then you will have pages of a systematic review which will include the new concept and previous ones. In Beta the first few lessons are a bit of a review from the Alpha level but there are some new or harder concepts thrown into these lessons as well. I do not remember a lot of greater than, less than or equal to work in Alpha but lesson 3 of Beta will go over this.
There are some things that I do not like about Beta and one would be when it wants your child to round to the nearest 10. While teaching rounding is important I do not agree with estimating the answer by rounding when adding. Instead I chose to have our daughter add like normal then did a side thing of her rounding the number but on a separate sheet. The main focus of Math-U-See Beta is multiple digit addition and subtraction. There are other concepts like money, measurement, perimeter, time, regrouping (which is another method that I do not like), ordinal numbers (so first, second, etc. and tally marks), reading gauges and graph work. You will need a ruler for this level of Math-U-See since it does not come with one but you probably have one in your house already. I have noticed that even though sometimes our daughter gets bored with the work the curriculum itself is very good. She has learned so much from it. In an attempt to make it less boring for her I add in things. She finds math to be boring so I use things that she likes. We sometimes use whiteboards instead. I copy the work onto the whiteboard and we completes it on there. Or we will complete the problems orally. I also teach the little tricks that I use for math. While these tricks are not taught in the book nor were they taught to me when I was in school I notice little trends with certain problems so to make them easier I teach them to my daughter.
I would highly recommend Math-U-See to anyone. Even though sometimes the work maybe monotonous for the child it does teach them effectively and that is really the most important part. As long as the student is not frustrated or having an attitude then I think they are taking in the information better. We got Beta Level from Timberdoodle with our 2nd grade kit. I have used Mathematical Reasoning before and while I am sure our daughter has more fun using that curriculum she is not learning as much or as well as she does with Math-U-See which is why I choose to continue with it. What math curriculum do you use? Let us know in the comment section below.