Certain parts of Math-U-See Primer were difficult to get through, but I have to admit that it was well worth it. My son memorized way more addition facts than I thought he would and can easily write his numbers now, with few errors. The hardest part about Math-U-See Primer was all of the number writing for skip counting, but it really paid off!
We started “Semester 2” yesterday and I pulled out the Rod & Staff level 1 we had ordered. Unfortunately, I just don’t think its going to work for us. Even though its supposed to be for Grade 1, it really seems like its for children who have no experience or very little experience with math. The problems start out so easy and the book moves so slow! The lesson plans in the teacher’s manual are pretty pointless for a homeschool environment for a child who already understands numbers and math conceptually. After Math-U-See Primer, I thought I would start him at Lesson 15 in Rod & Staff, but then saw that he was ready for Lesson 37. So even with that, it moves REALLY slow. The curriculum spends like a week on each “Fact Family.” That might be fine for children who are just learning math, but Grade 1? I will just be skipping around lessons so my son can cover the core, useful content and then we will transition to Horizons Math which I have read is more challenging. (And if that doesn’t work, maybe Singapore, and then back to Math U See?). So with that said, I think Rod & Staff would be an awesome curriculum for a non-math inclined child who enjoys mastery, repetition, and requires the lesson plan provided to understand the math fact taught. (My son and I are both kinesthetic learners…so he just wants to get right to working on the problems to learn the new thing and I totally get it!)
One thing I do like about Rod & Staff is all of the extra worksheets they provide. Since they are “extra” I am able to gauge where my son is using them, without having to use the actual workbook pages for that. I’m not sure how typical this is or not, but after we put my son to bed around 7:45/8:00pm, he stays up for about 2 hours and will often “work” on something and sometimes it is math worksheets. (Sometimes it is making cards for people…could be anything!) I like that I can give him a stack of worksheets to take to his room…well, we have done this the last two days at least!
So overall it seems that ordering Rod & Staff Math was a homeschoolers beginners mistake! We will definitely do some of the curriculum, but after that I’d rather just reinforce his math facts with flash cards once a week, while using math lessons that are more challenging and fast paced.