Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
If you have homeschooled for any length of time, you may hate math as much as your children. Honestly, it’s the number one subject I hear moms complain about. Even in my journey of homeschool teaching, I have sometimes deferred to my math-loving husband to avoid computative frustration.
My son has long struggled with math. We have spent hundreds of dollars looking for just the right curriculum fit, unsuccessfully. When I heard Math-U-See was working on a program for students with gaps in understanding, I was anxious to learn more. I jumped at the opportunity to review an Accelerated Individualized Mastery (AIM) for Addition and Subtraction when it became available to the Homeschool Review Crew.
I do have my son’s permission to include him in this review, but he would like me to refer to him by his alter ego name of Magoo. This boy is an amazing kid with many talents. It’s humbling to be a middle school student and struggle with math.
AIM is a program intended to help older students that have completed addition and subtraction courses without achieving mastery. These are students that may have masked that they have a skill that is lacking. The program uses many approaches that cover different learning styles. Students can work as quickly as they need to master the facts.
The materials I received included the addition and subtraction resource guide, manipulative blocks, colored pencils, fact check cards, math fact strategy posters, and access to digital resources. The digital materials are for a period of 12 months. A digital access card was included in my box of materials, with login information.
I’ve always believed kids should be allowed to grow and learn at their own pace. Once a concept was mastered I allowed my kids to move forward with new lessons. In those early years, Magoo did a great job of appearing successful.
Before the assessment, I had to make sure my son knew he had permission to tell me what he did not know. Both he and I had to let go of past frustrations over math lessons. We had to remind ourselves the goal was to see where he was with addition and subtraction mastery.
The assessment was very eye-opening to me. I asked Magoo a list of math facts from the assessment sheets and evaluated his ability to recall facts from memory. Correct facts from memory were those answered within three seconds, without counting, or pausing long. If he did not know a fact, he was assured it was okay to state he did not know.
Using the Program:
This is an easy program to understand. The digital resources contain step by step videos of how to instruct a student through a lesson. I really appreciated the student in the videos appeared to be a comparable age to Magoo. The resource guide provides direction to ensure the concepts are correctly presented.
Once a student has connected the color and values of the manipulative blocks, they are ready to practice math facts. During short relaxed sessions, the student will build the math fact with manipulative blocks, write it out, and say it aloud. Additional instruction is provided for transitioning from the manipulatives to memory and assessing for mastery.
Tips for Success:
The resource guide offered a number of tips to be successful. I was delighted to see suggestions in keeping the student engaged through movement. Exercise between subjects is a common practice in our home. Especially for Magoo.
The guide also encouraged activity for “crossing the midline.” That really stood out to me as Magoo has used crossing the midline exercises during eye therapy. The guide indicates the practice activates both sides of the brain and therefore the student is better prepared for learning. My husband works in Physical/Occupational Therapy and will share a later post expanding on this with some activity suggestions.
Throughout the guide, the most important tip offered was to avoid anxiety and stress. An older student has spent a lot of time trying to hide foundational gaps in learning. Even as homeschoolers, they are comparing themselves to both peers and siblings. There are practical tips and suggestions to help avoid math stress.
Math-U-See has done a fabulous job building a program for older students with learning gaps. It’s imperative these kids have support and encouragement. Magoo is not thrilled to repeat lessons in addition and subtraction, but he is encouraged by the improvement he’s making.
If you have a struggling math student, you can download and complete the Before AIM assessment. I will not promise that every session with your student will be easy, but I do recommend AIM if you have an older kid with learning gaps.
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