Thursday, September 29, 2011

Do U See Math?

Did I mention that we had changed our math curriculum?
Based on outstanding reviews from friends, we switched to Math U See this year.  It has three components: a DVD lesson, a teacher's guide and a student workbook.  Oh, there's the manipulatives, too - base 10 blocks I guess you could call them - interlocking from the bottoms and used heavily in the lessons.
The program is geared toward various learning styles, and we've really enjoyed it so far....Han is in the second book, "Beta," and will finish that book (30 lessons) by the end of next week.  We'll move into the "Gamma" book directly afterward.  It is largely self-paced - and that is the point.  They want to ensure that each concept is nailed and learned solidly before the next one is introduced.  Much of the "Beta" work is review from our program of last year, which is another reason she's flying through it.
I haven't mentioned that a Very Good Friend shared her teacher's manuals and DVD's with us.  What a money-saver....almost $200 worth!  Wow.  She even shipped them out here from Oklahoma!  OK!  Thank you Lesly!
But wait, there's MORE!
In order to begin the program we had to order the student workbooks.  We needed the Primer (for A) and the Beta for H (we skipped the Alpha, the basic math facts).  We also needed the manipulative blocks.
So I went to the Math U See website and placed the order.  Rats.  They were out of the blocks, pictured here.  "Temporarily Out of Stock" the note said.  Nonetheless, we wanted to get started right away so I placed my order for the books.
The next day I went back to the website to check and see if the blocks were available....they were!  Now, to try and stop my order from shipping, I contacted the customer service "help chat" and told the Nice Lady my story.
This Very Helpful Person said she would try and stop my order before it left the warehouse so that the blocks could be added to the box to save me a second round of shipping costs (almost $12!).  I told her that if it couldn't be done, I understood, as I probably should have waited to place my order.  She said she'd get back to me the next day.
Alas, my order shipped separately as I was informed by email.  No big deal.  After all, the Instruction Manuals and DVDs were Free To Me so it was a pretty good deal to begin with.  We were still in our school budget for the program.  And as it turned out, shipping was much quicker than the 5 days suggested on the website.

(((time passes)))

A couple weeks later Andy asked me if I expecting a rebate check from Math U See.
"No, lemme see it!"
After a lively discussion of "its mine,"
"NO its MINE" etc.
ensured, I emerged victorious and was able to see the amount.
THIS NICE COMPANY refunded the cost of shipping my second package!  Without even being asked!  And loooong after the whole incident was pushed far from my mind.  Really?  They did that for US?
So, not only am I impressed with the quality of their teaching, but the company itself is devoted to its customers as well.
The money refunded will be turned around again next week and used to purchase the next book in the series, but isn't that a great story?  They really did the right thing.  And now, I'm going to try and reciprocate by passing along my experience to you!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Blogging - And Why I Haven't Been

I've been Living the Life!  I think about something almost daily to write about, but when it comes time...there IS none!  I've mentioned before how my computer time is usually in the evenings when Andy is asleep or trying to drift off.  My 'clicking' over here would be MUCH too distracting for him, so I try to do more 'mouse clicks' than keyboard clicks. (There should be a clever way to phrase that, but I can't come up with it now)....

The girls have made friends with a little girl who, along with her parents and older brother, moved in with her grandparents across the street.  She comes over 3-4 afternoons a week and my girls are thrilled.  They have never had a child live so close by that they could just show up, unannounced, without hitching a ride from a parent.  I love it, too ~ it reminds me of when Amy and I used to play with our friend, Diana, who lived down the street.  They're pretty content to play on the swingset, in the creek, in the carport and under the pine trees, AKA the Tearoom.  She's over here now, which is why I can sneak a few minutes on the computer!

All the same, I am eager for our house to sell so that we can move closer to Roanoke and more homeschooling families, events and activities.  I want the girls to get involved in 4H and ballet (Abigail), but I don't want to start here and have to change mid-year.  Of course, only the Lord knows the plans He has for us, and we could very well be here for another year.  I hope not,  because I don't like the idea of Andy driving 76 miles each way in the wintertime with snow and ice in the forecast.  Its hard to be patient... and yet, 1 Corinthians 13:1 lists patient as the first descriptor of love.  Hmmmmm....could my having patience about a move be a testimony to my love for God?  There's a lesson in there somewhere....

We've enjoyed being outdoors a lot this early Fall.  We've taken a couple quick family walks in the woods and two nice long bike rides down the (Rails To Trails) Jackson River Trail.  I hooked the "Wee Ride / Co-Pilot" tandem bike to mine and Hannah rides a new bike our neighbor gave her last year, and we trek away.  I hope to get over to the Greenbrier River Trail, too, pretty soon to take advantage of that as well.  Here in Callaghan there are few areas to really ride....its 45MPH in front of our house and that's the low end of the scale for the speedies who fly by.

I'll leave you with some pictures of the girls' adventures....
Keepin' on keepin' on!

A funny face after a long ride

"Wading" in the Jackson River at Petticoat Junction