Learn Math Fast: Curriculum Review

This is a paid curriculum review for the Learn Math Fast system written by The Happy Housewife contributing writer, Beth.

The Learn Math Fast System is a comprehensive math curriculum for 1st-9th grades written by JK Mergens, a homeschooling mom.  It is a series of five books designed to allow students to work page by page and master mental math.  I’ve used the curriculum for one month with my 1st, 3rd, and 9th grader.

Previously, I’ve used Saxon and Switched on Schoolhouse/Monarch for my 9th grader. The other children have used workbooks from various publishers to build a basic math understanding for the younger years.  I have a strong math background and felt very comfortable teaching any curriculum.  However, the Monarch math has been lacking sufficient instruction for my son’s understanding.  I’ve been supplementing the instruction from Monarch even though it was designed for the student to do independently on the computer.

I was excited to try the Learn Math Fast System in hopes of finding a solid foundation of no-nonsense math.

Pros for Learn Math Fast

The books are not marked with grade levels.  This is a plus for me since some students might be uncomfortable, nervous, or embarrassed about working above or below their grade level.

There are only five books for 9 years of instruction.  They take up a minimal amount of real estate on your bookshelf and make it easier to school multiple ages at once.

The company website provides a placement test.  It’s a great tool to help decide which book to buy and where to begin.

The price is right.  $190 is the current price for all five books with free US shipping.  Or you can choose any individual book for $49 (with free shipping).  Plus, paying for the books couldn’t be easier.  You can checkout through the author’s secure website or with Paypal, if you prefer.  You can also purchase the series of books through a number of payment plan options.

There is no teacher manual.  You just read along with the student.  There are no separate tips or pointers. Everything is included in the paperback text.

Fast, personal customer service.  I contacted the company through the website.  I just wanted to bring to their attention a small error on one of the printables.  Not only did the author e-mail me to thank me for the note, but the error was fixed on the website within a few hours of my comment.  This is prompt customer service that is priceless for busy homeschooling families.

Nonconsumable.  All the worksheets, quizzes, and tests are found on the website.  Your password gives you access to print as many copies as you need.  This makes it easier to make copies for multiple students and only print the pages you need.

Concepts taught together.  In Volume I, the concepts of addition/subtraction and multiplication/division are taught together.  I think this saves time in introducing concepts by explaining that they create fact families (even though this term is not used).

Timed tests show measurable improvement.  My kids love the timed tests in Volume I. They get a real sense of accomplishment as they watch their quiz times come closer and closer to the goal time that allows them to proceed to the next lesson.

Some commonly overlooked concepts are explained thoroughly.  Volume III has a fantastic explanation for the order of operations.  This is the “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” order for solving equations that most adults don’t remember in correct detail.  I love the clear and concise presentation of this idea along with several examples for guided practice.

Instruction uses everyday examples.  From the very beginning the author tries to bring math to the level of everyday experiences.  Each lesson uses examples any student will be able to relate to and understand.  Fractions talk about slices of a sandwich, decimals begin by talking about money, adding uses pennies as counters for concrete understanding.

Hands-on help.  From the very first lesson of Volume I, students are using their hands to find answers with pennies.  The examples given regarding every topic throughout the system encourage the student to touch math and feel it in their hands.  The geometry book (Volume IV) includes a pouch of handy manipulatives to help the student really use math and measurements in a tangible way.  There’s even a built-in hands-on exercise for measuring the circumference of a circle.  I love the hands on emphasis.

60 Day Money Back Guarantee.  Learn Math Fast comes with a money back guarantee.  If after completing lessons and worksheets for 60 days you don’t feel that your student is learning basic math, you can return the used books for a full refund.

Cons for Learn Math Fast

You must have internet access to print additional worksheets, quizzes and tests.  All the materials are included in the system, however if you want additional worksheets, then you’ll need internet access.  There is no option to save the worksheets and tests to your computer.  I understand the desire to regulate the distribution of these tests and worksheets, but I would be interested in purchasing a CD containing the printables.

Repeating lessons is common.  Students and teachers might have to repeat a lesson before moving forward.  My 1st grader worked on Lesson 1 of Volume I every day for a week before even trying the quiz the first time.  She understands adding and subtracting, but she is not to the point of recalling math facts.  She still has to recreate the problem with counters (or adding on to a number) for every problem.  Only after the fourth day did she begin to recall math fact families.  She became slightly bored with repeating the same lesson over and over. If this will cause the student or teacher anxiety or frustration, then I’d recommend modifying the lesson while still maintaining the foundational concept.

Some concepts are oversimplified.  I understand that sometimes math students don’t want to know WHY something is done; they just want to memorize steps to get the right answer.  In my opinion, this just doesn’t build a solid foundation of comprehension to build on.  Here are a couple of examples (all from Volume II) about concepts being oversimplified if that is a concern to you:

  • The fraction of ½ is offered to compare fractions and show equivalency.  However, there is no method taught to compare any other fractions to determine if they are equivalent.
  • Most problems requiring common denominators used one of the existing denominators as the least common denominator. In the rare cases where this was not the case, the book instructs the student to multiply the denominators together. There is no mention of finding the least common multiple.  In my opinion, this just leads to more work later if the answer must be reduced unnecessarily.
  • The idea of reducing fractions is taught without addressing how to find the greatest common factor.  Students must depend on incrementally reducing the fraction by small numbers if they can’t think of a greater number that divides evenly.  While this process does lead to the same answer, I can’t see how this could be faster than finding the greatest common factor the proper way.

In Summary

Learn Math Fast would be a great addition to help students master math facts. I can also see this being a tremendous tool as a summer bridge builder from one grade to the next. If you use this to reinforce topics that have already been taught, the student will be able to brush up on foundational skills easily and independently. The sense of confidence that comes with these quick lessons will do a lot to encourage less eager learners that you really can Learn Math Fast.

Learn Math Fast System Giveaway – CLOSED!

One reader will win a complete Learn Math Fast system including all 5 volumes!  Enter the giveaway by leaving a comment below telling us how you feel about teaching math to your kids.  Winner must have a United States mailing address.  Giveaway ends November 2, 2012.

Beth K. is a homeschooling mom of 5.  Curriculum was provided by Learn Fast Math, and Beth was compensated for her time while maintaining her own opinions.


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Comments

  1. Kim C. says:

    We have tried a couple of different math curriculums and I wasn’t really happy with either of them. I’d love to try something new.

  2. Cat says:

    Sounds like a neat program! We don’t homeschool any more, but we do work on math and reading in particular over the summer. I have always struggled with teaching/assisting my kids with math. Most of them struggle with it and I did not, so it can be hard to relate. Any areas of review or renewed attack on key concepts is always good!

  3. I have no problems teaching math as long as I have a good curriculum to work with. I do have one student who struggles with this area and needs additional time and help. This sounds like something I could use for her without it overwhelming her.

  4. Mami2jcn says:

    I started homeschooling a month ago and I’m not currently happy with our math curriculum. My younger son gets very frustrated by math. I would really like to try this program to see if it’s effective for him.

  5. EFY says:

    Math is something we use every day. Often we feel intimidated like it is something that only a professor can teach. I am all for a curriculum that takes away the intimidation of basic math. Thanks for the giveaway. Blessings

  6. Michelle says:

    My 3rd grade son is really struggling with math right now. I am searching for ways to get him interested in it and help him to understand all of the new concepts being thrown at him. This program looks very promising.

  7. Tara H says:

    Hmmm…I’m terrible at remembering to drill things so my boys need some extra practice! This sounds like a great curriculum to try.

  8. lhunt1231 says:

    I love teaching math to my son, however sometimes I feel overwhelmed and feel my presentation of the material could be better. My son loves math but seems to struggle with some concepts. We are new to homeschooling and not sure where to go from here. Would love to try your program.

  9. Shannon D says:

    We just started homeschooling this year and I have already changed our curriculum. My kids are only in second and kindergarten so i am fine with teaching math for now!

  10. Michelle says:

    Though math was pretty easy for me growing up (until geometry!), teaching it is a whole different story! My three older sons have done pretty well (until geometry!), but it is my younger son who has had the most trouble with grasping basic math concepts. I really feel the curriculums I have chosen for him just haven’t worked, so I would love to try something new. And to have it be a giveaway, would be a huge blessing! Thanks for the chance!

  11. Sarah Lee says:

    We’re using Singapore right now. I’m sure it’s a great curriculum, but my 7 yr old is really struggling to grasp addition and subtraction. It may be time to switch to another curriculum.

  12. Kelli says:

    We have had some success in math and some failures. I’d like to try something new with my kids. Math is very frustrating for us right now.

  13. Jennifer says:

    My son is in second grade. Right now I have no problems teaching him math. I am a little nervous about teach him math once he gets older. I was great at Algebra but not so great at Geometry.

  14. Robin L says:

    The logic of math, although many kids find pointless, opens the mind for reasoning throughout life. As parents, we can’t afford to let our children miss important key mathematical concepts. Having several children that adapt to different teaching styles, I am highly interested in discovering the approach this program may offer, especially because I have children in all three academic ages: elementary, middle and high school.

  15. Karen says:

    My two younger kids are doing well with the math program we have, but my oldest daughter is struggling right now with long division. I wonder if she would struggle with whatever program we are using. I majored in Math in college, so I know the Math, but it’s often difficult for me to put it into words what is in my head because it comes so easy to me. I have been keeping my eyes open for any other strategies I can use with her so she will understand better. This looks like it MIGHT be worth a try!! Thank you for posting this!

  16. Kristie Bolton says:

    This is our first year homeschooling. How hard could it be to teach 1st grade math right?? It’s simple in my head, but trying t convey it to my daughter is another thing all together. I would really love to try this new concept. Either way, we know we are switching curriculum next year.

  17. Sharon says:

    Math is so important. Saxon is a great program but this would be interesting to try. Covering 1st – 9th grade is unique.

  18. Kelly Clinton says:

    I am so scared of the math today. I have always hated math!! I try not to say anything negative to my 5 yr old about math, so he will have a positive experience! I think this program would be a great help to me as I work with him in these early years!

  19. Heidi F says:

    Yes.. I could really use this right now. I have a 7th Grader who is struggling and I think this could really help us.

  20. Shavonne says:

    Math is my worst, and i mean worst subject and i am a bit nervous as how to teach my children as they get older that areas that are my weaknesses. This seems like something that can help alleviate those fears!

  21. Angel says:

    this looks interesting. I have struggled with my daughter for math, nothing I have tried seems to work and it just brings tears. Currently using Khan Academy and Math Mammoth. I like that this curr. doesn’t have a “grade”. She may feel more confident with this.

  22. Jodi says:

    Math is my nemesis! I have had such a difficult time teaching it – both of my high schoolers are dreadfully far behind. They suffer from acute embarrassment and a lack of motivation because of My teaching inadequacies. I would love a simple, effective and FAST way to catch them up. It would make a huge difference in their confidence and motivation!

  23. chiebert says:

    I am lost. My daughter’s grade 6 math teacher called to say my daughter’s averaging less than 20% in her math. I need a system she can comprehend to help her understand math. One that begins with the basics because it’s apparent we’re going to have to go back a ways. I would love try this.

  24. Kristin says:

    Math is a super complicated subject in our house. My girls, ages 12&8 struggle with it& I, as their teacher, struggle with it as well.

  25. Nancy says:

    As a mom of 9 4 out of highschool and 5 more at home, the youngest 2 are are still to young for school. I’m really intrigued by a math program that is non consumable and no teachers manual. Bookshelves fill to fast and fumbling through teachers manuals makes my hair stand up! I would be blessed to win this give away.

  26. mistie says:

    My 9 year old daughter is good in math but doesn’t like it. Because she doesn’t like it, she gets sloppy and doesn’t do a good job because she thinks she is “not good” at it. I would love this series to compliment her current math curriculum. I think the motivation from being able to take the quizzes and see the result of growth would encourage her and motivate her. Thank you for such a thorough review of the product.

  27. Tara says:

    We don’t homeschool, either, but of course learning begins at home and it helps to feel comfortable reinforcing math concepts. I’m totally uncomfortable with math – I would expect to learn more from this system than my daughter!

    t.

  28. Stacy J says:

    I want my kids to love math and have sound math foundation. it is a little intimidating to try to cover all the bases while keeping it fun and useful.

  29. Robin says:

    Math is the hardest subject for our daughter. Anything to help her learn (and to help us teach her in a manner that is easy for her to learn) is a God send. Thanks for the opportunity to win this.

  30. Kristina Peterson says:

    We have been a hands on practical math family since we started to homeschool. Now Algebra is has arrived for my oldest and my recall is terrible. I really have enjoyed Teaching Textbooks and my kids seem to like that to. I am interested in this program for my second son. i think this method would benefit him.

  31. Chrissy says:

    Math has never been my strong suit so I’ve been hesitant in teaching math to my older children. This program sounds very intriguing to me! I’d love to check it out!

  32. Hannah says:

    Math is definitely our weakness. I am frustrated that most programs seem so bloated but I don’t always know what to take out. I would love a more streamlined system.

  33. kristi ryder says:

    I love math…i have no problem teaching it….BUT…no matter how many drills or flashcards or games we do, I canNOT get my 3rd grader to memorize her math facts! She memorizes everything else imaginable…it’s like she has a block to mathfacts. Not knowing them really slows her down!

  34. I love teaching my sons math. I have one that struggles and one that it comes a little easier.

  35. Leigh says:

    Having taught public school math for eight years, we talk about math all the time and my kids love it. My oldest is a kindergartener so still really basic. This year we are using singapore math and she is already on chapter 11 of 20. Not sure what we will do when she finishes it.

  36. Lisa Marie says:

    My husband and I have homeschooled for several years now. We’ve tried several math curriculums during that time including Saxon Math, Math-U-See, and Hooked on Math. Neither of my daughters enjoy math and at this particular point in time I’m not thrilled about it either. Understanding math concepts is of paramount importance, but I feel like I’m failing at teaching it. This sounds like a great program, so did all the others. Thank you for providing the opportunity to win this curriculum and for publishing your opinions of it. Perhaps some of your readers will choose to use this course of study in the future.

  37. Tracy Compaan says:

    I have been trying to teach Saxon to my 2nd grader and it was really slow going at first, but now, 9 weeks in, I do feel like we are getting the hang of it both him learning the concepts better, and me teaching them. I am intrigued by this program!

  38. katie says:

    I like to teach my children math by doing first with real live examples because they are so young still. I think this would be good for us as we are getting closer to needing it.

  39. Robin says:

    I have homeschooled my daughter from the beginning. She is 7th grade and works above grade level. This year she is learning pre-algebra. Since 2nd grade we have used Math Mammoth. It is a great curriculum and has worked very well for us. Unfortunately like other programs we have used it ended with a complete 6th grade curriculum. So what to use this year. I purchased Teaching Textbooks and she used it for a while but did not like it. Thankfully I purchased at a curriculum fair so I was able to return it for a full refund. Then I purchased Math-U-See pre-algebra. We are using that but some of his explanations confused my daughter and there was not a lot of explanations. I purchased a public school textbook to supplement but I am still looking for a program that will work for her. I would love to give this a try. I like the sample pages given for Fractions. I wish I could see some for pre-algebra. But if win this giveaway I can see them all!

  40. Aymee T says:

    My children are young still, but teaching mat with real life examples (such as using sandwiches for fractions) would give us opportunity to talk about what we learnt even when eating or working around the house

  41. REGINA TATE says:

    I find teaching math to my son difficult. But I am finding some really good practice drills and math games online to help.

  42. Michelle A. says:

    I would love to win this and give it a try! All three of my kids in school this year are struggling with various aspects of Math, so it would be really helpful to try a diferent approach. Thanks for the review!

  43. Michele Villano says:

    I use life lessons for math, along with math facts games.

  44. Teresa Matz says:

    ugh, Math! I have 5 kiddos in this age range, 2 of them struggle, 2 are math thinkers that just wont memorize facts, and 1 is doing well. I need all the help I can get :)

  45. Jamie says:

    I am always looking for some help with math. I have 3 kids and 1 really struggles with math.

  46. Ellen says:

    Math is my subject. But I don’t have a curriculum to work from. This year I realized my 8th grader hasn’t been taught math very well – teachers, new curriculum system, whatever the reason I want to get her back on track. My first foray into homeschooling!

  47. stampedwithgrace says:

    I luv math, but my kids don’t agree. we use ABeka thru 2nd grade, then switch to Math U See. I tried Teaching Textbooks one year with one child. I liked it but for me to switch would be too costly (I have 8 kids). I’d luv to win Learn Math Fast!

  48. Joellen says:

    We use Singapore Math, but it’s a bit on the easy side for my kids. I would love to check this out.

  49. Sue says:

    Math instruction is easy for me through second grade. Then I start to have problems. This sounds like a good program. I like that it is not obviously graded.

  50. Brenda says:

    We have struggled with math in the past, but now my 4th grader and I seem to be getting the hang of me teaching him catching on well. Maybe it’s because we’re in studying “money” now and who doesn’t like to know about that?! My daughter is 1st grade, and we’re going through the same learning curve. She’s struggling to remember her “fact families”. I’d like to try something new to see if it would help both of our frustration levels.

  51. Jennifer J. says:

    I don’t have any qualms about teaching math to our daughter. The only issue I have is that I love math and our daughter hates it. I am always looking out for different materials and methods to teach her the different math concepts.

  52. Tammy says:

    Check out this program
    http://www.mathmammoth.com/

    she also has a you tube site where you can do videos with her

    She is a whiz at math

  53. JESSICA says:

    I enjoy teaching math and working with my kiddos on it. This year I have 3 students using Life of Fred and I can’t tell you how much I have learned from their math books:)

  54. Sunnie says:

    Thanks for the giveaway, this would be good for my girls who could use some added help with their math.

  55. meagain2 says:

    I dont lke trying to teach math because my math skills leave a lot to be desired

  56. Jessica Carlson says:

    I LOVE math! It is what it is, it is not open to interpretation. On the other hand, my husband HATES math for the same reasons…it’s strict and has rules. :)

  57. Shannon says:

    How high grade wise does this go?

  58. Lisa says:

    Math has been the most frustrating subject I’ve homeschooled my daughter in. She’s advanced beyond her 11 years in everything, but math. Math seems to stay about a 3rd grade level. We’ve used Saxon, Math U See, Math Whizz, and now are working with Right Start Math. None have been easy and I have to do constant review with her. Things click for her here and there, but I’m still hoping for a program where we have more “consistent clicks.”

  59. Crys says:

    I think my child would really benefit from this, even though she attends public school. I am always searching for good practice tools to use with her because math is something she needs more practice with.

  60. Heather says:

    Would love to teach my son math… I’m so horrible at it! LOL!

  61. Deb says:

    My Daughter started homeschooling my grandson this year, His school has a tendecy to pass just to make their records look good. but when they did their testing last year the school failed so bad that we received a letter stating that because of this low rating we can send him to any other school in the state. We live in a small town and the next closest school is 20 miles away and their rating wasn’t much better. then the next town would be 100 miles away and cannot afford to drive daily or move at this time. So homeschooling was our next option. We are not teachers and any resources we can obtain is a definite plus

  62. Dana says:

    Math has always been the dreaded subject here – until recently. We are working on fundamentals and letting the children excel and feel 100% confident before moving on to anything else. This means we have to divorce ourselves from feeling behind and needing to catch up. We’ve used several big name math curriculums and are interested in trying any others, as we’ve learned something useful from each.

    Please enter us in the drawing. Thanks.

  63. Michele says:

    I love the fact that there are no grade levels! This would really help my daughter, who struggles with math, to not feel like she is doing “baby” math! Would love to give this program a try! I have had a hard time finding a program that really clicks with her!

  64. Melissa B says:

    Math is my least favorite subject but I don’t want my kids to know that or feel it themselves. This program looks like a good balance between print and computer work. Thanks for the thorough review.

  65. MaryBeth says:

    I think my girls learn math the fastest in the kitchen… but it would be great to try a curriculum like this one in addition to what we’re already doing. Thanks for the chance!

  66. Rebekah says:

    I love math, but I hate teaching it. It comes naturally to me. I always had problems in school because I didn’t want to show my work because I could just see the answer. And now trying to teach it, I find myself frustrated that it just doesn’t come naturally (I’m seeing how my teachers must have felt with me). This looks like a great curriculum to try!

  67. Sara Wing says:

    This would be very helpful for my fifth grader who is struggling with math.

  68. Renea says:

    Math is the hardest subject for me to teach, and the one my youngest struggles with the most. Would love to use this curriculum to bridge her to the next grade over the summer and reinforce what she is learning.

  69. Amy Osborn says:

    I have an easy time teaching-as my son is only in Kindergarten, but I would welcome the chance to use a new curriculum.

  70. Anissa says:

    Math in real life is the best way, but you need to know math facts too! For my 3rd grader she is loving xtramath a free website for drilling math facts. Win win for me!

  71. Delanna L. says:

    Teaching math is definitely NOT my favorite thing to do, but it is one of my priorities for them to have a solid understanding of the subject. They don’t have to love it, but they do need to understand it! Any new approach broadens my teaching prospects – I’d be delighted to win!

  72. Mary Anne says:

    I would rather undergo a root canal without anesthesia than teach math! We have yet to find a good fit as far as math curriculum is concerned. After attending school and then trying saxon math at home – my son is extremely math reluctant. I would love to find a curriculum that wouldn’t intimidate him or make him feel as if he was miles behind where he needed to be!

  73. TONIA BITTLE says:

    I HAVE BEEN USING DIFFERENT “PIECES” OF CURRICULUMS
    WITH BOTH MY KIDS. SOME THINGS THEY GET; SOME THEY
    DON’T. THIS SOUNDS LIKE A PROGRAM THAT I WOULD LIKE
    TO TRY;ESPECIALLY SINCE IT HAS A “HANDS ON APPROACH”
    INCLUDED WITH IT. LOVE READING THIS SITE.

  74. Math can be a real pain for us, still home schooling four of our 10 kids. I like uncomplicated!

  75. Sandy says:

    I have a grandson who is struggling with math. I would love to win this to help him feel more confident.

  76. Michelle Schafer says:

    I have 4 I’m currently teaching, and I look for any and all help to teach math! lol I’ve pinned a few links to help, and I usually have hubby help, but he’s been busy with work lately. This would be a huge help!

  77. Janice says:

    My son has a learning issue and math is difficult for him. I’m considering this curriculum for him. Thank you.

  78. Pamela S. Wade says:

    I would love to try this program! I’ve been homeschooling for 17 years. I’ve tried Saxon Math and mostly just make up my own curriculum. This sounds like it would be good for us…I still have 2 that could benefit from it. Thanks for a chance to win! ~~Pam

  79. Charity M. says:

    I am just starting with homeschool. I find math a little overwhelming. I would love something simple but effective. This sounds like it would be great since I have children of different ages.

  80. Julie says:

    I love teaching math to my little ones! My oldest are fairly self sufficient in math, but I love to include anything from baking to cleaning to help learn math!

  81. Helen says:

    I enjoy teaching math and I have children who are able to work well through their work. I would be interested in trying out new math books.

  82. Lindsay says:

    At this point, since our oldest is only in Kindergarten, I obviously feel comfortable teaching her math. She actually loves math and will be moving into her 1st grade book in about a month. I feel pretty confidant though about teaching her math up to and including algebra and geometry, with some trig. I took some calculus, as did my husband, but I’m afraid by the time she’s old enough for that, there may be some mental cobwebs, lol! However, we have good options–co-op, private cyber courses, community colleges, etc, so we’ll figure it out :-)

  83. Dedra Scott says:

    Both of my kids dislike doing math. I would love to try this new curriculum to see if it helps them to understand it better and possibly make them enjoy math.