Saturday, September 24, 2011

Captain Underpants & Math U See

If I find something that works for my kids, I'm have to share.

Math U See is our math curriculum of choice. I'd heard many good things about it from various homeschool groups. Raymond hated math because he had trouble grasping the concepts of addition and subtraction. Math U See is based on the idea that struggling math students must see math, build math, write math, and say math.

The foundation of the program are these manipulatives, seen here:

Raymond is on Book Two called Alpha. He has a mastery of single digit addition now, which I don't think I could say two months ago. Math U See gets two HUGE thumbs up from me.

Now to the controversial Captain Underpants series. Why is it controversial? Because there are an abundance of bodily function jokes in each book. Lots of potty, pee-pee, boogers, stuff like that. And the title alone can make your eyes roll in parental horror.

However, I am a fan. These books got Raymond and Jona into reading like nothing before. The main characters Harold and George write their own comic books inside of the real book. Both of my children now write their own comic books daily.

What I also like is that the author Dav Pilkey, sounded a lot like Raymond when he was a child. I feel like my kids see themselves in the the main characters. We own all eight books in the series, plus the Captain Underpants Extra Crunchy Books O' Fun 1 and 2. There's also Super Diaper Baby 1 and 2, and The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, which I am being told everyday by Raymond that he is going to buy them himself.

He wants to have a lemonade sale to raise money because everytime he says, "I'm going buy my Dav Pilkey books today," I say, "Then get a job." Now he wants to sell his comic books (the ones he created) to buy the books.

For all the boy-heavy toilet humor, Captain Underpants is responsible for my children becoming enthusiastic readers. And Raymond wants to talk to Pilkey so bad. He's written him letters, watched all of his You Tube videos, and been on his website nearly everyday.

And Dav Pilkey really earned my respect with The Adventures of Ook and Gluk. It's about these two cavemen who get pulled into the future by a time machine, but written by the characters George and Harold. The lessons learned in that book were actually deep! I was like, "Go 'head, Dav! You have far more depth than I originally thought!"

The lessons went way over my kids heads, for the moment. Pilkey weaved in a morality tale, and lessons about patience, hard work, and the ego (yes, the ego!) into a graphic novel aimed at fourth graders. So if the idea of a bald white man flying around with a red cape and his underwear is a bit much for you, start with The Adventures of Ook and Gluk.



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