00:22: Hello. Thank you for joining me here at Title Testimony number four, all about Math-U-See. And the true story about how Math-U-See came to be part of Oikos, it’s an interesting story this one. It doesn’t have a very clear background as do some of our other Title Testimonies, this one’s a little bit more blurry because there was a bit of overlap happening. What happened is that we came across a curriculum called Mastering Maths, written by Letz Farmer. Letz Farmer is no longer with us. She has had what our son calls when somebody passes on an upgrade. [chuckle] I think that’s quite appropriate, that we get upgraded to heaven. But while Letz was here, she wrote a curriculum called Mastering Maths, and what was specific about her curriculum is she took one area of mathematics, for example, addition, and then she taught… She wrote the curriculum around how to teach a child addition, starting with single-digit addition and then moving on. And then once that was solid, and there was a foundation in addition, she then added subtraction. And so this went on.
01:33: And that’s the curriculum that came on our path. As I’m saying, it’s a little bit blurry, because I don’t actually recall the detail on how Mastering Mathematics came to be in our family, in our home. I don’t actually recall exactly how it happened. I think it might have been from the missionary family who blessed us with LLATL in the early days, but I’m not totally certain about that. However, that is what we were using. And while we were using this particular curriculum, we found the concept of the model of it being one topic at a time, we felt that really worked, to focus on one at a time like that. And so it was working for us. And then along the way we discovered Math-U-See. And the first thing that got my attention on Math-U-See was the fact that it was a similar model and the fact that it started with addition, and there was one whole book on addition called Alpha, and then the next book Beta being about subtraction only. Well, obviously addition and subtraction, one builds on the other. And so it was interesting to me that there was this now other curriculum that was getting a lot of attention.
02:46: And I’m not, as I say, again, I’m not sure how we came to discover Math-U-See, but what I do remember, and I will never forget, is the fact that I went to one of the conventions in the States again to go and speak there, not necessarily to seek out curriculum, because that’s not what we ever really did, we were never hunting for curriculum. We found that God brought it on our path as and when the time was right. So there I was at the convention and I met Mr. Demme himself. Now, what was funny, was that he had a name tag on, ’cause at these conventions you have to have your registration at the door and get your name tag. And his name tag said Dr. Demme. And I was quite curious about that. I said to him, “I didn’t know that you’re a doctor.” He said, “No, I’m not a doctor.” So I said, “Well, your name tag says Dr. Demme,” and he hadn’t even noticed it until that point that it said Dr. Demme so it became quite a ongoing joke for the years that followed that we spoke about the fact that he was the doctor to the maths problems and he was sorting out the problems and helping everybody with their fear of maths and helping them get over the problem of maths and so on and so forth.
03:51: So I just continued to call him Dr. Demme. In fact, when I wrote to him I just said, “Hello Doctor, please can you help us with this problem?” And it was amusing, because both of us were actually just really not about that. We were about just being servants and we decided that doctors are servants and so we were servants and so we dropped the doctor and we replaced it with servant. So I started calling him Servant Steve and he was calling me Servant Sonja. And so it went on. Anyway, we started importing Math-U-See curriculum starting with primary all the way through to the end and the very, very final years weren’t yet being written. So we started in the days of when Steve was actually still developing the program, and then that’s when we started distributing in South Africa. And then he very kindly gave us permission to start printing here in South Africa so we didn’t have to import. We also wanted to convert Math-U-See to make it more South African. Instead of donuts and baseball we’d have biltong and rugby, for example. And Steve kindly allowed us to do that as well. And so the work began. We also wanted to convert it from imperial to the metric system, which we did, and also the currency, South African currency, rands and cents instead of dollars.
05:06: So that’s where it began. It began with some volunteer moms who very kindly gave it their time and input and effort into converting Math-U-See into South African Math-U-See. This is all part of our Title Testimony because the story continues. And it started then in those days way back then, few decades back, and here we are today, printing Math-U-See in South Africa, making it much more readily available. Families don’t have to worry about whether they’re gonna be able to get it because the ship didn’t arrive on time or because there was the wrong books in the order and whatever, all the problems we had when we were trying to import. Now we can print on demand. Of course there are problems that might arise with that, such as storms and printers and difficulties, but we do aim to try and keep these Math-U-See books on the shelves at all times to be able to support families here in South Africa with them.
06:01: And the story has been a good one, because just like our LLATL story, we never had to go looking for other maths curriculum. In fact, if you’re looking on the Oikos website, you’ll see there’s only one maths program available through Oikos, and that’s Math-U-See. And the reason why is because it works. Because that’s what we’ve been using ourselves in our own family for the children we’ve home educated, as well as others, as well as the many, many, many families that have been using Math-U-See for all the years. In fact, because this is a true story time, and I’m telling you stories, I feel like I’d like to tell you this story. And that is, a dear friend of mine’s son is very academically and mathematically wired. And he used Math-U-See when he was home educated, and then went off to university. And the lecturers wanted to know from him what maths program he had been taught with, or how he had learnt maths, or why is it that he had the understanding that he had. And he attributes it to Math-U-See, because he says that that’s what taught him to see, and to understand maths.
07:09: And so there’s just so many stories. I could be sitting here all day telling you all these stories. In fact, I’ve got another little story that’s just coming to mind now, and it’s not about the wonderful program and how amazing it is, but it’s about the wonderful man who wrote the program. As you have come to know him, perhaps you have through the videos, ’cause he’s got all his lessons on these videos, Primer, Alpha. I’ll put them here just to remind you, and show you that I’m talking about Math-U-See here in this Title Testimony. But one little boy told his mommy that he wanted her to put the DVD in with Matthew on it. [chuckle] Because see, all the time, he had been hearing Math-U-See, and he was calling Steve Demme, Matthew. [chuckle] So that was just so sweet. The next time I saw Steve in the States, I told him this little story about the little boy who calls him Matthew.
08:03: So it is actually Math-U-See, as you know. You learn to see the maths, because Steve incorporates the manipulatives and all the different learning styles are incorporated in Math-U-See, and that’s why it just works for all the different categories of people, all the different types of learners. And it has just been incredibly successful for so, so, so, so many thousands of families. And it really comes to be known how amazing it is, and how well it works, when young adults go into tertiary, or into adult life, into the business world, because they have this incredible foundation and understanding of having learnt about maths and mathematics through the Math-U-See program.
08:49: I could tell you so much about Steve Demme. He is really a man of God, and his heart is so, so for families, and helping them in this area of home education. Actually, it’s much broader than just maths. In fact, he runs a ministry about, “he family that prays together, stays together.” And his sons now, some of them, not all of them, they actually run Math-U-See in their actual organization company, whatever you want to call it. So Math-U-See continues to grow, and continues to be strong, and the next generation have moved up into it, and are running it. Not all of them, as I say. I don’t have the details and the facts of, right up to today, what Steve Demme’s family is doing. But I do know him as a man, as in his following after God, and his desire to continue to serve God. So he’s definitely Servant Steve, and he has developed this amazing Math-U-See program for us. Again, it’s going to keep changing. It does keep changing, as you know. That’s development and progression. These nice covers, they used to just be a blue strap there with the name, it didn’t have pictures on. And each cover now has got different kinds of images on the covers. And so that will… I’m not saying that they’re changing. They do have upgrades from time to time, and that’s not to change the actual structure or model that is being used on the program. It’s more just to fix little, tiny errors here and there, or do improvements.
10:16: So, there it is, the Title Testimony of Math-U-See. Our special South African Math-U-See edition, you see we even got our South African flag on all of the covers, to show that this is South African. And we are very grateful for being able to do that, and we just want to thank Math-U-See America for all that they do in continuing to serve the greater community of home educators worldwide. And we hope here in South Africa, that we’ll be able to continue to serve the South Africans, and others, with this incredible Math-U-See program. I know I’m going on about it and how incredible it is, but why wouldn’t I? It’s the only program that we’ve ever had here at Oikos, and it’s the one that has worked for so many hundreds, and thousands actually. So thank you for being with me today, to listen to this Title Testimony, and I’m looking forward to sharing the next one with you. Thank you for watching. Bye for now.