Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Math Mammoth - Review

We recently had the opportunity to review Math Mammoth for our mathematics curriculum. I love math. My son loves math. And this math involves a big ol' wooly mammoth? What could be better?  

"Math Mammoth offers affordable, yet quality math worktexts and workbooks for grades 1-8, available as both downloads and printed books. These books concentrate on conceptual understanding and are strong in mental math. The directions in the worktexts are written directly to the student, and are often self-teaching, thus requiring little preparation and involvement from the teacher."

Math Mammoth offers the following:
  • A full curriculum for grades 1-6 ($34)
  • Worktexts by topic for grades 1-6 - you get both instruction and exercises; ($2-$7)
  • Worksheets by topic (price varies)
  • Worksheets by grade (price varies)
  • Make It Real Learning workbooks - highlighting how math is used in real life. ($4.99)

When it came time to choose which download I would like for my son, I was overwhelmed by all the choices they have to offer. I realized that the Light Blue Series (full curriculum) would work best for us. Of course, I looked at the first grade curriculum first. Jacob (5) is an intelligent child. The first grade work seemed a bit too simple for him. I looked at the second grade curriculum. Hmm, that seemed like it might be a bit too difficult. What to do?

On one hand, I didn't want him to be bored with work that was too easy for him. But on the other hand, I didn't want him to get discouraged if it was too difficult, and I certainly didn't want him to skip over much needed concepts.

I looked at samples in first grade. I looked at samples in second grade. First grade. Second grade. First grade. Second grade.

After much prayer and making Jacob answer problems from both sets, I finally just emailed Maria (the author of the books) to ask for the second half of the first grade curriculum (1-B) and the first half of the second grade curriculum (2-A). You know what? She replied promptly and happily complied!  (Now why didn't I just do that in the first place?)

I downloaded the file right away and began looking through the curriculum. I wondered how Jacob would respond to the plain format of the pages. The worksheets he's used to completing are covered in cute pictures and bold colors and are sprinkled with "fun" things to do. The simplicity of these new worksheets did not bother him in the least though. He was able to understand and complete the work with little help from me. The instructions are written directly to the student and make it easily understandable.

Math Mammoth is different from other curricula in that it is mastery-oriented instead of spiral-oriented. The student is introduced to a new concept and then given many opportunities to practice and truly learn it before moving on, as opposed to quickly "learning" a new concept, practicing a handful of times, and then reviewing prior work. This method insures that the student understands one topic before learning another.

Jacob and I enjoyed reviewing this curriculum and will continue using it. Another great thing about it? I can "reuse" it with my other children as they get older . . . and I don't even have to store another book on the shelf!

You can read more reviews of Math Mammoth HERE.

* I received a free download of this curriculum in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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