You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, February 21, 2010

TOS Review Math Mammoth

If you've read my blog for any length of time this year then you know that we have been blessed to receive a number of math-related products through the TOS Crew, and you also know we aren't big 'math people' but prefer to take it slow and easy in the early years if it serves that particular child.

Hank is zipping along and seems to have a head for numbers. He does mental math pretty quickly and tends to pick up math facts a little faster than his siblings. Ella, on the other hand… God bless her because she tries and tries, but it just hasn’t clicked for her. We’ve tried two math curriculums that have left her in tears each day until we stopped using them.

We received Math Mammoth, written by Maria Miller to use and review. I had not heard of Math Mammoth before the TOS Crew so I didn’t know what to expect. I also figured its math… how exciting or different can it possibly be? I have to say that I’ve been very pleasantly surprised.

Maria gave us a choice of what to review so I chose the 1st grade “Light Blue Series” which is the full curriculum (offered for grades 1-5). She also offers a variety of supplemental materials (topics available for grades 1-12) that you can use to fill in any gaps in your student’s understanding or to use as a review.

I began by having Hank take the 1st grade placement test, and he did ok but not great. So I decided to go ahead and have him do the 1st grade material knowing we could just move on to 2nd grade if he finished the curriculum before the end of the schoolyear. I also have Ella using the 1st grade curriculum though we’re going much slower with her. Maria has written an article about Kindergarten placement to help you decide if your Kindergartener is ready for Math Mammoth 1st Grade.

So why do I (or more importantly, my kids) like Math Mammoth above the other curriculums we’ve tried? Primarily because it is mastery-oriented covering fewer topics over more time. I have come to realize Hank and Ella learn and retain new information much better this way. Many other math curricula use spiral learning, and my kids just end up confused and unsure with this method of teaching.

Like many other grammar level math curricula, it’s also very visual; you can use manipulatives (Ella needs them, but Hank doesn’t) or you can draw objects to solve the problem (Hank does much better with this). Another bonus is that once I’ve explained the concept, they’re off and running so my involvement is minimal and there’s almost no planning necessary. I do need to read the word problems to Ella, but she’s otherwise able to complete her work fairly independently.

The main topics during first grade are the concepts of addition and subtraction, addition and subtraction facts within 0-10, and place value till 100. Other topics studied are clock to the half hour, measuring length in inches and centimeters, shapes, and coins (US, Canadian and European).

In 2nd grade, the focus is largely on addition and subtraction, both mentally and in columns. 3rd grade devotes a lot of time for basic multiplication, multiplication tables, and basic division (by single-digit numbers). 4th grade concentrates a lot on multi-digit multiplication and long division. 5th grade has a lot of material for mastering the arithmetic of fractions and decimals.

Of course, many other topics are also studied in each grade (e.g. measuring, geometry, place value, money), and focusing on fractions in 5th doesn't mean they are not covered in other grades. In fact, there is a little bit of fraction material in 3rd grade, quite a bit more in 4th, and then a LOT in 5th.

Math Mammoth is also very affordable. It is available as a download at Kagi store
and at Currclick. The full set (A & B) is only $29.70, and supporting materials (answer keys, tests, cumulative reviews, and worksheet maker) are only $14.

Or you can purchase printed copies from Lulu. The Part A worktext is only $11.90, and the Part B worktext is $11.80. The answer key is available for $13.75, and the Tests & Cumulative Reviews are just $10.25. You’ll need to add shipping costs to these prices as well.

The Supplemental Materials vary in price and are available as downloads and printed copies. There are also package deals from which to choose.

We are thrilled with Math Mammoth and plan to continue using it for the rest of this year and in future grades.

Be sure to see what other TOS Crew members said about Math Mammoth!

*This product was provided free of charge so that I may offer my honest opinion of it.

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