Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Math Mammoth Review - Venturing Outside of Our Comfort Zone

My husband and I have, since the beginning of our homeschooling journey, struggled over what math curriculum to use with our kids. Manipulative based curriculum? The "Old School" type of math workbooks, tried and true? Video accompanied math ('cause who doesn't like a on-demand teacher ready to explain the concepts you forgot over the last few years?!?) It can get confusing and overwhelming and math is, next to reading, one of the most important subjects to learn! So... we branched out and tried something we've never dove into before!

Ahavah and Alecia (my six year old twins) have been working though Math Mammoth's Light Blue 2nd grade curriculum. We had a lot of fun working through Math Mammoth and were introduced to new teaching styles and learning styles we've never tried before. 

They adapted pretty well, overall, I would say. I got to see each child's strength and weaknesses in a different light. Most of the time I was able to simply hand them a few pages and they were able to comprehend the directions and work by themselves. We got a very in-depth understanding of concepts that were a bit abstract to them before trying Math Mammoth such as time, calendars, and days of the week. We also ran into a few hiccups along the way and through them learned a lot about our family and have gained a bit more direction and discernment on what we want in a math curriculum! :)




 As we worked though it, I jotted down some notes of the pros and cons of this product that we experienced:

Pros


  • Easy lay out that is easy to follow
  • Small explanations and example problems for each "new" section - Allows students to be self sufficient in learning even at an early age
  • Includes a page or two in the beginning of each new chapter for the parent/teacher to read through explaining the basics of what a child will be learning
  • Very Affordable
  • Instant Download/Access
  • Can be used over and over with upcoming children - Download once, Use forever
  • Allows student to work as slow or as quickly as they like 
  • Doesn't have a lot of "testing"
  • Includes "reviews" very often that go over everything previously learned
  • The word problems are advanced, challenging and use real life scenarios 
  • There are parts called "puzzle corner" that really challenges a child to look at concepts in a more complicated way. We found that my kids definitely needed parental assistance with most of these. We had a LOT of fun figuring them out together. 
  • Each "chapter" has a LARGE list of resources you can use to assist you in teaching a topic (Pictures Below)

Cons

  • Has some confusing and seemingly extra complicated methods of teaching adding and subtracting
  • Has no teacher manual explaining to a parent/teacher how to teach





This curriculum is aligned with the Common Core standards, so if that is an issue for you or your family, then this is not the curriculum for you. Here is the author's explanation as to why Math Mammoth chose to align with the Common Core standards. 

There are two types of products available: Blue Series (worksheets that are for specific topics - run about $2-$7 per topic) and Light Blue Series (complete curriculum products - run about $30-$40 for whole grade level). There are many different purchasing options so you can create a "package" that best suits your needs. 

We have been using the Light Blue Series.

So, basically you purchase and download your ciriculum and it comes in a folder. In your folder are all your Student Worksheets, Tests, Reviews and other items like the "Bonus Soft-Pak" which is not accessible on Mac Books. So sad :( You instantly get access to everything you need to start your new math curriculum! YAY!!

The information in the beginning of a new "chapter" will looking something like this:










Notice the LARGE list of extra resources. Very nice!


Above is an example of the short simple explanation at the beginning of a new concept such as "Adding with 9".

Now, here are some examples of what I did not like about Math Mammoth. The concept of adding numbers seemed to include far more steps then necessary (See Pictures Below). I felt like I was teaching my children how to chop down a tree by first cutting off each individual branch, explaining the purpose of every. single. branch. and how that branch is made, and THEN, when the tree was bare, taking an ax to the base of the tree so we can FINALLY get to the end result: chopping down the tree... 







Overall, if you do not have an issue with your children using this type of mathematical thinking, then I think Math Mammoth is a great inexpensive, and thorough option. 
It did not, however, work for my family. 





2 comments:

  1. Cool. Thx for that assessment. like the Pros & Cons. very informative.

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  2. Yes, thanks for the pros and cons list. I get what you're saying about the steps involved. I don't add like that, but one of my punks can only do math like that. I think he thinks like his dad. :)

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