Saturday, January 17, 2009

Math Mammoth

This is my first year homeschooling, and my first student is a Kindergartner. I have looked at a few different math curricula for her--Math-U-See, Saxon, Singapore, workbooks from Wal-Mart and the Dollar Store. I had never heard of Math Mammoth until I was given the opportunity to review one of their products. If you have children in grades K-8, keep reading.

I reviewed Math Mammoth's Lightblue Series Grade 1 with my daughter. It is a complete one-year curriculum provided in PDF format for instant download and printing at my leisure. The first half of the year is broken down into three chapters (see a sample here):
  1. Chapter 1: Addition Within 0-10
  2. Chapter 2: Subtraction Within 0-10
  3. Chapter 3: Addition and Subtraction Facts

Addition starts off with showing the student how to separate a total of something into two groups (ex.: 4 balls can be grouped as 0 and 4, 1 and 3, 2 and 2, 3 and 1, and 4 and 0). My daughter circled the groups. Sometimes she was asked to write the dots on a die face or to count simple pictures in each group. She learned the symbols in an addition equation (+ and =) as well as being able to tell which is more using greater than or less than. She has now gone over and understands adding with zero, filling in a missing addend, using a number line, solving simple word problems, doubling a number, filling out an addition table, and using equal to or not equal to. We have finished Chapter 1 and will be moving on to Chapter 2. Though we will not finish the second half of the year until my daughter is officially in first grade, it is broken down into the following five chapters (see a sample here):

  1. Chapter 4: Place Value Within 0-100
  2. Chapter 5: Clock
  3. Chapter 6: Shapes and Measuring
  4. Chapter 7: Adding and Subtracting Within 0-100
  5. Chapter 8: Coins

My final verdict: Math Mammoth is challenging, in a good way, for my daughter! I really like it! I found that it moves at a good pace. Within each lesson there is a bit of a review on previous concepts and/or concepts are introduced in a few different ways. Every couple of lessons there is a lesson set aside to practice the learned skills. There is plenty of room for my daughter to write her answers and just enough color on a page to add interest without draining my color printer cartridge. I will say that there is not much explanation for the teacher on how to teach a concept. For this level, Grade 1, I do not find it a problem (and actually I enjoy figuring out ways to teach to my daughter in ways I know she will understand best...using object, pictures, explaining things in practical terms). I really like that even at this early stage word problems are introduced. Word problems seem to forever haunt people in all areas of their lives. I've explained to my daughter that there's not much use for "knowing" all these math facts if you can't use them in everyday life. The word problems are great for getting her used to using what she's learned in her lessons and applying it to situations she sees inside and outside of home: toys on a shelf, books in a bag, two friends sharing crayons, slices of bread needed for sandwiches, etc.

We will be continuing on with Math Mammoth. I like the different ways it introduces and illustrates math concepts, and I am impressed with my daughter's progress and performance since we've been using the program. Go see all that Math Mammoth has to offer on the website. The cost is very, very reasonable and package deals are available. Sign up for the newsletter and get access to free worksheets!

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