Monday, September 30, 2013

{Mosaic Reviews} Math Mammoth

Our family has almost exclusively used a spiral teaching method for learning math.  A spiral teaching method gives small pieces of instruction that build on previous pieces learned on other days for a cumulative result by the end of the school year.  Each math lesson gives a few problems to practice the new bit of instruction and a lot of review of previously taught concepts.  I have always appreciated this teaching method because there is very little chance to forget concepts learned at any other point during the school year.  Our boys have always been successful in their math studies.  We haven't changed our curriculum or looked into other options because our current program is working well for us.

Through Mosaic Reviews, we were given the opportunity to try a program, Math Mammoth, that teaches mathematics through mastery.  The mastery method stays on the same topic for a long period of time and teaches all the smaller pieces of instruction in one unit.  Once that topic has been studied, the student moves on to the next unit with only a small amount of review of previously taught concepts within other units.

Math Mammoth was created by Maria Miller, a homeschool mom with a master's degree in mathematics.  She saw a need within the homeschool community for a math curriculum created especially for homeschool families.  Math Mammoth products are affordable, quality materials that are designed to be almost completely self-taught.  Each workbook or worktext:

*focuses on conceptual understanding
*uses visual models and exercises based on concepts
*emphasizes mental math and developing number sense

We received a downloadable version of the Light Blue Series for grade 6.  The Light Blue series is a complete, full year curriculum available for grades 1-6.  Each grade level contains two student worktexts, support materials, tests, answer keys, and review pages.  Math Mammoth is available as downloads, CDs, or printed formats.  An added bonus with the downloadable version is the ability to annotate right on the computer rather than printing out hard copies for your student.  With Internet access, the downloadable version also offers a worksheet maker to create your own practice sheets where extra study is needed.

I printed out Chapter 1 for both of my boys starting 6th grade math.  This chapter covered Basic Operations and Place Value.  I figured it would be a great way to review before starting our new school year.  Each chapter begins with notes for the teacher followed by lessons and practice problems.  Each lesson instruction is contained within boxes on the page, has short, concise instructions, and is followed by several examples.  It was easy for my boys to read the instruction and refer back to it as they were solving the practice problems.  This truly was a hands-off curriculum for me as the teacher.  Of course, I took time to check and correct their work but the actual learning and completing of the lesson problems rested solely in my capable 4th and 6th grade students' hands.  For a busy homeschool mama with other children to teach during the day, this is a fabulous perk of Math Mammoth.

My boys are not used to doing the same type of problems repeatedly for an entire lesson, so they did complain a bit about it, however I can see the benefit of approaching math by the mastery method.  Where they struggled at the beginning of a lesson, by the time they had completed a handful of the same type of problems presented in several ways, they had grown in their knowledge and understanding of that concept.  Over the course of several weeks, the boys' confidence levels grew as well.

As we move forward this school year, we will be sticking with our spiral math program as our main curriculum.  However, I am excited to add Math Mammoth to our math studies as needed.  I love that Math Mammoth is a complete curriculum but it can very easily be used topically where your student needs extra instruction or practice.  In fact, there are many affordable options to meet your student's needs.  You can purchase The Blue Series {books by topic}, The Golden Series {worksheets by grade}, and Review Workbooks.  I don't usually mention specific prices in my review posts but I must tell you this; prices range from as little as $2 per topic from the Blue Series to under $40 for one grade level of the Light Blue series for the. whole. year.  Wow!  Add to the fact that once you purchase the curriculum you can use it with as many kids as you have, the affordability sky rockets; simply print pages as needed.

I am a homeschool mama and teacher prone to flights of fancy with a tendency for buying the next best thing on a whim.  I must tell you, though, I did purchase the entire Light Blue Series package when a fantastic deal came up at the end of the summer.  But this was not on a whim.  We will be using Math Mammoth to reinforce what we're learning with our main math curriculum.  I was that impressed. 

Maria Miller has created a wonderful website with a variety of helpful resources.  If you are uncertain about trying Math Mammoth, sign up for the free Math Teaching Emails or Math Mammoth Tour where you'll receive 300 worksheets and sample pages, teaching articles, and Maria's newsletter through your email.  Please visit Math Mammoth for information on where to buy their great products.

Visit Mosaic Reviews to see what my fellow team members thought about Math Mammoth!

No comments: