Monday, February 16

Math Mammoth

I'm picky about math. Very picky. I've tried many different programs, hunting for the perfect curriculum. The catch is that there can be different "perfects" for different children. While many of the curricula I tried succeeded in teaching the boys their math skills, I found that few actually taught them to think mathematically. Learning a concept, applying it, and then passing a test on it does NOT mean the student actually learned math. It can mean that they memorized a formula. If you were to take that same formula and ask them to apply it to a word problem with a different scenario, they often would be unable to figure out how to even approach the problem.

After trying it all, I've settled on Singapore math for both of the boys. They learned their early, basic skills from different programs, but settled on this two years ago and LOVE it. There was a time, about a year ago, that we paused to spend some extra time learning those multiplication facts solidly. I used a program called Math Mammoth. It is an eBook of pdfs, allowing me to print what pages I need for as many students as I need. It helped so much for the extra attention to specific topics that I was thrilled to find out I was going to receive a full curriculum to review. Joel had just wrapped up year 3 in Singapore and was ready to move on, so I chose Grade 4-A from the Light Blue Series to try with him.

Math Mammoth
and Singapore Math are very, very similar. MM doesn't have as many pictures, but it explains things simply and Joel seems to be picking things up quickly. I love that he is able to work completely independently with this program. I like the level of review. It doesn't fly through a topic, but it doesn't drill things to death either. Once the student has mastered a topic, it isn't necessary to continue printing more review problems. Mastered topics are revisited and applied in different lessons and built upon. There is plenty of variety and opportunity for the student to actually think.

Maria Miller, the author, does a good job of explaining the how's and why's. The student is then asked to apply that knowledge in a variety of problems that keep them thinking as it tests how true that knowledge is. No memorizing of formulas without actual understanding the concept is happening here. It uses a logical mastery approach and teaches mental math strategy.

There are many different options with Math Mammoth. Some are for specific, targeted skills. Excellent supplements to help your student master topics. This was our experience when we tried it for Multiplication and Division last year. While I love Singapore, I do wish that it had more review. Math Mammoth does an equally effective job at teaching subjects and also includes the extra drilling I found lacking with Singapore. The 4th grade series comes with 343 pages of math - this doesn't even include the answer keys. It is a very thorough program and I am impressed. I have been a die-hard Singapore fan, but I think we're switching over.

My only complaint has been with the answer keys. I have found errors in each book we've worked with, but Maria appreciates comments and I'm sure updates will be available as these newer books become more widely known and appreciated. None of the errors were very serious. I just made sure I worked through any problems my son had missed to be certain they really were wrong before marking them with my red pen.

The price is quite reasonable. Singapore costs $18 for textbooks, another $18 for workbooks, and $6.90 on an answer key. Total cost without shipping is: $ of the cheaper math programs available. Math Mammoth is quite comparable. The total cost for MM4 is $29.70. This includes the text, answer key, and extra worksheets. There is extra cost involved with printing the files though, so I think it probably breaks even with Singapore. It does, however, save you the trouble of ordering another set of workbooks when a younger student inherits the math books from their older sibling.

The targeted Math Mammoth workbooks are very inexpensive. The multiplication book we loved so well cost only $5.00. I've also received several of these different workbooks through Currclick's specials, some for free!

Free samples are available and Maria Miller is happy to assist you and answer questions. If you are in the market for a math program, I highly encourage you to give this a try. For other reviews, please visit the TOS crew.


Anonymous said...

Good morning lovely daughter of mine. You are such a blessing to your children and our family. After spending 30+ years in our school system, you will find mistakes in the key system and typing errors in all kinds of curriculum. Just think of it as keeping everyone on their toes! Have a blessed day. Love Ya, MIL

Shanna said...

We're liking MM as well...good to know its comparable to Singapore as that was a curriculum I thought about considering for next year. I'm pretty certain we'll be sticking with MM too.

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