Math Mammoth (Light Blue Series)
Publisher: Math Mammoth
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Math Mammoth 6B
See the complete review in 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.
Math Mammoth seems to be an underground, “overnight success” in the homeschool marketplace. With little fanfare and no significant marketing budget that I have noticed, Math Mammoth has garnered lots of attention along with many fans in a relatively short period of time.
Math Mammoth offers a few different options, but the primary thing to know is that the Light Blue Series is a complete core curriculum while the Blue Series is supplemental. The Blue Series' content is almost identical to that of the Light Blue Series, but it is arranged and sold in small, topical units rather than as grade level texts. (Great for those who need to focus on a topic like fractions.)
Math Mammoth can be purchased in printed-book format, on CD-ROM, or as downloadable files. Printed books are purchased through Lulu or Rainbow Resource Center on the internet. (Links are on the Math Mammoth web site.) Most users purchase the downloadable versions, probably because of both convenience and cost. The price for downloads is fantastic—or even better, if you buy the bundle for Grade One through Grade Six it works out to $25 per grade level. For those with downloading problems, all grade levels can be purchased on CD-ROMs. Keep in mind that you can print out the pages from either the download or the CD-ROM over and over again to be used with all children in your family.
The price alone is enough to cause you to sit up and take notice, but the content is also top notch. Some people have compared Math Mammoth with Singapore Primary Mathematics since both programs teach for mastery and understanding. Both explain concepts thoroughly, generally using visual illustrations to present new concepts. Also, both programs employ a number of different ways to explain new concepts so they can reach different learning styles. Math Mammoth adds occasional use of simple, inexpensive manipulatives....Word problems and practical applications are used throughout the series so students gain a sense of how math migth be used in real life.
While topics are presented in an order somewhat similar to most other programs, there are some purposeful differences. The scope and sequence is challenging, but not quite as much as Singapore Math....
Most topics are taught for mastery although there is some “spiraling” where topics are taught first with some elements then revisited later with added elements. However, this is far different from Saxon’s spiral approach where topics are taught in small increments coupled with continual, extensive review of previously-taught concepts. Math Mammoth generally concentrates on one topic at a time for a number of lessons.
If you want more practice and review of any topics, the download comes with links for generating hundreds (at least!) of worksheets by topic. Problems are randomly generated, so you could create a number of different worksheets for the same topic if needed....
Author Maria Miller encourages parents to choose when to use the various sections rather than just plow straight through each book. This is really an amazing amount of material and resources for so reasonable a price....
The worktexts are presented as PDF files, but they are enabled for annotation which means students can type directly onto the pages on the computer. While the computer does not correct or score the pages, students may print them out or save them. (Be sure to save your original files if you want to reuse them!)
There are some brief teaching notes at the beginning of each chapter that shouldn’t be skipped. Even with using these notes, explanations on the worksheets might be too brief for some students, so a parent or teacher should probably be assisting as students tackle new concepts. Parents will likely need to be more involved with younger students than older. Once students have grasped concepts, they should be able to work independently.
The program features plenty of thought-provoking word problems. These problems coupled with the other methods of lesson presentation will certainly help students develop both conceptual understanding and critical thinking skills. However, some students might need help working through some of these problems.
Tests, cumulative reviews, and answer keys are all included in the download or on the CD. The Math Mammoth web site offers free placement tests, free worksheets, and other helps.
In my opinion, Math Mammoth is an amazingly well-developed program for such a reasonable price. In my opinion, Math Mammoth has created a very high quality product that can function as a traditional program while also taking advantage of the internet and the computer to enhance the course with valuable extras.
Note: Grade Seven will be a complete pre-algebra course. It should be available by summer of 2015.
- Suitable for: one-on-one instruction and some independent work
Audience: grades 1-6
Need for parent/teacher instruction: moderate
Prep time needed: minimal
Teacher's manual: N/A
Religious perspective: secular but "Christian friendly"
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