Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Math Mammoth Review

Math can be a hard subject for children to understand and because of this I am always on the lookout for math curriculum that works for my kids.  They each learn a little differently and what works for one doesn't always work for the other one.  This is why I was excited to receive Grade 3 of the Light Blue Series from Math Mammoth to review recently.  Little Miss and I had a lot of fun exploring this product to see what it was all about.
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Math Mammoth's goal is to explain math in very simple terms while helping students understand the concepts of math.  They use visual models and exercises to help students understand how math works.  Math Mammoth has 2 different series - The Blue Series and the Light Blue Series.  The Blue Series are worktexts on specific math topics for grades 1-7 while the Light Blue Series are full elementary mathematics curriculum for grades 1-7.  The worktexts that Math Mammoth has created are self-teaching and do not require a separate teacher's manual.  All of the explanations are in the student's book and they include the instructions along with the work.

The Light Blue Series that we received is a full Grade 3 elementary mathematics curriculum.  This series focuses on being mastery-oriented.  They organize the chapters by topic and each chapter concentrates on just one theme and its connecting topics.  The curriculum also focuses on conceptual understanding so that your student truly understands each concept taught.  There are lots of visual models and exercises for each topic.  This series emphasizes mental math.  It includes full explanations of the concept in the student book leading to self-teaching and little preparation time from the teacher.  This curriculum is designed to meet and exceed Common Core Standards.  Each grade level in this series consists of two student worktexts that contain both the teaching explanations and student exercises.  You also get the answer keys, tests, cumulative review lessons, and a worksheet maker.  The download version we received had some extras that included files to replace the chapter on money, bonus software, a user guide, and Common Core alignment documentation.
So how did we use this Grade 3 Light Blue Series?  I downloaded our files and then printed off lessons for Little Miss each day.  At the beginning of the review we started at the beginning of the worktext just to do some refreshing.  Chapter 1 is all about addition and subtraction and in my opinion this is never a bad thing to review.  This chapter features a lot mental math which was really a great way to check that Little Miss had truly been learning the math we had previously worked on.  She was very good at the mental math for both addition and subtraction.  Her favorite part of each lesson quickly became the puzzle corner that required her to really think at deeper levels.  She worked her way through chapter 1 and did great on it.  She has never had any trouble with addition and subtraction so it was just review for her, but review is good.  I had her take the test for chapter one and she did a great job.  She was able to work on most of chapter 1 by herself without me having to teach a lot because she read through the directions and explanations.  That was very nice because then while she was doing math I could work with my son on a different subject.  I did know what she was working on each day since I printed off the worksheets for her and she knew she could ask about any questions she had.  After chapter one, we skipped around in the worktext a little bit.  I did this so we could try out different areas of the worktext and see how Math Mammoth taught concepts versus the math we typically use.  The concepts I had Little Miss work on throughout the worktext were Understanding Word Problems  and Order of Operations in Chapter 2, various Multiplications Tables from Chapter 3, and Making Change in Chapter 5.  Some of these concepts she was able to work on by herself and some of them she needed me to teach to her since she hasn't learned them in the same way they were presented in this curriculum.  We have not finished this whole worktext yet, but we plan to continue working on it throughout the school year.  I have looked ahead and I am excited for the topics coming up like Geometry, Division, and Fractions.  I like the way Math Mammoth breaks down and teaches fractions in several different ways so that Little Miss will really grasp this concept.
Overall Little Miss really liked Math Mammoth.  Like I said before, her favorite part was the puzzle corner and many times I found her doing that first in her lesson and the work after she figured out the puzzle (she takes after her mama doing that).  She also really like being able to do her math completely on her own.  There were very few times with this curriculum that I had to explain concepts to her.  The only time she really struggled to get the concept was when it presented the concepts using Common Core methods.  The Common Core way of solving problems frustrated her because that is not how she has been taught and it took longer than what she had been taught.  An example of this is 65-26.  The Common Core way of solving has you figure out how many numbers it takes to get from 26 to 30 and then 30 to 60 and then 60 to 65 and then you add all those numbers together.  My daughter wanted to subtract the old fashion way she already knew how and after trying some of the Common Core methods, I did have her use the way she already knew.  In general I am not a huge fan of the Common Core methods for solving math.  I get why they do some of the methods, but others just seem like extra steps to get the same answer.  The other part we both really liked was all the mental math that this curriculum encouraged.  It really helps her build her math skills and I have found her using her mental math skills at the grocery store since starting this curriculum.  Little Miss also liked the links to the online resources that were given in this curriculum.  Some of these resources were games and some were sites for more practice.  She liked exploring them and playing them after I gave the okay for them.  Overall, I think this is a really good curriculum and we will continue using during this school year.

You can check out Math Mammoth for yourself on their website, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube.  You can find out more about the Light Blue Series we used here and more on their Grade 3 curriculum here.  They do offer several different math products for your homeschool needs.  You can also check out what my friends on the Homeschool Review Crew thinks about Math Mammoth by clicking on the banner below.  We have been reviewing many of the products Math Mammoth offers so please make sure you look through our reviews.
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