Talk to any homeschool parent, from the ones just staring out to the seasoned veterans and I bet nearly everyone of them has stressed out over what math curriculum to use. There are only seven billion choices…. all of them touting themselves as the latest and greatest, as if they have reinvented the wheel.
Have you noticed that Math is one of those guilt inducing subjects to teach? You always wonder if the kids are learning all they need. You can fret over the completeness of the curriculum. Then factor in your own feelings of parental inadequacy based upon your own experiences with the subject. Wow, it is a wonder we ever get past addition sometimes! If this is you and some days I admit that it is me…may I encourage you for a moment? Take it slow. Math is one of those things it is best to take your time on. You need to work consistently on it each day. Work with a goal of mastery, not just getting through a book in a certain year. Not understanding something is not a sign of failure, it just means you have work to do. Let’s stop beating ourselves up over it!
Life, and many years of homeschooling has taught me two things about math. Flashy expensive curriculums are not always all they are cracked up to be, take reviews from fellow homeschoolers into consideration, and buy from people who love math. Ok, that was three things….. but who is counting. Maybe I need math more than the kids do…
As a TOS reviewer, we communicate and coordinate things through a forum, it is our version of a virtual water cooler. We can ask questions, encourage one another, and sometimes vent. When Math Mammoth came up for review the discussion went into hyper-drive. The creator of Math Mammoth, Maria Miller, was giving TOS Crew Members unprecedented access to her curriculum. She said to us… “I have many products and I want you to use a product that is going to help YOUR family. So come, look, talk to me, and we will choose a product that will best meet your needs.” I went to her site and we tested. Some parents emailed her directly and explained their family math situation and Maria recommended a curriculum for them. The discussion around the water cooler about Maria and the time she was taking to talk to people, highlighted her commitment to providing caring customer service.
Hunter is in the 4th grade and when I went to her site and printed off a test to see if he was ready for Math Mammoth’s Math 4A, I found out just how much we needed to learn. So rather than push him through, I decided that we would back up and work on Math 3A and 3B. This flexibility is one of the major reasons that we chose to homeschool. I desire my children to have understanding of their subjects not just spend a few minutes on something and then fly on to a new concept. If we don’t get it, we work on it till we do. Take a look at what Math 3A and 3B cover.
Alright, lets get to the curriculum itself. It is mastery based. Short on topics per year, long on covering each one.
I like it. I really, really, like it. I wish we had started with it from Kindergarten/First Grade, and for Jeremiah, next year that is what I will do. I am also extremely glad we went BACK to grade 3 math. Math Mammoth introduced a new way of thinking about grouping things; there is a high emphasis on mental math. This new way of grouping makes addition and subtraction so much quicker and easier. Hunter is having to think differently to answer some of the questions… but he is progressing very nicely as we worked through Chapter 1 of Book 3-A.
Ever wonder why they order math the way they do in some books? I know I have wondered why they do things in a certain order….there are times it doesn’t seem to make any logical sense as you progress through a book. Well, with this curriculum you don’t have to cover it in order. It is suggested that you introduce multiplication before division, but other than that, you can proceed through the lessons as you wish. I find that mixing up the learning of multiplication with other math concepts gives Hunter’s brain a chance to process and retain facts. So we will be jumping around the books all year. I like that there are more than two pages of work when a new concept is introduced. This coupled with the worksheet maker should really help cement those facts and concepts into the brain! Take a look at these sample pages.
Math Mammoth’s complete 3rd grade curriculum (Light Blue) is available in three different formats. Workbooks, that are available for purchase through Lulu or Rainbow Resources and with tests and answer keys it would come to $54.80. Next you can purchase a CD-ROM through Kagi, and it has the additional features of a worksheet maker and a SoftPak, which is a 7 program tool to help your child with math, language arts and testing, all for $39.00. The curriculum is also available for Download for $34.00, and that is the version I used. It really is quite affordable.
Both texts, worksheet maker, answer keys, cumulative review, tests, and the SoftPak, all arrived instantly and are hanging out on my external hard drive. I print a chapter at a time, a few worksheets that will help with some new skills, and the chapter test. I print everything double sided to save some paper and then I place it all in a three ring binder. Hunter can write directly on the pages, and I can have the answer key up on the computer to help if we need it. I actually prefer this format to a traditional bound workbook. I just can take the pages out of the binder that we are working on and they lay nice and flat on the table, no more writing in humpy, floppy workbooks.
*****Math Mammoth has just announced that their PDF download versions are now equipped with annotation. So printing no longer is a must.*****
I can not possibly fit all of the products that Math Mammoth provides into this review. So please take the time to visit their website,
I am sure that you will find many products available to teach your child math and stay well within your budget.
Visit the TOS Homeschool Review Crew Page to see what other products were reviewed by Math Mammoth.
******disclaimer******* Members of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew were given a product of their choice, free of charge, from Math Mammoth, for the purpose of this review. No other compensation has been received. All of the above opinions are my own.