Friday, November 18, 2011

Review: Math Mammoth

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Last night 4yo Esmé changed her mind about becoming a spider nurse.  “When I grow up, I’m going to be a math teacher,” she said.  “I’m going to teach people their letters.”

“Algebra already?” I wondered.

“No, I meant numbers.  What’s 8x7?” she began.

And she quizzed me.  We dissected the number 40 in all kinds of ways using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Math comes naturally to her.

Until you put a worksheet in front of her.  And for the life of her, she can’t tell you what 2+2 is.  Unless you bribe her with a movie, put her in time out, and take away all bedtime story privileges.  Worksheets turn her brain OFF.

I thought maybe she wasn’t being challenged enough.  After a year of going systematically through a curriculum, she failed to thrive.  I knew she knew the material, but because she kept saying “I don’t know how to do that,” we weren’t moving very fast.

So I decided to up the challenge and jump straight to Grade 2 of Math Mammoth.  I knew she was conceptually ready for the syllabus contents.
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Synopsis:
Math Mammoth offers affordable, yet quality math worktexts and workbooks for grades 1-8, available as both downloads and printed books. These books concentrate on conceptual understanding and are strong in mental math. The directions in the worktexts are written directly to the student, and are often self-teaching, thus requiring little preparation and involvement from the teacher.

There are four different series of Math Mammoth books that offer a smorgasbord of options for your student:
Recommended Age:  Grades 1-8 
Price:  Price is dependent on the options you choose.  The complete Grade 2 curriculum download we reviewed sells for $34.
To Purchase: http://www.mathmammoth.com/
For More Reviews: TOS Crew

We’re going to skip Esmé’s synopsis for this review.  Suffice to say, upping the challenge wasn’t a magical panacea for her dislike of worksheets.  We struggled through the first 5 or so pages, and she just WASN’T going to GET the way a Tens unit was depicted as a box in the review section (which incidentally shows up later as ten-sticks and ten-pillars if only she would last that long).

So we skipped ahead to the Clocks section for a brief reprieve.  This lasted through another handful of worksheets.  She DID get the 5-minute interval concept and has mastered counting by 5s rather well by now.

The saving grace?  The Helpful Resources on the Internet section.  Ahhhh…  Now Esmé was in her element.

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What Mom Liked:
  • Price. This is an amazing value for the money.  It’s got an incredible amount of well-organized content.  And having an electronic version means you can print sheets over and over if desired.
  • Modular Approach.  It was nice to be able to jump right to the Clocks section of the curriculum without feeling like we were missing a lot of steps.  Many sections DO build on previous ones, so jumping around should be used with caution…
  • Customizable Tools.  If your child needs extra practice with a topic, use the Worksheet Maker.  Editable test and cumulative review files are also available.
  • Multiple Approaches to the Same Topic.  If you go through all the exercises of a topic, you will have approached it forwards, backwards, up, and down.  The same type of problem is presented in a myriad of ways.
  • Word Problems.  These are Esmé’s favorite, and there is a nice quantity of them.
  • Helpful Resources on the Internet Section.  This saved the day for Miss Esmé while learning about clocks, specifically the online activities.
  • Instruction Boxes. Each section starts with blue instruction boxes that students can follow on their own, or that parents can use to provide instruction with little to no preparation.
  • International Options.  Chapter 5 deals with counting money, and I appreciated the alternative currency chapters included for Australian, British, Canadian, and Euros.
What Mom Didn’t Like:
  • Esmé’s Attitude.  Towards worksheets.  I am still trying to find the right combination to provide the drill she doesn’t think she needs while feeding her conceptual appetite for math.  I was a little disappointed that this didn’t quite do it for her.   The sheer volume of problems on a page is a bit much for a highly-distractible 4yo.  I will continue to use this text to supplement our math learning, but will cut the pages into sections so she’s only dealing with a handful of problems at a time.
Overall:

This is a terrific value that thoroughly covers elementary math concepts.  The vendor is great to work with.  If nothing else, I HIGHLY recommend you sign up for a 7-day tour, check out Maria’s Math Newsletter and take a look at her package of 300 free worksheets and sample pages.
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Thanks to Math Mammoth for providing a full curriculum download and to TOS Crew for coordinating the review.  We are not being paid for this review, and all opinions are our own.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I rarely use more then one worksheet a day in math. I teach math by asking my students to use a hands on approach. Instead of clocks on a worksheet have you thought about a real clock, or a teaching clock? Also, for a 4 year old, touch math is a great program.

Healthy & Happy said...

Word problems, that is great! That is what me (worksheet master) couldn't stand...

Sweetpeas said...

I was never a fan of math worksheets either, math came easily for me and they just seemed like such a waste of time (and while now, I can see that it was the only practical way for a teacher to assess a large group of students, I still don't see the need when I only have my 3 children to assess).

This sounds like a great program for those who want a worksheet based program though.