As I’ve shared before, my math teaching philosophy is that math should be taught in a way that combines the how (formulas or algorithms), the when (application) and the why (conceptual understanding). Finding a curriculum that makes it easy to teach and explain the why can be quite a challenge though! Today I want to share our experience with a homeschool math curriculum that is low prep and easy to implement (while building a strong conceptual understanding). In this review of Math Mammoth, I hope to share the pros and cons, as well as who might benefit from this curriculum.
*Please Note: This post is sponsored by Math Mammoth. I received free curriculum and was compensated for my time in testing and writing this review. All opinions are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. Feel free to read my full disclosure here. *
A Little About Math Mammoth:
Math Mammoth is a series of math worktexts written by Maria Miller, a former math teacher.
Maria has a Masters degree in math, as well as various experiences as a teacher and tutor.
I’ve been a fan of her website and free resources for some time. After reading through and testing out the second grade Math Mammoth curriculum, I can say with confidence that it is clear she is a math teacher who understands math and how to teach it.
The curriculum is rigorous, and I can tell that the goal is to explain math in a conceptual way, rather than merely memorization of facts.
As she herself states about the books,
The aim of my books is first and foremost to explain math in very simple terms, yet rigorously, concentrating on helping students understand the actual concepts of math.
Benefits of Math Mammoth:
While I am a fan of Singapore math, I can definitely see how it would be difficult for the average parent (who doesn’t have a math teaching degree) to pick up and use. (There are no instructions or explanations in the textbooks.)
Math Mammoth, on the other hand, provides lots of help and support for parents who can do math, but don’t necessarily know how to teach the why behind it.
And let’s face it, teaching addition, something that is second nature to us as adults, can be very hard to explain to a 6 year old learning it for the first time!
So if you’re looking for extra resources and help teaching the concepts, there’s a wealth of resources available on her site.
Another benefit of this homeschool math curriculum is that the lessons use lots of visual models to help show the concepts.
This is incredibly helpful in building and developing number sense in young kids.
And while I like to use hands on manipulatives from time to time, they are not necessary. The visuals built into the lessons function in the same way.
If your child needs extra support, however, combine the visuals in the lesson with hands on tools.
For example, when completing the skip counting lesson, we used a hundreds chart and some Skittles candies to mark the numbers and look at patterns. Then my daughter colored the hundreds charts in the lesson.
Because this was a new format, it was a little overwhelming to her, so using a larger hundreds chart and the candy as a “marker” to physically skip count was helpful.
Finally, as I mentioned before, the lessons are in the form of “worktexts” which are essentially textbooks and workbooks in one.
Concepts are introduced and practiced all on the same page, making it easy to use and low prep.
Plus, it is incredibly affordable. You can purchase the entire curriculum for grades 1-7 for only $175. That’s all the math your child needs before they begin Algebra 1!
How to use this homeschool math curriculum:
As I’ve said, one of the great things about this curriculum is that it is print and go. (Assuming your purchase the digital, pdf format)
Therefore, to prepare, read through each lesson and make sure you know what concepts you will explore and practice.
When teaching the lessons, work through it together with your child. And if it’s helpful, combine the visuals with other math tools such as a hundreds chart, number lines, ten frames, etc.
Do some of the problems together, and then let your child do some of them independently.
Once you’ve completed a chapter, you may also want to make use of the cumulative reviews or chapter tests. (Although the tests may not be necessary with younger kids, especially if you’ve been assessing their progress all along).
Some drawbacks of Math Mammoth:
One drawback may be that it is pretty rigorous as far as homeschool math curricula go. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if your child is math anxious, this may not be a good fit.
Or, you may simply need to start with a lower level. This will help your child familiarize themselves with the format and build their confidence before moving on to more challenging lessons.
Of course, there are free placement tests on her site to help you choose the right level as well.
The only other thing that may be a drawback is that the lesson pages are very full.
This could be overwhelming for some children, but of course you don’t need to complete the entire page at once. Simply assign the right amount for your child, and then finish the lesson another day.
Finally, while this is simple to use, it does require you to be involved. Obviously, it’s not a bad thing to be the primary teacher to your child. But if you are a large family looking for a more hands off curriculum, this is not it.
As a mom of four, I completely understand the need for curriculum that kids can work through independently.
However, keep in mind that math is a challenging topic. So even if you use an online or video based curriculum, you should still spend time reviewing and discussing math concepts together or looking for math in everyday life.
What do you think? Have you tried Math Mammoth? Share your experiences in the comments below! 🙂
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