Monday, February 27, 2017

Math Mammoth REVIEW!!!!!

Affordable Quality Math {Math Mammoth }
Math is one of those subjects that is hard for me to choose a particular curriculum, or style. Mr. B likes to use the computer for his work, and I also like the benefits of worksheets or printables. It's hard to find something to fit both of our needs, that is affordable, and good quality. Insert Math Mammoth. I had never even heard of Math Mammoth before it came up for review, and after checking it out I was so very excited to try out the Light Blue Series for 5th grade.

This math curriculum is mastery based and utilizes conceptual learning. I'm sure you're probably wonder what in the world that means, right? Please say yes, because I know I was certainly wondering! Basically, your student will master each topic before moving on to the next, and units are arranged in themes of sorts. Conceptual learning isn't just learning the how's, but it addresses the logic behind the math. 2+2=4, but why? That's conceptual learning, and it's GREAT for autism!

For this review, we received a digital download of Math Mammoth Light Blue Series Grade 5.
Affordable Quality Math {Math Mammoth }
How we used it:

I was very eager to get started with this.  But I wasn't really sure what grade level Mr. B would be in for this. It seems like each company has their own scale, for each different subject. Reading might say one thing, science another. So I really wasn't sure which grade level to choose. The great thing about Math Mammoth are the free Placement Tests. We did not even finish the first page of the 6th grade placement test when I realized he needed a lower level. I am so glad we took that test! I had him take the 4th grade placement test, and it was much too easy. I had him take the End of the Year 5th grade test, and it was about 50/50 so I felt confident starting with 5th grade. I reasoned it would be good to backtrack a little and make sure he had mastered some specific concepts, and move on to the harder stuff and take our time more. Once our download arrived, and we got started I realized this is the perfect place for him right now.

I also realized this wasn't anything like I thought it was going to be. I fully researched this prior to the review, but for some reason I had convinced myself it was an all online program. Imagine my surprise, and my sheer delight, when I found out it wasn't! We received a PDF download, that has various parts, in a zip file. It also includes something called a "Soft-Pak." Soft-Pak is a very basic program that also includes some language arts work. Think of the old DOS based programs of yesteryear, and that's what I think of with the Bonus Soft-Pak. It's a lightweight program that will create Language Arts worksheets, spelling lists, and of course math worksheets. It's easy to use, and a nice little bonus.

The Download includes a worktext A and B, answer keys for those, tests, cutouts, reviews, and of course the Soft-Pak I mentioned above. The cutouts are fraction pies. I found these were great to print and laminate so that he could use dry erase markers on them. They come colored and black and white. The reviews are pretty neat. They are cumulative reviews that are broken down into segments. So you have chapter 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, and so on until you get to 1-8. There are also extra worksheets located under this folder. The worktexts are basically the workbook. I would have Mr. B go over the concept on the computer, and then I'd print the necessary worktext pages for his work. Worktext A has 213 pages of goodness, and B has 203! 


As you can see, the main book part is in the main window, and you can choose the pages on the left side. Now, that's all well and good for those who like books, even eBooks. BUT what about the online fun my son likes? Don't fret because Math Mammoth has you covered! Within the first few pages of each worktext are links to online math learning sites! And these links are integrated into the overall lesson plan. There's Math Mahjong, Activities with money, Survey Game, Line Graphs, Easy Practice problems, Study Jams, and soooo much more! There are about 4 full pages of math links that are used in this curriculum, and all are clickable within the PDF. 

If you subscribe to Homeschool Planet, you can also purchase the lesson plans to go along with Math Mammoth. There is a free version of Homeschool Planet, and you can pull up the lesson plans, so the work is already pre-planned for you. If you have the paid version, you obviously have more control and features to use, such as emailing each daily lesson to your child! I LOVE having these lessons plans at my fingertips, ready to go.

We started with Order of Operations since I realized, I had never gone over this with him. Actually, I can't remember when I learned these in school, but I'm pretty sure it was after 5th grade. So be sure to make use of those placement tests! 

I go over these with Mr. B on the computer, then I print out the worksheets for him to do. I follow the lesson plans, which usually include a fun activity too, and sometimes I will utilize the extra worksheets when needed. We don't do EVERY page, as that's not really the intended purpose anyway. When he has mastered the topic, we move on as needed. He's still having some trouble with Order of Operations, so we are still covering that, and also tying in more algebra type problems. I'm thinking Order of Operations has more to do with his autism than lack of understanding. 

Our Thoughts:

I really love this program. I'm seeing now that he has some gaps that need filling, and we may purchase one of the Blue Series books to fill in those gaps, namely fractions. These books concentrate on a particular concept where as the Light Blue Series is a full grade. I love that it's both book and online fun, and the added lessons plans are so very handy to have. He can play the games as much as he wants, even when it's not math time. And the worksheets are great. They have color so they aren't drab, but they aren't busy and cluttered so they do not distract. The conceptual learning is great, as it not only teaches the how, but the why, too. That's great for autism, and it really works well for him. I highly recommend it to others, and plan to continue using it. 



Does Math Mammoth Pass My 4 Ingredient Test?



1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

Since this is not an online subscription, you aren't confined to the time constraints of the subscription. You can move around as needed, and skips the sections your child as already mastered. You can choose to buy the pre-planned lesson plans, or you can plan your own. 

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

The Light Blue Series is only one grade level, and you are locked in. There are no hidden fees that I have found. Make use of the placement tests so you can choose the correct grade level.  

3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long? 

The lessons are short, and repetitive enough for full mastery. The inclusion of various games and online work make it varied enough for ADHD. I found it to be perfect for autism and ADHD, in our case. 
4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.
This is strictly math. 
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Affordable Quality Math {Math Mammoth Reviews}
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2 comments:

  1. We have been very happy with Math Mammoth. Our young elementary aged son has ADHD (hyperactive!). He loves that we can work on things, and if he masters it "mom marks out the extra problems". (I.e. we move on, but he feels like he accomplished something great by seeing me mark them out on the work text).

    The mastery concept works great and we do not have to keep endlessly reviewing what he already knows, which helps him love math again. I love that his mental math ability has grown so much that often he can do the problems without writing it down, though this mean mommy keeps making him show his work.

    The short explanations means I do not talk and talk. This also is in line with our Mason inspired schooling - short lessons and kids learning through doing/experience, not being told.

    Before buying a math program, I did some research on the various options. Their website gave great examples and allowed me to test out a few work texts. At the time I knew of no one else who used it and was weary of trying something without seeing it. I am so glad I took that leap of faith, though. I do not utilize the online resources as much as I should, nor the review pages, though I hope to change that. (Saying 'school' used to result in tantrums and refusal to do anything. Tests were out of the question for almost two years, which is why I was glad to know very clearly that things were mastered, without involving a test.)

    Also, writing is a struggle (fine motor skills, ugh). However, it is easy to adapt to oral answers, or written and oral answers.

    I print off what I need (I bought the CD for all grades), placing it in a binder. A post-it note keeps track of where we are.

    I didn't mean to write almost another review, but have been SO happy with this curriculum that I constantly sing it's praises. I will be using it for our other ADHD kid this summer, to help fill in gaps in learning he has due to his spiral curriculum (taught by someone else). He has been able to hide places he has been struggling and no one caught it. I need to go back and help him master some things. This is perfect. I can print off the pages I need without buying yet another workbook that we may not finish.

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    1. It really is fantastic for ADHD and autism because of the short lessons, and the mastery approach!

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