Math Mammoth – Mosaic Review

So I’m a math person.  I love math.  I enjoy math.  I find math exciting.  I find math relaxing even.  I like math.  My first two kiddos were math people also.  One could see the math of a rain storm. My daughter learned multiplication when we ran out of toilet paper so used paper towels.  She was 3 at the time.  She was multiplying fractions with an 8th grader I was tutoring.  She completed all of another curriculum’s 3rd through 6th grades in 4 months at almost seven.  She used my mother’s college algebra book at 7 and graduated high school a year late (at 16) with Calculus II and Statistics under her belt though I believe in using multiple math programs, not just one.   The other actually struggled with algorithms initially because he could just see math.  At four, he was doing pre-algebra programs. We’re just math people.

But I adopted three who aren’t mathy people.  There is no pulling out word problems for fun or teaching a little brother how to do FOIL.  In fact, it seems that K-3 math is really going to make us sweat.

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Enter Math Mammoth.  Now, full disclosure, we already own and use (in our own way), the full Math Mammoth Light Blue program for grades 1-6.  So for this review, I decided to get the Blue Series, Math Mammoth’s math topics curriculum.

For my review, I received the following:

  • Introduction to Fractions
  • Early Geometry
  • Measuring 1
  • Place Value 2

Let me start by saying how incredibly affordable these books are.  The most expensive book I saw on their site is only $7.50.  The Place Value 2 is only $2.25!  (***Note:  The prices are raising by 5% this month).  So if there is an area you need to supplement or focus on for whatever reason, the price is definitely right!

Second, I like that there are so many different activities.  There are hands on activities, ones where they have to continue along a line of thought, ones where they need to think about real life objects to figure out a concept.

One important part for less mathy kids is PLENTY of practice.  Of course, sometimes that is good for mathy kids also.  For example, when *I* was a child, I would have loved doing one problem after another.  But my daughter would have hated doing so much.  So she could have skipped some.  But my “new kids” (adopted in July 2012) need more practice so do most problems in each set.

I also like the scaffolding.  The fractions book is a good example. There are dots to guide the child.  There are directions to tell them exactly how to do it a certain way.  Questions lead them from what they’ve already told them to another part they were previously told.  For example, a question may say, “Divide this into fourths. Color 1/4.” Then it will ask how many little squares in 1/4 as well as how many little squares in the whole rectangle. They start small (1/4 or 1/2) then go to bigger numerators (3/4, 7/12, etc).  Then they move to the number line and later word problems.  Slow and steady, the student moves from super easy to much more challenging.

Another thing I really like is that my children had fun with the materials from day one.  One of the first things we did was the beginning of Measuring 1.  They went through the house measuring things with various objects.  In the below picture, they used their big brother’s shoes and their little foster brother’s shoes (seen by my daughter’s feet).  That really made units real to them!

MMMeasDay1

But let me say that my favorite part was how my children were able to run with the information.  I’ve been fussing with my daughter for over a year about Place Value.  She simply could not grasp it for whatever reason.  Though we haven’t finished the materials, she has been able to extrapolate further (at least able to know what questions to ask which is huge!) and to USE the information she has.  It isn’t just memorized information, but she truly has the concepts.

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