Monday, February 27, 2017

Math Mammoth Blue Series- A Homeschool Crew Review

For several weeks the kids have been using Math Mammoth and their Blue Series. For the purpose of this review I received a PDF Download of-Multiplication 1, Fractions 1, and Decimals 1.

The Blue Series books have individual math units for grades 1-7. This is not intended as a full curriculum and is used as a supplemental or remedial math. You have addition, subtraction, place value, measuring, money (from several different countries), clock, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, ratios, geometry, data and graphs, statistics and probability, equations, ratios, pre-algebra, and many other topics to choose from. The Blue Series isn’t based off of a specific grade level and is a great for reviewing topics. They do state a recommended grade range. These books are also available in Spanish.

Math Mammoth is a systematic approach to math that works on understanding and mastery of the topics in a slow and steady manner building upon it self. The mental math strategy is really expressed throughout.

What is really impressive is that this is an affordable math program but, you have to keep in mind that printing can add up with printing out the PDFs. I make sure to print mostly in black and white to save money. Math Mammoth has a great copyright for family use. You can copy the material needed for all your children in your family. Another option is that you can type in your answers into the PDF. I would still recommend you print it out so you can have a hard copy for your records.

Each book starts out with an overview for the parents for teaching the concepts, along with several links for games and worksheets, and some videos. When there is a new concept taught there is a brief overview of the topic. All the units have an Answer Key with the problems shown as a whole.

 Multiplication 1:

This is recommended for the grades 2-3.  The concepts that are taught are multiplication concepts, and multiplication with word problems. There a strategy for remembering those multiplication tables with structured oral drilling. It covers the multiplication tables from 2-12. There are also some cut-out-flashcards.

The workbook has 113 pages and is broken down in two parts.

The multiplication is very through in teaching multiplication and it's impressive.

Fraction 1:

This is recommended for grade 5. Fraction 1 has 81 pages and covers the first part of fraction arithmetic with some basic fractions concepts and moves onto addition and subtraction with fraction, comparing fractions, and measuring in inches. There are a lot of illustrations to help with understanding the operations of fractions. I think visually seeing fractions is a big help.

Decimals 1:
Is for grades 4 and 5 and has 69 pages that teach building a foundation for understanding how the decimal number works and some basic concepts with 1 and 2 digits decimals.

This is a wonderful tool for teaching decimals.

How did I use Math Mammoth Blue Series in my homeschool?

The first thing I did after I downloaded the PDF was to print all of Multiplication 1. I didn’t print all of Fraction 1 and Decimals just some areas that needed to be revisited.  

I have been using Math Mammoth Blue Series as a supplement/remedial to our current math curriculum with my 11 year old son and 14 year old daughter with special needs.

 I had originally planned on working on multiplication with my daughter as she regressed a lot with her skills due to her disability and we are constantly reviewing math skills with her. That was happening when I first requested this review. She seemed to have taken some big steps in multiplication on her own and I don’t like to overwhelm her with busy work if I don’t have to. I ended up going over some concepts in fractions and decimals with her a few times a week with her.

My son got behind in math with us moving and a few other life events that went on. I failed to see that he needed more help in certain areas. This school year I saw that we needed to do something about it. I choose to have him do some remedial math in these areas to help him master those topics.

My son is a mental math person and has his dads’ aptitude for math. This year I handed over any extra math outside of our curriculum to Dad. Dad has been working with him after dinner 4 Xs a week for several months. When I received Math Mammoth I asked him if he would work with him using Math Mammoth in which he continues to do 4 Xs a week. He would make sure he understood the concepts and observe him doing the problems. The main focus has been multiplication but, he has also done fractions and some decimals with him. We really felt that my son was lacking in a few areas with multiplication and needed to sharpen his multiplication skills before he moves on in math. Dad wants him to have mastery in multiplication.

My Final Thoughts:

 Math Mammoth is a great supplement to my current math curriculum. It’s been a great way to reinforce those skills that need some more attention. The pages are colorful but, not too busy. Having a child with special needs and horrible attention span I really like it when I find a program where the illustrations are basic. The illustrations are just for teaching the concepts. Having a 14 year old who is working in a lower elementary level I like that it doesn’t look childish; she doesn’t feel like she is so little.

I really love the concept of covering specific areas in math in a detailed format. Usually, you are jumping around in a workbook and I find that it usually isn’t enough practice to master a particular math concept.

My daughter found it hard to write in the space provided due to her arthritis and she writes rather large for a typical 14 year old. This was an easy fix as I just provided some paper for her to write on and then she would transfer the answer over to the page. My son didn’t have any issues with the space provided for the math problems.

I have to say that my husband thinks Math Mammoth is a FANTASTIC program. He thinks that it is challenging, and not all fluff. He likes that everything he sees is real life math that he has to do every day at work. He is good with numbers and obviously likes math. He plans to continue to use Math Mammoth with our son. After using this with him for awhile he’s impressed and doesn’t want to go back to our prior supplemental math program. He is wanting to look at the Light Blue Series to do with Little Man next year.

Math is not my favorite subject to teach. I can honestly say that I like Math Mammoth but, it has one drawback for me and that is that there isn’t a lot of detail directions on teaching the concepts for teachers. My husband disagrees with me on this and feels that there is enough guidance throughout the curriculum. Math comes easy to him and he’s obviously already knows how to make it work with his math skills.  I obviously need more guidance when it comes to math. I actually don’t dislike this program I just want more teaching help.

Math Mammoth has a lot of videos available for several topics that are helpful. I would rather pay extra for a teacher’s guide. On the plus size for us who need a bit more help they do have a whole plethora of recommended games online, activities, and videos. 
I feel that Math Mammoth has good solid bones with their math program they just lack more instructions for some of us who aren’t comfortable teaching math. This isn’t a scripted math program that will tell you what to do.  

Now for the big question would I use Math Mammoth outside of this review? YES, I would despite my drawback to the minimum teacher guidance. I have my husband to help out in this area. This is a solid math program that really is impressive. I can choose a specific math topic that my children need some reinforcement in as a supplement. This would be great for a summer math program or just adding a series in the school year for reinforcement.

I am going to add more of the Blue Series to my homeschool budget for next year. I find that more often I need to go back over topics with the kids every year. This has been a great program for reviewing with my kids.  

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Other from The Homeschool Crew Review has reviewed different series in the Blue Series and from the Light Blue Series. Stop by and see what others think of Math Mammoth.

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