Friday, November 18, 2011

A Mammoth Program - A New TOS Review!!

Why is it that most people you talk with have issues with math?  Because math is one of those subjects that seems so "mammoth" compared to others.  It is also one you either love or hate.  Well, I have found a program, and it's author, who are trying to make math more accessible to EVERYONE.

The Program:
What is the program? Math Mammoth, of course (haven't you seen my clues?)  This is a company that has something for everyone between 1st and 12th, builds on concepts, has a strong emphasis on mental math, encourages self-directed learning, flexible, low preparation on the part of the teacher, and is very affordable.
The Product:
There are many options to choose from so let me try and explain them all:

The Blue Series - Topical worktexts for grades 1-6/7 that contain explanations to the topics and is like having a combined textbook and workbook all in one. Each book concentrates on only a few topics.  Each book is between $2 - $7, or you can purchase the whole package for $95, or you can buy only for 1-3 or 4-6 for a reduced bundled price.  They do have a suggested order to study the books, a supplement to your current curriculum, a review of material, or to help with remediation.

The Light Blue Series - Also covers 1st - 6th, but covers all topics (a complete curriculum) for each grade level which is broken down into "A" and "B."  The focus in this series is mastery. Tests, reviews, answer keys, and even a worksheet maker are included in this series.  There are many pricing options for this series as well, including discounted bundles for 1-6, 1-3, and 4-6.  You can check out these and other purchasing options here.  They even have placement tests for this curriculum to help you decide which book is best for your child to begin.
The Golden Series - Created for grades 3 - 8/9 (Algebra I), contains problems only and broken down into grades.  This series DOES NOT TEACH the subjects so it is better suited for a teacher or tutor to use or for use as a review of subjects previously learned.  It also is broken into part "A" and "B".  Each sheet has only one topic on it but uses a variety of problems to help the student see multiple ways the problem could be approached.  Each grade level has between 120-150 worksheets.  You can purchase these either on CD ($70) or downloadable ($65).

The Green Series - Also created for grades 3 - 8, and like the golden series contain problems only.  However, these are organized by topic (for example, integers, statistics, multiplication, fractions, etc.)  So each book covers multiple grade levels of the same topical area.  This series also has variable problems that help assess the understanding of concepts as well as word problems and every day computations.  The Green Series is available as a bundle package with the Golden Series.

The last series/curriculum is their Make It Real Learning workbooks.  These workbooks are designed to help the student(s) understand how and why you really need math and when you will use it in the "real world."  Each workbook concentrates on one thematic area of math while answering the age old question of "When am I ever going to need this?"  They take real life activities or problems and data and use math skills they have learned to solve these real problems, such as population growth, calculating money, and music downloads, just to name a few.  If this program interests you, be sure and check out their FREE sampler.  You can purchase all 11 workbooks for just $39.99, or separately for just $4.99 each.  The subjects taught in this series range from Arithemetic to Fractions to Linear Functions to Calculus (grades 3 - 12).

Our Experience:
As you can tell there are many different programs and the choices can seem a bit daunting, but Maria makes it easy for you.  You can contact her to help navigate your choices.  That is how we came to the products we ended up choosing and reviewing.

I have both a 1st grader and a 3rd grader and my 3rd grader is very proficient in her math skills.  I'd even go so far to say she is a bit advanced in them.  Her sister on the other hand is just beginning her trek into math so I was hoping to find something I could review with both of them at the same time.  I let Maria know this and since I really couldn't decide she sent me 3 worktexts to use and review- Early Geometry, Introduction to Fractions, and Money.

These were a perfect fit because Arianna's current curriculum was just going into these subject areas so it made for a quick and easy transition.  I was surprised to see how much Audrie (1st grader) was able to do and accomplish right off the bat.  We started first with the Geometry and then when that got a little more difficult, we switched to the Fractions.  After a few weeks, we came to a point where Audrie was getting a little overwhelmed, so she stopped.  But she enjoyed the worksheets tremendously.  She loved the pictures and colors and being able to participate in math with her sister.

Arianna on the other hand was very excited to be starting "geometry."  Some of it was a bit of a challenge and other parts were right on her level so it gave her a good mix of skills to work on.  Each of the subsections we treated as a "lesson" and completed 1-4 pages per day.  When the geometry got a little harder (for Audrie) we switched to the Fractions worktext so that we could work together for as much as possible. When we "switched" that was only Audrie, Arianna continued progressing through the Geometry text.

The Geometry text started out with exploring different shapes and then progressed into learning about right angles.  It also goes over area, perimeter and solids, but we haven't gotten there yet.  The Fractions worktext uses a visual representation of a fraction to help teach the concepts.  And in this Introduction to Fractions they DO NOT broach the topic of adding unlike fractions or division of fractions.

Both my husband and I worked with the girls with these worktexts and we both really thought they were really good.  My husband, being the 'math guy' in our house ended up doing more of the 'instruction' so that I could get him to really evaluate the program.  Math is really not my thing. ;)  But I loved the way that these worktexts explained the concepts being taught.  Stephen says that the program is really solid and loves the way it teaches the concepts.  He's also used several of the Make It Real Learning when he was teaching high school math at a local private school.  He really like the approach of "real life" math to help teach upper level math concepts.

My Thoughts:
Both my husband and I believe that this is a solid curriculum, whether you use it for supplementing your current program, review of a concept, for remedial work, or as a complete curriculum.  You will not be disappointed.  The books don't mention grade levels and can be used over many grade levels easily.  And I also found out that the downloadable PDF  versions of the books are now annotated, which allows the student to type directly into the worktext.
Isn't he cute?
I also love the way that Maria is so personal and wants to help each and every child get the right fit.  Since there is overlap with some of the books, she will help you decide which series as well as which book in that series will be best for you and your child.  This one-on-one placement is a great asset of Math Mammoth.  So do not hesitate to talk with Maria.  If you sign up (at the bottom of the main page) you can receive 7 video tutorials as well as 300 FREE sample worksheets.  That is pretty amazing!!

Don't just take my word, check out what other Crew members thought about their program.  Please feel free to contact them and ask them any questions you may have.  You can also read her blog or watch her math videos to gain more insight and information.

*** I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2011-2012 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of money for any of my reviews. My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences with the products and services that I receive.***


Very Blessed Mamma said...

Math Mammoth really does sound good, especially the Make it Real series. i am gonna have to use that for my daughter.

Sweetpeas said...

This sounds like a great option for math, thanks for your review.

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