March 5, 2009

Math Mammoth

Math Mammoth is a company that was started by Maria Miller, who has been offering her math curriculum at affordable prices since 2003. Her Blue Series e-books cost between $2.00 and $5.50 each so that you can buy the exact practice pages that you need for a very low price!

Since Ella is on a 1st grade math level, I decided to review the Lightblue Series in e-book format from Math Mammoth. This series is a complete curriculum for each grade level (grades 1-5). This curriculum includes 2 workbooks (with answer keys), tests & reviews, and a worksheet maker so that you can make extra practice sheets when needed. The 2 student books cover addition & subtraction (0-10), place value (tens & ones), and basic geometry, measurement, and clock skills. These books are mastery oriented, which means that each book focuses on a few skills, spending long amounts of time on those skills in order to produce mastery. This is a great way to learn something like math where each new skill builds on the one before it. So many math programs out there give the student just a little time to understand a topic before skipping ahead to the next thing. This aspect of the program is a huge selling point in my mind!

I have to tell you that I have not yet purchased a complete math curriculum for Ella. I have mainly been using workbooks found at local stores. When we've come to a topic where we've needed to spend more time, I have searched online and found supplemental material or just come up with my own way of reinforcing that topic. This has worked well for us so far, but as she gets older, she may need more structure to her math program (and I may need more help!). I was so excited about the Math Mammoth books because I hoped they would be the solution for us. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Because Ella was used to big, colorful printed workbooks, she had a very hard time adjusting to the style of the Math Mammoth sheets I printed off. I have discovered that she gets overwhelmed with too much print on the page and these sheets just simply have too much for her eye at this time. One glance at one of the worksheets, and she would shut down. It just "looked" too hard...not that it was too hard. In fact, most of the concepts introduced in the 1st workbook were things that Ella already knew how to do. She just could not get over the different format. Not to say that she won't be able to use them in the future - I really hope she will! She may just not be developmentally ready for this kind of workbook. Keep in mind, though, that Ms. Miller designed her books for first grade and up, so it makes sense that they would not work as well for younger children (for instance, one of the problems we had was that there was not enough space in the blanks for Ella to write her answers because she still writes things fairly large!).

Though we did not have the best experience with the Math Mammoth Lightblue Series, I have to say that I truly believe that Ms. Miller's curriculum will be very useful for most students. I am so glad that I have the e-book so that I can print off sheets as we need them (and hope Ella gets more used to them!). I would like to try the Blue Series in the future.

You cannot beat the value of this product! The complete Lightblue Series downloads can be purchased for $29.70, or you can get each workbook separately for $15.50 each. You can also buy the printed versions of these books. Math Mammoth offers the Blue Series I mentioned earlier, as well as 2 other series intended for grades 3-8, and a new series for grades 7-12. You can check out samples of each of the Math Mammoth workbooks and sign up for a free newsletter (that includes over 280 free worksheets) at the Math Mammoth website.

Please, please go check out the other review from my fellow TOS Crew members, HERE! Most of the Crew had a very positive experience with Math Mammoth, so I hope you'll check out their opinions!

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