Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mosaic Reviews: Math Mammoth Complete Fourth Grade Math Curriculum (and some great freebies!)

Product at a glance:

  • Web-site: Math Mammoth
  • Facebook Page: Homeschool Programming on Facebook
  • Twitter: Homeschool Programming on Twitter
  • Ages/grades suggested for: Grades 1 through 6
  • Who can use it? It would be good for homeschoolers or after schoolers (people who are helping their public/private school kids focus on specific skills or weaknesses).
  • Products by this publisher (paraphrased descriptions from their web-site): 
  • Math Mammoth has two different types of products. First there are the complete curriculums like we received (basically a year's worth of math laid out for you) or in In-depth subject books by topic (ie: fractions, time, geometry). Here's a couple of great graphics to help you understand:
Click here to find more information on Math Mammoth's
Full Curriculums: Full Curriculums

Click here to find more information on Math Mammoth's
Blue Series (areas of concentration): Blue Series

What problem does this product solve: 

Math Mammoth offers a mastery based program of math curriculum options that are systematic in their approach. They give parents or teachers a nearly hands-off set of math workbooks that many kids can work through without too much help or intervention. They are also downloadable, so if you find out your current math isn't working or you end up teaching your niece and need a math curriculum ASAP, they've got you covered! 

The Product Test:

Our family received a download of the Math Mammoth Grade 4 Complete Curriculum with Answer Keys, and Tests & Cumulative Reviews (Product Page). I was excited as we hadn't dealt with a math curriculum for my fourth grader yet and I was hoping this would be a good fit.

The downloaded version is full color (which we like very much in our household). The printed books according to the Math Mammoth web-site are black and white. It seems as though my kids prefer the color graphics and lots of pictures to the text-heavy, black and white books that we find in some programs (Saxon, I'm looking at you). I printed out the first half of Work Text A and put it in a binder for Emma. She is not a fan of change and not completely a fan of math, so her initial reactions were a bit negative. The pages are a bit more crowded with information and problems than she is used to dealing with and that also put her off. I think that it has more to do with her grade level than Math Mammoth's program, but it was her major complaint. I know my son had a huge problem jumping from third grade work to fourth grade work for similar reasons. 

Not exactly a happy mather...
All that being said, Math Mammoth was great once she started giving it a try. She has a tendency to panic and wants someone sitting right beside her giving her their undivided attention while she's doing math. Although I did still sit with her, I could manage to work on my work while she worked through the majority of the lessons on her own. She was able to read the explanations in the Work Text and begin working through the lesson generally on her own even when it was a new concept. When she was done with lesson, I gave her the answer sheet and let her grade her own work. She loves to play teacher and use the red pen. Afterwards, we would go over the problems she missed and work out where she had went awry.

Here are some great positive points to think about:

  • Math Mammoth offers a both a free sample of 350 worksheets and a week long tour of their products. That can be found here. The sheets can give you a clearer picture of what their books are going to look like before you buy them.
  • The full Math Mammoth program is relatively inexpensive. For the price of many other company's workbook, you get the whole shebang (full year of work texts, answer sheets, teacher's notes, tests and review). There isn't a teacher guide as such, all the teaching information is included in the work texts so that the kids can go through it on their own.
  • They have a worksheet generator and dozens of math resources that they recommend if your child needs more review on a topic.
  • The pdf that you download is an editable document, so in theory, you could use the books completely online or even on a tablet or device. 
Editing the page on screen

What did Mom think about it?

I think that it is a very good value for a well laid out curriculum. I like that I can download it once and use it again and again for multiple children (in the same family).  The review or concept books are awesome if you finish your regular curriculum early or find out mid-year that it just isn't working. They are way better and more involved than the books that are available from our local teacher supply store. If fractions aren't clicking, just pull out the fraction download and get tons of more material to drive home the concepts.

I know Emma felt like the lessons were a little long but I tend to want a minimum amount of math every day (at least 30+ minutes). These lessons filled that bill very well. She tends to drag her feet even on topics she understands. So 30 minutes of math for another kids ends up being 50 minutes or more for her. She has the ability, but her attention wanders.

What Did the Kid Think? 

Emma (age 9): 

"I liked the way the lessons were explained but I felt like there were too many problems for each day. I get tired of all that math without a break." (just to reiterate, mom felt like it was an appropriate amount of work per lesson)

Find other reviews and opinions of this product and several of their other products at Mosaic Reviews

Don't forget, Maria has some great freebies and so much fantastic information on her blog and in her emails. Sign up here and learn for yourself what is so awesome about Math Mammoth!