Monday, February 22, 2010

Math Mammoth (TOS Crew Review)

When I discovered we had another math program on the way for review purposes, I winced.  Really?  I could really use some science, art, or history in our homeschool, sure, but math?  Um, no.  No, thank you.

Well, the vendor for Math Mammoth contacted me and asked for specific information about my children (ages, math levels, problem areas).  [+1]

We decided (yes, together, we decided! [+1]) on Subtraction 1 for The Smallish Man-Child and Multiplication 1 for The Drama Princess.

First, let me tell you what I saw when I printed Subtraction 1 for our first use: GAMES - ideas for games, suggestions, ways, materials to use (rocks, blocks, etc)... seriously, play games to teach subtraction.  Okay, now that I have been there, sure, it makes sense, but Kudos! to a maker of math curricula for directing teachers to teach subtraction by using games.  So, since my son was a pill when I had tried to teach him subtraction the one time I had attempted it, and since the purpose of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew is to "USE AND REVIEW" the stuff we're sent, I did exactly what I was told.  Later that week, I had a child who could do simple subtraction and could tell when to use subtraction.  Wow.  Color me stunned. [+1 and +1]

Let's move on to Multiplication 1, shall we?  Really, The Drama Princess is the difficult one when it comes to math, so we'll be able to tell a LOT about Math Mammoth from their multiplication lessons.  Bring it on!

First off, the program explains the concept of multiplication.  [+1] The creator of Math-U-See, the program we were using before stumbling into this journey of the TOS Homeschool Crew Reviewer, discovered that children can often perform the mathematical equations just fine, but they generally have no idea when to apply each concept (they would ask: "Do I add, subtract, multiply, or divide?").  This is generally the reason story problems (or word problems) are so tricky for children.  Well, Math Mammoth has solved that problem by informing children of what the concept is (What is addition/subtraction/multiplication/division? When/Why do we need do use it?) before they bother teaching the child how to solve the problem.  Makes sense to me.

Multiplication 1 teaches the concept, explains the order of operations, and adds word problems, THEN they work on memorization of the times tables.  Once mastered, a student is ready for division.

The only downside to this curriculum for me is that I have to physically lead each child through their math. (that is just my kids, not everyone's - it is a very user-friendly worktext!) While some children could do these simple, easy to understand worktexts independently, mine are not confident readers of instructions! Also, many of you may be thinking, "So you have to teach them... what's the big deal?" - for us, it is a problem. [-1] Our busy little preschooler and her sidekick (our dog) make it difficult for Mommy to do individual lessons with the bigger kids, so any lessons that can be combined or taught using videos/computer/independent learning are a HUGE bonus. I expect as the children gain confidence in reading (The Smallish Man-Child) and math, though, that they would be capable of using the worktexts independently, so this downside is not permanent.

Overall, WE LOVE MATH MAMMOTH.  [did you keep up with the points??]
No, it didn't come with manipulatives.
No, it didn't use a flashy computer game.
No, it didn't teach itself to my kids. (though it will for many)
But... it worked.
And that is the goal.

Click here to read the reviews of my fellow TOS Crew Mates.

*Disclaimer: The above materials were provided to me for free for the purposes of using and reviewing them.  This review is my own opinion, and I have not been compensated for it.

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