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Friday, May 31, 2013

Math Mammoth's Blue Series: Review

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During my first official year of homeschooling for 1st grade I had curriculum overload. If you've never experienced this it is the inevitable phenomenon newbies face when their homeschool research begins. I have been told this usually occurs at the beginning either by way of the internet or a homeschool convention. Our journey began rather abruptly and I honestly didn't have much time to research. I jumped in with both feet with only a few weeks notice and went with what our core curriculum suggested for math. This was fine until mid-year when it became clear our original math curriculum was not working. During my hours of research I found oodles of recommendations for Math Mammoth. Although this wasn't the new curriculum I eventually chose I have always had it in the back of my mind, especially the Blue Series 

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There are two ways you can purchase Math Mammoth. You can go the traditional grade-level route with the Light Blue Series. Topics are covered in a mastery format with only a few topics per grade. Conceptual thinking is encouraged and mental math and number sense are encouraged. This complete curriculum covers grades 1-6

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I was looking for something to act more as a supplement since the mental math and conceptual approach did not work so well for us the first time around with the original curriculum. The Blue Series has separate topics you can purchase and complete as you wish. These are intended to be used as supplement, remediation, or review. Since I am happy with our current curriculum I appreciate that this program has different options depending on your needs.

These are the four units we reviewed...


U.S. Money

I used this with both Rose and Beth. This is the first time I've taught them the same subject at the same time and they seemed to enjoy it. I wouldn't want to do it on a regular basis because I want each of my girls to move at their own pace without feeling pressured. Beth took a little longer to finish her independent work because she is a slower writer, but both girls worked fabulously through the portion of money which we covered.


I like the flexibility and encouragement to  use real coins. While printed pictures are fine, using real money give practical, real-life application. Since the girls wanted something to remain in the box on the page we did coin rubbings as they practiced making the correct change. You can also study money from different countries including Canadian, European, British, and Australian. 

I really liked this unit for learning more about money. It was a nice change from what we normally do and gave the girls different types of practice counting money. While there wasn't anything incredibly new or different to me in the approaches used to teach the concepts, they were simple and easy to impart to the girls.


Clock

Beth worked with the clock unit on her own since Rose has basically mastered telling time. I really liked the combination of drawing on clocks and writing time. The combination of the two seemed to cement some time concepts we have been working on this year, but didn't quite settle in. I love the ability to pace this unit alongside our current curriculum to give her a more solid footing in this area. 

Measurement 1

This unit was one both girls worked on together as well. While we have covered length and lightly touched on measurement, we have not formally covered measurements with our curriculum yet. A topical study was a nice place to start. 

Rather than jump right into types of measuring the unit begins by having the kids measure anything they choose with two different size shoes. Although this was an interesting start to the unit, I disliked the method. I would have preferred this concept be taught later, after the idea of concrete units of measure had been covered. The girls did enjoy the measuring activity though! 

Multiplication 1


Rose has been pestering me for a few months to start learning multiplication. I told her the basic idea, but didn't want to formally cover this area until I felt she had a firm grasp on higher addition. She was over-the-moon excited when I told her we would be starting multiplication before she reached it in our curriculum. 

Although I didn't care for the conceptual start for measurement, I did like it for the beginning steps to learn multiplication. Understanding what multiplication means seems the most logical place to start. Although I think Rose already understood these concepts seeing her formally work through it on paper gave me assurance she knew what she was doing. She is so excited to work through this unit that she often asks to work further after our official school-time is over. 

Teacher's editions of math books are typically needed and sometimes I've wished there was a manual for the teacher's book! This is not needed with Math Mammoth. There were several times when I really felt I could have let my girls learn many of these concepts on their own. This is a very user-friendly curriculum for both teacher and student.

To read more reviews about Math Mammoth including the other curricula offered click below! 

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