Math is one of those subjects that just NEEDS to be done when homeschooling. How you go about helping your child learn their basic math facts and manipulations is pretty open, though. Both this spring and in years past, my middle boys have had the opportunity to switch gears a little bit in their math studies by reviewing Math Mammoth. This spring, it was my 7th grader who struggles with some of the concepts he should have nailed taking the time to switch gears and use Math Mammoth Light Blue series Grade 6 complete curriculum.
About Math Mammoth
Math Mammoth was founded by Maria Miller, a homeschool mother who just happens to have a Master’s degree in mathematics with teacher educational studies, and minors in physics and statistics. She noticed that many of the homeschool students she was tutoring had a home educating parent who failed to grasp how to best teach math. Looking at some of their materials showed her there was a real need for a program that would be geared for homeschoolers and not blow their budget.
She aims to explain math in very simple terms without diluting a student’s understanding of concepts. In lieu of manipulatives, she uses picture exercises to help the student understand the concept. More abstract exercises on the same concept follow the illustrated ones. Worktexts (the Blue and Light Blue Series) are set up to be self-teaching with all explanations in the text. Instead of a whole teacher guide, all the teacher needs is the answer key.
Included in Math Mammoth Light Blue Series Grade 6 Complete Curriculum
The worktext part A covers:
- the four operations and exponents
- simple equations and expressions
- ratios and problems involving ratios
- proportions, scaling of geometric figures, and scaling in maps
- all operations with decimals
- primes and prime factorization
- all operations with fractions
The worktext part B covers:
- geometry: angle problems and calculations, area of polygons, congruent transformations, similar figures, Pi & area and circumference of a circle, surface area and volume of common solids.
- integers: all four operations and the coordinate grid
- statistics and probability
The full set is sold for $34, or you can purchase the two parts separately for $17.50. Purchasing via the Kagi store has the added bonus of receiving the Soft-Pak programs completely FREE. The 7 programs in Soft-Pak (4 math, 1 language arts, 2 testing) offer both on-screen and printable activities in a low-graphic, high content format. There are also packages which bundle several of their products at one low price.
Our Experience with Math Mammoth Light Blue Series Grade 6
I’ll start off by saying that I had a fair idea of what to expect with this particular product from Math Mammoth. You can find our previous reviews here:
There are several things that I really like about the Light Blue Series which became evident in this year’s review period.
First off, I love that the explanations are there for the student so they can easily reference them while working the problems. The program R was using has all of the instructions in a separate teacher manual which I will only let him reference if I’m in the room.
Secondly, Maria leaves ample room for the student to work their problems. I’ve had R try to work problems on a separate sheet of paper for other things and it is quite common for him to ‘lose’ a key fact while trying to work between the sheets of paper. Initially, for this review, we tried having him use the iPad to read it as a textbook and then work in a separate notebook. That only lasted a few days before I opted to do the double sided print route instead. There is a third option we did not try for the review and that is to have him type his final answer into the pdf file (as the file on my computer allows use of the typewriter tool.) Given his often hard to read handwriting, I just may have him work on paper and then put it into the pdf for me to grade.
Third, Maria provides explanations in the answer key for the solution when needed. This is helpful even for a parent (like myself) who has advanced math skills as it removes the need to work out every problem step by step when a child disagrees with the answer. Yes, I HAVE kids that disagree with answer keys and occasionally they are correct. But, having the foundation laid out for me here helps to dissipate those disputes and get the child back on track a little quicker.
Now, if I had any complaint about Math Mammoth, it would be that the full curriculum pretty much ends with Grade 6. This is such a great product that it would be nice to have for the upper grades. However, Maria does offer suggestions for pre-algebra and algebra I on her website.
With one child preparing to enter public school in the fall, I may have that student working through an earlier level of Math Mammoth to be on track with his classmates come August. R is most likely going to continue seeing this particular curriculum, too, as glaring holes in his understanding have come to light while working through the first part of the program. Maybe by the end of it he’ll be ready for pre-algebra!