Friday, November 25, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Maria Miller, the creator of Math Mammoth worked with each crew member who was reviewing her products individually. She helped us choose just the right program for the particular learner in our home. Apparently this is a regular practice of her, so I give two thumbs up right off the bat for excellent customer service. Maria chose for me both her full 2nd grade curriculum (Light Blue series), and also her multiplication book. I was delighted with her choices and printed out the full 2nd grade text that night!
A little background on how Math Mammoth works may help those of you who are unfamiliar with its' format. Maria has different "series" or kinds of work texts. They are downloadable, so you can print them as many times as you want or need and this also keeps the costs down for you. CD or printed copies are available for those who desire them. Maria has full curriculum sets which are listed by grade level. She also has individual work texts which cover a particular topic--for instance I received one book just on multiplication. These are helpful for students who are struggling in just one area and need extra practice. Check out her FAQs page for more information on how these items are sold and how the grade levels match up to the topics.
In terms of pricing, as I said, Math Mammoth is affordable. I received the full curriculum for 2nd grade, and this runs for $34.00. The multiplication book I received is $5.00. Maria does not actually sell her products on the Math Mammoth site, but you can purchase them on Currclick or Kagi or Lulu. Learn more about that here where she gives direct links to her stores on each site.
Here are my thoughts. Neither of my kiddos are workbook kiddos. Some kids are, and some parents or teachers are. And that's great. But my son can take 30 minutes to do just one Math Mammoth worksheet filled with old concepts for review. Since Kinder we have been using a very hands-on approach that is really teacher intensive and very oral. Math Mammoth is a different approach altogether. It's much more of a paper and pencil math curriculum that requires the student to write quite a bit. There is very little actual "teaching" going on in my opinion, or at least in the way I am used to teaching. Short explanations and lots of practice seemed to be what I observed when using this with Little Bean. That works for a lot of people. So I'm not saying Math Mammoth isn't a quality curriculum. I'm just saying that for us, it's a little to worksheet oriented.
As for how math is taught, Math Mammoth leaves room for teachers to introduce their own manipulatives and make it more of a hands-on approach, certainly. The worksheets are colorful and make use of visual models to help the student understand the concepts. I'm a bit of a manipulative snob though; I believe only certain ones are worth using. I believe that just having a picture of ten balls in rows of two isn't necessarily going to help the student understand what ten looks like. Or counting out beans or plastic bears when adding isn't much of an improvement from using nothing at all. So I guess for me, some of what I saw on the worksheets was visual, but not necessarily helpful to the student. I hope that makes sense.
So is Math Mammoth worth it? Well, that all depends on what you're looking for. Take the Math Mammoth tour so you can get samples of the workbooks and decide for yourself if this is something you want to invest in.
Please note: I received my copies of Math Mammoth for free in exchange for my honest review. I am not obligated to give a positive review.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Please note: I received Ooka Island for free in exchange for my honest review. I am not obligated to give a positive review.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Since Miss O is already reading pretty well (she can read books like Henry and Mudge or the Young Cam Jansen Mysteries), I wasn't at all sure what I could pull from this program that would work for her level.
I knew most of the phonics portion would not work for her. I'm not against phonics at all; nor am I a die-hard phonics person like some teachers seem to be. But First Start Reading is a phonics-based program that is pretty thorough, taking a child from not reading at all and giving them a great start toward fluency in reading, and Miss O for one already knows how to read, and for two, didn't respond to the phonics approach very well in the past. I did try out their Classical Phonics book for its' word lists, starting her somewhere in the middle of the book closer to her reading level. This is a nice little companion book, and for those who need it, it does have phonics rule explanations at the bottom of each page explaining the rule the child is practicing.
The First Start Reading program consists of three components--phonics, reading (stories) and printing. It consists of three consequtive workbooks for the student, and a teacher's guide that has scripting as well as a smaller copy of the workbook so the teacher can see what the students will be doing without having to look at the workbook separately. I went ahead and started in the beginning with Miss O, because although she knows how to read already, her printing isn't the best, and printing is an integral part of the lessons right from the beginning. This program uses the "ball and stick" printing you see in a lot of workbooks (as opposed to manuscript or something else). Miss O actually really enjoyed the workbooks, though they are really repetitive in that each lesson is the same format every day.
My assessment of this program is that is a well-thought out, no-frills program that would work well for parents who a) want a phonics approach to teaching reading, and b) who have children who thrive on repetition in learning. The First Start Reading Program is $29.95 and the Classical Phonics book is $14.95. Memoria Press also offers full curriculum packages, Latin and Greek curriculum as well as many other subject areas related to classical education.
Please note: I was given this program free of charge in exchange for my honest review. I am not obligated to give a positive review.