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How does Math Mammoth compare with other homeschool math curricula?

The discussion here refers to the Light Blue series books - the complete curriculum for grades 1-6. This does NOT apply to Blue or Golden or Green Series books.

With Saxon:

Saxon math's incremental approach results in that with each new concept or thing, the child only gets to do a few exercises about it, and most of the problems in each lesson are from previously learned concepts. Math Mammoth books provide plenty of exercises for the concept at hand, which is a major difference to Saxon.

I love the way a new concept is introduced and then practiced, practiced, practiced! My kids hated Saxon, because it would introduce a new concept, then only give them 5 problems to do to go with the new concept then the rest of the lesson was a review from previous lessons. By the next day, they forgot the concept that they had learned the day before and were really lost after having to learn a new concept that day. Saxon just goes to fast without giving the students time to master the concept they are introducing. I really love how your books give my children the practice that they need to master the concept BEFORE moving on! My 11 year-old has learned to like math again thanks to you! Thank you!

Stacey Clay

The same is true of Abeka.


With Singapore math:

Math Mammoth and Singapore Math are similar in the sense that both are mastery-based and emphasize conceptual understanding, and both use the "bar diagram" method for word problems.

Comparing the Math Mammoth Light Blue series (MM) with Singapore Math Primary Math U.S. Edition (SM):

  • Math Mammoth has more built-in review than Singapore Math. MM has cumulative reviews for each chapter, plus the word problems in each chapter are specifically designed so that the student has to do prior knowledge (such as use measuring units in multiplication problems, or use addition in a division chapter, etc.)

  • MM places more emphasis in the practice and learning of basic addition facts. I have understood that SM manuals tell the teacher to practice basic facts until they are mastered and the workbook pages don't offer much help with that. MM has many lessons about the concepts behind addition/subtraction facts (fact families) and similarly many lessons for multiplication tables.

  • Singapore Math's scope is slightly more advanced (quicker) in a few topics. SM covers single-digit multiplication and division a grade earlier (in MM, that is 3rd grade, in SM, 2nd). And, SM covers multi-digit multiplication and division a grade earlier as well (in MM that is 4th, and in SM it is 3rd). Decimals are covered quicker and earlier in SM. In grade 4, MM covers decimals up to 2 decimal digits and does not include decimal division, SM has them up to 3 decimal digits and includes all four operations.

  • In general, the scope of both curricula over 6 grades is quite similar, so that by 6th grade both curricula have covered fractions, decimals, percents, ratios, some easy algebra, and geometry topics up to the area of circle. However, MM includes more on statistics and probability than SM.

The above comparison does not apply to SM Primary Mathematics Standards Edition, which follows California standards and is therefore more advanced.

See also discussions on Well-Trained Mind forums, where users have often compared Singapore Math with Math Mammoth (search for Singapore Math and Math Mammoth). Please see this thread for example: Math Mammoth or Singapore.



With Math-U-See (MUS):

Disclaimer: At this point I have NOT personally seen Math-U-See. All I have seen are the samples and text on the website.

Math-U-See uses a complete mastery approach. I will outline their system for lower grades below:

Level Focus
Alpha (1st grade) Single-digit addition and subtraction.
Beta (2nd grade) Multi-digit addition and subtraction.
Gamma (3rd grade) Multiplication
Delta (4th grade) Division.
Epsilon (5th grade) Fractions.
Zeta (6th grade) Decimals and percents.

I am not building my complete curriculum series to be as totally mastery-oriented as Math-U-See. My approach is more like a blend of some spiraling with mastery. I tend to include SOME ideas and concepts over several grades (such as addition/subtraction connection), whereas some are with mastery approach (for example addition facts or times tables).

For example, in Math-U-See, children learn multidigit addition up to 5 digits in level 2 (Beta). In my books, I have some easy multidigit addition in 1st grade, a lot on 2nd grade but not up to 5 digits, and then a little more with bigger numbers on later grades.

This comparison is lengthy, please complete reading it here.


With Miquon math:

Miquon is not a complete math program but more like workbooks with very interesting problems. I do like their problems and the various approaches. I tend to write texts that go much slower with new concepts than Miquon. Miquon is an excellent supplement to kids who excel in math.


I homeschool my two boys (2nd and 4th grade), and have a three and four year old as well. My oldest son completed all three years of Miquon Math and did quite well. I did find, however, that while it's very creative in presenting math concepts, it's short on drill and explanation. So in picking his next curriculum I wanted something that explained concepts thoroughly and gave enough practice (but not endless pages!) so he feels he has mastered the concepts. We are now almost finished with chapter 3 of Math 4-A, and it has gone very well. I've been really pleased how you've explained concepts like the multiplication algorithm, and he is understanding it, too!
My second grader was struggling with addition and subtraction in Miquon, so we jumped out of it for awhile and completed "Add & Subtract 2A". It was a real help (I like those rainbows!), and now we are back in Miquon until (and if) another problem arises. Your curriculum and Miquon seem to complement each other quite well. We also used the Decimals 1 collection to help prepare for the state standardized test.


Respectfully,
Cara Hogervorst

with RightStart math:

I have not seen RightStart math except the few samples on their website, but I have seen their geometry course, which I thought was really good.

In general I've gotten the impression that RightStart is well thought of and rigorous. The big difference anyone can spot is that it's not workbook or worksheet based but instead teacher-led and scripted. In other words, teacher-intensive and teacher-led.

I've written Math Mammoth to have pages printed out for the student to fill in, the explanations right in the text and written to the student, aiming to make it as self-teaching as possible.


I have been using MM-Grade 1 Light Blue series with my preschooler. She is 4.5 but an accelerated learner. We love MM. I use it along with Right Start math and they complement each other so well. I can't thank you enough for making it so affordable.

My biggest challenge with RSM is understanding where we are in our learning process. RSM presents concepts in a spiral format and that coupled with scripted lessons was making it so difficult for me to track the progress. We love RSM but when a single lesson could talk about three different activities, it was difficult to see where we are and where my daughter needs help without losing focus. MM is perfect to bridge the gap.

The mastery approach of MM helps me a ton. I use RS scripted lessons to help me in teaching math. My daughter loves doing MM worktexts. It helps me to look at the skills my daughter need to acquire at each stage and understand where she needs help. I also like the flexibility to work on multiple topics when my daughter needs a change. We do clock and money while we play addition games to gain expertise. She is almost done with place value. I make it spiral according to our needs and still have clarity on the progress we make. I am loving it.

Thank you so much.

-Geetha.

We have been using Right Start math and love the good conceptual understanding, leading to easier memorization of the math facts through the mental image the concepts lead to. However, I have not liked that there aren't too many worksheets and that the lessons are totally dependent on me to teach them. My children are woefully behind in math because there have been too many days we haven't had time to do lessons. I put them in Teaching Textbooks when they're old enough for that, but to give a good foundation before that I use Right Start. Your worksheets are exactly what we needed to supplement our Right Start lessons and to give the student something to keep moving forward with even on days I can't sit down with them for a whole lesson. In fact, it looks like you use many of the same “tricks” that Right Start teaches. I am excited to have a good math program to work through with them that doesn't require so much from me. I am so pleased with Math Mammoth that I am planning to start my first grader with that in the fall and use Right Start as a supplement (the opposite of what I intended in the first place). The only thing I can think of that I would like better about Math Mammoth is if the objects pictured were grouped by fives--that really helps to visualize the number in one's head.

Another thing I really LOVE about Math Mammoth is that there is not a teacher's manual for me to wade through to try to figure out what I'm supposed to teach the child and how to get it across to him or her. All instruction is right there on each page. But you also have a summary at the beginning of each chapter that gives additional info for me, and I only have to read it once! Fabulous!

Thank you for a great program at such a low cost.

Elizabeth Kobelia

With Developmental Mathematics by George Saad:

I am not very familiar with Developmental Mathematics. I found that www.christianbook.com has samples of each of their books, which is nice. All the samples and the problems in them generally looked fine to me, but that really doesn't give you a full picture of how the concepts are developed over time. It says they use picture problems at first, then written problems, and lastly word problems in each booklet.

There are similarities, such as having one book concentrating on the basic concept of multiplication or division.

One difference is: Developmental Mathematics does not cover clock, measuring, or geometry (!). Statistical concepts such as bar graphs are only in booklet 16 - the last one. So you need to find some other resources for those topics.

I would be curious to know how Developmental Mathematics deals with problem solving for problems that require several steps and the usage of several operations. I would guess that Math Mammoth might be better in developing student's overall understanding of tying mathematical concepts together and using them in various kinds of problems (I hope someone having used both could chime in!). I do consider the lack of geometry a significant lack in Developmental Mathematics.



Some thoughts

Basically I'm trying to build Math Mammoth lightblue books to be mastery-oriented but there is going to be some "spiraling" of similar topics over the grades. For example, I include borrowing over zeros on several grade levels.

However, I do not want to spiral ever so slowly either, as can be seen in some books. Some topics will need to be with "mastery" approach, with no repetition over the grades, or the books would grow to be some 500-page monsters. With some topics I include repetition as I can. I'm aiming for a balanced approach with mastery vs. spiraling.

I am also trying to keep the order of topics (sequence) similar to what is typically found in public school books. It is not going to be exact, of course, since I have some of my own ideas and preferences and since even those books vary. By following that sequence loosely, parents will find it easier to relate to the grade levels, students find it easier to switch to Math Mammoth from other curricula (than, say, to Singapore or Miquon), and public school teachers will find it easier use my materials.


Comparisons from users

My son switched to Math Mammoth this year from Teaching Textbooks. He had completed Teaching Textbooks 6, but we had to start back with Math Mammoth 5 when we switched. That tells you how far behind TT is. My son loved TT, but even a non-math person like me could see that TT was not giving him any practice in mathematical reasoning. He was getting A's on every lesson and test, but if I gave him a problem that was worded differently, or one that required him to do something even slightly complex with the information he had learned - he was stumped. It took him a few weeks to adjust to the much more rigorous work in MM, but after finishing the first half of level 5, he is doing very well - often understanding concepts and figuring out problems way before I do. And I am learning a lot too - grade 5 is just about where I got lost in math and I never got found. I wish I had had Math Mammoth!

Thanks Maria
Connie and Sam Downer

[Besides Math Mammoth,] I also bought Teaching Textbook for 3rd grade & after looking through it, I think I'm going to stick with your program. I had originally bought it for my son for second grade & then I was going to move on to the Teaching Textbook since it advertises independent learning. I work at home doing my husband's company's books, so I don't have huge blocks of time to teach. After looking it over though, it isn't as challenging as yours. Thanks again for making the cost of yours so nice. I printed out the chapter they are working on & hole punched it & placed in a folder. I am making each chapter last about 2-3 weeks of work so kids don't seem too intimidated by a huge book and can just concentrate on doing 3-4 pages a day. Working great. Thanks.

Channa

From Horizons to Math Mammoth -- a story where Horizons math was not working, and Math Mammoth became the solution.

We have used both Singapore US and Standards Edition. I have to be honest, we love Math Mammoth! You are right, I do think that Singpore Standards does move a bit quicker than Math Mammoth--which doesn't necessarily mean it is a good thing. Unfortunately, I noticed that sometimes Singapore Standards introduces a concept and then wisks you on to the next concept. I didn't think it was a big deal at first, but when it comes to a concept such as vertex, edge and so forth, I think we should have spent a little more time on it (especially when it was introduced to my son for the first time at the end of 2nd grade.)

As mentioned, we also have used the US edition. I think Math Mammoth does as good, if not a even better job, at explaining concepts than the US edition. However, I have bought Singapore Math through 5th grade. But since I couldn't resist your offer on the Homeschoolers buyers co-op, I bought the Light Blue Series. Therefore, I am using both programs. As of now, since we finished our school year for Math, I am taking my daughter through Math Mammoth on any areas she needed more in depth practice. She just completed Singapore US edition 3. After going through the concepts learned on Math Mammoth, she seems to have a deeper understanding. We are grateful to you for that!

My son will be finishing the Standards Edition 2nd grade soon. Then, I will take him through any areas that he needs more practice on with Math Mammoth this summer. Eventually, I suspect that we will switch over completely to Math Mammoth. It just seems easier for me to teach and easier for them to digest. And, both my kids are mathy kids. But, we just like Math Mammoth better.

Yours truly,
Loralie

I just wanted to share what I have been doing for my kindergartner's math. I am using Ray's Arithmetic Year One (all oral) as my main math program. However, I am finding the Math Mammoth Light Blue Grade 1A material to fit very nicely with their scope and sequence and provides a different avenue for the student to practice the material. Ray's Year One is spent building a strong foundation in number recognition, addition, and subtraction from 1-10, not just from rote memory but from understanding the concepts. Grade 1B should align nicely with Ray's Year Two as well although I have not looked at them side by side only by an overview of the topics. Ray's Year Two emphasizes addition and subtraction to 100, again with understanding not just rote drill.

Cynthia


Addition & subtraction to 100 is covered only partially in Math Mammoth Grade 1-B and in more detail in Math Mammoth Grade 2-A.

I have only used developmental math and since using Mammoth Math I am relearning how to explain math concepts along with my children. It is a great independant math curriculum that requires very little prep work if any. Developmental math was great until I realized the lack of explaining certain concepts. Mammoth Math shows many different ways to do the same problems and gives the child the choice to use which makes sense to him. The most beneficial part, I feel is Maria's newsletter and blog so that you can ask questions and get help when you need it. The cost can't get better than Mammoth Math either.

Thanks for your committment to us homeschoolers
Raina McGrath

We have used miquon, Horizons, and Developmental math. It was not until Math Mammoth that I began to feel confident teaching math and the kids stopped complaining about math time. I have 8 children so it is important to me that I can be a resource for them, but not have to sit holding their hands all during each lesson. I love that I can print the books at home as we need them. I can print extra practice for those kids who need the extra work while letting the kids who get it go on at their own pace. We love Math Mammoth. It has lightened my load considerably while giving me the confidence that my children are getting all the math they need to succeed in their future lives.
Comparisons to what we used before:
Math Mammoth is MUCH less expensive
Math Mammoth is easier for me to use
My children like doing the lessons and get confused less often.
I find printing the books easier than shopping all over for the cheapest place to buy all the books I need. Math Mammoth lets my children master a topic totally before forcing several new things on their minds.

Thank You Maria for sharing your knowledge with other moms.
Natalie Bias

We have been using Math Mammoth 2 for about 2 months now. I just wanted to say that I really like the program. Best of all, my 8yo son is doing well with it. We used Moving with Math for a couple years. I liked it, but felt like it didn't have enough repetition and was pretty slow in the K and 1 levels. I like the Singapore concept, but my son was overwhelmed. We've tried it several times but there is just not enough repetition and it moves quickly. Just when my son would figured out one concept, they switched it around and he was quickly confused.

I think Math Mammoth is designed well. We do 1-2 pages each day. I like how you give enough problems to get the concept but then slightly add to it to present another concept. My son actually seems to enjoy the slight challenge, but we've rarely had tears like Singapore gave us!

Thanks,
Wendy Howell

I'm eager to hear your "comparison" comments, if you've used several curricula, including Math Mammoth!

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