Math is my son’s least favorite subject. And because he dislikes it so much, well, I dislike it, too. Math creates a great deal of tension, anxiety, discouragement, confusion, and, to be honest, tears, in our home. It’s a constant source of frustration. I’ve tried a variety of different curriculum but so far nothing has been a very good fit.
This month we were so excited to be able to review the 6th grade level of the Light Blue Series by Math Mammoth. I’ve heard so many good things about Math Mammoth and almost purchased their math curriculum at the beginning of the year. What a delight to be able to give it a real trial run in our home!
The Math Mammoth Light Blue Series is a complete mathematics curriculum for children in grades 1-7.
The 6th Grade level we received included the following digital resources. A CD or text version of the curriculum are also available.
- Grade 6A Student Worktext – includes chapters 1-5
- Grade 6B Student Worktext – includes chapters 6-10
- Grade 6A Answer Key
- Grade 6B Answer Key
- Tests for chapters 1-10
- Cumulative Review for chapters 1-10
- Worksheet Maker for extra practice
- Soft-Pak software bonus
In addition, to this list, at the beginning of every chapter in the student worktext, there is a huge list of online resources, games, videos, quizzes, and other helpful resources to help your student master a concept.
Math Mammoth emphasizes the importance of mental math and real life mathematical problems, which I really like. Math Mammoth uses a mastery approach to learning mathematics, so the text is divided up into topics per chapter. Grade level 6 contains 10 chapters.
Student Worktext A covers:
Chapter 1: Review of the Basic Operations
Chapter 2: Expressions and Equations
Chapter 3: Decimals
Chapter 4: Ratios
Chapter 5: Percent
Student Worktext B covers:
Chapter 6: Prime Factorization, GCF, and LCM
Chapter 7: Fractions
Chapter 8: Integers
Chapter 9: Geometry
Chapter 10: Statistics
Thoughts and Usage
Because I received the digital version of grade level 6, the first thing I did was have the files printed and bound at Staples. Doing this made life so much easier and kept all our papers organized and together. It was a little pricey, but it was worth it in my opinion to have it all in book format and not burn out my printer!
My son has been struggling with the topic of percent. Since Math Mammoth is organized topically, we decided to jump to chapter five in the student worktext and begin studying the concept of percent. We used the curriculum five days a week for the past several weeks.
The student worktext is set up for the student to be able to use on their own without necessarily needing the help of a teacher. In fact, there is very little preparation needed on the part of the teacher. Each lesson begins with an explanation of the new concept and contains an example practice problem or two. The explanations are a bit brief, so I needed to fill in a lot. For my son, we actually began each lesson with one of the videos that the author of curriculum, Maria Miller, created to match with each of the lessons. The instructor’s accent was difficult for my son to understand, but I think the visual aid did help him understand the concept better than if he had only read the introduction to the lesson.
The one thing that I really like about Math Mammoth is how thorough it is. The visual aids within the problems are great, too. This is a solid math curriculum. I felt like the lessons progressed in difficulty too soon, though. My son did well for the first few lessons, and he was excited about math again. But as we continued, the lessons quickly progressed to more difficult concepts. My son really began to struggle and become frustrated. We went to the additional worksheets and online resources that were provided for extra practice, but nothing really seemed to help. The jump in difficulty was just too much.
At the end of some lessons, optional activities were provided. This section was called the “Puzzle Corner”. Meant to be challenging and fun, they were actually crazy hard. I decided to let Daddy take over this section and he worked through these problems with my son. Even with quite a bit of help, my son was not getting it, so I think they might be a tad bit too challenging for most kids.
My son did complete the entire topic of percent during our review period and even tried a few of the lessons in the other chapters. Because my son has difficulty remembering concepts, though, I’m not sure that the mastery method of learning will work for us, even with the tests and cumulative review provided. I’ve come to realize that he really needs a more spiral based method of learning. However, Math Mammoth can be used to fill in any gaps and we can concentrate on particular topics of interest by jumping to particular chapters.
A little about the student worktext and teacher’s answer key… I had these texts printed out at Staples for about $30. Had I chosen the color option it would have been more around $90. Being that I printed the books in black and white, they are a bit unexciting. I think the color does help make the pages more interesting. We also found the student text to be a bit busy. We are used to much more white space on a page and seeing so many boxes and text was a bit overwhelming.
I found the answer key a little difficult to use. It’s is based upon page number, not chapter or lesson. Finding the correct problem and coordinating answer took me more time than I wanted it to. When I did find the correct problem the answer was buried within an explanation. I personally prefer an answer key that gives me the correct answer – fast. However, I can see how the explanation to solving each problem could be helpful to parents who need that extra information.
Along with the Math Mammoth grade 6 level curriculum, I want to mention that I was also given complimentary access to Math Mammoth Lesson Plans by Maria Miller from the Homeschool Buyers Co-op and Homeschool Planet. What an amazing resource! After making just a few clicks, suddenly all my lesson plans were done! How easy is that? Plans included all the fun extras that I would normally would not have added into our schedule.
Overall, I think Math Mammoth is an excellent math curriculum. I don’t think it fits my son very well at this time but I still plan to use it to fill in gaps and help polish areas that my son struggles in.