{Review} Math Mammoth

Choosing a curriculum is a daunting task. Over the years I have found myself pouring over the phone book sized Rainbow Resource catalog attempting to make choices that will provide my children with the best education that fits their learning style. Math is a very personal subject- we all think in different ways and see things with different eyes. Personally, I love math. Some love to correct grammar, I love equations. It comes rather easy to me, but teaching math does not. Over the years we have tried various math curricula to see what works best for me as the teacher and the kids as the students. We've been all over the place, and while we have settled on favorites, those favorites do have some places that I feel are lacking.

One of my older boys' current math curriculum lacks the repetition and time needed to really solidify the multiplication and division facts. My 2 younger sons use a curriculum that is very heavy on the mastery of the basic math subjects, but don't offer a lot of "extras" like time, money or measurement. So when I was given the opportunity to review Math Mammoth, I decided to choose their Blue Series, which is a series of worktexts that cover specific topics meant to be used as a supplement, extra practice or just as review.

Math Mammoth's Blue Series is inexpensively priced and available for PDF download, with a print or CD option also available. The worktexts cover most topics up to grade 6, with some grade 7 topics as well.

I choose 4 books based on areas I thought my boys needed the most work: Clock, US Money, Multiplication and Division 3 and Fractions 2.

My 3rd and 1st graders used the Money and Clock books, while my 5th grader used the Multiplication and Division and Fractions books. We used them in addition to their current math curriculum to touch on topics not covered and for add practice on topics that were proving more difficult to master.

What did we think?

Over all Math Mammoth has a lot of positives.
  • The Worktexts are in inclusive. They serve as the text books, work book and answer key all in one. 
  • I like that there is a PDF option. Not only does this offer a less expensive option (only $2-$7 per e-book), but for those with multiple children, it saves time and money.
  • The individual books are intensive enough to provide topic mastery by the completion of the book.
  • Math Mammoth gives you all sorts of options from the Light Blue Series which is a full curriculum to a mix and match curriculum using the Blue Series or as a supplement curriculum. There is something for everyone. 
  • Math Mammoth is self-teaching, with very little prep work for the parent/teacher.

What didn't work for us:
  • Switching curriculum is hard, and while I do think it is important to learn how to do math, no matter how it is presented, my older son didn't care for how the multiplication was presented. (That being said, his multiplication did improve.)
  • I personally didn't like how the clock book was presented. I can see how young children, with no prior experience telling time, might be okay with starting with a one handed clock. I found it unusual and confusing.
 If you aren't sure if Math Mammoth would be a good fit for your family, the creator offers a "virtual tour" by email which included over 300 worksheets and sample pages from the various books. The Blue Series e-books are also inexpensive enough to try one to see if it works well for you child.

If you are interested in purchasing Math Mammoth, you can find them at CurrClick, Kagi and LuLu.

Head over to Mosaic Reviews if you would like to read more reviews and see what others thought about Math Mammoth


September Wrap-Up

September seemed to fly by this year. Summer was left behind and the leaves are starting to change little by little. Here's a recap of September around our house.

This month started all about the fair. I shared the kids' entries, but I never shared the results. We took a trip the the fair one afternoon to check out animals and exhibits....and yes, to check out how their entries did.

We picked up their exhibits and their ribbons a few weeks ago. They did well! And are excited about next year- and about the checks they will receive in the mail next month. Just to give you an idea- the blue ribbons pay $10, red ribbons pay $6 and white pay $4. So yes, they will get a pretty good paycheck!

We ate watermelon. Lots of watermelon. These are Rylan's Orangeglo. They are very pretty and sweet too.

Rylan saved up his money again. This time he was saving for a self propelled lawn mower. He talked Cohen into helping to pay for the last little bit, so they share the mower. It's win-win since they seem to love to mow and Paul doesn't have a lot of spare time to do it!

And we ate more watermelon.  I think we've eaten one a day for most of the month. Half for lunch and half for snack.

We took a trip to the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. We only saw a couple birds- my crew isn't exactly patient or quiet enough for bird watching- but we saw a few blue herons. And a muskrat, turtles, fish and this caterpillar.

We have been harvesting just a few of our sweet potatoes. So far it looks like it will be a good harvest. The garden is winding down- still peppers, okra, eggplant and beans and a few late planted summer squash plants.

We went apple picking for the local food bank. The orchard donates over 100,000 lbs of apples every year- they just need help with picking!

This Saturday was National Hunting and Fishing Day, so we drove down to the Center for Wildlife Education in Brevard. 

They had archery, bb gun target practice, fly fishing instruction and casting practice.

We have family visiting this week. Tonight we cooked out- burgers, hot dogs and s'mores around fire. The perfect end to the month!

And if you haven't been over on The Free Range Life, head over there to read the following articles:
And that is it for our September! Did you do anything fun this month?


Homeschool Mosaics: Preserving Food For Winter

 Today I am over on Homeschool Mosaics talking about Preserving Food for the Winter.

"Summer is a busy time here on our homestead. The garden is going full swing and my counters and refrigerator are full of produce. It is also the in season for all other local produce we don’t grow ourselves.  In our home, we don’t view the garden as only a hobby or as a way to eat fresh and save money during the growing season, we view it as a way to feed our family the whole year long.

So what can you do to save the summer’s bounty for winter consumption?

There are many ways to preserve food, but I am going to touch on 3 of the main ones: Canning, Freezing and Dehydrating. Using these 3 methods you can save virtually all of your in-season produce for eating in those cold, winter months..."

You can read the rest of the article over on Homeschool Mosaics today!


When it was a Good Day

On September 11, 2001 I was a new mom with a 1 month old baby boy. My mom was visiting from Oklahoma and set to fly home the next day.  Paul was working. In my newborn fog I didn't realize anything had happened until close to lunch time. And then that was all we saw. And like most of America we sat and watched the footage over and over again. And I will never forget that day.

But today I am talking about a different September 11th. 5 years before September 11th was 9-11, it was a good day. It was a meaningful day. A day that changed my life and set me on the path I am on today.

The year was 1996. It was the end of summer. August. The last weekend before I started my junior year in high school. I was with my 3 best friends doing what teenage girls do. And there he was with his friends doing what teenage boys do. Our groups went to the movies that night- The Cable Guy, I believe. I don't really remember that part. I remember him.

School started. Weeks went by. And I saw him again and again. Our groups of friends became friends. We became friends. I was amazed at how I could talk to him. Tell him things. Open up to him like I couldn't with most other people in my life. He knew me right from the beginning.

It was one of those times in life where you have to make a choice. To follow what your heart, not knowing if it's wrong or right. September 10th was a bad day. It was the day I broke someone's heart in order to follow my own. And I'll never forget it.

But 17 years ago,  September 11th was a good day. The day that boy and I became we. The same we that we are today. For us, the date of September 11 has always been remembered.


{Review} EEME Project Genius Light

There are a few skills that I think are truly important to learn in this day and age, and one of those is electronics. We live in a technological age, which makes it very important that we understand the inner-workings of the machines around us. Enter EEME.

 EEME's monthly hands-on project kits teach kids about electronics. Each project kit is paired with online curricula to not only guide the kids in assembling the project but also to teach the concepts applied. EEME's kits are aimed for kids ages 7-12, but older and younger kids can definitely learn from them too! The first kit in the subscription is Project Genius Light- which will get your kids learning all about circuits, resistors, LEDs and other basic electronics knowledge.

About the Kit:

 From EEME: 

              "With the Genius Light project, you will assemble a simple LED circuit system that does the smart thing - lights up when it is dark and dims when it is light. The project kit will be shipped with all the materials needed to build the Genius Light (a breadboard, resistors, circuits, LEDs, battery). Once you've gotten your kit, you'll come back to to access our 45 minutes of online videos, which will (1) teach you and your kid how to build the Genius Light, and (2) explain the electrical engineering concepts behind it. (Videos are free to check out.)"

So what is in your first EEME monthly project kit? 

The only thing you will need in addition to your kit is access to a internet-ready computer. The kits go hand in hand with online curricula that will teach your kids not only HOW to complete the project but the WHY behind it as well.

How does it work?

You will start by accessing the video lessons from EEME's website. These lessons are broken down into many short videos that will step by step lead your children through the process. I was a little worried that 4 pairs of hands working on one project would lead to frustration, but there are so many little steps that everyone got plenty of chances to help build the project. Depending on the age of your child you may need to offer a hand, so stick around and use this time to learn together. I found that my 12 year old needed no help, while my 7 year old had a hard time with some of the assembly. The videos will also tell you when your assistance may be needed.

One of the best things about the video lessons is that they aren't simply how-to instructions. The kids have to build, take apart, and re-build numerous times before actually starting the final step of building the genius light. This means there was plenty of time for things to go wrong- which is a good thing! My boys learned how to troubleshoot and double check their wires and circuits in order to make it work before moving on.

The lessons not only gave directions on how to set up the circuits, but also the reasons behind what they were doing. So they learned what a resistor was and its purpose and got to experiment with how the light looked with and without the resistors in their circuit.

Also included were short assessment questions at the end of some of the videos to check and make sure the kids were actually understanding what they were hearing.

What we liked best:

  • The video lessons were amazing. I loved that the lessons were broken up into shorter sections as opposed to one long video. Having someone who truly understands what they are talking about and teaching is so much more effective than me reading a manual and trying to teach the same thing. 
  • One kit can work over multiple kids of multiple ages. The kit can be assembled and disassembled numerous times. You don' t have to have one kit per kid. They can work together or on their own one at a time.
  • I liked that they were actually learning concepts. We've had many "eclectronic kits" over the years and they show you how to complete a circuit but not why.
  • I like that each new project builds upon knowledge learned in the previous project, it's a great way to really solidify the concepts being learned.

How can you get your own?

EEME has 2 pricing plans, starting at $18.95 per month. Each month you will reuse your breadbox and battery pack, but will receive new project parts in the mail that will build upon the knowledge learned in previous projects.

And if you act fast, you will receive the first month free when you subscribe to EEME! That means you will get to try out Project Genius Light at no charge! Just click here and you will see a special promo banner on the bottom of the page! This promotion will expire on 9/16.

You can also find EEME on Facebook and Twitter!

 Click here to read more about EEME and what other families thought about the project.


More Mountain State Fair Entries

 So I missed a few when I shared the kids projects the other day. Like Cale's completed sculpture.

And their baking. 15 total baked goods. Things like snickers fudge, cookie dough fudge, orange chocolate truffles, peanut butter truffles, sweet potato yeast bread, pesto rolls, chocolate crinkles, apple muffins, apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies....

And spaghetti and meatballs cupcakes, skeleton cupcakes, spider cupcakes and sheep cupcakes....

A metal craft robot, bottle cap wind chime and a recycled bottle ice cream truck.

Pottery Rylan and Cale made in a class they took this year, which they entered in the pottery category.

 Rylan's biggest watermelon entry. It was a big one!

13 art pieces (one not shown)...oil, chalk, watercolor, pen, collage, crayon...

8 photos in all...the top 2 are Cale's and Cohen's. The rest are Rylan's which I showed last time.

When we dropped off the big entries were weighed:

 And today we dropped off a few more entries. Rylan's herbs and flowers in the flower show for a grand total of 95 entries between the 4 boys!