### Overview

Math Mammoth offers a complete math curriculum for first grade through seventh-grade pre-algebra, as well as options for remediation on specific topics. It streamlines math teaching more than any other curriculum I’ve seen. **All of the instruction and practice is contained in one easy-to-use “worktext,” a combination textbook and workbook that guides students step-by-step through each math concept.** There is no additional teacher’s guide, as the worktext includes all of the teaching. Students write directly in the worktext as they solve problems. Word problems, cumulative review, and mental math practice are also included.

### Conceptual Understanding in Math Mammoth

Like RightStart and Singapore Math, Math Mammoth is also very strong in teaching children to understand math concepts and not just memorize procedures. It is a mastery-oriented program, so each concept is thoroughly developed before moving on to the next concept. **The worktext breaks concepts into chunks and then gradually leads children through each part until they understand the whole idea.** For example, when learning multi-digit subtraction, the process of regrouping is taught first, so that children are very comfortable with the concept of regrouping before they begin to apply it to subtraction problems.

### Visual Representations in Math Mammoth

To help children develop understanding, **Math Mammoth frequently uses pictures and diagrams**, including ten-frames, pictures of base-ten blocks, and number lines. The author describes these pictures as what she would draw on the board if she were teaching the material live to a class of students. These visual representations are also used to teach mental math. There is a lot of emphasis on developing kids’ number sense and mental math skills, with frequent practice included throughout the lessons. Math fact drill is also included in the lessons, although the author explains that most students need oral drill as well.

### Is Math Mammoth really “self-teaching?”

Because all of the instruction is included in the worktext, Math Mammoth advertises itself as “practically self-teaching” with “only a little teacher involvement needed.” This is terrific marketing—as I said above, Maria Miller sure knows what busy parents are looking for when it comes to math curriculum! **But unless you have an extremely diligent, responsible older child, do not expect that your child will be able to use Math Mammoth completely independently.** The vast majority of children need to be able to talk through concepts, ask questions, and know that their parent is invested in their math learning. Plus, it’s very easy for children to rush through an assignment without reading the explanation or thoroughly examining the visual models presented in the lesson. They may get the answers right–but not actually understand the material.

### Teaching Guidance for Parents

**Math Mammoth’s greatest drawback is that it provides very little guidance for parents**. There are no lesson plans or teaching notes provided. Having all the instruction contained in the worktext is great as long as the method presented in the worktext makes sense to the student. But, when a student is struggling, the book doesn’t provide much help.

Each chapter opens with a chapter overview for parents, along with a list of links for games and worksheets for further practice, but they don’t address alternate teaching strategies or ways to present the material. If your child hits a wall in Math Mammoth, be prepared to slow down, print some supplementary worksheets, and do a little research on other ways to present the concept. The author has some good videos and explanations on her website, but **you’ll need to dig around a bit to find the help you need**. (You might also want to take a look at my articles on how to teach a math lesson and how to make the most of independent math curriculum for ideas on how to plan your Math Mammoth lessons.)

### Manipulatives in Math Mammoth

Many children, especially young ones, learn best when they use some hands-on manipulatives . The author recommends using a 100-bead abacus for the younger grades, as well as some basic measuring equipment (like a ruler and scale) for measurement chapters. Other than that, she feels that the visuals in the worktext are sufficient for children to understand the concepts. This is true for some children, but if you feel like your child is having trouble with Math Mammoth, **add some concrete manipulatives to make the lessons more hands-on and tactile**. (You can learn how to create your own free math manipulative kit here.)

### How much time does Math Mammoth take?

Math Mammoth is an excellent choice if you don’t have a lot of time for hands-on teaching. **Five to ten minutes of direct instruction is enough for many lessons**, and some may require even less. Parents report that their older children usually finish their assignment each day in 30-40 minutes, but of course this varies a lot depending on the child.

### What type of learner thrives with Math Mammoth?

Math Mammoth is perfect for a child who likes to do worksheets and doesn’t need a lot of hands-on activities. (You can always add hands-on activities or games to Math Mammoth, but these aren’t included in the program.)

Also, the worktexts are complete and functional, but they are quite busy, with a mishmash of colors and formats. This won’t matter for most children, but Math Mammoth may not be best for a child who needs simple, uncluttered pages.

### How much does Math Mammoth cost?

Math Mammoth is **very budget-friendly**, but how much you spend depends on which format you buy. You can currently buy the entire curriculum (grades 1-7) on CD for only $150 at Rainbow Resource. You’ll have to add printing costs to that, but once you own the CD, you’re able to print as many copies as you need for your own family. This is an incredible value, especially for a large family. The printed books are also very affordable, at about $25 per year. Check out my Math Mammoth Buying Guide for more details on how to purchase.

### Conclusion

**Math Mammoth is a budget-friendly curriculum that develops thorough conceptual understanding and number sense with a minimum of hands-on teaching time. As long as you stay involved in your child’s math learning and are ready to jump in when necessary, Math Mammoth is a great choice for busy families.**

### Check out my Math Mammoth Buying Guide and FAQ for more details on Math Mammoth.

*My curriculum disclaimer: You know your children far better than I do! Please take my advice with a grain of salt and use the samples to decide whether the curriculum is a good fit for you and your child. This review is my honest opinion–I am not affiliated with Math Mammoth in any way and don’t make any money off of any purchase you make.*

*Updated April 2016*

KJ says

I’ve been using Math Mammoth for 5 years with two children. We love it! My son is now in algebra and this curriculum prepared him very well and he is quite successful. Maria Miller has always been available to answer my questions and offer advice. I tried numerous math programs with my older kids, but once I found Math Mammoth, I’ve never been tempted to switch. We really like the recommended games and websites. My kids score way above grade level on the Stanford Achievement Test, but most importantly, they like math!

Kate says

That’s awesome that it’s been such a great fit for you, KJ. I’ve heard about Maria Miller’s availability from other people as well–what fantastic support to have!

Janine says

Thank you for this review! Very helpful! We are currently using SM here at our house, but I think I may try this out as it is much more friendly to our budget (we have four kiddos;). They are running a sale at Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op ’till the 31st as well!

Jen says

Hi Kate,

I use Math Mammoth with my daughter, turning 7 this week. We are in 1B, so just finishing up 1st grade. Before that we used Horizons and when we switched she was much happier. I have found that I need to sit with her for a few minutes of instruction at the beginning of each lesson so that she clearly understands the concepts. For a while I let her do it on her own, and she was doing fine, but have found that she grasps the concepts a little better when we have that instruction time. I also until about a month ago to get the abacus because she is really great at mental math so I didn’t think she needed it. I decided to get it and wish I had done it a lot sooner! We basically use it during the instruction time. It seems to really help cement the concepts visually in her mind and once she has it, she has it and then is able to move on and complete the rest of the lesson mentally with more ease. We are really happy so far with the program. I also just purchased your Addition Facts That Stick at the HSB this weekend and am looking forward to using it with all three of our kids.

Kate says

Isn’t it amazing what a difference a few minutes of instruction can make? There’s just something about a live person that a workbook can’t replace. I always have to keep this in mind, especially for the subjects where I’d rather just hand off a workbook..

So glad that Math Mammoth and the abacus are working well for your daughter, and I hope Addition Facts That Stick is just as helpful!

Kacie says

Just found your blog thanks to your wonderful interview with Pam Barnhill on Your Morning Basket, and I’m digging in here. I wanted to mention. Math Mammoth can often be found at a discount. Sometimes the website itself runs a % off sale; or Curri-Click, or Homeschool Buyers Co-Op.

Also wanted to share for future readers, that Math Mammoth offers a few editions — an entire grade available for purchase, or a topic that needs reinforcement, which can be purchased individually.

I grabbed MM during a can’t-pass-it-up sale at Homeschool Buyers Co-Op, and I use it from time to time, but primarily we use RightStart.

Looking forward to adding some beautiful math to our morning time 😀

Kate says

Thanks for mentioning that, Kacie! Glad you enjoyed the podcast. 🙂