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Math Mammoth or Key To...? Need advice on where to go with ds2.


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Going over ds2's answers on his standardized test (I'll get the results back in a couple of weeks, but I wanted to know *now* which areas he's struggling in), I can see that what he's learned this past year is not sticking very well.


He went through Teaching Textbooks 6 and has just started 7, before we took a break. I'd planned to have him do math 2-3 days a week over the summer, and that lasted one week. We are just all tired and burned out from the last school year that came on the heels of our move. There've been other summers when we didn't do any math, and he didn't seem to have any trouble picking back up with it in September. But in the 8 weeks or so since we stopped doing school, he's lost a lot of ground.


TT6 covered a lot of material -- lots of new concepts in fractions, decimals, and percents, combined with real-world lessons on things like car loans, taxes, computer storage space, etc. It was a lot for him to grasp, but I made sure that we carefully reviewed the relevant concepts in each lesson. Even so, he just hasn't retained them. (I like Teaching Textbooks in general, in large part because the format is so nonthreatening to ds, but it does tend to be inconsistent in terms of pace. Either you're crawling along at a slow-and-steady turtle's pace, which is what ds needs, or you're off to the races. )


My plan, since he is only about 1/3 of the way through TT7, is to continue with that. I'm not averse to changing programs, but I don't want to do it unless I am strongly convinced that it's necessary. What I would like to do is add in some focused review of the topics that he needs more work with (i.e., fractions, decimals, percents). Although the spiral approach of TT is what he needs, since it provides frequent review of topics, I think he needs more time on some of those topics than the spiral in TT is providing. Not a mastery approach in which you immerse yourself in a topic, learn it, and then don't revisit it -- he needs the review -- but something that maybe spirals a bit more slowly or more widely? Does that even make any sense? What got me thinking in this direction was the review of Math Mammoth at Rainbow Resource. Here's the part that caught my eye:


Curriculum is mastery oriented; it concentrates on each specific topic for a long time studying fewer topics per grade than a spiral curricula


This is what I think ds needs -- he needs to spend a longer period of time on each topic, even if it means covering less ground during the course of a year. But he also needs to revisit and practice those concepts once he's moved on to the next ones.


So Math Mammoth looks good in that respect. (Am I right in that? Does it have built-in review?) I've used the Key To books and am considering them again, but I think that because they are basically self-instructional, they might not be as good a teaching tool for ds as MM.


I'd like your feedback re: MM, Key To, and helping ds to retain what he learns. FWIW, he has ADHD and it seems to be more severe than ever this summer.

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The Math Mammoth program includes cumulative reviews after the end of each chapter. As needed, you can also print out free worksheets for any topic from Maria Miller's website, homeschoolmath.net.


I started with a spiral program, but switched to MM and haven't looked back. This will be our fourth year with it. Spending time on one topic seems to work better for us. The lessons are geared to the student, and it *can* be self-teaching if you have an independent worker. But it's easy enough for Mom to help if necessary.


You can download free samples from mathmammoth.com.



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The MM cumulative reviews are there, but they're not in the "main" document... if you get the PDF, they're stored in the supporting materials. And, they have one after each chapter, not every couple days or anything. So if you're wanting very frequent review, or if you're an "out of sight, out of mind" person, you'll have to work at putting MM together. Also, are you thinking of moving back a couple levels to re-work some concepts? MM only goes up to grade 6.


Good luck with your decision... it can be hard to find the right balance!!

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