Our oldest was able to go through Math Mammoth's Light Blue Series for Grade 7. It came at the perfect time as he was ready to move into Pre-Algebra. So you can't imagine my excitement when this came at the time that we needed it.
I have to be honest, when we first received this curriculum to review, I was a little nervous about switching from what we were currently using. I wasn't sure how our son was going to work with the new material as well as moving into algebra. He is used to solving a problem in one or two steps and having an answer at the end. Not so with algebra. Math Mammoth went through this well.
The lessons started with the order of operations and moved through expressions/equations then onto simplifying expressions and using the distributive property. There are printouts that go with each lesson. I wasn't sure how I would like this at first. As I was looking over the material, I thought that this would be a lot of prep. I was completely wrong! I actually really like this because I can give him only one lesson at a time and that avoids the overwhelm of seeing what he will be going through later. Big plus in my book!
Algebra requires having a different thought process and that is something that has always been difficult for our oldest to do. For example, when I was teaching him spelling, he was having a difficult time because of all of the "exceptions to the rules". He used to argue with people because he thought that they spelled their name wrong. I had to tell him a "new rule" in spelling: Names don't have to follow any rules. Do you see how it is difficult for him to change thought processes? When you teach him one thing, he expects it to always be true.
So, here we are coming to algebra where you can have an answer like: 2x + 3y + 5. That's confusing to my son. "Why are there letters in the answer?" "Why can't you solve the problem?" "When am I ever going to use this?" "What's the point?" (Just for your information, these are all questions that he asked during this review period. Fun, right?)
I knew that it wasn't going to be easy starting algebra with him and he did struggle at first. It took a little to get him to become teachable to another way of thinking.
This is where Math Mammoth's teaching videos were SOOOOO helpful! It took the teaching off of me and onto her. THANK YOU Math Mammoth! In math, starting in 6th grade, my son and I started to "butt heads". He started to see numbers differently than I do and that caused problems between us. With Math Mammoth's videos, we can "rewind" the video to the place in question. For example, last week when we were going through a lesson, he said, "She said to do it this way." When I refuted that we started to get into a little tiff. Then I remembered, "Look at the video again!" What a wonderful thing! We could go back and watch it again.
I know that I'm going on about the videos, but I just loved them. Maria Miller, the teacher on the videos, has a strong accent, and it's hard to understand her at first, but once she gets into the "meat" of the math, there is no problem understanding what she's saying. One more thing about the videos, they aren't very long and she's very organized in what she's going over. Even our son said, "That had to take her a long time to set that up. Impressive."
There are a lot of parts to this curriculum. It's not just a student text and a teacher guide (thank you for the answers!). The extra resources include: a list of internet resources which include games and other resources, reviews and tests, as well as a Worksheet Maker. The Worksheet Maker came in handy. As we were going through the problems in the lesson, there didn't seem to be enough problems for him to practice the really difficult parts in order for him to completely understand them. I went to the Worksheet Maker and just found more problems for him to complete. Great!
I do need to tell you that this curriculum is based on the Common Core Standards. I have my opinions about the Common Core and we do not follow them in our homeschool, but this didn't deter my opinion of this curriculum. You see, I don't look at curriculum as all of what my children learn. I see curriculum as a tool to help me teach our children what they need to learn. That's how I used this curriculum. I used it as a tool to help our oldest son understand algebra and, let me tell you, it did it's job! This curriculum has helped him understand the basic concepts of algebra and I can't wait to continue to use this curriculum even after the review period.
As we move through the rest of this curriculum, in the months to come, he will be learning how to solve one-step equations, understand what rational numbers are, ratios and proportions, percentages, geometry, the pythagorean theory, probability, and statistics. There's a lot there, but with the help of Math Mammoth, I'm excited to go through this adventure with our oldest - an adventure through the world of algebra.