Math Mammoth, MUS, Fred…QUESTIONS!!!!

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  • ebyounts

    I am struggling with my Math choices for my 1st grader. She is I’d say average in Math…I haven’t seen her excel or do poorly…we didn’t do a lot in K5 though so I’m not sure once more is introduced how she will do.

    I had planned on doing Saxon but now selling that b/c I don’t believe it’s quite right for us and it intimidated me for some reason. I have started Apples with her from Fred and we love it. I’m concerned, however, that it won’t be “enough”…I, of course, can add games and activities to reinforce but still unsure.

    We are in the process of moving and our new state will require testing for 3rd grade…I’m not sure Fred will be enough, if nothing else but for how it’s presented.

    I was looking at MUS but not sure that I “get it”…it seems confusing to me when I see the way it’s taught. I’m good w/ numbers but not really good w/ math concepts, if that makes sense. 

    Cathy Duffy’s review introduced me to Math Mammoth and it interested me. It’s not CM but I’m okay if it is really the right pgm. She is not keen on worksheets she says, but wouldn’t any kid say that? And MUS has worksheets also…but she likes that they have the minupulatives also. But she has no concept of what it’s like at all.

    Any MM users out there to give me some practical experience. I read that it’s harder than a typical math pgm and I’m afraid it’ll be too much for my 6 y/o. I’ve also read that there’s a lot of mental math and while she’s doing some of this already she hasn’t memorized ANYTHING and does not know any place values. I don’t want her to feel overwhelmed or pushed too hard.

    I am obsessing about this decision too much but I have already bought 3 math books…Saxon (which is on ebay right now), Math Lessons for a Living Ed (just not quite right for us), and Fred. Fred is STAYING but in adding more to that…that’s where I’m stalled out!

    Any experience would be a huge blessing!


    Have you considered Right Start?  I just finished level A with my ds.  Their 2nd edition level B (1st grade) will be released first of September and we will continue on.  We love RS.  My ds loves the games and manipulatives.  

    Also, have you looked into Richele’s book?  I found it so helpful in understanding how CM taught math.  

    Sorry, I don’t have experience with any other products you mentioned and I don’t mean to add more confusion.


    Can’t really answer your question but we’re MUS lovers here. It’s about the only program we’ve used from the beginning(starting Algebra next year!) It’s not intensive but gets the job done. And my kids have always done it mostly independently after we watch the video and I briefly show the new concept (if needed). Hope you find the right pick soon:) Gina


    I have MM and I love how it is seperated out into concepts and is a mastery based program. I started my  kids on it thru the summer trying to get them caught up so to speak. PS failed them. one had a new teacher and she didn’t really push them at all and taught for the slowest kid in the class. The other had a teacher that flat out told me 2nd graders are too young for double digit math much less multiplication. So anyway now my 2nd grader and 3rd grader are basically on the same level now only my 3rd grader is faster on her facts since she had over a year of doing just that. 

    MM was working great and they were progressing along and they passed the tests at the end of each section with flying colors and I made sure not to rush them thru it, but after we did 3 sections, I went back and did a review to make sure of retention and son was lost and acted like he didn’t even remember seeing that concept before. My daughter kinda sorta remembered it, so while I thought mastery had been done, it hadn’t. It was a very easy program to teach and not expensive at all and I am sure I will use the worksheet pages as reinforcement or extra practice if needed, but I have switched my 7 year old to Horizons since it is a spiral program, he keeps reviewing material already learned while bringing in new concepts. My daughter is doing TT3 and seems to be doing fine with it so far. HTH


    Thanks for your respnoses, ladies!

    I have a friend who uses RS and it’s not quite right for us. I love the concept though. 😉 I’ll check out that book, thanks for the suggestion.

    Thanks also in letting me know how much you love MUS. I have hardly heard anyone say that they didn’t like it after using it…but some who do find that their children are behind when getting restarted in a diff math…like in the 2-4 grade levels or so. I’ve also read that they may test low until around the 6th grade…makes me nervous…BUT it is highly respected pgm. Still very intersted…


    We also really like MUS. It is different than how I was taught, but math is making sense to me now, LOL. My daughter did Alpha in 1st and we are continuing to use it this year in Beta. My kids are really grasping math concepts and even my DH was surprised how it is “clicking”


    I’ve used MM with my youngest for two years now and we both really like it. It suits him well and he doesn’t have a problem remembering concepts or how to do them later. There are review pages in a seperate file from the regular chapter worksheet that review all topics covered to date in two pages so you can add a review at he end of each chapter to keep things from getting forgotten. I have him take the “test” tho it’s just another review page for him and I don’t treat it like a test, then he does the review page that covers chapters 1-what ever chapter we’ve been working on. I’ve been very pleased with it, but I haven’t explored anything else either. My older children are using Teaching Textbooks and he will eventually move to that.

    By the way, there will be a group buy of MM at the homeschool buyers co-op starting tomorrow – that is where I purchased it at last year since it was so much more affordable, even tho I had purchased grade 1 as a single download. Here is the link ~


    We use MUS.  Both of my girls just finished Gamma (3rd grade).  I have also heard that most kids place low in math at first, but my oldest just did the 3rd grade testing (before totally completing Gamma) and she scored average.

    I really like that we can watch the DVD and Mr. Demme teaches each lesson to them.  It works well for us.


    We currently use MUS…The videos make it very easy to understand.  We watch them together and the worksheets are fairly short.  They also like being able to move on before the worksheets are all completed, so it’s an incentive for them to do well.  It’s also been wonderful not having to teach several levels of math and Mr. Demme does a better job explaining than I do.  Embarassed 

    I thought about Saxon when my oldest was 5/6 yo, but they looked very heavy in wb pages.  We used Saxon K which had virtually no worksheets, but I just couldn’t make the jump to Saxon 1.  I imagine you could cut down the number of problems for them to complete.  

    I used MM for a semester.  We’d been using Singapore and she wasn’t getting a concept, so we switched to MM for a change of pace.  The worksheets are minimal…there is a “text” portion mixed with the problems, so the lessons and problems are shorter than many programs.  Also, my DD loved the long list of online games at the beginning of each chapter.  She’s spend a bit of time each day playing them to work on her facts and practice new concepts.  


    Saxon is extremely heavy in practice questions… 


    Oh, and I’m another vote for RightStart… lol


    I have used all three to some degree.  We started with MM when I brought the boys home from PS.  I like it myself, my youngest did wonderfully with it.  My older son seemed to do well, but it became clear that he was not retaining as we went on.  I found MUS second hand so I switched him to Gamma a few months from the end of the year.  He has just about finished Delta now.  We’ve really enjoyed MUS.  I don’t find it stressful, difficult or confusing at all. Still, my oldest hates math, and has stopped putting effort in all together which has sped up the inevitable.  His nearly four years younger very math minded brother has officially passed him.  This has prompted me to look into LOF more.  We read Apples last year and loved it.  Now I have bought the last two of the elementary series as well as the intermediate books.  We are going to go through these five books together and do daily drill of basic math facts in the hopes that by January he will be ready for LOF fractions.  I am not yet sure how it will all play out.  Oldest may end up having to do a combination of MUS and LOF.  After this coming year I hope we’ll have a much clearer path.  At least Fred is helping him not hate math so much.  My younger loves Fred for bedtime reading.  And I don’t let them read unless they do the math at the end of the chapter.

    We haven’t done the whole elementary series so I can’t speak to how thorough it is.  I do know that the author suggests repeating the series over (and possibly a 3rd or 4th time) through 4th grade.  I do know from the books we have read that the student really does need to think.  

    If it were me and money was not an object, I would do LOF and MUS.  I may have kept MM going for my younger son, but I think it was too confusing for my older (MM teaches multiple ways of doing problems, but for some that is to confusing).  


    We use Math Mammoth.  My ds11 is years “behind” in math because I couldn’t find something that clicked with him.  Saxon was toooooo much (for both of us!), MUS was too confusing for him.  It has lots and lots of shortcuts for how to do everything, but that wasn’t helping.  Math Mammoth has been wonderful for us.  He is well on his way to “catching up” and is now doing mental math on his own.  His retention so much better, as before it was non-existent.  I did the unthinkable this past month and took a break from all school including math and he still remembers everything!!  As homeschoolers we are blessed to have so many choices.  I hope you find the right on for your family!

    I also wanted to add that I was led to Math Mammoth because it was recommend for visual-spatial learners. That was probably the key for us.

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