Last year my preschool aged daughter completed her Grade 1 homeschooling year. Our chosen curriculum for math was Math Mammoth and IXL. Now that she’s moving on to the 2nd grade, I can look back at the previous year and analyze what worked and didn’t work. Here’s my IXL and grade 1 Math Mammoth review.
IXL was great. An extensive list of all the Grade 1 skills taught (by state, province or country) were listed and we could pick and choose the order we did things in. She only had to click on the correct answer or verbally tell me and I would take care of entering it on the computer. I found a lot of benefits to this verbal or non-written type math but written book work math is important as well.
At the beginning of the year we tried really hard to do the Math Mammoth worksheets. The problem was my daughter was only 4 last year. While she excels in Math the actual writing and getting used to filling out worksheets was quite challenging. Math started to become a difficult thing which is not what I ever want my daughter to believe, so I stopped them completely.
I began the very time-consuming challenge of creating my own math worksheets that would be more appealing for kids who weren’t able to write too much yet. There is a lot of coloring, drawing lines, circling the answers, cutting and pasting and only gently introducing learning to write numbers, while still learning solid math skills. The results were positive. My daughter now enjoyed doing math worksheets and she now knows mostly by heart the number bonds to 20 and addition and subtraction questions where the answer is 20 or less. You can download your child a copy of the 100 or so free printable math worksheets ideal for younger children beginning here.
We did not even finish all the math worksheets I created when my daughter was ready for Math Mammoth. There are quite a bit of worksheets to do for Grade 1 but once she was ready for it we started flying through it. We did about 4 or 5 worksheets a day. Some of the topics like geometry or fractions she really enjoys doing, so sometimes I actually had to tell her “you’ve done enough math today, no more.”
One small tip that worked great for us when doing Math Mammoth worksheets: mix it up. There’s no rule that says you have to do the worksheets in order. While some topics might be best working in the general order, too much of some topics can start to get tedious. For example, my daughter is quite proficient at adding and subtracting at a Grade 1 level. I only give her one of those sheets a day so she doesn’t lose her joy of math, and the rest of the worksheets I give her for the day are a mishmash of topics. I honestly wish I could have done these type worksheets when I was in school.
My final thoughts on Math Mammoth: I love it and I would purchase it again.
- It wasn’t expensive.
- I have math for Grades 1 – 8 covered since I purchased it in a bundle. It’s handy to be able to print off each grade as needed.
- I like the way the creator of these math worksheets thinks. To teach math effectively, it’s not just about teaching how to do the math, but it’s also about teaching the child how to think in math. Learning to see the bigger picture and be able to manipulate math with tricks and shortcuts is all part of that. I truly appreciate how she’s included this important aspect of math.
- Some of the measurement type sheets I needed to reprint as it needs to be printed at a certain size. It’s a bit of a pain having to reprint and figure out printer settings but not a big enough deal to complain too much.
- Not all the Grade 1 topics taught where I live are covered. On more than a few occasions, I tried to find a worksheet on a topic we were covering in IXL, and there just wasn’t any. Upon closer examination, it appears the US math requirements by grade level is at a much lower level than the same grade requirements in Canada where I live. This means that I don’t consider my daughter to have completed a grade in math until she has completed it with IXL.
I personally consider the following combination a perfect Grade 1 Math curriculum:
- begin with the fun math worksheets on number bonds I created (you can download them completely free starting here)
- IXL (choosing a Canadian province or location with equivalent or higher requirements)
- Grade 1 Math Mammoth