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Category: Math

I’ve known about the free math resource – Khan Academy for a few years now, but just this month I checked it out again. Right away I noticed the tagline said over 38 million lessons delivered, and each time I refreshed the page, that number was updated. Today, the site hit over 40 million lessons. A few million lessons served in just a few weeks, wow!

This is an ASTOUNDING, AMAZING, ASTONISHING resource of 2000+ 10-minute (give-or-take) videos, mostly on math, but also on science and much more! They are easy to learn from and did I mention free?

The thing that caught my attention this month was that you can now login with your Google or Facebook ID and it will track your participation with Energy Points. You can earn points and badges from watching videos and doing your exercises.

I went through all the easiest Arithmetic videos and exercises and now almost done with Pre-Algebra. I will for sure be using this as a math and science supplement for Satori!

I could take all my own screenshots to show you, but it’s best if you just watch through his explanation video. I’m not sure this YouTube video will fit within my blog, if it doesn’t all show, just head here:

Khan Academy Exercise Software Video demonstration

Bill Gates is a huge fan – he uses Khan Academy for himself and his children. Khan Academy was also one of the first winners of the Google $10 million dollar award for Project 10^100, a global search for ideas that would “help the world the most”. What did Sal do with his $2 million from that? He turned right around and put that toward translating his videos into other languages, so even more of the world could benefit from his videos. Sal now works on Khan Academy full-time and has added a staff of six.

No matter if you homeschool, afterschool, or don’t even have children, you can use Khan Academy for yourself and/or your children to get up to speed on math. Since I’ve been watching these videos, I’ve become very psyched about math. I think you’ll see a big math focus in our household this spring.

Salman Khan is my hero!


Feb 24

I took these pictures a few weeks ago, but I want to get more posts of us using our curriculum in action. So the next few weeks, look for updates on how we’re doing in all our favorite programs! I then tag our curriculum by its abbreviation I use. So all Math Mammoth posts should have this link:

In Math Mammoth 1-B, you’ll be doing a lot of 100-chart and place value work. These have actually really helped Satori lately, she now has another tool aside from her abacus to think of numbers. The way she’s been talking, I know she’s got this 100-Chart in her head now. Here’s a sample page of work she did a few weeks back.

Since she totally loves hands-on, mama-daddy-interaction, I knew this floor Hip Hoppin Hundred Chart Map (by Learning Resources) would be a hit. Before you use it, let it AIR OUT for like a month somewhere. We had lots of fun playing with her number mat, and she wants it out everyday now. She teaches Daddy math on the weekends with it as well. 🙂

Back to Math Mammoth, here’s an online math game that Maria (creator of Math Mammoth) linked to on our sheet. At first it took Satori a long time to figure out where the numbers were on this blank chart, but after some practice, she’s a real pro now.

Play it yourself here! Find the 10 hidden bones on the 1-100 number square in less than a minute.

The past month people have been buzzing about Math Mammoth’s huge 40% off sale coming in March at the Homeschool Buyers Co-op. Well this morning I noticed it was already up! If they hit 50 orders, the best discount of 40% off will be offered. I can pretty much guarantee they will hit that mark.

Math Mammoth 40% at Homeschool Buyers Co-op

We use Math Mammoth as a supplement to the more teacher-intensive RightStart B Math. On days I don’t get to RightStart or if we are traveling without our manipulatives, Satori still can get in her math. She usually does 2-3 pages in one lesson. It has a unique combination of being probably the most affordable and easiest to teach out of the math programs available today, while still being extremely effective. This whole program is based on worksheets that are surprisingly easy for the student to teach themselves or learn with minimal parent help. Some people do use it as a stand-alone math program.

Years 1 through 6 can be purchased as the Light Blue full curriculum for just $70.80 (or $11.80 per year). The year is broken up into A and B for each year, and this offering covers up through year 6-B. If you already have a math curriculum, you can supplement with their Blue package, which covers single topics for years 1-6 (1,700 lesson pages) for just $9 a year. If you get their downloadable PDFs, you have to factor in printing expenses of course. Here is our Year 1 A & B printed out and in their binders.

People on the homeschooling forums I hang out on can’t get enough of Math Mammoth. It’s certainly been one of the hottest math topics since they had their last big sale when it went for 40% off before.

Here is the home page for Math Mammoth.

Although Math Mammoth is a mastery program (you cover one topic  until you master it), we like to mix it up a bit and make it more of a spiral. So we’re in 1-B now and reviewing place value, but will be going back to 1-A this week for a month. Here’s a page Satori did today.

Here’s a page we’ll be doing later this spring.

NOTE: I can’t claim to be an Math Mammoth expert, as we’ve only been using it very lightly as a supplement.  I can’t say Satori has learned anything new with Math Mammoth’s methods, as we learn things first in RightStart, and then use these worksheets as a review. We also mix it up instead of the intended order.  Either way, I thought I’d talk a bit about it to let everyone know they can get this math program next month for a great deal. It is a popular math program, and people using anything from Singapore to RightStart to Saxon to (insert math program) have been finding ways to take advantage of Math Mammoth.

If you go through the co-op, I do think you’d have to wait until after it’s finished to get your download or CD. So that means not until early April will you have it available. If you want it faster, head to Kagi store to get it as an instant download at 20% off until Friday, February 25, using the coupon FEBSALE.

I have to admit we’ve fallen behind in our RightStart schedule, as we’ve been doing Math Mammoth. We should really be toward the end of RightStart B, rather than in the middle. This is really one of the more special and amazing curriculum we both love, we’ll be doing this more often to catch up.

Satori keeps asking to do the fun math (RightStart), so here she is, abacus at the ready!

Here’s Lesson 47 out of RightStart B. In this lesson, we work on adding up all the days in a year. At first, this sounds a bit tough for a 6 year old, but not if you do it this way! We first sing the song “30 Days Has September” and make a chart with the months and their days. Then I had Satori guess how many days are in an entire year. She guessed 100.

Using our abacus side 2, we take each month and add up the days. Since January is 31 days, we slide 3 beads over in the 10’s place, and 1 bead in the 1’s place. Every time we add a new month’s days, we read the new number and we ask ourselves if we can “trade”. So after a few months, we are able to trade ten 10-place beads in for one 1-hundred bead. We kept doing this until it was easy to see (below photo), that the total amount of days in 2011 was 365 days!

And here’s the chart Satori made to help her figure out the days in a year.

Here’s a few things we’ve been learning in math and science.

For math we filled 5 different containers all up to the same level. Satori then had to guess which container held the most liquid, and all the way down to which held the least.

She wrote down her estimates on paper and was pretty close. The bowl with the tapered bottom threw her off. We then measured them with measuring cups and wrote down the milliliter amount of liquid.

For science, we learned about sound and sound waves. After experimenting tone and pitch with rubber bands and guitar strings, we then did an experiment to see how the sound waves traveled through the air. The marble experiment was a hit with Satori, really drove the lesson home. This is explained in our science program, Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. We shot one marble at a group of 4 marbles touching each other and only the last shot off. The energy of the moving marble transferred to the next, lost its energy and stopped. The energy kept transferring until it reached the last marble, which was the only one that moved. Just like particles in the air transferring sound waves.

Then we fired up our BrainPop and BrainPop Jr. subscriptions to see what Moby the robot had to say about sound. Satori really thinks he’s so hilarious!

So we love BrainPop, but I have to renew our subscription. They have a 5-day trial if you wanted to check BrainPop out.

This summer we are going to be adding a new math supplement – MEP math! RightStart is fine on its own, but I couldn’t resist peeking into this last week and it looks like it will be a great complement to RS. MEP is a free online math program covering over nine years of math. Several homeschool parents who I respect their curriculum choices all say they love this program, and most use it as a supplement to either RightStart, Singapore, or Miquon (some may use it as a stand-alone).

Satori and I just did the first 7 lessons in 30 minutes tonight out of Year 1A. I can her see zooming through 1A this summer and then slowing down in 1B. So far it was a fresh perspective and Satori loved it. Now we have two fun and effective math programs!

I must admit I spent the entire weekend printing out all the lessons and worksheets and then placed them in cool binders. I’ll give a more thorough review soon.

I know with the co-op there is a big rush to buy RightStart Math this month, and some people have been asking in the homeschool forums and a few emails to me whether they need to get all the manipulatives. The most important manipulative you’ll need is the special AL Abacus. A normal abacus won’t do unless it has the special coloring of 5 beads one color, 5 beads another color and then switching at 50 beads. You’ll want the math card games, but the DVD and manual aren’t necessary for Level A. As for the rest, some households just might have the rest of the manipulatives. If not, you’ll be happy with the normal Level A Starter Kit. (We’ve only done Level A so far, so I can’t answer for other levels.)


A year ago I purchased RightStart math and only got their Level A Starter Kit ($115 at the time), as I couldn’t afford $200 for their Deluxe Starter Kit. Since the Deluxe version is $80 more, I just wanted to assure people that you don’t need to get that, not for Level A. I see their Deluxe kit only got 2.5 stars out of 5 on their own website, although it doesn’t show any review comments. Maybe it’s because other people realize the extra manipulatives aren’t totally needed right away. Here’s the extra 8 things you get.

As mentioned before, you don’t really need the Card Games book (or you can get separately when you’re ready). Most households will have a calculators well as a dry erase board/pen. You can use real coins or may already have plastic ones  on hand, either way, you don’t need the coins right away.

One of the “deluxe” manipulatives is their math balance, which looks pretty neat. However, it is NOT needed for Level A if you already have some sort of scale at home. We just did the only RightStart A lesson that involved a scale today. It was way easier for us to use our simple balance we already had. If you use theirs, you have to add your own home-made pans so you can weigh things – not something I wanted to do. Here’s the scale we used, the Learning Resources Pan Balance Junior – it cost just $16.99. Unfortunately, it is frustratingly inaccurate, even when you adjust it to balance out (see the yellow sliders). Once I finally got the empty scale to balance most of the time, and added some weight to each pan, it worked okay for this simple lesson. So I guess this is my negative review for this particular product. I now see there is a non-Junior version of the Pan Balance that got better reviews. I’m tempted to try that one out.

The very last RightStart lesson uses Geometric Solids, which is included in the Deluxe version, so I had to order that manipulative. I just ordered some on Amazon and got free shipping. But again, some families might already have this on hand, and if not, you have the entire level to get a hold of some geometric solids.

Hopefully this post may help someone out if they’re deciding on purchasing one of the RightStart Starter Kits. I started with the normal Starter Kit, but during the year I did buy the Card Games book, the Math Balance, Plastic Coins from them, and the only thing I’ve used after almost an entire RightStart level was the plastic coins.

We’ll be finishing up RightStart A next week and then we’re taking a break. We’ll be going on summer vacation to National Parks and then mid-July we’ll be starting up RightStart B. Hopefully that level we’ll be able to use our RightStart math balance.