Why am I aligning Math Mammoth to Common Core Standards

Someone recently was wondering if perhaps aligning Math Mammoth curriculum to Common Core standards wasn't a good idea, or at least wasn't going to help them any, because they have found value in curricula outside of American ones.

So why am I doing that?

I have known of Common Core standards for a few years, but in December 2011 I noticed that nearly all states were or are going to implement them. So, they are in essence providing a framework for a national curriculum in mathematics.

So, I decided to consider them, and to take a closer look at the standards. And I realized that Common Core standards aren't that "bad." They are NOT like most state standards have been, "inch deep and mile wide," with tons of topics per grade.

These are "core" standards, meaning there aren't a huge amount of them per grade. So it's a BIG improvement over many of the states' standards.

I also noticed that some of the "core" standards were already in place in Math Mammoth, such as a focus on single-digit multiplication in third grade, or multi-digit multiplication in 4th, or fractions in 5th.

I liked the fact that the standards explicitly mentioned some mental math!

Also, I am not fundamentally changing the teaching approach or style in Math Mammoth. Aligning to the Common core is more a question of reorganizing topics, moving some topics to a different grade, than anything else.

Yes, I've added a few little things they require such as measuring how much longer one thing is than another, or problems with unknowns shown with shapes, or asking children to divide a shape into quarters.  But it is not affecting the development of major concepts.

At the same time, I have also revised many of the lessons and made them better -- this is happening regardless of the standards. It's just when I see my earlier work, I find ways to improve it.

I hope this helps!


Stephen said…
My main complaint with the Michigan standards (GLCE - Grade Level Content Expectations) is with ambiguitiy in how far to go with a concept. One set of tests books had some of the exact same pages for 7th grade algebra and 8th grade algebra. Looking it up, it was possible to interpret the page as fulfilling both grade level standards. (I'd still have preferred if the example problem were altered at least a little.) Also, a 7th grade summer school math program looked like the 8th grade math with only quadratics left out. And 8th grade algebra only got to quadratics at the very end.
Standards are nice, but inflexible. Students come with different learning rates. Standards punish the slower students by making them feel that they're behind while they pushish faster students through neglect. While everyone should be able to balance their checkbook, we also need people who can cope with Partial Differential Equations with Boundary Value Problems (rocket science).
The Willies said…
Hi Maria,
Thanks for explaing this! I appreciate what you're doing and agree with your decision to line things up. You've obviously thought through it. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can start with a given curriculum, but if it's too difficult or too easy for the child, then it's pretty easy for us to adjust up or down for the child.

I know I may be in the minority for homeschoolers, but I like knowing that if something were to happen to our circumstances and our children returned to p.s., then it's nice to know they'll have around the same skills as their grade-level peers. If they are ahead or behind, I would want that to be because that's what their needs are - a conscious decision made on our part. But if there is no apparent need for remediation or acceleration, then keeping with the common standards seems like a good idea to me.

If we buy on the current sale - are these products the ones you've already aligned and updated with the improvements you mentioned? If not, when do you expect that to be finished?

Thanks for all you do for the homeschooling community! I haven't yet used your products - my dd is only 5 - but I look forward to trying it out next year. I'm overseas and I very much appreciate that your products are digital, reusable, and very affordable!
Maria Miller said…
Currently (May 2012) grades 1 and 2 are aligned and the other grades not, so that's what you will get if you purchase now.

I hope to have grade 3 in June 2012, and then each grade about 2 months after the previous.
I should know said…
Hey Maria,

I will need sixth -eighth grade. When are they going to be ready for purchase.

Maria Miller said…
Well, I'm currently working on 4th. I am afraid 6th grade may be early next year. Then I will embark on writing a 7th grade curriculum which will take months. I'm not planning to have a full 8th grade curriculum.

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