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Mastering Mathematics

Grades: 1-6 (7-8)         Mastery Publications

"Students learn one basic skill at a time - at their own pace - up to their potential - until it is mastered.  Then they review this skill in the next book. Skills aren't divided into artificial, foolish tidbits (called 'grade levels'). With no jumping from skill to skill, confusion is eliminated. Mastering Mathematics has a balanced approach with manipulatives, workbooks, and games.  Pretesting eliminates busy work. Students reading at 2nd-3rd grade reading level can work independently. Parents have no late night preparation.

With the concise Parent's Manual's help, you'll have the most practical, yet flexible, math program available today, teaching the necessary skills for grades 1-6 (some kindergarten counting skills and most of 7th and 8th is also included). And you don't pay for many unnecessary work pages covering simple, everyday skills (thermometers, change, telling time, etc.). Instead, there are many interesting, additional 'step-by-step' teaching suggestions for your individual needs. Curriculum costs are very low (less than $20 per grade level) and all necessary skills are covered.

Presentation can be adjusted for the child's age and attention span. Workbook order can be changed.  Each child is taught where he is and progresses at his own pace.  Workbooks are reproducible for your immediate family, or may be purchased in an economical 6 workbook set or individually.  Practical, realistic assignments - we have no fluffy, impractical, foolish problems - only real life math. Word problems come from the Bible, everyday practical usages, and the Guinness World Book of Records. There are no color pictures in this program to distract or to add to the cost. The workbooks are made with single sided printed pages and a comb binding so children who are visually distractable have it easy focusing on the one problem page.

Pricing: Complete program $136.

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Reviews of Mastering Mathematics

Time: over 7 years

Your situation: I am a mom of five, ages 7-18.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: I love this program by Les Farmer. With this one program, I could teach a child with Down's Syndrome and a profitient math pupil. Gifted students are encouraged to move ahead while struggling students can move slower and still progress. The idea of printing math lessons only on one side of the paper is genius! The blank facing page is less distracting and it allows for plenty of room to work out the problem. The teacher can then easily see the child's work and know how to help him improve. Ms. Farmer is a Christian math teacher. She sees the value in using the Bible to improve word problem skill and graph-reading skills. The program is as its name suggests, a mastery program. A child could easily advance from this program to pre-Algebra in 7th grade.
The teacher's manual comes with practical, fun manipulatives. These are made from sturdy paper and will need to be cut out. Some require brass fasteners. I loved the multiplication wheels. My friend even borrowed some of our Mastering Mathematics manipulatives to help her own public-schooled children over the summer. Even without the whole program, those simple, easy-to-assemble manipulatives were very helpful. There seems to be few problems on each page, but this is to fool the child into practicing more on longer problems. Even a 1st grade child will soon be doing problems like 2147 + 7520 = ____ and 23 + 93 + 73 + 25 = _____ I wish I had found this when my oldest was in first grade.

I don't consider this a downfall, but this program does not directly teach time, measurement, or geometry. The teacher's guide and some of the simple paper manipulatives that are included in the course do allow for the separate teaching of these skills as the teacher deems needed. I grabbed a time and measurement workbook from WalMart and that worked for all my kids. My kids enjoyed the change in format for a short time and the workbooks were cheap as well as easy to use. Some may find that a downfall, so I will mention it here.

Any other helpful hints: Are you willing to think out of the box? That would help your child use this program as it was originally designed. However, Ms. Farmer has included an more standard scope and sequence as an alternative to her order.

Review left June 9, 2011
Time: 5 years

Your situation: Homeschooling 4 children, pre-K through 5th grade.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: I first discovered Mastering Mathematics when looking for a program to tutor my high-school age niece in elementary math. Using the assessements we were able to pinpoint her gaps and fill the holes. Since then I have used Mastering Mathematics as my primary mathematics program for my oldest two children, currently 5th grade and 3rd grade. This year I'll begin another child in the addition level. I only use the workbooks and supplement with our own manipulatives and flash cards. The workbooks are clear, easy to follow, and not overwhelming. The children begin learning how to add large numbers right away, using only 1 and 2 facts, and build upon those facts through the addition book. Once addition is learned, then they move on to learn its opposite subtraction. My oldest daughter actually found it easy to work on multiplication once she finished the addition book. Both my older kids have a great sense of satisfaction when they finish a book and know they can "Add anything" (same with the other operations). My 5th grader has solely used this program, with supplemental worksheets from themathworksheetsite.com when additional practice was needed. Today she is doing what would be 6th grade math. My 3rd grader has a slower time learning and a harder time focuses, the simple pages and the fact everything builds on each other really makes him enjoy math. I look forward to using this program for my younger two children.

Any other helpful hints: - At some point, the bigger numbers in the addition book can be overwhelming for a young student. We found success in putting the book aside and working on another operations (multiplication or subtraction) or using supplemental worksheets from themathworksheetsite.com that focused on facts they still struggled with.

- Sometimes the kids want to learn more about the other operations as well. It's okay to be working in more than workbook at a time. My daughter ususally has two or three going at the same time and she chooses what she wants to work on. It all gets done, but in a way where she feels she has a choice in the outcome.

Grade levels used:  1-2
Time: 2 years

I have only used this program for my first child for 1st and now 2nd grade. you can buy the whole program with teachers manual and consumable workbooks and homemade flashcards and manipulatives for around 150 i think ( can't remember this so check website if interested). The pros to this program are simple teaching method - start with one type problem, master it then move on. The workbooks are very simple, no bright colorful distractive stuff. It is written to the student so if they read well they can do most on their own although my daughter would rather have me explain everything. she's too impatient to try to understand it on her own! The major drawback so far that I see with this program is the terribly disorganized teachers/parents manual. It jumps all over the place and its hard to find the information you need at times. Also the manipulatives take forever to put together although the games did motivate my daughter at first to enjoy math a little more. For math fact memorization they have you drill with flashcards but I like a written record so we are using calculadder for this. Bottom line on this program is right now I don't see anything better, and even though my daughter does not like drill she likes this program and seems to have a good understandig of math concepts so far. Also I noticed in reviews of Making Math Meaningful no Temp. and Time and measurement stuff is included. This program does have all of that.

Karen Munsell

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