Math Mammoth Review: Great budget-friendly choice for busy families

Math Mammoth Review and Buying GuideOverview

Math Mammoth offers a complete math curriculum for first grade through seventh-grade pre-algebra, plus options for remediation on specific topics. It streamlines math teaching more than any other curriculum I’ve seen.

All of the instruction and practice is contained in one easy-to-use “worktext,” a combination textbook and workbook that guides students step-by-step through each math concept. There is no additional teacher’s guide, since the worktext includes all of the teaching.

Students write directly in the worktext as they solve problems. Word problems, cumulative review, and mental math practice are also included.

Conceptual understanding in Math Mammoth

Like RightStart and Singapore Math, Math Mammoth is strong at teaching children to understand math concepts and not just memorize procedures. It is a mastery-oriented program, so each concept is thoroughly developed before moving on to the next concept.

The worktext breaks concepts into chunks and then gradually leads children through each part until they understand the whole idea. For example, when learning multi-digit subtraction, the process of regrouping is taught first, so that children are very comfortable with the concept of regrouping before they apply it to subtraction.

Visuals in Math Mammoth

To help children develop deep understanding, Math Mammoth frequently uses pictures and diagrams, like ten-frames, pictures of base-ten blocks, and number lines. The author describes these pictures as what she would draw on the board if she were teaching the material live to a class of students. These visuals are also used to teach mental math.

There is a lot of emphasis on developing kids’ number sense and mental math skills, with frequent practice included throughout the lessons. Some math fact drill is included in the lessons, although the author explains that most students need extra drill as well. (And I agree!)

Is Math Mammoth really “self-teaching?”

Because all instruction is in the worktext, Math Mammoth advertises itself as “practically self-teaching” with “only a little teacher involvement needed.” This is terrific marketing—Maria Miller sure knows what busy parents are looking for when it comes to math curriculum!

But, I’ve personally used Math Mammoth with several of my tututoring students, and it is definitely NOT self-teaching. Unless you have an extremely diligent, responsible, and detail-oriented older child, do not expect that your child will be able to use Math Mammoth completely independently.

The vast majority of children need to be able to talk through concepts, ask questions, and know that their parent is invested in their math learning. Plus, it’s very easy for children to rush through an assignment without reading the explanation or thoroughly examining the visual models presented in the lesson. They may get the answers right without actually understanding the material, which leads to major problems down the road.

Teaching guidance for parents

Math Mammoth’s greatest drawback is that it provides very little guidance for parents. There are no lesson plans or teaching notes provided. Having all the instruction contained in the worktext is great as long as the student learns well through reading and as long as the method presented in the worktext makes sense to the student. But, when a student is struggling, the book doesn’t provide much help.

Each chapter opens with an overview for parents, plus a list of links for games and worksheets for further practice. However, these notes don’t explain the math content or provide alternate ways to teach the material. If your child hits a wall in Math Mammoth, be prepared to slow down, print some supplementary worksheets, and do some research on other ways to present the concept. The author has some good videos and explanations on her website, but you’ll need to dig around a bit to find the help you need.  (You might also want to take a look at my articles on how to teach a math lesson and how to make the most of independent math curriculum for ideas on how to plan your Math Mammoth lessons.)

Hands-on teaching in Math Mammoth

Most children, especially young ones, learn math best when they use some hands-on manipulatives to make abstract math concepts more concrete. Math Mammoth recommends using a 100-bead abacus for the younger grades, as well as some basic measuring equipment (like a ruler and scale) for measurement chapters.

Other than that, the author feels that the visuals in the worktext are sufficient for children to understand the concepts. This may be true for some children, but many will need more physical objects to manipulate in order to thrive in math. If your child has trouble with Math Mammoth, add some concrete manipulatives to make the lessons more hands-on and tactile. (You can learn how to create your own free math manipulative kit here.)

How much time does Math Mammoth take?

Math Mammoth is on the lower end of the scale when it comes to parent-directed teaching time. Five to ten minutes of direct instruction is enough for many lessons, and some may require even less. Parents report that their older children usually finish their assignment each day in 30-40 minutes, but of course this varies depending on the child.

What about kindergarten?

Math Mammoth begins in first grade. The author provides a suggested list of skills for children to learn during the kindergarten year, as well as a few activity suggestions.

If you’d like to use a formal program rather than making up your own activities, I recommend either Kindergarten Math with Confidence or Singapore Essential Math. Both cover these skills well and prepare children for the number skills in Math Mammoth’s first grade worktext. Plus, they’re inexpensive and don’t require you to invest in multi-year manipulative sets!

So, should I buy Math Mammoth or not?

Math Mammoth may be a great fit for you if:

  • Your child thinks logically and likes math presented visually.
  • Your child is comfortable with paper-and-pencil learning.
  • Your child likes to work independently (or you’re willing to sit next to your child and guide her while she completes the worktext.)
  • You’re willing to spend some time on research when your child struggles with a concept.
  • Your child doesn’t need a ton of day-to-day review of math concepts. (Review is included at the end of each chapter, but not on a daily basis.)

Math Mammoth may not be the right choice if:

  • You feel anxious about teaching math and want clear guidance and support.
  • Your child struggles with fine-motor skills or doesn’t like to do a lot of writing.
  • Your child needs clear, easy-to-understand workbook pages with consistent formatting. (Math Mammoth tends to have a mishmash of colors and formats.)
  • Your child struggles with reading or understanding printed information.
  • Your child learns best through hands-on activities or conversation.
  • Your child needs lots of review for math concepts to stick well.

How much does Math Mammoth cost?

Math Mammoth is very budget-friendly, but how much you spend depends on which format you buy. You can currently buy the entire curriculum (grades 1-7) on CD for only $150 at Rainbow Resource. (Bear in mind that you’ll have to add printing costs, which can add up.) Once you own the CD, you’re able to print as many copies as you need for your own family. This is an incredible value, especially for a large family.

The printed books are also very affordable, at about $25 per year. Check out my Math Mammoth Buying Guide for more details on how to purchase.


Math Mammoth is a budget-friendly curriculum that develops thorough conceptual understanding and number sense with a minimum of hands-on teaching time. As long as you stay involved in your child’s math learning and are ready to jump in when necessary, Math Mammoth is a great choice for busy families.

If Math Mammoth isn’t what you’re looking for, don’t worry! There are many excellent homeschool math programs out there. Check out my curriculum page for reviews of my other favorite programs to help you find one that’s a good fit for your family.

This is my honest opinion of the program;  I was not paid or compensated in any way for the review.

Updated May 2020. Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. If you buy an item through an affiliate link, I may receive a commission, at no additional cost to you.

Please note that comments are closed on this post. If you have a question, you can contact me here

30 thoughts on “Math Mammoth Review: Great budget-friendly choice for busy families”

  1. I’ve been using Math Mammoth for 5 years with two children. We love it! My son is now in algebra and this curriculum prepared him very well and he is quite successful. Maria Miller has always been available to answer my questions and offer advice. I tried numerous math programs with my older kids, but once I found Math Mammoth, I’ve never been tempted to switch. We really like the recommended games and websites. My kids score way above grade level on the Stanford Achievement Test, but most importantly, they like math!

  2. That’s awesome that it’s been such a great fit for you, KJ. I’ve heard about Maria Miller’s availability from other people as well–what fantastic support to have!

  3. Thank you for this review! Very helpful! We are currently using SM here at our house, but I think I may try this out as it is much more friendly to our budget (we have four kiddos;). They are running a sale at Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op ’till the 31st as well!

  4. Hi Kate,
    I use Math Mammoth with my daughter, turning 7 this week. We are in 1B, so just finishing up 1st grade. Before that we used Horizons and when we switched she was much happier. I have found that I need to sit with her for a few minutes of instruction at the beginning of each lesson so that she clearly understands the concepts. For a while I let her do it on her own, and she was doing fine, but have found that she grasps the concepts a little better when we have that instruction time. I also until about a month ago to get the abacus because she is really great at mental math so I didn’t think she needed it. I decided to get it and wish I had done it a lot sooner! We basically use it during the instruction time. It seems to really help cement the concepts visually in her mind and once she has it, she has it and then is able to move on and complete the rest of the lesson mentally with more ease. We are really happy so far with the program. I also just purchased your Addition Facts That Stick at the HSB this weekend and am looking forward to using it with all three of our kids.

  5. Isn’t it amazing what a difference a few minutes of instruction can make? There’s just something about a live person that a workbook can’t replace. I always have to keep this in mind, especially for the subjects where I’d rather just hand off a workbook..

    So glad that Math Mammoth and the abacus are working well for your daughter, and I hope Addition Facts That Stick is just as helpful!

  6. Just found your blog thanks to your wonderful interview with Pam Barnhill on Your Morning Basket, and I’m digging in here. I wanted to mention. Math Mammoth can often be found at a discount. Sometimes the website itself runs a % off sale; or Curri-Click, or Homeschool Buyers Co-Op.

    Also wanted to share for future readers, that Math Mammoth offers a few editions — an entire grade available for purchase, or a topic that needs reinforcement, which can be purchased individually.

    I grabbed MM during a can’t-pass-it-up sale at Homeschool Buyers Co-Op, and I use it from time to time, but primarily we use RightStart.

    Looking forward to adding some beautiful math to our morning time 😀

  7. I listened to your interview with Pam Barnhill and went to check out your site. Looking over your recommendations, we switched to Math Mammoth and bought the published books from Rainbow Resource (so much easier for me to have it already printed). We have had a very happy year with math for THREE children (3rd, 2nd, 1st)! We had our 5th baby this year and all the kids are ages 9 and under. I agree that Math Mammoth is very family friendly. Thank you so much for your help and recommendation!

  8. I am currently trying MM 1A with my 6.5 and 7 year old. They are both around p.40. I heard so many people recommend it, but it frustrates my children so much. Even though I demonstrate what to do they both get confused, and end up in tears by the end of the lesson.

  9. Hi Kate, I am currently trying to find a math curriculum for my daughter, who will be starting kindergarten next year. I was not homeschooled but we intend to homeschool our children. I am in the research process right now and there’s a LOT of information out there.

    She enjoys hands-on activities quite a bit more than sitting and doing a workbook, but that could just be her attention span right now (she turned 4 in October). We started Mathseeds recently as they have a 4-week free trial and she is really enjoying that, but it’s presented as more of a game and very interactive. Her sense of numbers and counting is very good already (she can count groups of items in her head without having to point and count in both Spanish and English, and is learning to tell time, etc).

    We live in Canada and I want to start with a program that is going to be compatible with our currency, metric system, etc. Is there one that you would recommend for this and possibly for her? Do any of the curriculums you have reviewed have this option? I’m hoping for one that is not too pricey to start with. Thanks!

  10. Hi Stephanie,

    I use Math Mammoth and I’m an American in Canada. I teach both currencies to our children. Math Mammoth comes with many alternate chapters to the money chapter for first grade. (all the English-speaking countries, perhaps?)

    Another Kate (not the author of this website)

  11. Just to clarify, I have the digital version of 1-A and 1-B light blue Math Mammoth. These come with multiple chapter options for the money chapter. Just print whichever one(s) you need for your children. I don’t know what the printed Math Mammoth books contain.

    Kate (not the author of this website)

  12. Hi Stephanie,

    Both Math Mammoth and RightStart allow you to customize your package to include Canadian money. Math Mammoth doesn’t have a kindergarten program, though, so you woukldn’t be able to start that until 1st grade. RightStart is a wonderful hands-on program, but it is quite spendy so it may be more than you’re looking to spend. Instead, I’d look at Singapore Essential Math. It’s a thorough kindergarten program with lots of suggestions for hands-on activities, and it’s quite inexpensive–$25 for the year, I believe. You can use household items for manipulatives, so you don’t have to buy much else. It doesn’t include any coin work, so you can just use Canadian coins to reinforce the concepts. I have more details about it over on my Singapore review if you’d like to learn more.

    Happy Math!

  13. Thanks so much for the response, Kate (and Kate)! 🙂

    I like the idea of the RightStart Math, but am a bit hesitant to invest so much for the first year. I have also considered the Math Mammoth option and I see now that you can select the Canadian version, that’s great to know. Too bad there’s no kindergarten option!

    I think we will start with the Singapore Essential Math for now. Would it be fairly difficult to switch to RightStart for Grade 1 if we chose to, or even to Math Mamoth? I will see how she does with this for now, although I suspect she will enjoy it.

    One more thing, do you think it would be too advanced to start her on this already in January or should I wait until next fall?


  14. Hi Stephanie,

    You’d be fine jumping into either RightStart or Math Mammoth after Singapore Essentials. Your daughter would likely be fine starting book A this winter–just feel free to take it slowly or pause if she finds anything too challenging.

    JumpMath looks intriguing, but I’m not familiar enough with it to be able to say much about it. The concept development looks excellent, but the wordy teacher’s manuals could be a little much for one-on-one teaching. It looks quite similar to Math Mammoth in developing concepts step-by-step, so if you like the looks of JumpMath, Math Mammoth might be a good, more-homeschool-friendly option.


  15. Has anyone run the numbers on if it is cheaper to purchase the full curriculum CD and print at home vs buying the books each year? $151.95 currently for grades 1-7 with EVERYTHING is so tempting!! But I also am not sure how much the printing of each book will cost in addition.

  16. Hi Lauren,

    Unfortunately, I think it depends a lot on what kind of printer you have and what kind of ink you use–so someone else’s calculations wouldn’t necessarily match your situation. $150 for a full curriculum sure feels like a great deal…but as you say, that ink can definitely add up!

    Happy Math!

  17. Hi Kate,
    I would love some advice. I have two daughters, 6 and 8. The younger one excels in math and has almost caught up with her older sister. The older one is gifted with reading but has struggled with math from the beginning, despite lots of time and effort from both of us. She gets the basic concepts but has great difficulty focusing and processing multi-step problems (such as three digit subtraction with borrowing). We started with RightStart for first grade. It was fun for a while but we hit a wall. It seemed to demonstrate concepts through manipulatives and expect her to intuitively figure them out, without a lot of direct explanation, and she couldn’t. I also didn’t know how to explain everything. Each math session ended with tears. Finally we switched to Math Mammoth for second grade. She learned the concepts but frequently got lost in multi-step problems. She struggles to understand that she can’t subtract a bigger number from a smaller number, despite 40+ examples and explanations. She could not focus through the long workbook pages. I would need to sit with her and do part of with her orally, almost daily, just to get through two pages in 1 to 1.5 hours (first thing in the morning when she was fresh). After so many hours she got only 78% on the 2nd grade end of year test–and obviously needs remediation. I need help figuring out what do to now. I am considering Math U See, but I don’t want to redo the entire second grade year. I’m also not sure it would help her to focus. I’m considering Teaching Textbooks, since it is said to be easier and the immediate feedback might help her focus. I’m not sure if she’d learn all the concepts well in the long run. I could stick with Math Mammoth, but I can hardly bear the thought of endless 1+ hours per day to get through the workbooks. And I really need a fresh approach to make some concepts more clear. I can’t just do more of the same indefinitely. I’ll be grateful for any suggestions.

  18. Hi Nicole,

    Oof! First off, give yourself a huge pat on the back for persevering through the second grade year with MM. That sounds tough for both of you, and you absolutely need a different direction.

    You mention 3 different programs. Here’s my take on them for your situation.

    1. Teaching Textbooks. Don’t do it! It can work for some kids, but I predict it would be a disaster for your daughter. She’d likely limp through the year with decent scores because she learned to pattern-match, and then you’d find at the end of the year that she didn’t remember a thing.

    2. Math Mammoth. More than an hour for math is too much! Many families only do about half the problems, so you could continue and do less each day. But it sounds like you need a new approach to helping your daughter learn.

    3. Math-U-See. I think MUS could be a great fit for your daughter. The clear, step-by-step instruction and simple worksheets might work very well for her. However, I do think that you would want to go back to Beta to get those place-value concepts down and develop a deeper understanding of addition and subtraction before moving on to multiplication. I think it would pay off in the long run, but I get why you don’t want to.

    One other option to consider would be Rod and Staff. It’s not nearly as conceptual as the others, but it provides a lot of practice and incremental review, which can be really helpful for kids who struggle with math. You’d want to look at a placement test, but I’d expect that your daughter would be fine starting with the third grade book. It’s much simpler than MM at the third-grade level, but it gradually ramps up to the point where children are definitely where they need to be by the end of sixth grade (and ready for pre-algebra).

    Hugs, and happy math!

  19. Hi Kate, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me. I am wondering, if we went with Math-U-See Beta, is it possible just to pick the areas she is weak in and skip the rest? Or is it essential to the concept building that we do the whole book from start to finish? Alternately, if I wanted to do remedial work for a couple months then continue with Math Mammoth, do you know of any online or other program that would be good for remedial practice (without doing a full year curriculum)? Ha, I realize Math Mammoth can be good for that, but I’m looking for something different. Thank you!

  20. Hi Nicole,

    If you went with MUS, I’d suggest doing every lesson, but not necessarily every problem. So, if you get to a topic that she’s already proficient with, you can just review it quickly, do a couple problems to check, and then move on to the next lesson. No need to spend a year on it if she only needs a couple months of consolidation and review.

    Online programs change so quickly that I don’t keep up with them very well. But I have used Dreambox with my own daughter and thought it was excellent. It builds number sense well for kids your daughter’s age and provides lots of practice in a fun way.

    Happy Math!

  21. Hi!!

    I’m finding all your information super helpful. I have 3 out of my 5 that are being homeschooled this year, 4, 6 and 7 year old boys. I’m struggling to find a math curriculum. We tried MathUSee previously and wanted to shift this year to something else. I LOVE the Horizons curriculum but our charter doesn’t pay for any religious curriculum. I’m debating on paying out of pocket since I’m not sure what secular math would be comparable. RightStart seems a little overwhelming. I do love that MathMammoth could be a shorter amount of time when doing it individually. Any insight would be helpful!

    Thank you,

  22. Hi Raelene,

    Horizons is pretty unique, with the colorful pages and spiral review. Probably the closest secular curriculum is Saxon, but it’s not nearly as cheerful and colorful. Math Mammoth is quite different than Horizons, since it has a mastery and conceptual approach and much less review. But it would likely take a little less time. 🙂

    Happy Math!

  23. I just want to thank you! We have used the Addition Facts That Stick and my daughter loves math now! We love the games!! We are also using Math Mammoth and are so happy to find that you recommend it as well! It not only teaches math concepts thoroughly , but I love the way it trains her thought process as well.

  24. Can you help me decide what sort of plan I should have for daily/weekly lesson plans? I don’t want to pay the $14.95 for Homeschool Planet access that I do not need in order to get the MM lesson plans created by a man who wants royaltie for it through Homeschool Planet… Just wondering if some smart mom out there has already figured out a lesson schedule (I am specifically looking at Grade 3).

  25. Hi Melissa,

    Here’s an article I wrote about teaching great homeschool math lessons. It might give you some ideas on how to organize your days. Other than that, most families just try to do a certain number of pages per day of Math Mammoth. (One other tip: When I use it as a tutor, I have my students do a few problems from the cumulative reviews at the end of the chapter so that they have daily ongoing review. )

    Happy Math!

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