So, I will say upfront that I don’t really have an opinion on whether math mastery or math spiral works best. Instead I will tell you what I do and why I call it math mastery. I will also add that since I am homeschooling my daughter, I am able to completely tailor the curriculum for her learning style. My actual opinion is that the reason my daughter is successful with math has more to the tweaks I’ve made our daily math sessions.
I use Math Mammoth. This curriculum is considered math mastery, and that is why I call our homeschool approach math mastery. I have to tell you though that it is probably a mixture of mastery and spiral approach. Right now we are in the middle of the 3rd grade school year. She knows addition and subtraction up to 3 digits, and multiplication tables up to 12. From second grade she also knows simple division and basic fraction concepts. She will cover these in more detail toward the end of the school year.
Every single week, we review addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. I do this review in the form of games. I’ve put quite a few here on this website. I know that since my daughter is more of a tactile learner, all math review needs to happen with games. Not necessarily iPad or computer games, but games that allow her to touch dice or dominoes or cards. She’s not too interested in math in general, she’d rather practice her dance lessons. But, she loves games, any games. Sometimes I’m able to teach a new concept by just playing a new game. She has no problem struggling through new concepts if there’s a fun goal at the end.
Right now in Math Mammoth we are going over time followed by money. We are still playing games. I bought a wonder time game from Teachers Pay Teachers. In this game the players are zoo keepers and they need to feed the animals at certain times. She loves this game and has requested it every day this week. We also play a money game that is essentially money war. Money War uses cards that have pictures of coins on each card. The player with the most amount of money wins the round.
For the rest of the school year, we will continue discovering games as we encounter new math concepts or she just gets bored of the old games. So in our case, math master with a little bit of spiral and a lot of fun games works best for my daughter.