Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What's Working Wednesdays: Mathematics Enhancement Programme (FREE math curriculum!)

 What's Working Wednesday is my weekly post to showcase something that is working for me or my family at the moment. It may not work for us forever and it may or may not work for you.

Several years ago I was looking for free or cheap homeschool curriculum because we had no place in our budget to buy school materials. I came across and they recommended the Mathematics Enhancement Programme from Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching. I looked into it and discovered that they offered all the teachers manuals, practice books and other resources for free on their website in PDF form. I decided it was worth a shot and printed the first year out for my oldest.

I always tell people that we started using it because it is free and have continued using it because we love it. We really do enjoy MEP and I love how it approaches math (ex. basic algebra concepts are introduced in the first week of Y1 and they have really creative ways to introduce multiplication, negative numbers, etc).

Before starting using the program you may want to know a few of things:
1. It is based out of the UK so all measurement lessons are in metric (standard units of measurement will have to be taught with other materials or just in normal life with your kids since that is probably what you are used to anyway.). I love that it teaches in metric since metric is base 10 which makes math problems so much more simple!
2. Also, since it is based out of the UK, all money math problems are in pounds and pence. I usually just have my kids write dollar signs instead of a pound signs. One thing that gets a little confusing is that we don't have 2 cent coins here in the US so you get to be creative with a few lessons in early years. It's also brought up interesting conversations about money in other countries.
3. It is designed for a classroom so not all activities are easily converted to homeschool use where there is often a much smaller class size. You can skip those activities or just get creative. One way that I have gotten around it in early grades was to have the kids use their stuffed animals as classmates. This past year Caleb had to graph his classmates' birth months and I put out of request on facebook and instead of having just 4 students in his class he had about 150 ;)
4. There is a great yahoo group with other homeschoolers using the program. I would recommend joining it as these other homeschooling parents are a great resource when you have questions since this is probably not how you were taught math.
5. You will not need much space to store it. (I did Saxon K for kindergarten for my kids and I think that it took more space to store that material, which I had to pull out all the time, than it takes to store the 6 years of math curriculum for MEP, of which I only need 4 of those 11 folders for my 4 students out at a time!)
6 years of Math curriculum in less than 12cm space!

We really love MEP and think that others will to so I want to do a little tutorial thing about how I set up MEP for my classroom.

1. Get folders with brads in the middle. These are so cheap this time of the year (a couple of the folders that we use we already had as you can see for Y4b). I bought them all in blue so blue = math in my house which makes Math folders easy to keep track of. You will need 2 of these per student, one for each semester. Here is all we need for math for this fall. As you can see it is very easily transportable.

Our Math Curriculum for the first half of the year!
 2. Print Lesson Plans.  The first couple of years we used MEP I printed these in duplex, two to a page (as you can see in Y2a's folder) but now I print them in duplex 4 to a page (as you can see in Y4b's folder). I duplex and do multiple sheets to a page to save paper, toner, and space. I hole punch them and put them in the brad section of the folder. (NOTE: a laser printer is a GREAT investment for a homeschooler). You can just look at these lesson plans on your computer if you'd prefer not to print them out. I like having paper in my hand though and a place to scribble down notes for this year and future years in the lesson plans though. I store these after one child is done with it until it is the next child's turn.
Lesson Plans 2 to a page
Lesson plans 4 to a page
3. Print Practice Book.   I print these in duplex as well but just one sheet to a page. I put these in the left hand pocket of the folder. Below are a couple of pages from Y2a's Practice Book.

3. Print an Answer Key. This is not absolutely necessary but has been helpful to me so someone else can grade the work. To make my key I printed the practice pages in duplex, 4 sheets to a page and then did the work myself. I could have gotten most of the answers by looking through the lesson plans but #1 I am a math geek and #2 I also wanted to see what the kids would be doing. Since I have been using MEP from the beginning and store the old sets I only have to do one set of answer keys a semester and I am about half way through Y6a already and school hasn't even started yet. I've been bringing it with me to work on in the car or while watching the kids during swim lessons. The kids think that it's fun catching my mistakes in the key as well. I store the key in the right hand pocket of the folder.
Key for Y2a
 4. Have fun exploring Math with your kids.

MEP Y4b ready to go for the year.
Most of my links here are to the primary curriculum materials. They also have materials for secondary math on the CIMT MEP website as well but I haven't used them yet so I am not sure if they are set up differently. There is a helpful scheme of work to help you see at a glance what will be covered throughout the year. I don't have the website memorized. To find it I always google "CIMT MEP" and it is the first link.

We really enjoy MEP and I hope you do too. If you have questions feel free to ask me or get on the MEP Homeschoolers Yahoo Group and ask there.

1 comment:

  1. Michelle Hawken10:39 AM

    Hello! This was helpful for me, I am homeschooling my daughter (kindergarten) and am looking for a free math curriculum. I would love your lesson plans/keys, is MEP y1 meant for kindergarten?


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