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 oldfashionededucation.com 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. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mep-homeschoolers/
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!|
|Lesson Plans 2 to a page|
|Lesson plans 4 to a page|
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|
|MEP Y4b ready to go for the year.|
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.