My Math Curriculum Pick
Growing up I never enjoyed math. It was one of the few subjects I actually had to work at to make a good grade. So when I began homeschooling, I wanted to give my children a solid understanding of math. I did not want them to just memorize facts and formulas as I did in school.
There are many good math curriculums available to homeschooling families. I want to share which one we use and why I’ll be sticking with it. It is called MEP (Mathematics Enhancement Programme). As you probably guessed based on the spelling, MEP is from Britain. As far as I understand, the program was originally developed in Hungary, which is a country ahead of students in the United States in mathematics. In the 8th grade, Hungary is ranked 6th in the world in mathematics with the USA in 14th place. To see it for yourself, click here.
This of course immediately intrigued me. Then I find out that the whole program from Year 1 past Calculus is absolutely free. It is all on-line; you just have to print out the student worksheet pages. You simply download the year you need and print it out. It sounds too good to be true.
A video documentary of Hungarian students doing math in class sold me on MEP completely. The children at all levels seemed to truly grasp the mathematical concepts. They were trained to do most of their figuring mentally. I sat back and watched them work complex problems in their little heads with amazement.
I know that we live in a technological world, but as a parent and teacher, I want my children to be able to do math without the aid of calculators and computers. I want them to be able to function when the electricity goes out or the batteries in their calculator die.
Now that three of my children have almost finished a complete year of MEP math at their own level, I have decided to use MEP all through their schooling. MEP teaches math differently than how I was taught. Sometimes I have to refer to the free teacher’s notes in order to figure out what the program is teaching. I have honestly learned as much if not more than my children this year. I actually enjoy math for the first time in my life. My husband is amazed at the way our daughter, Kyla, can figure out math in her head. The strategies are unlike any I was exposed to in school, including college.
Since it is a British program, it is heavy in the metric system and uses pounds instead of dollars. Science is filled with metric units; therefore, I feel my kids are getting great exposure to this way of measuring. Additionally once I explained to my children what pounds were, my children never had a problem with the symbol on the page. They just pretend the question is asking for dollars. These “problems” were not problems in my household.
I highly recommend watching the documentary produced by the BBC called “Primary Maths – How Do They Do It in Hungary?” To view it, you do have to register at teacher.tv. It is free and easy. Then download the video. If you like what you see and want to know more, go to http://www.cimt.plymouth.ac.uk/projects/mep/default.htm to see what the program offers. Keep in mind that the program is advanced. I placed my children a year under their grade level. This was recommended by the MEP-homeschoolers yahoo group. As this article could not possibly address all the information, questions, and concerns you might have, feel free to contact me or search out the yahoo groups posts. They have a lot of information for beginners in their group’s files.