4 Nov 2010

Yay, Jemimah!

I suppose we really ought to include deportment and lady-like posture as classes for next year, shouldn't we? At least we're working on flexibility though...and lolly eating... and getting our daily dose of Vitamin D. All while doing maths. Multitaskers extraordinaire, we are.

This is Jemimah completing her final lesson of MEP Book 4a. It was last week actually, but I forgot to show you, and she had asked me ever so nicely if I would tell you that she was up to her new book that I really had to rectify that omission as soon as I realised it.

We're working on fractions and decimals at the minute. They're a nice break from written calculations of numbers up to 10 000, which it seemed like we'd been doing forever. A few weeks of geometry were a pleasant reprieve as well.

We're still loving MEP. That doesn't mean that every day is fun and easy. A lot of the time maths is the subject that Jemimah chooses last - so that when it's done school's over for the day - but the spiral form of the programme means that no topic is around for long. "If you don't like what we're doing then just wait for next Monday" is our philosophy, and mostly it works.

Amongst my likes are MEP's emphasis on mental maths, and its use of precise and correct mathematical terminology. I love the variety of exercises. A lesson might include setting up a shop to practice using money; measuring weights and capacity; or using manipulatives like Cuisinaire rods or number cards. We might have a mental drill type exercise practicing multiplication facts, followed by a couple of practical applied maths problems and a puzzle. All this keeps boredom to a minimum - in our peaceful home, anyhow.

You hear of mums changing maths curricula nearly as often as they change their clothes. Personally I see little value. For me a maths curriculum is merely a tool that reassures me that I've not left too many gaps. It is not necessary to follow it slavishly, and, in fact, it seems foolish to even attempt to do so. As homeschoolers, we are in the enviable position of being able to tailor the education process to fit our children's unique learning requirements. It would be crazy to not take advantage of this. To me this is not a matter of changing the curriculum, but rather tweaking the one you already have to ensure that it fits your child's needs. MEP's presentation makes this easy.

Unless you insist on sitting like this while you're doing it, that is...

Well done, Jemimah.


  1. Encouraging post, Jeanne! Great job, Jemimah!

    I'm one of those Moms who wishes there haven't been so many math programs to choose from. I'm learning to settle with what we have, and you've given very wise advice here to just tweak it instead of starting over with something new all of the time. So glad this one is working for you!

  2. For me, because I am so bad at math, it's the tweaking that is hard to stop. I love Math U See, but I still have to "do" it and I have to stop myself from changing methods every time it gets hard.

  3. All of the things you mentioned about MEP are what I enjoy about it also. It's a perfect fit for ONE of my dc. The other was completely flummoxed by the approach. Apparently she needs to sit on things awhile, digest them a bit, go slower, etc. And as a home schooling family, we can choose what's best for each child. Hallelujah!

    Very nice split, Jemimah!

  4. Yayy, Jemimah!!

    It's because I love maths so very much that I needed to switch! The programmes either failed to really teach math by instead teaching tricks & shortcuts or had success in pummeling my children to death.

    I'm so glad I found MEP (through you)! It's a keeper indeed. (:

  5. Way to go Jemimah...doing the splits that is and for finishing MEP 4a of course! xxx

  6. yay! My boys are so excited when they finish a book too! I print them off one section at a time now, and so they're happy to feel they're making faster progress! Cullen just finished his y5a3 (or something like that?) today and so he'll get a freshly printed book to work from tomorrow!

    He's a smidge older than Jemimah will be when she gets to where he is, but we had to deal with the whole transfer thing when switching curriculums... you know almost like learning a new language! now, both boys are happy MEPers for the most part... of course they probably wouldn't choose math as their favorite either. But it's manageable. :)

    My Bria is SO proud to be able to do the splits as well! She's been working really hard at it for ballet! :) She's finally acheived the hands-free stage! Keep up the good work, Jemimah!

    amy in peru

  7. Wow! I could never sit like that ~ even when I was eight!!!!
    Good job. I always felt the same about not chopi\ping and changing. If you stick with it, you will cover it all, in the end. Sounds as though you are winding up for the year. Isn't it exciting!

  8. Well done Jemimah! I bet you love not being stuck behind a desk:)

  9. Congrats Jemimah for finishing!
    Really, you love MEP that much? That's awesome. Does it require heaps of work from a time stretched mummy with 4 children?

  10. You totally STOLE my words. In our local group there was a mom asking about curriculum choices for her son, another who had tried several curriculum, and I wrote what you said about slaving the program, sticking to something to be sure we'll cover the major aspects of maths, not following to obsession, introducing other things to reinforce what's not secured...in tackier foreign sounding words what you've expressed in plain and beautiful English.

  11. Hi Sibella, I wouldn't say that we love maths, but I think MEP's pretty good. It is rigorous, and significantly higher in level than what Jemimah's contemporaries are doing in public school. I am so glad we found this programme right from the beginning.

    The first couple of years are fairly 'teacher' intensive. I'd say you would need to allow 25-30 mins for maths, with mum spending 10 minutes with each child alone during that time. I only have the one, but I think it would be doable. What do other MEP mums reckon?

  12. On a different note, I saw you were thinking about getting a kindle. Maybe you know, but Blossom is compiling the books from AO in this list for the kindle

    About MEP. I am doing the first year and it's more intensive because it's more direct one on one, but even at this age they stay 5 or 8 minutes on their own working on the problems. I believe as they grow older they will work more independently, but it is fun too. I also love the diversity in the activities, the mental math, the way it incorporates movement...and as you said, I tweak, enhance and do it my way. I think it's also a very complete program too.

  13. Flexibility is very important! I love pictures of kids doing school work in a non traditional setting! Freedom of homeschooling!

    Glad she is excited when she finishes a book. My son is the same way but it's not out of accomplishment as much as "good I'm DONE!" lol


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