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    Seven Quick Takes on MEP Math, Accountability, and More!

    May 15, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    Seven Quick Takes

    :: 1 ::

    I’m going to write about this more as I go along, but for now let me just say that my purchase of Arithmetic for Parents was a really good call. Even though it was a birthday gift to myself, I was nervous about spending so much on one single book. A paperback, even! Gasp! But oh. my. heck. I am filling my commonplace book with quotes, and I just can’t get enough.

    So. Good.


    :: 2 ::

    I was reminded this week that a little bit of accountability goes a long way. First, my mother said something to this extent when we were visiting a bit on Monday. Then, I’ve been noticing that about myself. I had thought at one point that I had good enough habits that I didn’t need to actually wear my pedometer {um, yes, those FitBit thingies are too fancy for me}. But then I noticed that I wasn’t doing as much — surely my step count had dropped off a bit. I don’t know what it dropped to, but I do know that the second I was wearing it again, I made the effort to take extra steps. I guess you could say I’m back on the wagon.


    :: 3 ::

    There’re a number of great posts coming up on the blog soon. I’m pretty excited about it since I felt a bit dry while I was distracted by celebrating myself last week. One post is coming to us from Virginia Lee! Yes, I dragged her out of the comments and convinced her to write something. I think you’ll be glad she agreed.


    :: 4 ::

    This week’s links collection:

    :: 5 ::

    This month in 2010:

    The Trouble with Job

    We were coming up on the anniversary of one of the hardest times in my life, and naturally my mind turned to Job.


    :: 6 ::

    I’ve simply got to mention the recent Underground Wellness podcast I listened to. Many of you know that I’m a big Sean Croxton fangirl. This past week, I listened to the episode called Brain Maker, based upon the book by that name. All I can say is wow. I mean, I’ve been very aware of the connection between autistic traits, ADHD, and the microbiome {meaning all the critters that live in your gut and on your skin}, and we’ve had great success in reversing problems in our children using diet. But what this guy says about the new frontier of medicine and treating neurological problems with diet is just mind blowing. Go listen!

    :: 7 ::

    Answering your question:

    • Question:  I’m already planning ahead for next year and have been considering MEP math. Your family still uses that, right? I would love to hear about your experience with it. I hear many wonderful things about it, but when I look at the website I admit that it is very daunting!
      • Answer: My shortest answer is: I still love it, I think it’s great, and I’ll be using it with three of my four children again next year. I really think that this has taught me how to teach math more than anything else. My longer answer is that yes, the website is a bit of a monster. Here are some suggestions that might help:
        1. Read everything Jeanne’s written on the subject. She is my go-to gal on all things MEP.
        2. Get yourself a binder. While you’re at it, get one for your student as well.
        3. Go to the Primary page.{ This works fine, unless your child is already out of primary mathematics.}
        4. Click on the year in which you are interested.
        5. Print out the practice book pages. These are for your student’s binder.
        6. Put three dividers in your binder. In one section, put the lesson plans. In the other two, you’ll put the answers and the copymasters. To be honest, I didn’t use the answers in Year One because it was just as easy for me to do the figuring myself. But as things get more complex, it’s worth printing.
        7. If you scroll back up to the top, you’ll see things like number cardsshape cardsshape cards with dotssign cards, and number lines. I printed all of these out, one set for each student, and another set for me. And, yes, we do actually use them. I store them in the front of the binders in plastic baseball card pockets.
        8. This is the last step, I promise. Now that you have set everything up, go back to the year you’ll be teaching. Now is the time to click through the teacher support materials. If you don’t want to read it all, at least look through the overview and the learning objectives. These help you see the big picture for the year.


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  • Reply Amanda May 25, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    I can’t wait to hear more about the arithmetic book! Is it verifying your love of and appreciation of MEP?

    I was a math major (dropped to graduate on time) along with math specialization for education degree 1st-8th, so the book sounds right up my alley!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 26, 2015 at 8:12 am

      So far, I haven’t seen a complete connection with MEP, but I haven’t read much more due to birthday weekend stuff. I will definitely write more as I go along. So far, I can only say that it has totally confirmed to me CM’s assertion that math ultimately depends more upon the teacher than the text used!

  • Reply Paola Collazo May 16, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Here is the dumb question: does this math speak American? Y’all know, not that fancy metric stuff from ’em parts of the world. 😛

    • Reply Amanda May 25, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      It is metric but you can add a short imperial measurement study on the side or through real life. I don’t skip the metric because it is the foundation for the way MEP teaches place value. And it works! 😉

      • Reply Paola Collazo May 26, 2015 at 7:09 pm

        Thank you so much! I am almost sure we will be adding MEP next year. I just wish a “momtreperneur” would make it available here in The States (printed hardcopy). Not looking forward to printing 4 different sets…

        • Reply Brandy Vencel May 27, 2015 at 7:13 am

          I looked into that because I thought maybe a printer person I know would like to offer that, but it looks like it’s a violation of their copyright. On the other hand, if you contacted them, they might be able to set something up. There are ways for them to contract with an American print shop…Just a thought! 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 26, 2015 at 10:05 am

      I agree — the metric part really helps with learning place value. BUT…I already own Math Mammoth, so I add in the parts that help them learn the American way of doing things like that. It’s very little, but since I own it, it comes in handy…

  • Reply Clare May 16, 2015 at 9:43 am

    If you’re in the UK you can purchase books of the MEP maths courses from their website for just a few pounds. We did this and they’re really good quality, and save all that printing out.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 16, 2015 at 11:15 am

      I always forget you can buy it! I wonder what US shipping would cost…but it would definitely save on hassle! 🙂

  • Reply Heather May 16, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Do you know if it’s possible to download that podcast that you mentioned? I couldn’t find a way to do it. I have terrible internet, and can’t stream things, but I can download them during a small window each morning.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 16, 2015 at 11:14 am

      I just clicked around and I really do not see one. I don’t know if you could email the owner — possibly he’d have a solution for you? I don’t usually stream on my computer, either, but I do have an iPod, so I just subscribed to the podcast and it downloads from there… Sorry! 🙁

      • Reply Heather May 17, 2015 at 3:21 am

        Well, now I feel silly. I just subscribed to the podcast and downloaded it. My husband has an iPhone, but obviously I have no idea how to use it (or any other Apple products).

        • Reply Brandy Vencel May 17, 2015 at 12:41 pm

          Ha! Well, I’m glad it worked out. 🙂

  • Reply Karen @ The Simply Blog May 15, 2015 at 7:12 am

    I watched a video from Circe not too long ago where I think it was Andrew Kern who talked about math…seeing the beauty in math. He talked about how to see or make math sing. Can’t remember the exact words right now. 🙂 Is Arithmetic for Parents a book that is showing how to see the beauty in math?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 16, 2015 at 11:12 am

      The first few chapters do talk a lot about the beauty of math, yes. There is one chapter specifically that talks about the idea that the beauty of math is rooted in its orderliness. It’s quite good! After that, I believe it goes on into actually teaching math. I haven’t read those chapters yet, so I can’t give an opinion yet…

  • Reply dawn May 15, 2015 at 7:05 am

    I collate the copymaster pages in amid the lesson plans. Since I’m using them for multiple kids, I use one of those plastic pockets and a whiteboard marker when we go to do the lesson.

    I think I am going to stop printing the lesson plans, though, and read them from my tablet instead.

    I <3 MEP … I was always good at math without liking it; now I love math and wish I had learned it this way.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel May 16, 2015 at 11:10 am

      Good tips, dawn!

  • Reply Mariel May 15, 2015 at 6:34 am

    The Amazon conversation is hilarious. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Reply Lena May 15, 2015 at 2:12 am

    I am so glad you liked the book! I actually have trouble recommending something that pricey. However, it is the only math book that I will read over and over as my children progress. I look forward to hearing specifics.

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