Topic | Shiller Math and MEP math


This topic contains 16 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  TailorMade 6 years, 8 months ago.

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  • Polly

    Has anyone used either of these programs for K-2?  Can you give me some more info. on them?  What are the pros and cons?  If there is someone that could compare them for me, I’d appreciate it.


    I don’t know anything about Shiller Math – but I LOVE MEP math.

    I’ve just written about this recently on another message board – I’m cutting and pasting it in….

    I love MEP, because it is inexpensive, and seems to do a great job of helping kids think about math.  There is your printing costs, but that is about it.  Recommended manipulatives in the first couple of years are a set of dominoes (optional), some type of counters (beads, nuts, rocks, whatever), and I recommend Cuisenaire Rods – but they have math strips you can print and cut out that are the same…. but my son prefers the rods. (we borrowed a set from the teacher library, and now I’m looking to buy them.)   If you happen to get a Math Scale like Right-start has, that is a nice bonus as they have a few problems showing a math scale in Year 1 anyway – but that would definately be optional.  Oh, in Year 1 a set of blocks is helpful for a couple of lessons (we had the math rods then and just used the 1 rod as unit cubes – but could have easily grabbed our set of wooden blocks.)  Oh, for Year 1, if they have a bunch of students line up – to go over concepts like 1st, 2nd, 3rd… or taller, shorter… we used stuffies.
    Anyway, one main thing to know about MEP is it was designed for a classroom setting – yet it does really convert well to homeschooling, and homeschooling in the CM method!  It is a bit teacher intensive though – so it isn’t a send one student off to do his math sheet while you do a different subject with another.  Basically, (for year 1 anyway, which is what I mostly know) there is a single Practice Book Page, and there is a Lesson page (or 2) for you.  You need both, as there are activities to do on the lesson page that don’t have anything on the practice page… and that is where most new concepts are learned!  For a lesson, there is generally 6 or 7 activities.  For a classroom, it is designed (in Year 1) to take about 45 minutes.  Homeschooling, we do them in about 15 to 20 minutes.  I have occasionally broken a lesson up to a couple of days if I can see it is being too much.  Mind you, I think this has happened maybe 3 or 4 times all year… 

    So, there is generally 6 or 7 activities.  One of those activities, in about the middle, is actually having the class get up, stretch, maybe sing a counting song or something like that.  So that leaves 5 or 6 activities.  The practice book page has usually about 4 activities.  The lesson will often start with a mental math review of concepts, or if it is starting a new concept, will introduce that concept.  I don’t know that I’m explaining it well…. sigh.    Anyway, the practice page will have some problems to work out.  These include math puzzles, word problems, a set of math problems, etc.  At the start of year 1, there is also practice for writing numbers and math signs.  This is all sounding much more boring than it is….   They will do math problems like  ?+3=6  or 5=8-? as well as the standard format…  Also, although in year 1 it is basic addition and subtraction, there is stuff that I can see leading up to multiplication…. and although the problem was extremely simple, and done in a trial-and-error manner, there was a problem that was an algebra – 2 equations with 2 variables type of problem!  I can see a lot of other things in it that show working through math in a way that algebra will make sense to the student later (and this is in Year 1!!!)  There is also a lot of work with inequalities… stuff like   5 < ? < 7  
    Anyway, the main thing to me, is that my kids LOVE this math!  Echo was always watching Delta’s math, and really demanded that she get to do math too.  Delta is always thrilled when it is math time in his workbox – and when he decides the order of work, it is always math first (although German seems almost as popular now… lol)  
    The Reception level of MEP (Kindergarten level) became available around Decemberish (a bit at a time, it is all there now) – and so, as Echo was demanding math, I started her on it in January.  This one costs a touch more, as basically her practice book is pretty much all colour pictures to be printed.  There is generally about 3 to 4 activities (to take about 30min in a class – about 10-15 min to us) and has a LOT of looking at a big picture and answering questions about it.  (How many birds are in this picture (imagine a whole nature scene…)  – If 3 birds flew away now, how many birds would there be now?  How many trees are in the picture?  Which is there more of, trees or birds?  How many more? )   There is also tracing of different shapes in the pictures (to practice for Year 1 for writing numbers eventually) – some mazes, some little games that would be basically like a file-folder game, etc.  She loves that she has her own math – and I have no doubts that the start of Year 1 will be very easy for her after this.
    Finishing MEP year 6 leaves a child ready for High School math!


    Hi Pollysoup

    We had been using MEP for about 7-8mths and are just having a break from it. I really like it but was looking for something a little less teacher intensive and I wanted ds8 to sharpen up on some basics. I would not hesitate to give it a try as it is free and very good quality. I have been concerned about the spiral approach, but I think my ds8 quite liked the variety.

    Once you get the abbreviations in the lesson plans you’ll catch onto the instructions. It is a very full and challenging programme you will not need to add anything. Most people start their children 1 or 2 years behind eg If child is in grade3 they start them in MEP Year2.

    I am just having a break to give me a chance to see how other approaches would go with my ds and we have not long started Math Mammoth Light Blue Series. I don’t like changing but thought something more mastery based would be better (but the jury is still out on that for us). I think MEP is great and we may restart with it (?). We have been only hs 9 1/2 mths so I just wanted to make sure I’m doing the right thing for us. There are alot of concepts introduced quite early compared to other programmes & if you happen to be learning spanish you can print some lessons off in spanish.

    We printed out the entire years curriculum and put it into a lever arch file folder and the lesson plans into a smaller ring binder for myself.

    PROS – Easily tweaked for homeschool, uses manipulatives, spiral based so variety keeps things interesting, very cheap (only paper & ink), good quality, introduces alot of concepts early on, advanced compared to some other curriculums, there is a yahoo help group.

    CONS – teacher intensive, spiral based but you could focus on weak areas yourselves-I was advised not to blindly trust the spiral approach by a High School maths teacher (relative) so I think I would just be aware of my dc weaknesses and work on them straight away and not wait for the spiral approach to work. Saying that, it would not put me off using it because I think it is very good – my main reason for wanting to try something else would be wanting dc to do a little more independant learning.

    Ultimately I just want my dc to enjoy maths and be able to navigate the ever changing, complex world around them, understand information around them, know the WHY not just the HOW, and give them a good grounding in maths because you never know what they may end up doing.

    Sorry, don’t know anything about Shiller Math, hope this has been a little helpful.




    I too use MEP.  I’m sorry I do not know anything regarding Shiller Math. 

    MEP has been great for our family.  This was our first year.  My boys just completed 1st and 2nd grade (woo hoo, summertime!).  I started them both at YR!, with the advice of other MEP users.  Both of my boys were ahead in some areas, mainly the addition/subtraction.  YR! just starts with number 0 then goes up to 20.  My boys were already past that.  But it has been good for review.  As suzukimom said all the other concepts were so new to them, and I loved that.  What I did was one day a week we would focus on addition/subtraction of the larger numbers with oeral math, manipulatives or worksheets (I found this great CM blog that offers these fun maths sheets.. butterflies/caterpillars ect for working on math facts). 

    We did not complete YR1 yet, we will over the summer.  Then begin YR2 in Sept with the new school year.

    I’ve really enjoyed the way it has taught my boys to look at math differently, to come up with different ways to solve problems.  As far as the spiral approach… one thing I did through the year (which is probalby why we also didn’t finish it this year as there are only 180 lessons) is that when a concept just wasn’t clicking with one of the boys.  We would stick with it for a day or two.  I would make up my own worksheets or we would do more with manipulatives, work on the dry erase board.  At least until they had a clear understanding of the concept.  Not always a firm grasp, but a clear understanding.  Then we would move on.  Or if it was something they really enjoyed, they would ask to stay on it for a day or two.  I would do that.  So it has taken us longer to get through the YR1. 

    I am very pleased with the program though.  We love it!


    Thank you all!  I priced printing it today and was surprised at how hight the cost was ($70 just for the student stuff).  I’d be using Reception and it’s all color copies.  How do you cut down on the printing costs?




    Ah yes, Reception has a LOT of colour pages, and the kids do draw on them too, so they are consumable.

    I have a colour laser printer, so it isn’t too costly for us to print them ourselves.

    I believe the Reception student book can be bought – but I’m not sure if they ship the the US or not – at one point I don’t think they did.

    Were you pricing it to be printed at an office store or was that with your own printer???


    Tanya Robinson

    For the reception year, I actually print it out in black and white.  Then she colors in things the correct colors (figure this is good practice for her too).  For those things that are just absolutely needing to be in color to understand, I don’t print that page but instead we look at it on the computer screen. 

    Also, I don’t print out the entire thing at once, just each section at a time (by section I mean the individual files that MEP has).  My kids get a feeling of accomplishment every time they finish a section and they get excited to start a new one.

    I’m kind of a cheap-skate, so this is my compromise!



    I was pricing it at Office Depot with a teacher’s discount.  Fed Ex was more expensive.  Our printer cartridges are $75 for all of the colors.  So, that is more expensive.  


    Hi Pollysoup,

    Just thought you might be interested that we’ve had a little break from MEP for aorund 8 weeks, and have decided to start back up with it. We actually missed it and it’s style. We will be adding some extra fun games and things to cement operations just to make sure ds has mastered them as we go and have Math Mammoth still to use along side it as needed. Math Mammoth is also excellent but a little more boring, it is thorough and rigorous so also an excellent guide – mastery based with a small amount of spiralling. I’ve decided it doesn’t hurt to mix it up a bit to suit the needs of wherever you child is at that point.

    For a full years curriculum including Practice Books, copymasters and lessons plans, paper cost about $7 AUS and ink ? (but we get it cheap on ebay anyway) we print in black & white. Laser printers are alot cheaper.

    Hope you are able to find something that works for you all.





    I use MEP YR2 with my daughter who is finishing third grade.  We started it late this year when she just was NOT understanding math.  She has improved greatly, and we will continue with the program.  I really like how challenging it is.  It really makes my daughter think.

    My son did LOF fractions and decimals and percents this past year, and we will continue with LOF PreAlgebra.  I wish I had used MEP with him, and I think I will print out some MEP for him to supplement LOF this year.


    Sorry, but I don’t know anything about Shiller Math.


    Since MEP has gotten several rave reviews here, I thought I would look into it further.  Looking at their site, I began opening practice pages for Year 3 to see where my youngest might begin the program.  I realize that may take quite a bit of ‘clicking’ and reviewing on my part and quite a bit of time to figure out suitability for all three of my children.  (One loves math and is good at it, one hates math and struggles a little, and one is mildly autistic and struggles with ‘all things school’ in general!)

    Are any of you aware of a placement test to determine the proper level for MEP?  I looked on their site but couldn’t seem to find anything like that.


    Sue M.


    Hi Sue,

    When I was looking where to start my ds8 we were advised to look at the ‘Scheme Of Work’. Also most people start their students in the previous grade as it is different from other programmes scope & sequence. So if in yr3 maybe start yr2. But it’s completely up to you of course. Just have fun with it. This programme really gets them thinking.

    Click HERE

    We started our ds8 on MEP Y2. It is quite challenging and fun and you just have to tweak to suit yourselves. The mep yahoo support group is very very helpful if you join you will be able to ask almost anything and get a helpful response. 

    Basically there’s a page per day or lesson, so we do what I think my child needs off that page and try to re-enforce with games and other puzzels & games (which is our type of drill!!)We definitely keep it short (up to 20min) & fun /interesting. The Lesson Plans are helpful, but written for the classroom so do what we do and take the meat & leave the bones! 

    Hope that helps a little.

    Blessings, Renelle


    There is a yahoo group that has been SO helpful to me.  We will begin using MEP next week and I’ve been reading through the archives there.

    Also, here are some great posts about MEP from a lovely homeschool blog:

    MEP 101

    MEP Minute-by-minute:

    Are MEP and CM compatible

    Swimming and MEP?;


    Wow, it seems like there’s a yahoo group for everything!  There is probably one for clipping your toenails properly, lol!  These links and comments are all very helpful.  Thank you so much.

    Sue M.

    Hi all, I know this is a pretty old thread, but I’ve been reading a bit about MEP myself (this was a helpful thread) and I have learned that the reception year for MEP is not the same as our Kindergarden.  In the UK, grade one is the equivalent of K here.  Reception year is preschool math.  If a Ker starts with reception level, great, but I’m just planning to skip it.  I feel like my kiddo (he’s only 4) is getting enough practice from us counting objects together for fun.  I mention this for those who are put off by the cost of printing the reception year.  If your child is 5, than you can go ahead and try year one.

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