UK Math?


Maybe because of all of the planning I’ve been doing for the next 3 months, I’ve been thinking about Math. We’ve been using the MEP program for 2 years now which I can see is definitely far better than any UK program I’ve seen.

Even so, I’m wondering if we should be following a UK Math program because we are here in the UK. What I mean by that, is lets say one day I chose to put my children in school, or they had to go to school for whatever reason – would they struggle in Math because they were used to a different method?

But then I’m thinking – Math is a universal ‘language’. Am confused. Mmm… any thoughts anyone?


21 responses »

  1. Salam,

    If it’s working for you then I wouldn’t see any reason to change it. The only difference I suspect though is the scientific way that problems are worked out. Many countries differ the way that they view number, in UK they treat it as an individual, I think the far east teaches children to think in sets of 5 etc. I know many arabic syllabi encourage very long drawn working out processes for something quite simple, whereas the UK method teaches is straightforward. Even if there is a difference, and they enter school I wouldn’t anticipate these being a problem. Mine certainly picked up very quickly.

  2. Should you decide to put your children into primary school, MEP system is a good one. I am a teacher and from my experience, the level of teaching of Math in schools is very poor, most primary school teachers are humanities background and some cant even do basic math. You should get your daughter to memorise the times table up to 12, this is an invaluable tool (if you are not already doing it); Schools now adays donot teach this. in the Aisan countries knowing you times tables by heart is a must, that is why kids from these countires excell in math. China consistently wins gold nedals at the math olympics. Primary schools do not explain the math but rather little tricks to answer questions, so when kids get to secondary level they donot understand basic math and so you have to literally start over. What i would suggest sis, is if you also get your daughter to anwer text based math questions, this is will test her knowledge of math and can she understand which math skills she should use to answer the question and what is the question asking her (again, if you are doing this, thats great). I think you are doing a great job mashallah.

    • Jzk for your comment sister. Yes, I like the idea of testing her on text based questions – very good idea. It is always refreshing to hear views from teachers in their field mashaAllah.

  3. Assalamu aleikum.

    A foreign program would IMHO put them ahead of their peers in school and at an advantage compared to them. Which, I think, can only be good.
    I find the UK Maths system confusing and erratic; they only scratch the surface of each subject, never mastering it before moving on to the next, and they teach too many different ways of counting to reach the same answer, which is a waste of time and adds to the confusion.

    • Ws, Yes, I also find it confusing. It doesn’t go into a lot of detail before moving on to another completely random topic.

  4. As salaam aleikum sister, I was a child who was in that situation. I went to school in the country I’m from where I mastered my math skills ( the level of maths that I have done there in primary school was enough to take me through secondary once we moved). My parents and I moved to a different country when I was around 13yrs old. At that point, because I had already knew almost everything there was to know in maths, Alhamdulillah they had nothing left to teach me. When they would teach and give examples, I would try to understand their method but, when it came to tests and exams I would keep my own method of solving. As long as the answer was correct and they saw how I worked it out, they never once told me I am doing it wrong. My grades were not affected.
    Now I’m living in another country, England, with a whole different style of learning. I too am a bit concerned about my children not understanding, but I do hope that once/if they get back to school they will exceed what will be required

  5. Aa to all. My daughter just turned five and I have been using the MEP program that you suggested for about a year now.Although I have chosen to stay away from teaching formal reading in any language, I have a hunch that maths is something more innate to our needs and applicable even to this younger age group in their day to day Lives.
    From my basic research I think that the teaching model in this country is sufficient but lags behind the more rigorous regimes of other countries. And they vary from the east to the Nordic countries which are all very successful. 

    The mep program has a built in repeat and I am amazed that a concept my daughter might not get immediately (and then I have to Steele myself to leave it) – how effortlessly she will pick it up in the next round. 

    I would recommend what a previous sister said about learning certain maths drills – including multiplication. My daughter just started using the number ladder to learn odd and even numbers (from yr one lessons) and I can see how this would lead nicely to learning the two times table and onwards a little later inshallah. Though this isn’t strictly on the lesson plans.

    The same can be said for addition and subtraction and division drills but more subtly – incorporating them in to shopping or other real life situations. (as your daughter is older mashallah). All you are trying to do is make these tools that she can use readily and at speed.

    The only other syllabus that I thought about was the Singaporean – but the truth is that if your child is learning and making progress,then always looking over your shoulder is a waste of time and let’s in too many insecurities. 

    As a home edder you can also work at a faster pace and always remember that your child is not learning in a class of 30 and has a lot more adult intervention. So inevitably you will cover more in a shorter space of time even if most days it doesn’t feel like it.

    You could also check the national curriculum for your daughters age group. I would be very surprised if you found much that was alien to your daughters learning.

    I was a secondary teacher and one thing I must say to all srs is that I repeatedly saw children who were bright and capable but because of being pushed too soon or too fast they lost the love  and even confidence to achieve especially in maths and science. The frustration caused a mental block – which even if they were doing fine in top set – was a hindrance at a deeper level. These children always felt it a struggle and very rarely took these subjects on at higher level. 

    Allah reward you for your efforts. I cannot thank you enough for being a constant source of support and stimulation in my home ed life. 

  6. Assalamu alaykum sister,I got to know about the MEP on your website and I’ve been using it for my daughter,even though i’m not a teacher, I’ve done placement & volunteered in schools. I personally think the MEP method is very good if used with the lesson plan compared to the methods some of the schools use. MEP encourages the children to be methodical, think logically and laterally.maths is a unique subject and these are the skills you need. So, I really don’t think you should worry about your children adapting because I don’t think this would be a problem insha Allah, rather you should concentrate on how much they would excel by teaching it properly by following all the tips on the MEP website.
    My daughter would be going back to school in September and i still intend to continue using the MEP at home.

  7. I was unhappy with my son’s progress in reception maths in uk. He is very bright, mashAllah & the teachers were only concerned with meeting basic standards. After a lot of research I opted to supplement his teaching with MEP on the weekends. I initially thought the program might be too involved but was encouraged by comments on this blog. It’s actually great & I can see a huge difference between it & the school system. I plan to add in problems from the nrich website later. We have started basic computer programming using a Bee Bot iPhone app & turtle Logo. Don’t be tempted to ‘dumb down’, the UK is falling behind in numeracy (among other things!). The school system may slowly be overhauled so I wouldn’t jump in there lol! If children have to go to school- as my son does- we just have to continue monitoring their progress & react to their needs.

    • 🙂 Not planning on putting them in school but you never know how life may change and I may have to.

  8. why dont you give her a SAT paper for KS1 and see how she does? if she flies through it, then you have nothing to worry about inshaAllah.

  9. a.w.w sister i know its not relevant for me to ask you this here but as yourself mentioned about your daughters hifdh in the previous blog i was wondering how you make your daughter do hifdh. do you allocate her certain lines or pages on a daily basis etc or if you have tried different methods? What works for you best

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