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Modern Curriculum Press Mathematics (MCP)

Grades levels used: K-6      MCP Mathematics

Modern Curriculum Press (MCP) is an inexpensive basic math curriculum.  The workbooks are consumable, red-black-white with lots of pictures.  Teacher's guide is easy to follow and features a 'correcting common errors' section.  Each lesson begins with an application where students have to fill in certain parts, which makes them to think.  Almost every lesson has a couple of word problems.  There are separate sections for problem solving (this refers to the 1994 edition).

"A complete, economical math series teaching problem-solving strategies, critical-thinking skills, estimation, mental-math skills, and all basic math concepts and skills.  Its design encourages thinking skills, active participation, and mastery of skills within the context of problem-solving situations, abundant practice to master those skills, developed models students actively work with to solve problems, and reinforcement of problem-solving and strategies.  Each lesson begins with a developed model that teaches algorithms and concepts in a problem-solving situation, and students are required to interact with that model.

MCP Mathematics Levels K, A-F (Grades K-6) includes

  • Models for each lesson to help students learn concepts and skills
  • Problem Solving lessons to introduce strategies for solving real-life problems
  • Abundant opportunities for practice to ensure mastery of skills
  • Chapter tests to help students prepare for standardized tests
  • Field Trips (Levels A, B) and Excursions (Levels C-F) to help students practice critical thinking skills
  • Easy-to-follow lesson plans to save you precious preparation time."

Pricing: 2005 editions: Teacher's book $35.47, student workbook $18.97 per level, and Homeschool Kit (Student workbook, Teacher’s Edition, & Parent Guide) $50.47
1994 editions: teacher's guide $37.97; student workbook $20.97 per level




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Reviews of Modern Curriculum Press mathematics

Time: One year

Your situation: I am a homeschool mom of three kids ages 1, 4, and 6. I have homeschooled my two oldest from PreK on.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: I tried MCP math this year with my first grader. I had tried another math program in Kindergarten with her and we both hated it, so I decided to try MCP math since it was inexpensive. I don't like it and will not use it again. It does cover everything they need for the grade level, but there is no review. They study one thing and then the only review on that subject is a problem or two thrown in on the chapter test. There is no drill work either.

Any other helpful hints: I would suggest a few extra workbooks to use as drill work and review through the year so the student doesn't forget previous concepts the learned several chapters ago.

Deirdre
Review left April 14, 2012
Time: 2 years Your situation: I have a "black and white" thinker that I pulled out of school a year ago due to school anxiety and various LD's. That said, I need to say that we love this program! My son needs lots of repetition and he prefers to teach himself. MCP is perfect for us. He teaches himself each day using the little lesson on the front page and then completes the problems. We can cut them down if needed as there are plenty of practice problems. Before at school, he was not getting enough practice and wasn't learning his math facts well enough. The math program they used was very confusing for him and didnt offer any drill. NowIi rarely have to step in other than to keep him on task or answer a question. I have come to realize that he's extremely bright, wants to do well and wants to just "get it done".

Why you liked/didn't like the book: This program is a good fit for my son. It briefly teaches the concept and then drills it. It only adds on one thing per day and always has them thinking outside the box at least once during the lesson. No bright colors, flashing lights or flying clowns. Just math. Not easy or lacking challenge, just explained well:)

Any other helpful hints: I take out the highlighter and highlight the problems he should do....evens odds or pick and choose. If he needs extra work, we can review more problems later....there are plenty! I have him copy the horizontal problems into a book of grid paper so he can learn how to properly line up his work. That has been helpful for him.

Karen
Review left December 20, 2011
Time: 3 years
Your situation: Homeschooling mom of 2, I have liked all the books that we have used for math. My son is above grade level in math, so we do the grade above for him, but my daughter is doing her grade level and enjoying it. There are a lot of problems on a page, but no more than when I was a kid!! When we get to the "copy and do" sections, I have them do those problems with a calculator. They enjoy the break in problem work and it gives them practice on the calculator as well. My second grader is working on division this year and I'm loving the fact that he enjoys it! Any other helpful hints: Good, but make sure your student is doing the correct level for his or her ability instead of what the grade level is. Christie
Review left February 15, 2010
Time: 3 years
Your situation:
I looked for a math workbook that was simple but easy to understand. I spent many hours researching this and finally decided on MCP Math. My daughter gets frustrated easily and so an easy progressive math curriculum suited us very well. She is very bright but will give up if she thinks it's "too hard." She has hit road blocks from time to time but mostly from her own stubbornness. We just take a break and then work through whatever the problem is.

As far as this book being for slow learners, I don't believe it. I would guess that people's expectations are really high. While this can be good I also think that you can hurt a child by pushing them to hard too fast. Children need a good solid foundation and this book does it for us.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
I like these books as they cover the material in depth. I like that they do have a lot of problems. Yes, it can get boring for the child but I think it's necessary in order for them to understand it properly. Often I will let her do the front in the morning and then the back later in the afternoon. I plan to use MCP Math through 6th grade and then I plan on switching to Saxon algebra.

Any other helpful hints:
I looked at the earlier edition and decided to use the newer 2005 edition as it was more fine tuned. I honestly just liked it better.

Jennifer
Review left February 9, 2010
Time: 7 years
I agree with the last post, I would not say MCP is for a slow learner. I have 4 children, ages 10-16. My oldest son is going to be a JR in school this year. He used MCP through 6th grade then went into Pre-Algebra for 7th, Algebra in 8th, and Algebra II as a freshman and is now taking collage classes. My other children are on the same path. So needless to say I don't think he would have been able to do this if it was for a slow learner, I think it's more about the individual.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
I liked that there were enough problems that if they got the concept right away they could just do every other problem and yet if they weren't quite sure I would just have them do them all, and yet there wasn't a ton of needless repetition.

Julie
Review left August 6, 2009
Time: 12 years
Your situation:
Homeschooled 3 sons, all bright, all strong in math. Needed a math curriculum that was logical, covered all the basics well, did not overburden students with excessive drill work, was user friendly and, most of all, very affordable.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
I loved MCP Math because it fulfilled all of our needs (above). The student pages had enough color and appeal to be attractive and friendly, but not so much as to distract from the lessons. The teacher manual was excellent! If we needed review exercises, they were there. If we needed more practice, it was provided. If we needed a more advanced challenge or an enrichment project, I didn't have to start coming up with lesson plans on my own. They were spelled out right there on the page. And if anyone botched a test, we could go back and review the lessons and there was a substitute test ready and waiting as a "retake." Made my job very easy! In my opinion, the only thing better would have been a manipulatives-based program, but we could not afford one.

I was disappointed to find that MCP does not continue through high school.

I was surprised to come here and see all the comments about MCP being designed for the slower or average learner. My sons were fast learners (had been labeled "gifted")and I felt this was suitably challenging for them. I often skipped drill work if I knew they had mastered the concept and I often used the enrichment activities. Worked well for us!

Beryl
Review left July 29, 2009
Time: 2 years
Your situation:
ADHD son who is quick at math.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
The books are geared for slower learners but worked well for us since my son doesn't like to give much attention to one thing for long. The set up is simple, not too many colors or distractions, but yet interesting enough to help those easily distracted. Plenty of practice options and reviews that you can do if need, come back to or use as drill work.

Any other helpful hints:
Start with 2nd grade, younger really has no point. 3rd grade does a lot of 2nd review, use as drill work or just plain skip.

Selah
Review left December 29, 2008
Time: 1 year
I've used Rod and Staff and it was a bit too rigorous for us. Heard MCP math mentioned by other homeschoolers and thought I'd give it a shot.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
I like how it's not so rigorous. It seems to give the child just the right amount of what to learn. It's not fast paced or complicated to follow. It does seem a bit geared for the slower or average learner, but that's a good thing for those who need something a bit slower. It makes sure you understand the concept being taught without throwing in a lot of other concepts to add confusion. I didn't like how there wasn't much space to write out the answers or to figure the problem out. No big deal, I just used notebook paper and assigned some problems. So, now I can reuse the workbooks! Got to save every penny!

Any other helpful hints:
If your child is feeling frustrated with the current math curriculum, or finds it too difficult, give MCP math a try. It's inexpensive.

Jen
Review left August 20, 2008
Time: 2 years
Your situation:
I am a homeschooling parent and have tried many different math books just trying to find the right book.

I tried Abeka mathematics but ended up putting it on the shelf to never look back because concepts are introduced entirely too quickly. You jump from one thing to another.

I believe that mastery of a concept before moving on works far better than jumping from concept to concept and back again.

As other reviewers have said yes Modern Curriculum Press has a lot of problems(some pages have only a few 4 - 12) on the page but as a homeschooler you decide how much is too much for your individual child. Some children need more and others need less.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
Modern Curriculum Press is my favorite because it sticks with one concept until the child has mastered it.

There are chapter checkups so that you can tell from a glance whether or not your child has mastered a concept and if they are struggling you can go back and review that particular section and then move on.

I also switch the concepts around for example if my daughter is doing really well on adding three digit numbers with carrying then the next day I do 3 digit subtraction with borrowing. By going back and forth my child gets the understanding that subtraction is merely the opposite of addition.

Once they have mastered concepts for a particular chapter, I give the chapter checkup. If they do well we move on to higher applications; if they do not, we go back and review the section they do not understand.

I also like the fact that Modern Curriculum Press gives detailed explanations of each type of problem so that you can easily review it as a refresher in case you've forgotten anything.

For example, if your child is working on 3 digit addition with carrying; on the page they start with the far right column, the problem is then written again with the first and second column done and finally the problem is written again with the complete problem worked out.

Step by step instructions can serve as a refresher for the parent that may have forgotten a particular concept. The teacher's manual (I haven't had to use it yet) is great for even greater clarity of a concept. I would say this makes the book very parent friendly.

Any other helpful hints:
Once again I love MCP mathematics and often recommend it to my friends. Of course I let them see my books before buying their own. Most choose MCP and are satisfied.

If I had to give one word of advice it would be: Don't try to do every problem on every page. Do enough to make sure that your child has mastered the concept and then move on. Use any skipped pages if you would like, for refresher purposes.

Kaye
Your situation:
I am a homeschooling mom of 5 children ages 5-9. My mathematical foundation has always been shakey, but my husband's comprehension of math is extensive. We needed to find something that was understandable to me, but rigorous enough for his expectations.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
Pros:
-Teacher friendly! We can just open it up and begin. (that was a frustration for me with Saxon Math)
-Easy to understand. I have already seen where I got off to a bad start with my own public school math education. (understanding a simple concept like fact families has taken a lot of labor out of math for me! If I can understand it, then I can teach it to my children who have vastly different learning styles!)
-A decent amount of drill and repition. We do skip some lessons, but not so much that I don't feel I'm getting my money's worth. We've also occasionally supplemented lessons, but we've not had to do this much and I still feel I'm getting my money's worth. My chilren typically do 2 or 3 pages per day, I rarely get complaints about the amount of problems per page. (most often I assign 2 pages, but they often continue doing more by choice!)
-I like that the lessons are not scripted. We are year round homeschoolers, I got frustrated with Saxon K because I had to change so much of the scripted lesson because we don't follow a traditional year. (felt like it was a waste of money to have to change it that much)
-Affordable. I've had an easy time finding used teacher's books (a worthwhile investment because of my childrens' closeness in age and I often have more than one in the same book at different levels) The student workbook is quite affordable too.

Cons:
-We had to basically shelve the books when I was trying to teach counting mixed change. My children have had trouble recognizing the coins drawn on the pages. It was not a big deal, I just got out a large jar of money and we practiced counting change and buying items from a pretend store. When I felt they grasped it we got our workbooks back out.
-A bit too much review in the first couple of chapters in the books. Since we school year round we skip those chapters. However, my children will often go back and do those pages for fun!

Shelly Keller
Time:  3 yrs Grade levels used: MCP books A-E
I am a homeschool mother of 7 children. My homeschooled children are in grades K,1,2,4,&6. We have been using the MCP math books for the last 3 years after using A beka.

I like the books for the simple fact that they don't cram too much information into one lesson. I have found with my younger children I prefer to teach on my own and not use a workbook but as they get older, and the concepts become more difficult, they need more practice between each concept. Unlike A beka I do not feel that MCP has too many unnecessary steps to teach each concept. A beka would take a simple problem and over complicate it with too many steps! The only complaint I have would be there are too many problems on each page - however you do have the right to decide to skip some!

It is a great curriculum for older children - probably 2nd grade at the earliest. I feel it is overwhelming and unnecessary for the younger grades to use workbooks. Don't feel obligated to do all the problems on each page. If it becomes just "busywork" your children will lose interest. (take this from experience)

Tina Stickney
Time:  2006-2007
My grandson liked the thoroughness of this book, and the fact that the work was done in the workbook, except in certain circumstances.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
I liked it because there was extra drill each day that helped him retain concepts.

Any other helpful hints:
It's not necessary to do every problem when your child gets it, and is complaining. You can decide which rows or numbers to do. We checked each lesson immediately, and corrected immediately. If too many errors were made, we repeated the lesson the next day.

Virginia Harlow
Time:  3 months
Your situation:
I was nervous about teaching my children math. I wanted to make sure that they learned everything but not get overwhelmed and end up thinking they weren't good at math, like I did until college.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
I really like this program. My daughter (5)understands the concepts after each lesson. When we covered left and right, my son (3 1/2) also caught on from another room. I don't do the review on each page of the Teachers book, because I feel like the lessons have enough. Both my kids like the interactive activities, and this is what I think helps them retain the information.

Any other helpful hints:
I will review the lesson but asking questions to a real situation my daughter is in. "Is your doll in front of or behind the chair?" Or I will tell her we will be turning left/right down each grocery isle. Also a dry erase board is very helpful for the activities.

Kelly
Time:  3 mo
I'm a homeschool mom with 4 kids age 2 - 8. My 3rd grade daughter is using MCP math this yr.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
I like the teacher's guides for these books. They have a lot of helpful info in them. They give some common errors and how to correct them, and have good mental math excercises with each lesson. MCP tries to integrate a lot of realistic situations and create interaction with real world problems. However...
I think that MCP has too much on each page, which is overwhelming. My daughter has difficulty finding and keeping her place already, and with such "busy" pages, it overwhelms her at times. I decided to try MCP because I needed a workbook for her, as writing out the problems on a separate sheet of paper (with her former curriculum) was not working for her at all! With the problems so packed on each page, it isn't much better. We often cross out quite a few problems on each page, since there are so many. This helps a little, and gives more room for borrowing and carrying in subtraction and addition (which there isn't room for in between rows of problems)

Any other helpful hints:
This curriculum is definitely tolerable and flexible enough (especially if you have the teacher's guides) that it is working for us. It is also fairly inexpensive, which is a part of our decision making process.

Patty

We had the awful Dale Seymour series at Lake Washington School District, and needed something that would teach normal math.

The Dale Seymour homework takes forever to figure out, forever to do, and when you're done, you'll realize you didn't learn any math at all. Nothing in MCP should take longer than 15 min tops unless you do every single problem. All concepts are simple and explained, no goofy come up with your own method and we won't tell you even one say, or exercises singing happy birthday in the immigrant language of your choice. I picked after I noticed a homeschool mom with kids in tow carrying these books. They are also much simpler than the Saxon books which look scary rigor-wise to me.

Any other helpful hints:
If you think THESE are hard, try the NCTM books that all the public school are buying.

Arthur Hu

Grade levels used:  K-3

Since my son was in Kindergarten I have either used MCP Mathematics as his main math curriculum or as a supplement. Because a friend gave us her A beka materials, we switched to that math curriculum. However, I have found that I prefer the MCP. It seems to have just the right amount of repetition without jumping to subjects too quickly. Comparing both curriculums side-by-side, I would choose MCP every time. To me, A beka, throws a lot out there too quickly. The one complaint I have about MCP is that the problems seem to be jammed close together. I wish there were more room to write.

Lori C.

Grade levels used:  K

I have a 4 and 5 year old that I am currently using MCP's Level K math workbook with and we love it. It lays things out in a very clear, understandable, and orderly fashion. I do not have the teacher's guide for it so I cannot comment on it. I enjoy creating and using things in the home (dominos, real money, number cards on construction paper) as manipulatives. I feel the MCP program lays the lessons out so well that we do the workbook and then I can be creative outside of that to enforce what they've learned such as playing store using pennies, nickels, and dimes.

Jenny

Grade levels used:  2 Time: 2004-2005

I am disappointed with this workbook. My daughter has gone from loving Math to hating it. The book seems overly repetitive and redundant. I was also surprised that instead of borrowing in subtraction they use the term trading. The format is such that the first 3/4 of the book are all addition and subtraction facts. It would have been better if they interspersed the geometry and measurement to break up the drill. As far as content covered it is thorough.

Laurie Breda

Grade levels used:  Kindergarten and 1st Time: 2003-2004

Both of my children used to love math, until we used MCP's math. I have used kindergarten book for my 5 y.o. daughter and the first grade book for my 6 y.o. son.
We found the books to be VERY repititious, boring and intense. It is not unusual to have 25-30 math problems on a page. It is page after page of too many problems. When introducing a new concept there are some pictures. It does a nice job of introducing concepts step by step for understanding. Then the book has page after page of too many problems. My kids would look at a page and say, "I can't do it."
I tried crossing out problems, skipping pages, using the beat the timer approach, adding my own manipulatives and using treats as a reward. Those techniques would get us through a few pages. My kids just hate it and feel like they can't do the math. I am not a parent who believes that children must be successful at everything in order to have self esteem. I think they need some challenges as well. I just think that they just feel overwhelmed by this book and would NEVER feel successful in math with it. I have given this book enough of a chance and am looking for something else.

Lisa




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