I am slowly writing posts about resources that we are selecting for GCSE/IGCSE subjects. Maths is one that some people dread but I am actually not feeling like that. Maths questions have a logic to them, there are methods that you can teach and the kids can practice so I am not actually dreading it. We are planning on writing the Edexcel Maths Exam and these books from Hodder Education are the ones that I have selected to use – Edexcel International GCSE Maths Books.
Okay so what do you get? The main book or the student book covers everything you will need for your IGCSE Maths. Everything. So yes, it is a thick book but the original expectation was that students would cover the work over 2 years (I know some home educators like to do it in 1 year). In total there are 28 chapters and it is up to you in what order you cover these chapters.
The chapters all follow the same format. It starts with a brief introduction of what you are going to be learning and a puzzle/warm up type activity. Now each chapter is broken down into subsections – think of them as mini-concepts – eg the fractions chapter is split into equivalent Fractions, multiplying and dividing by fractions, decimals, rounding and upper and lower bounds. So you tackle one subsection at at time.
There is always an explanation of the “subsection concept” and I have to say every time they explain something they include a number of worked examples (something which I really like). Then there are exercises for the kids to try and these are colour coded so show you the level of difficulty. As a home educator doing IGCSE Maths for the first time I know this colour coding of the questions is going to be very useful as a way of gauging how we are doing.
Okay then at the end of the chapter you get something called Review Exercises (which are also colour coded) and a number of these are taken from past papers (they indicate which ones are). After the Review Exercises you get a really useful Key Points summary (great idea) and an Internet Challenge which is a way of trying to get the kids to take the Maths a step further.
We are only starting to use this in September so I will write update posts once we are using it but two things have already impressed me (well apart from the colour coding questions and the Key Points at the end of the chapters which I already love). I like the page layout, they don’t try to cram too much onto page, it is just easy to read and easy to digest what is on a page. One of the reasons I always go on about page layout is because I think a good layout helps to prevent kids from feeling overwhelmed. There is nothing worse than looking at a page that is crammed fill of information and you get that sinking feeling because you just don’t know where to start or how you will ever finish a single page. This is NOT that, this is a good layout.
And the second thing is what they call the Resources page on their website. Hodder have included all the Answers Free to download from their website (no need to buy an expensive Teacher’s guide to get the answers) and they have also included what they call Tutor videos which are videos explaining the Maths. And total confession we have already used two of these Tutor Videos to help with KS3 Maths. I have seen a few comments where people say they cannot find these answers and video links so this is the link – Resources for Hodder Edexcel International GCSE
Now the Practice Book. My original plan was to use the practice book along with our student book for extra questions. The way we tend to do Maths is one section at a time and then we do a lot of questions, the practice of doing multiple questions is how my daughter really learns Maths. It works for us. Having said that I read in the introduction of the practice book that the intention of this book was to use it as a final revision before the exams and then I also read on the website that it has been written “to help higher tier students during the course and when revising for their exams”. So I think you can use the practice book as a source of extra examples while you work through the student book and you could use it as a revision tool. I am thinking both work. Once we actually start working through the student book I will have a better idea of how the practice book fits in and I will write a post then but honestly looking through it, it is a source of a lot of questions, all with answers, so you can’t go wrong having it for your kids to use, as and when they need it.
There is also a separate revision guide which I do not have yet but I am planning on adding it to our bookshelf, I have looked at a sample chapter which looks good and they have detailed answers for all the questions on the site.
Maths is one of the subjects that my daughter does not really enjoy but she is actually quite good at it. We have learnt over the years that as long as we go through the sections thoroughly and give her time to practice she actually does really well with Maths, so we are not going to rush her Maths. We are going to work through the Maths over two years with the aim that at the end of the two years she will write her International GCSE Maths exam.
We got both our Student book and practice book directly from Hodder (links are in the post above) but for those of you who like Amazon you can buy them through Amazon here are those links – Edexcel IGCSE Maths Student book and Edexcel IGCSE Maths Practice book
Admin – I did approach Hodder and request review copies of these books, which they kindly sent us. That fact that the books were given to us does not affect our opinions (I will always admit if a book is not what I expected). I do include Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we use.