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Singapore math

Grades: 1-8       (US distributor) SingaporeMath.com Inc.

Singapore Math is the curriculum that is or has been used in Singapore (English is the language of instruction in Singapore). It is a mastery-based curriculum that focuses on conceptual understanding, and is ahead of typical U.S. math books.

Singapore Math uses the Concrete > Pictorial > Abstract approach. The students are provided with the necessary learning experiences beginning with the concrete and pictorial stages, followed by the abstract stage to enable them to learn mathematics meaningfully. This approach encourages active thinking process, communication of mathematical ideas and problem solving. The books emphasize mental math and the model drawing approach.

For grades 1-6, the company sells Primary Mathematics series, with three different editions (Standards, U.S., and the Common Core). Each grade level consists of 2 textbooks and 2 workbooks. Home Instructor's Guides and Teacher Guides are also available, as are supplemental practice books. A typical cost for Primary Mathematics books is about $105 per grade level.

For grades 7-8, the company offers Dimensions Math Common Core Edition, consisting similarly of two textbooks, two workbooks, and four solutions books per grade. The cost for this series is about $150 per grade level.

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Reviews of Singapore Math curriculum

Time: 2 years

Your situation: We started homeschooling when my youngest started 3rd grade. We tried a highly recommended curriculum only to find that it was exhaustingly slow moving. Both of my children quickly began to hate math though they are both fairly good at it. We switched to Singapore Math mid-year and I couldn't believe the difference it made. Since I have a strong math background, I only use the teacher guide for weekly planning and checking homework. That alone makes it well worth the cost of the book.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: The lessons are laid out in a very basic and easy to understand format, one concept at a time. Though the workbook activities are fairly short, I feel that they cover the subject material well without over doing it. Too much repetition becomes counterproductive for both of my children. What I found is that the reviews consistently go back to cover previously learned material, so the topics are covered over and over again. If you notice that your child is constantly getting the same topic wrong, extra exercises are available in the text.

In addition, each subject is covered again, in more depth, as they move up. My daughter had a really difficult time with one topic to the point that I wasn't sure if we should move on or not. To keep her interested, we did, with the intent of coming back to the material later. Sure enough, the topic was hit on again soon after and she was able to quickly master it with a little time and additional skills to back her up.

Finally, I love the way that the material is built up slowly until you feel that your child's brain is going to leak (mine also at times), then it jumps to something really easy, almost like a little break. Then it's back to learning something more difficult. This method helps to keep them interested and their confidence high.

Any other helpful hints: Be very careful about what level you start at. It's better to start low and skip over topics they know well then to skip a whole level and miss out on learning fundamental material. If you're planning to use the curriculum for more then one child, order the appropriate number of workbooks along with the text and teacher's guide. Though this may be a bit extra up front, it'll save you a lot if the edition is revised before the next child hits that level.

Review left September 25, 2015
Time: 6 months

Your situation: I teach an after-school program in California and my students come from various backgrounds. Each of them have different learning styles and as a tutor I try to expose them to as many different teaching methods as possible. I've tried Singapore Math (alongside Kumon, IXL etc.,) and I have found that although I enjoy the teaching method of Singapore Math, it is difficult for me to consistently maintain and observe my student's progress unless they are at my after-school program every day.

One supplemental website I found very helpful is Beestar. Beestar provides me with a similar teaching style like Singapore Math. It helps that my students are able to access the worksheets at home, I am able to track their progress easier, and I can also get the parents involved. I think that both Singapore Math and Beestar stress on understanding the fundamentals of learning math concepts but Beestar provides me with more flexibility to specifically cater to the needs of my students.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I liked how the curriculum stressed on helping students understand the math concepts. However, I did not like the difficulty of tracking my student's progress and having parents be more involved with assisting with my student's continuous learning.

Any other helpful hints: I would use Singapore Math as a supplement if the student and parent will both be able to be involved in the teaching method. It can sometimes be difficult for students to switch different teaching styles without thorough reinforcement also at home.

Review left February 20, 2015
Time: 2 months

Your situation: We used Singapore math before. It was fairly challenging. Beestar online math is a much better choice for us. It provides interesting and vivid math problems from everyday life that kids like to solve. The content is very good enrichment for what kids learn in school. We've been using Beestar's free math program for almost a year and I can see a big difference. My son likes math now and becomes more confident in school.

By doing a little extra every week, my son is on his way to master all the essential math skills step by step. Beestar's free math provides fun culture background and vivid pictures to make math more interesting. I like the way it keeps children motivated: the weekly ribbons, honor roll -- practice becomes something fun. I also enjoy that I can check my son's progress online anytime and it saves me so much time.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: The drills are dry and hard for kids to follow. Even though I spent a lot time to supervise and help out, we still called it quit after 2 months.

Review left January 7, 2015
Time: 4 years

Your situation: I homeschooled two sons, now 16 and 18. They are currently beginning their third year of college, studying physics and economics, respectively. My husband is a mathematician, I'm an electrical engineer. We all consider math to be one of the most important academic skills.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: This was an excellent curriculum for my sons. It prepared them extremely well for college math. I thought the work level was reasonable, the lessons were well explained, and the problems were just the right level - an achievable challenge. I'd have continued with Singapore through the high school level, if I could have, but I enrolled my sons in an ISP based charter school and had to switch to standard high school textbooks.

Any other helpful hints: I didn't use the teacher's or home instructors guides. If you're comfortable with the subject, they may not be worth the extra money.

Karen Martin
Review left September 10, 2014
Time: 7 months

Your situation: My daughter seems to need a lot of 'mom time' in order to be upbeat about making the effort to learn math. We tried other programs in which the student works independently but she tends to become mopey and resistant. When I am involved in her math curriculum, even if it is just to explain a new concept a couple times a week, she is happier and actually does really well with math. She was using Saxon 54, and she didn't like having to write out her daily math problems and I didn't like the way it jumped around.

My son, in first grade, loves math and does well with whatever is handed to him. I am a nurse, so I am fairly comfortable with basic math, and we have long had a tradition of having the kids use kindle apps and math drill websites for extra facts practice. We also take one day a week for 'math fun day' when the kids can play math games or experiment with different math related ideas. Once we did origami and talked about origami math, and we often watch TED Talks that are math related on this day.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: We switched midyear in fourth grade to Singapore 4a. I got the Home Instructor's Guide (HIG) rather than the teacher's manual as the website advised. This HIG provides extra support for homeschool parents and was a wonderful resource. 4a was actually a review at first for my daughter and then moved into new concepts, which we both felt were explained well with the help of the HIG. Overall, my daughter and I both enjoy this program and feel it's a good fit for us. I spend a couple of class sessions per week going over a new idea and she works independently for the rest of the time without complaint.

My son is a different kid. He was using Math Mammoth independently and doing very well, but he saw his sister get new math books and so he wanted a new book of his own. He was halfway through Math Mammoth and into 1b. I got Singapore Math 1b for him and it was much too easy for him but it did go into the basics of multiplication which thrilled him. We had no trouble with understanding or explaining the concepts.

Any other helpful hints: Don't get the teacher's manual. Get the Home Instructor's Guide. Don't forget to do the daily drills. These are not in front of each lesson but listed separately and can be easy to forget. Add in extra drill work. We use kindle apps and websites like Xtramath to do this. We have always done extra drill work no matter which math program we are using and the results of that will pay off.

Judy Arnold
Review left April 11, 2014
Level: Singapore Math Primary Mathematics
Time: 6 years

Your situation: I have used this curriculum with 4 children. My first two children used ABeka through 2nd grade and one through 3rd grade. I used the placement tests and started them in the appropriate level which I cannot remember now. This program has served these two children very, very well. I have an engineering degree and love math, but do not have time to consistently teach math. My approach has been to allow them to work at their own pace, check their own work, and I am available to field questions. This approach has worked very well for us and they needed help with about 10% of the material. There has been a learning curve for me trying to understand the way things are presented. However, after seeing the different approach in presentation and instruction, I have always felt it far superior to the way that I learned math (which came quite easily for me.)

I also have another child that started at level 1A and I found it very difficult, not sure if it was the book or just the child's aptitude. However, we persevered, and this child is now in book 5B. The child definitely is not as math minded as my first two children but she has had success and is good at math. I do not feel she would have had this success with a typical American curriculum. This is the first year she has not done B/C work and so I am going to let her use the Visible Math 5A & 5B books for remediation. She still has plenty of time left to do this and I feel she is still ahead of her grade level peers. So I would not change a thing with her. We supplemented with Math Mammoth to help her nail down her multiplication facts somewhere along the way. In Singapore the teacher likely leads the basic fact memorization, because there is not enough drill work on these for a child to have them memorized without some outside work. We also used the CD 'games' and the children like them and I felt they were valuable, a lot of learning in a game type atmosphere.

My fourth child has used the program since K Textbook B. She too required a lot of extra attention in book 1A, that I had a hard time giving with 3 older siblings. She is fairing well and finishing book 3B without any serious problems, although I am planning on letting her review with one of the supplement books rather than head into level 4 early.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: Overall I LOVE this way of doing math. The only thing I have not mentioned is that Level 6A & 6B are very challenging. Level 6B is almost entirely review and the word problems get pretty intense/fun if you like math. I had to spend up to a half an hour each to work out a handful of problems throughout the course. Once we got them, we felt great, but less math minded moms would need to use the answer key or skip some of the really tough problems. Their kids will still be way ahead of their peers.

Any other helpful hints: We have used this curriculum in tandem with Calculadders which are a daily drill type program with levels for 6 grades (well beyond your typical addition/subtraction, mult./div. speed drills.) I feel this is critical for retaining the basic facts as well as improving speed. Singapore math does not have a great deal of drill and repeat exercises built in and I met a lady who said when her son took a standardized test he scored poorly only because he could not work fast enough. The problems he completed were perfect. My children however can crank through problems very quickly, often outpacing me. So I do recommend you include some type of drill work, Calculadders do not always integrate perfectly, but they are SO easy to implement that I was able to either take a day or two to teach any new material or just slide that level back until the material had been covered in Singapore Math. As they pass each of the 16 levels for that 'year' I let them stand on their chair and we all clap after I read the certificate from the back of the book. My oldest has finished all 96 speed drills. All of my children LOVE Calculadders. Singapore math also sells speed drill books and mental math practice sheets are included in teachers guides, but I had already purchased the Master Pack of Calculadders and found them easier to use.

Shanda D.
Review left February 16, 2013
Time: 3 months

Your situation: Son attended kindergarten at a public school. The kindergarten math book presented so many topics, it left many student swimming in a pool of confusion.

Needed additional resources to provide my child with a solid math foundation and to provide additional challenges to supplement his current public school curriculum.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I am strong in Math and tutored students at various levels. My son did the 1A pre-test and did fine. I ordered the 1B manual. This was a mistake for him and me.

There were several foundational topics that I needed to present to him and the 1B Student textbook and workbook did not provide enough instruction/direction for a non-Singapore Math trained instructor.

Also there were not time line for how long to cover a topic. Lastly, I felt the curriculum did not provide additional practice materials. (Once you understand what you need, there are my free resources for practice on the website. (example www.math-aid.com)

After much research I realized that the Kindergarten books and 1A books stresses the building of number bonding, 10 frame, and anchoring to 10. I would have been nice if they just stated these three important facts.

My issue is not with the textbook, my issue is with the teacher's manual.

I have also reviewed Math in Focus Singapore math series. I really like this product.

Any other helpful hints: Keep all your old building blocks and snap together toys to build your own manipulatives. Use as many various manipulatives as possible, it keeps it fun. We even use poker chips.

Most importantly understand - number bonding, 10 frame, and anchoring to 10.

Review left September 16, 2012
Time: 6 months

Your situation: I switched my 4th grader, who I will tell you up-front is not a math whiz, from Abeka to Singapore Math. Boy what a mistake! She has fought against me everyday, and that is after only completing 10 lessons. I tried every way I could think of to explain things so she could understand them, but to no avail.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: I did not like it because it was very hard to understand. It doesn\'t have in-depth enough explanations. They aren\'t clear and concise so you have to try and understand what the textbook is saying/teaching and then explain it to your child. Even my Husband who literally slept through pre-Calc and aced it said to switch from this curriculum, because it is so hard to understand.

Any other helpful hints: I would recommend this curriculum if you use it from the beginning,so you, and your child, learn the concepts from the very beginning. The latest I would say you can safely switch to it is 1st grade. I would not switch to it in the later elementary years, it is WAY to difficult!

Amy C.
Review left November 15, 2011
Singapore Math aka New Elementary Math D Publisher
Time: about 2 years

Your situation: One child now in 4th another now in 6th. Both have high math aptitude the older has mild ADD. Both parents have math-related jobs. Both children were in public school and have just started private school this year.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: We love the Singapore Math (SM) books (New Elementary for 7th +). I give details below, but to start we like the price very much. Less than many books and one doesn't need fancy manipulatives and such. Also, the layout of the books is very appealing and friendly.

We started using them when we realized that our younger child wasn't being challenged in school and our older wasn't learning the basics (and probably not challenged either!); they had just finished 2nd and 5th grades.

We did do as SM and other parents suggested. We gave them the placement test and were not averse to starting at lower levels. The child just finishing 2nd grade started with level 2A and the child finishing 5th started with level 4A (or maybe even 3B!). Both children are good at math, but they had gaps and it was easier to start at a lower level to adjust to SM. They did go through the early books at a quick pace. We would just go over each topic and spot check that they knew it. If so, move on, if not, do the exercises. We used the workbooks when we needed extra practice. Each child worked with a parent (some work was unsupervised) for about 30 -45 min twice a week. (That's what our schedule dictated.) We also worked a little each day most days of summer. Now, with the younger starting 4th and the older in 6th (so 2 summers and 1 academic year later), the 4th grader is doing level 5 and the 6th grader is in New Elem Math D1 (7th). I'm a theoretical physicist and I find the books excellent at getting a depth of understanding across. I've been very very happy with the New Elem Math series so far as well. It does a great job of slowly moving to the abstract without a sudden move to "We are doing algebra now!" Knowing how poor U.S. math education is, I'm very happy we have these books as a supplement.

We plan to continue using the books until we are at the end!

Any other helpful hints: Do take the placement test and don't be afraid to start back a year or more. The early bits will go easily since they will be part review. It's necessary though to make sure there are no gaps in learning and useful for getting used to the very good, but more challenging than U.S., word problems.

As others have said, for math facts, you may need more practice. But there are many books and games available for that.

Review left October 20, 2011
Level: Singapore Math stds ed, 6A
Time: 5 years

Your situation: I have used Singapore Math to supplement my son's public school and virtual academy curriculum. For 5th grade I was the learning coach for my son's WAVA 5th grade curriculum. I am Singaporean-American and I am used to the rigorous methodologies built into Singapore curriculum and once I realized the gaps in the US curriculum, I determined to keep my son's education up with his cousins in Australia and Singapore.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: I have been mostly VERY pleased with the Singapore Math curriculum grades 1-5. It has served my son well and even against other more gifted children he scores higher on a variety of standardized tests.
I've always added a component to his homework and it's not burdensome at all - in fact he really likes to be engaged and sometimes sTUMPED. I agree with one reviewer who felt the workbook practice was too easy. Singapore Math workbooks should have a higher level challenge generally for kids who need more - not just the odd challenge question.

I am somewhat disappointed in the 6th grade standards edition (aligned to CA. standards). My son has reached pg 70 of the 6A textbook and we both have found numerous typos and flatly erroneous answers and wonder if this book was thoroughly edited and proofed before publication. The answer in the Teacher's Guide to question 6 of practice B on page 70 is just one example.

Any other helpful hints: If your child is at grade level and looking for more challenge - then grade to grade equivalency works i.e. if your child is in 5th grade - put him on the 5th grade Singapore Math books. If your child is a little behind - go back a year in Singapore Math.

M. Bell
Review left July 1, 2011
Time: 1 year

We had not used a math curriculum until this year, when we were given a few copies of Singapore Math. My three youngest boys began to use them (levels 1, 2 and 6) and soon we were convinced that this was the curriculum for us! We have since bought all the levels, and will be attempting New Elementary Mathematics next year for grade 7.

What we like is that there is just enough repetition to make the subject stick : ) but many challenging applications of each concept so that you feel that you actually know how to use what you have learned. Very little rote learning.

Wendy Kelly
Review left June 17, 2011
Time: 5 years

I have used Singapore for five years with my oldest child. It's an advanced program and has very little "built in" review. Primary Math is fast paced, and the lessons can be finished quickly. For this reason, I've often seen Primary Math recommended for children with short attention spans. But the middle school math lessons (New Elementary Math) take much longer to complete, sometimes hours, and the student is expected to do review work outside of the lesson. My other two children use Saxon Math and benefit from its slower pace and constant repetition. Singapore is much more challenging. Highly recommended for the student who needs an advanced math program.

Kelly Zumwalt
Review left April 27, 2010
Time: 3 years

Your situation: I am homeschooling one child, since kindergarten. She was something of a slow starter, but has an easy grasp of math.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
Positive: The books present a variety of ways to resolve problems. This promotes non-mechanical reasoning and problem solving skills. Lessons are clear and to the point. For those using Miquon Math (highly recommended), these two go well together, --- Singapore Math is the perfect follow up or accompaniment to Miquon.

Negative: The problems in the workbook are not challenging enough. There are very few that are challenging or unexpected. Also, there are not enough practice problems. This can be remedied with the extra practice books as well as the challenging word problems book (and they are challenging!). However, all of this becomes somewhat pricey.

Any other helpful hints:
We were able to complete years four and five in one year. We are now working in book 5B and some sections (rate, graphing, average and percentage) are way too easy.

Carla Roseagle
Review left March 31, 2010
Grades: 3-4

We had used Singapore at home in 3rd and 4th grade, and loved it. When I homeschooled 2nd-4th grade we tried many math curricula that only frustrated my gifted daughter. The drill and repetition was overkill for her and made her dislike math. Finally Singapore worked very well for her and she earned A+ in math while in school in 5th and 6th grade.

Review left August 23, 2009
Time: 2 years

We have used the Singapore math to supplement public school. I selected Singapore because the public school is loosely based on Singapore (their words not mine). My children are "wired for math" and considered "bright". Even so, my son usually needs a little more repetiton than the Singapore provides but not enough to justify the additional workbook. I think for kids that struggle with math Abeka or Saxon would be a better fit. More repetition, pages are less busy etc.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
For my children the book is fine, I would like more of an overall review provided in each section. Singapore addresses a topic, has the practice and then moves on.

Any other helpful hints:
I think for kids that struggle with math Abeka or Saxon would be a better fit. More repetition, pages are less busy etc. If your child normally understands a concept with less than 10 repetitions then this is a decent curiculum.

Carla Brown
Review left June 25, 2009
Time: 2 years

Your situation: Homeschooling since pre-K. With Singapore Math we skipped K and started with 1A in "K grade" and are completing 2B in "1st grade." She's starting 3rd grade level math as she finishes 1st. This has been painless, and she's just an ordinary kid.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
It works. My daughter thrives on it. It teaches her to work hard and to enjoy learning math. She is confident that she can solve any problem by reverting to basic algorithms she has mastered, so math isn't frightening.

One poster said that the longer you don't use it, the farther behind your student will be relative to what the course numbers or school grades imply. How true.

Any other helpful hints:
I've discussed SM with many other thoughtful homeschoolers and I've written an article on it, part of which was published in California Homeschooler. I think I understand it pretty well as a homeschooling curriculum.

The Textbooks and Workbooks are terse. They require hands-on teaching. But they don't require a lot of manipulatives (we used aquarium marbles, coins, a meter stick, and the number cards in the Guide). SM contains no "classroom management" material, such as crafts or games. It is very effective at getting to the heart of number sense and mathematical learning (at least in the elementary versions). There's not much "spiral" but the lessons subtly build on each other, so go fast if you want, but don't skip around within or among lessons.

You'll want to get the Home Instructor's Guides for each level. They have many handy hints, answers, and Mental Math exercises--which is as much drill as SM needs, and it ain't much.

If a parent is unfamiliar or uncomfortable with teaching elementary math, most certainly get Elementary Mathematics For Teachers. It's a fantastic textbook for math teachers and is designed to prepare you for teaching SM effectively, which is non-trivial.

The new California Standards editions resolve any concerns about units, applied mathematics, or money.

Highly recommended.

Review left May 1, 2009
Time: 1 year

We switched our homeschooled children from A Beka to Singapore Math this year, entering the Singapore curriculum at several grade levels. We found the transition was easiest for the younger children.

I like the way the Singapore curriculum begins with concrete concepts and then moves to the more abstract. This curriculum truly teaches children to think "mathematically." I am impressed with the progress my children have made. One of my daughters used to cry whenever she encountered a simple story problem in A Beka. Now she is solving complex story problems on her own. Singapore Math encourages students to explore multiple problem solving strategies rather than to merely memorize formulas.

The longer a student has been in an American math curricula, especially one that spiral reviews and follows the 1989 Math Standards, the more likely it will be that the student will have to go back a grade level or two when entering the Singapore curriculum. Parents should take advantage of the placement tests on the Singapore Math website before purchasing curriculum.

The teacher's guides/answer keys from Sonlight are indispensable, especially at jr. high level and beyond.

Review left March 26, 2009
Grade levels used: 4A
Time: 5 weeks

This year I pulled my daughter out of public school for various reasons; too many kids, too much anxiety, teachers skimming over material. She is in 5th grade.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
I love this curriculum. My daughter and I have finished the 4A in almost a month. Now she has had 4th grade math at a public school but she was whisked through the principles and she had no idea what she was doing. We started in the 4A and she has done very well. It has extra exercises in the appendix for kids who need to practice more. She enjoys it and we are starting Math 4B next week.

Any other helpful hints:
Have many math manipulatives available; coins, counting blocks, playing cards, we've used M & M's. If she understands the material we don't do the textbook pages, I just have her do the workbook pages. I have also made up my own word problems as a supplement but they were not hard.

Review left September 25, 2008
Grade levels used: 1-6 (A/B)
Time: 1 year

Your situation: I live in Singapore and homeschool my American children. Singapore students supplement their textbook with a math drills at Kumon and by purchasing extra workbooks. On the average, Singapore children outperform American students in math by 2 academic school years.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
The Singapore math curriculum is fabulous, a great pace for many, and excellent vertical instruction. It does need a supplement of math fact drills and may require additional practice (also available through Singapore math). Home teachers may need to look outside the Home Instructor Guide for a few topic areas as the guide is very compact and does not always give lengthy examples.

Any other helpful hints:
Take a test to ensure your student is starting at the appropriate level of Singapore math and spend an additional 5-15 minutes a day on math fact drills.

Review left August 24, 2008
Grade levels used:
Time: 1.5 years

My son is now seven years old and he is getting ready to do 4th grade math!

My son loves doing his math and now my five year old is starting to do problems out of his 1A book and loves it! This curriculum has advanced my children in math by two grade levels!

I advise this curriculum to every home school mother I meet!

Review left March 23, 2008
Grade levels used: Singapore Math Primary 1B
Time: about a year (some preK and all K)

Your situation: Homeschooling mom with kindergartener

My husband (who is a nuclear engineer) and I (a lawyer, but no math expert) just love what we've seen so far of Singapore math. The approach to teaching math is vastly different from the way I was taught math in public school--and Singapore math is far superior, in my opinion. As other reviewers have noted, the emphasis in Singapore is on deep conceptual knowledge of mathematical concepts, rather than learning by rote. My son, who is advanced in most areas, just loved the earlybird program and breezed through it. We have worked steadily through the primary 1A curriculum this year (kindergarten) and now in March we are starting Primary 1B. The word problem work is phenomenal--I make up my own word problems for him to do in his head in the car (in the same style as the Singapore book), and I give him extra drills in addition and subtraction. Overall, I think giving children the conceptual building blocks for math that Singapore Math does is excellent. I got by on (what I realized after the fact) mainly rote memorization of math concepts. Once I got to calculus, I lacked the skills necessary to "get it"--the mental leap was too great, and all my little "tricks" I'd developed over time didn't help. I hope that through this new approach my kids will get a deep and firm grounding in math--something the American system is surely not providing as of yet (just check out US students' math scores compared to the rest of the world!). Can't say enough wonderful things about this program!

Any other helpful hints:
Be prepared to stop and review or drill on your own until you are sure your child thoroughly understands the concepts. The curriculum introduces concepts thoroughly but assumes (I think) that the parent will take the time to work deeply and slow down on areas that the child does not understand right away.

Erika Meadors
Review left March 21, 2008
Grade levels used: Primary 6A
Time: 3 months

Your situation: We were looking for a good pre-algebra program.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
It's not working for us; I think you have to be with Singapore math all the way through to pick up on the way they describe story problems. We had two algebra experts look at it with us and they both agreed it's too complicated and unclear in asking the student to find answers. Not enough explanation in the parent guide.

Start long before level 6!

Marla Janssen
Review left March 11, 2008
Grade levels used: 1B to 5B Primary Math
Time: 2 years

Your situation: I've used Primary Math for homeschooling, and as an after-school supplement to our public school's grades 1-4 math program. One child prefers the black-and-white workbooks with direct instruction from me when necessary. The other uses the colorful textbooks along with the workbooks and learns very independently.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
My children were bored with the repetition and drill at school, and they were not enjoying the subject at all. Singapore Primary Mathematics sparked their interest in math, boosted their confidence, and has given them practice with mathematical reasoning that school doesn't offer.

For example, a typical 3rd-grade worksheet at school would have numerous one-step equations involving addition or subtraction with money.

By way of contrast, this is from the Singapore 3A workbook:
Mary bought a pen and a book. She gave the cashier $10 and received change of $2.05. The book cost $7.35. How much did the pen cost?
The multiple-step story problems, emphasis on mental math, and use of unique bar-chart type diagrams to model and solve algebraic problems in early primary grades, are my favorite aspects of Singapore Math.

Any other helpful hints:
The "Intensive Practice" supplementary books have the drill that some posters here were looking for.

The "Challenging Word Problems" supplementary books are a fabulous way to challenge an already-proficient student without advancing to a higher grade level.

Time: 3 years

Your situation: Started with Saxon and quickly realized that my son did not like the pace or repetition. Singapore gets to the point, reinforces the idea with just enough practice to keep a young boy with a short attention span focused. Daily lessons are 15-20 minutes in length depending on how much play time you incorporate.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
I have the teacher's manual(s), but the problems are not solved or stepped out in the manual. This is not a problem in the lower levels, but 5B on it would be helpful as the problems become more complex.

Any other helpful hints:
If you have a child with a short attention span, this is the program for you.

Deborah Kinney
Miquon AND Singapore together. Time: 2005-2007

Your situation: We are two math-loving parents homeschooling a mathematical daughter. We wanted curriculum which would be flexible, filled with ideas, and FUN! We have been using Singapore 1A,1B, and 2A, along with Miquon Orange, Red, Blue, and Green.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
These two curricula balance each other well.

Singapore is structured and teaches a certain thinking process to the point of mastery. The scope of content is somewhat narrow, and incorporates many word problems.

Miquon is flexible and encourages independent discovery and mathematical exploration. The scope of content is broad, but does not include word problems.

Both curricula are fun, engaging, and well-laid-out.

Any other helpful hints:
Singapore: most children will need additional review or drill beyond what the series itself provides. Several "additional practice" books are available that match the curriculum. For very mathematical children, though, this curriculum has just enough - they love not having to do twenty identical problems before the next new idea!

Miquon: The lab notes are necessary, especially for the first year books. I feel this curriculum best suits math-loving parents who want to share their children's joy of discovery. This curriculum moves faster than others. Most children will need additional review or drill.

We are quite happy using Miquon and Singapore together -- they are pleasantly complementary, and provide necessary review, refreshing variety, and a fun, engaging, and confidence-building math learning experience.

Elizabeth B.
Grade levels used: Singapore 1A
Time: 3 months

Your situation: We switched to Singapore after using Abeka for K. We liked the different approach.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
I really liked it in the beginning, and so did my 6 year old. Over time, we have both changed our opinions. In K she LOVED math (Abeka)...I only switched because I wasn't crazy about the teachers manual and how each lesson was explained as well as wanted her the understand "why" when she gets to higher levels of math.

I think it's frustrating for her when she has 2 or three pages of basically the same types of problems. There is also no review (except a few pages in each book, that really isn't a good review of the concepts). Time, Money, weight, length, are not in the program consistently. Most topics have a few lessons and then are not mentioned again.

I was really excited about Sinapore in the beginning, but have found it just doesn't work for my daughter... who has always loved math and done exceptionally well. Even with Singapore she could do the problems, but was bored with the repetition of each lesson and lack of variety.

Any other helpful hints:
Check out someone else's copy first and see if you think it would work well for your child. Also, consider using it with another program for repetition and for consistency.

Grade levels used: Singapore Pre-K through 6A
Time: Started this summer (2006)

Your situation:
Used to use a manipulative and repetitive based math program. Daughter hated the repetition, and was getting frustrated constantly. Understanding of math was poor. On a recommendation of another homeschooling parent, switched to Singapore Math.

Started (in mid-June)with 1B to relearn what was missing from other curriculum. Book almost completed now (end of July), her understanding of Math has improved immeasurably, and we no longer have repetition driven frustration. Last night, she showed enthusiasm towards Math for the first time.

Grade levels used: Singapore Pre-K through 6A
Time: Five years

Your situation:
Two older boys that are totally different in learning abilities and a K daughter.

I like the books and really, really like all the practical word problems. I am strong in math, yet I have found some of the problems in 6A (especially) to be not explained well, yet the child is still expected to understand how to work out the problem. I like a lot of the way that the mental math is explained, but I have found that I need to add drill work. My 5th grade son is very slow at multiplication because I did not realize early on that I should be adding drill work to this curriculum. He "gets" math easily, but struggled with some of the fraction and decimal information. I am going to work on this with him over the summer using the Key To Fractions and the Key To Decimals programs. Hopefully this will help him before we move on into 6B.

Any other helpful hints:
Add in drill work for multiplication facts!!!

Grade levels used: Singapore Primary US Edition
Time: 7 months

My daughter has learned so much from Singapore. We loved the Earlybird Math and it was a great fit for her. Primary has been less exciting for her but has taught her to think through problems. I am always tweaking whatever I teach her but with Singapore, I have to tweak too much.

I like the mental math; my daughter can switch back and forth from addition to subtraction now. On the down side, if my daughter needs work on a concept and we back up to work on it, she forgets other concepts by the time we get back to them. Also Singapore does not drill but will go on as if basic facts are already nailed down. I have been supplimenting by grabbing things online and doing flashcards. My daughter loves the flashcards. I'm wondering if a spiral approach would be better for her.

Earlybird rotates concepts more frequently than does Singapore Primary. Anyone going from EB with a child who flew through it, may be frustrated with having to slow down in Primary 1a. It may be good to break between EB and Primary especially with a younger child. The focus on mental math also means that other skills are not taught or breazed over.

Grade levels used: (1-6?)
Time: over the last 6 years

I am teaching my youngest daughter with this curriculum. I used Saxon for my older children.

I wholeheartedly endorse the curriculum. I am amazed that my daughter learned so well without all the drill. I am amazed at the problems she can work in her head, when I have to use algebra as a tool to solve the problems. I left Saxon because I did not like the upper level method of teaching algebra by drill, rather than as way to develop abstract reasoning, but I had no idea that abstract reasoning could be taught so well in younger children!

My daughter did need a little outside drill with math facts and some extra work with fractions (We used Keys to Fractions.) From 4th grade on, we used, in addition, the Challenging Word Problems workbook that Singapore offers.

Debbie Vaughan
Grade levels used: second grade
Edition: 1B
Time: 3 months

So far this is working really well with my son who is very good at math and "get's" it. I have supplemented with the Saxon math 2 which has been mostly review for him (and he's tired of the repetitions); however he needed to get his math addition facts down that's why I supplemented with Saxon. The singapore helps him learn to think, instead of learning things in a repetitious way.

Grade levels used: K to 3
Time: K - 3

I like Singapore because it challenges the child to think. It worked well for my first child who likes just the facts. My younger son gets confused by the way Singapore explains new concepts. Singapore likes to show the student shortscuts or ways to do the math mentally. For example when adding 37 + 15, they have the student think of the problem as 37 + 10 + 5. This seems like an extra step to him. He does the problem this way in his head, but it confuses him when they write it this way. He does best if we can use objects to demonstrate the work. For both of my children, we skip many of the problems as long as they are understanding the work. As with most math curriculum, each level builds on a topic. For example, multiplication is introduced in Level 1.

Gretchen Houchin
Grade levels used: PreK to 2b
Time: 4 years

I have been using the Singapore version of the Singapore math curriculum for the past 4 years. My children have learned some common names for children in Singapore and what their currency looks like through the problems in the books. The progression of learning new skills is very comprehensive. There isn't much repetition, so we used math drill sheets to supplement. The workbooks are colorful and consumable.

Books: 2B, 3A, 3B, 4A
Grade levels used: 2 and 4
Time: 9 months

I am very impressed with Singapore Math. I have one average student and one gifted student. The program has worked very well. It is brilliantly layered meaning that for my kids it has never seemed hard or overwhelming since we started at slightly below their current level. (I figured out placement level by administering a placement test.) However, they have learned many new concepts! My kids use the text with me and we do most of the example sets on white boards. They complete the workbooks as independent practice. I also incorporate Intensive Practice everyday. We complete 1 or 2 pages of that each day as well. I supplement with basic facts practice everyday, or if I notice an area that needs reinforcement that shows up as an activity. For example, they need a bit more review with reducing fractions so we are doing extra with that. I generate worksheets from free places on the internet or I make up my own! Another strength of this program is the word problems...boy are my two good at that and the program is constantly exposing kids to challenging word problems. Another factor that I like about this program is that it is inexpensive. I figured that if it wasn't a good fit for us, we could easily switch and not be out much money.

Book: Primary Math
Grade levels used: 3rd and 5th
Time: 1 year

The math is at a very high level but we will not be continuing with it as it is very, very dry. I also feel that while it is exceptional on the computation side it is very weak on the practical math side. I think it could be a good curriculum supplemented with a programme that will take care of the more practical math.

Book: New Elementary Mathematics 2
Grade levels used: 8-9
Time: one year

I have been using Singapore New Elementary Math 2 for my son who is a seventh grader. My son loves it. I must say that it is not alligned with what generally U.S school uses, but it covers topic our children need to know. Only negative I would say is that there is no solution manual for book 3 and 4. As some of the Challenger math question tend to be harder I somtimes really need all the help I can get as a home school mom.

Their web site has all the chapters of the book listed in the contents. It is a great tool for anyone who is deciding to start on Singapore Math.

Time: 3 months

In the short time I have used Singapore Math, I am very happy with it. My kids are able to work mostly on their own. The pages are bright and colorful, the textbooks often give multiple ways of thinking about a problem. It tends to be more advanced than North American math. (eg. we used the 1B unit for the second half of grade 2)
Only downside I have encountered is that they use Singapore money - there is a US edition but no Canadian edition. Still works well for adding practice though.

Dawn Denham
Grade levels used: 1, 2
Time: 1 year

We had tried the new Singapore Math Curriculum at sgbox.com/singaporemath.html which are wonderful products. The kids love them!

Grade levels used: 1
Edition: 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B
Time: 1 year

Singapore Math is an exceptionally good math curriculum for gifted children. I do understand why an average child might miss out on 'skill drill' while using Singapore math. However, when you have a gifted child, who will get frustrated when he has to show over and over again that he 'got it', Singapore is by far the best curriculum I have worked with. My son started in pre-school with the 1a and 1b workbooks. He zoomed through them. The pictures, the many mental challenges, made him like math right from the start. In my opinion it is more important to first understand how to solve a problem, and later on drill some facts (times tables ), than to start monotonous skill drills and repetitions without understanding what you are doing.

Tiziana ter Haar

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