Singapore Math doubts & concerns

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Singapore Math doubts & concerns

Post by Gigi » Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:47 pm

Hello!! I am starting HOD this fall for the first time starting with Beyond and Little Hands and super excited to do so!!

From the beginning I have been uneasy about Singapore but once I got the books and the Beyond guide I have felt better about it. That was until my dd was evaluated last week and scored so low in math ( I knew we were going to as RighStart Math did not work so well for us last yr). I then told our evaluator of our choice to use HOD and Singapore and she gave HOD praises for everything except Singapore and wished I had told her sooner so she would direct me to Math U See...yikes! I know we (mom and dad) make the ultimate choice, but I could not help but second guess our choice. She claims Singapore is great in teaching our kids to reason and think but it also lacks in other areas that are important for American standardized tests (in upper grades, including SAT). I figured I don't have to quite worry about that yet as we are starting 2nd grade. But she made it sound as it would be really hard to switch to another math program if Singapore does not work for us. :?

I have read many threads here about Singapore and I would say most if not all are positive. I will still use Singapore as I am not adding, or taking anything away from the way it is set up in the guide. But I wonder if anyone could jump in and share how your dc is doing after several years of Singapore (how they are performing in tests). Do you switch to some other program at some point in middle or high school??

Sorry for the lost post...I appreciate any feedback! :)
Gigi ~
Starting HOD in 2012-2013 school year!!
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Re: Singapore Math doubts & concerns

Post by deltagal » Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:19 am


That's interesting. I've not noticed anything on Standardized tests that a Singapore student wouldn't be able to do. I find that Singapore is great for the computation component and the analytical. I would ask your evaluator more about the data used to make that statement. And although it is a fine program, I don't necessarily think using Math U See translates into guaranteed success on standardized tests.
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Re: Singapore Math doubts & concerns

Post by LynnH » Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:04 am

I actually have always heard the exact opposite. I read all the time about people using Singapore doing very well on standardized tests. Singapore is known for being "advanced" whatever that means. Math U See is a good program, but they openly admit they don't follow a standard sequence and aren't really geared towards standardized testing. Some say their high school programs aren't near as rigorous as others. I don't know if that is really true or not, just the reputation Math U See has. My ds doesn't use Singapore only because he didn't come home until 5th grade and that was too late to try and switch to Singapore.
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Re: Singapore Math doubts & concerns

Post by netpea » Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:59 am

As an engineer, I think Singapore math is incredible. It introduces what I consider to be the best methods for thinking problems through. The only problem my son had moving into public school was that he is strong in mental math from Singapore and didn't want to write out his work.
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Re: Singapore Math doubts & concerns

Post by Tree House Academy » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:03 am

My oldest son did well with Singapore until level 6. Then we switched to Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra. He was able to make the transition from Singapore 6A (after using Singapore 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 5A, 5B, and most of 6A) right into pre-algera and he is doing well. We take the Stanford Achievement test from BJU press. At the end of 7th grade, he scored 10th grade, 7th month on his overall math. For Problem solving, he was 9th grade, 4th month and for math procedures, he scored PHS which is "past high school." This is my mathy child and he was in public school for K-3rd grade and has been homeschooled since 4th grade.

Youngest Ds finished 3rd grade last year and has done Singapore Early Bird (Kindergarten), Singapore 1A, 1B, 2A, and 2B. He has now started Teaching Textbooks as well and transitioned just fine. His scores were total math 6th grade, 3rd month. Problem solving - 5th grade, 5th month and math procedures 9th grade, 3rd month. He is NOT a mathy child and has been homeschooled since day 1.

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ds9 (4th) - Preparing Hearts, TT Math 4, R&S English 3, CLE Reading 4, & Writeshop Jr.

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Re: Singapore Math doubts & concerns

Post by Gigi » Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:09 pm

Thank you all for your replies!! I appreciate the insight and I'm hopeful we will enjoy Singapore and the activities built into the Beyond guide.

Gigi 8)
Gigi ~
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Re: Singapore Math doubts & concerns

Post by 6timeboymom » Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:03 pm

I thought I'd throw this at you-we are switching OUT of math u see back INTO singapore math! :lol: MUS just didn't work for us at all.
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Re: Singapore Math doubts & concerns

Post by my3sons » Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:38 pm

Evaluators often have their favorite math programs - as we all certainly do! :D There is nothing wrong with that, and I am sure she has good intentions in her advice. However, to say Singapore Math does not adequately prepare dc for standardized testing is quite a broad statement that I ams sure is not supported by formal research. :wink: Actually Singapore Math was brought to the U.S. because of the continual high marks dc received on their standardized testing who had been instructed with Singapore Math. :wink: It was - for the most part - the reason a U.S. edition was made. Carrie actually has her master's degree in education and did her thesis on how to raise math standardized test scores, so choosing a strong math program really was near and dear to her heart. :D Here are some great thoughts from Carrie about Singapore Math...
The interesting thing about Singapore is that it does do concepts in a layered approach (layering one concept sequentially on top of the other by using understanding gained from one concept to help kiddos understand the next layer). However, after the section of that particular topic is done (getting more difficult as kiddos move through it), the next section moves onto a different topic and allows kiddos a breather from the hard work and rigor of where the previous topic ended. This gives Singapore a wonderful ebb and flow.

It also allows kiddos to have a bit of break from doing a concept to death and allows their minds to really work on the topic on hand, rather than asking them to recall bits and pieces of every topic every day! In my opinion it is what makes Singapore a more CM approach to math, as kiddos live with a topic for a longer period of time until they can really internalize it. But then, they move on to something else, coming back intermittently to revisit the previous topic in review.

Using this method also means that kiddos aren't expected to master every topic the first time it comes around, because they won't be asked to perform it day-in and day-out and be forced to get it right every day (when they may not have been quite ready to be asked to master it yet)! When it comes back around the next year, I often find my kiddos grasping right away something that had been tough for them before, even though we haven't reviewed it to death in between. We don't do any summer review of math either, yet because my kiddos have been taught through Singapore to think mathematically, they haven't lost any ground over the summer. They are still able to think mathematically when school rolls back around. With my oldest son, I always felt the need to drill him in the summer, so he wouldn't forget all the steps to the various types of math problems or forget how to do the computation part. With Singapore, I don't feel that pressure as my kiddos aren't memorizing steps that can be forgotten but are learning to reason and think through a process.

We've also noticed one more bonus with Singapore. In the other math programs I used with my older son, we found that he was often so exhausted by all of the review at the beginning of each math lesson that when it came time to do the hard work of really understanding and learning a new concept, he was already tired before he started! We find Singapore to be shorter bursts of work that really stretch the mind, while utilizing the mind at its peak right from the start of the lesson.

I have come to really appreciate Singapore Math, as my oldest has completed it through 6A, and my middle ds through 3B. One is mathy, and one is not. However, both have received excellent scores in math on the Iowa Basic Skills tests. I do think that not every child is going to exceed in math, and for some dc (as with any subject area), math may be more of a struggle. This seems to become more apparent as dc get older (about when they reach 5th grade on up IMO). The Lord gave different gifts to different people, and math is no different than anything else. Often times those students who are not gifted in math, are very gifted in some other area. Thank the Lord we have different gifts which gives a needed balance to the world! :D That being said, I have enjoyed Singapore Math for both of our dc, though one is more gifted in math than the other, and we have found both of them to score well on tests. Here is an excerpt from a previous thread where I shared what I like best about Singapore...
Math is a subject that has a finite body of information to be learned, and Singapore does this in a clear, systematic way that encourages mental math. IMO, strong mental math is the goal. It is something needed every day, in every walk of life. These are the top things I appreciate about Singapore...
1. it teaches the "why" behind the "how" of math; it doesn't just drill - it teaches how to "think" mathematically
2. it is strong on mental math
3. it teaches pictorially, which helps dc visualize the mathematic operations they are doing
4. it is strong on problem solving
5. it is short, has no prep, and is consistent
6. it has a strong track record of dc testing well on standardized testing

We really like Singapore, but like any math program, it takes a bit to get into it. I think Singapore deserves a year's try. It will seem different at first, but that's because of all of the above points I listed. If you're going to give Singapore a try for a month, you probably won't really get a good read on how it will go long-term. One last thing, I am a firm believer in the "less is more" theory when it comes to math problems (as well as with things like cursive handwriting, etc.). If a child can show you they fully understand the math concept in 10-15 problems, why would I make him do 50 problems and have him start to rush to get through all those problems and start to have the habit of carelessness? Math should not take forever to do. Singapore looks deceivingly simple - it is not. It is more than difficult enough, but it does not overkill a skill. The HOD activities up through Singapore 2B are awesome, and I believe a necessary part to do with Singapore at the younger ages (that should be more hands-on). However, there is a time to give up the hands-on part of math, IMO, and it has been a good time to give it up at 3A. Finally, we've never added anything to Singapore other than we do flashcards in the summer. Our dc are completely different learners and both thriving with Singapore. That's the bottom line of why I love Singapore!

Still, HOD recognizes that math should be an area you have choices in, so any math program will work with HOD. :D If you feel it is not a good fit for your child, you can certainly try something else - but, I'd not throw in the towel based on one evaluator's thoughts. You know your child best, and you will be your child's teacher for years to come. I pray you will have some clarity about this decision, and I hope something here can help as you get to know Singapore better! :)

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Re: Singapore Math doubts & concerns

Post by Gigi » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:19 pm

Thanks again to all and specially to Julie for such a nice clear explanation. Thanks a bunch!! I have found such encouragement here...thank you again! I will surely give it a good shot for the entire year doing all the activities...I am not adding anything to HOD or taking anything away! I'm looking forward to having a better organized and planned school yr thanks to you at HOD! :D
Gigi ~
Starting HOD in 2012-2013 school year!!
dd 7 Beyond
ds 4 Little Hands

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