Singapore Math and finishing guide

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Singapore Math and finishing guide

Post by Gigi » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:06 pm

Hello ladies!

I know there have been several posts about Singapore and the latest one addressed to Carrie asking for alternatives really covered some of my concerns. I wanted to reply on that one but then I have other concerns with math in general with my 8 yo dd who is in 2nd grade.

So I understood Carrie to say as she mentioned all the programs she has used with her oldest...that they drill and focus on mastery. Singapore is not like that and I like that. But this year doing 1A with my daughter has been very difficult, she does very well in all the problems/questions that do not have to do with addition/subtraction. As soon as we go into having to add or subtract, she shuts down. So I came here for help. And read to drill her the basic math facts, to go in order, the 0s and 1s...tried that with flashcards, just writing it out, worksheets, Nothing works, she knows some, but then we'll run into what is 3+2....blank gaze. No initiative on her part to try to solve the problem....with the tools we have learned. Like the number line, tally marks, buttons, beans, fingers. She looks up and around hoping the answer will just come. She tells me she is visualizing the number line. Which I know this is good, but she can sit and visualize for a long time.

I considered dropping Singapore, but I'm overwhelmed by the options and I truly don't want to keep hopping around and confusing her even more. I have friends who use Abeka and they drill and test, and 2nd graders are doing multiplication and facts are down, others do MathUSee...and I guess I'm comparing my daughter to her friends and feeling she is "behind". We are about to start Singapore 1B...I am sticking to it. And after considering dropping Singapore for the next level/grade, I am going to stick with it. All other programs are so different I feel I would be taking her all over the place and back!

I'm sorry for the lengthy post! All of this to ask those who have used Singapore from the you drill math facts? What is the best way to do that? If facts are not known does it make higher levels of Singapore more difficult? I don't want to compare her, but I worry about her year-end evaluation??

And do most people finish 1A/1B in one school year?? I seem to be so behind with just starting you know I am around Unit 15 in my Beyond guide...I feel behind, well I am behind!! Anyone else run into this??? Do I keep going to finish Beyond and then move to Bigger?? So sorry...big breath....thanks!! :? :)
Gigi ~
Starting HOD in 2012-2013 school year!!
dd 7 Beyond
ds 4 Little Hands

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Re: Singapore Math and finishing guide

Post by MomtoJGJE » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:17 am

I've used SM from the beginning... I've never drilled facts. My oldest does not like to think in math, so it makes it difficult. She's almost 10 now so I'm making her stop and think more than I did before.

When you use manipulatives, do you make her count it? Like with the 3+2 example... do you make her take 3 whatevers and 2 whatevers and then count them? Or do you just assume she'll automatically do that? I know with my next two (8 and 6) they automatically know to count them out. They are very intuitive. But my oldest is not. I STILL have to remind her to count (if necessary, after thinking at this point) and she's finishing up 3B this week.

I also give them things that are easier for them to visualize.... none of mine have done well with the number line honestly. They can do it, but not visualize it. So again, taking the 3+2 example I'd say "ok, you have three apples. I give you two more. How many do you have now?" My other two just get it, but it makes my oldest realize, hey, I need to count up from 3.

I do the same thing for subtraction... snacks work really well for that. *put 5 raisins in front of her* "You have 5 raisins... now eat two. So how many did you take away? Ok, how many are left?" and we write down the problem as they answer.

Higher level problems work the same way.... you just break it down into parts. I do math "backwards" in my head and my DD2 does math 'backwards" in her head... but on paper I make them work it out right to left because that's just how you do it in math. In our heads we do it left to right. It wasn't something taught to either of us, but we just do it. DD3 doesn't do higher than 10 yet, so I don't know how she'll naturally work them out. But my oldest has to do it right to left either way or else she doesn't think to change other numbers. She still breaks the problems down into parts. Sometimes we use post-it notes to make sure she's only working on one part of the problem at a time.

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Re: Singapore Math and finishing guide

Post by my3sons » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:12 pm

Neither one of my sons knew their addition and subtraction facts down pat in 1A, and both are excellent at math now (one in eighth grade, and one in fifth grade). We have completed Singapore K through 6B with our oldest, and K through 4A with our middle ds very successfully. One thing I have learned the hard way, in Singapore, time is spent on the "why" not just the "how." This depth and attention to thought process just seems to make fact memorization come later - same deal with multiplication and division facts. However, when they know their facts, they KNOW them - inside and out, and rarely if ever make errors. I tried flashcards with my oldest ds for awhile in the summer, but he disliked them so much I stopped them. He eventually on his own had them down pat, just by following HOD's plans and moving ahead. I did not do flashcards with my middle ds, who is less math inclined than my oldest ds, and he is in 4A doing awesome. I would say try not to compare with friends, as hard as that is, and make sure to do every. single. hands-on activity in the Beyond guide. Keep going back to those hands-on activities, and use them to help your dd solve the problems. This is not a crutch, it's not cheating, it's not wrong - it's just using good math sense. And eventually, dd will give those hands-on helps down and be doing them in her head. 1A is awfully early to have things down just so. Keep moving forward steadily, using the hands-on plans, and don't get caught up in sticking with one concept forever until dd 'knows it.' That is not the way to be successful with Singapore. It is in the slow and steady moving forward, coupled with the excellent hands-on activities HOD has planned in the Beyond guide, that a student finds the ability to build the skills to have lifelong strong mental math. The skills will come back around, again and again, as do the methods Singapore teaches for learning them, and they will click given time. If you get to the end of 2B and dd does not know her addition/subtraction facts, it's time to pull out some flashcards, and just drill the few she's having difficulty with. Likewise, if dd finishes 3B, and does not have her multiplication/division facts down, it's time to drill the few she's having difficulty with. Until then, steady progress forward, great hands-on help reminders with access to manipulatives/fingers/marker boards are just fine! HTH! :D

In Christ,
Enjoyed LHTH to USII
Currently using USII, MTMM
Wife to Rich for 25 years
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Re: Singapore Math and finishing guide

Post by queenireneof3 » Wed May 07, 2014 11:10 am


I identify so much with what you wrote! My oldest son and I have struggled with SIngapore 1a/1b this year. Especially with addition and subtraction! Rarely have we had days where I felt like math clicked for him. We started with RightStart math his first grade year and struggled through that as well. I have taken Julie's advice in the past to keep plugging ahead even when it seems like we should stop and focus on what he is not understanding. That has made a difference. Also, we did stop and redo all the hand-on-activities in the guide pertaining to addition and subtraction for about a week, just to refresh.

Also, my daughter is going through Earlybird Math (Singapore's kindergarten book). I have to say, I think if he had gone through that book first, it would have made a huge difference. I've actually taken a day or two here and there to go through her activities and assignments with him (without him realizing it is her math!) because it seems to lay the foundation for 1a/1b much more clearly. I don't know if you have that guide or workbook or have access to it, but that could be really helpful. Maybe even taking a break to do Kindergarten B would be nice for her to feel like math is "easy" and to build up the foundation for 1a/1b. You could probably jump right in where you left off in 1a/b and she would feel more confident in it.

I need to go find that post you were mentioning so I can see if more of my questions about it have good answers!

Sara Irene
wife to Brett for 16 years already!
mommy of ds B (13yo), dd S (11yo), ds S (7yo), dd (3 yo), dd (1.5yo), and two who went to meet Jesus 3/5/2014 and 7/23/14

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Re: Singapore Math and finishing guide

Post by MelInKansas » Wed May 07, 2014 10:59 pm

She is just getting started, so part of what you are doing and what Singapore is trying to do is give her ways to approach solving the problems. Sometimes the guide even has these suggestions - let them use counters or have them use the number line, etc. But you need a go-to method that your DD likes to use to solve the problems. Now, my kids are big fans of the "math snack." So many of the activities involve food. They love math when it comes with food. Depending on what you like to give them to eat, or something they might consider a treat, try using that for math.
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end"

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Re: Singapore Math and finishing guide

Post by queenireneof3 » Thu May 08, 2014 10:09 am

I was wondering if you could post the link to the thread you mentioned about someone asking Carrie about math alternatives. I can't seem to find it. I would like to read about the concerns and the answers! thanks!
Sara Irene
wife to Brett for 16 years already!
mommy of ds B (13yo), dd S (11yo), ds S (7yo), dd (3 yo), dd (1.5yo), and two who went to meet Jesus 3/5/2014 and 7/23/14

Tidbits of Learning
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Re: Singapore Math and finishing guide

Post by Tidbits of Learning » Thu May 08, 2014 12:36 pm

My favorite math manipulative that I bought was base ten blocks. These are my suggestions and I have done this with my kiddos. Print out a hundred chart and laminate it. Print out number line/lines then laminate it. Get dry erase markers and let your child have the laminated printables as well as base ten blocks or some other counters like the plastic teddy bears or such. They do work and they don't need them forever. :)
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Re: Singapore Math and finishing guide

Post by mamanlait » Thu May 08, 2014 3:49 pm

We are finishing Singapore 3B this week for youngest dd and we will be using the Math Fact Windows over the summer for +-x/ ...this is when we focused more on speed with oldest dd (who has now completed Singapore K-6B) and she actually won a math competition in the 6th grade for "knowing her facts fastest and correctly" in the local math club. We never drilled, just used math windows over the summers a few days a week after 3rd grade and 4th grade. I was amazed, actually, that she beat out those kids who use the more drill and kill type math programs.

It's really easy to brush up on math facts. It's really hard to brush up on math concepts. Singapore does a great job of teaching concepts and it's super easy to add a little drill if the facts are a bit slow.
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Re: Singapore Math and finishing guide

Post by queenireneof3 » Mon May 12, 2014 12:31 pm

I also wanted to add something I picked back up again for practicing drill facts. We tried RightStart math our first year of homeschooling (1st grade) and that while that program didn't end up fitting us well, it does have some fun games to play with the kids to help them learn their math facts. I'm sure there are more online...but today we took a break from Singapore 1b and played a sums to 10 memory game and addition war. Sums to 10 Memory game is simple. Set out a couple sets of 1-9 cards (two 5's for each set) upside down like you are playing Memory. The goal is to find pairs that add up to ten (6,4; 7,3; etc.) This is a fun way to help them quickly remember those facts. Addition war is played with a deck of number cards 1-9 or whatever numbers you want to practice adding. Each player gets half of the deck. You both flip two cards at a time and say the sum of your two numbers out loud. Whoever has the highest sum gets to keep the cards. if your sum is the same, you flip two more cards on top and the highest sum takes all the cards.

My son is very sensitive to competition, so the "winner" of each round didn't keep the cards, we just shoved them to the side and played until our cards were out.
This was a fun break and we will probably do this occasionally just for fun and to keep working on the facts.
Sara Irene
wife to Brett for 16 years already!
mommy of ds B (13yo), dd S (11yo), ds S (7yo), dd (3 yo), dd (1.5yo), and two who went to meet Jesus 3/5/2014 and 7/23/14

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Re: Singapore Math and finishing guide

Post by twoxcell » Mon May 12, 2014 3:09 pm

At this level of math it is perfectly ok for kids to use manipulatives most of the time. I highly recommend Cuisenaire rods for learning and practicing math facts up to 10. You can find games and activity for C-rods online. I can message you a link to a great site if you want. Drilling facts at this age is not necessary they will come with time and practice. Make it fun and play fact games. :)
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