hsm wrote: 1. For a non-math person such as myself, would you recommend the instructor's guide or does the text do the job well enough?
2. Do you recommend the extra practice books? Some reviews I have read about Singapore notes the lack of practice problems. I am not sure if the people who feel this way like tons of practice/drill/busy work or if there really is something to this. Thoughts?
(1) I'm going to lean on the side of not getting the instructor guides until you see a need. I got them, I'm not critical of them, but I just think that they can overload and take the focus away from the Singapore textbook lessons. Or, if you get them, maybe set them aside until you need them?
Real success with Singapore I think comes with the parent sitting down and "teaching" the textbook as if it's the blackboard. The textbook starts with pictures, moves to thought bubbles, and finally presents problems in math symbols. Along the way, the parent/teacher notices whether the student needs reinforcement with manipulatives, or needs to go back to the more concrete part of the lesson.
Another good resource with Singapore is this forum and the Singapore Math forum, where you can get help thinking through problems in new ways.
(2) The Singapore workbooks can be done any way the student likes, but the lesson teaches new ways to think about problems, which might not be needed right away as the student maybe able to come up with the correct answer to easier problems without using the new methods, but the exposure to those methods will definitely come in handy when things get harder. So I wonder if kids who do more workbooks will really reinforce their old ways of doing things rather than getting extra exposure to more of the new ways of thinking? Just a thought, but it's the textbooks I love in Singapore, more than the workbooks (although my son liked the workbooks since they were usually fairly easy and had a few puzzles and such).
I'm not sure what folks mean about practice problems. A big part of repetition is drill work on math facts, and yes, that needs more more more! But that's done outside the workbooks. Other kinds of repetition to me seem like kids memorizing standard ways of doing things by doing them over and over, such as long division, but I'm not sure that's what Singapore is really about? There is repetition built in as you advance, since later skills use the earlier skills as well, but those are more diverse ways of reinforcement. I don't know, sometimes my son needed a break and we used something else to hover in place, so maybe that's what folks are doing when they get the other Singapore workbooks - just hovering and not pushing ahead. My son preferred a total change of scenery when these bumps came along, rather than more of the same, but I may be more used to winging it than some, since he's my youngest
I did buy one of the extra books when my ds was near the end of Singapore Primary Math, but it wasn't all scheduled out for me, and the answer key was very brief, so I found it a bit hard to use. Maybe that was just me?