Switching Math - Transitioning to Singapore?

Karen in TN
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2005 7:03 pm

Switching Math - Transitioning to Singapore?

Unread post by Karen in TN » Tue Mar 14, 2006 5:41 pm

dkabler wrote:I am currently planning on making the switch to MFW. (Am very excited!!)

I have completed the placement test and we will start with 2B Singapore. I am planning on doing a math review this summer and am looking for something that will help us prepare make the switch from Saxon to Singapore math. Any suggestions???
We switched to Singapore this past fall, and are very happy with the change. My ds is also in 2nd grade, and knew everything in the 1A and 1B books.

However, I began with them anyway, to ease him into the "Singapore" way of doing math. That really worked for us. He got used to Singapore's approach, and felt very confident, since he already knew much of the material. The approach was different enough, too, that he was not bored. We are now in 2B (he flew through the 1A and 1B books), and he is doing great.
Karen in TN, wife to Jereme (1997), mom to Caleb (1998), Hannah (2000), Alissa (2002), Megan (2004), ??? (2006)

Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Unread post by Lucy » Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:27 am

I would just keep it light with some fun math games you either make up using cards or if you have blocks or plan to order them use them to help drive home the ideas of place value. You can also buy so fun ones but they can become costly so, maybe look at a used homeschool fair for some games or a good resell store or even goodwill.

I do not think you will find the transition to be difficult at all, especially at this age. My kids moved from another program this year and they are older and had no problem with the new format.

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 6:42 pm
My kids were in 4th and 6th grade when they both tested into 3B. My 6th grader as you may guess does not have the same aptitude for math as my 4th grader. She asked to make the move after seeing it at a convention. It is for her and my son one of the best decisions we ever made. She has really improved. Is math easier for her? No. But she does have a much better understanding of it now.

I have also heard David Hazell mention several older kids who have started a the very beginning and like Carylee's kids moved quickly through the lower levels because much of it is review and simply a different way of seeing things Also older kids can spend a longer time on math and so doing 2 or 3 lessons is not really that much time especially in the lower levels. At my own convention when David was doing an impromptu talk on Singapore in the booth, I heard a lady give this very testimony about her 6th grade son.

As the others have already shared, starting back 1 or even 2 levels is not unusual.

When my kids started at the same level I had my 6th grader start 2 weeks a head of my 4th grader so they would not be on the same page. A month may even be better. He is so quick and did extra lessons some days that he almost caught up to her.

wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.

Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 1:20 pm

Unread post by dkabler » Wed Mar 15, 2006 2:24 pm

Thanks all for your suggestions!! I was thinking about using some workbooks on and off this summer and have thought of maybe using the 2A workbook this summer if we use 2B to start with in the fall.

I am very excited about this curriculum as I have been searching all year for a christian alternative and something more user friendly. I really feel MFW is an answer to prayer!!

Thanks again all!


Which level for an easy transition?

Unread post by cbollin » Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:40 pm

joyfultutor wrote:I'm looking at Singapore for the fall. What level in Singapore were your children able to easily transition to?
Posted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 3:57 am
Here's a quick link on MFW's site to get to the placement test

It's normal to test in a book number that is lower than US grade level when switching from another program. It's just different. Isn't it in level 3A/3B where the "singapore way of word problems" begins?

My daughter placed very late into 4B of Singapore. She went through that quickly because it was some fill in the gap issues. And in 5A we have some review lessons, but more "new" lessons.



Math curriculum choice question

Unread post by cbollin » Tue Jul 14, 2009 6:02 am

Issier wrote:HI, I'm new to MFW and this will also be my first full year of homeschooling my girls. I will be using Adventures for my 8yr old and K for my 5 year old. I also have 3 yr old twin girls. So I have everything in my cart to purchase but am really struggling with the math.

I brought my oldest home from public school last February and we just dove into homeschooling with borrowed curriculum. Someone gave me Singapore Math 2A and B and that's what we used. Once we were in 2B she really struggled and I just saw a big wall go up. She used to tell us she loved math in public school and we knew she did well. Can anyone offer any insight? Will I be making a mistake not using the recommended Singapore Math?
Thanks so much,
I'd like to ask out loud if she was in the right level of Singapore. The book numbers on Singapore do not necessarily mean the same grade levels as our public schools. It's important to have the right level of Singapore to start with. When switching from any math program into another (especially when just starting to homeschool), placement into a program is essential. And no need to rush through one year in a few short months at this age. If a student finishes Singapore 5B by the end of 6th grader, that student is on track.

Maybe that is part of the reason that it didn't go well and you hit a bad week or something with a new concept that gave her some challenge. Smart math kids might do better with a program that they have to think and be challenged every once in a while and Singapore provides that.

But to go through 2A and 2B in a semester with an 8 year old, that would be enough to hit some brick walls. But not really enough of a wall to warrant having to change math programs. My advice would be to repeat Singapore 2B and try it again for first semester of this coming year. Since you are looking at it as MFW's recommendation, I want to encourage you that you can call their office too, if you need help using any of their recommendations. Or if/when your daughter struggles with a lesson, or you struggle with teaching it from the Textbook, post the question over here too.

Yes, you can use whatever you want and it will work in the curriculum most likely. But I'd say a do-over with Singapore might be a path to consider. All kids hit rough spots in math. I slow down a bit, re-teach it, ask for help from others using the program. Teach the lesson again. Set it down for 3 days and just review. Add lots of drill. With Singapore we need to add drill daily.

with Singapore, you get out blocks or other manipulatives to teach the material that is in the Textbook. You practice it out loud together. Then they go to the workbook.

It's a strong program and worth trying to adjust teaching styles a bit.

Julie in MN
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Math curriculum choice question

Unread post by Julie in MN » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:46 am

Hi & welcome :)

I agree with Crystal that maybe it was (a) she's at too high of a level, (b) she went too fast, (c) she needed more time as a new homeschooler, and (d) she might not be getting enough math facts drill on the side?

Singapore is very much in line with the usual MFW materials in terms of high academic standards, short lessons, and low cost. And just remember that there will be hills & valleys in all learning, but especially in something as abstract as math.

Speaking of abstract, I'm wondering how you present the Singapore lessons. I made the mistake early on of handing my son the textbook too often. The biggest help was when I started using the textbook as my "chalkboard." The lessons start out very concretely, and getting out concrete materials to demonstrate is very appropriate. The talking & thinking bubbles should be talked through. And then when you get to just plain math problems in the textbook, you're still with your child -- that's where you evaluate whether she "gets it" or whether you need to go back to the concrete pages again. Does that sound like how you're using it?

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Posts: 320
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: Math curriculum choice question

Unread post by dhudson » Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:44 am


Has your daughter taken the placement tests for Singapore? I agree with the ladies above that the proper level of math would be paramount.

I think Singapore is worth a second try!
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002

Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:03 pm

Re: Math curriculum choice question

Unread post by Issier » Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:22 pm

I pulled her out on a Friday and we started Monday so I didn't even give myself time to really research what I was doing I suppose. I was given the curriculum and was really thankful for it. I started with 2A because I thought that meant 2nd grade.

So today I gave her the 2A placement test as some of you suggested. She did not score anywhere near 80%. Do I start with 2A again this year? I saw her struggle with regrouping and I thought the math manipulatives would help.

Thank you for the wonderful feedback. This was my first post on this message board and I'm touched by the amount of responses and help I received.
cbollin wrote:You did a great job getting started that fast. I don't think I could have started that fast.

I would have done the same thing with the book numbers if someone hadn't told me.

You're going to be fine ((hugs)) and haven't ruined anything. Start where the placement test suggests :)


Amy C.
Posts: 202
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:12 am

Re: Math curriculum choice question

Unread post by Amy C. » Wed Jul 15, 2009 5:46 pm

If she did not score anywhere near 80% on the 2A placement test, then the way I understand it, she would need to take the lower level placement tests until she scores 80% or higher. \I was just wondering if your dd might need to take the 1B placement test just to make sure she scores 80% or above on that. If she does, then 2A would be where you needed to start. If not, then she may need to start at a lower level.

We just did this around my house. The recommendation on the MFW site, if I remember correctly, is start them at a level you think they are at. I say if I remember correctly because I also looked on Singapore's website. Somewhere I saw a Scope and Sequence as to what each level teaches. I chose the placement test level based on what I thought each one of my boys could do easily. Somewhere I read that it was better to start them out at a lower level and work your way up until they score 80% or less.

My oldest took two tests (2A and 2B). He will need to start at 2B this year even though he is a 5th grader. (We have some catching up to do). My younger of the two took three tests before finding the right level, which is 2A, by the way, and he is a 3rd grader.

I don't want to be confusing so calling the MFW office might be a good idea. :) I called twice (maybe three times) to ask questions. Every time they were very helpful. I was told that the levels my boys tested at was not uncommon for children coming from different math backgrounds and that it was doable for them to get caught up. By caught up I mean finishing 5B by the end of 6th grade. I was told that the reason this was not uncommon was that Singapore was a strong math program that taught math concepts in a different way than other math programs. They were very encouraging to me. I felt horrible that my oldest seemed to be so far behind in math but was assured that MFW saw this very often and was encouraged in using Singapore.

Amy C.

Julie in MN
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Switching to Singapore

Unread post by Julie in MN » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:54 pm

Jenn (MD) wrote:My daughter will be coming home from public school. We will be trying to complete levels 3B-5B in 6th grade. Did five levels take you nine months or did you do some of that during the summer too?
Well, we didn't do all of that, but my ds did do 5A/B in 6th. He also did some outside math things.

I would say that 3B probably has a few things you could skip, like money and measuring, if you think you child has those down. It always seemed like the B levels had more of the hands-on type units.

But when you come to any units where bar diagrams are illustrated in the textbook, I would take the time to think through that method as it is shown. Your child won't "need" to use the bar diagrams in his workbook problems at this level, but it's better to at least see how they are used with easier problems, in order to prep for the harder problems in later levels.

Once you get to level 5, the bar diagrams become indispensable. Feel free to post here for help on any problems, or let your child post a queswtion if she prefers.

I'm so glad my youngest got to use Singapore because I think the skills he learned regarding thinking about math will last him a lifetime.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Posts: 40
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:51 pm

math struggles

Unread post by mothermayi » Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:14 am

jenmar30 wrote:We used MUS Alpha for first grade. We took our time because my daughter struggled to learn the addition facts. She hates math and never enjoys doing it.

I am considering switching to singapore. I guess I don't have a question, just need some advice. Has anyone switched from MUS to singapore?
We switched from MUS to Singapore recently. Well, I switched one child. He is technically a 4th grader doing 5th grade work (I guess people consider him a 4th grader here?). Anyway, he struggled with MUS. It just didn't teach him in a way that he could understand. He went from getting very high marks in math with Saxon K-3 and R&S 4 to barely making it through MUS. Granted, he hated Saxon and R&S but he did well with them.

We switched to Singapore and he actually asks to do math first thing in the morning! It coincides with his learning style and preference so he is enjoying it. It is definitely an advanced program, as he tested in 3A. However, that's the beauty of the placement test. It shows you specifically where the student should begin. There are some youtube videos that express the SM methodology. It helped us a lot. We watched the videos to see how ds picked up on things explained and if he could understand the teaching method. Check it out. It's actually kind of fun to watch the weirdness of it all :-) .
Returning to MFW for 2015!! :-)
ds13 (8th)--MFW EX1850, EG, WWS, PP Guides, TT 2.0 Pre-Algebra
ds11.5 (7th)--MFW EX1850, AOG, WWS, PP Guides, Singapore 5B-6B
dd7 (2nd)--MFW EX1850, LLFT2, Miquon, AAS1
dd5--MFW K

Posts: 998
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Re: math struggles

Unread post by TriciaMR » Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:51 am

I switched from MUS to Singapore when my oldest was in 3rd grade. Math was/is still a struggle (but she is dyslexic), but she tests very well on standardized tests. It is different, and you still need to drill math facts. Singapore doesn't expect mastery before moving on. I let my kids use Addition Tables and Multiplication tables until they master them.
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog

Julie in MN
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: math struggles

Unread post by Julie in MN » Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:34 am

I used a little bit of MUS as a break from a hard math topic on occasion during my ds's middle grades, so I'm a little familiar with it.

As far as using Singapore with less able students, I would have loved to have used it with my struggling dd, but I didn't bring her home to school until 10th grade LOL. What was happening with her was the teacher/text told her to "do this" and then gave her a bunch of problems where she "did this" but when I gave her the same kind of easy problem in a different format, it was like a foreign language.

I like how Singapore takes the time to examine math, similar to the way that PLL examines language. There are some quirks along the way, individual problems I don't care for, times my son needed a break, etc, but in general I think many American parents are looking to Singapore to teach us how to develop an understanding of math in our kids, rather than the plug-and-chug methods that Americans have been using. My oldest son was a success story of public school math and he made it work, so it can be done, but my youngest son was raised on Singapore and he may not be as cooperative with just doing what the book says but he just gets math, and I give Singapore a lot of the credit for that.

And what they said on math facts.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:30 am

Re: math struggles

Unread post by jenmar30 » Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:39 pm

Thanks everyone for you encouragement and prayers.. we have taken a couple of days off from MUS and focused on counting money. We are going to try singapore and see if she gets "it" easier with a different method. It is good to know there are people out there who understand and can give advice. Thanks again.


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests