Singapore - Concerns about teaching

Julie in MN
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Singapore - Concerns about teaching

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sun Mar 26, 2006 3:46 pm

Love2learn wrote:I have a 7 and a 9 year old, and both require additional math drill to keep the basic math facts fresh. I have supplemented with various things, flashcards, fact family worksheets, even Math-It, but find that all of the "fuss" is too much.

I am currently using Singapore, the kids are successful at it, but I have a few concerns. I don't feel like I am "teaching" or presenting the information to them, just working through problems in the text.

I am looking at other math programs for this reason, as well as their built in review of basic math facts. However, I like Singapore's approach as well. Does anyone out there have any input that might be helpful?
I think it helps to look at the Singapore textbook as your "classroom blackboard." You can even copy the problems or diagrams onto a marker board if it helps you to associate it with "teaching." I feel it is not helpful to hand the textbook child, but instead use it as something you are going to teach and work out together.

When a concept is first introduced in the textbook, it will usually be demonstrated in several ways. It will even show children "thinking" about the material :o) You can get out some manipulatives and imitate some of the drawings, if you like.

Each time you come to a little "arrow," your child goes to the workbook. The workbook seems to be purposely fun and "easy" so the child will have success on his own.

Eventually you will get to a section of textbook with just a few problems to do before the child goes to his workbook. Now is the chance to see if the concept has really sunk in. Do these few problems together & watch as your child goes thru the steps on a marker board or in his head. And if needed, you just need to turn back a few pages to re-use the visuals or the manipulatives.

If these things haven't worked & you want to stick with Singapore, you might try the Home Educator's Guides. The author has poured a lot of extras into them, including outlining the concepts, mental math practice, manipulatives you can cut out, etc.

As for drill, any math teacher on the planet has to add drill until the facts are memorized. Some classroom teachers have a 5-minute timed test every day, with each child moving ahead as they are mastered. Some send flashcards home to mom & pop. Some textbooks attempt to incorporate drill, but teachers know that it can't really be done. It's impossible to coincide each particular child's mastery of, say, the 5's tables, with a particular math lesson during the year.

If it's a lot of fuss to plan out daily drill, then I'd just choose your drill program once and stick with it. Or, make a plan for rotating your choices, and stick with that.

I think MFW would highly discourage you from taking on a full 2nd math program. They are so very practical and realistic! It can be done, however, I just warn you to use it as a help or a change of pace, and not a burden for your children (or you)!

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

Tina
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Unread post by Tina » Mon Mar 27, 2006 12:28 am

For drilling math facts, what if you had a consistent, set way of drilling? That helps here in my house. For instance,

--on Mon. both children do flashcard drilling with addition facts.
--Tues. they do the little window drills provided by MFW (dd will change this around, she's 4th gr and drilling all math facts, ds is still only doing addition and some subtraction).
--then on Wed. they drill on the computer, a timed drill.
--Thurs. back to flashcards
--and Fri. a worksheet drill.

Just a thought that if you had a more set schedule of the quick drill it might not be as difficult to pull together (it has helped me a bit)
Tina, homeschooling mother of Laura (1996), Jacob (1998) and Tucker (2003) In MO
"One of the greatest blessings of heaven is the appreciation of heaven on earth. He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."--JIM ELLIOT

hsmom
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Unread post by hsmom » Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:20 am

3lambsshepherdessinNY wrote:My question is regarding what math to use for dd going into 2nd grade this Fall. I think part of my hesitation is that *I'm* intimidated as I'm not strong in Math myself and that Singapore might be difficult for me to teach. Any encouragement would be welcome here.
Posted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:35 pm

I'm not a very mathy mom, but so far I am really glad we are doing Singapore math. I'm really loving that my son is learning mental math. I am learning right alongside him. I hope I can stay just a step ahead, but we're not far enough along to tell how the upper elementary grades will go (2B).

cbollin

Unread post by cbollin » Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:23 am

Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:19 am

What a great way to improve your math skills right along with your child by using Singapore together. You don't have to have already mastered the program before using it with your child.

Yes, a non-mathy mom will be ok to use Singapore Math. The colorful textbook is like having a pre made chalk board lesson. You just grab some kind of manipulatives and build it together from the pictures. You say the "thought bubble" script out loud. Those thought bubble scripts are age appropriate -- so you will not overteach it. Start with hands on stuff and the pictures - then the more abstract will come later.

And if/when you get stuck -- feel encouraged to ask out loud. There are certain lessons in each book that have common "tough" parts for moms. I base that on reading several different forums where it's the same questions in each level. So -- we're all in it together.

-crystal

TurnOurHearts

Unread post by TurnOurHearts » Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:24 am

Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 4:12 pm

I just wanted to chime in about non-math moms & Singapore. I am SO not a math mom! LOL! I am a language/music creature & the very logical makes me nuts, to be quite frank. ;) However, my son is a math kid in every sense.

We went with Singapore because we decided to try the MFW recommendations first & go from there, if need be. I am SO glad we did! We love Singapore & my son is doing so well. And guess what? Mom has learned right along with him. Sure, I'm not the one doing the workbook exercises, but the textbook has taught us both. I'm finally able to do things in my head that I've never been able to do before, but other people seem to be able to! ;) SM really makes it easy, and like Crystal said, there is so much support here for the broad & the specific. You won't be all alone, no matter what you choose. :)

cbollin

Re: Help with Singapore Math 1B

Unread post by cbollin » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:34 pm

sbbrown425 wrote:Hello fellow homeschoolers! My son is 2nd grade. This is our 2nd yr with MFW and glad to have found it. I wanted to use Singapore since it was so highly recommended by MFW. We started with 1A since it is new to us. Glad we did! However, my son and I am running into bumps with 1B-mostly with Addition and Subtraction in Unit 3.

Some of the problem is me not being able to figure out how to teach it to my son so that he understands, esp with the subtraction regrouping. I like Singapore Math and for the most part my son does too. It is just going slower than I would like and I feel like I am making him get behind. One other concern is that even though I am the primary teacher, my husband and mother-in-law, also help and I do not feel they could help my son with his math at this time bec. of the new concepts that we have learned/are learning. What's your advice?

I must confess also. I am concerned about my husband's reaction if the children do not perform well on the annual required standardized testing (NC). We do not have send off the scores--just keep them for our files. . He gave us permission to homeschool after 2 yrs of prayers. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks to you all for your encouragement.
In unit 3 of 1B, it might seem a little silly at first to add/subtract with some of the ways to think about the mental process. We've given number lines to help them count forward and backward to see the add/subtraction.
and Singapore is setting up for the mental math process of being able to add/subtract problems such as 72-6. Or 24 + 8.

so that's the purpose behind it --- it is setting for regrouping down the road too, even if something like 15-3 doesn't "need" regrouping. looking at p33 So, you take 15 and think of it as 10 and 5. it's easy to know 5-3=2. and then you still have the 10. so mush that together and you have 12. It seems almost silly at this stage, but it's setting up for down the road.

use straws or lego blocks or anything that you have. Physically let your child make the problem by setting up 15 as a group of ten and five. and then physically cover up or remove 3 of the straws/bean/whatever.

you can think of the textbook as your predrawn chalk board, but at this stage, plan to use real objects to imitate the pictures on the page. Talk out loud about the problem as you go. let your child have a turn.

p. 38-39: it helps now to think of the groups of tens as a "bundled group" and a "can pull it apart group".... so look p. 39, 7A. 20-6. 20 is shown as 2 groups of tens. One of the groups is tied together, the other group is still loose. Well, we can take away 6 from the loose group. 10-6 = 4 and now we have 1 group of 10 and 4 more.... 14. that's what the speaking bubble is trying to help show on p. 38 6a. you think of 20 as 10 and 10... take 1 from the loose set of 10 (that's the bead that is crossed out on the page) and then mush together. 10 and 9.

Singapore 1a unit 3 -- starts them with problems they probably already know the answers (20-1) and then gives them a new way to think about that problem, then applies to harder "regrouping" problem 20-6.
It'll really come together in 2A/2B with 72-6 and then you stack it if you want to ....

During drill time, work on number bonds with 10's (10 - 1, 10-2.....) as well as making sure they know that 10 + 4 = 14, 10+6 = 16. etc....

-crystal

Julie in MN
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Re: Help with Singapore Math 1B

Unread post by Julie in MN » Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:57 pm

Hello,
The first thing I wanted to make sure I mention is that there will be "bumps" in math. Now that my kids are ages 14-25, I look back and think some of the biggest bumps in math were between 1st and 4th grades. Things like borrowing and carrying are just strange to a child, up through long division borrowing & carrying. They are very abstract concepts, even when we try our best to connect them to the concrete. They have to go from the concrete to the abstract "language" of numbers and signs, and then to the abstract "processes." That's a lot for a little brain. In ancient times, math was often saved until a much older age.

I don't think you always have to stop until the student completely grasps the concept. That's just my opinion, but sometimes I think going on to something else for a while & letting the hard thing sink into the back of the brain can work, too. If you do this, you can either just let it go for a while, or just add in one daily "hard" problem amongst the new stuff. My son usually loved the "B" level books with measuring water and measuring doorways and such, and the stress of hard math concepts was relieved while he was still moving on in math. Sometimes I even mixed up the A and B books for a bit, or did some math games or other math things I owned for a while.

As for testing, my son has tested above average using Singapore, and we went so slowly that he was in 5B at the end of 6th grade. Most tests have two areas that they evaluate: (1) Math concepts, and figuring things out. Singapore is at a great advantage because of their advanced word problems and just because they help a kid to "figure things out" even if they are new ideas, rather than only being capable of chugging through familiar things. (2) Speed drills, where you try to solve as many math problems as fast as you can. You need to add drills to Singapore, and the scores on this type of test will depend on how regularly you drill at home, as well as just the type of child you have on your hands (some will never speed up, some will go so fast that they get too many wrong, etc.). But the idea is that if they are fast, then it must be easy for them.

If you need to have a substitute teacher, I would just have them do their best. Tell them that the textbook is their "teaching chalkboard" and they should just discuss the entire page(s) with your child. The child may well be able to prompt them. Usually the child can easily do the workbook pages, and if need be you can go back later and make sure they realized all the different methods that were introduced in the textbook earlier. I had to wing it sometimes with subs over the years, and there are things to be learned by doing that. But I usually urged my subs to take my son on field trips ;)

If your dh is not happy with the testing and you go to Saxon or something, you will be fine. Sometimes folks go away from good things for a while and find something else works, or find something else *doesn't* work and they come back happily. Your son is young. He is fortunate that you have him at home and your family will be blessed :)

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

MadeInJapan
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Re: Help with Singapore Math 1B

Unread post by MadeInJapan » Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:22 pm

One thing that we did with my 2nd grader who just finished 1B was use snap cubes with the higher subtraction problems. It really helped her to see the numbers with the groups of ten and the ones. At first I was worried that it was too "easy" for her (like counting on fingers) but then I realized that she needed the extra help now, while she's figuring out. She really does well with them. =)
Lisa, mom of 3
We've done MFW PreK, MFW K, ECC, CTG, and RTR.
Preparing for Exp1850 and MFW 1st!

cbollin

Singapore

Unread post by cbollin » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:33 am

Blessed Beth wrote:I switched to Singapore two years ago because my oldest son did not like math. He does really well with Singapore. I switched my youngest son who was happy at the time. He is in 4th grade now and really dislikes math. He can't seem to understand division and fractions and I have to go through the explanation for every problem. I am wondering if it would be better to go back to Math-U-See with him because it spends such a long time on each topic and really lays a good foundation. Any thoughts?
Here are my ideas to help with some teaching tips/tweaks for Singapore if that is what is needed.

In general, before switching out of Singapore with a student who needs more time on a concept, consider the following things to try.

*repeat the lesson from the textbook the next day. Singapore in my opinion doesn’t jump around topics, but rather, takes an incremental approach to add just a tiny bit more each day. Then, to let the average kids (like my middle child) have time to let it sink it, Singapore gives applications of the material for a moment. Then proceeds to next step.

*Are you using any kind of tangible object to help teach fractions? I bought a fancy set of colored tiles. Use household measuring cups. Use the charts and graphs in the Textbook.

*Mental math in Singapore does not mean all in your head. It is ok to talk out loud about the mental process and write stuff down as needed. Wean gradually.

*let students look back at the text as needed.

*if a child needs to take 2 days to do one lesson on a new concept, it’s ok.

Just some random thoughts from using Singapore with an average non mathy type who is in 5A in 6th grade, and also from using Singapore with a very mathy kid.

-crystal

Julie in MN
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Re: Singapore

Unread post by Julie in MN » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:40 pm

If you still have both programs, I have one other idea. It wouldn't work for everyone, but it worked for us.

Singapore was our main math program in the elementary years. However, once in a while when things weren't sinking in or ds was grumpy due to impending mental explosion, we would do MUS for a while. I didn't make him do everything, but he'd watch the video and do a worksheet page that day. (I would cross out the word problems since they were pretty silly for a Singapore user.)

My ds appreciated the variety. But of course I wasn't teaching multiple math students each day...
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
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Julie in MN
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Singapore/MUS Math ? for Julie in MN and HeyChelle

Unread post by Julie in MN » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:43 pm

baileymom wrote:After reading over the Singapore vs Math U See post from January 3 times...I am seriously considering using both with my younger children. After thinking about this...MUS does seem like just a really good 'Drill Program' ...I hope I haven't LOVED it because it was easy!!! sigh...

Korinne: currently doing Delta (division)...she also started out using Singapore, and completed 3A if I remember correctly (I'll have to go back and look)...would you test her? Would you just pick up at 3B?

Connor: finishing up Alpha this week. It's been super easy for him...zips through the lessons...which is the main reason we're considering supplementing with Singapore. Well that, and the fact that I was shaking my head through the entire "vs" post... Test him too? Start at 2A? Start at the beginning???

And, if we're actually going to do Math this way...do I try to line them up? Or just let each program teach it's own thing (and it won't be totally confusing)?
Hi Kathi,
So you want to try something crazy like I did :)

I actually don't like the placement tests because they are so very long and nothing like a Singapore lesson, and I don't want to start my child off on the wrong foot. It depends a bit on whether you're in a rush to move forward. If you're not too worried about that, then I think it's fine looking over the test yourself and starting your children where you think they will be comfortable but not bored.

I never tried to line the two maths up. I'm used to the place I tutor, where kids are in their school math and they're in our math, and they're two separate things. Kind of like drill and curriculum - they're just separate. I do think it's useful to pick one program as your primary math focus, and one as your extra.

I basically did Singapore, and when we got to a tough spot, with my son dragging and the little tear in the eye, then I'd ask my son if he wanted to do a lesson in MUS today. We didn't do full-blown MUS, but he'd watch the little video and we'd choose a worksheet page from the six or whatever for that lesson, and that was his math for the day. I would skip the word problems because they were pretty silly after Singapore word probs.

Does that help at all?
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

HSmommi2mine
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Re: Singapore/MUS Math ? for Julie in MN and HeyChelle

Unread post by HSmommi2mine » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:05 am

I didn't read that thread but I use both MUS and Singapore. I have found that different combinations work for different kids. My oldest does well with MUS. It makes sense to him in ways that other programs don't. I use MUS as his main program and we do some CWP from Singapore here and there to expand the way he looks at problems.

My middle kid adores math. She got a great foundation in the beginning levels of MUS and then we added in Singapore. She kind of bounces back and forth between them now at will. She learns quickly so we do a lot of condensing with her anyway, stringing together multiple related math lessons. She is doing Singapore 5 now and finishing up Epsilon and Zeta. It's a bit convoluted but by next Winter she should be in Algebra. We are just making sure she has covered everything and picking up a stray topic here and there from Pre-Algebra for fun. No, I never bothered to math them up in any way. One just reinforces the other and using both means she got to immerse herself in a topic with MUS, and then jump into review that was presented in a different way than she was used to in Singapore.

My little one is only 5 yo and she loves all things bright and colorful so she may move to Singapore being her primary program.

I do love SIngapore and how it approaches concepts but I think understanding things from MUS makes me a better teacher. That probably speaks to my poor math education more than anything else though. For me it is the best of both worlds, the concrete, clear teaching of MUS and the varied perspective and bar diagram methods of Singapore.
~Christina

Wife to my favorite guy
Mom to 3 great kids

cbollin

Singapore - is it me or the curriculum that's the proble

Unread post by cbollin » Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:31 pm

melissamomof3girls wrote:DD 1 did 1a & 1b last year in 2nd grade. It was a struggle almost every day. We started 2a last week. Still a struggle.

DD 2 did 1a this past spring in 2nd grade. It was a little easier for her, but still a struggle to understand the concepts. She started 1b last week.

I don't know how to tell if the problem with their understanding it is me or just that singapore isn't right for us? Is there any encouragement, help, advice you can give me? THANK YOU!!!
Well.. uhm.. I know the vast majority of people like to say toss math and do something else. I just have some thoughts to try to help you think through it with singapore since I have used that program with one child who is less than super smart.

are you using manipulatives? No matter what program you use to teach from, a child in this age group needs to have some kind of concrete way to cement concepts.

are you using the textbook to teach from? (this applies to Singapore, but that's what you're using).... How are you using it? Are you building the problem with blocks or something, then doing the material hand over hand with your child, and practicing from textbook with real objects before considering going to next page in workbook?

are you looking for real life applications for problems?

What concepts are still a struggle for each child?

Before tossing a math curriculum, I think it's a good idea to make sure you have tried various teaching tools for the program. What kind of teacher guide are you using? (HIG, mfw only, just the textbook?) Also, with Singapore - please do not think that "mental math" means you have to do it all in your head without talking or without some visual helps at this age. In other words, if the doing some of it mentally isn't there yet, please believe me... it's ok! my middle gal didn't click automatically with that method for a few years. She sorta got it. Mostly she just knew to talk it out loud.

how are math drills coming to cement facts?

Sorry to have more questions.. but it's a thinking out loud process to try to help you. I'm sure others will just say drop it and use XYZ b/c it cured everything and that might be the cure for your case. I don't know.

-crystal

melissamomof3girls
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Re: Singapore - is it me or the curriculum that's the proble

Unread post by melissamomof3girls » Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:41 pm

Crystal ~ Thank you for your quick response. I think I was kind of expecting it needed to be mental and was totally trying not to use manipulatives last year. This year I am realizing I probably do need them. I am embarrassed to admit I didn't think we were supposed to use them.

We do have the textbooks and I need to try and use them better. Last year I didn't really use them. I will do more trying to use the manipulatives with the textbook and doing it until they get it.

Any more help is greatly appreciated! I have stuck with Singapore since MFW recommended it and I wholly trust their guidance and research. But I have heard enough moms say to switch if you need to. Having said that, I did want to stick with Singapore and find a way to make it work.
Melissa
DD1 ~14
DD2 ~ 12
DD3 ~ 10
DS1 ~ 7
DD4 ~ 3

Looking forward to Exp to 1850 this fall :)

Julie in MN
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Re: Singapore - is it me or the curriculum that's the proble

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:53 pm

melissamomof3girls wrote:We do have the textbooks and I need to try and use them better. Last year I didn't really use them. I will do more trying to use the manipulatives with the textbook and doing it until they get it.

Any more help is greatly appreciated!
Melissa,
I think if you adjust your teaching style to using the textbook, and even manipulatives to demonstrate things in the textbook as Crystal mentioned, then you'll start seeing the results we all rave about :)

The textbook is the main Singapore lesson. The math facts are the side lesson. And the workbook is just a little practice.

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

cbollin

Re: Singapore - is it me or the curriculum that's the proble

Unread post by cbollin » Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:05 pm

agreeing with Julie... it sounds more like a tweak in the teaching style is needed to see the results.

Don't blush or feel embarrassed. It's a common thing that is so easy to misunderstand with the mental math and singapore. I know I didn't totally get it either when I first started Singapore. Then, for some reason, I read the intro. oops.. you mean, I missed the intro. Now that's embarrassing to admit. But oh well. anyway, I missed reading it. Or maybe I read it too quickly or whatever. But I know when I first started singapore I was in that mindset that it was all mental and for some odd ball reason you didn't use paper. I don't know why I thought that. Just saying, don't feel embarrassed. been there. did that and then my middle gal started singapore at 1A and I knew she would have to have hands on teaching no matter what. then, it clicked with me.. oh... that's what the book meant concrete to pictorial to abstract.

it was a "smack my head into my desk" moment when I realized that. I thought it meant something like start with abstract.gulp. I really don't know why I thought that. but maybe it explains my ramblings and why I tend to over emphasize it. (((hugs)))

anyway... the mental part comes later in the process. So if they are struggling with concepts like the ones on textbook p. 66 in 1A... it's ok to really slow it down a bit.
Review that teens are 10 plus single digit.
and make groups of 10 plus single digit and take stuff away.

oh, one of the other things that I had to do with middle gal.... I had to write down what I was would and saying so she had a mental picture in her head, while she and I were saying it, and building.
I know that's an extra step.. I'd write on white board and all of that
but it helped to cement the process for her.

it took a while with her. she's not my sharp learner. sweetie pie to be certain. but struggles with school work.

and in 2A/2B you will get to the more traditional stack method of add/subtract with regrouping. I know in some ways my middle gal never quite caught on with some of the singapore ways of regrouping until she was well up into 5th grade. But oh, she really got it with the word problems in singapore and now in Saxon 87 in 7th grade, word problems seem easy to her. Yes, I'm embarrassed that sometimes her brain freezes and she resorts to counting on fingers when the brain freezes on a math fact (like 7*8, or 9+6. for some reason those do not stick in her brain even now.).

and maybe there's some stuff in the math archives with ideas and all of that.

anyway, I thought I'd ramble on that a little bit. but I'm backing out for a bit. getting a nap. -crystal

momma2boys
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Re: Singapore - is it me or the curriculum that's the proble

Unread post by momma2boys » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:47 am

I have to chime in and say that each child is different and what works for one child might not work for another, whether it's MFWs recommendation or not. I think that Singapore Math is a terrific program. We used it for 2 years and although I loved it, both of my sons struggled so much and went from loving math to not liking it at all. This was not okay with me, so I finally switched to a different curriculum. And it was the best decision that I could have made! Math is no longer a struggle at our house. It is enjoyed. And our house is peaceful - yay!

Singapore Math is a mastery program - a student must first master a concept before he can move on. This works great for some students but not for others. We found a program that is a spiral program - a student is introduced to a variety of concepts and continually reviews in order to master concepts. Both types of programs are good - depends on what concept works best for your child. Anyhow, best of luck to you as you work through this. The other ladies had some great suggestions to help!
Anna (CO)

Still married to the love of my life
Mom to two boys, 13 and 11 - both adopted and with their own unique special needs

We've done ADV, ECC, CTG, RTR and on to EXPL-1850 this year!
http://www.ChiqBanAnna@gmail.com

melissamomof3girls
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Re: Singapore - is it me or the curriculum that's the proble

Unread post by melissamomof3girls » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:56 am

Thank you for your help! I appreciate you taking the time to help this mama out. :-)

I'm going to try altering my teaching approach this week and slowing down and see if that helps them.

If not, I may look into another math program.
Melissa
DD1 ~14
DD2 ~ 12
DD3 ~ 10
DS1 ~ 7
DD4 ~ 3

Looking forward to Exp to 1850 this fall :)

cbollin

Re: Singapore - is it me or the curriculum that's the proble

Unread post by cbollin » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:59 am

From the "philosophy of education" side of me, I enjoy the discussion about approaches to math. so I hope it's ok to chime back in... I'll be the first person to support anyone's decision to use whatever they want to use. there are no requirements to use mfw recommendations on math and/or language arts. that's not the issue. I"m just in a philosophical mood.

hmmm is singapore "mastery" vs. spiral vs. incremental vs. "east asian". I don't think singapore fits easily in the american mastery approach categories like math u see, or mastering mathematics does. It's like singapore doesn't fit the american categories well enough to describe it. in case anyone else enjoys philosophy of education talks, here are some past thoughts....
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=1837

I know I never did singapore as a mastery approach according to the way some mastery programs describe themselves. There were times I repeated lessons but never felt tied to stick to a topic without moving on. And in fact, I like how I saw that Singapore encouraged that --- work on hard stuff, try again, apply it to a few situations... let it settle... keep moving. It will be covered again. I guess in that sense, I did tend to follow a mastery blended with review... what I can't stand is hearing mastery curriculum out there that tries to make it seem like a spiral approach is evil or something. but....
melissamomof3girls wrote:Crystal ~ :) No worries from me on you chiming in again. ;) But I am so not philosophical! So there will definitely be no debate from me. 8[] And it's so funny your signature says that you don't work for MFW. When I told my dh last night I posted this question on the MFW forums, he's like of course they're going to tell you to stay with singapore, they sell it. lol I told him no no no, this is a forum of moms like me who are using it, not people selling it and MFW doesn't make singapore to begin with. Anyway, I just thought it was a little funny.
Melisa,
I like that! Yes, MFW will encourage you to try and use Singapore. They really honestly think it is one of the best products with a lot of good results and meets their goals. Yes, on this forum, you'll get lots of fans who will do anything to help another mom/dad teacher use mfw stuff. But, it's "recommendations" not "do your singapore or else the mfw police will show up and take you to Siberia on a missions trip." I know some people like philosophy of education so I thought.. .oh looky! there's an older thread with Julie and fly2peace on it..

No, I don't work for mfw. I'd be a terrible "addition" to them. (pun intended). I'm definitely not tall enough. From time to time, people think that because I spend too much time on the forum, so I thought.. .why not just mention it on the siggy line?

(you can tell, I'm not getting school done this morning too early, right?)
I had to comment on the thread I linked to.. totally giggling at myself on that link I shared. one of the post from may of 2010 was written a few months before my audition to be a group exercise instructor. Had to follow up on that. When I went to the audition there were some moves that I still couldn't do. I passed the test anyway. Now almost a year after passing the test, my brain and body finally can do this one move. I'm so glad my mentor instructor did not do a pure mastery approach. that has nothing to do with the original poster's situation or anything... just more about the long term process of teaching just a few students over a long period of time from the perspective of me as a student.

No matter what skill they struggle with (math, writing, etc).... think long term, work with what they can do to build up what they are learning to do, and look back over a year's time. I know as a fitness teacher, I cue the moves in about 3 or 4 different ways to help my students. And I think that applies to teaching math/language arts, etc. Sometimes we present the material and adjust. And sometimes (like on Saturday with a different instructor), a touch of humor.
but yeah, I cue the moves, show them, cue it differently, show the same thing... tell them to follow me like a mirror.... smile and keep on keeping on.

so, no matter what curriculum in math that one selects, I think those principles apply when you hit a plateau or hard spot when you are teaching something harder to make them do more.

My youngest made muffins for all of us this morning. ah... I love doing math via the kitchen. :)
-crystal
melissamomof3girls wrote:Crystal ~ Thank you for posting the earlier link! That thread was actually also very helpful to me! I feel like I have had the charge I need to get through today with excitement. :) Now, to start school for the day 8[] It's so cloudy and rainy here...no motivation to get started.

erin.kate
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Re: Singapore - is it me or the curriculum that's the proble

Unread post by erin.kate » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:59 am

I didn't read all of these responses, but I wanted to encourage you to go with your intuition more than your instinct, keeping in mind that manipulatives may make all the difference in the world with Singapore. Singapore was awesome for us in K and 1st (we did use the Earlybird math with MFWK), but as we started 2nd grade this year I realized that while my daughter was successful to a point with Singapore, I wanted her to spend more time on each topic, but I am not a lover of true spiral math, ala Saxon for instance. Oh ... and we have always supplemented Singapore with Miquon, cuisinaire rods, the glorious beans from MFW First, pattern blocks, etc. I hope to find our way back to Singapore, but for now I had to go with my intuition and try what I thought might work better at this moment in my daughter's math world and I am very happy that we did so ... I still love MFW's suggestions and take them very much to heart, but you still know your child best of all.
♥Count it all joy ~
Mae 11, Viola 9, Jude 7, & Jack 6
2015: RTR
2014: CTG
2011: Adventures
2010: MFW First Grade
2009: MFW K♥

gratitude
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Re: Singapore - is it me or the curriculum that's the proble

Unread post by gratitude » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:12 am

Hmm... I Love Singapore personally, and it works for my oldest child. He thinks abstractly naturally (or did at a young age) though and so Singapore is not a struggle but a joy for him. My second born has very different gifts & strengths and MFW1 math is perfect for him. He did extremely well with MFWK math and is getting a strong foundation that I see him growing in by leaps and bounds. I have no idea what I am doing for 2nd grade with him. Singapore? Math U See is my back-up plan for my second born if Singapore doesn't work. The important thing for me is that he learns & likes math, not what method we use to get to the end point.

Honestly, I don't know if I could teach Singapore to a child that struggled with math. I have no doubt it is completely doable. The main reason I choose it for my first born, before finding MFW, was the way it taught fits with his gifts. He talks a lot about architecture & building houses & building houses in Mexico and I want him to have a strong math foundation. My second born talks much more about animals & biology. I can easily see me choosing Math U See for him since I don't want math to be a struggle. Besides Steve had a great honest very open DVD about his first two years as a dad with Down Syndrome that I found when my youngest was 4 months old - it saved me during a very difficult period of life. He has a wonderful heart that he shared with us at a critical time period. He even answered my email about Down Syndrome and home schooling! MFW has wonderful recommendations, but my top priority is to pay attention to each of my children and what they need as individuals in my home school. I know from DVDs that Marie & David did the same - at least as far as timing went when they taught different subjects to different children at different ages. Singapore is wonderful & MFW recommendations are wonderful, but I can see how Singapore could be difficult to teach to some children.
cbollin wrote:Carin, I don't know if I've mentioned this or not... I liked a lot of Steve's special needs talks as well. And, I don't know if you know this.. my oldest used MUS from Kindy until middle of 5th. she did kindy through Zeta.
anyway... from using MUS, I knew it wouldn't work with my "animals loving" middle gal. so that is one reason I went with singapore for her. Turns out the pictures and stories and all of that was great for her.
Thank you Crystal! I Love Singapore, and this is really interesting to read. It encourages me to give it a try. Teaching math to my oldest has been so easy, too easy, he does it for me :-). It makes me a little nervous about teaching math to my animal loving boy with incredible hand writing & spelling abilities (spelling with him is so easy, he does it for me. :-) ) My boys really are opposites & best friends.
cbollin wrote:you just never know, you know? oh, and oldest? she switched at end of zeta to Singapore 4b and did it through 6B. great fit for her. clearly I didn't "ruin" her or anything from mus.

again... totally just rambling. I know my youngest didn't really start in singapore until last year. I'm just pathetic about doing math with her. except the fractions story. I love telling that one. but.. never mind...

never mind.. I just wanted to say that was a neat connection in our stories with the special needs journey and steve demme's workshops on that. so, it really wasn't about math..
Oh, I like the connection too with our special needs journey & Steve Demme's workshops on special needs. You are correct that my visit to his booth ended up not being about math. It completely ended up being about the help I needed for special needs with home schooling. My youngest was 4 months and I was questioning whether or not home schooling was still the right choice for our family. Steve's CD was invaluable! The math manipulative I bought from them though have been extremely helpful for our math manipulative with Singapore.. that ended up being the small math part about otherwise very meaningful help at a critical moment.

Thank you for the encouragement Crystal. I already bought Singapore 1A for my second born. It is nice to know that I might be able to successfully continue what I am already doing. The question is how far will he out-strip his older brother in spelling this year? My oldest spells as well as I do... My second has my DH gift for spelling & complicated words. Too true that a great reader is not necessarily a great speller.


Oh, I am off topic. I hope this thread helped the original poster make a decision. I think the main thing with Singapore, now that I am thinking about what it would be like to teach my second, would be to make it very concrete for a child that is not in a place of abstract thinking. My oldest rarely uses manipulative; mental math started very young for him. Math manipulative though is something I used constantly with my second for MFWK. If I think about how Singapore goes through the material I really would think that making it concrete with manipulative would be essential for success with many students. Spending more time on the lessons. Going very slowly. Taking as much time as needed to complete each book, maybe longer than a year for two. Singapore moves fairly quickly through concepts without spiraling, but they are used later. So they don't need mastering, but they do need understanding. Concrete thinking in most children, I would think, would require a fair amount of time really going through the concepts from different angles with manipulative and making sure that the idea is understood. But this is me.. I have given up 'time' goals in home schooling, and teach wherever they are at. So I have taken math more slowly with my second son, and my first spent a lot of extra time on 1st grade spelling. Hope this helps.

Blessings,

cbollin

Singapore question

Unread post by cbollin » Tue May 01, 2012 11:57 am

familyof3 wrote:Hello! I have been "lurking" on this board for over 6 years, and have finally decided to introduce myself! :) My name is Angie, and my husband and I have one son who is 10. I have been using MFW for 5 years now, and have always LOVED all of their recommendations!

However, I'm beginning to realize that math has been more of a struggle than it probably should be, and am wondering if I need to be making a change. I think my son needs way more daily practice of past skills than what Singapore provides. Recent example: In 4A, a few days are spent learning multiplication by 2 digits. Then it switches to adding fractions, improper fractions, etc. for two weeks before the next review page. Well, today I found myself teaching multiplication by 2 digits all over again (with much frustration and many tears). I really don't want to be making my own daily review pages, and so I'm wondering if there is a better option for us out there. I really want my son to enjoy math, and not constantly feel "dumb" because he can't remember concepts that haven't been reviewed much. Thank you for your help!

Angie
welcome along...

part of the "singapore" way of doing stuff is to have daily drills out loud or other methods. You don't have to do a whole other program for worksheets....

my middle gal doesn't remember stuff all the time, so we uh.. look back a few pages... and guess what? she does that in Saxon too :) she'll forget concepts and just looks back a few pages.

and would you like some links to online worksheet generators?
-crystal

familyof3
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Re: Singapore question

Unread post by familyof3 » Wed May 02, 2012 7:14 am

Crystal - I would definitely be interested in looking at the links if you know of a few good ones! Thank you!

I realize that the everyday drill work with Singapore is our responsibility. I've been making basic drill worksheets (along with flashcard-type activities) throughout our years with Singapore. My main concern is that my son seems to be needing more review of the concepts than what is provided in the curriculum. Other than that, we have very much enjoyed Singapore's approach.

Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Re: Singapore question

Unread post by Julie in MN » Wed May 02, 2012 10:25 am

Glad to hear you remembered the drill. I love the ECC manual where drill is scheduled right in there, so I didn't forget :)

I know over our years with Singapore, there were a few areas where a big, new concept came up and there wasn't a ton of repetition before another topic came along. I read posts on boards about this lack of review. I wondered about it. But we kept going (or rested in place for a while).

One of the reasons I kept going was because my son was *glad* to get past the ugly new concept (and I was glad to get past his grumpiness ;) ). Another reason I kept going was that we had often stopped for a while or went very slowly thru the new concept (sometimes by doing something totally different for a while), until the new concept took root in ds's brain. I guess we "rested in place" when we hit a hard concept, rather than going over & over it, and then I felt we needed/wanted to move forward. And I also had the thought that math builds on itself, so even if you aren't doing "the double digit multiplication lesson," you might be *using* the double digit multiplication skill in future math problems without realizing it.

So at my house, I kept on the usual track of moving forward, stopping to hover for a while if needed, and not adding extra practice books or such. And we did continue drill in one way or another up through fractions, in the 7th grade.

Looking back, it seems to have worked for my son. He is a strong math student. And as I consider the method from my current point of view of having taught my son math through Algebra 2, and having been a tutor at an Asian-style center for some years, here are my jumbled thoughts on it.

1. Singapore strongly resists formula teaching. It's all about understanding what you're doing with numbers. Maybe their math lessons purposely don't let students spend a lot of time on the old borrowing and carrying, because they want students to think about how to simplify and how to reorganize and how to look at each column of numbers independently?

2. Asian students in my experience are getting the "drill" part of math separately, at home or often through tutoring, and this may last K-12 if needed, and for some nationalities even in preschool. This drill goes into decimals and square roots and beyond. They repeat the same facts in different ways until they just "know" (without giving it a thought) what two numbers add up to a third number, what fractions are equivalent, what decimals match what fractions, or what large numbers are divisible by what smaller numbers (sometimes the rules of divisibility help http://math.about.com/library/bldivide.htm ). So maybe some of the repetition is unnecessary because they are doing more drill at home?

Just one person's random thoughts about a popular topic ;)
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

familyof3
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Re: Singapore question

Unread post by familyof3 » Wed May 02, 2012 11:17 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Julie! I agree that "drill" written in on the ECC grid was a wonderful reminder!

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