Singapore - MFW Lesson Plans & other teacher helps


Singapore - MFW Lesson Plans & other teacher helps

Unread post by cbollin » Wed Nov 08, 2006 4:46 pm

Omma wrote:I was just wondering if MFW's lesson plans for doing Singapore Math include added explanations for how to approach math by the Singapore way. Also, can you purchase lesson plans separately if you already have the Singapore books, and how much are they?

Another question... should I buy the Home Instructor Guide to help me, or is this kind of info included in the MFW lesson plans?
I only have 1A and 1B. The MFW plans are more of a way to help you schedule how many pages to do in a day. There are some helps along the way to point out math vocabulary and some extra helps to understand the pictures.

With Singapore it is usually more than just "one way" to teach and learn.

And those Home Instructor's Guides are only levels 2A-6B. There is a Teacher's Guide for 1A and 1B that Singapore Math has developed. They claim it is for classroom. I hereby declare you to be a classroom teacher. Line up those stuffed animals to fill up the empty chairs!


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Unread post by Lucy » Wed Nov 08, 2006 4:50 pm


I have MFW lesson plans for levels 3b-5b and they are pretty much just as Crystal described. They have stared working on making so more helpful teaching tips to add to the next revision but I am not sure where they are in that process.

You can buy the guides. They are $6 per book.

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Unread post by Omma » Wed Nov 08, 2006 5:19 pm

Thank you Lucy and Crystal! I can tell that Singapore Math is the program that really makes us all think! Actually, my ds prefers Horizons because he doesn't have to think so hard (lol).

I loved math in school. It was my favorite subject. I feel kinda silly that I can't wrap my brain around p. 66 (like you said, Crystal). I don't think they have an HIG until Sing 2A, but it probably would help me understand the mental math breakdown of numbers. I'll have to think about whether to get the HIG or the lesson plans or what. But I do strongly feel that Singapore Math is worth trying to figure out... and this is only 1A!!!!!


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Unread post by Omma » Wed Nov 08, 2006 7:51 pm

cbollin wrote:I recently wrote out a long explanation of page 66 in 1A. It's problems like 12-8 or 14-6. The MFW lesson plan sheet tries to explain it more. Beginning of subtraction with regrouping.
it's a long post..... it made my head spin. Read it out loud very slowly when I get to the part that tries to explain it and have some kind of real life objects in front of you to work through it. Take your hand to cover up the things that get subtracted. It helps, imo, to actually move and cover the objects as you explain it.

It also helps if you child knows how to add all versions of 2 numbers to reach 10 (you need to know 9+1 1+9 2+8 8+2 3+7 7+3 4+6 6+4 5+5)

hang in there ---- some of the concepts take a lot of practice over many months. don't sweat it. I think I said this back in the other thread. At this age, it is the exposure to the method that is important. It's harder at problems like 12-8 to see the importance, but it makes a lot more sense when it is problems like 42-18. Of course, I still like to think of my upside down method with a problem like 42-18.

I read the post you mentioned, and I understand it!!

It's hard to believe that at this level it is helpful rather than cumbersome and potentially confusing to do subtraction this way. I agree that the number bonds up to 10 really should be solid when doing this (my ds does not have these facts down cold yet). I plan to have him continue in the Intensive 1A book to help out in this area. No rush, since he isn't even 7 yet!

Thanks again for explaining it so I could understand!


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Unread post by southernshae » Thu Nov 09, 2006 9:02 am

I think Crystal hit it on the head....the exposure to this method is what's importand.

In looking at 2A/B, this method of mental addition/subtraction that is begun in 1A (and then again in 1B) isn't approached again until 2B! So, there's lots of time for maturity to develop. Not sure, but I think this point in 1A scares some people off of SM??? But, in 2A, the standard algorithms of lining up your numbers and carrying/borrowing are fully developed. My dd (now in 2A) loves this standard method and is getting quick at it. I expect she'll balk at the mental method when we reach 2B. If so, I'll probably just let her line the problems up like she's used to (and quick at)...but I will exposure her to it once again and see if it clicks better. We'll see.

My ds is on the exact lesson referenced in this thread (1A , p. 66 in the textbook) and he is doing just fine with it because it is so pictoral in the workbook pages. I'm not stressing about it, it's just the exposure (like crystal said).

Also, I can see the MFW1 activities we did day after day last year (place value cards and number of the day sheet) set the stage for excellent number sense.

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Unread post by Julie in MN » Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:22 pm

Omma wrote:I'll have to think about whether to get the HIG or the lesson plans or what. But I do strongly feel that Singapore Math is worth trying to figure out... and this is only 1A!!!!!Brenda
Here is what I know of the teacher manual options for Singapore.

Standard disclaimer: I know MFW would NOT suggest you spend the time & money involved in using all of these! MFW always encourages simple & inexpensive, while retaining high standards!

1. Textbooks. These are your "teaching books" that you do together with your child. They are designed for you to present new information, illustrate different ways the material can be tackled, review previous information, & start looking at the next set of information.

2. My Father's World's original Singapore guides. The first guides MFW published are mostly daily assignment plans which you could plug into your MFW teaching grids (from Adventures on up), to make your life easier. There are a few other things included, depending on the level.

3. MFW is in the middle of revising their guides. They will include more teacher guidance and activity ideas. You might call to find out availability.

4. Singapore Home Instructor Guides. These were originally published (funded) by Sonlight but are sold by SingaporeMath and others as well. They are written by Jennifer Hoerst, the gal who monitors the Singapore Math message board. That message board is a good resource if you get stuck at all. HIGs include a daily assignment grid as well, but it is not as easy as the MFW grid IMHO. The HIGs do have explanations of new topics, optional games, and answer keys. They also have U.S. pages for those using the 3rd edition, and other additional pages. There used to be a free 1A/1B guide, but Ms. Hoerst took that off her web site in preparation for publishing those guides -- don't know where she is on that but you could ask.

5. Answer keys. These are sold by MFW. They are strictly answer keys, and may not be needed in the younger grades. They are already included in the Home Instructor Guides.

6. Teacher's Guides. These are written by someone from Singapore (1A/1B) or SingaporeMath (SingaporeMath is the company that sells the materials from Singapore to the U.S. market). They are designed for classroom teachers.

7. College textbooks for training teachers. The one I am familiar with is Elementary Mathematics for Teachers, by Parker & Baldridge. It's a college textbook which chose to use Singapore texts to illustrate as it explains how to teach math, because the authors believe Singapore texts are good.

The SingaporeMath web site has samples of both the Teacher's Guides and the HOme Instructor's Guides, as well as textbooks & workbooks that MFW sells. You can look around by clicking on a level you are interested in, then finding the "tab" that says samples or go over to the right margin to find related guides, go to their pages, and click on their "tab" for samples... ... d_s/39.htm

Start here to find the college textbook sample & other parent helps: ... e_s/27.htm

Last edited by Julie in MN on Thu Nov 09, 2006 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post by Omma » Thu Nov 09, 2006 6:40 pm

Thank you Julie for your very informative post! I am very intrigued by the idea that MFW's Singapore lesson plans are in the process of being revised! Sounds very interesting! And timely! :) I think I will hold off and wait and see what MFW comes up with in the next year. Since my ds won't be 7 until March, I won't rush him through Singapore 1A. Besides, I am bad because I also have another program that I had decided to try out this year (to compare with Singapore). That's how I know that Singapore does an excellent job with making my ds THINK (and me, too!).


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Unread post by shellie » Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:00 am

Since my 11 year old has been in public school until 10 weeks ago, I started way back in 2B Singapore for his math so that he would be able to follow this new method I was going to try to teach him. And, yes, he was freaking out with the 2B and now 3A mental math concepts!

I'm glad it finally dawned on me what you guys have just affirmed: "These are all just different ways to think about it! Pick the one that makes it easiest for YOU and go with it!" And actually, after going over a few more just this week, he is saying, "Heeeey! I think I get it!!" :) So all is well here now. *whew!*

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Lesson Plans & Teacher Guides, too?

Unread post by bethben » Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:25 am

TNLisa wrote:Lesson Plans & Teacher Guides, too? I ordered SM from MFW so I have the daily schedule, but no instructor's guide. Hey - Is this beneficial??? What do you ladies think? Thanks -
I have the home instructors guides (not the SM teachers guides; there's a difference). I'm not really using them too much right now for 2a and 2b, but they could be helpful in the upper grades.


Unread post by cbollin » Mon Aug 20, 2007 12:25 pm

Teach Singapore Math from the Textbook.

It wasn't so nice with the Home Instructor Guide when I tried to teach from it because It has Too much Information! I made the big mistake of handing the HIG over to my husband (mr. phd chemist with a dual background in math, ahem) and he was trying to just teach what was in there with the overkill definitions for geometry. So, that's a big drawback. If you get the HIG's make sure you use them as a tool if you are stuck, but don't get bogged down thinking you have to have your student learn or do everything in them.

The other guides -- Singapore Classroom Teacher's Guide -- way too much information, cost more, uses "teacher speak" ---why bother?

Posted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:59 pm Update on using the HIG in 6A and 6B
When my oldest started Singapore math in 5A, I had to learn a little bit about the "bar diagram" method. We had used another program for years before starting Singapore. It took me just a short lesson or two from an email from a friend on this board to understand it.

In 6A and 6B -- I sometimes use the solutions in the HIG when I felt like I needed a quick hint to help my child with a problem in a review section or something and didn't want to take the time to think about the problem or if my husband was out of town that day and couldn't help. There were a few times in 6B that I needed more than the Singapore textbook but it was just a few times here and there with a lot of stuff with the angles. Kinda pricey to just use as a solutions manual and help on about 2 lessons in 6A/6B. Each book of HIG is sold separately and not cheap.

I thought some of the information in the HIG was overkill for what the lesson was really trying to teach.

just my experience with it. I know others like them and use them more.


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Unread post by mamaofredheads » Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:12 pm

I agree with Crystal. I bought the HIG for 2B just so I could understand the thinking behind Singapore, but there is way too much to cover with the student, and it doesn't seem necessary to in my opinion if you're using the Textbook & Lesson Plans from MFW.


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Materials that helped our switch go more smoothly

Unread post by dhudson » Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:33 pm

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:06 pm
This year, David Hazell, convinced me to change my children's math curriculum to Singapore. I have used MFW since pre-school but wasn't sure about the math. We do like Singapore but my 5th grader (in 4a) hit some word problems that sent us over the edge. One problem took my husband and I and one of his co-workers 30 minutes to figure out, so I went searching for other resources. The Home Instructors Guides have saved my sanity and allowed us to continue with Singapore. There are also some Singapore math computer games which all three (9,6 and 6yrs) of my children love and have helped the switch go much smoother.

I hated to go to another source than MFW but the guides are well worth it for some Home School parents who haven't been trained in this methodology.

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Got any needed help either on-line or by calling the MFW off

Unread post by Lucy » Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:22 am

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:22 pm
I used up through 5B and did not find that I needed the teachers guides. I needed help with a few word problems and was able to get the help I needed either on-line or by calling the MFW office.

I have heard recently from some moms that they needed them in 6A.

MFW does not sell them as they felt it was just way too much information and that what is in the textbook along with some of your own manipulatives were enough. Some are able to use the guides and just pick an activity or 2 that reinforces the concept of the day and not do every activity suggested. They are a bit pricey since you end up needing, at the very least, 2 each year.


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Used the HIG solutions only

Unread post by MJP » Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:09 am

Posted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:15 pm
I really like them for level 5 and up. Sometimes at that level I liked having the solution worked out for me. However, I did not do most of what was in the guide. When I did need them, I REALLY needed them, so it was worth the purchase price to me. I did not need them at all for the younger grades.

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Games and activities in the HIG

Unread post by Esther » Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:58 pm

Posted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:40 am
The Instructor's Manual (home instruction guide) contains background information for each unit---such as formal math terms, classification of types of word problems (stuff you wouldn't mention to your child explicitly but will help you as you make up word problems together in 1A/B), answer key, ideas for teaching each concept (often hands on, with manipulatives), ideas for revision/review and challenge game ideas. At the end of the book, they have templates for the various sets of cards you'll need to play most of the games they suggest---number cards, ordinals, equation cards etc.

This is only my opinion, but I find that the games and activities suggested in the Home Instructor's Manual have serve as a great way to "complete the package" for my son and me.

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SingaporeMath yahoogroup

Unread post by hsmom » Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:20 am

I just wanted to make sure all of the Singapore users are aware of the Singaporemath group at The group is very helpful if you have questions about Singapore math in general or about how to work a certain word problem.
I'm thinking I'll be need to ask plenty of questions as we get to higher levels.

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Singapore Math w/Home Instructor's Guide???

Unread post by hsmom » Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:17 pm

beaglemamma2008 wrote:Does anyone buy the Home Instructor's Guide to use with Singapore Math? (BTW, I'm talking about the instructor's guide you buy from Singapore Math, not the one from the Hazells.) My oldest will start MFW1 in a couple of weeks. While I was researching Singapore Math and looking at the Home Instructor's Guide, it just made it all feel suddenly overwhelming with so much teacher prep.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has experience using the Home Instructor's Guide -- or experience NOT using the Home Instructor's Guide, for that matter -- or even anyone's 2 cents on Singapore vs. CLE in general.

Thanks so much!!
Don't let the looks of the HIG scare you. Singapore math has been VERY open and go for this non mathy mom. I like having the HIG to refer to if needed, but I have been able to go thru most of the levels seldom (and sometimes never) looking at the HIG. Well, except for the answers, I use the answers every day.

I think that the way the HIG is set up is that it give you every possible idea that you may need to teach a concept when the child needs more help. I would say that for 99% of the topics I have not felt the HIGs necessary,(and so 99% of the time we just do the textbook then the workbook only) but I still buy the HIG just in case. Example: a couple of days ago my 4th grader and I started 4A, I picked up the HIG as he was opening the Textbook to get started. When I saw all of the stuff in the HIG I realized we hadn't really covered the topic much and figured I'd use the HIG ideas. I was reaching to take the text from DS so we could go thru all the suggestions in the HIG. But he was already answering the questions out loud. So we just did the Textbook and the workbook, and the HIG was, like always, a very thick answer key. I'm going to keep getting it though, since every so often I *do* need those extra ideas. I buy used and when I'm done I plan to sell them, so I don't feel I'm wasting money.


Re: Singapore Math w/Home Instructor's Guide???

Unread post by cbollin » Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:10 pm

I got the HIG for 6A and 6B and only used them for solutions manual at that level. It was a lot in there that wasn't needed. So, if I used them as solution manual or the quick reference once in a blue moon, it was ok. When I taught from them, we did too much and made it harder than it needed to be.

You don't need the HIG to teach Singapore. Some people like them for extra reference. But you teach from the textbook and open and go.


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Re: Singapore Math w/Home Instructor's Guide???

Unread post by 4Truth » Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:25 am

Agreeing with Crystal. In the upper levels of Singapore I could see them as being more of a necessity (possibly), but not for the earlier years. Marie does give you some teaching tips and highlights need-to-know-vocabulary in the MFW lesson plans, and that's always been enough for us. And we're NOT "mathy" people here!
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Re: Singapore Math w/Home Instructor's Guide???

Unread post by sewardmom » Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:02 pm

I used the HIG for 3A on up. I also found the Singapore math forum helpful. I am not a math fan so I really needed the HIG to help me present concepts in additional ways when my children were stuck.

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Re: Singapore Math w/Home Instructor's Guide???

Unread post by JenD » Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:10 am

I have always used the HIG. It is a quicker way to check Ds' work and it also give more ideas for extra practice.
We also were given the Vroot&Vroom CD. We use it occassionally. Don't know how effective it is.
I think the HIG is very helpful.


Singapore math: Home teacher's guide needed???

Unread post by cbollin » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:34 am

4littlehearts wrote:I see that MFW sells only the textbook/workbook sets and a little lesson plan book. Is it their recommendation that you make up your own lesson plans for teaching the material or that you use the textbook for that? I was just wondering if the textbook was enough especially in the 1a-3b guides. I have a friend who is a math buff and she told me that she bought the HIG's and never used them. She came up with her own ways of teaching and used the textbook for teaching. Just needed some reassurance. Thanks!
They (MFW) recommend that you use the picture method as taught in the textbook. They give you basics of how to do teach from the pictures and thought bubbles, encourage you to use hands on teaching and to use the textbook as your pre made chalk board.....

Some people will need more than that to teach -- and they find the HIG helpful. I didn't need HIG. I only bought HIG for 6A and 6B. When I tried to use HIG 6A to teach beyond the pictures in the text, I over taught and it wasn't good. Then, when I used HIG 6A and 6B just as a solutions manual when my brain shut down and couldn't do a challenge word problem.... I was glad I had it on hand for those handful of problems.

Other people need more help teaching than the textbook pictures. Well one thing -- if you bought from MFW, I've heard that they will help you teach a bit more over the phone on those lessons. Plenty of us on this forum and other forums like to give hints too.
But if you end up needing more than just an occasional extra hints here and there on the hard problems, you might need to get HIG to help learn more about teaching math. That's ok too.

MFW's plans for 1A and 1B -- have extra helps/hints and when to introduce key math vocab and when to start drills, etc. The last time I saw 2a-6b -- those were still just daily lesson planners (do this page, do that page). I like those daily plans personally. I feel like the lone weirdo on the 'net who does, but I need them and appreciate them very much.


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Re: Singapore math: Home teacher's guide needed???

Unread post by dhudson » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:46 am

I only needed them when we got to 4b and above. I really needed to make sure I was teaching the "SIngapore" method. I didn't use them everyday only on a as needed basis.
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Re: Singapore math: Home teacher's guide needed???

Unread post by Julie in MN » Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:27 am

As the others said -- the textbook is your teaching tool!

I always had the HIG on hand and used it for game ideas and such, but didn't use it for "teaching" per se. In the older grades, it sometimes helped me puzzle thru a difficult "bar diagram." But in the younger years, you seldom actually "need" tools like bar diagrams to solve problems, so it is just an exposure in the textbook through concrete pictures. Be sure to use every piece of the textbook to at least expose your child to Singapore methods, even if he doesn't need to use them yet. Then you will be well prepared for levels 4-6 when you actually "need" those methods in order to solve challenging problems.

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MFW Singapore Math Lesson Plan Booklets

Unread post by jasntas » Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:58 pm

Pylegang wrote:My son is finishing up his current math book and I'm thinking about switching to Singapore. We currently use Horizons and it has gone well, but lately I've noticed that he might benefit from staying on the same topic for awhile so the material can really "sink into his brain". It is my understanding that Singapore is more of a "mastery" program. Is that correct?

The Homeschool Instructor Guide on the Singaproe website looks thorough and easy to use. I'm wondering . . . does the MFW Lesson Plan booklet replace that? Or is it just a schedule for parents to follow? What IS the Lesson Plan Booklet? Are there online samples to look at? Thanks!
I find the HIG to be a bit of overkill. I do like having it for extra ideas, if needed, for the games and activities that can help reinforce a concept. But I think we would never finish math if we used it in it's entirety.

The MFW Lesson Planner is just that, a lesson planner. It just gives you a daily plan such as, do this/these textbook page(s) and this/these workbook page(s) on day 1, 2, 3, etc. with a few small tips listed here and there. It definitely does not replace the HIG.

We used Horizons in the past. My ds and I enjoy Singapore a lot more than Horizons. I found the concepts didn't seem to stick with my ds the way they seem to with Singapore but that doesn't mean it's for everyone. Just our experience.
Pylegang wrote:So, to make sure I understand correctly:
The MFW Lesson Plan Booklet will help me schedule/implement things, but I should get the Home Instructors Guide as a true "teacher help".
The HIG is not necessary and a lot of people don't use it at all. I like to have it for extra help when needed. But yes, I guess you could call it a true "teacher help" as you said and the MFW Lesson Plans are mainly for scheduling. I would just advise you not to try to do everything in the HIG. I rarely need to refer to it but it is a help when I do. HTH
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