Sallylourn wrote: ↑Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:25 am
Hi. I'm Sarah. I'm new here. I have all the curriculum for next year already, and I've been pouring over the TM and the books and researching everything I can about HSing.

Next year, my kids will be in 5th and 2nd grades. They tested into Singapore 3b and 1b. My 5th grader is very strong in math, but it seems his school goes at a much slower pace than he is capable of going, so I'm going to try to get him at least most of the way through 3b this summer. Anyway, I was feeling pretty confident about teaching them, but then I talked to two of my HSing friends who seemed to think that Singapore math is difficult to teach and you need to be some sort of math genius to teach it. I consider myself to be pretty good at math, and my husband is very good at math, but neither of us has ever taught it before. I am wondering if there is a benefit to getting the home instructors guide to give me some strategies for teaching new concepts. Has anyone used one before, and was it helpful? Thanks.

Hi Sarah and welcome!

One of the benefits of using the MFW-recommended math is that you will have support on the board here as well as in the office, if needed. Old conversations about Singapore are saved in the Math archive, as well. Scroll down to "Singapore 1A" and following:

http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewforum.php?f=23
But mostly I want to reassure you that you can teach Singapore. My impression over many years is that because Singapore is a bit different than the way we were taught math, some parents get stuck trying to fit Singapore into the mold they expected, and that doesn't work well. If you relax and just let the Singapore method work, I think kids do well, both strugglers and advanced. Here are a few tips:

1. Don't don't don't

skip the "textbook." Even if your student is great at math and can fill out the entire workbook in one day (well, as long as he's not been placed too low), he needs to see and absorb the Singapore methods in the textbook. The textbook will often show how something the student already knows, such as adding two numbers, can be looked at another way.

2. Along the same lines, don't skip the "babyish" illustrations, even if your student likes to feel grown-up by going straight to the problems that look like "real math." The illustrations are pulling him into looking at the same problems in multiple ways.

3. One of the ways Singapore will help your students to look at problems is by drawing "bar diagrams." This is particularly strange to those of us used to American math (which hasn't produced as good results). It starts early, with easy problems that don't probably need diagrams, but look at them anyways. I encourage the parent to learn this method with the student, and together to try lots of things that

don't work

4. Don't force your student to use any particular method in his workbook. The "Singapore way" is to have many tools in your toolbelt, not to memorize formulas. If he is getting problems wrong, suggest he bring out another tool - maybe use a bar diagram to draw what you know. Or, go back through some of the textbook again together.

5. A couple of times during each level, there is a challenge problem. It won't be labeled, but it will be a stumper. Maybe Singapore doesn't label them because they don't want to discourage kids from trying, or maybe they want kids to recognize that real math includes stumpers? Some of those problems are worked out in the Math archives, but try to hold back on feeding the answers until lots of brain power has been used trying to work it out. This prepares the math muscles for upper maths

6. Singapore doesn't include math facts drill, which surprises many folks, even though most math programs don't, actually. All my public schooled kids and grandkids were expected to do math drill at home. Students each progress differently in drill, so it's best to tailor it to your child. But don't neglect it. Speed will free up the brain for more advanced concepts and speed up math times, which helps older students from getting discouraged with math class. Speed is also about half of most standardized testing, including college testing. Even a calculator isn't as fast as a student who knows his basic math facts by rote. I like to go up to 12x12 in all 4 operations, and then some fractions after that.

Well, hope that reassures you and doesn't scare you more! My Singapore student was taking math at college by 11th grade, and I give the Singapore foundation a lot of credit for that, even though he probably doesn't recall a lot of what he did in elementary school.

Julie