Comparing - Is Singapore Math better?


Comparing - Is Singapore Math better?

Unread post by cbollin »

Julie L. wrote:Is Singapore Math better? Do any of you use this? Do you like it? I heard it needs drills, assessment books, or word problems added to it. Do you have extra books or specific program you use to go along with it?

Just looking into all that is recommended. MFW sure speaks highly of Singapore.
Julie L.
Singapore Math needs drills or flashcards or whatever, but I think other programs need them as well. It's just a part of teaching math.

Singapore has lots of word problems in its regular books. We are doing Singapore 5a/5B. My youngest uses the 1A/1B books. I'm not using the Challenging Word Problems books, just the regular singapore books. and I think the word problems in Singapore involve more steps than the ones in other programs

Things I like about Singapore: lessons are short, a lot of visual aspects to teaching the program, given lots of ways to think about a problem (so you can maniupulate numbers in your head for problems), and word problems require a bit more thinking.

Julie in MN
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

If you look thru the "mathematics archive," you will find several posts that relate to Singapore.

We use Singapore as our main math program. I think Singapore first became popular when international math testing revealed Singapore students to excel in mathematics as compared to other countries of the world. Singapore math is probably best known for teaching several ways to "think" about math, rather than just taking children thru the motions.

As Crystal said, all math programs will need the "extra step" of the teacher evaluating the students' math facts & using drill to build up those skills. You just can't package that in a pre-set number of problems.

Other than the separate math drill, Singapore is taught with two books -- a textbook & a workbook. Singapore also has quite a few supplementary books available to its teachers. However, in the tutorial situation of homeschooling, you are not likely to need many of those supplements, as compared to a classroom where some students need more work & some less, but the class must move forward.

I think a lot of homeschool moms have trouble at first using the Singapore textbook as a teaching manual. Homeschool moms often feel more secure with huge teacher manuals that tell you what to do each day. David Hazell has one workshop where he describes a public school teacher thumbing thru her teacher manual & saying, "Oh, there's a good idea!" Flip-flip-flip thru the pages, "Oh, I like this idea, too." Then he imitates a homeschool mom plodding thru each sentence of each page with their child, bleary-eyed on page 584...

However, without a big teacher manual, the temptation is to just hand the textbook to the student, since it is a student text & each lesson seems short & easy. Instead, be sure to use the text to teach your child & evaluate his understanding as you go along; then you shouldn't have any trouble at all. Oh, and keep in mind that the text is presenting several different ways to look at a problem, and no particular way is the "right" way. Teach them all ways -- especially the use of bar diagrams to visualize problems. Check for understanding of all methods, but don't require your student to use all of them.

HTH, Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Unread post by tiffany »

We've used Singapore for almost 2 years now. It is our second math program. We really like it. If you do a search on the board on my name, you will find a number of Singapore postings that will give more details on my experience with Singapore as well as many other people.

I have found it necessary to drill with any program you use. There are so many options for drilling from flash cards to computer programs.

I have not found it necessary to use additional reviews or books outside the basic program. I use the textbook and workbook reviews to evaluate their mastery of the material. If they miss a certain number or percentage of problems, I do a review with that child on the problems he/she missed.

When doing the textbook lessons together with your child, you will know whether you're child is getting it or not. Some lessons we breeze through -others we take more time on and work problems on paper together.

As with most families, I have children with different learning styles and math aptitudes. Singapore has worked for my oldest three and I enjoy teaching it. Hopefully, it will work for the remainder of the kids. That is certainly my plan.
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Have completed MFWK, MFW 1st grade, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp.-1850,1850-Mod., HS Ancients, HS World
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Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

Hi Julie~ :)

We use Singapore & love it also. I had one little rough spot in the year, but the ladies here on the boards walked me through it. And that was more of a ME problem than a Singapore problem. ;)

I picked up addition & subtraction flashcards at Walmart & they have been all the drilling we needed, and we don't even use them regularly. So, an extra $6 in the HS budget? Not too shabby. Also, IMO there are plenty of word problems. We're in 2A, so I can't speak to the years beyond.

When I find that we're struggling with a concept, we just slow down, do some stuff on the board, get out the manipulatives (my daughter's Cuisenaire rods) - maybe stretch a lesson out over a couple of days? My son loves math & I want to keep it that way!

And Singapore is so inexpensive, you really could pick it up & see what you think; let the kids get their hands on it, you know?

Just my .02 :)

Paige in NC

PS - the Hazell's Daily Lesson Plans for Singapore have been wonderful. They have hints in there for when you might need to stop & review something before moving on, as well as the expected scheduling for the year. I love this resource!
Julie L.
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Unread post by Julie L. »

Ya'll are making this hard!:) Do you think in the end that one program does make the dc to be better in math area? I mean I want them to be able to think through everyday situatuations and in their workplace and the examples in Singapore I saw were really neat in that there were real life situations, and called for real critical thinking.

Julie L.
Susan on the Space Coast
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I spoke with MFW today about this

Unread post by Susan on the Space Coast »

I believe Singapore to be the better program. Remember, if you're switching from another program, have them take the placement test. When my DD was in 5th grade--and she tested in 3A! I was shocked, but I realized that she hadn't had the mental math or the metric system at all.

Now she's finished 4B (as a 6th grader) and has almost skipped 2 yrs. on the Saxon placement test! In the end, I'm glad we switched to Singapore.

If you'll look at the MFW website, Saxon has been added to the math they sell, but only for the middle and high schoolers. They also suggest a year of geometry because it has more logical thinking skills.

I'm coming to peace with the fact that my DD may have more math than I ever knew existed! But then there are Dive CDs.
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Unread post by Lucy »

We switched 2 years ago and I am very glad that we did. My kids are now in the middle of 5A. I am so glad we made the switch.

To add on to what Julie in MN was saying about the textbook, I like to call this the "chalk board". It is like a lesson that has already been printed out for you to teach to the child. As the the levels progress there is more practice in the textbook before they move to the workbook to insure that they know what they are doing.

It has lots of word problems and they increase with each level. The word problems are not just 1 step problems but 2 or 3 steps often. The kids use the math that they have learned up to this point plus new math that has been introduced so that they are getting a review of old and new skills in the problems they work many times.

Like any program you have to stop and reteach concepts if you see that they have not retained the concept. I find that easy to do with the textbook since it is not likely that they memorized the problems in the textbook. Anyway it has been a good change for us and I like it better because I think my kids are receiving better thinking skills to solve problems than they were in the previous program.

I hope that helps you too. I know with so many choices it is hard.

wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.
Karen in TX
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Experiences comparing math programs

Unread post by Karen in TX »

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:20 pm

We've used three math programs. My favorite and my dd's favorite is Singapore. I like that we're using manipulatives and showing her how to do the math concretely. With ABeka, she counted forward or backward to get an answer for 8 + 5, or 23-7. With Singapore, she regroups by making ten first, as in, 8 + 5 = 8 + 2 = 10... 10 + 3 = 13
but she can show this with pennies, marbles, sticks, or whatever.

Singapore can teach more advanced skills in younger levels because they simplify it and teach it in different ways. The word problems are fabulous.

If you're stuck trying to decide, you can always buy one semester of Singapore for about $16 for the textbook and workbook and give it a try.

My dd learns best by me looking over the text and finding some manipulatives to demonstrate and letting her do some of the problems that way. She quickly moves to doing it all on her own, and she's having fun and really understanding (instead of just quickly, mindlessly filling in the workpages as fast as she can).

If you want more info about American vs. Asian math, check out Liping Ma's book "Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics"

Hope that helps.
- Karen
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Unread post by PaulaA »

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:27 am

I just wanted to chime in my .02 worth about Singapore Math.

Our family has been using this for the past 4 years and love it. My two oldest boys learn math very differently, but I have found it works nicely for both of them. I agree with another poster--the word problems are excellent! I know that if my guys can answer those word problems they are understand math not simply spitting out a formula that they have learned. (that was how I learned math--Singapore is helping a math phobic mama)

The only thing that we add to Singapore is drill--but that is easy to do with flash cards, QuarterMile Math, or any number of on line drill games.
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Unread post by niki »

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:10 pm

I have to add to the posts that I have 2 dc in Singapore math, two completely different learning styles and math abilities. They both love math this year. This is the first time in 4 years I wasn't counting down the days until schools out to try a new math curriculum.

We've used 4 different math programs. I was nervous to start Singapore over the years, and now sorry I didn't try it sooner. My kids are "getting" math. For that I am grateful. I have a K'er who I am happy will not have to go through the "math trauma" my other two have gone through.

I second the post to at least try it (it's quite inexpensive).

We too add math drill daily as scheduled in ECC. Mon-addition, Tues-subtraction, Wed-Multiplication, Thursday-division and no drill on Friday.
Jenn in NC
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Can my daughter succeed in Singapore?

Unread post by Jenn in NC »

JAK's mom wrote:But what I'm asking is if you think that given my daughters previous math background, do you think she would be successful in Singapore?
Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 5:48 am

We switched from MUS to Singapore almost 3 years ago when my second-eldest was having a lot of trouble and needed a different approach. He is a very creative right-brain type -- not a typical "math brain" if you know what I mean. He does very, very well with Singapore.

My eldest (he is my math-brain) did not have the benefit of Singapore in his earliest years and some of that is showing now. Some of that is in the area of mental math. That is what you will hear a lot of people talk about. But I also notice a difference just in his approach to math in general.

Honestly I think that is partly what frightens people away from Singapore. There is a sort of feeling that this is not how we were taught in school. It is unfamiliar, and therefore a bit intimidating at the outset. There is a lot of online help for this if you should ever need it. (Certainly people on this board who use Singapore would be more than happy to help you through any trouble spots if you need to be able to think through a problem from a different angle.)

But I am getting away from my point. There are a lot of very happy users of other programs here too. We own MUS levels up to Gamma and I am not selling it because I think it has its place in my kid's math instruction. I plug it in when necessary, when one of my kids hits a snag. (We have done this with the Key to Fractions series as well.) But personally I do agree that Singapore is the stronger basal program. If I had to choose, I would pick Singapore.

One more thing. You mentioned there being more color in Singapore. This was an issue for us. I don't want to focus overly much on this aspect b/c it is not the color itself that makes Singapore strong. But it does help my son.

As far as your daughter and whether she would do well with it given her background... all I can say is that Singapore was a breath of fresh air for my struggling son.

Unread post by cbollin »

JAK's mom wrote:My husband was sold on MUS because he watched the intro DVD. But now I am very willing to consider Singapore as well. I guess I'll go over all the comments with him and see what he thinks. I am so glad there are so many options and so much experience.
Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 5:41 am

As long as your husband is interested in learning a bit more about Singapore, maybe he could call the MFW office and ask them for their opinion about why the recommend it in elementary years. Or if he and you are going to a convention soon where MFW will be, stop by and ask them. Couldn't hurt to see the product or hear about it.
Would you say that a good sample of what Singapore teaches and it's methods is in the placement tests?
Not exactly. They are not designed for that purpose. The placement tests will show a representation of the type of work and level of problems that will be covered in that book level, but not what or how it is taught. And that's where I ended up making my judgment errors about Singapore. I looked at those placement test and was initially scared off of Singapore. It did not show HOW it was taught. I don't know if there are samples of the textbooks somewhere out there or not. But it uses very concrete-pictorial-easy text methods to teach.

Singapore math and MUS teach a lot of the same computation tricks. Singpaore teaches more than just computation skills. I like the multisensory approach to teach for many learning styles. I like that Singapore workbooks don't take too much time but still get the job done.

Enjoy the freedom to buy and use whatever you want. But yeah.... have your husband call the MFW office and get their reasons. They did a lot of research before recommending Singapore math for elementary.

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Unread post by my3boys »

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 7:32 am

I wanted to add here a little from my 9yods perspective. Math has been a problem for him from the beginning. We did Miquon for the first year and a half and got stuck. He needed more direction than the 'figure it out for yourself' style of Miquon and I discovered that I was math illiterate. So we got MUS, which we love because the teaching from the DVD is so clear. The meltdowns and the tears were reduced and he began to understand the concepts. He still does not care for the MUS workbook, which is straight problems from the lesson.

Enter Singapore - he LOVES their workbooks - to the point that he says they're fun and asks to do more pages than scheduled. What he likes is that after answering some problems the answers are usually applied to solve some kind of puzzle - he feels that he is answering the problems with a reason (to solve the puzzle), whereas MUS worksheets seem like meaningless work to him.
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Math Curriculum for my 9yr old 5th grader

Unread post by mamaofredheads »

I used MUS & switched to Singapore. Your daughter will probably love the short yet effective lessons. Each lesson covers a new topic or goes further in-depth on the subject being covered. Then every few lessons they will have a review that will cover the things they learned previously. I find it to be much more in-depth than MUS.

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Singapore vs Math-U-See

Unread post by mamacastle2 »

Mexmarr wrote:Can anybody compare the two. Part of me wants to go with Singapore, because MFW recommends it. Plus, a friend HIGHLY recommends it. I had started Rod and Staff for 1st, but it just didn't work for my daughter, and I switched to the book in the 1st curriculum, and DD LOVES it!

Then, I saw a video about Math-U-See and it seems like a great program, too. Now I don't know what to do. Has any one used both, or are familiar with both? I'd love to have a comparison and pros and con of the two options!
You're sure to get varied and opposite responses, because people sure do love or hate certain math curricula. (I can name 2, no 3, that I hate - well, maybe hate is a strong word but seriously dislike - but you didn't mention either one of them.)

I've never used Math-U-See, but for Singapore, it was like sunlight streaming from the heavens down on me. After trying the 3 programs that I didn't like (all very spiral in approach and loaded with problems - does a kindergartner really need to sit for 45 minutes to an hour for math???), it fit us very well. My dc seem to catch on pretty quickly, so they don't need a lot of review. It definitely fits my budget. It is mastery with some spiral built in, but not too much of either in my opinion. It also does not have a lot of rote memorization built in, but we have added flash cards, etc. to help with that. It goes from tangible to abstract, from manipulatives to just thinking about it, and the word problems are challenging and have real-world usage. And the bar diagrams are just phenomenal for figuring out solutions to complex problems (and since they're not actual blocks the kids aren't tied to them). The program is flexible enough that you can stop and review any sections that are difficult, or skip and come back later. The workbooks seem to move from complex problems in one unit, to easier, more tangible units in between.

Well, that's my story. You will definitely hear about a lot of MUS lovers. They are a vocal bunch. In my area, there are not a lot of Singapore users. But those of us who use it love it. Hope this helps some.
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Wendy B.
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Re: Singapore vs Math-U-See

Unread post by Wendy B. »

Both are good programs.

I think you should stick with your original plan. You are enjoying MFW's recommendation for 1st grade math and planned on following their recommendations for Singapore before getting sidetracked by a MUS video. I use MUS. I love using MUS. However, if MFW's recommendations are working for you then stick with them! Only consider changing plans if the original one isn't working.

If anyone has any particular questions about MUS I'll be happy to try answer them. There are some misconceptions about MUS.

Both programs are perfectly adequate and will get your kids where they need to be in math. If the original plan for math is meeting the needs for your children the I vote stick with the plan.....even though that means I'm a MUS user who is recommending that the OP sticks with SIngapore. 8O

Pros and cons of any curriculum can be extremely personal and family specific. What is a pro in your family may very well be a valid con in my own. I try not to see these types of inquiries as an opportunity to "sell" my personal favorite or disparage another.

Your dd is loving math with MFW's recommendations. There are no real reason to assume that MFW's recommendation of Singapore won't work as well. Be thankful that you found a math sequence that works for your family with so little trouble! The fact that after the switch to "the book in MFW 1st" your "DD LOVES it!" means you have a winning choice for your family.

However, if you get to the point that you would rather have a root canal then do another page of SIngapore math then repost an inquiry about math curriculum.

Wendy B.
Graduated ds '08 & dd '09
Homeschooling ds 11 & dd 8 using RtR
completed: MFW 1, ADV, ECC & CtG.

Re: Singapore vs Math-U-See

Unread post by cbollin »

Before doing the procon , compare contrast, let me entertain you with my life story. I hope it gets a laugh or two. Again, I say, it's good to research and ask questions and all of that. You get to decide. It's no one else's business! God doesn't call us to be cookie cutters. (I love singapore!)

so, here's my silly story. I hope it gets a few laughs as I poke fun at myself in several places with my life.

When my oldest was getting ready to start Kindy, I went to my first convention. Over 200 vendors and each one just right for my family!
I wish someone had told me the size of that exhibitor hall! Eek! I saw it and ran out. So, as I ran out of the exhibitor hall in the year 2000, I bumped into my friend Donna from my church.

Me: Donna just tell me what to buy? (sniff sniff) You're such a successful homeschooling mommy and your children are sweet, brilliant and well socialized. I'm scared of that that that vendor hall. I just went to some workshop on something about Charlotte Mason, and some lady named Karen did the talk. I want to do that... oh sniff sniff.
Donna: well, I think you’d love Five in a Row, Sing Spell Read and Write and then go find a math book for your daughter. and I thought that of you last year before convention.
Me: Ok. will you walk around with me?

So, I followed the yellow brick road and bought those things.

I needed a math. How to find one?!?!? There it was…
behold!in its own booth Math U See! (cue heavenly music. Rays of sunshine falling down on me! )

I thought, - what the heck. Good as any, right? I mean, it's kindy. it's not like I need calculus for her until next year right?

ME: So, Mr. Demme, I just watched that demo and I think like that. But I’m confused by your titles, do I start with this one (Introduction) or that one (Foundations)?
(this was before the Greek Letters of course).

Steve Demme answered me: Is this your oldest child?

Me: yes, I’m new to all of this homeschooling stuff. She’ll be 5 in a few months, but she’s ready and really smart. I just don't know what to do!

Steve Demme ( having heard that before): Well, you should start in Introduction (now called Primer), but since it is your oldest you’ll want to start in Foundations.

Me: I’ll take both.

Fast forward to the year 2003. I’m done with FIAR (did all the volumes and didn’t want to do Beyond). And long story short, God puts MFW in my path. I ask them about math. At that time, MFW was still investigating and researching to make a recommendation for customers. So, I said “well, I’ll just keeping using MUS.” And that was the end of that part of the talk.

Fast Forward to 2005. I join this forum. I fight some key people tooth and nail. I will not switch to Singapore just because it is suggested. No siree bob. Not me. Not that they ever said I had to. They were nice. I was mean. I was determined to be "the lone hold out" and never convert. (y'all are giggling right?)

Then, all of a sudden, I began to look at what the public school kids were learning in math near me. I watched Cyber Chase on PBS. Why wasn’t MUS doing that kind of thinking skills and that level of geometry and all of this? So, I added it. Where were the word problems that MUS talked about as its goals? I remember wondering why aren't the word problems getting harder as the years go on?

(I think it's 2006 now) Soon, my oldest finished the elementary cycle of MUS. She was 5th grade. Ok, maybe, just maybe I’ll just try that Singapore thing that MFW talks about. (notice, I wasn't as determined any more)

My kid placed in 4B. hmmm… you mean, my math smart kid finished Zeta (6th grade MUS) and only tested into book 4 in this other program? I kept telling myself – book numbers don’t necessarily mean anything, and and and scope/sequence. yeah, that's it.

Well, what I couldn’t believe was that everything I hoped MUS would be in terms of thinking skills and mental math, and strong word problems kept on a concrete (bar diagram) level, was in Singapore.

So there. I decided that I didn’t ruin my kid. But I am very thankful I switched and that she got a turn to use Singapore.

more in a moment on some this and that, similarities and differences in programs from my perspective using them with my kids.


Re: Singapore vs Math-U-See

Unread post by cbollin »

What’s the same? What’s different? These are not Pro’s or Con’s by the way. Just things I noticed from using both programs at the elementary level. Like others with math backgrounds (both on this forum and other forums and my dh too) have noticed, at jr high and high school levels, MUS is not going to be the right program for those needing strong math sequence for college. But let me stick with elementary because that's what I know.

MUS – mastery approach with some review worksheets in each lesson so that you practice older skills and not just and only the new current skill. However, there is the user failure danger that can easily happen that you will miss something thinking your student has mastered it and doesn’t need to review. That’s not the program fault.

SING: not really mastery, not really spiral. It’s a blend. Singapore is hard to define in American math terms as it is not American program.

Both programs in my experience, like to introduce concepts and then applications of those concepts. Some reviewers say that means it skips around. I disagree and see it differently. I see both programs do a new computation or concept and then try to pause for a while, let it settle, and during that time, do some applications of the topic. I like that about both of them. For those of us using MUS, what I mean is stuff like skip counts by 2's and then you learn about how to use it with cups to pints to quarts and all of that. We don't jump topic to measurements really. right? well, singapore is the same way on that.

MUS is very strong in computation skills to use manipulatives, drills, etc.
MUS: good for building confidence in teachers for a few teaching techniques. There is something nice about having a teacher show you really quickly how to do something so you can teach it.

Singapore: if you need confidence builders, get the Home Instructor Guide. and yes, you can use your MUS blocks, or Cuisenaire Rods, or any objects. That is strongly encouraged in Singapore. (in fact, that's encouraged in most elementary)

Singapore: the program assumes the teacher is doing drill work with number bonds. You will need to drill facts. MFW recommends flash cards. Check archives for math drill ideas.
You can even use the online MUS drill page if you want. But get to know your number bonds. number bonds means they are taught in families: 4+3=7, 3+4=7, 7-4=3, 7-3=4

Singapore, like MUS, starts with very concrete teaching before the abstract. A common mistake made is that people rush to the abstract in Singapore.

Both programs encourage use of hands on tools for learning.

In the early years MUS in alpha and beta teaches addition and subtraction kinds close together so students see how those are related. Singapore does this too. Then, in gamma, MUS and Singapore really begin their separate journeys. But, some people even try to use MUS and Singapore together and sometimes it works.

Singapore continues to teach related operations together so that multiplication and division are taught as partners. In MUS, gamma is only multiplication. Then, delta is division. In Singapore 2A and on, the operations are taught together in ways that complement each other. So in Singapore while you learn your skip counts by 2’s 3’s 5’ 10’, and then later in 4 6, 7 8, 9,
You are teaching it as number bonds still. so you learn them as 2*3=6, 3*2=6, 6/2=3, 6/3=2 and so on like that.

Word problem and thinking skills: Singapore is known for its strength of word problems that make you think but can still be solve concretely and pictorially. I personally found that MUS worked too quickly to the abstract with variables and inverse coefficient of something or other…. Huh? So, I found that MUS advanced in the math vocab with those words, but didn’t help my dd or me learn how to think about a problem without setting up an equations with X’s and things.

Singapore teaches how to think through a problem. And draw it and doesn’t deal too much with writing equations. I think MUS worked more on the equations and wording and this kept the level of word problems lower than necessary for the age. just my experiences.

Geometry: Singapore does more with geometry than MUS did.

I found I was adding to MUS to make it a more complete program in math. It was strong in computation.

Again, I didn’t ruin my child who used it from Kindy thru Zeta. But I am really thankful to use Singapore for both my smart math kid and my middle daughter. I’ve watched as my middle daughter works through Singapore and am just amazed that she is doing it and thinking about it.

minor things of note:
MUS has no color on teacher book or student book (this is not a good or bad thing by the way)
Singapore - teacher manual has some color and is used as a pre made chalk board. Student pages black and white (like MUS), but few problems per page to cover a lesson.

Review work: mus has 6 worksheets per lesson plus test (if I recall, maybe Wendy will verify or correct that?). 3 of them are classified as review.
Singapore: has reviews/practices at end of each unit, and tests and reviews. It assumes, but doesn't directly say on teacher book that on reviews, we are to encourage reviewing techniques with child. I found it easy to re do review pages from teacher/text book.

May God guide your decision as He knows your children. There are definitely some children who need MUS. And then, there's my child who benefited from switching and using different things at different stages of learning.

Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Re: Singapore vs Math-U-See

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Well, I'm no expert but I've used enough of MUS to jump in since I'm sitting here waiting for someone to arrive at my door.

We tried a few different things when we first started homeschooling and settled on Singapore even before MFW started recommending it. However, with any math program, there are hard spots and so I decided to use MUS as a supplement when we needed to hover for a while. This meant that each level of Singapore took longer (and math cost more $$$) but that's the way I did it with my youngest. No one else in the house was doing math, so he didn't get the variety & reinforcement that I think might happen naturally in bigger families?

Anyways, to me MUS was closer to a drill program. My ds liked the short little videos, but he did not desire to do a page full of problems that all looked the same. When he was unhappy with math, I gave him the option of Singapore or MUS, and sometimes he chose MUS for a long while, but he would ask to do less problems :) I was fine with switching to MUS for a time, because drill needs to be added to Singapore anyways, so we would use MUS and skip the drill on the side or only work on operations that we weren't covering in MUS.

The thing about drill type programs is that they teach how to do something, the steps to take, sometimes little tricks to take, but they don't necessarily teach understanding of numbers. I don't mean long lists of definitions of math words, which my kids don't like & don't need until the older years. But just understanding the movement of numbers around a problem in an intuitive sense. MUS tries to do that with the blocks and the decimal street. Singapore just does that - it's just what Singapore "is."

Word problems are where you really see this understanding of numbers. I have watched standardized testing and I truly think I can spot the Singapore students ;) MUS word problems don't even need to be read, since you can just spot the numbers, plug them in, and do whatever operation that you are studying (multiply if you're doing gamma, etc.). Singapore word problems are where you see the student working with math. By the end of Singapore's elementary program, my son could read a word problem about two people leaving their homes at different times, traveling at different speeds, and know exactly when they would meet. He could figure out the volume in a container that had an irregular shape, and had a large item stuck in the middle of it. I have a really hard time intuitively understanding all the variables there, but with Singapore all those years, my ds just understood what was involved -- no tricks, no steps, no review, just understanding. He could do a variety of word problems that involve multiple thinking processes all at the same time, because he just understood what the numbers were doing.

And my ds liked that he learned this without long, drawn-out lessons each day (although with drill added on the side).

So as you see, I am a big fan of Singapore. But not everyone has to reach for the Singapore level of understanding, and not everyone has to reach it during the elementary years. God made each of us wonderfully different :)

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Re: Singapore vs Math-U-See

Unread post by mamacastle2 »

RachelT wrote:We do add in math drill games with the computer, flash cards, or other games that we have
This is an important part of any math program, at least in my opinion. I've used 4 different programs with one child, and we had to add math drill to each of them. Singapore has worked wonders with us, but we add in some drill component every day. (I remember in the ECC TM manual it even reminded me to do it.) My dc's math facts are solid and quick, and what's nice about Singapore is that they use them to solve an everyday problem right away, so their learning is reinforced immediately.

Just wanted to point out the wisdom of doing math drills no matter which program you use.
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Combining - Can we do TWO math programs?

Unread post by manyblessings »

titus2momof4 wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:55 pm
I have enjoyed reading this thread. viewtopic.php?f=23&t=3033

I am new to MFW. My daughter is going into Adventures. We have been using Math U See. She really enjoys it and is doing great with it. I see that MFW recommends starting Singapore. I really hate to change her as she loves it a lot, but Singapore sounds soo good. Should I combine these 2 maths? Does anyone else use both of these programs?
Thanks for the advice.
I think if she is doing well with Math U See, it's okay to keep going with it. I think doing two math programs would add way too much work to your days.
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Re: Combining - Can we do TWO math programs?

Unread post by DS4home »

Once upon a time I was in the same boat you are. We have always used MUS. I was intrigued with Singapore so I finally bought a semester's worth of the curriculum. I didn't want to give up MUS though, so we tried to do both. It was too much. I ended up just staying with MUS and didn't buy any more of the Singapore. It was nice to work with it a bit and get my "grass is greener" fixed. ;) It was OK, but I guess I'm more comfortable with MUS because it is what I've always used. Decided to stick with what I know and what I know works in our home.
titus2momof4 wrote:
Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:08 am
Thanks for comment. How many years have you used math u see? So your children have done well with it?
Post by DS4home » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:54 am
I'm not sure how many years, but I have Alpha through Algebra 2. I have graduated my 3 oldest and my youngest is in 8th grade. They have all done very well with MUS. A couple of my kids enrolled part time in our public high school and transitioned to their math classes just fine with no problems what so ever. They did well on ACT tests also. All that to say, I think it is a very solid program and we have enjoyed many years with it!

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Re: Combining - Can we do TWO math programs?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

I don't usually share this because it's not what many families can or should do, but we used Singapore Math and some years I also got MUS as an extra. These were the reasons it worked for us, I think:

1. My boys were very mathy, and we did lots of math extras. Youngest was on a little math team. So we liked math extras.

2. But sometimes mathy kids get ahead of themselves and need to slow down for a bit or take a break. MUS was a break for us at times.

3. This was my youngest, and I was unlikely to over-do for my "baby" (the way I would have with my oldest).

4. We enjoyed adding audiovisuals to get some liveliness back into our suddenly-quiet house (older siblings were in college and high school). I know the MUS videos are meant for parents, but I think in most families the kids watch them too.

5. He wasn't confused by not staying with MUS all the way through. As I recall, MUS had kids practicing stacked multiplication problems for an entire year, and we could stop and start without being lost.

To be honest, I think MUS is just fine for the basics but my son was solving MUS word problems without reading them, since you just needed to locate the two numbers and multiply them (if you were doing the MUS year on multiplication). Singapore Math helps kids see word problems concretely, draw out bar diagrams and the like if needed, and figure out what exactly they already know and what part they need to find out. That's real life - both for mathy and non-mathy kids. That's why I personally would want to have Singapore on board, at least as an extra. In fact, I just bought some sets for my grandson, who is already getting math in public school :)
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