Singapore - What does your math lesson look like?


Singapore - What does your math lesson look like?

Unread post by cbollin »

6patrix wrote:I've been reading all the threads about Singapore math. I guess my questions are more along the practical side of things. My dc are basically 5th and 3rd grade. I'll be interested to see how where they place. Like many others have said, I'd rather have them start at a place where they're confident instead of a place where they're struggling.

Someone commented that their family size was growing, and that's one reason why they switched. How does that come into play? I am due w/ my 5th child in Sept. I was also considering using a program with CD's for this year. Which is a better choice and why?

Need input on the practical side. Does the parent teach a lesson everyday? Can someone tell me what their "math lesson" looks like using Singapore? How much time does teaching a math lesson take at this stage of the game? What makes this "easier" or better?

THanks for the help!

[MORE HERE: Time - How long Singapore takes to complete daily? ]
I haven't watched the clock closely enough to have an accurate idea of what we do. So these are estimates.

My 5th grade (11 y.o) is a math kid. We work together in the SM textbook for about 10 minutes or so. maybe it's more. Then she works independently in the workbook. She'll sometimes jump ahead and teach it to herself from the text book (but she is very strong in math), but Singapore works well for us if either mom or dad teaches from the textbook. When she works diligently, she'll finish the workbook pages in 15 minutes or less. Though we also have an autistic preschooler who creates distractions...

My 8 y.o --- we work it together in both text and workbook. She's one of my special needs learners and needs more direct instruction. She cannot do more than 25 minutes in math at a time. And the 11 y.o will chase the preschooler around while 8 y.o and I work together. The 8 y.o cannot have the distractions the same way.

And we still do basic math drills for 5 minutes.

We like the shorter workbooks --- once we do a bunch of problems together in the textbook and then move on to workbook, we have done a lot of the problems together. But I don't want them getting over-tired with a lot of problems.

Which is best in the elementary years? I don't know...... I just know I'm liking Singapore in the elementary years. My daughter (11 y.o) is mid way through Singapore 5B. She took the Saxon placement test the other weekend (why not? it was a rainy day) and placed into Saxon's algebra 1/2. Singapore seems to not take a lot of my time and is getting some good results in progress and not tiring out my kids.

looking forward to hearing how others teach with Singapore.


Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

Hi Debbie :)

I can only comment on the math for your younger child. We have finished ADV with a 2nd grader, and we are finishing up Singapore's 2A.

Our time together is spent in the textbook, in addition to any drilling (we don't do it daily). Max then does the workbook part independently. Though I must add, we school altogether at the table, so I'm still arms-length away, ready to help. ;)

It's been during those times, as well as when he's working independently on spelling or PLL, that I have been able to work with my daughter on her K things. By the time she & I are done with one part, he usually is too.

Typically the time we spend together in the textbook is around 5-15 minutes, depending on the lesson. However, there are days when a textbook review page is assigned and those days may take a bit longer. Though sometimes when the review is something we're very confident in, I don't "teach" at all. Max jumps right in! On average, math is a 30-40 minute block of time in my house from start to finish.

And yes, we love Singapore. :) HTH!
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 10:47 pm

Unread post by BostonMom »

Hi--we used 1B and 2A this year.

With Singapore, you teach a math lesson almost every day. For us, those lessons usually took only a couple minutes. Very quick. There were a few lessons that took longer (maybe 6 or 7 minutes?), like when we introduced renaming in subtraction. Some days are optional reviews of the previous lesson and the kids can just do the next workbook page independently without another textbook lesson. Both my kids are pretty strong in math, though one gets stuck occasionally and needs more hand holding. If you have a child who struggles with grasping new concepts, the lessons may take a little longer.

Posts: 159
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:56 am

Unread post by tiffany »


I was the one who commented on the "family size" issue. One reason it is a better fit for us than what we had been using is that Singapore includes time telling, fractions, geometry, etc. The program we were using previously did not include those things, which left me looking for additional resources and time in my schedule to fit them in. So I guess the short answer is Singapore is comprehensive without being a schedule hog.

Time per day really varies. Generally, my intensive teaching portion per level is 5-15 min. During their workbook time, I am available to be called upon for help. I do have one child who needs additional time when learning a new concept, but that would be the case with any curriculum.

I don't know what other math programs you are considering, but from what I can tell from personal experience and other people's comments, Singapore is very efficient time-wise, if that is a concern for you. We have been very happy with the program as a whole.
Wife to Tim ('88)
Mother to Sophie 16, Jonathan 14, Joey 12, Noah 10, Matthew 8, Eli 4
Have completed MFWK, MFW 1st grade, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp.-1850,1850-Mod., HS Ancients, HS World
Fall of '11 ECC,HS Ancients, HS U.S. History to 1877
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:10 pm

When I first started using Singapore, I didn't really understand how to use it, and it helped a lot once I figured that out. Here are a few things I didn't realize at first:

* The textbook is your teaching book. Someone here called it her "chalkboard."

* When you start a new lesson in the textbook, you will see many visual demonstrations. These are meant to teach kids they way they learn best -- concretely. Don't move on to the abstract number problems until you've discussed the concrete pictures and the "thinking bubbles" that go with them.

* Even if today's lesson is just six problems in the textbook, they are not meant to be handed to the student. Instead, they are meant for you to see how the student is doing and evaluate whether more teaching is needed.

* And if the abstract problems are giving your student trouble, then go back to the pictures earlier in the lesson. Or get out your own manipulatives to demonstrate what the pictures were showing.

* Singapore will show the student several ways to do a problem and the student should understand that there is more than one way to solve a problem. However, the student does not have to use any particular way.

Does that sound something like your approach to Singapore?
Posts: 334
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2004 11:59 am

Unread post by 4Truth »

Posted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:32 pm

The Singapore lessons are very short.... maybe 15 minutes. You can even double up lessons with your oldest and still not take a terribly long time.

If you buy it from MFW, you get the simple daily lesson plans included, too. Once your kids are familiar with the format of Singapore, they'll be able to do a lot of their workbook assignments independently.

Also, you do still need to drill your math facts in addition to the lessons in Singapore. David Hazell says his kids are drilled *every day,* even the older ones. This is an area where I'm not consistent, either, so it helps to include drilling facts as part of our daily "circle time" where we do a devotional (separate from the Bible lessons in MFW) and memory work all together. We vary how we drill... flashcards, holey cards, oral quizzing, drill worksheets from the internet or somewhere else. My kids like Quarter Mile Math, too.
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 2:20 pm

The one part I wanted to make clear is that although the workbook is meant to be done independently, Singapore assumes that each textbook lesson is taught to each child. This part is to be done with the child, which insures that the child has the concepts before moving on to the workbook. The textbook is like the "chalk board lesson." The problems in the textbook lesson are also to be done alongside the child so that any mistakes can be caught during this practice time before moving on to the workbook. This is especially important in the early elementary years, but highly recommended throughout the use of Singapore.

4Truth wrote:Yes, thanks for clarifying that, Lucy. I know a lot of people try to skip the Textbook part of it, but that's where the "teaching" comes in.
Posts: 675
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

HELP! Singapore Math

Unread post by gratitude »

canidothis wrote:I switched to Singapore for my 3rd grader. I started him with 2A/2B program. He knows many of the concepts. Should I be teaching it the "Singapore Way". Coming from A beka he knows how to add and subtract, multiplication concepts, etc. How should I be t4eaching this material? His weak points were the word problems and he understands them now. My boy does not have the patience for manipulatives. He just wants to get it and go.

1. Should he just do the Practice Exercises or Review in the workbook then move to 2B?
2. Should I teach the mental math portion if he already knows his facts?

I will share with you what I am doing with the hope it may help, and then I am sure others will chime in. My situation is similar, but with the lower levels of 1A/1B.

When I tested my ds he scored 95% and could have gone into 1B for Singapore. I asked the MFW office though since many of the methods used on the Singapore test were unfamiliar to him and he was slow at figuring out the new methods when he took the test. The office suggested starting with 1A so he could learn Singapore style.

Math is very easy for him this fall. I am still glad though that we are doing 1A since it is teaching math much differently than Horizon did. He too knows many of his basic facts in 1A, and is actually currently figuring out multiplication on his own orally through questions he asks me during non-school time. Even with these facts though I am glad he is going through 1A, and is learning the way Singapore teaches to 'think math' at a level that is easy for him. He often chooses on his own to do an extra exercise, so that will help us move eventually into where it is new material; perhaps even by winter. I am having him do every page , and we aren't skipping.

So the way I am teaching it:
Text book: I teach the lesson up to the arrow where it mentions an exercise or two for that lesson.
Workbook: He does the lessons that correspond with the lesson I just taught.
Manipulative: We don't use them at all at this point. When he was 5 I used cars in his room, or math blocks we have. At this point though he entirely does it mentally. I know he understands numbers and what they mean and how they apply by the questions he asks in the car or the math problems he does out-loud during non-school hours. I am sure you too know if your child really needs manipulative or not. Some kids are very hands on oriented to make it concrete, and well mine really isn't for math.

Your question #1:
So I have chosen to not do the Review sections as a test and then move on. You could do it that way though if you really feel he understands the way the material is being presented. The exercises do teach them to 'think' (at least I think so), which is why I continue to have him do each page. The problems in Singapore definitely are asking more thinking from him than Horizon did (which like A Beka is an advanced math program).

Hopefully someone will come along for question #2 that is specific to book 2A.

Blessings! :)
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: HELP! Singapore Math

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Each family, and even each child, may look a little different. Like Carin, I'll share what my child did. I think I started Singapore 2A or 2B in 3rd grade (before MFW recommended Singapore).

- I went through the textbook completely with my child. The textbook starts with pictures of manipulatives, then has thinking bubbles, until finally the lesson is shown abstractly, without pictures. We went over each step together. Often Singapore would teach a method for solving problems that was different than the method my son used. I required him to at least listen to the method that Singapore was presenting (but he didn't have to use it).

- As to how much to go over each day, I followed the "arrow" method that Carin mentioned until MFW came out with lesson plans, and then I followed the MFW lesson plan. Rarely did my son do extra in Singapore, but we did sometimes do extras such as math games, books, or songs.

- After the textbook lesson, I assigned the workbook lesson "most" of the time but not all. If it was something my son knew very well, such as telling time, then I just went ahead and skipped the workbook. Other times, my son would ask to skip and I'd let him skip if he had good reasons (with the caveat that the workbook pages would still be there later, if he needed to go back).

- When doing workbook pages, I allowed my son to solve problems any way he wanted. For instance, often he didn't need to draw bar diagrams in order to solve the word problems, so I didn't require it. However, if my son got stuck, I would suggest that he try one of the methods we read about in the textbook. There will come a point somewhere around 5A when the student absolutely cannot solve the word problems without bar diagrams, so all those years of reading the textbook lessons will be put to use at that point.

- I used the reviews in the textbook to observe my child doing abstract math. He could do the problems in his head or on the marker board in front of me. This helped me know what needed more teaching and what could be skipped in the workbook.

- When we got to a difficult concept, such as long division or multiplication with carrying, my son sometimes needed to sit in one place for a while. This made up for the times when he raced ahead. These were the times when the manipulatives and games really came out.

- If by "mental math portion" you mean the pages in the back of the HIG, we didn't do those. If you mean something in the textbook, we did all the textbook. If you mean math facts drill outside of Singapore, we did stop that for a while when it seemed to be mastered, but the facts had to be reviewed for at least a while most years, on up through practicing fraction conversions in the middle school years.

So there's another window into one family's Singapore math. I really feel that my son benefited from his years with Singapore.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 10:16 pm

Re: HELP! Singapore Math

Unread post by canidothis »

Thank you so much for your responses. I plan on using your suggestions. We probably will be ready for 2b by the begininng of december. Then do you suggest 3A or test again?

Married 10 years to honey bunch!
DS- 8 years
DD- 6 years
Posts: 442
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:37 am

Re: HELP! Singapore Math

Unread post by Lucy »

Hi Lovenda,
If you mean do you need to test him again, no. You will just move into the next level with him when you have completed the other two.

Like the others we always covered the material in the Textbook, since this is teaching them how to think about the concepts and problems mentally. Eventually he will need those thinking skills as he moves on to the next levels. Even if my kids knew how to do it another way we still learned the new way to do it as well. This will help down the road with working with larger numbers and more complex word problems. Also you may find that you can do more than 1 days amount of work if it is a concept he is easily picking up.

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