5th grade - Experiences switching to Singapore


5th grade - Experiences switching to Singapore

Unread post by cbollin » Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:55 pm

Singapore - Experience with LOTS of "catching up"?
LA in Baltimore wrote:We made the switch to Singapore this month.
I'd appreciate hearing from anyone who had LOTS of catching up to do when they made the switch.
And I mean LOTS!
I've read the website suggestions and spoken with the office already.
Just want to see how it has panned out in the "real world". :)
And obviously, the one who had the most catching up to do gets the most easily frustrated and burned-out when doing math!

Only by His grace,
Well, we didn't have LOTS of catching up, but I'll try to start some answers a bit.....

My oldest was in middle of 5th grade, and started in book 4B. She managed to get through the end of 6B before end of 6th grade year. It all seems so distant in the memory banks now. I guess for a long while we did math 5 days a week when we could??? I didn't do a good job of clock watching per day. sorry. Then my dd got excited about some of the units and zipped ahead and did them. sigh.

You only have to be on track to finish through end of 5B by end of 6th grade in order to be ready to start Saxon 8/7 in 7th grade. If you do 6A or 6B while in 6th grade, it's ok, but not needed to start Saxon 8/7. A lot of 6A and 6B contains review mixed with challenging word problems and a little bit of new stuff. But the new stuff is covered in Saxon. My dd enjoyed (for the most part) the 6B book with its challenging problems.


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Unread post by ChristyH » Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:38 am

My dd is 11 and we are only in book 3A and that is after going through 2A and 2B. My plan was just to keep going, even through the summer in order to catch up. I do try to move a little faster through the parts she knew and once in a while we did two lessons at a time. The only thing slowing her up are the word problems, but we have been working them out together and then she does a few.

I am not sure if that is helpful at all.
Married Scott, 1992
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Gavin, 10
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Teresa in TX
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Unread post by Teresa in TX » Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:57 am

My 10yo ds switched last month. I wouldn't say we are way, way behind, but he is in 5th grade and started with 3b. We are finishing 3b next week. I think all told, it will have taken him 7 weeks to do this one book. I realize things will get harder, but I can foresee us finishing 4a and 4b, potentially, by the end of this school year, which would line him up to finish 5a and 5b in 6th grade, at the very least.

He is excelling with Singapore. I can tell it has built his confidence to back up a little and then ace his math. He was doing okay before but was just weary of his math.

I say all that because I believe a student who buckles down could finish several levels of Singapore in a year and get caught up to grade level with this program, if they are behind. I realize students vary and some struggle with math more than others. I just can see that Singapore would give more potential for this than other programs I have seen. I really wish I hadn't spent all the $$ we did on the program we were using before. It was hard to leave it, but I am glad that we did.
Teresa, Mom of 5: 15yo dd, 12yo ds, 7yo ds, 5yo ds, and 1yo ds

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Unread post by tiffany » Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:13 am

We did math over summers, with an occasional week off to help prevent burnout. Also, if they missed math due to sick days or other reasons, we made it up on the weekend.

I found it hard to double up on lessons. Like you, my child that was the farthest behind had the most issues with math. I am doubling up with one of my other kids who fell a bit behind. I try to pick the easier lessons for that. Not practice page day! Somehow my kids find those more overwhelming than regular lessons.

Anytime there are subjects your kid finds a breeze, whatever it may be- time telling, geometry, measurements, long division :). Double-up on those days. Make sure you let them have an easy day once in a while, so they don't start to dread math.

Also, I found on subjects they understand, I could get by with about half of the practice problems in the textbook. Maybe less, depending on their competency.
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Unread post by Tina » Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:59 pm

Hi: My 10 ds made the swith from another curriculum to Singapore this past summer. We started in August. I chose to take him back to 2A (he could have started in 2B) but I wanted him to have success and learn the Singapore way of mental thinking before I put him in a level where he was learning new things and still trying to get used to thinking without writing all his problems out. He is in 3B now and only has about 15 or so more days left in 3B. We do math year-round and as much as we can for holidays and weekends. I do not foresee him having trouble getting thru at least level 5B before the end of next year. Math is challenging for him, yet I think Singapore has provided him with the challenge of thinking in a way that he hadn't thought before, that's why we switched. Now, I can see him actually thinking logically thru a problem, rather than running to a piece of paper to add, subtract, multiply or divide. I like that.

The teaching in Singapore is different for both me and my husband, so my husband has taken on most of the teaching of math. It really took my son some time to "feel" this new program and in the beginning, it was challenging. Now, he knows what to expect and understands how Singapore works. I must say, a lot of what he has done in 2A-3B was review for him, yet it challenged him to get the answer in various ways, rather than only one way, and without having to write it all out or write it all down.

I do not regret our switch to Singapore. I do think it is giving him a more solid foundation about how to think about math, how to approach a problem (there's not just one way) and how to think logically.

I will keep him going until he finishes what he needs to in Singapore and then move him into the Saxon 8/7. It won't matter much to me what "grade" he is in, as long as he is understanding concepts, understanding the math, and using thinking skills and logic to get it done. I foresee that in another year and a half. So, even though he started "behind" I believe he will finish with Singapore in just the right time.
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

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Unread post by Mommyto2 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:05 pm

I am encouraged by other posters and where they started their children and how far they are now. I started my 9 y.o. in 2A after spending almost a whole year just on cementing his addition, subtraction and beginning his multiplication then starting Singapore.

We had a bad public school experience. He struggled through 2A but is flying through 2B. I think he just missed some concepts but completely grasped others. All that to say that your child may not struggle with every concept in the books they are "behind" in so things will go quickly at times.

mom to ds 9 and dd 6

LA in Baltimore
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Unread post by LA in Baltimore » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:26 pm

Belated, but heartfelt...

THANKS to everyone who posted!
The feedback was very helpful.
Things are going well. We do more lessons when the material is super easy and slow down when the material or presentation is new.

Only by His grace,
Only by His grace,
LA in Baltimore
Currently enjoying Rome to the Reformation
Graduated oldest May 2010, Three more to go!

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Re: Singapore Math - Why or Why Not?

Unread post by dhudson » Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:26 am

Amy C. wrote:I did not buy Singapore Math when I bought MFW. However, I decided to take a closer look at Singapore since MFW recommends it. I had my two oldest take the placement tests. My oldest of the two who is entering 5th grade tested at 2b placement. I talked with MFW and was told that this was not uncommon for children who had not been doing Singapore and using another math program. He told me that they see that all the time, and that it is possible for my 5th grader to get caught up where he will finish at least 5b (and possibly 6b) by the end of 6th grade if he works really hard by doing 1 hour a day every day on math this year and bump it up to 1.5 hours a day next year. My oldest hates math. We have experienced many tears and frustration with him over math. I think that the last math curriculum burnt him out with the amount of problems he had to do every day. Now when he thinks about math, he automatically thinks "I can't do it". We definitely need something different. I am just wondering if Singapore is it. I like what I can see about it. I like that it is supposed to promote mental and critical thinking skills. Of course, like with everything else, I have heard (read) mixed reviews about it. So I need some feedback from you that have used it or are using it.
Amy C.
I was a Singapore hold-out and I wished I would have started my oldest earlier. I think switching to Singapore is a great idea and it won't kill your child off as quickly as many other traditional math programs would. The lessons are shorter and move along quickly and an hour a day is not too bad. I think I would start the math before school starts and just get the hang of it. We use m&m's for math manipulatives which also helps to make math fun. I would also start practicing skip counting if you haven't already because that has really helped my kids with their confidence in math - especially multiplication and division.
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002

Julie in MN
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Re: Singapore Math - Why or Why Not?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:46 am

Amy C. wrote:it is possible for my 5th grader to get caught up where he will finish at least 5b (and possibly 6b) by the end of 6th grade if he works really hard by doing 1 hour a day every day on math this year and bump it up to 1.5 hours a day next year.
I just wanted to comment on this part of your post.

Finishing 5B by the end of 6th grade is absolutely fine. My son did that and he tests very high in our Minnesota yearly required testing. Levels 6A/B are about 70% review and about 10% "optional" lessons and only about 20% new lessons, IMO (in my opinion). It's a great level but could be done in 7th or could be skipped in lieu of doing Saxon in 7th.

I wouldn't burn him out trying to get to 6B, unless he's really enjoying the challenge.

Also, I think it's a good idea to start as low as he needs to, in order to introduce the "Singapore thinking process." Use the textbook as your "chalkboard" and discuss the different ways that Singapore solves the problems. Your son may say he already knows how to solve many of the problems and he can go ahead and use his own methods as he solves the problems himself. The workbook isn't hard and you may even be able to skim through the early workbooks. The problems in the textbook are done as a "class," and this is where you can watch him do the problems/discuss ways that "might" have been easier, etc. The important part of those lower levels is to introduce the fact that problems can be solved in more ways than he realizes.

By the time he gets to level 5, he will need to have some of those methods on board or he will *not* be able to solve some of the word problems where very little information is given. If he *does* have those methods on board at that point, he will be able to solve those word problems in the simplest ways with very little effort -- he won't have to do long multiplication and division to get to the answer, but instead will know which "unit" he needs to know and get to the answer quickly. You also as a teacher will have more solutions on board by then.

This will really get him ready for algebraic thinking in the older grades.

Best wishes as you dive in!
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

Amy C.
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Re: Singapore Math - Why or Why Not?

Unread post by Amy C. » Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:20 pm

Thank you for your replies!

I have been researching Singapore. I even called my niece who is a high school math teacher in a public school. She has also taught middle school math. She attended a workshop where the workshop leader highly recommended Singapore math. She was very impressed and excited with the info that he gave in the workshop of how Singapore works. Although she has not seen the books herself, she was very impressed with the ideas presented in the workshop and the concept of mental math and promoting critical thinking skills. She said that she really wished that her high school students understood the why behind their math work and not just because that is the way they were taught in the 5th (or whatever) grade. She said that if I ordered it, she would love to see the books and even try to incorporate some of the ideas in her teaching to help her students learn the why of math. She was very excited that I was considering buying it.

Anyway, thanks for your responses. Just wanted to let you know that I took the plunge and ordered. I will have to let you know how it turns out. I hope to get started as soon as I get my order.

Amy C.

Amy C.
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Unread post by Amy C. » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:51 am

My 7th grade ds is FINALLY moving on to Saxon! He finished Singapore 5B yesterday and is moving on! YAY!!! I have moved the goal date back so much that I didn't think we would ever reach it, but we did. He has worked REALLY hard to get caught up since we started Singapore late with him, and I am SOOO proud of him so I wanted to give a big Shout Out on here about his accomplishment! Way to go, Trev!!!
Monday, on to Saxon! :-) I never thought I would be so excited about Saxon math! :-)
Julie in MN wrote:Woohoo Amy & son! I was remembering your transition & searched around to see if it was still on the boards. [above]

So did you see his math skills develop? I really think Singapore gives a strong foundation in just "getting" math. Did you think that as you went along speedily?

Yes and yes. I have been pleased with his progress in Singapore. Of course, he is my oldest, and other than the other math program we used up until two years ago, I don't have anything to compare it to. However, I do feel he has built a strong foundation in math. I feel he has really learned to "think" through math. I know I have! :-) Just in his last lesson, his very last problem actually, he needed my help in figuring it out. I got only so far and asked him to look at it with me so that he might see something that I was missing. I got him started, but he actually thought through the rest and figured it out quicker than I could.

We will see how much he has retained as we move on to Saxon. I feel pretty confident he will transition well, though.

Thanks to all of you who are celebrating with us!
Amy C.


Too late to start Singapore?

Unread post by cbollin » Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:35 am

nikicole wrote:My dd is a fifth grader. She wants a different math program, but I have no idea where to go from here. Last year was our first year homeschooling. Because dd and I were getting frustrated with math, I thought TT would be a good choice, but I was wrong. ;) she complains that he goes thru everything too slowly and she doesn't like the guys voice, lol. ;) I don't allow her to write in the book, and she doesn't like that. She says she wants me to teach her.... however one of the reasons we switched is because she was getting so frustrated with me teaching her math *sigh*

I wouldn't mind even placing her after Christmas into something else. My two sons are doing Singapore, so it would make since to just have her use that as well, but is the middle of fifth grade too late to switch to singapore, only to have her go to saxon in 7th? Or should we go ahead and just start saxon at her level now so as not to keep math hopping? I hate to keep skipping around... any advice???

My oldest started Singapore in middle of 5th grade. It was ok. But she liked math.

here is more of that story
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 151#p45789

David Hazell even mentioned once about a student starting in 6th grade
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 91&#p36291


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Re: Too late to start Singapore?

Unread post by rebeccal2002 » Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:57 pm

Just a quick question... Are her math facts strong? My 9 year old got stuck and I realized she hadn't hammered out her times tables yet. So I gave her a week long break on the math program and had her memorize her times tables. I tested her on 2 tables a day until she had them down. Now her math program isn't such a problem and so many aspects of her math are going more smoothly now. Just an idea... :)

Best wishes on sorting it out. I haven't used Singapore yet, so I'm sorry I'm not any help there. :)

HS'ing since 2006, MFW since 01/2011 :)
2015/16: ECC (2nd time around w/ 3rd, 6th and 8.5 grader), WHL (10th). Also 2nd half of K and 1st for 6 year old.

Finished K, 1st, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp-1850, 1850-MOD, AHL

and 4 year old helping!

Amy C.
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Re: Too late to start Singapore?

Unread post by Amy C. » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:28 pm

My oldest started Singapore in 5th grade. He tested into 2b which I was told was normal for a child who had not been doing Singapore math. He did 2b-5b from beginning of 5th grade until last week. He is now a 7th grader. We have moved on to Saxon this week. I had wanted to start Saxon at the beginning of (or as close to possible) this school year, but we did not. When calling the MFW office when we started Singapore, I was told to have him work an hour a day every day in math his 5th grade year and then 1.5 hours a day every day in math in 6th. This would put him finishing 6b before 7th grade. My ds worked hard, but I can't say we followed their recommendation exactly as he was completely burned out in every subject but especially math before switching to MFW (and Singapore). He did work into the summer this past summer. We did take some time off for camps and such, but he did do math summer school. However, he only finished through 5b before starting Saxon. MFW's recommendation is to finish through at least 5b before 7th grade.

Just some thoughts...If you feel that you should switch to Singapore, have your dd take the placement test available on the MFW website under math. See where she tests. Don't be discouraged if she tests at a lower level. Then call the MFW office with any concerns you may have. They were absolutely great and very helpful over the phone with me in talking me through a plan for my ds. Even just this past summer, I called freaking out because my ds was not going to be finished with 5b when starting the new year. I thought we would be soooo behind. Mr. Hazell called me back and talked with me. He gave me good advice and encouragement - encouragement that both my ds and I needed.

I don't know if any of this helps. I just wanted to tell our story because we started Singapore in 5th grade and worked hard to get to the transition point into Saxon in 7th grade, and I feel it has been worth it. Your dd may test into a higher level of Singapore than my ds did, but I would start her wherever she tests. Call the MFW office and talk with them. They are very helpful and encouraging!

Amy C.

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Re: Too late to start Singapore?

Unread post by nikicole » Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:22 am

We took the singpore test at the beginning of this year and she tested into 4a. Of course I'd test her again if we chose to switch, so I suppose it wouldn't be too hard to get caught up for 7th grade.

I appreciate everyones responses! It is good to know that it has been done and worked out well for others.


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