Full Singapore Math review, with everything you need to know to decide whether Singapore Math is right for your homeschool. Includes FAQ, advice on which edition to use, kindergarten options, and more.
Why Singapore Math?
Singapore is less than half as large as Rhode Island, with fewer people than Wisconsin.
So why use math books from this teeny foreign country?
Because kids from Singapore have incredible math skills!
People started to talk about Singapore’s math success in 1995, when Singaporean children wowed the world with their first-place score on an international math test.
This inspired a husband-wife team to bring the Singapore Math textbooks to the United States so that American children could benefit from them as well. Now, the original Primary Mathematics series and its spin-offs are used in classrooms and homeschools around the world.
Singapore Math is one of my top recommendations for homeschool math curriculum–but that doesn’t mean it’s right for every child or parent.
Read on for a full review, FAQ, and buying guide to learn more about this world-class homeschool math curriculum and whether it’s a good fit for your family.
(Psst…already using Singapore Math? Click here to download your printable guide to using Singapore Math.)
Note that this review is for Singapore’s Primary Mathematics series. If you’d like to learn more about their newest program, Dimensions Math, click here for a full Dimensions Math review. Dimensions Math is a comprehensive math curriculum for children from PreK through 8th grade. Written by American educators with many years of experience teaching Singapore-style math, the books aim to be more familiar and accessible to American parents and teachers.
The Big Picture
Singapore Math presents each math concept in three stages.
- Stage 1: Hands-on objects
- Stage 2: Pictures
- Stage 3: Written symbols
Singapore Math calls this the Concrete > Pictorial > Abstract approach. Take finding the area of a rectangle as an example.
- First, children create physical, concrete rectangles out of tiles or paper squares.
- Then, they draw rectangles and look at pictures in the textbook.
- Last, they learn the abstract formula length x width = area and use it to solve problems without manipulatives or visuals.
Singapore Math also focuses on teaching math in a logical order. The textbooks develop every concept purposefully and step-by-step so that children gradually develop solid conceptual understanding. They learn not just how to do math, but also why what they’re doing works.
Singapore Math is a mastery curriculum, with each unit devoted to one specific topic. Review problems are included at the end of each unit.
Mental Math and Word Problems
Singapore Math provides children lots of practice with basic pencil-and-paper computations, but the program also focuses on developing kids’ mental math and word problem skills.
Mental math is more than just solving problems mentally. It also helps kids build strong number sense and deep understanding of the properties of numbers, so it’s an important part of the program.
Parents sometimes find the mental math instruction in Singapore Math intimidating. But if you’re willing to read through the explanations in the Home Instructor’s Guides, I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how well you’re able to understand it. Singapore Math uses the same three stages of teaching to help kids learn each mental math strategy, so kids (and parents!) can become comfortable with mental math strategies and use them with ease.
Singapore Math also uses hands-on materials and pictures to help children tackle an often-difficult part of elementary math: word problems. The program presents a greater variety of word problems than most other elementary math programs and teaches kids to apply their math skills to a wide variety of situations. Once children reach the third- and fourth-grade level books, they learn to draw bar models to represent and solve word problems. These models help prepare them for algebra and think about the structure of problems beyond the surface level.
What’s the Parent’s Role in Teaching Singapore Math?
Singapore Math has three essential books for each semester:
- Home instructor’s guide. This is your teacher’s manual, with pacing guide, oral mental math exercises, and daily lessons.
- Textbook. You use the textbook (along with using hands-on manipulatives) to teach each concept to your child and have her solve a few practice problems before working independently.
- Workbook. After the textbook, your child completes the corresponding section in the workbook.
It usually takes about 10-15 minutes to present the lesson, with about 15-20 minutes for your child to work independently in the workbook. But this varies depending on the child and the lesson, of course! Workbook lessons in the lower grades are shorter, and they gradually become longer as children get older.
For your child to reap all the benefits of Singapore Math, you do need to actively teach each lesson and make sure you understand the math concepts yourself. The daily lessons provide a guide, but they are not scripted. You may need to put some time into understanding the lessons and working through the way that Singapore presents the concepts, especially in the upper grades. Don’t worry if math wasn’t your best subject, though—you’ll likely learn a lot yourself as your work through the program, and the home instructor’s guides provide a great starting point.
And, if you’d like to dive deep into learning how to teach Singapore Math well, check out Math That Makes Sense: How to Teach Elementary Arithmetic. It’s my free, online, self-paced course for parents that teaches you everything you need to know to teach elementary math with confidence.
How much does Singapore Math cost?
Each year’s textbooks, workbooks, and home instructor’s guides, cost approximately $85, depending on which edition you buy. (See below for a comparison of the different editions.) Only the workbook is consumable, so you can reuse the textbook and home instructor’s guide or resell them.
You’ll also need manipulatives, since hands-on materials are so important for teaching Singapore Math. You probably have most of what you need around the house (or in your Minimalist Math Manipulative Kit), but you may need to buy a few extra items. These are all listed in the Home Instructor’s Guides, so check there for the full list.
So, should I buy Singapore Math or not?
Singapore Math may be a great fit for you if:
- Your child thinks logically and likes math presented in a clear, straight-forward way.
- Your child likes a mix of hands-on and paper-and-pencil learning.
- You’re willing to spend some time understanding the math yourself and teaching it to your child.
- You’re willing to buy manipulatives and use them to make the lessons concrete for your child.
- Your child doesn’t need a ton of day-to-day review of math concepts. (Review is included at the end of each chapter, but not on a daily basis.)
Singapore Math may not be the right choice if:
- You don’t have the time to teach a lesson to your child each day.
- You feel a little anxious about your own math skills and aren’t sure you’ll have time to preview the lessons.
- Your child likes a lot of variety and will grow bored focusing on just one topic at a time.
- Your child needs a lot of regular review for math concepts to stick well.
- The thought of keeping track of manipulatives makes you break out in hives.
Frequently Asked Questions about Singapore Math
Is there a preschool Singapore Math book?
The Primary Math series doesn’t include a preschool book. If you’re planning to use Singapore Math for kindergarten, my Preschool Math at Home, will give you a year’s worth of simple, playful activities that will help your child build excellent number sense before beginning the kindergarten level.
What manipulatives do I need for Singapore Math?
Because hands-on materials are so essential to the Singapore method, definitely plan ahead to make sure you have the manipulatives you need. Once you’ve bought the Home Instructor’s Guide, check the front for the full list of what you’ll need. (And don’t miss my Minimalist Guide to Math Manipulatives to learn how to put together a math manipulative kit with stuff you already have around the house.)
Which Singapore Math edition should I use for kindergarten?
Singapore Math offers several different options for kindergarten.
- Essential Math. Black-and-white workbook with a suggested hands-on activity at the bottom of each page. A great value for only $11 per semester, but little guidance or hand-holding for the parent, and no detailed lesson plans. Hands-on activities are the most important part of kindergarten math–not written work!–so don’t buy this unless you’re committed to doing the hands-on activities.
- Earlybird Standards Edition. Bright-colored, consumable textbook and workbook. A teacher’s guide is available, but it’s written towards a classroom, so it requires some tweaks to use at home. There are teaching notes at the bottom of the textbook pages, so many parents skip the teacher’s guide entirely. If you go this route, make sure to add hands-on materials for acting out the situations in the textbook. Readers are available, but also not necessary.
- Earlybird Common Core Edition. Very similar to the Standards Edition, but slightly less expensive. Meets Common Core standards.
- Dimensions Math Kindergarten. Singapore’s newest program offers a full kindergarten program. But, since it’s designed for classrooms–not homes–many parents may find the number of activity options per lesson overwhelming. You can read more about it in my Dimensions Math review.
As you can see, while I highly recommend the Primary Mathematics series from first grade onward, I don’t love the Singapore kindergarten programs. They all require either modifying an expensive teacher’s guide that’s geared toward classroom use, only using the textbook and workbook (which is not developmentally-appropriate for most kindergartners), or coming up with your own hands-on activities.
If you’d like a more hands-on kindergarten program before starting Singapore in first grade, consider my Kindergarten Math with Confidence or another of my favorite homeschool math programs. Most kindergarten programs cover roughly the same material, so just about any formal kindergarten math program will prepare your child for the Primary Mathematics 1A.
How does Singapore Math’s scope and sequence compare with American textbooks?
Singapore Math presents some topics earlier than American textbooks, so it’s difficult to say exactly what the grade level equivalent is for each book. For example, American textbooks usually have children master the multiplication facts in third grade. In Singapore Math, multiplication is introduced in 1st grade, and children master the multiplication facts by the end of 2nd grade.
If you’re switching your child to Singapore Math, make sure to have him take a placement test to see which book to start with. In my experience, it’s almost always better to go back and shore up the fundamentals rather than to push forward with a shaky foundation.
Singapore Math Buying Guide
Singapore Math offers several different editions of its homeschool math curriculum, as well as supplemental books. In this section, I’ll help you wade through all the options so you can figure out the best choice for your homeschool.
Step 1: Placement test
If your older child is switching into Singapore, make sure to have him or her take the placement test. Singapore’s scope and sequence is quite a bit different than other programs, so it’s perfectly normal if your child places lower than her grade level.
Step 2: Choose an edition
Parents have four different Singapore Math versions to choose from for grades 1-6. (See the FAQ above for details on kindergarten.)
- U.S. Edition Original adaptation of the Singaporean books, available for grades 1-6. Textbooks are in color through 2B, then two-tone after that. Includes cumulative review.
- Standards Edition Created in 2007 to meet the then-current California standards, grades 1-5. All textbooks are in color. Includes cumulative review. (Note that the Home Instructor’s Guide is nearly identical to the U.S. edition. Some parents prefer using the Teacher’s Guide because it offers more scripted and detailed lessons, but the Teacher’s Guides are much more expensive than Home Instructor’s Guides and have to be tweaked for home use. )
- Common Core Edition Newest edition, created to meet Common Core standards, grades 1-5. All textbooks are in color. No cumulative review. These editions are also somewhat longer and more expensive.
- Dimensions Math Singapore’s newest program. You can read more about it in my Dimensions Math review.
I personally prefer (and have used) the U.S. Edition, because it’s time-tested, focuses on the most important concepts, and covers them thoroughly.
Once you’ve chosen your edition, you’ll need the Home Instructor’s Guide (or Teacher’s Manual), Textbook, and Workbook for your child’s level, for both semesters.
Step 3: Choose supplemental books
If you’re just beginning Singapore Math, I recommend putting all your energy into fully using the three main components of the program (home instructor’s guide, textbook, and workbook) before adding on any other components. But, if you feel your child needs extra work in a particular area, Singapore Math has extra books to meet your child’s needs. corresponding to each level of the program.
Enter your email below to download your printable guide to using Singapore Math. It includes more details on supplemental books for Singapore, plus advice on how to tackle word problems and mental math.
If Singapore Math isn’t what you’re looking for, don’t worry! There are many excellent homeschool math programs out there. Check out my curriculum page for reviews of my other favorite programs to help you find one that’s a good fit for your family.
Updated May 2020. This is my honest opinion of the program; I was not paid or compensated in any way for the review.
Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. If you buy an item through an affiliate link, I may receive a commission, at no additional cost to you.
Please note that comments are closed on this post. If you have a question, you can contact me here.
171 thoughts on “Singapore Math Review: World-Class Math Education, Right at Your Kitchen Table”
I have a question but 1st.
I loved your article it was very informative. I am starting my 3 children schooling at home and I chose Singapore curriculum.
I can’t seem to navigate the MOE website or get any significant help on choosing the curriculum. My question is could there be a counselor or some type of ambassador that could help with structuring a curriculum and point you in the right direction on purchasing them? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Tracy, what country are you in? If you’re in the U.S., SingaporeMath dot com is the place to start. There’s a very helpful scope and sequence and FAQ that will help you know what to buy. Or, you can buy the program from Rainbowresource dot com. They also have info on their site, or you can call them directly. I’ve heard that their sales reps are usually very helpful, so they could help point you towards the right books, too.
Thankyou for this review! If you have a moment, would you mind expounding a little on the common core edition of the Kindergarten level? I realize it is cheaper and meets CCSS, but what does that really mean? Does it have less teacher script? Are there fewer reviews/pages? Thanks so much for any help you can provide!
Hi Ariel, I actually need to update this buying guide. The Standards edition has been phased out and isn’t being published anymore, although you can still find it used. The two options now are Essentials and Common Core.
Between those two, Essentials is now the much better bargain at only $23 for the year. That’s because it’s just one black-and-white workbook with a few sentences of teaching directions at the bottom of each page. It does not provide a lot of support for parents (and no review pages), but if you feel comfortable teaching math, it’s a great choice.
The Common Core version is much pricier: to buy the textbook, activities book, and teacher’s guide costs a whopping $182 for kindergarten. You might be able to get away with not using the teacher’s guide, since there are some directions at the bottom of the textbook pages, but you would miss out on the full lesson plans and schedules that the teacher’s guide provides. The content overall looks very similar to Essentials, so I wouldn’t make that much of a factor in deciding between the two.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
Hello! Thank you for your input. Is the workbook necessary? I’ve heard that some people don’t use it. I’m looking specifically for grade 2.
Lola, it depends a lot on your child. The textbooks do provide quite a few exercises, along with some review pages, so it might be enough for a child who gets math quickly. But many children need the extra practice that the workbooks provide to completely master the topics.
For a child who does get math quickly, the main drawback of not using the workbook is that you would either need to do all the work orally or teach your child how to copy the problems. For my son in second grade, that would have been way too much writing without enough independence, but it could work for kids with strong motor skills (or moms who don’t mind doing it all out loud). For my son, I went with the “Intensive Practice” book instead of the workbook so that he could have some challenging independent practice.
Hello! I have been using Singapore Standards Edition from K-5 with my daughter. Next year she will be in book 6. I am not finding a home instructor’s guide for the Standards edition of book 6. I was wondering what your opinion was on us just switching to the U.S. edition for this coming year? Is there much difference? Also……I think I found a home instructor’s guide for 6A on Amazon but it doesn’t say “U.S. edition” on it. It just says “Singapore Primary Mathematics” and it is in two-tone. I am not sure if that is the correct one.
Hi Heidi! You should be fine switching to the US edition for 6th grade. The Standards edition is based off the U.S. edition, with some rearrangement of the sequence and a few topics added, so your daughter has likely covered everything that is needed before starting the Grade 6 U.S. book.
I loved Singapore Math and used it about 6-7 years ago until my daughter was struggling mightly with concepts and facts. (I still have all the books/texts!) We switched to Math U See and it has worked ok for her. I’m delighted to be using your book Pre-school Math at Home with my 5 yo, and was glad to see your review of Singapore Math. It makes me tempted to go back to it with him. Are the Essential Math workbooks enough to prep him for the beginning of Singapore where they have to learn many of the facts fairly quickly? Thanks so much!
So glad Preschool Math at Home is working well for you, Deb!
The Essential Math workbooks are definitely enough preparation for 1A and 1B. I’d suggest using the ten-frame from the Preschool Math book along with the addition and subtraction sections in Essentials to help your 5yo keep building skills at visualizing the numbers, and that will help a lot with preparing him for mastering the facts. (And, if the ten-frame approach works well for your child, you could also supplement with my Addition Facts That Stick book. 🙂
Hey there! Was wondering where it shop for Singapore math in Asia! I am in malayisa .
(Note email is all lower case can’t get it to do lower case)
Sorry, I don’t know anything about the international availability. Perhaps try asking over at the Well-Trained Mind forums? There are quite a few international folks who hang out there and might have some ideas.
Thanks for this post. It inspired me to try one of the intensive books for Caleb! Hope all is well!
Great to hear from you, Beth! Hope it proves to be a good challenge for him!
I’m getting ready to purchase the Singapore Essentials workbooks A and B for my 6-year old daughter who is finishing Kindergarten in 2-3 weeks. I was planning to use it this summer as both review and to enrich her learning and depth of understanding. She goes to a top private school, but lacks confidence in math, often shutting down her focus due to sensing impemding frustration! She has apparently caught up with her peers at this point and is doing well, despite lacking somewhst in her number sense, during the 1st half of the year. She is definitely better at the less abstract approach to math teaching.
Referring to an earlier post, what exactly is the “Ten frame from the Preschool Math Book.” I’m new to Singapore, other than a brief experiencr with an older daughter. On their website I see “Earlybird ” materiials which I preseume to be Preschool, but am not sure what exactly to buy.
The Early Bird materials are a different edition of Singapore Kindergarten. I prefer the Essentials books to the Earlybird series, but I think you’ll find Essentials A to be too easy for a child who’s already completed kindergarten math. Essentials B has 150 pages, so even just using that book will still give you a good amount of review and practice for the summer.
The ten-frames are a simple grids of 10 squares that help kids visualize numbers and develop strong number sense. If you subscribe to my email list, a printable ten-frame is included in the Minimalist Manipulative Kit. To learn more about how to use them, click on the “Addition Facts” tab at the top. (And if ten-frames click for your daughter, check out my “Addition Facts That Stick” book–it could be a good way to give her a jump start on the first-grade addition facts.)
Happy math! -Kate
What would you suggest for a student who did essentials A and neither he nor I liked it….stuck on the same concept too long. Sometimes it was too easy a concept and sometimes too hard. We ended up mixing up the last 3 or 4 chapters a bit…doing a page from 2 different ones for some review and interest. I love math and student taught middle school math and am comfortable adding explanations and activities to a program. O we finished out the year with counting and number writing practice. We have done some work with base 10 blocks also. I would consider him to be in K next year.
If Singapore stuck with one topic for too long, I’d suggest considering RightStart if your budget can handle it. It mixes things up a lot and provides a wide variety of activities: games, a few worksheets, and many different hands-on manipulatives. My novelty-seeking oldest absolutely adored it.
Hello! Thank you for the information on Singapore books! I was curious if you have reviewed or have any feed back on the books called Math in Focus….its supposed to be in line with the Singapore concept but a little easier to teach for the parent that needs the help. Do you know of this series? My daughter is going to be in 3rd grade and we used Horizons for 2nd but I am ready to challenge her more and she has realized spiral learning is not for her. Thank you so much!
Hi Donna, I haven’t reviewed Math in Focus in depth, but it looks like a solid, Singapore-like program. If you feel like it would work better for you or it’s more appealing to your daughter, I wouldn’t hesitate to go for it. My personal preference is the U.S. edition, but both are good programs.
Here’s a veeeerrrrry in-depth comparison if you’d like more of the nitty-gritty differences between the two: http://singaporemathsource.com/resources/primary-mathematics-v-math-in-focus/
Hi my son in going to the 9 the grade this year. Can you tell me a little bit more about elementary books at starts with 7 the grade. Does it start off with algebra? Not sure I have right website
Oh I forgot to mention he has been using Singapore math from the beginning. Thanks
Hi Cutina, Sorry, I’m not as familiar with the middle school books as the lower elementary books. Perhaps try asking over on the Well-Traiened Mind forums? I believe some of the parents there have used them and liked them a lot.
I found some Singapore Math (from Amazon) with the publisher as Frank Schaffer Publications, does it also part of the Singapore Math or it has to be from the publisher of Singapore Math? There are so many publisher out there with the book title of Singapore Math, not even sure which is the real one.
Hi Cel! The Frank Schaeffer books are not directly from the publisher of Singapore Math, but they are aligned with the overall philosophy (and more specifically, with one of the editions). It’s amazing how many variations on “Singapore Math” are out there now. The original books (and the ones that I mean in this review) have “Primary Mathematics” as their title. They’re only available from 3rd party sellers on Amazon, so I prefer to buy them from Rainbow Resource. You can also get them directly from the publisher at singaporemath.com, but Rainbow Resource has better prices.
My daughter is going to 6th grade. Which book do you recommend me to buy so she can be buy this summer?
Hi Sam, Can you elaborate a little more on what you’re looking for? What program has your daughter been using?
Hi how will I know which grade Singapore mathematics I have to buy for my daughter is 7 years old in US curriculum for grade 2 and Singapore curriculum grade 2 equal ? For example British curriculum grade 2 is equal to American curriculum grade 1.
Singapore has a slightly different scope and sequence than American books, so I highly recommend taking a look at their placement tests to see where your daughter should start. In general, the Singapore and US grades are roughly equivalent, but it’s a good idea to check.
My family loves Singapore Math and my oldest is currently on level 5. Do you have any suggestions about where to go after Singapore Math 6?
Hi Deb! After Singapore 6, your child will be ready for a pre-algebra program. I’m afraid I don’t have a ton of experience with the post-elementary programs so far, but there are many to choose from. As a starting place, I’d recommend looking at Art of Problem Solving (only for a child who really, really likes math), Jousting Armadillos, Dolciani’s Pre-Algebra, and Lial’s Prealgebra.
Another option is to use Math Mammoth’s Prealgebra, but then you have to choose a new series for the following year for Algebra. It’s probably best to start a new series of books and then stick with it, if possible.
And if you’d like to read a very exhaustive list of options and other people’s experiences, check this massive thread out from the Well-Trained Mind forums:
This is our first yr of homeschooling….she is 9 and in the 3rd grade. Is this approach to math going to be really new to her? She had been in the public school system until this year. We live in Indiana and are soooo disappointed with the lack of individual time the students get and she was very lost in the shuffle. Where would you suggest be our starting place? Should we just jump in with the 3rd grade workbooks/textbooks/home instructors guide and see how it goes? She already has a good grasp of multiplication and so on…..
Whether or not this style of math feels new to her will depend a lot on what exactly her school was using, so it’s hard to say. For a starting place, I highly recommend having her do a placement test.
You can find them here: http://www.singaporemath.com/Placement_Test_s/86.htm
Don’t be at all worried if she tests a little behind her grade level. Singapore tackles topics in a slightly different order than most American math curriculum, so kids often place a semester or so below their current grade level. And honestly, when you’re just starting out on the homeschooling journey, there’s nothing wrong with having math feel easy for a while!
So glad I found your blog! My son is 6 (turns 7 in September). I forgot the exact date when we started Singapore Math, but soon he’ll finish the Earlybird Kindergarten Mathematics Textbook and Activity book B (Common Core Edition). We homeschool and I’ve been doing “formal” things with him since age 5. I still consider him as being in Kindergarten this year. The grade thing doesn’t matter to us, we’re just concerned that he’s getting what he needs.
I didn’t purchase the teachers manual. In Textbook&Workbook A, we used manipulatives prior and i followed the instructor on the bottom of each page. When we got to book B i decided started too skip pages that seemed to easy for him because I thought it was a waste of time. Is that the right thing to do? I also stopped following teacher instructions at the bottom of the page ans only use manipulatives sparingly. Which niw I’m regretting sonce reading your post.
Anyway, i just recently purchased: Primary Mathematics Textbook &Workbook 1A since he’ll be soon done with the previous. I didn’t buy thr teacher’s manual, should i buy it? Also, i flipped through the book and I’m a bit upset about the multiple choice and true or false questions. Very different from Earlybird and I had bad experiences with T or F in my childhood. For me, math is a 4 letter word 🙂
I like Singapore but i don’t know what to do now….
Any feedback would be great! Thanks in advance!
Oh and wow sorry for all of the grammatical errors! Using my phone which has a mind of its own
Oops also forgot to mention- my son isn’t gifted. Neither is he super “good ” at Math. He is average or a bit better than average. He doesn’t really like to “do” math. However he can subtract and add in his head( without pause) a lot of the time…
Definitely don’t beat yourself up for not diving deeply into every page in Earlybird. Those pages do get a bit repetitive–I did the same!
If you’re not a fan of multiple choice and t/f questions, one option is to use a different edition of Singapore Math. I believe the test prep type questions were added to the Common Core edition with the expectation that kids would be having to take a bunch of standardized tests. The U.S. edition (which I use) doesn’t have any test prep type questions in it.
Whichever edition you use, I do recommend buying the teacher’s guide and using it as much as you have time to. You might not need it every day for 1A and 1B, but you’ll definitely start to rely on them more as the math gets more sophisticated. Also, they have the mental math exercises and answer key.
My daughter is in the 2nd grade of US Public School. She does not get any math homework ;( I would really like to compliment the Common Core math education she is getting in school with the Singapore math. So far she had completed Frank Schaffer Workbooks on level 1A and B. She had been working independently, and I was trying to reach a goal of 6 pages / 4 days per week. Based on my research, I am planning to switch her to Singapore Math, US Edition, published by Marshall-Cavendish.
Do you think it is a good approach to provide a supplemental math education like this? Are these workbooks ok for kids to work independently, considering she is getting the core concepts in school? What is a reasonable pace for a child this age? My daughter has great analytical skills, but she does not enjoy math at all and resist our attempts to practice mental math with her (despite having an engineer mom and physics professor dad 🙂 She does enjoy working in the self-study workbooks, so I thought that could be a solution, if the books are ok for her to work on her own.
Do you have any recommendation for us?
Hi Alena, Self-study workbooks are a great option for a child who resists doing math with her parents. Since she’s getting her main teaching in school, using the workbooks for reinforcement and practice seems perfectly reasonable.
My only caveat would be that some of the material may be presented in the Singapore books earlier than she will get it in school,. So, if the content ever seems too far ahead of what she’s learning in school (or can figure out on her own), you may want to just skip that chapter and come back to it later.
As far as pace goes, I’d recommend going more by time than pages with the Singapore workbooks. Some can literally take my daughter 2 minutes, while others can take a half hour.
Hope that helps, Kate
Awesome info! I went with Singapore’s Standards K books for our first year homeschooling, after my homeschooling veteran mom, math teaching sister, and I sat down on the floor one day and hashed out the options for my oldest. Love it! For my second little one, PreK age this fall but chasing after big sis fast, I was just thinking about blending continued PreK math play with Essentials for her next year and wondering about the differences from Standards. Thank you bunches!
Both Essentials and Standards are great choices. The biggest difference between the two is that Standards is more expensive and has more components: readers, teacher’s guide, textbook, and activity book. Essentials is much more streamlined, with just a black-and-white workbook with suggestions for hands-on activities at the bottom. Both are comprehensive and well-sequenced, so both will get you where you need to go. (And if you’d like something more explicitly for pre-k, take a look at my book, Preschool Math at Home. There’s more info if you click on Preschool up at the top of the page.)
I use Singapore for K, but am considering a change because I feel uncomfortable teaching math differently from the traditional way. I was leaning toward BJU math. Do you have any info on BJU math? Do you feel it is on grade level?
I haven’t used BJU personally, only reviewed some of the materials. The scope and sequence certainly looks like right on on grade level overall, and it looks like a solid program.
I’ve read this post several times! Love it.
I’ve been using the US edition, but I’ve read here and several other places that the standards edition has an easier to use HIG. Would it be ok to switch from US to standards as soon as we start 3A? Or would they’re be gaps?
Glad you enjoyed the review, Hannah! The scope and sequence for the two programs are very similar., so you’d be just fine switching to Standards edition at 3A.
Planning to start 1A U.S. eddition with my oldest who just completed Essentials. Should I be concerned about the concepts that are not included in the U.S Eddition, but were added to Standards?
Nope, don’t worry about it a bit. Both programs eventually cover the same material, only the Standards edition breaks some topics into smaller pieces to better align the books with the old California standards.
Great information! I am planning to switch to Singapore in the fall for my 10 and 11 yr olds. Currently working through Essentials with my 4 yr old. The 2 older kids struggle with dyslexia and are finally able to read somewhat independently. I will be doing the placement tests with them tomorrow but I am guessing they will place in either 2a or 2b. But I am obsessing over US edition or Standards edition. The website samples don’t give me a good enough feel for the differences. Could you give me any feedback on what makes the Standards edition easier to use?
Ah, the joys of research! 🙂 The Standards edition often offers slightly longer chapter introductions. It also is often more direct in telling parents what to do and in organizing the steps into bullet points. But there’s truly not a huge difference, and either one will give your kids a great math education.
I have a just-turned five year old entering K in the fall and am making our homeschool curriculum plans. I was at a homeschool convention exhibit hall last night and had a chance to flip through several math curriculums. I was really drawn to Singapore Math and would like to try it. I specifically looked at the Essentials books for K. My question after reading through your info and comments section is, would this be a good place to start for my son if he hasn’t done any “formal” math work till now? We are still working on number recognition past 10, we do some fun activities with pattern blocks and counting, adding and subtracting through real life scenarios, etc, but that has been the extent of it so far. Would I be better off using a preK curriculum next year (or maybe even this summer) so he has a good solid foundation before we dive into a K curriculum?
Essentials starts out very simply. (For example, counting to 5 isn’t even until unit 4.) You’ll be fine starting with Book A and working from there. Just make sure to do the “introductions” at the bottom of the pages so that your son gets the hands-on practice along with the workbook pages, and you should be good to go.
Thanks so much for all your reviews. I’ve been all over your site this past week trying to narrow down the best choices for our family, and have found your insight and knowledge super helpful.
We will be homeschooling for the first time in the fall, and will have a 3rd grader, 2nd grader, and kindergartener. I’m really torn between using Singapore and RightStart for our first year. My 3rd grader is not a strong math student, and I think would really benefit from the visual approach to number sense in RightStart. However my 2nd grader is a very strong math student, and will definitely benefit from more of a challenge (I plan to put them through the same level, whichever curriculum we choose). So I’ve wondered if Singapore would be a better fit for him.
Cost-wise, I’m a little hesitant to jump into RightStart at this level (she placed in C) as so many people I read move to a different curriculum after C and its so expensive to start up! I do have my kindergartener (and three younger kiddos) to get through, so I know we can always use it for them if we do decide to invest.
Clearly I’ve spent way too much time agonizing about this decision lol. I would love to know what your thoughts are based on your knowledge of the two curriculums 🙂
Thank you again!
It’s a classic conundrum, Wendy! I’d go with Singapore, for all the reasons you mention. It’ll serve you better in the long-haul, and it’s definitely more cost-effective. If you use the home instructor’s guide and manipulatives, your visual learner will still learn the concepts well.
If you’d like to reap some of the benefits of RightStart along with Singapore Math, they have two lovely supplements that can be really helpful. One is the RightStart Arithmetic Kit, which gives you a streamlined version of the essential concepts of elementary arithmetic. The other is the Math Card Games Kit, which has games to go with most elementary math topics. Neither is essential, but they’re a cost-effective way to add the abacus and some fun to other programs.
Thank you so much! Those are great ideas. I appreciate it!
Thank You. After i read all those posts I am still confused. I live in the US and my son is entering 1st grade august 2017. What should I buy .
Sirisha, you will need these books for first grade. If you click on the links, you’ll see them on Amazon.
–First grade kit (Includes textbooks 1A and 1B and workbooks 1A and 1B)
–Home Instructor’s Guide 1A and Home Instructor’s Guide 1B
Buy U.S. edition and you’ll be all set. 🙂
Thank You so much Kate !
Thank you for all the info!
I use Singapore with my older kids and I have one starting K at 2-months-shy of age 6. I wish I had found your Pre-K math book sooner! I’d love to use it with my K, and just start her in Singapore 1 in 1st grade. Do you think your PreK book would be too simple for her? She is a pretty quick learner, we’ve worked through the Early Bird books but just when she asks “to do math”. I really didn’t love teaching out of a workbook for her young age (vs. real life, concrete examples) , so I wasn’t consistent, by any means. Any suggestions? Or suggestions for similar books geared toward a bit older age?
Thank you! Great info in this article!
Hi Yolanda, Preschool Math at Home would likely be too easy for an almost-six-year-old. I’m afraid I don’t have a great recommendation for a more hands-on kindergarten curriculum, since most are very workbook-oriented. I’ve heard good things about Kitchen Table Math and Family Math as sources of hands-on activities, so you might take a look at those as a starting place. Happy Math!
This is regarding my earlier question :above in line . You suggested buying the –First grade kit (Includes textbooks 1A and 1B and workbooks 1A and 1B)
–Home Instructor’s Guide 1A and Home Instructor’s Guide 1B since my boy was going to 1st grade. I took the placemenet test online on singaporemath.com and we was able to do all of them pretty easily. The test said 1A. Should I buy the next level. Thank You !
If he was able to do the 1A placement test easily, have him try the 1B test. That will probably be the best level for him, but it’s worth checking before you invest in the books.
He would not be able to do the 1B test. I saw the test paper he doesn’t know currency
Sounds like the 1B books are the right place to start then, Sirisha. 🙂
I just wanted to thank you for all the useful information and for answering every single question so clearly. My oldest just turned 5 and this article has given me a lot of insight.
Thank you Kate. do you know if I can get 1B by itself
Yes, you can probably find it for the best price at Rainbow Resource. Or, you can buy it directly from the publisher at Singaporemath.com.
Thanks for the thorough review. Wondering what math recommendations you have for grades 7-12. It looks as though Singapore does not offer curriculum for the those upper grades. Do you have an opinion on what would be good to transition to?
Hi Kate, I’m sorry that I don’t have a solid recommendation at this point. I’m hoping to do some more research and write some more reviews in the coming year, so stay tuned. 🙂
Hello Kate, thanks for this article. The market seems to be flooded by multiple publishers’ Singapore Math. In fact, Marshall Cavendish alone has three series of Singapore Math. Do you know the publisher and series that does minimal altering of Singapore math? Do you suggest obtaining these books directly from publishers in Singapore? I am guessing those books will be different from the Singapore math books in the US mostly in unit and some examples. Please do disclose any conflict of interest you might have. Many thanks.
Hi Kumar, I don’t have any affiliation with Singapore Math. They don’t pay me anything, and I don’t profit at all if you buy their books. The only way I make money on this site is if someone clicks on one of my Amazon affiliate links, in which case I receive a small percentage of their total Amazon purchase without it costing them any extra.
Yes, there are now many different versions of “Singapore Math” floating around, and some are better than others. However, if you want the authentic version, you don’t need to order the books directly from Singapore. Marshall Cavendish’s “US edition” is the original series that Singaporean schools used in the 90’s, with the currency changed and a couple lessons added on US standard measurement.
Hi Kate, thank you for your prompt response. I will make sure to use your link to buy the books.
Marshall Cavendish’s US edition series seems to have been published in 2003. Their Common Core series was published very recently. I am wondering if this over a decade lapse reflects in improvement in the books. How is CC series different from US edition? I previously bought US edition series for level 1 and 2. Now time to buy level 3.
Here’s the breakdown on the differences between editions:
-U.S. Edition Original adaptation of the Singaporean books, available for grades 1-6. Textbooks are in color through 2B, then two-tone after that. Includes cumulative review.
-Standards Edition Created in 2007 to meet the then-current California standards, grades 1-5. All textbooks are in color. Includes cumulative review. Many parents find its Home Instructor’s Guide the easiest to use.
-Common Core Edition Newest edition, created to meet Common Core standards, grades 1-5. All textbooks are in color. No cumulative review. There’s a teacher’s guide, but no home instructors’ guide, so you may need to modify the lessons somewhat. These editions are also longer and more expensive.
Essentially, each has been created to meet different market needs–first, Standards for the California market, and then Common Core so that schools and parents that wanted or needed to align with Common Core had a good option. All have the same general approach to math and sequencing. I personally prefer the US edition because they’re more streamlined. You can check out a comparison of the the full scope and sequence here: http://www.singaporemath.com/v/PMSS_comparison.pdf
Enjoy level 3!
Hi! Thank you so much for your input. We just completed our kindergarten year at home. We are using Saxon math (about half way through grade 1). I love the cyclical approach of Saxon with daily review built in and I find my oldest benefits from that review. I recently heard great things about Singapore Math and I know a lot of the local schools are switching over to Math in Focus which used the Singapore approach. I am interested in switching over especially since I don’t know how long we will end up homeschooling so I don’t want my son being confused with a new sequence and approach. My concern is not having much review built in. Do you know anything about Saxon in comparison? I was an elementary teacher so I feel comfortable teaching, but don’t know too much about comparing curriculum. Thoughts? Thanks!
Saxon and Singapore have a lot of significant differences.
1. Singapore is mastery-based, so every chapter focuses on one new concept and works through it thoroughly, while Singapore jumps around topics from lesson to lesson and teaches just one small increment of the topic.
2. Singapore is also a lot more focused on having kids understand the concepts of math, while Saxon focuses more on having kids memorize the procedures for how to do math. Kids who use Singapore practice the procedures, too, but there’s more emphasis on understanding what they’re doing.
3. Saxon has lots of review, as you mentioned. Singapore has review built into the end of each chapter, but it is not daily like in Saxon. Not all children need as much review as Saxon provides, but some parents create a few review problems for each day if their children need more review.
If your child will be going to Math in Focus eventually, I do think it will be an easier transition if he has learned to think about math “the Singapore way” from the beginning. Using the US homeschool edition should work fine, but you can also find used Math in Focus textbooks and teacher’s guide on Amazon quite cheaply. I’ve never used them myself, but they look quite clear and easy to use as long as you don’t mind adapting the whole-class activities for the one-on-one homeschool setting.
Hello Kate! Your insight is tremendously helpful and your article is so thorough, thank you!! I tried to click on your five tips about supplemental materials, as that’s what I’m confused about, but the link didn’t work. I’m thinking of getting the intense practice and challenging word problems, my oldest will be using 4A. I’d love to know which is good for a “test” type resource for end of semester and end of year. Thanks so much!
Hi Emily, Sorry you were having trouble getting the 5 Quick Tips! It’s slightly different than a link, so it can be a little finicky. Please do try again, but if it doesn’t work, send me an email at the contact link above and I’ll send it to you directly.
For end of semester and end of year tests, I recommend either using the final review section at the end of each book or the free placement tests available here.
I can’t find your email? I was hoping to get the 5 tips for Singapore math.
Hi Amy, The 5 tips are in the purple links above. If you click or tap them, it should take you to a box where you can receive the pdf.
And, sorry about the missing email! Thanks to your comment, I just discovered that my Contact page wasn’t working! It’s fixed now–you’ll find it at Contact in the menu bar above. (Or, if you’re on mobile, click on the second Menu from the top.) Definitely drop me an email there if you can’t access the 5 tips at the purple links. Thanks!
Hi! I have a question about transitioning into Singapore from another curriculum. I’m thinking of switching my fourth grader, and it’s looking like she is testing into the third grade level. How do those who are behind catch up? Mainly I am worried that it is not worth it to switch if they are going to be “behind” always, (what, they just never do the last year before graduating?), and learning pretty much the same things they would be if we stuck with the curriculum we were using previously. Thanks for your thoughts!
There’s a couple different ways families deal with this. One is to skip the 6th grade book, because it provides a lot of review and more in-depth word problems than the typical American program. There’s certainly no harm in spending that year consolidating skills, but many kids have no problem going directly from the 5th grade book to tha pre-algebra text (or to the Singapore Middle School series).
Another option is simply to start wherever your child is and make decisions as you go. As you said, there may be chapters your daughter has already mastered in the third grade book. It’s fine to do a quick review and then skip those chapters, so that you’re able to go faster than the typical pace.
Lastly, just bear in mind that the idea of “grade level” for math gets muddier and muddier as you progress to the higher grades. Some kids will start pre-algebra in sixth grade, algebra in seventh, and so on until they’ve finished calculus before the end of high school. Other kids will wait until eighth grade to start pre-algebra, then do algebra and geometry only in high school, depending on their state graduation requirements and future plans. Overall, my advice is to what seems best for your child now, and trust that the way forward will become clear as your child gets older. I’m a total planner myself, so I sometimes find it hard to take my own advice on this…but it does seem to always work out, even if it’s not quite how I expected. 🙂
I am currently using RightStart level B(2nd edition) for my daughter. I love the program but I need a workbook because I happen to have a child that really likes worksheets. I am considering Singapore Math. Do you think this is too much? Would I need the entire program or can I just buy the workbook?
Hi Chelsea, I think trying to do Singapore workbooks along with RightStart might be too much. An easier (and cheaper) option would be to look at Kumon workbooks. They’re colorful, good-quality, and inexpensive, and you can buy practice books to go along with just about any topic from RS that could use a little more reinforcement. Some good ones that might go along with RS B are:
My First Book of Money
My Book of Telling Time
My Book of Addition
Hello Kate, I am so happy I have found you. I need some help. Last year was my 1st year homeschooling. We survived! I have a 6th Grader, 3rd Grader, and a 4th grader. Here goes: We chose Singapore because the private school we pulled them from used Singapore. We chose Standard Edition because I am not a math fan/I needed extra support. My 6th grader was unable to complete the curriculum (5th Grade Math) we made it to the end of the 1st quarter around the end of November and realized we needed a tutor (New homeschooling mommy teaching a classical curriculum and math was a little overwhelming). Anyway, bottom line is we have just gotten to the end of 3rd quarter this summer. We use the tests for the curriculum as well. To me this seems to take a day away each week. I am in the same situation with the 4th grader (3rd Grade Math). My 3rd grader (1st and 2nd Grade Math) flew through the curriculum.
I guess my question is: Is it really possible to complete the curriculum (textbook, workbook, test) in its entirety in a 9 month school year? Or should we anticipate on doing math year round with Singapore?
I was thinking after reading your comments above that we may need to go year round and use 6th grade as a gap/catch up year if needed, completing what we can of the 6th grade review curriculum and moving on to PreAlgebra. What are your thoughts on skipping the last quarter or selecting chapters/units not to teach? I am thinking that it would be better to just let them finish when they finish and keep going.
Your Math Challenged Homeschooling Mom,
Hi, I am going to start homeschooling my son who will be in kindergarten…can you list everything that I should purchase for kindergarten Singapore math? Thank you!!
Check out this article (Do I Have to Finish the Math Book?) for a run-down of some different ways to approach not finishing a curriculum. Using 6th grade as a possible catch-up year is definitely a good option, as well, since many children are successful going straight from 5th to Pre-algebra.
Honestly, I’ve never mapped out the full calendar of lessons for Standards edition, so I’m not sure whether or not it’s possible to finish the entire curriculum including tests in 9 months. Unless you’re expecting to change your approach significantly, you probably will continue on roughly the same pace as you’ve been going at. If you’d like to speed up the pace, you might consider using your kids’ review pages as tests rather than giving them separate tests. A lot of homeschool moms find that they need official tests less and less as they get used to assessing their kids’ progress on a day-to-day basis, so you might find that you don’t feel that you need them as much this year.
All you need for kindergarten is Essentials A and Essentials B. Instructor directions are at the bottom of each page, so you’ll be all set!
We are starting to home school this fall with my daughter, who is entering 3rd grade. I believe Singapore Math would be a good choice for us. She had been using TERC/Investigations at school, but only following it loosely. She is good conceptually at math and loves it, but has anxiety issues in general (not specific to math) so taking the placement test is challenging. I can look at the tests myself and know that she understands the math content for the 2A test, but would need help to understand the format of the problems, particularly the word problems. If I helped her understand how to tackle them, she could do the math. I looked at the scope-and-sequence on the Singapore site and 2B looks like a good fit, but it looks like I might need to do some supplementing/catch-up on a few topics from 2A (metric measurements, subtraction to 1000, etc). I’m perfectly comfortable doing that. I don’t want her to feel pressured and frustrated, but she loves math and I don’t want her to be bored. What are your thoughts? I would also be ok buying both sets of books, but not sure how to work that. I’m concerned that if I start with 2A, she’ll sort of be a whole year “behind”, and she really prides herself on being good at math. And then I’m not sure what the process/schedule is to catch her up. Sorry for all the questions. Thank you!
If I were you, I’d buy both 2A and 2B, spend a little time covering the topics that she still needs from 2A, and then move quickly onto 2B. As far as the grade level goes, perhaps you can just tell her that they cover math in a different order in Singapore, and so what’s second grade level there is third grade level here? Even though Singapore’s scope and sequence is different than American books, she’ll still be well on track to enter an American math program, even if she’s always a year “behind” as far as the Singapore books go. (See comment #81 above for a little more in depth on this.)
Thank you, Kate. That’s what I’ll do.
Thank you for all your info, including your thoughtful comments. I am struggling deciding between the us standard edition and common core edition. My two went to school last year and they used common core, so I thought I should just stick with it. But I question common core at times and feel the standard might be more straight forward. A friend of mine said they are probably very similar, just vary in presentation. I was wondering your thoughts. Math to me is getting it, then moving on. Common core seems to push looking at different ways to get to your answer, but frustration along the way. It might just be me though, in deschooling the way I was taught.
Both editions are very similar and will give your kids a great math education, so definitely don’t sweat this decision too much. Many of the pages are identical, but the CC version does focus a little more on alternate ways to find answers and explaining answers in words. (Although it’s much less than many other CC programs out there.) If I were you, I’d go with the Standards edition. It sounds like you’d probably just feel more comfortable with it, and plus the CC version only offers an expensive teacher’s manual while the Standards edition offers a cheaper and more parent-friendly home instructor’s guide.
Thanks so very much!
Im just starting to hs my 4 & % year old girls. Could I get by using your preschool book and Addition facts book or should I purchase the Singapore curriculum, teacher guide and all?
It depends on where your daughters are at. If they aren’t very familiar with the numbers to 10, definitely start with the preschool book. If they already understand the numbers to 10 thoroughly (in that they can count 10 disorganized objects, count OUT 10 objects, tell whether 8 is more or less than 6, etc.), they’re beyond the preschool book and ready for Singapore’s Kindergarten curriculum. If that’s the case, I’d recommend using Singapore Essential A and B. With that edition, you’d only need to buy the workbooks for each child. All of the teacher’s instructions are at the bottom of each workbook page.
Either way, I’d recommend holding off on the addition facts until about 1st grade.
I have started supplementing the math that my son does in public school (3rd grade this year) with the Singapore math challenge workbook. This book was published by Frank Schaffer Publications, and says on the cover that it is correlated to the common core state standards. From reading your article and questions, I have realized that this book is not part of the official Singapore math curriculum, since it has a different publisher. Would you happen to know, how this workbook compares to the Singapore math intensive practice workbooks? Thanks very much for your help.
The Singapore Math Challenge books look like wonderful supplementary math challenges (I may grab a few for a math club that I run!) , but they’re quite different from the regular Singapore books. The Intensive Practice books provide more focused skill work, rather than interesting puzzles and supplementary topics. But if your son is enjoying the book, it looks like a great way to enjoy math together at home.
Thanks very much for your prompt reply. Yes, the Math challenge books are certainly teaching us to look at math differently from what we were used to. Some of the problems are a little ambiguous and need to be more clearly stated to get the answer in the back of the book. Some of the problems actually seem like simpler versions of the Math Olympiad problems my older son does. Thanks very much!
I’ve enjoyed looking through your site and appreciate this article about Singapore Math! This is our first year homeschooling (4th grade) and using Singapore Math, I was surprised at how teacher intensive it is. I came across a resource that has helped me tremendously, it’s called Singapore Math Live, it was started by a homeschooling mom who was a math teacher previously and it’s been a big help in terms of showing me how to teach but also it has video introductions for the student to each workbook exercise, plus videos on how to solve the Intensive Practice and Challenging Word Problems questions, which is HUGE because there are so many tricky questions in those books, but I find it almost essential to use them, because just the workbook and textbook on their own is not in depth enough. Another great thing about Singapore Math Live is that it gives you a schedule that includes the IP and CWP workbooks so I don’t have to figure out myself when and how to incorporate them.
However, despite finding this great resource, I’m still having doubts about continuing Singapore Math beyond 5th or 6th grade (I think it really does get intense for mom in the upper grades) – what are your thoughts about Saxon? I think the spiral approach might be a better fit for us, and possibly more independent work, and I’ve heard from friends that we can use the accompanying DVDs. What are some math programs you recommend after Singapore Math? Thanks!
Glad you’ve found Singapore Math Live so useful! It sounds like a terrific resource.
I have trouble wrapping my head around Saxon., and I suspect any parent and child who have been using a mastery program like Singapore may have trouble, too. Saxon organizes topics very incrementally and jumps around from topic to topic a lot, so there’s not a lot of focused attention on one topic at a time. It can be rather maddening for kids who are used to thoroughly grappling with a topic before moving on.
I haven’t done a deep dive into upper-level programs, so I can’t offer a in-depth recommendation. However, I’ve been tutoring older children this year, and here’s the progression that I’m liking best right now:
Pre-algebra (starting in 7th or 8th grade): Math Mammoth Grade 7
Algebra: Jacobs (with Master Books solutions and teacher’s guide) or Foerster’s Prentice Hall Classics Algebra 1
Geometry: Jacobs (with Master Books solutions and teacher’s guide)
Algebra II: Foerster’s Prentice Hall Classics Algebra II
Both “Ask Dr. Callhan” and Memoria Press have videos to go with these books.
Thanks so much for your detailed reply and helpful insight! I’m learning more about the difference between mastery and spiral programs. It’s very helpful that you pointed out the issue of topics jumping around in Saxon, and led me to realize that I do appreciate being able to dive into each topic in depth with Singapore. I noticed that you also recommend Math Mammoth. In your opinion, is it somewhat easier to teach than Singapore? Or in general, what are some differences between MM and Singapore? Aside from my 4th grade son, my daughter will be starting first grade and I may look into Math Mammoth for her. The MM website seems to have quite a lot of resources (including videos by the author). Thanks again for sharing your insight!
You can read about Math Mammoth in detail in my full review, but the quick answer is that it is less teacher-intensive than Singapore. But that comes with all the usual caveats: Most kids will need at least some one-on-one teaching throughout their years of math. And, for any program, your child’s ability to use it independently depends on how well she’s able to learn by reading. Self-motivated, good readers may do well, but many kids don’t have the skills to learn math effectively on their own from a book, even in middle school or high school.
My son is in public school .. kindergarten … .He is been going to Russian school of mathematics for a year now as I would like to do some enrichment activity for math … But I see that I’m not really sure whether he understands the concept or they teach him the concept other than just solving the problems .. I have second thoughts about it for few weeks now …
So I would like to switch to Singapore Math but I would like to know which edition to choose from … I read a lot in lot of forum but still having hard time to decide on them … I might go with standards edition just for the sake of color Bcz I know my son will love it but I would like to know in what way CC edition may differ … I did read the comparison chart in SM website but still lost to make the decision
Honestly, any version of Singapore will provide what you want. If you think your son would love the color, then I would definitely go with that. Sometimes, whatever makes our kids most motivated is the best choice. 🙂
Hello! Thanks for the helpful review! My son is 5 and we will start KG with him this coming fall. He has great number sense and can already do simple calculations in his head. He’s not ready for 1a, but I’m wondering about the possibility of starting him on Essential Math Kg B. Would you recommend still going through both Kg books or could a child potentially start at level B? Thank you!
Starting with Essentials B sounds like a great idea for your son. Book A is quite simple, so that will probably provide a better level of challenge for him. Being able to individualize curriculum for your child is definitely a huge perk of homeschooling!
I would not live without , you helped me earlier.This time for my little one who is going to pre-k but still doensot know his numbers. Also my elder would be going to 2nd grade advanced math. What should i be getting for them.
Thank You !
Try my Preschool Math at Home for your younger child to help him learn his number basics. For your child going to 2nd grade, check and make sure that he knows his addition facts and subtraction facts well. (You can find tests to check here and here.) If he doesn’t know the addition and subtraction facts, try my Addition Facts That Stick and Subtraction Facts That Stick books with him this summer. If he does know the addition and subtraction facts, take a look at this list of summer math options to find a good book for him.
Thank You . We have been using the singapore math books earlier and he is good with addition, subtraction a little of multiplication and little division. I would like to continue the singapore math books. What would be good for him.
Thank You !
If you’d like to continue with the Singapore Math books, I’d suggest using either the Intensive Practice or Challenging Word Problems books for the year your son just finished. They’ll give a good review of the year, in a more challenging way.
My daughter is in 2nd Grade and she’s struggling with mental math. I’m hoping to try Singapore math to help improve her overall math skill and I’m new to Singapore math. Since she kinda knows most of the 2nd grade curriculum, I’m thinking of buying the Home Instructor’s Guide, Intensive Practice, and Challenging Word Problems for her to get more practice and for me to help her understand it better. Do you think I still need to get the textbook or workbook or extra practice?
Thanks for your help.
Oops. I meant to say ‘Hi Kate’. Was reading your comment to Sirisha as I type. Sorry about that.
No problem, Viv! I’d definitely recommend getting the textbook, since it provides clear examples of the Singapore approach, and the Home Instructor’s guide will refer to it. I don’t think you’ll need the workbook in your case, though.
My Son just completed Kindergarten in US. He will be going to Grade 1 in September.
He is very interested in Math and pretty good at learning.
We haven’t used any Singapore math syllabus before. But I’m trying to get one and teach him over the summer holidays. I’m thinking of getting Primary Math 1A and 1B for him. Is this the right choice?
Thank you Kate!
Yes, 1A and 1B is the right level to start him at .
What would be the next level books after Primary Math 1A and 1B. Thank You.
2A and 2B are next. 🙂
I was just about to order the Essentials KA and KB for my Kindergartner, but saw that Singapore just came out with a new K-8 curriculum called Dimensions Math. I’m having trouble finding what’s the difference between Dimensions and their other curriculum. Are you aware if this new curriculum is better?
Singapore hasn’t released a lot of information about the series yet, so I feel in the dark, too. I have a request in for review copies, so I’m hoping to learn more soon. I’ll share what I learn in my email newsletter, so make sure to subscribe for more info if you aren’t already a subscriber. (Click on the “Newsletter” link at the top of the page to sign up.)
Hi! Your website is incredible! Thank you for helping me narrow down the plethora of math options. This will be our first year of homeschooling. I have two will- be first graders coming out of public school common core math. One did very well, the other not so well, but managed to keep up with lots of help. I also have two will-be Pre-Kers, and I envision the same situation. I’d like to help the strugglers catch up so that I’m only teaching two grades of math. Today, I’m leaning toward Right Start or Singapore (that changes often, though!). One older kid is very visual, the other is very hands on. Both are okay with worksheets, as that’s all they know from school. I haven’t decided what works best for the youngest two yet. Would it be wise to start with RD and transition to Singapore, or only do Singapore? Or do you have a better suggestion of curriculum tracks? It boils down to four kids two years apart, but in very different places in terms of skill level (and maturity). There’s not enough of me for four rounds of math. 🙂 Thank you!
So glad you found the site helpful!
Teaching 4 different RightStart lessons each day would be waaaay too much. In your case, I’d go with Singapore U.S. edition and make sure to buy the manipulatives and use the teacher’s guide daily to give your kids that important hands-on and visual component of the lessons. Also make sure to have them do the placement test before you buy books–Singapore is fairly advanced, and so they may place back a book, or even in different books. If you want to keep them together in the 2nd grade books, make sure your struggler has mastered the addition and subtraction facts before starting so that he can absorb the new content.
For your little ones, check out my Preschool Math at Home book. It’s super-simple, playful activities that will build their number sense and prepare them well for kindergarten math. 🙂
Hi, so glad I found your site! I will be a first time homeschooler this year for 3 kids in grades 5, 3, and 1. They were in public school using common core math and they did very well. I’m planning on using singapore math but still don’t know where to begin. What do you recommend i do for 3 kids in 3 different grades? They are quick learners but I’m nervous about the transition. I would definitely need all the extra guides to help me teach them
Don’t worry! There’s lots of resources to help you transition well.
1. Use the Singapore placement tests to help you decide what level each child should be at. Don’t be worried if they place slightly below their actual grade level, since Singapore’s scope and sequence is a little different than the common core.
2. Definitely buy the Home Instructors’ Guides for each child’s level. They’ll tell you exactly what to do each day so that you can teach your children well.
How do you know if a mastery based curriculum like Singapore is the best choice or a more traditional curriculum like Rod and Staff or Horizons? Older son is a kinesthetic learner and going into 6th. Younger son is visual learner and has been doing the same math as his older brother. A friend recommended using 2 different curriculums. Their homeschool evaluator suggested Horizon Math. What do you recommend for 2 different learning styles?
You definitely win the prize for the most thought-provoking question that I’ve received this month!
In general, I’ve found that children who struggle with math do better with a more procedural, traditional curriculum. It gives them a lot of confidence when they’re shown what to do and then can do it. They also thrive on the feeling of success that comes from knowing what to do. On the other hand, children who pick up math more easily generally prefer more conceptual programs. They thrive on understanding how things work and love the aha-moments that come when a concept clicks. These kids are often bored to tears by traditional programs. (This is a huge generalization–I’m definitely not saying that it applies to all children–but it’s my best general rule for choosing math programs. I prefer teaching conceptual programs, but I’ve found Rod and Staff to be a Godsend for my tutoring students that really struggle with math.)
I’d definitely recommend using two different programs if you feel that they fit their learning styles best. Being able to individualize instruction is a wonderful benefit of homeschooling.
I am so happy to find your website! This information on Singapore Math is very helpful. One question (that has probably been asked above, but I can’t seem to find it) is this: What are the differences between Kindergarten California standards and Common Core standards?
The quick answer: not much! Singapore Math didn’t modify the U.S. program much for either set of standards, so neither edition is wildly different from the U.S. edition. The main difference is that there are particular subskills that end up in one grade level or another. (So, for example, you might find bar graphs in first grade in one edition but in second grade in another edition.) If you compare their scope and sequences, you’ll see how similar they really are.
This post and all the comments have been very helpful to me — thank you!
We are a military family who moves every 2 years. I recently decided to homeschool my 1st and 3rd grader this year and have decided to use Singapore. My 3rd grader had Go Math in 1st grade and then ST Math in 2nd grade; the switch affected her confidence in math. I am considering using Singapore’s Common Core version only because I am not sure if I will homeschool the next time we move, and I want her to be able to easily transition back into Common Core math if she goes back to public school (and I’m assuming that we will move to a state that has adopted Common Core). Is it correct to assume that it’s a good idea to use the Common Core edition if I’m unsure about whether or not I will homeschool in the future? College prep tests now use Common Core math so I’m thinking my daughter needs to be familiar with the CC terminology (which is horrendously difficult for a 3rd grader to try to remember!); I realize she is 8 years away from having to worry about the ACT/SAT but is that a legitimate concern at all? Additionally, math is not my strongest subject either, and I am worried about only having a Teacher’s manual and not a Home Instructor Guide to teach me how to teach it if I use the common core edition. I’d appreciate any thoughts you have! Thanks!
The CC version of Singapore is only a tiny bit different from the other editions. Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. A solid foundation in math will benefit your kids no matter what other programs they use later. Even different Common Core programs will use different terminology from each other, so there will be an adjustment period any time your kids switch between programs (even if both programs are Common Core.) And, by the time your kids get to the ACT or SAT, who knows what will be the new thing?
For now, I’d say to go with one of the editions with a Home Instructors’ Guide, teach your heart out, and trust that the solid foundation you lay will benefit your kids no matter what the future holds. 🙂
Thank you Kate for your quick response and your advice!
I loved reading through all of the comments and responses. I learned quite a bit just from that! This is my first year homeschooling my 10 year old son, who is in the 5th grade. He is a bright kid, and a very quick learner. He scored a little above average on his math benchmark. He is pretty much grade level. He still struggles with multiplication facts, but we do daily practice to try to help him memorize them. Otherwise, he generally catches on to new concepts in math very quickly, and generally does not struggle with anything else as of yet. We don’t like too much repetition but we do like some with new concepts. I started this year with Teaching Textbooks and we were torn between two levels because their sequence seems off to me, and we went with 5 to make sure we do not create any gaps. I have heard that they are about a grade behind. We didn’t care for it and felt that he needed more.
I recently purchased a used set of Singapore Primary math, US edition 5A, but since I have since learned there are different editions and I will probably be going with the Standard edition. I have been trying to figure out where to start him. I am torn between level 4 and 5. He has been in public school from K-4th so he is use to Common Core, of course there are things I feel are beneficial about CC but I am not thrilled about CC. From what I have seen, I prefer the way Singapore standard edition has the cumulative review and the Home Instruction Guide. It is important to me that my son is up to par with his grade. Is level 5 equivalent to grade 5? The Singapore site says 4 is 4th grade/5th grade and 5 is 5th/6th grade. I am also going to be supplementing with Beast Academy because my son does not care for math and he is exited about comic guides. I ordered 3C to fill in any gaps and also because BA seems pretty advanced.
Does it sound like Singapore Primary Math Standard edition is the right fit and what level do you recommend we start at? Again, I want to make sure we start him at the right level but I want him up to par with his grade.
From your description, it sounds like you could go either way on level 4 or 5. The best way to tell which level to use is to have your son take a placement test. It’ll give you objective information so that you can make the decision with confidence about what’s best for him. Singapore is certainly on the advanced side, so don’t worry at all if you find that he needs to begin in 4A or 4B.
This is a great website. My daughter goes to school and she is in six grade. She has a language disability and is having trouble with math word problems. How can Singapore Math help without confusing her with the method they teach in school?
Thanks in advance
My son is in prek and I would like to start with the Singapore math books. What should I be getting
He just knows his numbers 1 to 10 that’s all. Thank you. Also he is having a hard time past 10 what should I be doing.thank you for your time.
I’d recommend beginning with my Preschool Math at Home book, so that your son develops a strong, concrete understanding of the what the numbers to 10 mean before moving on to a workbook-approach. It covers counting, subitizing, comparing, written numerals, and beginning adding and subtracting up to 10. (You can read more about the importance of these skills here.) Then, move on to with Singapore Essential Math A and B (their Kindergarten book) once your son is ready for more pencil-and-paper work and already grasps the numbers to 10 well. The book will guide you through moving to higher numbers, but it’s very important that he fully understand what the numbers to 10 mean first. Otherwise, the larger numbers just become a memorized oral sequence rather than having meaning.
Hi – Thank you so much for this site and the amazing “Facts that Stick” books. We will be transitioning to homeschool next year with children who will be in 4th, 1st and K. My question is with regards to the rising 4th grader…the math track he is currently on in US public school actually has students skip 4th grade math (they get a teaching packet for over the summer) and move to 5th grade math during their 4th grade year which then tracks them into pre-algebra in 6th grade. I plan to have him start in the US edition 4a in the fall since he will be switching curriculum and move at his speed, however, I wanted to ask if there are any skills or techniques taught in earlier books that I need to worry about him not having? Is there any earlier book that would be worth flipping through just to make sure he understands the Singapore style/techniques before diving into the 4th grade books?
4A is probably a good placement for him, but I’d suggest having him take the Singapore placement test (available on the website) to double-check. Then, you can use the results to see if there are any gaps from the previous books to fill before moving into the full curriculum.
Other than that, expect that word problems may take some extra time and adjustment as he gets used to the bar model diagrams. If you wanted to do a little extra work over the summer, you might have look at the examples of bar models in 3A and work through some problems from that textbook.
Best wishes with the transition, and happy math!
Thank you so much Kate…I will check out 3A and have him take the placement!
I’m trying to take your class/workshop with the Well Trained Mind Academy so I can teach more effectively (I’m new to Singapore Math), but I’m having trouble finding it amongst the other courses. Do you have a direct link?
Or how might I navigate to find it?
Thank you! Thank you!
Sorry, it’s a little buried in that huge list of classes! The easiest way is to go to this page, and then search “elementary” in the “Search by Course Title” box at the top. Then, it should come right up.
Hope you enjoy the course, and happy math!
I have kinder and 5th grade kids.Singapore Math was recommended by a ex teacher in a book shop. My elder one is struggling to catch up with Math. So I am thinking of teaching him with Singapore math. I am looking for which edition to go for my elder. Which edition will be best for him. With US, CC, Dimension, it’s so confusing to go with which one. Looking to start for my younger one too. Please guide me in this.
All the different editions can definitely be confusing! The good news is that they’re all pretty similar, and all are good programs. Dimensions 5th grade hasn’t been published yet, so you’ll need to go with one of the other programs. I’d recommend Standards, since it has the most guidance for you as you teach. Definitely make sure to have your son take the placement test before purchasing, too–Singapore’s scope and sequence is different than other programs, so he will likely place a little lower than his grade level.
Thanks Kate. You are doing a great job.
Hi Kate, Thanks much for your review , they are very insightful .
I was wondering if you have any feedback on https://www.isingaporemath.com
Also for buying the books should i directly buy it from the publishers or i can also get it from amazon? My concern is the amazon version of the books may not be the latest if there are multiple releases of the same book.
Sorry, I’m not familiar with that website.
You definitely have to look carefully if you buy the books from Amazon. Buying the books directly from the publisher isn’t necessary, but it helps you be sure of exactly what you’re getting.
thanks Kate for your feedback ! appreciate your time.
Do you have any feedback on math in focus series compared to the singapore primary math series.
thanks again for your feedback.
Hi Kate, pls ignore my last question. I saw math in focus discussion in on e of the comments.
Based on your advice I went with standard editions. It worked out great for me than the dimensions curriculum as Iam not that good in teaching without help. Thank you so much for your input. Please suggest me a math curriculum for middle schooler. Next year I am looking for math curriculum for 6th grader. Is primary maths standard edition ok for middle school or do you suggest any other edition or curriculum.
So glad to hear that Standards edition worked well for you! There’s no problem with continuing through the 6th grade standards edition. After that, your child can switch to Dimensions 7 and 8 for algebra, or you can switch to another publisher’s pre-algebra program. But if Standards is working for you, no need to switch yet.
Thank you so much for all your helpful reviews and answers to questions. It’s been so helpful to me in my curriculum search. I was wondering if you could tell me a little about how Singapore Math teaches place value? Thank you!
It mostly uses base-ten blocks, as well as place-value disks, as manipulatives for understanding place-value and multi-digit numbers.
Hi, I am considering switching my kids from Right Start to Singapore. Do you have any knowledge of the Singapore Math Live website? Also, I have an almost 11 year old finishing up Right Start level E 2nd ed. and am wondering if I should continue with Right Start or change to something else like Singapore. We have not been doing many of the games recommended and I feel that there is too little practice for the concepts being taught. However, I felt this way in the past only to get to the next level of Right Start and the concepts are covered again and a little deeper. This year he has struggled more with not really understanding some things and the progam just moves on and that is that. Any thoughts would be helpful. I already have Singapore 2A materials and I really like it. I am considering switching my daughter to 2A from Right Start C. She loves writing and using the workbook. I think my 11 year old might do better actually seeing pictures of what he is doing before he does it if that makes any sense but he is almost finished with Right Start at this point. I am worried that he might not be where he should be. So sorry for such a confusing mess of questions! Thanks!
It sounds like you have several good reasons to switch from RightStart to Singapore. I’d say to go for it! Just make sure to do a placement test so that your kids end up in the correct books. You’ll likely find that they’re a little “behind” in grade level since Singapore is a fairly advanced curriculum, so don’t worry if that’s the case.
I’m heard of Singapore Math Live, but I’ve never dug into enough to know much about it.
Thank you Kate for your response! I appreciate you taking the time to reply. I am having some anxiety over switching math from Right Start. I love how scripted Righ Start is and I worry Singapore might not give as much direction. So much to think about! Thanks again!
I would so appreciate your printable guide to using Singapore math but the link doesn’t work. Could you guide me to it another way? Thank you!
Sorry you’re having trouble getting it, Rebecca! If you click on About in the top menu, you’ll find a contact button. Please send me an email there with your email address, and then I can send you a copy.
I’m struggling with decisions for math curriculum for my 4th grade daughter. We are going on our third year homeschooling. The first year and a quarter were done through a Charter where the curriculum was chosen for us (California Go Math). My daughter had used this curriculum in traditional school(1st grade) when we weren’t homeschooling.
During her third grade year we switched homeschool charters and curriculum. We chose Singapore level 2A and B and used Singapore Math Live to help guide us. Overall, she did fair with this, but I wasn’t sure she internalized strategies for mental math. Closer to May, I started jumping around to cover topics for state testing and also used a program called Zearn to help with this. ( This was probably a mistake.) She ranked above average on the testing, but I wasn’t sure she was fluent in addition and subtraction. Multiplication seemed easier for her. This summer we enrolled her in Kumon and she is doing addition and I believe becoming fluent- slowly. This is a long process but she has to be fluent to tackle bigger problems or she will waste her energy and time counting.
My question for you is, given her age ( 9 years, going into 4th) do you think I should try to switch to Right Start level B or C and continue with Kumon for the fluency or continue with Singapore Primary finishing 2B and progressing on in addition to Kumon fact remediation.
I’ve been trying diligently to find something that works well for us and I may have been hindering our process by jumping around to “not miss” anything. Thank you for your help!
Hi Kate! I wish I had found your website when I first starting homeschooling with Singapore Math 2 years ago! I struggled a lot with teaching the Singapore method when my daughter started 1A. We plowed through anyway and will be starting 3A this fall with her and 1A with my son (who just finished Kindergarten Math Essentials A and B). I feel like I’ve gotten a good hold on how to teach it and love the way my daughter can do mental math way faster than I can. 🙂 But now I’m a little sad to learn that the Level 3 and up textbooks aren’t in color anymore (I have the US editions). I know it’s not a deal breaker, just disappointing. Did your kids mind at all with the change? Would you suggest switching to Standards Edition in level 3? I’m pretty sure I don’t want to do Dimensions, so really it’s just a question of how big of a deal is the color change and would a switch to Standards Edition in for 3A/3B be difficult or have gaps from the US edition? I could be way over thinking this. My son didn’t complain at all about the black and white Essentials book. Let’s be honest—maybe it’s just me that will miss the color textbooks! Lol.
Thanks so much!
It’s so hard to know how much is enough! I’d stick with Singapore and continue with the fact remediation. Honestly, it’s fairly common for kids to do well with Sinagpore but still not master the facts, because Singapore doesn’t provide a lot of support and reminders to parents to practice them. (As you move forward into multiplication fact mastery, definitely weave some daily practice into your lessons, either oral drill, flash cards, or games from my multiplication book.) But since it sounds like your daughter is doing well other than that, I’d continue on with Singapore. If you switched to RightStart at this point, I think you’d lose a lot of momentum.
P.S. If it’s taking your daughter a long time to learn the addition facts at Kumon, she may need a less-rote approach to the addition facts. Take a look at my article on teaching the addition facts for a more visual way to help kids master them.
Change is hard! 🙂 Honestly, my kids hardly noticed. If it’s working well for you, I definitely wouldn’t change programs. If you don’t care about the resale value, you can let your child color in the pages or add stickers. Fun, colorful manipulatives might also help compensate.
What edition would you recommend for students in Canada?
I don’t think you’d run into any issues as a Canadian. There are no photo-realistic coins, as far as I can remember, so you’d be fine with currency. You might want to send their customer service an email to see if there are any other issues that people have run into in the past.
Hi — I have a question regarding the placement tests. Are they exit tests? So if you know everything in the 2A Test but struggle with 2B, start at 2B or 2A? Thanks!
Yes, they’re exit tests. In that case, you’d start at 2B.
Thank you! I just decided to pull my youngest two kids out of school and homeschool. I love Singapore Math (we lived in China and I taught first grade at a Singaporean School for a while and my oldest two did Singapore Math in their first couple of grades so I’m fairly familiar with it) but I wasn’t sure where to start .
Also, I remember there was a book of just word problems for each grade, by the same publishers. Do you know if that exists for the American version too?
I just found your site late last night and I’ll take a closer look at it today. Thanks a lot!
Perhaps you’re thinking of the Challenging Word Problems book? There’s more info on it in my downloadable Singapore guide (linked above).
I am about to finish Singapore U.S. edition 2A with my daughter. I went to the Singapore Math website to order 2B books but after looking over the samples for Dimensions math, I am unsure which direction to go. I really like the samples of the new Dimensions version. The home instructor’s guide seems to be formatted in a much easier to use way. I did Rightstart with my son through level F and have been very spoiled at how well the teacher’s guide tells me exactly what to do and say. I have found it much more difficult to use the Singapore home intructor’s guide. I realize at the time of your review all the levels of the new Dimensions math were not yet released, but I am wondering if you have had a chance to look over the curriculm again and what your thoughts might be. Thanks!
I haven’t seen any more materials yet for Dimensions. But if you like the look of the Dimensions , I’d say to go for it! It’s a high-quality, solid curriculum, and having a teacher’s guide that feels easy-to-use to you is so important for teaching math with confidence.
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