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Math - Singapore vs MEP vs MM vs ???


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#1 Seeker of Schole

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:44 PM

I have been spending a lot of time researching and reading and planning and solidifying my educational theories and methods to follow. I am now looking at math and wondering... what is the best way to teach math to truly understand and master the concepts? I was initially sold on Singapore, because students test so well after using it, but I've come to the realization that I don't give a darn about testing. I want my youngest to truly understand numbers, to be able to play with them, etc... So deos that mean Singapore is the right program for us? (and yes, I do need a program) MEP? A combination? Someone please guide me - a non math person who is just beginning to understand herself that there is a difference between rote math (what I and my oldest learned) and truly understanding numbers.

#2 jennynd

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 07:12 PM

Miquon is great for number sense, dd did orange and red and we switch to SM 2 supplement with miquon. Miquon really gave her strong understanding of number. She can figure our small number division/multiplication in her head thinking the c-rods. She is only 4

#3 Susan in KY

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 07:13 PM

.... me - a non math person who is just beginning to understand herself that there is a difference between rote math (what I and my oldest learned) and truly understanding numbers.

This was me before I began to teach my dc using Singapore Math. I think that there are a few important things you must understand if you chose SM. I can't speak to any of the other programs.

With SM, while the ultimate goal is to produce problem solvers, the foundation on which that is built is to get children to "see" the math before they move into the abstract numbers. SM uses a lot of pictures and visual organizers to accomplish this. It is also very, very heavy on moving the kids to mental math, so there are a lot of instances where they will have the students practice something on a more basic level using a slightly more complicated technique which will then help them when the numbers get more complicated.

I train teachers and have often wished I could help the home school community to understand a few key things that would have made my first years teaching Singapore Math more successful.

1) In K and first, you must strive to establish extreme flexibility with small numbers. Students need to be able to break apart and recombine numbers in any way that helps them, particularly within ten, but also to make fives.

2) three pillars make up the first grade foundation: Place Value, Instant recognition of number (also called subitizing, this is the reason SM puts tens together on ten frames or egg trays with ten spaces each), and Decomposition of number (see number 1).

3) What is in the book should be available on the table for the student, often with some sort of graphic organizer behind it, like a place value mat. Then students can manipulate the physical objects to promote understanding. They should move from that into a pictorial representation, and you need to ask them if they can "see it" in their minds. They need to be able to take that picture with them when they move into higher math.

4) Care should be taken to examine how the lessons progress. You start with direct instruction, then slowly release the student into independence. You guide them through some problems, then make sure they can do it before they go on to the workbook. There is slight variation in problem sets, as well as across lessons and grade levels. Sometimes you don't see the subtle layering until you teach it a few times. If something doesn't make sense, you need to take another look.

4) Advanced students are enriched, not accelerated.

Hope that helps!

#4 SunnyDays

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 07:14 PM

Any of the programs you mention above are good, conceptual programs. They will help your child understand numbers well. Beyond that, it's really a matter of preference.

I will tell you what worked for us. Of the three we ended up with Math Mammoth. I felt it was the most clear cut instruction to both the student and parent. DS and I actually do both instinctively understand math concepts... I didn't want to teach a scripted lesson, and while people do both MEP and Singapore without scripted lessons, that's really the way they're "designed" to be done.

We tried Singapore and it just didn't suit the way we naturally think, even though we get to the same place in the end. There are many, many people on this board that use and love Singapore, though... again, it's more a style preference than anything.

I would look at those and see what *you* feel most comfortable teaching... once you find that, if it's a good solid conceptual program, you will be in a better position to teach your child well.

Good luck!!

#5 Woodland Mist Academy

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 07:29 PM

Any of the programs you mention above are good, conceptual programs. They will help your child understand numbers well. Beyond that, it's really a matter of preference.
. . .

I would look at those and see what *you* feel most comfortable teaching... once you find that, if it's a good solid conceptual program, you will be in a better position to teach your child well.

Good luck!!


:iagree: It really depends on the parent and child. There are thankfully several great programs available.

We used Singapore and Miquon in the early years.

#6 besroma

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 07:45 PM

I teach a wide range (ages) of children, using a combination of several programs that you mentioned. I do not teach all of them to each child. I do use SM and MEP with all of them currently. I have started each child with c-rods and Miquon. RS was added last year for my younger children.

I really enjoy starting the kids with Miquon and RightStart A. We use manipulatives a lot (mainly c-rods, place value cards, and base ten blocks). They look forward to it every day. This is my second year with RS, which I plan to continue through at least level C.

I have taught SM for years and cannot imagine not having it as part of my curriculum. I did not know about the standards edition when I started. I am still using the US editions through 2A and 2B, but I have switched to the standards versions for levels 3 and up.

I use MEP with all of my children, and will continue that as well.

We also use LOF, which I highly recommend. It is so much fun.

All of these programs are good (including MM and CLE that others have mentioned).

The best program for you depends on your child and also how you like to teach. MEP engages the child by having him "puzzle" through the problems. There are no manipulatives involved.

Miquon uses C-rods. Personally, I would not skip Miquon red and orange with any child.

RS uses a ton of manipulatives. I like this, but it drives some people crazy. It is very scripted, but you can read over the lesson and do it your way if you wish. Some people complain that it jumps around because it will take you through counting forward by 5's, than backwards by 5's, then talk about the days in the week, then use the abacus, then play some card games to reinforce what was learned in the lesson. We like the variety.

LOF is similar, as it will have a student write a sentence that has exactly twelve words in it, ask the child to solve a word problem, ask the child what day it is tomorrow if yesterday was Tuesday, ask the child to solve 3 + 4= ?, and ask how many ocean liners are in Kansas (all in one lesson). Once again, we enjoy it. The most important aspect for me is that the kids are really thinking, paying attention, and enjoying themselves.

Edited by besroma, 06 September 2012 - 07:52 PM.


#7 Kathryn

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 08:19 PM

We did two years with MUS and then looked around for Something that fit DS better. I had already gotten MM and he liked that better than MUS, but I wanted to find the BEST fit. We actually did a few lessons from MEP and got a few used SM books. We both felt like SM fit best, both with what he needed and what I wanted. We also added in Miquon. We'd already added LOF last year, and there's no way he'd let me drop that! We are really enjoying the combination.


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