# MUS Alpha to Singapore? Any downsides?

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I'm a new homeschooler who will officially start next Monday with my 7 year old DS (and to a lesser degree with my 4 yo DS). This summer we've been going through MUS Alpha to revisit all the math facts he never learned in PS. We made it through the addition section with no problems; subtraction is a little more challenging in part because (as I mentioned in a earlier thread), I cannot wrap my mind around their explanation on how to subtract 9! My son was fine with thinking of subtraction problems as addition problems in reverse but then with the whole idea of "9 vacuuming 1" and adding 1 elsewhere, he was totally confused. He began solving 16-9= 6 and things like that. I have told him that if the way he thought of subtraction before worked better for him, to stick with it. Hopefully I'm not sending him down some ill-fated path for doing this, but I never learned subtraction the MUS way and I still did well in math in school. (Not that that means anything!!)

Anyway, I digress. I'm thinking of switching at this point to Singapore as soon as we finish Alpha. We're doing MFW, they recommend Singapore and I keep hearing all these great things about it. But I'm a little fearful of changing approaches when we've just started. But then again I think that in some ways, now is a good time to change since we haven't gotten that far into MUS. I like aspects of MUS, but I can't figure out if it's a good fit for my DS or not.

Does anyone have any thoughts about this? I'd love any and all advice! We'll finish up Alpha regardless, even if I can't understand the MUS way of subtracting 9 (and 8)!! But before I order Beta, I just wanted to get some feedback on whether it would be okay to switch to Singapore.

Thanks in advance for any feedback you might have! These boards are my lifesaver!

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To answer your question, I have used both programs separately and have gone to using mus as a "primer" and singapore as my main text. So, this year we will do Singapore MWF and MUS T,Th.

MUS is wonderful for mastery and teaches some great tricks over the years.

Singapore is excellent at applying concepts in math and teaching an abstract understanding of math.

For the price, it's not a bad deal to use both, either.

Are you aware of the MUS yahoo groups? They are a great place to pose ??? and also to buy and sell used materials. ust search MUS Swap

HTH and welcome to home schooling...it's a wonderful world!

Edited by johnandtinagilbert
Don't know what I was thinkin'...time to go to bed!
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If you have never taken a look at Cathy Duffy's books, now would be the time to do it. She helps you determine your child's learning style and then reviews curriculum and indicates which are better/worse for their learning style. I would hate for you to switch only to find that it's no better....

Singapore in an excellent math program. I failed miserably when I tried to teach it to my ds in 2nd grade. It was so different from anything I had ever been taught. However, there are many people who use it successfully. There are also Singapore Math forums where you can get help if you need it.

Best wishes in finding what works for your family!

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MUS is a great math program. I have one ds who is thriving in it and may stay in it through zeta. But, if you already see issues with the way some things are taught you *might* find that you continue to have issues in the later books. I struggled a bit when multi-digit multiplication was approached a bit differently than I learned it. Also, while I totally agree with a mastery approach, my oldest struggled with the end of Delta when the long division problems got longer and longer (in hindsight, we should have camped out on some of the early long division problems longer.... but I was not as involved as I should have been or as on top of it as I should have been - my fault not MUS's!)

The *secret* to math success, imho, is staying involved even if you're relying on a dvd for instruction. I was spoiled with our early success with MUS and let it go on automatic pilot. That's when we ran into problems. My advice is to watch the dvd ahead of your dc, decide if you like MUS's approach, then either let dc watch dvd, or else teach it the way you want to.

OR

If you decide to switch to singapore, do it now - as you are finishing Alpha or as soon as you finish Alpha. Your dc is young enough that switching now won't hurt anything, imho.

One other thought (not to muddy the waters ;)) is math mammoth. My dd is 6. I've started MUS with her twice (Primer last year and Alpha for the last month). She doesn't understand Decimal Street. She doesn't like the blocks. It just doesn't seem to click with her. I have started her in Math Mammoth's 1st grade (light blue) and even though she's only completed a couple pages, I can tell that she is thinking and she understands it. I would have tried her in Singapore but she's not particularly mathy so I wasn't sure it would be a good fit. As I looked at other options, I wanted a program that didn't have a gazillion different books and components and a tm with tons of instruction time. I *think* Math Mammoth will be a good fit for both of us :)

ETA: Just want to add, I'm not saying you or your dc have to be mathy to use Singapore.... just that it didn't look like a good fit for her. If I had tried it with her, she would have needed one of the extra practice books for sure. This may not apply to you at all.... just wanted to share our experience :)

Edited by Another Lynn
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Very helpful suggestions, all. I'm learning that it's hard to know how well you'll like a curriculum until you try it, and of course then each child is different and has their own learning style as Sue has mentioned. It can all get mind-boggling!!! Sometimes I feel some doubts about whether I know what I'm doing. But, then I remind myself that in PS my son didn't even have that much math instruction at all (as evidenced by his not knowing most of his basic math facts after 1st grade!) so I figure that even if I bumble it all some what with curriculum choice and such, hopefully it will ultimately still be an improvement over what his experience is in school! Thanks, everyone for the input (and more input welcome for those just joining the thread!)

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Singapore is cheap to try--you could just buy one IP book and start doing a few pages from it to see how it will work.

We switched from MUS Alpha to Singapore and are happy. In fact, I quit about halfway through Alpha, it started becoming painful, Singapore has been a nice switch for us. She is good at puzzles but not great at math, they have puzzle type math problems in the IP books that she loves. Also, Singapore really has improved her math sense.

I did really like the MUS blocks and the way it taught place value, we're saving the blocks for brother. Plus, they like to put the green unit blocks on their fingers and pretend they're tree frogs, and use the red 100's blocks with other blocks in the middle to make sandwiches.

You do need a little more fact review with Singapore than MUS, we're using RS games and a Flashmaster. Mainly RS games, but occasional Flashmaster use to figure out which facts need work.

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I am switching my son from MUS Alpha to Singapore. We had been doing both but to save money I am just doing Singapore this year. I plan to teach him some MUS tricks as we go along if needed. Also, you can use the MUS blocks to teach the concepts if they get stuck in Singapore. The only thing Singapore does not teach is the memorization of the math facts. Timez Attack is a great free game to teach the multiplication facts. Also if you teach them to skip count the 1s to the 12s that will help as well. 3 of my children have switched from MUS to Singapore this year (6th grade, 4th grade and 2nd grade) and so far it is going well.

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Thanks for the great replies, all. I just double-posted this same issue in a different thread because I completely forgot about this one! I'm still getting used to these boards! But these responses were all helpful. Greatly appreciated! I wouldn't survive without these boards!

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To answer your question, I have used both programs separately and have gone to using mus as a "primer" and singapore as my main text. So, this year we will do Singapore MWF and MUS T,Th.

MUS is wonderful for mastery and teaches some great tricks over the years.

Singapore is excellent at applying concepts in math and teaching an abstract understanding of math.

For the price, it's not a bad deal to use both, either.

Are you aware of the MUS yahoo groups? They are a great place to pose ??? and also to buy and sell used materials. ust search MUS Swap

HTH and welcome to home schooling...it's a wonderful world!

Tina--I'm intrigued by your idea to do Singapore 3x/week and MUS for the other two. My son will be in a co-op on Fridays so if I tried a similar idea it would be more like 50/50 of each. But I'm curious to know if you found the two programs meshed well together. Since the approaches are pretty different (although both do certainly seem to emphasize more of a conceptual understanding), do you find that they complement one another well, or are there times that the way one program teaches it is different from how the other handles it? I'd love to hear more about how this is working for you all. Thanks a bunch!

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Sorry to keep posting, I should have just consolidated this all into one reply. I still feel like such a neophyte here! Anyway, I'm so intrigued that there are a number of MUS Alpha to Singapore folks here. It definitely makes the potential switch a little less daunting. I'm not sure why I am feeling the need to switch; I think I wish math were more enjoyable for my DS and am wondering if a different approach will help. I have been considering a Flashmaster as well so will ponder that idea some more. Thanks thanks thanks everyone for your input! I will keep you posted on what happens, if you are curious!

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Tina--I'm intrigued by your idea to do Singapore 3x/week and MUS for the other two. My son will be in a co-op on Fridays so if I tried a similar idea it would be more like 50/50 of each. But I'm curious to know if you found the two programs meshed well together. Since the approaches are pretty different (although both do certainly seem to emphasize more of a conceptual understanding), do you find that they complement one another well, or are there times that the way one program teaches it is different from how the other handles it? I'd love to hear more about how this is working for you all. Thanks a bunch!

I would love to hear more about this too. I've been contemplating adding in Singapore to 2 of my younger kids' MUS, but I've been afraid that it would be Math Overload. Do you do the full program of both?

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