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using Singapore Math without the instructor's guide?


mudboots
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I'm planning to use RightStart math for the first time next year, but I'm not totally committed to it. I wanted to supplement with a good quality math workbook. I like Singapore Math - colorful and creative. But I read that you need the instructor's guide, and it's really expensive if I'm not even using SM as the primary curriculum!

 

Is it possible to use only the workbooks (or maybe workbooks plus textbook)?

 

I'll be using these for two or three kids. I have twins who are almost ready for level 1A. Their younger sister might be able to follow along a little. If I use the Earlybird Kindergarten Level B, they probably could all be on the same level.

 

Thanks in advance to anyone who has used these and can make recommendations! :)

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I've used Singapore successfully for years without the IGs. I did work as an educator before homeschooling my own children, but I honestly don't feel that's a huge factor. If you are starting from the beginning you'll learn about the method along with your child. If you were jumping into a higher level (say above 3A or 3B) I'd think it might be more necessary.

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well, I think if you have the text book it should be ok. I didn't get the IG until my kids were in maybe 4th grade. It wasn't until 5th that I really used it.

 

There is a SM method and I read up on that when I was starting. So you might want to make sure you have done that. SM is more than just workbooks. There is a method of instruction. If you don't really want to learn the SM method then really, any math workbooks would be useful. I have used Kumon workbooks on occasion for just that reason.

 

Or, maybe just buy the word problem books. Lots of people use those as supplemental. Those get used at or below grade level, depending on your goals.

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I did not use it for levels 1 or 2. For 3a, I started buying the HIGs which are much less expensive than the teacher's guides. The HIG was about $23 vs. $58 for the teacher version.

 

I find the shipping rates at http://www.singaporemath.com make it the most expensive place to buy, so I go through sites that offer free shipping. Even if the books are a little higher, it cheaper once the total cost with shipping is compared. http://www.adoremusbooks.com has free shipping with code ship12.

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You don't need the HIG, but you really do need the textbook (not just the workbook).
ETA: Sorry misread the OP. If they're using it as a supplement they could do just the text. Singapore will cover some things before RS: subtraction (barely covered in RSB), multiplication, and division. If the OP wants to do the programs concurrently instead of picking and choosing topics in Singapore, then adding in the workbooks would be beneficial. But you're right, the textbook is essential. :) Edited by nmoira
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You don't need the HIG, but you really do need the textbook (not just the workbook).

 

:iagree:

 

I was flying without the HIG's, and then I got them because someone local offered a used copy for $2 for a few levels that I would be using soon. After reading them, they didn't really offer up anything that I wasn't already seeing for myself by reading the textbook ( note: math is a subject with which I am already very comfortable; I don't know how I would feel about it if that were not true).

 

I would call the textbooks essential if you want to do math "the Singapore Way." If you are JUST looking for extra problems to do, you could get the workbook or the IP books or just go use Khan Academy for free.

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If you don't want to invest in the HIG (or any teacher materials), I'd recommend reading through Elementary Mathematics for Teachers, which will give you a really good overview and understanding of what the point of Singapore math is.

 

After reading EMT, I never needed the HIG again.

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I did not use it for levels 1 or 2. For 3a, I started buying the HIGs which are much less expensive than the teacher's guides. The HIG was about $23 vs. $58 for the teacher version.

 

I find the shipping rates at www.singaporemath.com make it the most expensive place to buy, so I go through sites that offer free shipping. Even if the books are a little higher, it cheaper once the total cost with shipping is compared. www.adoremusbooks.com has free shipping with code ship12.

 

Thanks! I was looking at the Teacher's Guide, not the Home Instructor's Guide! Big difference in price. (And thanks for the shipping code!)

 

After reading all the recommendations, I think I'll just buy the level 1A text. We can use it to talk through some extra things. Plus, it will give me an idea of how SM works, in case I want to switch from RightStart the following year. I can't wait to get this stuff ordered! :D

Edited by mudboots
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If you don't want to invest in the HIG (or any teacher materials), I'd recommend reading through Elementary Mathematics for Teachers, which will give you a really good overview and understanding of what the point of Singapore math is.

 

After reading EMT, I never needed the HIG again.

 

Cross-posted. Thanks for this tip, too. I may get that one before I order any of our math curriculum, then. We have some time...

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You don't need the HIG, but you really do need the textbook (not just the workbook).

 

Can you elaborate more on this? I had the textbooks for level 2, but did not end up using them. They seemed pointless. We are currently using 3A and I didn't buy the text. Do they differ at the higher levels?

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I think parents who don't really understand the Singapore Model Method have the potential to really miss the boat if they just try to wing Singapore math as if it is just a "workbook" type program.

 

Laying a good foundation in the early years is critical. The HIGs are not the only way to have a well-rounded math program, but I'm very skeptical of the general advice that they are not necessary for most people.

 

Bill

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Can you elaborate more on this? I had the textbooks for level 2, but did not end up using them. They seemed pointless. We are currently using 3A and I didn't buy the text. Do they differ at the higher levels?

 

I think if you feel that SM is working for you without the text and you're happy with what you're doing, I'd just stick with it.

 

The way I use SM (I've used 1b-5a, so far), is to first present a new topic using manipulatives (assuming it makes sense that way) such as base-10 cubes, rulers, protractors, quart - pint- cup sized bottles, fraction towers, clock, money,... . Next, we turn to the textbook to see how the problem can be solved without the manipulatives (often drawing bar models). Then we do the problems from the textbook orally together (or on a whiteboard). Finally, I set the workbook pages as a "homework" to do independently.

 

This model of moving from concrete to pictorial to abstract (and from teacher directed to independent) makes sense to me. And I like that I can really see what my child understands in the textbook part of the lesson *and* also that I can hand over the workbook and let my child loose to do the work of mathematical thinking on her own without me hovering. So using both the textbook and the workbook is essential in my family. But if I was forced to take one part of that out, I'd take out the workbook -- the independent practice part.

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I think parents who don't really understand the Singapore Model Method have the potential to really miss the boat if they just try to wing Singapore math as if it is just a "workbook" type program.

 

Laying a good foundation in the early years is critical. The HIGs are not the only way to have a well-rounded math program, but I'm very skeptical of the general advice that they are not necessary for most people.

 

Bill

 

Do you think Singapore's "Elementary Mathematics for Teachers" book would lay this foundation?

 

I was hoping only to supplement RightStart, which would be my primary curriculum. I want to supplement because RS seems to be newer, and I'm not totally confident about it. Maybe that's telling in itself...

 

Now that I know the HIG guide is so much less expensive (less than the Teacher's guide), maybe I should buy a whole set of SM this year. I could justify it as buying RS for the older two and SM for my younger daughter, since the kids don't necessarily have to be grouped together for math.

 

Really, after reading some of the descriptions, I'm reconsidering my choice of RS, because SM sounds more like how I naturally teach the kids. The abacus in RS is compelling, though. ;)

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Do you think Singapore's "Elementary Mathematics for Teachers" book would lay this foundation?

 

I think it is a very helpful resource for parent/teacher education. One would still need to add activity based learning and games into the mix, but yes.

 

I was hoping only to supplement RightStart, which would be my primary curriculum. I want to supplement because RS seems to be newer, and I'm not totally confident about it. Maybe that's telling in itself...

 

RS is a whole-parts math method like Singapore. As Moira suggested there would be some overlap. RS has some distinctive elements, and Singapore introduces some elements earlier than RS. So....

 

[qupte]Now that I know the HIG guide is so much less expensive (less than the Teacher's guide), maybe I should buy a whole set of SM this year. I could justify it as buying RS for the older two and SM for my younger daughter, since the kids don't necessarily have to be grouped together for math.

 

Having (and using) the RS game set would really help with activity based learning. They are similar to many of the suggestions in the HIGs on that front. The "teacher education" part remains the open question. People have different degrees of being "math initiatives." Personally I would err on the side of more rather than less. I have seen criticisms of Singapore Math on this forum that include the point that teachers in Singapore are highly trained in the Model Method. And I have to admit that it is a valid point. Some teacher education beyond just "winging it" is valuable IMO.

 

The Standards Edition HIGs are supposed to be a big improvement on the US Edition ones. You might consider this when choosing which version to use.

 

I do think the level one HIGs have some unreasonable expectations about fluency and memorization of "math facts." These I would take with a lump of salt. Most children will still be "in process" learning these things through doing them organically and via use of the strategies they are acquiring. The advice to park and memorize to me is off.

 

Really, after reading some of the descriptions, I'm reconsidering my choice of RS, because SM sounds more like how I naturally teach the kids. The abacus in RS is compelling, though. ;)

 

You need to follow your own best judgements about what you think will work best for you and your children. The good thing is neither is a bad choice if it resonates with you.

 

If you wanted to flip which program is the "supplement" the "Activities for AL Abacus" book has the core of the RS method including abacus work in a neat package.

 

Sorry to complicate you life with so many choices. But having a few different perspectives on how to teach whole-parts math is not a bad thing IMO.

 

Best wishes.

 

Bill

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One more thing, Mudboots, if you have not read Liping Ma's book on elementary math education I would urge you to do so. It is a very eye-opening and motivating work for demonstrating the importance of the teacher and teacher education as a critical component of success of students.

 

Bill

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If you wanted to flip which program is the "supplement" the "Activities for AL Abacus" book has the core of the RS method including abacus work in a neat package.

 

Wow! Thank you! If I can't get both full sets, I think I will make RS the supplement.

 

I'll check out Liping Ma's book, too.

 

I don't mind having "options." :) I'm starting completely from scratch here, and I'd rather go into this with more info than with less. (Off to research what the "model" method is...) (ETA: Got it: http://www.singaporemath.com/The_Singapore_Model_Method_for_Learning_Mathematic_p/smmlm.htm)

Edited by mudboots
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Wow! Thank you! If I can't get both full sets, I think I will make RS the supplement.

 

I'll check out Liping Ma's book, too.

 

I don't mind having "options." :) I'm starting completely from scratch here, and I'd rather go into this with more info than with less. (Off to research what the "model" method is...) (ETA: Got it: http://www.singaporemath.com/The_Singapore_Model_Method_for_Learning_Mathematic_p/smmlm.htm)

 

 

To complicate things further let me mention two other resources.

 

Miquon Math. This program has a super interesting way of getting young children to internalize the whole-parts math model (as in Singapore) through a lot of play and play-like learning using manipulatives like Cuisenaire Rods. I liked that my child could use these actively when young to find "sums" and "differences." Miquon also has great teachers materials that bring an understanding of mathematical laws down to simple ideas parents and children can lean together. Miquon for me (and many others) is the perfect supplement for Singapore. It is both very hands, very developmental, and yet aims for developing sophisticated understandings. It is also relatively inexpensive.

 

The other is MEP (Mathematics Enhancement Programme). This is a British/Hungarian program that really aims at developing logical thinking through intriguing puzzle-like problems and has great lesson plans for activity based learning. The MEP program can be downloaded without cost.

 

Bill

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I haven't used the lower levels of Singapore yet, but in 4A, I've been glad I had the HIG because sometimes it has you teaching things that aren't taught in the textbook but are expected to be known. That type of problem may show up in the "practice" section but not the main text section (a good example of this was adding unlike fractions... all the textbook examples were things like 2/3 + 1/6, where it was obvious how to change them... the practice section has one that is more like 2/3 + 1/5, where it is not as obvious, and this type of problem was not discussed in the textbook but was discussed in the HIG).

 

I teach Singapore straight from the HIG, then we just use the textbook to reference problems and see any pictorial examples that might be needed. My short "lecture" from the HIG typically covers everything though, and if they would list the textbook problems in the HIG, I wouldn't even need the textbook.

 

I would NOT just use the workbook alone. The problems in there aren't even difficult or anything special. If you want just one book to supplement, I'd choose Intensive Practice (IP). I supplemented with IP when I used Math Mammoth as our main curriculum. That worked well. Even when mental math techniques different from what MM taught were being used in the IP, it was obvious how to teach it, as they gave an example of what technique to work on. There are a lot more problems, and they are beyond what the workbook has you doing. My son can do the workbook problems on his own with no help, as I believe they're intended to be done (that is good and gives confidence). The IP, he needs me sometimes. ;)

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I think if you feel that SM is working for you without the text and you're happy with what you're doing, I'd just stick with it.

 

The way I use SM (I've used 1b-5a, so far), is to first present a new topic using manipulatives (assuming it makes sense that way) such as base-10 cubes, rulers, protractors, quart - pint- cup sized bottles, fraction towers, clock, money,... . Next, we turn to the textbook to see how the problem can be solved without the manipulatives (often drawing bar models). Then we do the problems from the textbook orally together (or on a whiteboard).

 

Momling, I'm looking into using SM starting with Essentials for my youngest two. The method you wrote- is this covered this way in the textbook? Do they list the sort of manipulatives one ought to buy?

 

This is not how I taught my older children- but I want to learn how to use this method. Math is not my strength, but I'm determined to change that!

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Momling, I'm looking into using SM starting with Essentials for my youngest two. The method you wrote- is this covered this way in the textbook? Do they list the sort of manipulatives one ought to buy?

 

This is not how I taught my older children- but I want to learn how to use this method. Math is not my strength, but I'm determined to change that!

 

I've never used the HIG, so I don't really know how much support is given -- I'm sure someone else with more experience can answer. I have taught math at public schools, though, so I already have some ideas about how I want to introduce a topic - and what works and doesn't work. If I didn't feel so confident about my abilities to do or teach math, I'd totally use the HIG. Or I'd use a more scripted program (like RS). Or I'd use a program aimed at kids self-teaching (like MM). I think those are all solid programs and you can't go wrong.

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Also... regarding manipulatives, I think a set of base 10 blocks and graph paper (for fractions/long division/area) are essential. Money, capacity, length, time can all be taught with materials you have at home. I love cool math manipulatives, but I try to remind myself that I don't *really* need them.

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Momling, I'm looking into using SM starting with Essentials for my youngest two. The method you wrote- is this covered this way in the textbook? Do they list the sort of manipulatives one ought to buy?
I haven't used Essentials, but the Primary Math HIGs list the manipulatives needed for lessons and activities, and give explicit instructions on usage. The program is not scripted, but there are lesson plans.
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I agree with spy car about Miquon math - love, love, love it. I couldn't imagine doing SM without Miquon. Also, to agree with Spy Car (and myself from earlier), if you want to supplement with RS Math use "Activities for the Al Abacus" and the RS Games. I've been using this part of the RS program since early January with both my kids. These books are great and easy to use. The Activities book is not scripted nor scheduled (I happen to like that). You choose where you want to start with what topic (e.g. bypass number sense and go right to addition with 11-100) or choose a topic like fractions, clocks or money.

I thought it would be hard to keep my place with all three programs, and not confuse my kids. It's been easy to do because a lot of times I can overlap the topics. Let me know if you have a specific question about the Activities for the Al Abacus book.

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The Primary Mathematics HIGs use linking cubes/Unifix cubes as a main manipulative. I wish they had chosen Cuisenaire Rods, as they are the "natural" concrete representation of number-bonds and the bar-model method.

 

The good thing is it is very easy to convert the ideas for linking cubes in the HIGs into activities with C Rods.

 

Those using Miquon know how well their children internalize the whole-parts model simply through play and activity based learning.

 

Bill

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The Primary Mathematics HIGs use linking cubes/Unifix cubes as a main manipulative. I wish they had chosen Cuisenaire Rods, as they are the "natural" concrete representation of number-bonds and the bar-model method.

 

:iagree: I use the C-rods for Essential Math K and LOVE THEM. Because of those rods, my child who had to be specifically taught via workbook how to count 10 objects is now figuring out addition facts on his own. A year ago, I would not have believed it possible with him. :tongue_smilie:

 

We'll continue with the C-rods as we go into 1A next school year.

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:iagree: I use the C-rods for Essential Math K and LOVE THEM. Because of those rods, my child who had to be specifically taught via workbook how to count 10 objects is now figuring out addition facts on his own. A year ago, I would not have believed it possible with him. :tongue_smilie:

 

We'll continue with the C-rods as we go into 1A next school year.

 

What I love is the the rods exactly represent the math model in Singapore. Young children can happily do sums and find differences (themselves, which is empowering) and after they no longer "need" the C Rods the "method" is something they have completely internalized as something like a "native language." They just know it and understand it.

 

Bill

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I have the Unifix cubes, but now that my kids are becoming curious about place value, I wish I'd bought the Cuisenaire Rods!

 

Based on the recommendations, I'm planning to buy:

 

Singapore as the primary curriculum (workbooks, textbook, HIG)

Miquon workbooks and Cuisenaire rods

RightStart card games, card game book, abacus, and abacus activity book

Liping Ma's book for me

 

After reading another thread, I wonder if it will be better, eventually, to have the three oldest kids in different curricula so there's less competing and comparing. This will be a good year for experimenting with options!

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I have the Unifix cubes, but now that my kids are becoming curious about place value, I wish I'd bought the Cuisenaire Rods!

 

Based on the recommendations, I'm planning to buy:

 

Singapore as the primary curriculum (workbooks, textbook, HIG)

Miquon workbooks and Cuisenaire rods

RightStart card games, card game book, abacus, and abacus activity book

Liping Ma's book for me

 

After reading another thread, I wonder if it will be better, eventually, to have the three oldest kids in different curricula so there's less competing and comparing. This will be a good year for experimenting with options!

 

You will be getting the Miquon teachers books, yes?

 

Bill

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:lol: Done. Maybe I should spend a little more time researching Miquon!

 

There are quite a few back-threads you can read here ;)

 

Do not be shocked when Miquon arrives! The initial pages of the Orange book look really weird. The weirdness is superficial. Read Notes and the Diary. Let the approach sink in. You will find it is a very natural way of helping children learn.

 

Look for KristenR's blog posts, they do a good job of showing Miquon and C Rods in action.

 

Bill

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:lol: Done. Maybe I should spend a little more time researching Miquon!

 

 

The First Grade Diary is very helpful if you've never taught basic math before.

 

I loved the idea of Miquon. I read it all and got all the books. Unfortunately, not all children love it or like manipulatives. Do not spend a lot of money on them or all the Miquon books until you know your child will put up with it. I looked at my "diary" for our beginnings yesterday, and the last time my son would do diddly with a cuisinaire rod was at 49 months. After that he found they slowed him down. I could never get him to count on fingers, beads, etc. He'd clap his right hand over his eyes and push them away with his left if I tried to slid them into his field of view. "NO. I'm thinking!" Two hundred bucks of the books and the cutest manipulatives you'd ever seen, all given away.

 

So, while it is great to hear stories of kids who thrived with this, don't lay out $$$ until you've seen how a little of it goes.

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  • 3 years later...

I use the HIGs, but to be honest I don't really need them. They're useful if you're not particularly mathy yourself or if you're uncertain about the Singapore method, but I don't think they're essential. The textbooks, on the other hand, are essential.

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:zombie:  This is a very old thread!  You might get more of a response if you start a new one.  :)  We use Miquon, are almost done with it, in fact, and you definitely need lots of Cuisenaire rods.  Get the big bucket! 

 

I have a MUS block set that was given to me, and we never used it.  I thought we'd use at least the 100 flats, but Dd didn't need them to understand.

 

We LOVE Miquon.  I will probably cry a little and serve some kind of celebratory desert when we finish it. 

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When we were using Singapore Primary (gracious, about 10 years ago, now!  :eek: ), they only had the workbooks and matching "textbooks". We used both for DS#1 (as Singapore was his "spine" math, and we used other things as supplements). For DS#2, Singapore was his "supplement" in addition to a spine math, and I actually just used the textbooks for the explanation, and then circled selected problems...  

 

 

ETA:  AARRGGHHH! Just realized I got caught by a zombie thread ! ! !  :zombie:  :zombie:  :zombiechase:

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