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I have asked lots of questions about math on the K-8 board, and I'm still having trouble deciding... although I keep *thinking* we have it settled, LOL! So I'm posting this on the main board, but here as well, and I'm hoping you all can give me some perspective.

This is our first year HSing DS9, who is technically a 3rd grader. He is a very mathy kid... his 2nd grade teacher told us she can't remember meeting a kid who thinks so easily in such mathematical terms.

When we first started, we got 3rd grade LifePac math. I now realize LP isn't that strong of a math program, and he worked through it at about double speed... we finished it up the first week of February.

I looked at some options, and went with Abeka for the next level... we just weren't crazy about it. It's a good program, but for DS, the pages were far too busy, the print too small, and far too much jumping around (some instruction, a row of problems, a couple word problems, some addition facts, a couple more word problems... and so on).

So we looked around a little more, and kept hearing wonderful things about how good Singapore is for "mathy" or gifted kids. So we did the placement test, started back with 3A to hit more mental math, and ordered it.

Believe it or not, it's a total flop here. DS is a very conceptual thinker... he instinctively "gets" place value, regrouping and things like that, very little explanation needed. I think the problem is that Singapore is trying to teach in a way contrary to what he instinctively does. (Example: adding 16 to another two digit number, you add the 10, then the 6. And show it in a row of boxes. DS told me he doesn't need the boxes, he gets what they're trying to do, but he can do it faster without taking all those steps so what's the point?!?) I'm not saying SM's methods might not be better than his... just that it goes against his natural thought process and I'd rather work with it than against it. Does that make sense at all?? A poster on the K-8 board the other day was talking about how by the time you explain all the pictorials, break everything down into place value, get out your manipulatives... your kid has already solved the problem and moved on. It's just like that.

So... I'm back at square one. Now what?!? We'd like something that isn't heavily scripted... I of course work with him on new concepts, but neither of us wants a program where I have to present an entire lesson using manipulatives and a whiteboard every day. We're looking at CLE... it's supposed to be a strong math program, where we can do drill each day but then DS can work fairly independently, and at his pace. (It appeals to us because even though we didn't like the content of LP's, we liked the selfpaced worktext with instructions included right on the pages.) I'm also wondering if I should just go with Saxon, since that seems to be the gold standard, LOL... but I keep hearing how "drill and kill" that one is and I think we'd both want to throw it out the window too.

Thoughts? What are some things we can look at? Would CLE be worth a try for us? Am I totally off my rocker and far too picky, LOL? My thought is that I'd rather go through several rounds of this *now* to find something that will work for DS for several years, and we'll just be able to stick to it.

Would appreciate some feedback... thanks so much!!

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I'd choose a mastery program, because that is easier to move faster through, should the need arise.

If he already knows how to do what SM is trying to teach him, I'd move ahead. I'd have to wonder if going back to 3A wasn't too far back. (My ds9 would hate SM 3A too, lol. He's just way, way too far ahead.) Has he tried the CWP and IP? From everything I've read here, those additional books are the real strength of SM.

Another option that's easy to accelerate, and provides good conceptual teaching, is MM, though for some mathy kids the lessons may be broken down into steps that are too small (in which case, one can skip over, or skim through, some of them on occasion). I've been very happy with MM, and have found it easy to accelerate through.

I dislike Saxon personally (my dd used it for a brief time at school). Some people seem to like CLE, but it's spiral, so it may be more difficult to move through faster, and some posts here and there would have me questioning the teaching from a conceptual angle. That's my two cents :)

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I'm not sure if you should listen to me because I have been:banghead: when it comes to my ds(6) and math. Anyway.... He is mathy and Singapore was a flop here too. He doesn't like how cartoony it is and wants to do things his own way. I finally quit trying to fight him and put him in CLE. He is doing GREAT! Honestly, it is a pain in the butt to accelerate CLE, but I don't know what else to do.

You also might want to look into Math Mammoth. It is also a worktext where your ds could be more independent. I would like to move my ds into MM at some point, but the layout is not a good fit for him right now.

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I'd choose a mastery program, because that is easier to move faster through, should the need arise.

If he already knows how to do what SM is trying to teach him, I'd move ahead. I'd have to wonder if going back to 3A wasn't too far back. (My ds9 would hate SM 3A too, lol. He's just way, way too far ahead.) Has he tried the CWP and IP? From everything I've read here, those additional books are the real strength of SM.

Another option that's easy to accelerate, and provides good conceptual teaching, is MM, though for some mathy kids the lessons may be broken down into steps that are too small (in which case, one can skip over, or skim through, some of them on occasion). I've been very happy with MM, and have found it easy to accelerate through.

:iagree: Neatly expressed, wapiti.

SM does not work for all kids, mine included (although I did cajole him through bits and pieces of Years 3 and 4 when he was younger). He found the illustrations too childish and the math too round-about for the same reasons as the OP's child.

Apart from Math Mammoth (MM), I'd also suggest looking at MEP for "fun math". Start at Year 4 or so and skip the lesson plans unless you need handholding. If it's too easy, forget it but it might give him facts practice if he needs it. Another fun series for just stretching the brain: Math Olympiad Contest Problems. That first volume should be quite fun for independent work. You only whip out the whiteboard when he's truly stuck.

If cost is not a factor, I also suggest:

1. Life of Fred - Fractions, Decimals and Pre-Alg

2. AoPS - Intro to C&P or Pre-Algebra

3. Murderous Maths - reading for pleasure

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I

So we looked around a little more, and kept hearing wonderful things about how good Singapore is for "mathy" or gifted kids. So we did the placement test, started back with 3A to hit more mental math, and ordered it.

Is 3a where the placement test placed him?

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Is 3a where the placement test placed him?

It was, that's what's surprising. He was sort of on the bubble... got *just* enough wrong to choose 3A rather than 3B... we chose the lower of the two thinking it would make an easier transition. But even with the placement, I'm surprised at how much of 3A is review for him.

I appreciate everyone's thoughts. I don't want to give up on SM too quickly, but if their style of mental math and pictorial teaching just doesn't mesh with DS, I don't want to stick with something that's not right. I may look at it a bit more this week.

On the cross post on the other board, Beast Academy was recommended. I don't think he's quite ready for pre-algebra, so he's not ready for AOPS, and BA is not quite ready for him yet, LOL. We do have the LOF elementary books, and although he's beyond the math in the early ones, he still enjoys them and finds them delightfully quirky. :)

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I ditto using the IP and CWP, perhaps even in place of the workbook. The IP and CWP have less explanation and more meat. We ended up switching to MM for DS9, simply because 1) it's cheaper 2) we knew we were going to compact and accelerate a lot, and I didn't want to spend all that money. We still use the CWP.

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It was, that's what's surprising. He was sort of on the bubble... got *just* enough wrong to choose 3A rather than 3B... we chose the lower of the two thinking it would make an easier transition. But even with the placement, I'm surprised at how much of 3A is review for him.

I appreciate everyone's thoughts. I don't want to give up on SM too quickly, but if their style of mental math and pictorial teaching just doesn't mesh with DS, I don't want to stick with something that's not right. I may look at it a bit more this week.

On the cross post on the other board, Beast Academy was recommended. I don't think he's quite ready for pre-algebra, so he's not ready for AOPS, and BA is not quite ready for him yet, LOL. We do have the LOF elementary books, and although he's beyond the math in the early ones, he still enjoys them and finds them delightfully quirky. :)

1. I'd go over the placement test carefully to look at what was missed - was it topics he needed more instruction on, or word problems, or careless errors? If it was a word problem issue, I might choose a textbook level based on where he'd start finding new topics, and then use whatever level of CWP is appropriate to work on the word problems. (disclaimer: I have used very little of SM, though last time I looked at the placement tests, they were heavy on word problems, which could throw some kids off.)

2. The first books of BA should be out in a few weeks (though there may be scheduling issues with future years - still a mystery).

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These are great ideas, and I do feel better after hearing from all of you.

I may do this: Just work through the 3A Textbook, since I already have it sitting here. Read it together at an accelerated pace, have him do the exercises at the end of each chapter to check that he does know the material. Skip the workbook altogether at this point, and just stop if we hit something he needs to review or learn. I might also review the placement tests for 3B, and do the same thing, depending on whether the errors were in one or two major areas only, like Wapiti said.

Thoughts?? I think going through at least 3A like that will tell us whether the program is a good fit but just too easy, or whether it's really not going to work out.

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You could just do the review sections in 3a to see if he misses anything. If he does, go back and reinforce those concepts and move on to 3b.

I will also encourage you to check out MEP. IMO, it is very conceptually strong. However, if/when you find his instructional level, i wouldn't skip the lesson plans. There is a yahoo group for MEP and an email address where you can email for a password or web address for the end of year tests if you'd like to place him that way.

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My two very mathy kids did not like Singapore either.

DS used Saxon 6/5 thru Alg 1 and Geometry and liked it very much, mostly because he would read the lesson and just-get-it-done each day. He did not do well with me teaching the material.

DD used Horizons Math (we liked this VERY much and I recommend it for young mathy kids!), then Saxon for 6/5 and then 8/7 (we skipped 7/6). This year, she is doing Teaching Textbooks Alg 1 for fun as most of the topics she has seen before in Saxon 8/7's prealgebra material. She also does well with materials that are written to the student.

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I am selling my Singapore. I'm officially done with it. MEP & Miquon work much better here, and I'm eyeing BA.

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