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# How far to go in Singapore Math?

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As 5th grade here is winding to a close, I am beginning to think about planning for 6th grade.

In math, this year my daughter has done Singapore Math through level 5A, used Life of Fred Fractions and Decimals & Percents independently for review and reinforcement, and has done a little out of Harold Jacobs' Mathematics: A Human Endeavor for fun. I think that next year, she may be ready for pre-algebra and beginning algebra.

This year, my daughter has been frustrated that she has felt that SM has repeated things she already knows. I tried to compensate by moving through things rapidly if she seemed familiar with them, and slowing down for unfamiliar things. But looking at the scope and sequence for 5B, 6A and 6B, I'm not sure that it's worth the time or money for us to do those levels.

For those who have done those levels, do they introduce significant new concepts, especially concepts that need to be covered before advancing to pre-algebra? Would you advise for or against skipping them?

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Not familiar with the Jacobs Human Endeavor, so I don't know what you've covered there (although, we did do Jacobs Algebra after completing Singapore 6A/B and about half of Singapore's NEM 1).

Based on what you listed as what you've covered, yes, you could skip the Singapore 5A/B, as they are both primarily fractions, decimals and percents. I hesitate on the 6A/B, however. Those two books are pretty heavy on ratios, order of operation, circles, volume, and setting up Algebra problems and solving them (requiring multiple steps). All of those are Pre-Algebra/Algebra 1 skills, and while we moved quickly through the 4A/B and 5A/B, we did have to slow down some to *think* through the problem-solving in 6A/B. The 6A/B don't introduce too many new topics, but rather work on problem-solving skills, understanding what you'll need to do for multi-step problem-solving, how to set up problems, etc. We found the final level to be worthwhile, but that was just our experience, for what it's worth!

BEST of luck, whatever you decide! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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• 3 weeks later...

This is good to know. TY for the insight.

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I agree with what Laurie D said. We just finished 6b this week and she did a great job of running down the topics covered. I feel like he is well prepared for pre-algebra in 7th grade. I know some people go right from 5b to a prealgebra or even algebra program, but that's not for my kid.

If she is really chomping at the bit, you could always try a pre-algebra program and drop back to 6a&b if it isn't going smoothly.

Or, I know there are placement tests on the Singapore website. They suggest they can be used as an exit exam as well. Maybe you could give her the 6a&b tests and see how she does?

http://www.singaporemath.com/Placement_Test_s/86.htm

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I haven't used 6A and 6B so I can't say for sure, but that certainly sounds like it IS pre-algebra skills. With my second we may call it quits after 5B and go to a traditional pre-algebra program. I still have about 6 months to decide. Brownie

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My daughter did Singapore 6A & 6B concurrently with Fred PreAlgebra 1 & 2 this past year. Fred and Singapore complemented each other very well, and 6A & 6B are basically comparable to Fred PreAlgebra in terms of topics covered and difficulty.

I agree that the Singapore provided a lot of much-needed practice in thinking through the more complex problems, which is important prep for Algebra.

She has recently started Algebra (we do school year round), and is finding herself well-prepared, so I think that speaks well to the combination. I'd recommend it.

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My ds went all the way through 6B before starting AoPS pre-algebra. (I also made him go through Thinkwell 6, "just to be sure he was ready." He was MORE than ready to move on!)

I think if I was going to do it over again, I'd have gone straight from 5B or even 5A into pre-algebra.

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My oldest (who's always been strong in math) did Singapore through 6B, spent about a month working through a pre-algebra textbook and then started on algebra. He already knew so much of the pre-algebra that I couldn't keep him in pre-algebra for any longer.

With my other kids, I'm planning on going from Singapore 5B to pre-algebra. But, if you're using LOF, I'm sure everything in 5B is covered. You can see the TOCs on the singapore website to compare if you want to make sure.

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My oldest (who is no math genius by any stretch of the imagination) went from 6A to private school pre-algebra. She did just fine and didn't struggle.

The only issue she had was that circles and a couple of other topics are introduced/covered in 6B, and we didn't get to those. But she picked them up quickly in class, so it was never really an issue.

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Could a strong math student go right from 6B to an Algebra program? We would likely use Lials since we own it. Thanks!

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I'm not sure why, given your student's age/grade, that you would want to miss the work provided in 5B, 6A & 6B? It's not that Singapore is covering topics she has already learned, but the whole Singapore "method" is to get more & more critical thinking skills going in ALL the mathematical concepts so that students are able to dig deeper into the math & eventually work right into "algebra" (that they have been doing all along!) I would just feel like I was denying them an awesome opportunity to delve deeper, and at the same age your daughter is, my son is LOVING Singapore. We are in the middle of 5B now (plan to finish it before we start 6A in the fall ~ we school year round so it's taking us longer than the ave. school year b/c we've had more/longer breaks throughout) and I just finished planning it out for him tonight & the last section in 5B is Algebra. So it's not like he's going to be missing out on a pre-algebra program, it's build right into Singapore Standards. HTH Some!!!

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Could a strong math student go right from 6B to an Algebra program? We would likely use Lials since we own it. Thanks!

My older ds went from 6B to Algebra. We used a mix of Life of Fred Beginning Algebra and an older Dolciani book. I think he was well prepared for algebra. In hindsight I would have used a different algebra program. He liked the story in Life of Fred, but I don't think it worked well for him.

My younger ds went from Singapore 5b to AOPS prealgebra. I'm thinking that we'll move to AOPS algebra after he finishes the prealgebra program.

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Thank you, Jean! DS should finish 6A/B by mid year next year so I'll just move him into Lial's Intro Alg.

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I have used SM through 6A. We switched to a prealgebra program because of the repetition and I wish I had switched after 5B.

I'd go through 5B and then switch to a prealgebra program or an algebra program that includes a significant amount of prealgebra (like Jacobs Algebra).

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My oldest (strong math student) went from SM 5b to AoPS Algebra and has never looked back. He loves all things mathy. I wouldn't recommend this to most.

My second just finished SM 5B and will start AoPS PreAlgebra next year. I think it will be just what he needs. He's growing tired of the "repitition" of SM. He's a good student, but self-declares that he doesn't like math.

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Wow, thanks everyone for sharing your experiences! I plan to complete at least 5B with her, but to pretest each chapter and skip any parts that she has down. I am still not sure of what to do about 6A/6B - I may get Elementary Mathmatics and compare it to the contents of 6A/6B.

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I'm planning on completing 5B and then just doing IP and CWP for 6A and B and then moving on to either AoPS prealgebra or algebra.

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Perhaps I'm biased but I think it's highly worthwhile to do the whole PM series:001_smile: I've had 4 do it successfully. Much depends on your goals for junior and high school: are you transitioning to an Americanized math after this year? Do you have a reason that you don't want to continue with Singapore?

Personally I like the whole series but realize others plan to go back to an institutuionalized high school of some sort and want their kids to be at an equivalent place as the other students.

I have yet to find a series I like better or that provides the level of skill equivalent to Singapore (based on my boys success in college level courses). If you are moving to AoPS I would revise my recommendation and say to go ahead and begin pre-algebra.

These decisions though are really dependent on your future plans.

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Could a strong math student go right from 6B to an Algebra program? We would likely use Lials since we own it. Thanks!

Yes, I think so.

My ds did AoPS pre-algebra with the online class, and he enjoyed it, but he could easily have gone straight into AoPS Intro to Algebra. Most of the year, I wondered if it would have been easier to just have him do Jacob's Algebra with his 13yo sister.

Since Jacob's includes a lot of pre-algebra at the beginning, I think it would make a good Algebra 1 course for a student coming from 6B who was ready for Algebra 1 but needed a little extra review.

Sorry, I haven't seen Lial's, so I can't really compare.

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Could a strong math student go right from 6B to an Algebra program? We would likely use Lials since we own it. Thanks!

Theoretically, yes. But in a real world it will depend on the student. Boys in particular have a hormone surge about the time they are ready for algebra and no matter how math adept they are they may appear to be brain dead just when you think you can move on :D

My best math student was moving on to algebra in 7th and I had it all planned out. Unfortunately I did not factor in hormones. He assured me that I had never taught him how to multiply and divide fractions :tongue_smilie:

His brain eventually returned but we did a few months of what I would call remedial math with him because otherwise we would both have been crazy :001_smile:

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We finished 6a & 6b this year. We will go on to AoPS next year. I think SM is a great program and saw no reason to miss the last year.

I also don't see a reason for my particular child to hit Algebra before 8th grade. If he was enthusiastic about all things math related then I would have no problem setting him loose with a great Algebra program. But, that isn't my kid. I think we need to take our time and build a very solid foundation.

Depending on how he does with AoPS we will either do Foerster's Algebra with the Math Without Borders discs, or (if we have a crash and burn with AoPS) we might try Teaching Textbooks. I always like to have a Plan B.

Oh, next year I am also going to be using two math units from Tops Science. We are going to do the Math Lab unit and the Probability unit.

And, speaking of Plan B, if mid year I can see AoPS is a bomb, we will switch to Key to Algebra as his pre-algebra year. Key To plus the Tops units were my original Plan A for pre-algebra next year, but he is insistent that he wants to try AoPS. My husband says we should let him go for it. I am feeling trepidatious.

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When I was trying to decide 6A/B last year, I asked the question in SigporeMath forum. The answer I got was, sure if you are pressed on the time, skip it. But the lady answered the question also asked "why do you want to skip?". And that was a good question and I don't have a reason to skip. My kid is young and he rarely complain (1 year ago ..lol) So we went for it. It took us 4 months to finished it with every single question in workbook and half of the IP word problem. The first few chapters in 6A, DS went through really fast, that is probably a lot people think it is redundant. I think he went through first 4 chapter in 2 weeks. However, the later chapters when it goes to ratio/speed/proportion, and later 6B circle and volume.. The concept is same, but it sure need a lot more problem solving skills. Most question mixed with multiple concepts. Ratio question, you get percent and fraction mixed in. I think it is worth to going through. We even decided to spend the rest of the school year to finish up all the IP/CWP question we previously skipped.

That been said, I did add Key to Algebra in our work ever since he started 5B. We worked through it quite slow. Now he finished all that. I am cautiously optimistic that he should be able to start a formal algebra.

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I am still not sure of what to do about 6A/6B - I may get Elementary Mathmatics and compare it to the contents of 6A/6B.

If you're talking about NEM, then book 1 does repeat a LOT of what's in 6A/B. Singapore shifted a bunch of topics down from NEM 1 to PM 6A/B to meet the California state math standards. So if you're planning on doing NEM 1 or DM 1, then it is a bit redundant to do PM 6 A/B as well. Now some kids may need that redundancy, but not all do.

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