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Talk to me about Abeka, Singapore, Saxon and CLE math 1st grade


IanSebast
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My ds was doing great wih Singapore math Kindergarten A, we were only using the workbook, however, things changed during the last third of the second book. The material seems to be a bit jumpy, and I don't think he's getting it anymore. I'm looking for a program for 1st grade, but I'm unsure about which one. I don't know if our problem is that I wasn't using the teacher's manual with Singapore...the questions are, what is the difference between the three programs? Should I give Singapore a chance accompanying It with the teacher's manual? We're using Abeka for language arts and he's thriving, I've heard great things about CLE too...my older ds uses Saxon algebra, and he loves it..I'm just not sure about what to do, here is a brief description about his personality/learning style: he gets things really fast, as long as he's shown properly how to do them one time; and he gets bored to pieces with too much repetition.

 

Please help!!!

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Okay, I can't really speak to Saxon or Singapore (though we used Singapore and did not like it...a little too abstract for me).

 

But I can say that CLE (while a great program) is extremely repetitious, so with your quick little one it may not be the best choice. I, as a teacher, loved CLE. Very strong, very thorough. My daughter did not. She just wanted to move on without repeating every concept ad nauseum.

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My son is loving CLE, but there is a ton of repetition. He needs it, but if your dc doesn't then I wouldn't recommend it. 

 

As for Abeka - my SIL swears it's the best thing ever. She says it's mastery and very strong. That's all I know about it. 

What I have seen of Singapore (based on looking at samples and someone's book) is that you need the teacher guide. I know I couldn't do it without it! So I would suggest getting the teacher's guide and trying it with the extra helps from there. 

 

 

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Abeka is spiral - like CLE. There are review problems in every lesson. It is one of the things that my kids really need in a math program.

 

I wouldn't put much stock in "Singapore K" vs. Singapore 1-6. They're very different, IMO.

 

Is he a hands-on type? Does he need to see it? Does he like to see things presented in multiple ways? Does he want 'just the facts' or does he want games?

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So he is a visual learner, he likes to see pictures to help him remember. He is also hands on, as he likes to use blocks for adding and subtracting. He likes art drawing and coloring....

 

How repetitious is CLE? Is it boring or does it change the exercises a bit? I'm concerned about him getting bored to death, but I understand that some level of repetition is required to achieve mastery, do you agree?

 

How different is Singapore K and 1-6?

 

Would you recommend something else?

 

Thanks a bunch!!

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So, from what I understand Singapore K is a book that was written by someone else to cater to the American market.

 

The 1-6 is the meaty math program. You said you were only using the workbook. Is there also a text? We used miquon and did some math things from the videos on education unboxed for kindergarten and then moved into Singapore 1A. We find that the text book is very important to use with the workbook. The text book really explains the method of Singapore math and the workbook is practicing what the textbook taught. I find the teacher manual to be helpful, but then I am not a very mathy person.

 

A friend, who is much more into math explained to me that Singapore does make some big leaps that some kids do fine with (my daughter is excelling with it, my son was in tears over singapore), and others struggle with. I heard that Math in Focus is very similar to SM, but doesn't make the big leaps. It breaks everything down more. I just wish I had know about it when my son could have used it.

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Before I go further if he likes hands on I would probably add Minquon Math into the mix. We enjoyed it and did it sporadically mixed with the Singapore workbooks and Abeka.

 

Abeka is spiral and had a write in workbook and color on the pages. My ds needed both. We loved it.

 

Singapore makes big jumps and I found the program fascinating. Frequently the jumps went smoothly and if they were a bit off we just did other math for a week or two then tried again. The dcs never knew I thought something was too hard for them which made them pretty fearless about math in general.

 

 

At one point we tried the Saxon (k I think) and the use of manipultives was distracting in that quantity for ds. He was takeover ng them to play with and we got very little done which drove me nuts. For the record it wasn't really math based play it was probably productive but very distracting.

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I've used ABeka K, and MUS Alpha for 1st grade. Then we reviewed 1st grade material with Singapore level 1A and 1B. I felt SM moved a bit quickly, and that ABeka was wonderful to help me as a teacher. ABeka is not mastery, as the others confirmed--it is spiral. It has a ton of drill. MUS was more incrementally broken down than SM, yet it was a mastery program like SM, not spiral, like ABeka. So I took what I'd learned from ABeka's constant review and applied it to MUS. I would definitely need the HIG for SM. I thought the HIG was helpful. They are all good programs, but I think my favorite would be MUS.

 

SM and ABeka are pretty different so it's easier to contrast than to compare. :) If you go with ABeka, I think it would be great, but you should add in some blocks to make it more hands-on and get the concepts, rather than just memorizing facts. If you went with SM, I think you'd have to make sure that you're going slowly enough that the children carefully understand each concept before moving on, and add in plenty of practice and drill for facts.

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We've been enjoying Abeka math very much here.  Some people feel it can be overwhelming, but the key is knowing where review is needed, to take the review sections as suggestions and choose a few things to review each day, not all of them.  Also, the worksheets, if your child doesn't need all of it, have them do odds or evens.  Starting in 3rd grade, some problems are numbered in a different color b/c they're optional review.  With all of the options, I'm finding it easy to tailor lessons to my individual children, their strengths and weaknesses.

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You've gotten some good input & responses already. Let me add in some more info. I would highly suggest looking at the samples (linked). ALL of them are solid programs - but each one has a different 'feel' to it, different number & type of components, and different levels of help for you, the teacher. 

 

Singapore 1-6 is a very SOLID program. Some kids really thrive with it. There are multiple pieces (your Home Instructor Guide (HIG), the textbook, the workbook, and some people add the Intensive Practice (IP) book and/or the Challenging Word Problems (CWP) book). You also have to decide if you want to use the U.S. or the Standards Edition (linked previously) before you start. One has a better HIG for you and there are minor differences. Much of the "meat" of the program is in the HIG - for you to use to explain to your kids HOW to do the math. Mental math strategies (number bonds, making 10s, easy ways to add/subtract bigger numbers in your head) are a definite strength of Singapore. It is a mastery program in that it covers a topic once per year in depth and then doesn't come back to review it (except when you need that concept for something else) until the following year. The IP book is one way people get some 'review' into the program, I believe. The workbook has no color, but my artistic one used that as an excuse to color in the 1A/1B book.  :hat:  

 

Something similiar - but with less pieces - is Math Mammoth. (Homeschool Buyers Co-Op usually has a deal once per year (going on right now until the end of Jan) for the whole downloadable 1-6 bundle at 40% off. It is a great deal, but don't feel like you have to jump on it now. It should be available next year and the year after & the year after if you decide it is a good option for you.) Here is a sample of 1A. You can get it in digital form (download or CD) or you can have it printed & bound. There is a worktext (1A & 1B), answer keys, and a review guide/test piece.

 

A Beka is now sold through Christianbook.com. It is colorful and encourages the use of manipulatives, but is also repetitious. Your child will have many opportunities to practice their new skills. The best way to see what it looks like is to look inside -- which you can do on the Abeka site. (Click "look inside" and then resize the browser window to make it readable.) If you go with this, you'd want the Homeschool Curriculum Plans, which is where the "how to teach" part is spelled out. There is also a workbook, a speed drill/test book, and a key for that. I don't buy the Teacher's Edition until around 3rd grade because it is easy for me to just check things in my head. It isn't cheap! There are bible verses and religiously-themed story problems interspersed.

 

CLE isn't going to be colorful, but there is something to be said about how small and "together" the light units are. They are easy to tote around! Again, I would suggest you look at the samples (click the individual light unit "samples" button). It starts out very slowly, but by the end of 1st grade, you are identifying fractions, counting by hundreds, and doing three digit plus two digit addition with regrouping (carrying). The Teacher's Guide has answers and teaching instructions. It will tell you to use some manipulatives (objects, money), but there isn't a huge emphasis on them. They have a guide to tell you when to use what flash cards. There is definitely some "God" mentions in the math. 

 

I'll throw in McRuffy color math just as another spiral math program. The workbook is in color, there are a lot of manipulatives, and each lesson is fairly short and very parent-directed. You can see samples here. I only throw it in because you mentioned that you don't want him to be bored by the same type of activities all the time. There is no danger of that with McRuffy. My spatially-oriented boy likes the tangrams, geoboards, pattern blocks, and games. 

 

My kids need repetition to achieve mastery - some more than others. We definitely have to have a spiral program, but I know some parents have been able to make Singapore/Math Mammoth spiral "enough" for their kids. I'm too lazy / have too many kids to put in that much effort. So, I just use a program that is already spiral - knowing I can skip review lessons or cross off problems if my kid already understands something and doesn't need all the problems for review. Good luck with your decision!  And know that many of us haven't picked the 'right' program for each kid the first time. (I have about five kindergarten/first grade math programs.)  :gnorsi:

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So, from what I understand Singapore K is a book that was written by someone else to cater to the American market.

 

The 1-6 is the meaty math program. You said you were only using the workbook. Is there also a text? We used miquon and did some math things from the videos on education unboxed for kindergarten and then moved into Singapore 1A. We find that the text book is very important to use with the workbook. The text book really explains the method of Singapore math and the workbook is practicing what the textbook taught. I find the teacher manual to be helpful, but then I am not a very mathy person.

 

A friend, who is much more into math explained to me that Singapore does make some big leaps that some kids do fine with (my daughter is excelling with it, my son was in tears over singapore), and others struggle with. I heard that Math in Focus is very similar to SM, but doesn't make the big leaps. It breaks everything down more. I just wish I had know about it when my son could have used it.

 

I'm going to build on this opinion. We've used Singapore only from level 3 and up, so I am not as familiar with the lower levels. My older son was in school for K-2nd, and he did A Beka there. I will be honest and say that if your son doesn't like repetition, A Beka will quite possibly drive you nuts. 2nd grade A Beka is basically a repeat of 1st, but with a few small topics thrown in. My son needs some review, but he remembers better through having to tackle harder problems that use the same concepts vs. lots of repetition. I thought he was going to self-destruct when he did the second grade A Beka math. He was upset and very disappointed to not see subtraction with borrowing (introduced in first) until he was well into 2nd grade math.

 

My younger son (K) used MUS Primer last spring before we started K (and I extended some of the topics that he latched onto well--for instance, he taught himself the concepts of carrying and borrowing with manipulatives, using MUS decimal street, though he doesn't quite do it on paper yet). It bought us some time to figure out what we wanted to do long-term. Now, he is using Miquon, and I added in the first grade CWP from Singapore. I think we are likely to jump into Singapore at level three with Miquon as a supplement at that point (Miquon is designed for grades 1-3).

 

If your son doesn't like repetition, I suggest Miquon or utilizing the full range of Singapore stuff (you'll probably want the HIG). Miquon has you look at concepts in various ways, so the repetitious stuff isn't repetitious in the sense that you do the same stuff over and over. It goes well with the education unboxed videos. We are using the IP and CWP with the Singapore textbook, and those books also do a great job of going deeper into the math concepts rather than doing "more" of the same. I tend to categorize the Singapore books along a spectrum: the extra practice and workbooks are on the easier side (independent practice), the textbook is in the middle, and the CWP and IP are on the harder side (I think the IP has some problems that are harder than the CWP). You can use them as necessary to tailor things to your son's needs for review, mastery, extra practice, etc. Many people do the TB and the WBs on grade level, and they use the IP and CWP a little behind. Some use them all together. Singapore offers periodic review, but it's not spiral. There are some threads around talking about how some people build review into Singapore as some people love the program but want to revisit topics a little more frequently.

 

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Thank you soooo much, I don't feel as lost anymore!

 

I looked at all the programs that were mentioned and narrowed it down to 2 possibilities, Singapore and CLE, but before deciding on one (knowing that we may have to switch If it doesn't work) I would like to know how the transition is from these programs into the higher levels? My oldest HATED Saxon for the lower levels, but loves it for the higher, and we want through several programs before finding out that Saxon was the right fit (a the time I didn't know about the difference between Saxon for the lower and higher levels, so I wasn't even going to give it a try!), and it was a very looooong process...I'm concerned about the change for my younger one when he time comes because he's a creature of habit, and I'm very demanding in terms or curricula.

 

Have you gone from any of these programs into the higher levels? Which books did you use afterwards? How easy was the transition for your dc and for you?

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We've used Singapore K and Singapore 1- they are very different. Singapore 1 ramps up fairly quickly and introduces some advanced concepts compared to the K book, which was a later addition to serve American markets. I started my 6 year old on 1a and only purchased the K book for my 4 year old who was insisting on "doing school". You will want the HIG unless you are very familiar with the "singapore way" because it contains all the instruction, problem examples to work through with your child, and games to practice concepts. We use the HIG, workbook, and the extra practice/intensive practice a half level behind for review. I dont buy the textbook as I found I wasn't using it.

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