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Okay now tell me difference between Sinapore Math & MIF


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Okay, I got recommendation to check out Math in Focus textbooks and workbooks for our DD, age 6.  So I'm looking at 1st (now) and 2nd (next year).


Here's the recommendation to buy the MIF texts: 

1A textbook: http://www.amazon.co...&condition=used

1A workbook: http://www.amazon.co...1&condition=new

1B textbook: http://www.amazon.co...&condition=used

1B workbook: http://www.amazon.co...1&condition=new


The thing is, I was given a couple of books which I think are Singapore math.  I have Primary Mathematics 1A textbook and 1b workbook.  But they look like this:




It says U.S. edition and Marshall Cavendish  or Federal (on one copy) on the spine.


What have I got, and is this really different from MIF (Math in Focus)?  Is it worth getting MIF instead?



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You got a mismatched set of the Primary Math program.


"Singapore Math" is a bit of a misnomer. Singapore uses a national curriculum, and the first program that started being used widely in the US is the Primary Math program. A US edition and a standards edition were created for the US market. When people here say Singapore Math, they usually mean Primary Math.


Singapore switched to using a new national curriculum called My Pals Are Here, and that was marketed for the US under the name Math in Focus. So it is the "new" Singapore math. It's still published by Marshall Cavendish, but Saxon republished it here. Some people get confused by that and think it is a "Saxon Math" product but that is completely wrong.


The two Singapore programs are very similar. Both start with the concrete use of manipulatives, then move to pictures, then abstract numbers. PM does not have very much instruction in the textbook, so you need a teacher's guide to tell you how to teach the material with manipulatives for the concrete step. MIF has excellent instruction in the textbook, and you don't need a TM. MIF is much mor visually appealing and clear. Some people say that the steps a re broken down bett in

MIF too.


I have seen one or two people here say MIF isn't as challenging, but they did not actually use the program and were just looking a t the able of contents. The material is very deep and challenging, with a TON of word problems. By the 5th grade book we were drowning in word problems, lol.

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ondreeuh - Thank you!  You may have been the person who originally recommended the MIF links.


The Primary Mathematics books I have -- 2 were from a curriculum sale (hence they are not in sequence), and the duplicate someone gave to me.  You are right, there is almost no explanation in the books.  I knew I had them, and looked for them to doublecheck before possibly ordering the recommended MIF books. Then I was more confused than ever, since I was hearing the term for Singapore Math for everything!


So, if we are interested in exploring MIF, would you suggest I just go right to order the MIF?  I like the idea of starting to explore it while DD is still working on first grade.  And then next year, as we are with another program perhaps using as supplement?


I was also wondering if you or anyone knew why Singapore switched to new curriculum, was it just an improved curriculum or totally rewritten?



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We have used MIF 1A, 1B, 2A, and now 2B and like it. I plan to continue with it next year.  I had an opportunity to look over my friends' copy of Singapore Primary Mathematics for the same grade level and I would say it has less "space" for writing out problems, it is a lot less colorful, it has less space in general on the pages (they are crammed full of writing/problems), and it doesn't have the visual reference for manipulatives that MIF has (for example, diagrams with the base 10 blocks shown, etc.).  Overall I just thought it would appeal to my kids better.  


Singapore Math Primary Mathematics  is made by a different company than Math in Focus. They are competing products. I would say it is not a totally rewritten curriculum. It is a different, perhaps "prettier" and more "american" version of what is generally referred to as Singapore Math, and made popular in the Singapore Math Primary Mathematics product. I hope that makes sense. MIF is sold  by the same company that makes Saxon Math (not made by Saxon--see note in subsequent post--thanks for the clarification).


I think more people choose Singapore Primary Math because it is a lot cheaper. There is no arguing that MIF is more expensive.  However, it is beginning to be easier to buy it used. Please note there are two editions. The first was called Math in Focus: The Singapore Approach. I have several books with this title. There is nothing wrong with this edition, it is just less new. The newer one is Math in Focus: Singapore Math. I have not compared the two. My best guess is that they just changed the name to clarify the goal of the book.


I got the name of a sales rep from HMH while at the HS conference and if I order from her I get a 20% discount on everything and free shipping. This usually works out better for workbooks than ordering new elsewhere like Amazon. I would look into that.


Also, I have found the teacher's guide to be largely unnecessary thus far.  I recently found out you can access it online as well.  http://vihmh.impelsys.com/math_in_focus/index.php  You just need to sign up. You can also preview any of the books or workbooks.


As far as using it as a "supplement" I am not sure what you intend. This is a robust curriculum. The only thing missing is drill. So I wouldn't add this to Saxon or anything like that if that is what you mean.

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No, Math in Focus is not made by Saxon Math or Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt. HMH/Saxon publishes it for the US market, but it is originally published by Marshall Cavendish in Singapore. It's like if I buy a book published by Penguin, it is still written by the author. Penguin just paid for the book to be printed in that format. They didn't "make" the book, though they had a hand in editing, translating, choosing a cover, etc.


As far as I understand it, Primary Math is based of the math that was used in Singapore years ago. Math in Focus is based off the My Pals Are Here math that is used in Singapore now. They are both "Singapore Math." They are both written by Singaporean authors.


Edited to add:

"Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the exclusive provider of Math in Focus to the United States, first introduced the program in April 2009. It is the U.S. version of Singapore’s most widely used program, My Pals Are Here! Maths for K–5, which offers an intuitive progression of instructions that focus on fewer topics in greater depth to allow students to gain a better understanding of critical math topics. HMH is now working with Marshall Cavendish-Singapore to extend the series to grades 6-8 available in Fall 2011 and 2012." http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110118006227/en/Study-Finds-Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt’s-Singapore-Math#.UvUrtX-9KK0

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I just went through this same decision at my house.  I have Primary Math 2A and needed to get the 1st grade for my next child.  I decided to get MIF.  Here is why:


Although I have a master's in Math Ed, it's not elementary ed, and I don't always have the time or brain power to remember how to teach simple things concretely.  MIF has enough in the text to jog my memory and get us going. With PM, I would want the HIG.  So, for me, MIF was cheaper.  I have a first son who is a VSL and has ADHD and a second son who has a talent for numbers, so we only use the text.  I bought the used MIF for $12 for both first grade and $15 for both second grade.


What we do when we get to a new topic is I use the text and manipulative example to work through with son.  Then we do the guided practice together with manipulatives as needed.  This is usually 4-5 problems.  Then we do the Let's Practice; for son one, this takes two days sometimes.  Math is hard for him.  These have about 10-12 problems.  If he needs more practice, we use games or worksheets from the free Bridges Practice Books or just some free stuff.  (Trying to mix it up and save money. He actually does well with the word problems from the Bridges books.)


Now, I have both the PM US edition 2A and MIF 2A.  I'll compare a bit.

TOC: They both cover place value, adding and subtracting up to regrouping, length, mass, and beginning multiplication and division.  MIF throws in bar models.  (I like that, but some think it's too early.) PM does tables for 2 and 3. MIF does tables for 2, 5, 10.  The chapters are in different orders.  In PM addition and subtraction are in the same chapter.  They are separated at first in MIF.


The place value chapter in PM US starts with one look back problem, three problems with picture models, and 3 more problems.  This basic pattern is repeated for each subtopic, with practice after every topic or two.  The practice have 6-12 problems.  Later sections have two practice sections and even some review pages.  This is the reason I didn't feel workbooks were completely necessary.


The same chapter in MIF starts with a game and 12 review problems.  Then there is a problem worked out by steps with manipulative pictures for each step (not in PM). Then 4 guided practice problems.  Then more steps shown and more guided practice.  Then the Let's Practice has about 5-8 problems.  Some sections have games added, some have a journal problem, Let's Explore, or Critical Thinking Skills.  There is a short chapter wrap-up, but no review like in PM. 


For us, I think MIF was the right decision.  We weren't going to use the workbook anyway, so it was cheaper.  I didn't need the TG because there is more in the books.  I actually somewhat like PM better, but the day to day ease of MIF, one book, and my children's increased interest is good.  Also, MIF has a few topics in different places - like negative numbers and bar models - that I thought were important for MY son.


Hope that helps!

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