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STEM students- Which elementary math programs did you use for them?

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If you have a STEM focused high schooler, I am curious to know what math program you have used to prepare them for high school and beyond.  Would you do anything differently ? If so what would you do?

 

I am very conflicted about staying with Singapore with my youngest or switching him to Saxon.

 

Thank you!

 

 

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I have a son who is a rising senior in college majoring in engineering technology. We used Saxon from 1st through 12th.

 

That said, if Singapore is working well for you, don't rock the boat. Stay the course.

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Horizons through 6th, then Saxon from there through advanced math. After that it's college time. I don't do calculus. LOL

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I should have used Singapore. What I actually did use was Saxon followed by MUS. The best thing we used was Jacobs Algebra.

 

ETA: I didn't read your second paragraph before I posted this.

Edited by EKS

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Many, many of the top STEM students here go with Singapore, Beast Academy, and/or AoPS.  We used at least three different curricula,but because both DW and I can teach math straight through college-level, we use some curricula that aren't very homeschool-friendly, like Kiselev and Gelfand.  Our argument would be, if you want your child to learn to think, take the AoPS route.  If you want precise, rote calculation without thought, use Saxon.  Anything in between, you can consider TT, MUS, MM, or any of the others.  We still prefer classic texts over any of those programs.

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Singapore and lots of "living" math books and recreational math. Dd was mostly ahead of Beast releases.

 

Derek Owens (compacted- when you could buy the course) with 1/2 Jacobs Algebra for PreA and a combo of Dolciani and Foerster for Algebra.

 

Currently sailing through Jacobs Geometry. Plan to do Foerster for Alg 2. Maybe Brown for Precalc.

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Singapore to AoPS. My oldest stayed with AoPS throughout; my second switched to Derek Owens for precalc. My little guy is doing Beast alongside SM.

 

Singapore math gives a great foundation in math. The biggest thing I'd recommend no matter what curriculum is that you get a solid foundation and understand algebra before moving further.

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Singapore and AoPS. But I will say that my ds is pretty unusual as he used Singapore without the text book and without any instruction from me (he refused all help), so I'm not really sure how he learned primary school math. Trial and error with the answers? Not sure. So I can't say that he learned using the Singapore method, even though he used their intensive practise books. Perhaps with some kids, the method is just not important.

 

Ruth in NZ

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We used Singapore from K-6, then Discovering Mathematics (Singapore) for 7-9, then Saxon for Advanced Mathematics.  I reviewed Saxon for the younger grades but didn't care for it.  I would not have changed a thing.  Singapore was extremely solid and provided a great foundation.  We also enjoyed Saxon Advanced Mathematics, though, after we had run out of Singapore levels.

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We used MUS K-Algebra supplemented with Singapore's Challenging Word Problems mostly.  LoF later (just Algebra). 

 

With 20/20 hindsight, I wish I'd discovered Singapore's CWP earlier and skipped LoF.

 

I am very conflicted about staying with Singapore with my youngest or switching him to Saxon.

Why are you conflicted?  Does the student do well with Singapore?  How old is your youngest?  It's a solid program, so if it ain't broke, ...

 

I think I would have liked Saxon as a child.  I am nit picky kinda OCD perfectionist Type A.  I used to bring math workbooks along on vacation with me.  Saxon would have been torture for my bright but unmotivated Type B ds.  OTOH, neither of us connected with Singapore (full program).

 

Have you ever checked out Cathy Duffy's books?  She recommends different curriculum for different personality types.
 

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I'm starting modified CSMP (no minicomputer) as a supplement in a couple of weeks.

 

There are a lot of strange things in CSMP that you don't think you need. It all ties together in surprising ways later. For example, minicomputers show up in the storybooks and they will be hard to explain on the fly. They're also great for carrying. You start trading two ones to make one two right away so carrying in base 10 is pretty straightforward.

 

My kids did grades 1-5. By sixth, doing a teacher-centered lesson with tweens just wasn't fun.

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Thanks JanetC but I've spent many hours going through CSMP with a fine toothed comb sorting out the parts that do and don't require the mini computer so I feel fine moving ahead on that basis. What I am finding (at least for grade 3 which is where we're starting) is that that leaves the parts I'm interested in - particularly logical relations due my background in formal logic - virtually untouched. I have a rising fifth grader so reinforcing carrying is a non-issue. Besides my kid is not so "mathy" that teaching a system that has some features of the common system, but also very marked differences, would have worked. Although I understand that binary has important applications in engineering, I don't see any advantage to introducing powers of two earlier than is traditional; and in general, the idea that alternate notation on its own leads to greater depth is one of the worst legacies of the New Math. I suspect CSMP could have had a far different history, and done a lot to promote the early study of logic, sets, and relations, if it had included a robust conceptual approach to Arabic base 10 instead of the minicomputer. If there's an argument for the mini computer other than that it's assumed by other parts of CSMP, I'm all ears... I went up and down Google looking for one and didn't find it.

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We mainly used Singapore, Jacobs, and lots of AoPS, with a side of CSMP, Dolciani, Gelfand, and various older calculus & up texts from my shelves.

 

ETA: I forgot about Miquon! Both kids did all the Miquon books in the early years.

Edited by Kathy in Richmond
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If I could go back I would get SIngapore Math in Focus and as soon as I could afford it sign my son up for Mathnasium, if there's one nearby.  I am not into math, and my lack of skill in this area may have hampered his overall math enjoyment and ability.  Rather than seeing math as a fun puzzle to be solved, he has viewed it as a rote set of boring skills, largely due to our use of Saxon math.

 

Saxon math is very effective in producing kids that can do math, and believe it or not once you get halway through ALgebra 1, it does switch from very rote to more conceptual, but it still drills the heck out of every single procedure, and even though it's more conceptual than the earlier books, it's still not a conceptual program.  My son scored a high 600's on his SAT as a 9th grader in math, which is a good showing considering he really doesn't enjoy math.  We will see how he does with College Pre-Calc and Trig this coming year.  (he is going to cc college at 15) ....that will tell me a lot.  Meanwhile he goes to Mathnasium to sharpen and freshen up some weak points in Algebra 2, Geometry and Problem Solving. 

 

My dd has started at Mathnasium in 7th grade and i will keep her in until she, too goes to community college (early also)...Lord willing if we can afford it. 

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Singapore Math in Focus is really your ticket- it is colorful, the manual explains everything, the books include review and most of the drill your student will need...it's an amazing program, I wish I had had it when my son was young.  THe regular Singapore intimidated me with having to supplement, and use so many different books and how thin the TM was.  Math in Focus is the SAME publisher, and it solves all those problems, delivering to you a complete soup to nuts program ready to open up and use.

 

Of course over the summber before 2nd or 3rd grade you should still drill multiplication facts separately from ANY program you use, and drill them on the side with worksheets to matter WHAT math program you choose.

 

Otherwise, you probably do not/will not need to supplement MIF very much...and it's even cute, with cute characters and stories etc.  

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Horizons 1-6, and then MUS for Pre-algebra through Pre-calc. (DD is going into nursing, so I don't think she'll end up needing calc.) This worked well for us.

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We used MUS K-Algebra supplemented with Singapore's Challenging Word Problems mostly.  LoF later (just Algebra). 

 

With 20/20 hindsight, I wish I'd discovered Singapore's CWP earlier and skipped LoF.

 

Why are you conflicted?  Does the student do well with Singapore?  How old is your youngest?  It's a solid program, so if it ain't broke,

 

I am using Saxon 6/7 for DS11 and Singapore for DS 9.  I feel that there is less practice and review with Singapore and tying all the books together to create a program for him seems overwhelming for him and I.  

 

I think I would have liked Saxon as a child.  I am nit picky kinda OCD perfectionist Type A.  I used to bring math workbooks along on vacation with me.  Saxon would have been torture for my bright but unmotivated Type B ds.  OTOH, neither of us connected with Singapore (full program).

 

Have you ever checked out Cathy Duffy's books?  She recommends different curriculum for different personality types.

 

 

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Thank you all!

 

Would it be a challenge for a child working on Saxon to transition to AOPS?  

 

Absolutely is.  The student generally has to back up a bit to make the transition.  Saxon provides tons of drill while AoPS provides little, but AoPS requires lots of thought and perseverance, while Saxon does not.  They are about as polar opposite as two curricula can get.

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My son is a math major. 

 

We switched around programs a lot, which I don't recommend, but it seemed to have worked. 

 

We used Singapore in elementary, Dolciani for pre-algebra along with some Life of Fred. In high school, we used Dolciani, some AoPS, Lials, and partially used Jurgensen for Geometry. All the Dolciani and Jurgensen texts were older, 1960s for Dolciani algebra, 1980s for the other two. 

 

The one thing I did right in the early years was stay on top of my own math education. The one thing I wish I could have done in high school was outsource because math is not my strong subject. I have a few people on this board to thank for me not killing his love of math in high school. 

 

Saxon would have been horrid for my ds, he hates an over amount of drill. He will spend hours working on one problem if necessary, but hates worksheets filled with problems.

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All of my kids used Horizons for K6. (One used Horizons and MiF. I personally don't see a gulf between the 2. ;)) For high school, all used Foerster's alg. 1 transitioned to AoPS after alg2. The rest didn't. (1 dd who is a strong math student detested AoPS. So it might not be a program that your student will like.)

 

My ds who liked AoPS is a physics major. My ds who used Foersters (and then Sullivan or Larson when he DE..can't remember anymore) is a chemE.

 

That said, I am planning on incorporating the Beasts into my 2nd graders math next yr.

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All of my kids used Horizons for K6. (One used Horizons and MiF. I personally don't see a gulf between the 2. ;)) For high school, all used Foerster's alg. 1 transitioned to AoPS after alg2. The rest didn't. (1 dd who is a strong math student detested AoPS. So it might not be a program that your student will like.)

 

My ds who liked AoPS is a physics major. My ds who used Foersters (and then Sullivan or Larson when he DE..can't remember anymore) is a chemE.

 

That said, I am planning on incorporating the Beasts into my 2nd graders math next yr.

 

What AoPS book did they transition into from Alg 2 (Foerster?)

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Well, we used Saxon all the way through for all my kids. And I think they think fairly well. Oldest majored in EE (graduated with a 3.9 in college), second majored in computers (graduated with a 4.0 in college), third is in nursing but did tutor math before starting nursing classes -- she was the tutor that could help the students understand the math. My youngest is going to pursue computer science in college -- her SAT scores are exceptional.

 

So maybe Saxon isn't AoPS, but it is a pretty good program.

 

Linda

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Singapore Math for elementary - SM 3-6 and NEM1. Also a few chapters from Dolciani's PreAlgebra: An Accelerated Course to cover what wasn't included in SM.

 

 

Edited by Heigh Ho

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Singapore, MUS A for "pre A", Saxon A 1 and A2, then he continued on at the CC

 

lot of math games, challenge math books of various sorts, etc...

 

 

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Thank you all!

 

Would it be a challenge for a child working on Saxon to transition to AOPS?  

 

Transitioning to AoPS is just a challenge. Period. With the exception of Beast Academy, no elementary program guarantees a smooth transition. Sometimes "mathy" kids who used Singapore in elementary find AoPS to be a poor fit. My two oldest have moved from CLE (similar to Saxon) to AoPS without any major problems.

 

 

Edited by TracyP
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What AoPS book did they transition into from Alg 2 (Foerster?)

 

He stopped Foerster's alg 2 before trig (I think it was Feb or March-ish) and signed up for AoPS intermediate alg online.  He took that course during the remaining school yr/part summer and then started their pre-cal book the next school yr.  FWIW, he did not have any issues jumping into AoPS at that point.  He loved AoPS.  He didn't want to stop using them and stuck with AoPS through calculus.

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If you have a STEM focused high schooler, I am curious to know what math program you have used to prepare them for high school and beyond.  Would you do anything differently ? If so what would you do?

 

I am very conflicted about staying with Singapore with my youngest or switching him to Saxon.

 

Thank you!

I liked Horizon's a lot. I would consider Horizon's math over Saxon. Going from Singapore to Saxon is just going to either extreme. There is a middle ground. I had one do Horizon's and the other did Singapore. 

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My kids all used Singapore Math, either the Primary edition (oldest, though she also used Houghton Mifflin's Math Steps for a while) or the Standards edition (#2 and #3). All three were well prepared for high school math and beyond. 

 

If Singapore is working for you, I don't think there's any reason to switch.

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Thank you all!

 

Would it be a challenge for a child working on Saxon to transition to AOPS?

Yes, we did this. It was extremely difficult -

We went back to Saxon.

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One more thing to add: Saxon requires very little teacher support, but even so, it works best with a very strong teacher. 

 

Programs like AoPS will require tutoring and/or teacher support.  Few kids succeed with it 100% independently.

 

As for switching from one to the other, it is VERY easy to switch into Saxon at any point (because it is spiral repetition / drill), but going to AoPS will frustrate most students who are not used to a challenge.

 

The other options across the middle of the spectrum have a little more flexibility to either direction.

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@winterbaby If you're just doing logic and not arithmetic, you should be fine without them.

 

Minicomputers aren't binary, they're binary coded decimal. They definitely did not interfere with understanding base-10 numbers, The ability to lay out multiple boards in a row to do hundreds and thousands was a great way to represent large numbers with manipulatives without things becoming cumbersome.

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@winterbaby If you're just doing logic and not arithmetic, you should be fine without them.

 

Minicomputers aren't binary, they're binary coded decimal. They definitely did not interfere with understanding base-10 numbers, The ability to lay out multiple boards in a row to do hundreds and thousands was a great way to represent large numbers with manipulatives without things becoming cumbersome.

 

I know what they are, I just don't think they do much to illuminate the actual system of enumeration my child has to use for literally everything else. Place value, carrying, etc., etc., can all be illustrated perfectly well in the conventional system. I'm sure for very bright and mathy kids it's not an interesting challenge, but I also strongly suspect it's the main reason CSMP doesn't get more interest.

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We used Singapore and it was great.  No problem with a transition to AoPS for pre-algebra.  Though if I had to do it over again, I might choose BA, but it wasn't published at the time.   

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I know what they are, I just don't think they do much to illuminate the actual system of enumeration my child has to use for literally everything else. Place value, carrying, etc., etc., can all be illustrated perfectly well in the conventional system. I'm sure for very bright and mathy kids it's not an interesting challenge, but I also strongly suspect it's the main reason CSMP doesn't get more interest.

I think the main drawback is it's so teacher intensive. The teacher's manual leads you through the demonstrations and discussions in amazing detail so it's not hard, but it is a time commitment. Except for workbook time, the curriculum doesn't allow students to learn independently. There's no textbook to read. You need a chunk of one on one time for each grade level. It was hard with two kids. I can't imagine three or four kids in it at once.

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Ds took Alg, Geometry, Pre-calc, and Calc 1 and 2 in high school. He's going to college for aerospace engineering. He used Singapore Primary Math (textbook, workbook, intensive practice, and challenging word problems books). I give all the credit to the curriculum because ds was a total humanities kid when he was homeschooled (the only type of science he liked was paleontology) and often said his least favorite subject was math. Math is *still* his least favorite subject, so don't ask me why he's going into engineering!  lol

 

For my younger ds, along with the Singapore, I've added Beast Academy. This kid gets the math quickly, LOVES math books, and doesn't need much review, so with the Singapore we've nixed the workbook and only use the most challenging of the word problems in the CWP books. He much prefers Beast Academy, but I feel "safe" with the Singapore, so we haven't dropped it.  Plus, I think the word problem solving techniques taught by Singapore and the amount of practice with challenging word problems is unparalleled.

 

Both of my girls have done well with Singapore. They're content to just complete the assigned exercises, but neither are particularly "mathy." 15 y.o. is now self-studying geometry with Khan Academy and Lial Algebra and is very thorough. She makes very few errors in her practice problems. (She says she doesn't much like math, though she likes being independent with her learning.)

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I am using Saxon 6/7 for DS11 and Singapore for DS 9. I feel that there is less practice and review with Singapore and tying all the books together to create a program for him seems overwhelming for him and I.

 

You can use the SM textbooks with the challenging word problems workbooks instead of using all components. You can always add on drill for your 9 year old for topics which you feel he need more practice.

 

My kids use a mish mash of SM, MEP math, math circles materials, and reading most of the living math books at the library as well as at Barnes & Noble. I don't know if any of my boys will be going to STEM as they are still in middle school but they do have engineering as a potential choice. They took their first AMC8 exam when they were 9 and 10 (5th and 6th grade) and found it fun. Older went on to AoPS prealgebra after SM6 and has finished AoPS calculus while younger was impatient and switch after SM5. SM was more for me to check my box because we do so much more math enrichment compared to the time spend on actually doing SM.

 

If I were to change anything, I migh have let them take AMC8 exams earlier since they liked it better than the Math Kangaroo exam.

 

Math is *still* his least favorite subject, so don't ask me why he's going into engineering!  

The hands on labs in science and computing makes up for the "torture" of engineering maths for me :)
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My kids used Singapore and then AoPS up until calculus.

We did the same for my STEM focused kids.  We experimented with New Elementary Mathematics, but then abandoned it when they just got bogged down in it.  We supplemented with other things (Khan Academy, SAT prep type stuff) for more review and drill. Dd is different.  I should have outsourced Math right after SM 6.  She had so much math fear that she dragged her feet and didn't progress quickly enough.  She is slogging through Dolciani for Algebra 2, but will take Geometry over the summer with Mr. D.  Then she will take math Precal at the college and maybe statistics.  She is more of a humanities or social science kid. 

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We used Saxon from K through Algebra 1/2 (around 7th grade).  In the early grades I had Singapore word problems workbooks as a supplement.  They would work through these when we were traveling so that I didn't have to drag around the large Saxon books.

 

We switched to AoPS for Algebra, using the Intro to Algebra book, but not the online class.  There was definitely a learning curve to using AoPS.  In particular, they weren't used to needing to actually work through each of the sample problems, rather than just glancng over them.  They also had to learn to read the full explanations to the solutions (both in the lesson and in the solutions manual).  They breezed through chapters 1 and 2, then really struggled with the chapter 2 review problems.  I took them back to chapter 1 and we redid each lesson, while I made sure they were reading the solution explanations and that we talked about what the implications of the exercises were.  

 

I do think that an underlying assumption of AoPS is that if a student understands a concept once, they will retain that understanding.  I found that the time it took them to get from multiplying polynomials to doing factorizations meant that they struggled to conceive of factorization as an undoing of the multiplication.  With my older kids I had them do a chapter or two of an older Dolciani algebra textbook to spend much more time on the polynomial multiplication.  When we came back to factoring in AoPS, they had a deeper familiarity with how things flowed together.

 

They did AoPS Intro to Algebra for Algebra 1 and 2, then the Intro to Geometry book.  At this point my oldest went to CC for precalculus, calculus and statistics over 4 semesters.  DS2 did more Algebra 2 to solidify concepts (there had been 2 cross country moves the year they were working through Algebra 2).  He did some review in AoPS and also a lot of work in ALEKS.  Then he also did precalculus, calculus and statistics as a dual credit CC student.

 

DS3 did Saxon through around 6/5, then switched to Dolciani Mathematics Course 1 and 2.  This is a two book sequence that covers the same topics as Dolciani Pre-Algebra Accelerated.  The two book sequence has more lessons and more depth.  He did AoPS for Algebra 1.  I plan on having him do geometry, then return to algebra 2, either in AoPS or something else.

 

 

I know that there are some kids out there who are capable of self-directing math.  But I think they are more uncommon than we as busy parents and they as would-be independent students would like to think.  I have had the most success with the variety of math programs used when I was right there in the mix.  With DS3, I work nearly every problem as he is working through them.  Sometimes we work them differently than the book, and we both face palm at the obviously easier pathway we could have taken.  Frequently I remember to simplify in ways that he forgets.  Occasionally he will solve things better or quicker than I do.  Working with him also keeps me more attuned to both his concentration on the task and how fatiguing a particular set of exercises might be.  I try to have us work for 60 minutes every school day.  Occasionally we will go over if we only have one left in the lesson.  I try to keep to around an hour and to every day.  Frequent and regular beats long and irregular at our house.

 

 

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Miquon, Singapore (both, in parallel), and then AoPS.

 

The elementary levels of AoPS weren't available when my kids were little, but if I were schooling a little now, I'm sure I'd use the AoPS Beast Academy materials, too. 

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We used Singapore with my oldest son.   He became a math major, but don't know if Singapore gave him enough review of basic skills at a young age.  

 

We used CLE with my youngest son.  He really liked the review and needed it at a young age.  He went on to use Derek Owens for Algebra II through Calculus.  He is entering College this fall as an engineering major.  (But we shall see....he LOVES physics thanks to Jetta!)

 

 

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Singapore, and I am very, very glad that we did because it appears to have prepped them well.

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One more thing to add: Saxon requires very little teacher support, but even so, it works best with a very strong teacher. 

 

Programs like AoPS will require tutoring and/or teacher support.  Few kids succeed with it 100% independently.

 

As for switching from one to the other, it is VERY easy to switch into Saxon at any point (because it is spiral repetition / drill), but going to AoPS will frustrate most students who are not used to a challenge.

 

The other options across the middle of the spectrum have a little more flexibility to either direction.

 

Thank you all! I have a lot to think about.

 

I am know contemplating moving my older son from Saxon to another program in preparation for AoPS. He has tried MM in the past and it did not click for him.  He is going into sixth grade and has just completed Saxon 65. Any suggestions for a specific singapore math program to help bridge the gap to AoPs?

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