Jump to content

Menu

Singapore or Rod & Staff math?


Allison TX
 Share

Recommended Posts

Which one would you choose and why?

 

My ds 5 has finished Horizons K and Singapore Early Bird, and he is now almost done with Singapore 1a and about 1/4 way through Horizons 1 book 1.  He still has not memorized all +/- facts, but can do most of them fairly quickly in his head, and he understands the concepts.

 

I was using both programs to see which would be a better fit, but I don't want to continue with two programs if possible.  I think I like the mastery approach better than spiral, so I was leaning towards Singapore.   

 

But Singapore scares me for some reason- I've tried it three times with my older kids and gave up each time.  It is so different than how I was taught math, so I don't feel super comfortable teaching it, but it seems to be the most suggested program for a "mathy" kid. I feel like I will be shortchanging my ds if I use something else.

 

And now I'm considering using Memoria  Press, and they use Rod and Staff.  I've been reading about why they selected R&S for math and it makes sense to me.  But is it a good choice for a "mathy" kid?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, if you've tried Singapore three times and haven't been able to pull it off, there's your answer. :-)

 

I like Rod and Staff's math series, but there's really no way to know if your ds would like it until you try it. If you decide to do it, be sure to follow the oral class time instruction in the teacher manual.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have you looked at math in focus? Maybe the tm would give you the background and structure to feel confident teaching it. Although I haven’t used r&s math, I would feel fine trying it. I think there is altogether too much fuss made over the traditional vs conceptual approach. I actually am starting to think that differences are more from selection bias than the pedagogy implemented. If you really feel that a mathy kid needs some extra challenge, perhaps a supplement would be better. There are many good ones to choose from.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am using Rod and Staff math with my 4th grade dd. I had never looked at it for my older kids but when my dd started K, I really wanted a full curriculum in a box and I chose MP and committed to using it without tweaking.

 

Rod and Staff math has really grown on me and my dd is doing very well. It is not fancy or fun but I feel like she has developed very solid skills and it has been relatively painless. I have allowed her to write in the textbook to save the angst of all the copying and I have followed the MP lesson plans. Occasionally MP will have us skipping a review section or combining lessons and that is helpful guidance. I also just kind of threw the textbook at dd in K-3 and told her to do the pages pretty much on her own because I was busy and distracted. This year I have been disciplined about doing the whole lesson as written with the oral drill. I realize now I had I had been missing an effective part of the program by not spending those few minutes teaching. Now that I am spending that time math is going smoothly and painlessly and she is really solidifying her skills.

 

I never used Singapore but did use a variety of things with my three older kids and I am completely happy with Rod and Staff for dd now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This year I have been disciplined about doing the whole lesson as written with the oral drill. I realize now I had I had been missing an effective part of the program by not spending those few minutes teaching. Now that I am spending that time math is going smoothly and painlessly and she is really solidifying her skills.

 

 

Yes!! All of the actual instruction (1st through 3rd) is in the teacher manual. The seatwork is only reinforcing what the teacher taught. :-)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love Rod and Staff and have used it with two very different learners. Both benefitted. I used it as the plans say, using all of the teaching instructions and creating the manipulatives and learning posters in the early grades. By end of middle school, my kids usually do pretty well with just reading the lessons on their own from the book and going forward. I was really sad when we finished grade 8 with my odd and I had to find something else for high school. 

 

I found R&S before I even found WTM. I actually read WTM the first time because I read on a forum that they recommended R&S English. I knew by then that I liked R&S everything a lot, and wanted to read more from a method that embraced it. When I read how to do math in WTM and learned more about classical ed, I realized that is exactly how R&S teaches math- very traditionally, very classically. All of the reasons that MP was able to eloquently give were what I had already figured out about R&S and why I never switched to WTM materials when I discovered it to use as our more permanent S&S. 

Edited by 2_girls_mommy
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, if you've tried Singapore three times and haven't been able to pull it off, there's your answer. :-)

 

I've only used Singapore, and I do like it, but I agree with the above - if Singapore's never worked for you thus far, I wouldn't pick it unless you had a decent idea what went wrong and a concrete, doable plan for how to fix it.  If nothing changes, then nothing changes, kwim?

 

 

But Singapore scares me for some reason- I've tried it three times with my older kids and gave up each time.  It is so different than how I was taught math, so I don't feel super comfortable teaching it, but it seems to be the most suggested program for a "mathy" kid. I feel like I will be shortchanging my ds if I use something else.

 

ITU defaulting to teaching math in the way you yourself were taught.  I think it's the natural default for most people unless they have a strong reason to learn a new way.  On subjects I'm weak in, I'm pretty motivated to learn a new way (or else the subject is just going to be dropped entirely, which has definitely happened, too).  But it's hard, and I at least don't have the time or energy to do that for *every* subject.  SM happens to match how I naturally think (albeit not how I was taught), which is the only reason it works for me, because I'm good at math and so I'm not really interested in learning a whole new way to think of math when my current way works perfectly well.

 

It sounds like you are caught between feeling like the math approach you know works perfectly well, and the fear that "perfectly well" for a math-talented kid is an entirely different beast from perfectly well for everyone else.  IME, the two main things SM offers that many other contemporary math programs don't is:

1) a different way of looking at numbers and how to work with them (that's where the vaunted "conceptual" label comes from), as well as a different way of approaching word problems, and

2) more difficult problems, that require students to apply their basic arithmetic skills in deeper and more complex ways.

 

WRT the "conceptual" aspect, I agree with pp that a solid traditional program, taught by a teacher who understands what they are teaching, is solid enough for *any* kid, no matter how mathy. 

 

WRT the more difficult problems aspect, I do think this is a great strength of SM.  SM's problems go beyond anything I was asked to do in elementary (especially the Intensive Practice (IP) problems); my kids breeze through the SM workbook, but IP requires so much more of them.  I absolutely think that kids who work through something like IP are building greater skills than kids who never have a chance to work through something like that. 

 

However, I don't think that SM is the *only* program that offers those sorts of "stretching" problems.  (In Anthony Esolen's "Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child", he has an example of an arithmetic math puzzle kind of problem in the upper levels of Ray's Arithmetic (or a program like it).  It opened my eyes to how you don't need to get to algebra in order to do interesting things.)  Also, you can add in selected SM books as supplements without needing to use SM as your primary program.  The FAN Math Process Skills in Problem Solving books are great as a self-contained intro to SM-style problem solving.  And you could certainly add in the IP books - no instruction, but a great variety and depth of problems.

 

And even if you don't add anything at all to R&S or some other traditional program, you'll still be building a base of solid arithmetic skills and understanding, which is the needed foundation for *everyone*, mathy or otherwise.  Mathy kids often don't need as much *time* to build that foundation, so they have the time to go deeper (and not just faster), but all is not lost if they don't have a chance to go deeper in their first decade of life ;).

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone for the detailed responses. : ) 

 

It seems that many people have had success with R&S- I just don't see it mentioned much on these boards.  

 

The reasons Singapore didn't work for us previously (it's been 10+ years since I've used it!) were probably because I was a new homeschooler at the time and didn't feel very confident teaching math, and because it was a different approach to math than how I was taught, and my older kids got frustrated with it and seemed to need more hands on and repetition. I didn't use it very long with any of them.

 

The only thing that has changed is that I've seen a lot of people have success with Singapore, which for some reason gives me more confidence that the approach works. : )  And this child picks up math concepts easily and quickly, so I'm thinking he may not need as much drill and repetition as the others needed.

 

 My plan was to finish out the year with Singapore and Horizons combo, but I would really prefer to just use one program.  And if I'm going to make a switch to R&S, I'd rather do it sooner than later.  Maybe I should finish out the year with Singapore, see how it goes, and re-evaluate over the summer?

 

I'm sure this seems silly, but he is my first kid that LOVES math and it comes easily to him, so I don't want to screw it up!  :lol: 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like R&S math and think it gives a fabulous base...but there are multiple ways you can use it. 

 

 

  • Just R&S alone is fine.  Really.  Don't skip the oral lessons in the TM; but you could condense or combine textbook lessons for a child who is math oriented and doesn't need all that written review.  Condensing lessons as needed makes it easy to accelerate the sequence so a motivated learner can finish all the books be ready for an algebra course in 8th grade.   You should know that the workbooks for 2nd grade have a lot of written work and repetition.  Lots.  :) --  This was just what one of mine needed, but his sister would have withered if I made her do it all. She did R&S 2 orally ( using the TM) and Singapore was her main math for 2nd grade--see next point...

 

  • I have used R&S as oral math in grades K-3 (using R&S 1-3), while using other programs (Singapore, Miquon, or MEP, depends on the child) as the main text--I do oral teaching part from the TM, and have the child work through a few sample problems from the student texts on the whiteboard.  5 or 10 minutes total.  Then on to other main math text's lesson.  This combo has been very effective for 2 of mine so far.  They get consistent review and drill,  AND the stretching of concepts with a different program.  DO NOT worry about trying to make the programs line up ( both teaching same thing at same time.)  You will go crazy, and your child will get bored. Ask me how I know.... ;)

 

  • R&S is still a good base in 4-6 grades.  I'm on my fourth time through those books, and appreciate the way R&S makes fractions, decimals and other topics easy to understand and builds very gently. Do not skip the oral math bits in the TM.   Once again, an advanced child can advance through the lessons by doing odds or evens only, and sometimes combining lessons. You could also skip the year end reviews if they are not needed.  My more math able kids have enjoyed adding in Khan Academy or Alcumus in addition to R&S.  One child did very well adding in Singapore's CWP and IP books for occasional fun.  Either way, the additional math was something THEY did a few times a week for pleasure, not *one more thing* that I scheduled in.  No pressure to finish a level or complete a book, just have fun.  One kid loved Vi Hart's videos on Khan.   So far, two of mine have needed/wanted that extra math, two have been fine with just R&S, used "normally".  One of my current high schoolers who is quick in math did R&S 4-7 at grade level, then went to Dolciani Pre-Algebra, and is now using a Dolciani and Foerster Algebra combo with no issues. Plain old boring R&S math prepared him well. :)

One thing I like very much about R&S math is that it is easy to teach and get done consistently, with multiple children and multiple grades.  The best math for your child *as a student* and you *as a teacher*  is the one that can get done consistently with understanding.  R&S was also cheaper than Singapore....

 

I *do* understand the concern about not wanting to shortchange your mathy child, and the reputation that Singapore has for being sooo good.  Singapore was good for three of mine in 1-3.  R&S was also good.  :)

 

So, to sum up my ramblings, both Singapore and R&S will prepare a child for upper level math.  My math able children who have used or are using R&S math are doing very well, test well on standardized tests, and enjoy math.  Just be aware that R&S 1-3 does go slower than Singapore, with more review.  A mathy child *may* want or need to condense the books or supplement with something like Singapore's IP books or Khan Academy.  By R&S 4-6, I think the books are at grade level compared to most  programs, and can be used as written very successfully by most children.  I also like R&S 7 and 8, but their *amount* of algebra coverage is less compared to some pre-algebra programs today.  The topics *are* there, but not as much time is spent on them.   Which can be a plus if you have a hormonal jr high child who is losing brain cells. ;)  But a math able child can accelerate through the upper books and move on to something more challenging.  One of mine (so far) went to Dolciani Pre-A  and loved it.

 

 

Edited by Zoo Keeper
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Every time I look at Singapore it seems to me that the child has to be already able to read to use it or the parent would have to read the directions to them while doing the workbook. Since my DS was a late and resistant reader and the Singapore method was not one I was familiar with I wanted something I could teach more easily and not feel like I wasn't explaining it correctly.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Happy R&Sers here in our 2nd year. We enjoy the simplicity, and the Oral Drill is really GOLDEN.  It is building stamina in my children counting, which has surprised me that they needed.  I was under the mistaken impression that if the child UNDERSTOOD it, could count to 100, etc. that counting 150-249 would be easy, but actually, my children's internal patterning starts to break down--I wouldn't have known that until it was too late but for these prompts in the TManual.  We never got this kind of counting in Right Start or Saxon. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...