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Switching from Singapore to ???


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We've been doing Singapore math since K. I really like it. I did terribly in math when I was a kid, and never really understood how things worked or why. Singapore has helped me to think mathematically. 

B is going into 4th grade. She has always been slow at math. It takes a while for her to grasp new concepts. It takes foreverrrrrrrr for her to do mental math and her workbook pages. We are way back at the beginning of 3b because math takes her so long. If she has a bad day and only gets 5 questions done, we can't double up the next day because she's not capable of doing that many questions. This is giving me flashbacks to my 4th grade year, when I was the slowest in the whole class at multiplication facts. Most often, she knows how to do the work, but the gears in her brain turn so slowly.

I'm posting her standardized test scores, but will take them down eventually. Would you all recommend switching, and what might be a good fit? (I am unwilling to teach Saxon after my experience with it as a child.)

Thank you in advance! 

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Saxon used to be the standard suggestion for someone for whom Singapore was a bit much. 

What do you want out of the program? More or easier practice in order to speed her up? A program that explicitly proceeds more slowly?

Not sure I'm reading it correctly, but her scores are great outside of computation. Maybe just supplement that? I've heard Kumon centers use timed trials to boost computational speed. 

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I think it would be rash to switch.  If this is her first standardized test, it probably doesn’t reflect her true ability on the computation.  Rather, it is probably showing a combo of not being automatic in computation and not having well-developed test-taking skills.  That section is designed to be all about speed.  Iirc, it is not even included in the math total.  It looks like she understands what is happening with the numbers, and imo that is more important than the comp speed.  Anybody can use a calculator, but they have to know which numbers to put into the calculator.  If she was more than one standard deviation below average, it might make sense to supplement or retest/investigate issues, but I don’t think that is warranted at this point.

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To me her problem solving score is indicative of the success that Singapore is.  Her computational score is average, it’s just a lot lower than her problem solving.  I would suggest a few things:

- patience (she’s doing well, it just takes a longer time)

- reduce the number of problems 

- have two shorter sessions spread out during the day in which to complete her problems

- have a work environment *she* is comfortable in (I have one who loved sitting on the next to last stair from the top, another likes low lighting, another has to have noise/headphones)

- let her use her multiplication chart for everything except mental math (my children became fluent with their facts later, in part because they looked them up over and over and memorized them that way)

- practice developing computational speed and accuracy apart from the curriculum.  Play games involving math computation,  use graph paper to help her keep her work aligned (reducing some errors), have correct someone else’s work do errors

She is understanding the math - that’s key! - and she may just have a slower processing speed (not much you or any curriculum can do about that), or having some brain fog associated with growing. I wouldn’t jump ship.

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The computation portion is really just a timed test..like math facts. Do not worry about the lower score on that. If you want, have her do math drills. That is the only thing that will fix that. No math curriculum will fix that.

 

If she is really dragging her feet and that is the part that concerns you, I would not do Saxon. We are way beyond the days of Saxon or Singapore only. There are a million programs in between the two. I like Horizon's, BJU, MUS (not practical to switch to at this point), CLE, and a few others. I have to run now.

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I would stick with Singapore.  My understanding is that kids start Singapore math at around age 9, so the levels are about a year advanced.  So 3a and 3b are the 4th grade level.  And I would be super happy with those standardized test scores.  I really always only look at the Grade Level Equivalents, and you have nicely and way above grade level in two areas, and nicely at grade level in the other area.  She's doing great!  You're doing great!  Stick with Singapore!

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The thought of switching is mostly because she hates math and takes so so long to do it. And I don't know if a different curriculum would make it easier learning math facts. I've resisted switching, telling myself that a shiny new curriculum won't make her fall in love with math. But I don't know...maybe something else could make math less painful.

It will be hard for me to have her working in 3rd grade books in 4th grade, especially since she's working a grade lower in spelling, and a number lower than her grade in ELTL. I know it shouldn't matter, but somehow it's a big deal to me.

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Also, if your child is doing level 3B for the end of third grade, your child is well ahead of grade level. Singapore Math Primary (US edition or original) is a good year ahead. The numbers are Singapore levels, not US grades. 

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I wouldn't worry about her grade level not matching the number on the book. This is why we homeschool, right? Because in a classroom setting, the class would race on ahead whether she had mastered previous concepts or not. At home you can go at her pace, and eventually everything will probably start to click and she'll speed up on her own.

FWIW, the Singapore grade 6 book is mostly review. I think the extra practice is a good thing. However, if by grade 6 you're still in grade 5 book, that's okay because you've got some wiggle room where if you don't end up making it all the way through the level 6 books, it was just review anyway. I'd view 6th grade as the year to get caught up to grade level, if it is still a concern for you by then.

Doing Singapore put my son on pace to complete Algebra I in 8th grade. Algebra I is a standard 9th grade course, so even if you are one grade behind all the way through eighth grade, you are still right on schedule for 9th grade level work. You can do Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and Precalculus in high school and be prepared to enter a STEM major in college. I'm seeing no disadvantages long term for a 4th grader to be in 3B. 

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Agree with Targhee. Those scores just show Singapore is working because the problem solving is high. If you are worried about computation, add some fact drills. She's not behind on anything and I wouldn't switch personally. If it's not broke, don't fix it.

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Have you looked at Math in Focus? I really hated math and was dreading teaching it. I had read how great Asian style math was but that MIF breaks it up into more steps. I wanted something easy to teach and MIF fits. The text is also very colorful and fun which might appeal. My DS just finished 2 and the amount of problems assigned daily is really pretty small. There’s a recommended schedule (it’s meant for classrooms) and we often at least doubled the assignment. There’s only a few problems per page so it’s not overwhelming. We school year round, if you are working over the summer you could help her not lose skills and make progress.

I just discovered Xtramath.org which I recommend. I was looking for something to help DS work on his multiplication tables but when he took the practice test he wasn’t proficient enough on his math facts for that level. He needed to improve and have quicker recall of things like 8+7. It assigns problems everyday and only has him do it for a short bit everyday. It’s really been improving his math facts.

What about trying a variety to help her? DS can get frustrated with math but really enjoys Miquon and Beast so he’s doing those along with MIF. Some days he might do a few pages in one of all.

 

 

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I think sticking with Singapore is a good idea.

Consider adding a decently sized set of Cuisenaire rods for fact practice. This site has free games and learning activities to use with the rods. http://www.educationunboxed.com/

My son started used rods to do all kinds of things, including factor numbers. He really internalized the value of the rods. Eventually, he would touch the rods vs. manipulate them. Then he'd picture the rods while they sat next to him. It really helped him with a lot of his math facts, and he could calculate with them very quickly.

They are rather fun too! 

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Singapore is working for her, she's just not got the math facts down. How long does it take her to do the 5 questions?  Do you work year round or are you in summer break?

Not knowing the answers to those questions, I'd probably start math now rather than the fall, and do it on Saturdays too.

I'd also shorten the lessons, or possibly break them into two.  Are you familiar with the pomodoro method? The idea is that you can put good focus on something for only so long, and your productivity will increase if you limit your work sessions to 25 minutes and then give a 5 minute break. Use a timer to enforce the time, and let her know the goal is to work hard and not dawdle and then math will be over faster. This will hopefully not only motivate her, it will provide the bit of pressure that means she'll likely perform better on standardized tests. If she's currently working for an hour or more, split her time into two 25 minute sessions, one at the beginning of the day and one at the end, followed by a 5 minute break. If she's only doing half an hour a day, start at two 15 minute sessions with a 5 minute break, and weekly add one minute to the timer (week 2 = 16 minutes, week 4 = 18 minutes, etc).

Then get a big bag of whatever candy works for her and practice flashcard drills.  Practice them after every meal and at every snack.  Practice them while waiting in line. Practice them at stoplights.  I'd start with skip counting instead of flashcards, so she gets some intuition of what the multiples of each number are. Then learn flashcards, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division 1-12. Break them down into what the first number is so she doesn't have too much review or too much sugar at one sitting. Every time she gets a card right, she gets an M&M (or whatever) and the card goes down on the desk. If she gets it wrong, you tell her the answer and push that card to the back of the stack. Keep going until she knows the answer, then review the facedown cards once. You'll quickly get a feel for which numbers she doesn't know, and you'll be spending less than 2 minutes per drill.

I'd offer her a reward of if she learned all the facts perfectly by September 1 (or whenever you think is reasonable), then she'll get _____ reward.  Maybe a mani-pedi with mom. Maybe out to eat at her favorite restaurant. Maybe a banana split at the neighborhood ice cream shop. Whatever is motivating but not so ridiculous you'll regret offering it.

You can also try the multiplication songs on YouTube. They don't work well for my family but some families love them.

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I highly recommend CLE math.  It gives you tiny bits of new concepts and cements them to ones you know.  Very one step at a time approach.  Look at samples online and see if it might be a good fit.  We had tried Math Mammoth and briefly looked at Singapore before switching to CLE.  My kiddo had trouble getting from point A to point D, and other curriculums just assumed you could get there yourself.  CLE introduces each step and is just solid.

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I switched my DD12 from SM to CLE and it has been great. She is still working below grade level but she’s catching up, understanding it, and feeling much more confident overall with her math abilities. We had used SM through 3B or 4A and it was a struggle every day. Her younger sister was catching up quickly and we needed a change. CLE has been a great fit. 

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I’m adding my voice to the “switched from Singapore to CLE” camp as well.  We were in your similar boat, DD was in 3rd but had tested into 2A (I think) so did 2A and 2B in third grade year.  IT.WAS.A.STRUGGLE.  Neither her nor my mind worked that way (though I wish it would have).  Math was a drama scene almost every day and we were falling farther and farther behind.  End of the year, I knew we needed a change.  Investigated here and found many voices recommending CLE.  Tested her into 304 for this past fourth grade year (about halfway through the third grade year as Singapore just had not been grasped) and I can’t remember a single day this year where we have had tears.  She scored a 92% for the year for math which definitely would not have happened last year.  I would have loved for Singapore to be “easy” for her, but it just wasn’t.

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  • 4 weeks later...

My middle child has really struggled to memorize math facts. It was so much easier when I just let him use a multiplication chart while doing math. He still had to memorize his facts (and is still working on getting faster), but having the chart made it so much faster and so much less frustrating for him. I'll throw in my vote for Math in Focus. 

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I love Singapore Math but my youngest dd really did not like it, despite learning well with it. I switched her over to Math Mammoth as it is a very similar teaching method but different look to the workbook etc. My dd really preferred it so I thought I'd just offer that as an alternative to still using the method but in a slightly different way. MM is also a fairly good price.

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