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Singapore Math vs. Math Mammoth


BlueApple
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I'm looking for a complete math curriculum for my 2nd and 5th grader. I thought I was set on Singapore Math, but after some more research I'm going to add MM to the running. 

I'm looking for something which offers a lot of practice work, helps them strengthen their mental math skills, and helps builds a great foundation for middle and high school math. Would you say one of these fit the bill better than the other?
 

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Both are excellent. Both are Asian based, strong in conceptual math and mental math.

Singapore is a little less overwhelming to look at -- more white space on the page, has more conceptual "leaps" (not as clear for some students), Very mastery. There are more "pieces" -- teacher book, text, workbook etc

Math Mammoth -- pages can appear a little overwhelming (many questions on a page) mastery yet incremental (slowly builds on itself), no separate teacher book-- worktext teaches right to the student.

 

Both are great, it's just a matter of what works for your student. We chose Math Mammoth and were not disappointed. Although we did use Singapore Essentials for K. 

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My oldest went through the Singapore Essentials K books, and then moved straight into Singapore 1, and it was a great program.  But over time I started to get burnt out on all the moving pieces: a textbook, a workbook, a home instructor's guide, plus the challenging word problem book.  I realized I needed something very open and go, something that just required flipping to the next page and doing what it said.

When all the Math Mammoth pdf's went on sale at Homeschool Buyers Coop, I bought them all and have been using them with all my kids every since.  They still go through Singapore Essentials K, but then we transition to Math Mammoth 1 and use that right up through MM6 (pre-algebra).

Math Mammoth does offer a lot of practice, which can lead to the pages feeling cluttered.  Some of my kids require all the practice and do every problem on every page.  Others skip up to half of the more repetitive arithmetic problems if they can demonstrate mastery.

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Both are great.  I found SM had plenty for my oldest two, but I've printed off MM chapters from time to time for my third, who needs more reinforcement and smaller conceptual leaps.  

Both programs work great if you teach them well.  Neither will teach mental math skills unless you hover over the kid and reinforce and insist on mental techniques and add drill in the forms of games and similar.  Information on how to do that is included in both programs if you get the HIG for SM or read the chapter introductions for MM.  

MM advantages- smaller conceptual steps (IMO), ONE resource to have open on the table, more practice problems.

SM advantages- easier to accelerate when a kid gets it and is ready to move on, very customizable with add-on books (also a disadvantage due to complicating things), more detailed HIG.  

 

You get out of Asian math programs what you put into them (as a teacher).  I have a STEM degree, but still dedicated MANY hours of research on how to teach elementary math the Asian way.  Take the time to read up, watch videos, etc, and then either program will work brilliantly.  

 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

MM advantages- smaller conceptual steps (IMO), ONE resource to have open on the table, more practice problems.

SM advantages- easier to accelerate when a kid gets it and is ready to move on, very customizable with add-on books (also a disadvantage due to complicating things), more detailed HIG.  

For what it is worth, we have not had a problem accelerating MM.  My kids tend to start MM1 at the beginning of kindergarten and complete at least a level and a half per year.  My oldest finished MM6 at the beginning of 3rd grade.  My second will be finishing it shortly at the beginning of 4th grade.  My third is on pace to finish it somewhere in the same ballpark.

Also, I agree that the Singapore add-on books can be great resources, but they can just as easily be used to supplement MM.  I often had my kids working through Singapore Challenging Word Problems or Process Skills along with MM.  It still meant we were only juggling two books (MM + one Singapore book) at a time instead of textbook, workbook, HIG, supplement, etc.

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I have used both and both are good.  However, the cluttered pages in MM caused my son to break down sobbing within about 10 minutes.  Singapore is much more relaxing to the eye.  Also, I prefer the modular structure of Singapore in that it allows for more or less practice as is appropriate for the student.  It also encourages a "together" part of the lesson (textbook and activities) and as well as independent practice (workbook).   And then the extras are also helpful for special situations--for example, more advanced word problems or extra practice for those who need it.  MM is all bound up into one thing, making it difficult to parse these aspects out.

That said, what I'm calling the "modular aspect" of Singapore will sometimes drive people crazy with all the different components.

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  • BlueApple changed the title to Singapore Math vs. Math Mammoth
8 hours ago, ByGrace3 said:

Both are excellent. Both are Asian based, strong in conceptual math and mental math.

Singapore is a little less overwhelming to look at -- more white space on the page, has more conceptual "leaps" (not as clear for some students), Very mastery. There are more "pieces" -- teacher book, text, workbook etc

Math Mammoth -- pages can appear a little overwhelming (many questions on a page) mastery yet incremental (slowly builds on itself), no separate teacher book-- worktext teaches right to the student.

 

Both are great, it's just a matter of what works for your student. We chose Math Mammoth and were not disappointed. Although we did use Singapore Essentials for K. 

Hmm, it seems the cluttered pages are something to keep in mind. I do like that everyone on this thread seems to agree that MM has a lot of practice. Do you feel that not having a teacher's guide is a significant drawback, or does the worktext suffice?
 

8 hours ago, wendyroo said:

My oldest went through the Singapore Essentials K books, and then moved straight into Singapore 1, and it was a great program.  But over time I started to get burnt out on all the moving pieces: a textbook, a workbook, a home instructor's guide, plus the challenging word problem book.  I realized I needed something very open and go, something that just required flipping to the next page and doing what it said.

When all the Math Mammoth pdf's went on sale at Homeschool Buyers Coop, I bought them all and have been using them with all my kids every since.  They still go through Singapore Essentials K, but then we transition to Math Mammoth 1 and use that right up through MM6 (pre-algebra).

Math Mammoth does offer a lot of practice, which can lead to the pages feeling cluttered.  Some of my kids require all the practice and do every problem on every page.  Others skip up to half of the more repetitive arithmetic problems if they can demonstrate mastery.

Yes, that's a part of the problem for me. I have multiple kids (other than the ones I'm referring to here) and I want to avoid becoming overwhelmed by a gajillion homeschooling materials. I'd like to keep it as simple as possible without sacrificing quality of content. So if that means sticking to Singapore Math, so be it. I'm glad to hear from someone who's had success it with for such a long time.

 

8 hours ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

Both are great.  I found SM had plenty for my oldest two, but I've printed off MM chapters from time to time for my third, who needs more reinforcement and smaller conceptual leaps.  

Both programs work great if you teach them well.  Neither will teach mental math skills unless you hover over the kid and reinforce and insist on mental techniques and add drill in the forms of games and similar.  Information on how to do that is included in both programs if you get the HIG for SM or read the chapter introductions for MM.  

MM advantages- smaller conceptual steps (IMO), ONE resource to have open on the table, more practice problems.

SM advantages- easier to accelerate when a kid gets it and is ready to move on, very customizable with add-on books (also a disadvantage due to complicating things), more detailed HIG.  

 

You get out of Asian math programs what you put into them (as a teacher).  I have a STEM degree, but still dedicated MANY hours of research on how to teach elementary math the Asian way.  Take the time to read up, watch videos, etc, and then either program will work brilliantly.  

 

 

 

I'm really happy you mentioned both programs contain info on how to instill mental techniques and drills in the form of games and such. No STEM degree here, so that's huge. 

Thanks for the tip on doing research, I will definitely do that. Regardless of which one we choose, I also plan on having the kids watch Khan Academy videos explaining concepts, they do such a great job of it. 

 

7 hours ago, wendyroo said:

For what it is worth, we have not had a problem accelerating MM.  My kids tend to start MM1 at the beginning of kindergarten and complete at least a level and a half per year.  My oldest finished MM6 at the beginning of 3rd grade.  My second will be finishing it shortly at the beginning of 4th grade.  My third is on pace to finish it somewhere in the same ballpark.

Also, I agree that the Singapore add-on books can be great resources, but they can just as easily be used to supplement MM.  I often had my kids working through Singapore Challenging Word Problems or Process Skills along with MM.  It still meant we were only juggling two books (MM + one Singapore book) at a time instead of textbook, workbook, HIG, supplement, etc.

Oh wow, that's fast! Good to know that we can probably take our time with it then. Orders are so delayed right now that I was worried we wouldn't finish within our timeline of 10 months. Which SM workbooks do you feel complement MM well? I've heard great things, but there are so many!

 

7 hours ago, EKS said:

I have used both and both are good.  However, the cluttered pages in MM caused my son to break down sobbing within about 10 minutes.  Singapore is much more relaxing to the eye.  Also, I prefer the modular structure of Singapore in that it allows for more or less practice as is appropriate for the student.  It also encourages a "together" part of the lesson (textbook and activities) and as well as independent practice (workbook).   And then the extras are also helpful for special situations--for example, more advanced word problems or extra practice for those who need it.  MM is all bound up into one thing, making it difficult to parse these aspects out.

That said, what I'm calling the "modular aspect" of Singapore will sometimes drive people crazy with all the different components.

Yeah, I think I'm one of those people who would find it difficult to juggle all the different aspects. It's also our first year. I'm sure it works great for more seasoned homeschoolers who have a better measure of their kids abilities. I am thinking of getting some of the SM workbooks as supplements though. Which ones would you recommend? 

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18 minutes ago, BlueApple said:

Hmm, it seems the cluttered pages are something to keep in mind. I do like that everyone on this thread seems to agree that MM has a lot of practice.
 

Do you feel that not having a teacher's guide is a significant drawback, or does the worktext suffice?
 

Which SM workbooks do you feel complement MM well? I've heard great things, but there are so many!

The cluttered pages certainly can be an issue. I use markers to segment the pages to make them look more manageable. I use red to outline the teaching sections. Usually they are at the top of the pages, but sometimes there is one mid-page or a special note after a certain problem. That draws the kids’ attention to what needs to be read. It also lets me easily key in to the instruction when I am going over it with them either before they start working or if they run in to trouble (depending on the kid).  Then I use a different color to mark the problems I want the kiddo to do (on the first pass through).  I always mark all of the word problems and puzzle corners, but not all the straight arithmetic practice. The problems left undone can be used for a second go through if the child doesn’t get it the first day, or as review...any day they really speed through the day’s work I will have them randomly flip backwards and finish up some old undone problems. 
 

I find there is plenty of teacher help in the worktext (including in the chapter introductions).  But I might not be the best judge because I do have a couple STEM degrees and have done a lot of reading about mathematical education. 
 

I love Singapore’s Process Skills workbooks. They very explicitly teach problem solving strategies and then give problems that can be solved using each technique. I also like Challenging Word Problems, though I use them a semester or year “behind” the child’s level in MM so they can focus on the thinking, organizing and problem solving required without getting bogged down by arithmetic they haven’t yet completely mastered. 

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For me, the lack of teacher's book in Math Mammoth is a plus. I like not having to keep up with another thing, and the incremental nature of the work text does an excellent job teaching. I am a non math inclined mom taking my third child through MM with success. 

Also, my ds did get overwhelmed with the pages, a simple solution was to cut the pages into strips and just give him a section at a time. Worked great, then at the end of a lesson it was craft time and he glued the pieces onto a piece of paper to put it back together. 😂

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2 hours ago, wendyroo said:

The cluttered pages certainly can be an issue. I use markers to segment the pages to make them look more manageable. I use red to outline the teaching sections. Usually they are at the top of the pages, but sometimes there is one mid-page or a special note after a certain problem. That draws the kids’ attention to what needs to be read. It also lets me easily key in to the instruction when I am going over it with them either before they start working or if they run in to trouble (depending on the kid).  Then I use a different color to mark the problems I want the kiddo to do (on the first pass through).  I always mark all of the word problems and puzzle corners, but not all the straight arithmetic practice. The problems left undone can be used for a second go through if the child doesn’t get it the first day, or as review...any day they really speed through the day’s work I will have them randomly flip backwards and finish up some old undone problems. 
 

I find there is plenty of teacher help in the worktext (including in the chapter introductions).  But I might not be the best judge because I do have a couple STEM degrees and have done a lot of reading about mathematical education. 
 

I love Singapore’s Process Skills workbooks. They very explicitly teach problem solving strategies and then give problems that can be solved using each technique. I also like Challenging Word Problems, though I use them a semester or year “behind” the child’s level in MM so they can focus on the thinking, organizing and problem solving required without getting bogged down by arithmetic they haven’t yet completely mastered. 

okay that seems really cluttered, I will definitely use your tips to segment the pages. 

I'm going to look up the Process Skills workbooks, I've never come across them. Like I said there are sooo many associated workbooks with SM, it gets confusing. We'll save the Challenging Word Problems for some summer review. Thanks for all the tips and recommendations.

 

1 hour ago, ByGrace3 said:

For me, the lack of teacher's book in Math Mammoth is a plus. I like not having to keep up with another thing, and the incremental nature of the work text does an excellent job teaching. I am a non math inclined mom taking my third child through MM with success. 

Also, my ds did get overwhelmed with the pages, a simple solution was to cut the pages into strips and just give him a section at a time. Worked great, then at the end of a lesson it was craft time and he glued the pieces onto a piece of paper to put it back together. 😂


hehe, good to know other non mathy people have had success with this. 

LOL @your ds cutting the pages in to strips. Way to get creative 🤣

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9 hours ago, BlueApple said:

Do you feel that not having a teacher's guide is a significant drawback, or does the worktext suffice?

I'm not the best person to answer that.  Ever since I read Elementary Mathematics for Teachers, I haven't needed a teacher's guide for elementary math.

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10 hours ago, BlueApple said:

Hmm, it seems the cluttered pages are something to keep in mind. I do like that everyone on this thread seems to agree that MM has a lot of practice. Do you feel that not having a teacher's guide is a significant drawback, or does the worktext suffice?
 

Yes, that's a part of the problem for me. I have multiple kids (other than the ones I'm referring to here) and I want to avoid becoming overwhelmed by a gajillion homeschooling materials. I'd like to keep it as simple as possible without sacrificing quality of content. So if that means sticking to Singapore Math, so be it. I'm glad to hear from someone who's had success it with for such a long time.

 

I'm really happy you mentioned both programs contain info on how to instill mental techniques and drills in the form of games and such. No STEM degree here, so that's huge. 

Thanks for the tip on doing research, I will definitely do that. Regardless of which one we choose, I also plan on having the kids watch Khan Academy videos explaining concepts, they do such a great job of it. 

 

Oh wow, that's fast! Good to know that we can probably take our time with it then. Orders are so delayed right now that I was worried we wouldn't finish within our timeline of 10 months. Which SM workbooks do you feel complement MM well? I've heard great things, but there are so many!
 

I do not use the HIG for SM. I started teaching it before the HIG guides were out. I also do not use the extra books. I teach from the textbook and they do their independent work from the workbook. At best, I supplement with other things (i.e. computer games regular games, flash cards, etc) to reinforce skills or to drill math facts and such. I do not feel that more and more workbook or worksheets are the way to really learn. I prefer to have a variety.

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Since this is your first year and you are playing a bit of catch-up with some kids, I would not worry about supplemental books.  Just choose either MM or SM textbook+workbook+HIG.  In addition to this "spine", add in some kind of fact game, either addition or multiplication depending on the student- ideally get an app or use Xtramath.com or something so that the child can do it independently.  

Asian math isn't "tricky" or harder to understand, but it is a system that requires a bit of study for those of us that didn't use it growing up.  The good news is, you only have to re-learn elementary math once, and then you're fine for all your kids.  😄   You may find that you move from feeling like a "not mathy" person to a person who LOVES math, simply by re-teaching yourself elementary math the Asian way.  It can be a hugely rewarding experience!  

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I prefer SM and used it until my oldest was ready for pre-algebra and she was definitely prepared for pre-algebra as well as algebra. It was a great foundation. I love enough that I’m planning on using it straight through with my youngest. We’re working though 3a/b this year. 
 

We tried MM a couple of times because I liked the idea of just one book and my daughter found it too cluttered and didn’t like the explanations. She felt they were too confusing and worded odd. In SM we only use the HIG, textbook, and workbook. I had used the challenging word problems for a few years, but felt it was overkill. 

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We tried both and agree they are similar in methodology--conceptual and mastery-based--but not necessarily Asian-based. Kumon is also Asian-based but very procedural-focused. Think the author of Math Mammoth is from Germany anyway. 

 

I, as Asian and a former engineer, much prefer MM. I think it is very solid, thorough and comprehensive with enough practices you can choose from. We found the author's free YouTube video lectures helpful, esp. for MM7 (pre-algebra). Love its reasonable price, too. 

 

While it worked well and gave an excellent foundation for my older ds, however, my younger dd hated the busy layout of MM. She preferred colorful pages, cute animated characters, and less crowded layouts of SM Primary Math Standards Ed. I never needed HIGs but Primary Math textbooks, workbooks, and answer keys together were still expensive. I personally didn't find SM worth the price tag but, oh well, that's what she's stuck with so far. (She's currently doing 4B.) Each kid is different, so you might want to try samples and see which one fits your student better.  

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We’ve had mostly Singapore but occasionally math mammoth

math mammoth pros were the cost.  Especially if you buy digital and print for multiple kids.  And the all in one instead of managing multiple books.  
 

Singapore advantages are the teachers guide and the colourful clean layout.  We don’t always use all of the program (sometimes we just talk about it verbally and the kids do the workbook). But I really like having the extra guidance in case I need different ways to explain.  And it’s very strong on the mental math component.  Disadvantages are when it teaches long division (before learning all times table facts) and the cost especially for us with shipping to Aus.  However it has stayed as our core even when I’ve supplemented elsewhere.  

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  • 8 months later...
On 9/21/2020 at 10:30 PM, wendyroo said:

The cluttered pages certainly can be an issue. I use markers to segment the pages to make them look more manageable. I use red to outline the teaching sections. Usually they are at the top of the pages, but sometimes there is one mid-page or a special note after a certain problem. That draws the kids’ attention to what needs to be read. It also lets me easily key in to the instruction when I am going over it with them either before they start working or if they run in to trouble (depending on the kid).  Then I use a different color to mark the problems I want the kiddo to do (on the first pass through).  I always mark all of the word problems and puzzle corners, but not all the straight arithmetic practice. The problems left undone can be used for a second go through if the child doesn’t get it the first day, or as review...any day they really speed through the day’s work I will have them randomly flip backwards and finish up some old undone problems. 
 

I find there is plenty of teacher help in the worktext (including in the chapter introductions).  But I might not be the best judge because I do have a couple STEM degrees and have done a lot of reading about mathematical education. 
 

I love Singapore’s Process Skills workbooks. They very explicitly teach problem solving strategies and then give problems that can be solved using each technique. I also like Challenging Word Problems, though I use them a semester or year “behind” the child’s level in MM so they can focus on the thinking, organizing and problem solving required without getting bogged down by arithmetic they haven’t yet completely mastered. 

Could you just give me an idea how many word problems are in Singapore’s Process Skills workbooks? Thank you.

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18 minutes ago, Brill786 said:

Could you just give me an idea how many word problems are in Singapore’s Process Skills workbooks? Thank you.

Process Skills workbooks are all word problems. They have samples to look at on the Singapore site.

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1 minute ago, wendyroo said:

Process Skills workbooks are all word problems. They have samples to look at on the Singapore site.

Yes,I saw them. I just want to know approximately how many word problems are in each lesson/ section or unit? As challenging word problems have around 300 word problems in each book. 

I have to decide on one book so thought to ask before the purchase.

If you tell me the approximate count of word problems in Process skills workbooks. Less than 100 or 200?

Thank you very much!
 

 

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17 minutes ago, Brill786 said:

Yes,I saw them. I just want to know approximately how many word problems are in each lesson/ section or unit? As challenging word problems have around 300 word problems in each book. 

I have to decide on one book so thought to ask before the purchase.

If you tell me the approximate count of word problems in Process skills workbooks. Less than 100 or 200?

Thank you very much!
 

 

Sure.

I happen to be looking at Process Skills level 4:

Randomly looking at chapter 3, it has 3 subsections.
3.1 has 3 example problems and 8 problems to work.
3.2 has 2 example problems and 6 problems to work (2 of which are marked as challenge problems).
3.3 has 1 example problem and 4 problems to work.

There are 10 chapters with 22 subsections total.
So I estimate there are about 130 problems total in the book.

Hope that helps.

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4 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

Sure.

I happen to be looking at Process Skills level 4:

Randomly looking at chapter 3, it has 3 subsections.
3.1 has 3 example problems and 8 problems to work.
3.2 has 2 example problems and 6 problems to work (2 of which are marked as challenge problems).
3.3 has 1 example problem and 4 problems to work.

There are 10 chapters with 22 subsections total.
So I estimate there are about 130 problems total in the book.

Hope that helps.

It really helped me! My Dd is always in tears with the word problems so I am deciding to start Process skills work book instead of CWP ( which I assume is more challenging than Process skills Wkbk ) with SM 5 TB n WB. Any suggestions for the child who dislikes word problems?
 

Thank you very much! 

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9 minutes ago, Brill786 said:

It really helped me! My Dd is always in tears with the word problems so I am deciding to start Process skills work book instead of CWP ( which I assume is more challenging than Process skills Wkbk ) with SM 5 TB n WB. Any suggestions for the child who dislikes word problems?
 

Thank you very much! 

My kids have found the Process Skills books a bit easier than the CWP. I like the Process Skills example problems more - they don't just solve the problems, but explicitly explain their thinking every step of the way.

For my most reluctant problem solver, I went though and renumbered the exercise problems in each subsection. First I would have them do the problems that exactly mimicked one of the example problems. Next they would do the problems that were very close to the example problems with just a tiny twist. Finally I would have them do the problems that required them to take the concept and apply it differently than any of the example problems.

I also really like Becoming a Problem Solving Genius: A Handbook of Math Strategies by Zaccaro. It teaches specific problem solving strategies that a child can try if they look at a problem and just freeze. You do have to be careful, though, because a few of his problems require skills my kids had not yet learned. I ended up teaching them very basic probability and how to find the area of a circle - they didn't have any trouble learning either of those skills, but I had to make sure I pre-read the problems to see if there was anything I needed to pre-teach. Overall, though, I thought it was a good resource...and the fun, illustrated format of it made it more appealing to the kids.

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Posted (edited)

Both are excellent programs. However, when it comes to Singapore Math, a lot of people are referencing MIF as Singapore Math even though it is actually American made, based on Singapore Methods. However, everyone uses Singapore Methods these days.

I do not use the challenging word problems books. I do have them and sometimes, will pull from them for something extra on a day, but we do not simply work from them. I do not think it is good to use all of just one program. I mean, it is fine, it is just not how I do it. What I found frustrating with MM was the long list of links to try out various math websites that each level came with. And the tons of videos. What I am trying to say is, both programs can be as complicated as you make it. I found MM to have more moving parts than Singapore Math. But I also realize I do not have to use all moving parts. 

I like both programs. MM goes a little slower, but not much slower. For me, it drives me nuts to cross out problems on a workbook. Literally, that was what tipped the scales back to Singapore Math for me. I taught Singapore Math in a small private school many years ago (and then taught summer school for two summers). 

If you want a third option, there is BJU math. It is from a Christian curriculum, but is very strong, uses Singapore methods. But, it was slow moving which would be great for the classroom. And again, I hate crossing out problems. But it is an excellent curriculum. The pages are less cluttered like Singapore Math, while having more built in review like MM. One thing about BJU, even though they sell tons of review books and activity books, just skip all that. So if you want to use BJU, get the teachers guide used and the workbook new (unless you can find a barely used one) and skip the rest.  As far as quality goes, I would consider all three of these programs to use similar methods and to have pretty equal quality. Also, back to SM, if you go with that, get the textbooks and answer keys used and the workbooks new. I have lucked out and many times, can find a used/new workbook for cheap. I already have the textbooks and answer keys from the older kids.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We switched to MM last year after years of Singapore (my oldest went from 1st to 6th with Singapore) and I am not looking back! 

I love that MM is written TO the student. Older kids can nearly learn it by themselves, or when they need help, it's super easy for me to jump in right where they're at since the guidance is right there and I can easily move from kid to kid and understand it. I never liked the teacher guides for Singapore; they felt hard to teach from since although I'm good at math, I'm definitely not a natural teacher of it. After our switch to MM, I no longer had to worry about doing a math lesson with each kid, so it took a lot off my plate.

I appreciated the smaller steps, more practice problems for mastery, and videos to accompany when I didn't have time to help, or just for the "cool" factor. Plus, it goes through pre-algebra. And it's super thorough, rigorous, etc., so I don't feel like I have to worry about missing anything.

The best parts: when my kids mastered a topic early, we got to cross out problems, and we got to purchase a stuffed mammoth as our "math support animal." Happy people all around.

Singapore is fantastic for math-motivated parents and/or kids. But while we're all fine with math, that's just not us! So we will happily stick with MM!

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