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Combining Saxon and Singapore


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Hey all! I really want to stick with Saxon math for us but I would love to be able to incorporate Singapore math as well to bulk up the practice and take advantage of the deeper mathematical thinking at the lower levels. However, I find that I'm spending a lot of time trying to align the two and digging through materials for looong planning sessions.

I tried searching around but I am mostly finding comparisons rather than people using them together. So I'm wondering if any of you combine the two and if so, what tricks do you have for planning out your lessons. Thanks!

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Are you thinking of doing this just for preK and K, or longer term? This sub-board is pretty quiet and generally limited just to those years. It may help you to put this on a more active board, like the k8 or general Ed boards. 

Meanwhile, which elements of Saxon are you finding most valuable and where do you find it to be weak? I haven't used either program, but it sounds like you are finding Saxon to be short on practice, which is a criticism I haven't heard, and weak on deep mathematical thinking, which I have heard from some people. Including those details and little about your kids might help people give more useful advice. Good luck!

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Hi, and welcome to the WTM forums!  There are so many thoughtful folks here and I'm sure you'll get some good answers to your question. 

Singapore + Saxon would be an unusual combination! You refer to Singapore being helpful for your kids to gain a deeper understanding, but you seem to have some concerns that it might not have enough practice on its own.  I'm going to try to persuade you that Singapore will give you what you need without using Saxon at all 🙂

Saxon is a procedural math program; it's good at having students memorise all the steps to complete a particular kind of problem and has lots and lots of practice to help them memorise.  Like @XahmI have never heard anyone say Saxon doesn't have enough practice! 

Singapore on the other hand is a conceptual program.  It uses a concrete - pictorial - abstract approach to help students deeply understand what's going on and *why* the math works - so my kid working on division at the moment started with base 10 blocks and physically sorted them into piles, trading tens for ones etc as needed.  Then he began to be able to just look at the blocks or a picture of items and understand the problem without moving anything, and now is beginning to hold the concept of division and the base 10 model in his mind as he works the traditional long division algorithm on paper.  Because Singapore teaches the "why", kids shouldn't need as much practice - if my long division kid forgets the algorithm when we come back to it next time, he might drag out the base 10 blocks and that alone will probably be enough to spark his memory of what to do next.  The program encourages flexible thinking and it's okay to use what they know to come up with a different way to find the answer.

I was a humanities student at college, not a math one.  I did really well up to grade 10 with my school's procedural approach, but part way through grade 11 I seemed to hit a limit to how many formulas I could mindlessly plug into questions - or maybe the limit was how to apply formulas I didn't thoroughly understand to unfamiliar problems.  Wanting to avoid that for my kids is one reason I went with Singapore, and it's deepening my own understanding as well as serving my kids really well.  Have you seen the home instructor guide?  It's like a teacher book but specifically structured for a home environment with one or maybe a small group of students instead of a class.  It tells you how to teach each concept "the Singapore way" and is semi-scripted.  There are card games and things sprinkled through that are designed for just two people.  We don't use it every lesson, but if I'm rusty on a concept or my kid is not getting it, the home instructor guide always has my back.

If you decide to go with Singapore but still feel there isn't enough practice, there are a few options.  Within the Singapore family there are books called "Challenging Word Problems" which live up to their name and extend students' thinking and understanding, but there are also "Extra Practice" books that don't get harder, but simply provide more practice at level.  Or, you could use some pages from another conceptual math program.  Math Mammoth is popular on these boards - it's relatively cheap and you can buy a single level as a PDF and just print what you need.  Because Singapore is a conceptual program, your kids should understand what's going on with place value/trading or borrowing or carrying in subtraction/whatever other concept they're learning, and should be able to pick up a different publisher's workbook and still understand the questions even if they're presented a little differently.

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