# I've met my match with Singapore math

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My ds has done Singapore math levels 1-5. I have needed very little help with teaching, and haven't ever used the HIG. As a matter of fact, he has pretty much self-taught with this curriculum. Around level 5, he had to ask for help with a few word problems. I did have a solutions guide, and maybe 3 or 4 times I had to consult that to figure things out.

Now, we're in level 6. He was sailing along, then we hit some of the percent of a percent probelms. These are hard! I don't really even understand the methods taught in the book. I don't even know how to use these with algebra. I only had the answer key, and usually I am quite good at teasing out the method by working backwards from the answer. There were some I couldn't even do that way.

I told ds to take a break from Singapore and work on LoF Fractions/Decimals.

Now I have bitten the bullet and got the HIG. I have the task of looking over the HIG, and trying to understand the methods myself.

Anyway, I had always heard that Singapore got hard, and I was wondering when it would get that way. Now I know. :D

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some of these can be tricky -- not just in Singapore, but in any curriculum. I frequently find that the wording of the problems is ambiguous, so that what they're asking is not what I think they're asking.

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Anyway, I had always heard that Singapore got hard, and I was wondering when it would get that way. Now I know. :D

My dd had the hardest time with SM 5, and not as much with 6 (but when she did, it was challenging). I think it's different for different kids.

Do you draw what you know? That was the biggest help for her. I didn't use the HIG, so I didn't do that for the first few years. Dd is very vs, so many times when she saw the diagram, she found it fairly easy, whereas when she just read the problem and tried to figure it out, she was stumped.

SM does take relatively difficult problems and have dc solve them with simple arithmetic, but the thinking part is the tough part. The diagrams helped her a lot. She's done now, and the workbook you're discussing (6A) is in the attic already.

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my daughter, who is now in Algebra II, and I agree that the hardest math she's done so far was Singapore 6 IP and CWP.

Algebra I was a breeze after Singapore 6. Hang in there!

Terri

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The percent section in level 6 is exactly where we stalled this year - - we found the wording of the problems terrible, couldn't figure out what they were even asking for! we decided to just finish up the year with Saxon 7/6, and look again at SM6 next year (along with Saxon 1/2).

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You are certainly not alone. Many people need the answer guide when they hit level 5, including me. We didn't finish 6 for the reasons you state. Just got stuck.

However, this was a few years back now and I have heard people say that with the NEM series that it is normal for their kids to get stuck a LOT, but to barely scrape through NEM is still to be a top math student. So, in retrospect, I am wondering if it might have been worth finishing 6 , just skipping the problems we really couldnt do, for the way it makes you really think.

Another possibility is to post the problem here and see if one of the math brainy people can help you. YOu couldnt be the first :)

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my daughter, who is now in Algebra II, and I agree that the hardest math she's done so far was Singapore 6 IP and CWP.

Algebra I was a breeze after Singapore 6. Hang in there!

Terri

We haven't tried IP or CWP for 6, and they may be very hard, but my eldest, who hated SM and only did SM 6 (and didn't finish 6B, but finished with Saxon, my least favourite) was able to go directly into Algebra 1 after doing SM 6 as she'd learned negative numbers with Saxon (or else just got them intuitively.)

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As a matter of fact, he has pretty much self-taught with this curriculum. Around level 5, he had to ask for help with a few word problems. ... Now, we're in level 6. He was sailing along, then we hit some of the percent of a percent probelms. These are hard! I don't really even understand the methods taught in the book.

Wow, you're making me really glad my older two weren't smarter at math. :D

Since they're not as math-intuitive as your son, I've had no choice but to expclicitly teach the curriculum, and somewhere along the way, I learned how to use those bar diagrams and how to attack the word problems. If I'd popped in at level 5, I'm sure I would've been lost (not with the math itself, but with the attack strategy for the word problems). But since I did it with them, I learned it, and now I get it - to the point where they don't even seem all that hard to me... :tongue_smilie:

We're just finishing up 5B. We're going to be using the CWP with 6 for the first time, so I'm figuring if we can get through that, we're in good shape.

But I have to say that I'm really impressed with how much I've learned teaching them Singapore math, and I was a really good math student!

Reading a lot here about others' experience with Singapore, I'm coming more and more to the conclusion that it's a curriculum that needs to be taught, even if your kid can pick up the workbook and do it with no explanation. The lower level books can often be figured out intuitively by mathy students, but if they haven't learned the Singapore methodology because they could figure out the easier problems "their way", it seems many hit a wall (or at least a big speed bump) somewhere in 5 or 6.

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We're working on 4B right now and I haven't used the HIG yet, but plan to starting with 5A. With this talk, I'm starting to get scared. I took math through grade 12, but it was so long ago.

I told DH yesterday that I have 2 years to master Algebra so I can teach DD. Looks like I'm going to have to get working on it.:)

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You are certainly not alone. Many people need the answer guide when they hit level 5, including me. We didn't finish 6 for the reasons you state. Just got stuck.

However, this was a few years back now and I have heard people say that with the NEM series that it is normal for their kids to get stuck a LOT, but to barely scrape through NEM is still to be a top math student. So, in retrospect, I am wondering if it might have been worth finishing 6 , just skipping the problems we really couldnt do, for the way it makes you really think.

Another possibility is to post the problem here and see if one of the math brainy people can help you. YOu couldnt be the first :)

See, I might be okay with that if I knew how often, or on which problems, it's okay to get stuck! We've always done Singapore and Saxon concurrently, but I think we are going to switch to Saxon as the main text, and Singapore as 'challenge math.'

I do think that pushing past your comfort or mastery level is a great learning tool, but I don't have the knowledge/background to let dd do that on a daily basis.

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Thanks! I did actually think of that. I've been too busy...and we are on dial-up, so it's more time consuming than I have had time for. That's changing, though, so I should be able to ask my Qs at one of those places.

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I do try to draw the bar diagrams, but I get stuck. I don't even understand the text explanations on some of these! I'm going to dive into the HIG this week!

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good advice, Peela. I can sometimes see how to do the problem, based on the textbook example, but don't understand why I'm doing it that way...that's where we're getting stuck. For ds, understanding why helps him remember what to do...which is our main purpose in using Singapore! Thanks for your comments.

Edited by LanaTron
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Wow, you're making me really glad my older two weren't smarter at math. :D

Since they're not as math-intuitive as your son, I've had no choice but to expclicitly teach the curriculum, and somewhere along the way, I learned how to use those bar diagrams and how to attack the word problems. If I'd popped in at level 5, I'm sure I would've been lost (not with the math itself, but with the attack strategy for the word problems). But since I did it with them, I learned it, and now I get it - to the point where they don't even seem all that hard to me... :tongue_smilie:

Both of us do know how to use the bar diagrams. That's how we got this far without using the HIG.

Reading a lot here about others' experience with Singapore, I'm coming more and more to the conclusion that it's a curriculum that needs to be taught, even if your kid can pick up the workbook and do it with no explanation. The lower level books can often be figured out intuitively by mathy students, but if they haven't learned the Singapore methodology because they could figure out the easier problems "their way", it seems many hit a wall (or at least a big speed bump) somewhere in 5 or 6.

FWIW, my ds did learn the Singapore methodology. The explanations in the text were so explicit, he was able to read and understand them most of the time with no help. It really was a waste of both of our times for me to teach this to him...I think I had to show him long division a couple of times, and then I helped a little with the fractions stuff, but that has been it.

Until now, of course. :D

Thanks for your comments. I certainly am having to teach my other kids most of the concepts myself, so I think you are right for most kids.

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Well, I wouldn't worry too much! You'll be fine with the HIGs and places on-line where you can ask questions.

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Yes, that is a comfort. I am planning on having him use Discovering Mathematics, one of the Singapore upper math series, though!

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Both of us do know how to use the bar diagrams. That's how we got this far without using the HIG.

FWIW, my ds did learn the Singapore methodology. The explanations in the text were so explicit, he was able to read and understand them most of the time with no help. It really was a waste of both of our times for me to teach this to him...I think I had to show him long division a couple of times, and then I helped a little with the fractions stuff, but that has been it.

Until now, of course. :D

Thanks for your comments. I certainly am having to teach my other kids most of the concepts myself, so I think you are right for most kids.

It's gone out of print, but if you can get a copy of this book, it will help you a great deal with SM 6, etc. I think if more people had known about it it might have sold more copies and not gone out of print. The Essential Parents' Guide to Primary Maths by Dr. Fong Ho Kheong. ISBN 981-01-7458-6 but it also, underneath, says ISBN 978-981-01-7458-3. It has a section called "The Heuristic Approach," of which the model approach is only one heuristic approach, and this section discusses more models than just bar diagrams. In the section called "The Model Approach" it teaches parents how to use models far better than any HIG guide, and breaks it down into 9 different sections. ETA there's even an answer key in the back.

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Thanks, Karin. Sounds like a great resource!

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