Jump to content


Can anyone compare Singapore, CLE and R&S Math for me?

Recommended Posts

I've never used or seen CLE. We use Singapore primarily but I use other things for extra practice sometimes. I have some R&S math that I supplement with if they need a little more practice. R&S seems a little behind Singapore in terms of when certain topics are introduced, but since I don't have the entire R&S math series I could be mistaken about that. R&S has really thorough explanations of each new concept. I think both programs are "mastery", not "spiral". Both have review built in. R&S has more practice problems (though Singapore has plenty of practice if you buy the supplemental workbooks like IP). Singapore's word problems are more complex than R&S's. I like Singapore Math because it really teaches good problem solving skills. Plus, it's what we started with and my dd and ds both love it and "get" it. I think R&S looks like a solid math program from what little I've seen, but the word problems looked really easy compared to Singapore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CLE Sunrise edition is nothing like Alpha Omega.


I have used Singapore and now use CLE. Both are great programs.


1. Drill/repetition: Singapore repeats concepts at the beginning of each year. CLE does it daily sometimes, weekly other times. CLE is spiral, Singapore is Mastery. My son was forgetting facts with Singapore - even simple addition can be forgotten when it is not used often.


2. Practice: CLE does a much better job at giving a complete "lesson" in a concept than Singapore does. CLE does it with one book while, with Singapore, I was always having to use all 4 or 5 books to get the same results. In the end, my son did not do well with this method at all. I always felt like I needed to "beef up" the lessons in Singapore. My son would do 4 practice problems and then 15 problems in the workbook and that was all that was scheduled. For extra practice, I had to pull out EP or IP and schedule on my own. Sometimes that was too much...other times, still not enough. It got frustrating.


3. Teacher Hand holding. LOL No better way to put it. CLE holds my hand and says, "Rebecca, teach this!" while Singapore doesn't. At. all. Not even in the HIG, in my opinion. That was okay in the easier math, but got a bit tough when we hit things I had forgotten or never did well with in math myself. Singapore also "assumed" you were memorizing facts and number bonds and such in the younger grades when I had no idea we were even supposed to be doing that yet. There is no "method" for memorization in Singapore. CLE starts each day with short flash card drills and tells you exactly how to help your child commit these things to memory.


I like both programs, but CLE is so much more of what my kids and I need. Lots of people make Singapore work beautifully for them - we just weren't those people.

Edited by Tree House Academy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not trying to hijack, but does anyone use singapore AND R&S? We've been using R&S and the pace seems a little slow to me. My dd has done fine with it, but my ds has gotten REALLY bored. So, I got him singapore and he's taking a break from R&S for a while. My dd is working on R&S 2 and also wants to do singapore 1B (that's where she places after doing R&S 1). I'm trying to figure out if I should line the programs up at all (if that's even possible), or do both at the same time, or do one for a while and then the other for a while.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here are some comments from a friend regarding R&S and Singapore:


In Rod and Staff math, you have a short daily lesson with your child that covers drill, review, mental math, word problems and the new concept. They may not do everyone of those things every single day, but most of them most days. The mental math work builds very gradually and carefully in Rod and Staff, moving from problems like 14+3 and 148-10 to problems like “what is one-quarter of 200†to stuff like 400 divided by 40.

It covers mental math slower than Singapore, but it also covers some areas that Singapore math doesn’t in this area. I think the teaching for mental math is superior in Rod and Staff than Singapore, although Singapore reaches higher levels much earlier. For instance, when first introducing mental math problems where the students must carry in their head, problems like 37+5, Rod and Staff has the teacher write out a grid on the board or use a hundreds chart and then ask questions like “what is 7+5?†then “ok, what is 17+5†and then show them what is happening on the grid and in the tens column, then there will be a sequence of problems to give such as 9+7, 19+7, 29+7, 429+7. For several days there will problems like this which you give the kids to solve before they make it a little more difficult with problems like 39+17. Singapore math will do all that in one lesson and even a little more, without the teaching using the number grid and review of what is happening at the place value. Singapore just assumes that the students will just “get it.â€

Rod and Staff also has regular mental math drills of sequences to improve speed and accuracy, such 7 times 8 plus 4 divided by 6 minus 5 times 12.



Rod and Staff is a traditional math program, more similar to the math programs used in the 50s and 60s to many of the programs used today. These were excellent math programs, and most would acknowledge that Americans were better at math when we used these traditional math programs than students are today who are using all of these programs that are emphasizing “conceptual understanding†every step of the way. Traditionally, math was taught with the classical model, where there was more emphasis on drill and memorization in the early years, with an increase in conceptual understanding or analysis occurring each year. R&S does teach conceptual understanding, but it is quite difficult to see until you are perhaps 2 or 3 months into the program because it is done in the early years with little baby steps.

The best example I can think of this is the instruction with fractions. My daughter’s understanding of fractions, now in the fourth grade, is absolutely wonderful. Rod and Staff began with the traditional dividing of shapes into halves and thirds and fourths in the second grade, and also advancing to two-thirds or three-fourths, and the idea the three-thirds or four-fourths equals one. In the third grade, they apply this knowledge to math in all types of contexts - what is one half of a foot, what is one-fourth of a pound, what is one-fourth of a dollar? What is three-fourths of a dollar? This is done pretty much, off and on in the daily lesson, all year long, and is seen in MANY word problems. My daughter really understood fractions and applying them to numbers and real problems.

Then you move to fourth grade, and they introduce counting by halves, by fourths, and by eighth, using a ruler as a visual aid at first. So they count 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1, 1 1/4, 1 1/2, etc. and also 1/8, 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4, 7/8, 1. After doing this exercise for several days, they do equivalent fractions, but it is almost not necessary to explain anything, because they have already figured out that 4/8 = 1/2 and that 2/8 = 1/4 because of the counting exercises. They just now learn the algorithm that shows that this same logic can apply to numbers which can’t be visualized, such as 27/36. By the time my daughter reached the lesson where they taught how add fractions, she already ‘understood’ that you could just add the numerators of like fractions, but that you couldn’t do that with a fractions like 1/8 + 1/4, but that you needed a common denominator. This understanding was about 2 months in the developing and it would have been difficult to see by just flipping through the book.

Somewhere around this general timeframe, they are also doing long division and giving remainders as an answer, but combining it with word problems so that it is obvious why the remainder is actually a fraction such as “3 boys share 4 peaches. How many peaches will each boy get. What part of the remaining peach will they get?†After a couple lessons with word problems like this, they have division problems where they are supposed to give their answer with the remainder as a fraction, and they are then introduced to the term “mixed numbers.â€

So, yes, I would say there is wonderful teaching in R&S that leads to conceptual understanding, it is just done in a different way than many modern math programs, and that it occurs very slowly in the lower grades. Because there is a strong emphasis in the primary grades on drill, particularly fact drill, people often get this misperception of R&S, especially if they look primarily at the student workbooks or text instead of at the TM. The real lesson and the real learning takes place in the daily lesson at the whiteboard. The workbook and/or textbook is mainly just review problems and/or drill.

I recommend that you read this article which is linked on The Mathematically Correct Web page by Dr. H. Wu called “Basic Skills Versus Conceptual Understanding: A False Dichotomy in Mathematics Education.†This article will help you understand why it is essential that students get plenty of drill and review as well as lessons that work towards conceptual understanding; and also why conceptual understanding can only get you so far - no one can visualize a problem such as 2/97 divided by 31/17; eventually a student must become fluent with the algorithms, which means to have them memorized to the point of automaticity. This only happens with drill and review.

One more thing, since you are currently using Singapore, I can compare it a little to that program. Singapore pushes conceptual understanding more than many math programs. It has some drill and review, and the assumption is that teachers in Singapore are providing much more drill and review, but this program pushes to the limit for conceptual understanding in the early grades. It doesn’t take small steps in this area, it wants total understanding in one lesson of some concept that R&S might spend two or three months developing. Additionally, Singapore wants them begin applying this new understanding immediately to problems and word problems. This is excellent for some children, especially the math-bright among us, but for many, it is too much too soon. My daughter needed the slow and steady approach of Rod and Staff for the primary years. I knew this, but I couldn’t really verbalize it, until I read the excellent review of Singapore math by Susan Wise Bauer of the Well-Trained Mind which you can find on her Web page.

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.

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.


  • Create New...