Rigorous elementary math curriculum - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 01-18-2010, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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In my dream world, I will find the ideal math curriculum and stick with the same one through pre-algebra. Ds is very bright and picks up math concepts quickly. I'm wondering what is considered the most rigorous math curriculum(s) for the elementary years?
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#2 of 15 Old 01-18-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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In my dream world, I will find the ideal math curriculum and stick with the same one through pre-algebra. Ds is very bright and picks up math concepts quickly. I'm wondering what is considered the most rigorous math curriculum(s) for the elementary years?
You'll find different opinions from different people, but Singapore usually is on the top of all lists. It teaches a lot of mental math and goes pre-K-12.

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#3 of 15 Old 01-18-2010, 02:00 PM
 
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Define rigor.

In math education some people define rigor as working systematically through sequential skills with plenty of repetition. Some people define it as strong focus on logical creativity, building the ability to adapt and apply mathematical concepts to new problems and increasing levels of complexity. There aren't really many programs that cover both of these, because they're philosophically different. The first believes that accurate computation is the most basic foundation, the second that deep understanding is the foundation on which further math learning is built.

I'm more in the latter camp. Singapore Math has worked well as our basic go-to math curriculum during the primary years. The only problem we've had is that it has been so good at helping my kids master K-7th math that they've finished it before age 10 and haven't been ready for the very high-school-ish style of presentation of the Singapore Secondary programs.

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#4 of 15 Old 01-18-2010, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Define rigor.

In math education some people define rigor as working systematically through sequential skills with plenty of repetition. Some people define it as strong focus on logical creativity, building the ability to adapt and apply mathematical concepts to new problems and increasing levels of complexity.
I would also lean toward the second definition. One of my reasons for taking ds out of public school is to avoid going over and over material that he has truly mastered already. I was looking at Saxon Math and love the scope, but it's sooo repetitive that it really defeats my purpose for hsing. Sounds like Singpore might be what I'm looking for.

With Singapore, what do I need? I assume that I would need the Home Instructor's Guide, Student Textbook, Student workbook. What about the extras: Intensive Practice, Challenging Word Problems, Extra Practice, Math Express, Brain Maths, etc.? It's so confusing to me! We're probably looking at level 1B or 2A to start. What manipulatives do I need? I can't find a list of recommended materials on the Singapore site, but maybe I've missed it.

Thanks for all your help!!
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#5 of 15 Old 01-18-2010, 03:23 PM
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With Singapore, what do I need? I assume that I would need the Home Instructor's Guide, Student Textbook, Student workbook. What about the extras: Intensive Practice, Challenging Word Problems, Extra Practice, Math Express, Brain Maths, etc.? It's so confusing to me! We're probably looking at level 1B or 2A to start. What manipulatives do I need? I can't find a list of recommended materials on the Singapore site, but maybe I've missed it.

Thanks for all your help!!
I am using Singapore currently. We love it. We hated Saxon. I buy the student textbook and student workbook. And to be honest, we don't always use the textbook. But, I am very mathematically inclined and don't feel the need for an instructor's guide. Maybe as our level increases. I have a dd who is finishing up with 4B right now. And a dd who is on 1B. I almost didn't even order the text for the lower levels, except that I want my children to learn how to learn from a textbook as well as from me. And, to get used to their format, etc. Only one time did I want the instructor guide. Their was a word problem, that my dd had struggled with. I had no problem finding the answer, but I set it up algebraically. I wanted to see their solution. I posted here and got a quick response.

Once, I wanted more practice on a subject, so I went to math mammoth and got some supplementary material. Sometimes, we don't do the book sequentially. For example, if dd is really frustrated with a section, we might find something unrelated to focus on for a while. And then come back to where we left off.

Overall, I am very happy with this.

As far as manipulatives, I haven't bought any yet. We have used the little square legos for "ones" and stacked towers of ten of them for "ten". I may break down and buy some rods and unit pieces. But, I would take the manipulatives search one day at a time. You may be surprised with what you can do with household stuff. We do have some tools (I don't think of these as manipulatives) ruler, compass, protractor, etc.

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#6 of 15 Old 01-18-2010, 03:37 PM
 
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My youngest is in 4A right now, and my older three are all Singapore Primary Math "grads." We've only used the textbooks a handful of times. Never owned the instructor's guides or any supplemental materials. 99% of the time we just use the student workbooks. Having said that, like AAK I'm fairly mathematically minded, I learned math similar to the Singaporean way, and we have a lot going on in our lives just naturally that nurtures math learning. For me it's easy to go without a lot of the supplementary materials.

For manipulatives we've used coins mostly (pennies, dimes and the Canadian $1 coin for 1's, 10's and 100's). We do own cuisenaire rods from our pre-Singapore time using Miquon math, since we don't start Singapore until the 2A/2B level in this family. We do own a metre stick, metric measuring cups and a nice Ohaus two-pan balance in grams, but that's just because we're geeky Canucks, not because we felt we couldn't do Singapore Math without those things.

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#7 of 15 Old 01-18-2010, 04:02 PM
 
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With Singapore, what do I need? I assume that I would need the Home Instructor's Guide, Student Textbook, Student workbook. What about the extras: Intensive Practice, Challenging Word Problems, Extra Practice, Math Express, Brain Maths, etc.? It's so confusing to me! We're probably looking at level 1B or 2A to start. What manipulatives do I need? I can't find a list of recommended materials on the Singapore site, but maybe I've missed it.

Thanks for all your help!!
We're just starting Singapore 1B here - definitely start with the textbook and workbook. I have the HIG, and it's nice because it includes games/activities for review, flashcards for photocopying, and schedules in their math software, but isn't absolutely necessary. It might be cheaper to get the two books and see if the program fits for you. Then add the HIG if you think it would help. I haven't added the other books yet, but would consider CWP next, then IP, if it were me. Enjoy!

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#8 of 15 Old 01-18-2010, 05:53 PM
 
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What I've found useful in the Singapore's Home Instructor's Guides are the templates if you want to make your own manipulatives (which I did, but then we didn't use them.....) and the Mental Math exercises. It also seems to have a nice schedule of what text to cover and then what workbook exercises to do, but we don't always use that either. I think the HIG is probably most useful at the beginning when you are starting out to understand how Singapore approaches math, especially if you have concerns about your ability to facilitate teaching math or if your dc learns in a different way than you do.

I think the Extra Practice OR the Intensive Practice books can be helpful if you want some additional practice because there isn't much drill in the workbooks. Getting both would be overkill, IMO. I've picked up both books to compare and there are 2 Intensive Practice books per grade versus 1 of the Extra Practice and the problems seem similar. If you think you might want some extra drill, but aren't sure, I'd go with the Extra Practice book only.

And if you can get your hands on the Challenging Word Problems books - get them! They are now out of print, but are great! You could use these regardless of whatever math program you go with.

JMHO.

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#9 of 15 Old 01-21-2010, 12:37 AM
 
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Just to provide an alternative perspective, you might take a look at the Mathematics Enhancement Programme out of the UK.

There's also a yahoo group where you can ask questions about it.

I've only been using it with my daughter for a month or so, but I'm impressed. The curriculum is challenging and really encourages kids to think about math. There are folks in the Yahoo group and on the Well-Trained Mind forums who've been using it much longer, and/or are using it with older kids.

It's also free.

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#10 of 15 Old 08-04-2011, 09:40 PM
 
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I am interested in this progam for my students tell me more.

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#11 of 15 Old 08-11-2011, 04:33 PM
 
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we have been using Singapore for years and are just reaching the end of it.  We used the textbooks and the workbooks, because starting around 4a, I have the kids go over the the textbook by themselves to learn the concepts and the additional problems and reviews in the text book made sure we covered every topic thoroughly when they were a bit tricksy.  I can't speak highly enough of challenging word problems, but i am not sure the new editions are out yet.  we also do a bit in intensive practice.  we are mathy and like the HARD problems!  an important note, it really helps to understand the pictorial method of problem solving that Singapore uses.  this allows children to solve much harder math problems w/o using algebra.  I didn't know this at first and ended up teaching my boys basic algebra just to be able to solve some of the word problems in CWP4.    I found joining the Yahoo singapore math group to be quite helpful.

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#12 of 15 Old 08-12-2011, 08:15 PM
 
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NM, I found answers on the web site after searching a bit more.


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#13 of 15 Old 08-14-2011, 12:16 PM
 
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I seem to be one of the few here who loves Saxon math.  I know it can be repetitive, but the repetition really does aid in mastery.  For what it's worth, I am a math person myself (finished top of my math class in Naval Nuclear Power "A" School) and I consider Saxon top notch.  I will say I don't care much for Saxon K.  By kindergarten my kids have been ready for the 1st grade workbook, so we just skip Saxon K.  I hope you enjoy using whatever you choose!


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#14 of 15 Old 08-14-2011, 12:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skueppers View Post

Just to provide an alternative perspective, you might take a look at the Mathematics Enhancement Programme out of the UK.

There's also a yahoo group where you can ask questions about it.

I've only been using it with my daughter for a month or so, but I'm impressed. The curriculum is challenging and really encourages kids to think about math. There are folks in the Yahoo group and on the Well-Trained Mind forums who've been using it much longer, and/or are using it with older kids.

It's also free.



We use MEP too.  If you are looking for advanced math concepts taught early on then I would recommend looking at it.


mother, wife, lover of life.
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#15 of 15 Old 08-15-2011, 07:23 AM
 
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My 5 year old enjoys Singapore and I agree with all others have posted about it. We are currently using only the workbook but I must say that I actually find it has too much repetition for a fast learner, we're planning on switching to just the text when she moves to the next level. I may change my tune as she advances though (she's only finishing up 1B). We also supplement with Miquon which is definitely in the "creative rigour" camp but only occasionally and DD sees it as "the easy one".

Grateful mama striving to respect the two precious beings entrusted to me DD '06 and DS '09
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