Cathy Duffy Reviews home > Math > Singapore Math/Primary Mathematics

Singapore Math/Primary Mathematics

Publisher: SingaporeMath.com, Inc.
Review last updated: July 2012

This is one of my 101 Top Picks!

Instant KeyPublishers InfoPricing

Singapore Math/Primary Mathematics

See the complete review in 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

Everyone has heard how well Asian students do in math compared to U.S. students, but few people understand why this is so. You will have a better idea of why Asian students excel if you check out this math program. Also called Singapore Math, Primary Mathematics is published (in English) by Times Publishing Group and approved by the Curriculum Planning & Development Division of the Ministry of Education in Singapore.
Primary Mathematics has taken the homeschool market by storm, and with good reason. This program teaches children to think mathematically rather than just having them memorize the mechanics of problem solving. And it is very reasonably priced.
Primary Mathematics is more advanced than just about every other math program used in the U.S. There are three different versions: the Third Edition that retains the British spellings and conventions used in Singapore (these are sold only in Canada); U.S. Editions that were adapted directly from the Third Editions but substitute U.S. measurements, spellings and conventions; and Standards Editions that align with the math standards for California, changing the order of presentation for some topics and adding units on topics such as probability, graphing, data analysis, and negative numbers.
Since the U.S. and Standards Editions are those most of my readers will be considering, the question that arises is which of these two editions to choose. Standards Editions are printed in full color while others are printed in two colors. This might be important for some learners, but the cost is significantly higher with text and workbook prices ranging from $14.50 to $20.50 each compared to $10.80 each for workbooks or texts in the U.S. edition. The entire series is advanced so I, personally, would not be concerned about using the Standards Editions to try to stay on the same track as others. Nevertheless, this might be an important factor for some parents.
The scope and sequence of the U.S. Editions does not align with state or national standards. For example, they leave most work on graphs, statistics, and probability for upper levels rather than teaching these concepts in elementary grades. Instead they focus on laying a solid foundation in basic concepts and processes using a three-step process, taking children from concrete, to pictorial, then abstract approaches to learning. Since I prefer this approach over that of the standards, I would recommend the U.S. Editions rather than the Standards Editions in most situations.
The Primary Mathematics series has levels 1 through 6 which cover material for approximately grades one through seven. Each level has two textbooks (A and B). There is a student workbook as well as a home instructor’s guide or teacher guide for each textbook. This is not as overwhelming as it sounds since these books range in size from only 80 to 128 pages each. In addition, textbooks and workbooks are each about 10 by 7 ½ inches, with uncrowded, large print. The amount of written work required of children is very reasonable.
While each level has both a teacher guide and a home instructor’s guide available, the latter is designed specifically for homeschoolers, is less expensive, and is what I recommend. You do not need both. Teacher guides have additional teaching activities that might be useful, but most parents are not likely to use them. Both guides have answer keys, the component that you really need.
The program requires one-on-one teaching throughout most lessons for the younger grades. The textbooks use pictorial lessons to introduce new concepts that parents will need to work through with their children. Both the home instructor’s guides and teacher guides help with lesson presentation....
Placement tests are available at their website. If your child is not starting at the beginning of the program, it is vital that you use the placement test to determine the appropriate level. It is not unusual for a child to place one or two levels below their official grade level.
Primary Mathematics 1A and 1B
The level 1 course begins with an assumption that children already have a basic sense and recognition of numbers. It begins with counting to 10, but by the fourth unit of the first book, students are learning subtraction....Practical applications are used in lesson presentation and word problems. In addition to the arithmetic operations, level one teaches ordinal numbers, shapes, measurement, weight, time telling, money, and graphs.
Primary Mathematics 2A and 2B
The second level teaches addition and subtraction with renaming (carrying and borrowing), multiplication and division, place value, measurement, money, introduction of fractions, writing numbers in words, time telling, graphs, and very introductory geometric shapes and area.
Primary Mathematics 3A and 3B
This level has more advanced work on the four arithmetic operations including long division, fractions (equivalent fractions plus adding and subtracting), measurement, graphs, time, and geometry. It also teaches two-step word problems and mental calculation....
Primary Mathematics 4A and 4B
At the fourth level, students learn all four functions with both fractions and decimals. Geometry coverage is also very advanced as students compute the degrees in angles and complex area and perimeter questions. Students also work with advanced whole number concepts (e.g., factors, multiples, rounding off), money, other geometric concepts, graphs, and averages. Primary Mathematics introduces two-digit multipliers at this level but doesn’t really concentrate on two-digit multipliers and divisors until the fifth level....
Primary Mathematics 5A and 5B
At the fifth level, students do advanced work with decimals plus multiplication and division with two-digit multipliers and divisors. They learn to work with percents and continue with advanced work on fractions, geometry, and graphs. Time/rate/distance word problems, as well as other types of word problems are given a great deal of attention. At the end of the course, students are working on beginning algebra concepts. Some of the geometry taught at this level is rarely introduced before high school level....
Primary Mathematics 6A and 6B
Because of this series’ advanced scope and sequence, at the sixth level much of the work is more typical of other publishers’ high school level texts. Students work with fractions, but a typical problem requires students to perform three different operations on four different fractions within a single problem, much like an advanced Algebra 1 type problem, although without variables.
Common geometry problems are set up in proof-style format, although you need not require students to present their solutions in that format....

Pricing

  • All prices are provided for comparison only and are subject to change. Click on prices to verify their accuracy.
  • Primary Mathematics 1A Textbook U.S. Edition

    Primary Mathematics 1A Textbook U.S. Edition

    Singapore Math

    Primary Mathematics 1A Workbook U.S. Edition

    Primary Mathematics 1A Workbook U.S. Edition

    cavendish

    Primary Mathematics, Level 1A: Home Instructor's Guide

    Primary Mathematics, Level 1A: Home Instructor

    Jennifer Hoerst

    Primary Mathematics 3A Workbook, Standards Edition

    Primary Mathematics 3A Workbook, Standards Edition

    Primary Mathematics: 5A Textbook (U.S. Edition)

    Primary Mathematics: 5A Textbook (U.S. Edition)

    Thomas H. Parker

    Primary Mathematics 5B Textbook

    Primary Mathematics 5B Textbook

    Primary Mathematics 2A Textbook

    Primary Mathematics 2A Textbook

    Primary Mathematics 3A Textbook (Standards Edition)

    Primary Mathematics 3A Textbook (Standards Edition)

    Primary Mathematics 4A Textbook (Standards Edition)

    Primary Mathematics 4A Textbook (Standards Edition)

    Primary Mathematics 3B Workbook, Standards Edition

    Primary Mathematics 3B Workbook, Standards Edition

    Primary Mathematics 1A Workbook U.S. Edition

    Primary Mathematics 1A Workbook U.S. Edition

    cavendish

    Instant Key

    • Learning modalities: all, but depends on teacher assistance
      Suitable for: one-on-one plus independent work
      Audience
      : grades 1-7
      Need for parent/teacher instruction:
      varies by age and ability
      Prep time needed:
      none to minimal
      Teacher's manual:
      Home Instructor's Guides very helpful past level 2
      Religious perspective:
      secular

    Publisher's Info

    • SingaporeMath.com, Inc.

      404 Beavercreek Road #225 
      Oregon City, OR 97045
      (503) 557-8100 
      email: customerservice@singaporemath.com
      www.singaporemath.com