Singapore math, formally known as the Primary Mathematics Series, is math based on the curriculum that was used in Singapore from 1981 to 2001. It is a well known curriculum choice for homeschoolers and has even been used in the public school system in some states.
Singapore Math is based on the national curriculum in Singapore. It's notable then, that students from Singapore consistently score in the top on international mathematics tests. With such consistency it stands to reason then, that if one wants a top performing math student, it might be wise to take note of what is being done in Singapore.
The Singapore Math Approach
Singapore math has often been called an "advanced curriculum" due to its heavy emphasis on more abstract mathematical reasoning. The approach is designed to move students through a concrete concept, and help them apply that concrete concept to solving problems. The goal is for students to think through math rather than just do it. Reviews claim that students begin to understand the "whys" of mathematics rather than just rely on rote memorization.
Is Singapore Math Right for You?
It's hard to know sometimes, without actually using the curriculum, whether or not the material in question is going to be the right fit for you and your family. Doing a little research before can sometimes save you a lot of headache later trying to sludge through a curriculum that just doesn't work for your kids.
Mastery vs. Spiral
Mastery learning is based on the belief that knowledge builds upon previous knowledge, and therefore topics must be mastered in order before the student can move on. Singapore is one such mastery learning program. Even looking at the scope and sequence of the high school textbooks you can see that the curriculum doesn't cover the same topic twice. The student is expected to have mastered it.
What type of learner do you have? Do you have a student who doesn't need review for topics? Or do you feel like your student needs to go over something and review it again and again? If you have a student who needs review-Singapore might not be for you.
Singapore math does not meet all states' standards. Why should it? After all, it's based on the textbooks used in Singapore. However, don't confuse "does not meet state standards" with "inferior". Many fans of Singapore math point to the fact that this is the same curriculum used by the same students who consistently score at the top on international math tests.However, there are homeschooling families that are concerned about state standards. Perhaps the family intends to put students back into school or perhaps the state requires something specific with regards to mathematics instruction. Regardless of the reason, if you are very concerned about meeting state standards, then Singapore might not be a good fit for you.
How to Order Singapore
Singapore can be bought through several homeschool suppliers. Check and see if your favorite supplier carries Singapore. If not, you may want to order it directly from the company. If you're not starting out with Singapore in kindergarten or first grade, make sure to take a placement test. Remember that this math curriculum is taught differently than other curriculums that are typically used in the US, therefore, your 3rd grade child might not place in the equivalent grade in Singapore. Make sure you order both the textbook and the workbook. You will need both.