Primary Math US 1A Textbook
Category Description for Primary Math U.S. Edition (Gr. 1-6)
I’ll admit, my initial reaction to this program was skeptical. The textbooks are thin and have a straightforward, no-nonsense appearance. Texts switch from full-color to two-toned pages after second grade, and all workbooks are printed in black and white. After spending a great deal of time evaluating the program’s contents, however, my opinion has improved considerably. Primary Math uses a concrete-to-pictorial-to-abstract approach to teaching. Concrete illustrations are incorporated heavily in the early grades, gradually giving way to more abstract representations so that math is learned meaningfully. The program builds strong problem solving, critical thinking, and computational skills through well-chosen practice problems.
Each grade consists of two semester sets to be completed in one year. For example, the complete first grade curriculum requires the 1A and 1B textbooks (non-consumable) and the 1A and 1B workbooks (consumable). Workbook assignments are directly correlated with each textbook. Small arrows, usually located in the lower left hand corner of a page, specify when to pause in the text and what exercise number to complete.
Brief teacher’s instructions are provided in each textbook’s preface, which I highly suggest reading. Although the pace of the course really depends on the individual student, 2-3 pages in the text is usually enough for one day’s lesson. To effectively use the textbook, the teacher should study the examples ahead of time in order to determine the best way to verbally explain a concept to the student. Teacher-student or student-student discussions are an important part of this program. Unfortunately, the text doesn’t tell you how to facilitate discussions. Teacher’s guides are now available for several grades. Also, to help you find the appropriate entry level for your child, printable placement tests and a scoring guide are available at www.singaporemath.com. Users of Singapore Math can also seek support with specific problems or general concerns at www.singaporemath.com through the “forum” link. A select number of exercise solutions, made available by other users of the program, as well as answer key and text corrections, are at http://www.singmath.com.
Extra practice sets are included in all textbooks, except first grade. These problem sets are optional and should be done only after the workbook exercises for that section have been completed. Cumulative review sections are also incorporated into the text, although not on a daily basis like Saxon. Review sections are also included in each workbook. Although these problem sets are optional, I would strongly suggest completing the extra practice. Some of the review sets are quite lengthy, and you might want to consider devoting a day’s lesson to review whenever a longer set arises. I suspect a key factor to this program’s success in Singapore is that students are both motivated and expected to practice their math skills through homework and optional problem sets. Calculator use is strictly up to the teacher, although Primary Math tends to emphasize mental calculations.
While some believe that Primary Math contains “just the right amount of practice”, others believe not enough is provided. For students who feel they need more practice to really “own” a concept or skill, a variety of supplements, specifically designed to complement Primary Math, are available.
Although we used to carry the original Singapore editions, we now only carry the U.S. editions. In a side-by side comparision of the two, these books are virtually identical. For the most part, the same content is covered and presented in the same order. Exceptions include additional lessons and practice problems on standard measurements such as yards, pounds, and gallons. Also, an additonal unit on fractions was added to the beginning of the 6B U.S edition textbook. Other changes are as follows: American money has replaced Singaporean money, British spellings have been converted to American spellings, and the majority, but not all, foreign sounding names and objects have been changed. The most notable difference between the two versions is that there is only one U.S. edition workbook for each semester (parts one and two have been combined into one book). Also, answers to the U.S. edition textbooks and workbooks are only available in separate answer key booklets.
Compared to Saxon or Exploring Mathematics, Primary Math encompasses a narrower scope. While Saxon and Exploring Mathematics both cover coordinate graphing, negative numbers, square roots, and probability, these topics are omitted from Primary Math. They are not covered until New Elementary Math. The smaller scope, however, allows the program to emphasize the basics. Primary Math focuses on topics that Singapore’s Ministry of Education believe to be fundamentally important: the four arithmetic operations (using whole numbers, fractions, and decimals), perimeter, area, volume, angles, quadrilaterals, symmetry, time, length, weight, money, graphs, and algebraic expressions.
In terms of pace and difficulty, Primary Math is similar to Exploring Mathematics. Of course, there are some differences. Primary Math introduces multiplication and division in first grade, but Exploring Mathematics quickly catches up in second grade. Exploring Mathematics introduces a broader range of geometry concepts in earlier grades, but Primary Math includes more complicated geometry exercises. Primary Math introduces algebraic expressions in sixth grade while Exploring Mathematics does not. Saxon moves a bit slower introducing Algebra in Math 87. Miquon, which only covers grades 1-3, correlates very well with Primary Math.
After completing Saxon Math with my daughter for first grade and wanting a change, I bought Miquon and Singapore Primary Mathematics (Singapore version). The Singapore version did not bother me since I am Asian myself. My daughter LOVES Singapore Math, and I do too! She does not like too many problems on one page nor too much repetition of the same thing, so Singapore Math works well for her.
I have used both Saxon and Singapore for first grade math and much prefer Singapore although we will continue doing some parts of Saxon. However, we did find the Singapore textbook and workbook need to be supplemented with extra problems about halfway through (when students are starting to do addition with numbers up to 20). The Extra Practice problems are good; there are just not enough of them. That's why I ordered the intensive practice books also. I would not recommend the Challenging Word Problems books which I feel are misnamed - at least at the 1 level. They are wordy but not challenging. For the most part, the student need not read the problem. If he sees a 7 and a 2 in the section on addition, he knows the answer is 9, and in the subtraction section, 5, without reading the problem. In other words, they aren't really word problems, just arithmetic drills with references to kids' names and papayas, tops, and other countable objects.
Singapore Math definitely prepares the kids well, especially in grades 1-3. I would recommend starting them in 1A in Kindergarten if they are not a special needs child. ALL of my boys work one year ahead in these books. I've never really needed the Textbooks, only the workbooks. But this is a preference. Maybe in level 3 you might consider the textbooks. Saxon is heads above all others and I switch my kids after Primary Mathematics 3B. Be sure to get the older versions of Saxon starting with Saxon 54. The new ones are watered down for public school requirements.
At first, the thin paperback texts and workbooks of Singapore Math appear rather cheap, but this inexpensive program is definitely "more than meets the eye"!! The graphics are rather plain, and the pages are printed in only two colors. This is much less distracting than the overly colorful pictures in so many other textbooks. The consumable workbooks are great for children with less developed motor skills. Most children will need extra drillwork to memorize facts, but this program has the most intense "word problems" I've seen yet! They force the student to really THINK. There are also enough "game like" activities to provide interest. Your child will know how to apply math in real-life situations after using this program! My advice: Back up AT LEAST one full year from your currect grade, (especially if you were in public school). My fifth graders started in 3A, and my seventh grade daughter started in 5A. 5A had a LOT of work in geometry that my daughter had not been exposed to in public school, and 5B had completely new material for her. She should finish 6A & 6B later this year, and have an excellent foundation to begin Algebra.
I would enthusiastically recommend this program to those whose children dislike repetition. The home instructor's guide contains a useful lesson plan and ideas for manipulatives and games, and lots of additional practice. The textbook and workbook are interesting, but plain enough that my daughter is able to stay focused on the math. The CD-ROM is pricey, but was a good investment for us as it covers 2 grade levels and we have several children using this curriculum. We've had good results with 2 daughters who have very different learning styles. It does tend to run about a grade level ahead in difficulty.
We tried everything, and my son still hated math. Then we found Singapore. He actually asks to do math lessons now. We are hooked!
We began using Singapore Math in 3rd grade, when our son could not catch on to math concepts(he had no trouble in other subjects, wonderful reader, reading high above grade level)and after trying different curriculums, we started with Book 1. He loved the program. He quickly went from book to book. Just last week, after learning a new concept, he said, "oh, I see it mom!." Our son also enjoyed the black & white pages so he could color them. The paper is smooth and fun to color. We have started our 2nd grader & pre-K children with this program. I would like to add that I have supplemented the children at different times when they needed extra practice. Thank You
We switched to Singapore from a more traditional textbook math. Math had once been his favorite subject, but was fast becoming drudgery. We took the placement test at the Singapore website and placed him in 3A. My son is an auditory learner and after only a few weeks I have seen a total turnaround with his thinking about math. I see him actually thinking through math problems, much like I do as an adult. There is a greater emphasis on word problems than our previous math program. The placement test is essential.
I have used several math programs over the years including Saxon, Horizons, Miquon, and Developmental Math during the younger years. Comparing Singapore to the others, I find that it is less repetitive by far and less oriented toward just rote skill use. Although the books are not fancy in appearance, they require creativity in problem solving. Often skills are combined as multiple steps are required to solve word problems. This program is very much about working with numbers and ideas together. This applies especially to the challenge books which are totally word problems. We use these as a supplement, three different types of problems each day to add variety, challenge, and complex review. Sometimes the problems are hard enough we may come back to them another day. Fortunately, there is a Singapore forum where we can cry for help if we get totally stuck. Solving these problems can feel like a great accomplishment. I highly recommend this program for a child who doesn't need lots of repetition and loves a challenge. It really encourages complex math thinking skills. We love it!
Not only have I been impressed by how quickly my son has picked up math using Singapore, but my extended family is amazed. He has enjoyed doing the mental exercises in his head and loves solving problems given by his grandparents. Singapore Math uses a natural progression toward learning new concepts. The sequencing has been easy to understand and follow. I wish this math program had been around when I was in school. It has me hooked! The cost is minimal and the preparation is easy. It's wonderful for kids who dislike writing every step out on paper. Singapore math is my son's favorite subject.
My daughter used Singapore Math and had excellent results. Now, my son is starting his Singapore experience, and loving it just as much! Singapore Primary Math is a no-fuss, no-muss program. I appreciate the emphasis on mental math - internalizing the concepts until they become second nature to the student. Others have commented on Singapore's lack of practice problems. For my children, this doesn't seem to be a problem, as we never feel the need for "more." I also appreciate the inexpensiveness, yet excellence of this program. I've tried other programs, but we always seem to come back to Singapore Primary. It's good, thorough, easy to use, and very effective!
I was intrigued by this curriculum, because as everyone knows, Singapore scores really high in academics and on test scores. That is what initially drew me to the program.The text itself is not very aesthetically pleasing, the content is very straightforward and to the point, which is good, if you have a student who enjoys math or is a quick learner. They offer books with extra practice, for those students who need it. I found the home instructors guide to be very essential, especially from book 3b and on.Some teacher prep is necessary, but very little. It is an advanced program. Since my daughter is a visual and hands on learner, we will not be returning to the program. I would not recommend it for those types. But would definitely recommend it for other learning styles. If you do decide to go with it, taking the placement test would be very helpful.
We have used Singapore Math from PreK through 6A. We plan to finish up 6B this year. As a home school mom, I LOVE it! There is little to no preparation time for me. I go through the textbook with the student. We only do a few random problems in the textbook if the concept is grasped quickly. We do more together if necessary to be sure the concept is completely understood. Then I have the student do ALL of the workbook problems. This is a challenging curriculum. It makes the student think outside the box to apply what was learned, especially in the story problems. It presents concepts in a slightly different way from what I was taught, so sometimes I have to do the problem my way, then go back and do it the way it was presented in the text. If your child is one who wants/needs lots of repetition, you may wish to consider some of their extra practice books. We never used them. Also, love the cost - very inexpensive compared to many other options. If you are considering switching from another curriculum, I'd strongly advise that you find their online placement tests to choose the correct level to begin. This is a challenging program! My only caution? We needed to be sure that we practiced math fact flashcards. The curriculum never suggests/states that you should be memorizing math facts, which I think are so important to speed up the lessons.
I have used these books for my 3 younger kids. I am happy with them up to level 5. Then, it gets a little challenging to present some of the ideas without using algebra. Still, I will keep using level 5. (Especially since I now know how to do it.) However, I found level 6A to be a very convoluted, hard-to-understand way of presenting "percentage" concepts. I did not buy any of the teacher guides -- I have a degree in math; I figure I should be able to understand elementary math enough to explain it to my children! So perhaps the teacher guides explain it better. But I felt we spent a whole semester slogging through different scenarios for using slightly different fractional representations of various typesof percentage problems, which I couldn't even keep track of, much less my 7th grader. We never even learned how to just turn it into a decimal and multiply. I won't be going on to level 6B, and I won't use 6A with my younger kids. Levels 1-5, thumbs up.