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How To Make Singapore Math Work For Your Child (1st Grade / Primary 1 To 6th Grade / Primary 6)

Singapore Math is a rigorous math curriculum that has put Singapore students at the top of the world in math. Many countries are now adopting Singapore Math for use in their schools and homes, but they may not realise its full potential. We will show you how to make Singapore Math work for your child if he is in 1st Grade / Primary 1 to 6th Grade / Primary 6.

In Singapore, primary schools are not only using a particular package of Singapore Math textbooks and workbooks to teach math. They supplement the Singapore Math textbooks and workbooks with other Singapore Math workbooks. Why? Because the Singapore Math workbooks that come together with the Singapore Math textbooks provide only minimal practice in the most fundamental math concepts and math skills. This is definitely not sufficient to give the child the necessary math practice to make sure he can top the world in math.

We therefore would like to recommend the following seven steps to a good Singapore Math diet for your child, which have worked for many Singapore students.

1. Choose a suitable set of Singapore Math textbooks and workbooks

For 1st Grade / Primary 1 to 6th Grade / Primary 6, all the primary schools in Singapore are using only the following New Singapore Math textbook packages, which are written based on the New Singapore Math curriculum. We recommend that you use any one of the following New Singapore Math packages as the basic Singapore Math textbooks and workbooks for your child.

  1. New Syllabus Primary Mathematics
  2. My Pals Are Here! Maths
  3. Discover Maths

Note that all the above New Singapore Math packages of textbooks and workbooks are based on the New Singapore Math curriculum, which emphasizes new creative thinking skills and new heuristics in math, as well as all the new math skills that your child requires to survive and excel in the new world economy.

So which of the above New Singapore Math packages should you use as the basic Singapore Math textbooks and workbooks for your child? It all depends on what you want or what your child needs. You may use this comparison table to help you decide.

2. Choose a few supplementary Singapore Math workbooks for your child to practise basic math concepts and math skills

As mentioned above, the Singapore Math workbooks that come together with the Singapore Math textbooks provide only minimal practice in the most fundamental math concepts and math skills. Those Singapore Math workbooks are not enough for the following reasons:

  1. They are meant for use in a classroom environment, where Singapore teachers typically supplement them with other Singapore Math worksheets and workbooks.

  2. They provide little practice for your child in each math concept and math skill for each math topic. Singapore teachers typically have to go through many more math examples and math exercises in class, e.g. on the blackboard, than those that you see in the Singapore Math textbooks and workbooks.

  3. Math is a live subject that requires practice, practice and more practice. There is no shortcut to being number one in math in the world. Singapore students are trained rigorously in the basic math concepts and math skills both in school and at home, thereby acquiring a solid foundation in math.

It is worth mentioning that some non-Singaporeans had lamented the lack of sufficient math practice in basic math concepts and math skills in the Singapore Math curriculum, without realising that it was because they were using only one package of Singapore Math textbooks and workbooks. They did not realise that tons of math practice in basic math concepts and math skills could be found in the supplementary Singapore Math workbooks. This is like holding a few leaves, which one has plucked from a tree full of leaves, in one's hand and lamenting that the tree has so few leaves. They just need to pluck more leaves from the tree!

So which supplementary Singapore Math workbooks should you get for your child to practise basic math concepts and math skills? Check out our recommendations.

3. Choose a few supplementary Singapore Math workbooks for your child to practise basic math word problems

You should note that the most important and unique feature of Singapore Math is its emphasis on math word problems. It is just not enough that your child is able to add, subtract, multiply and divide effectively and efficiently, which some other math programs emphasize so much on. Your child should be able to apply their math skills to real life situations, which is a cornerstone of the Singapore Math curriculum. Such Singapore-style math word problems really challenge your child to think creatively and critically, thereby helping him to develop creative and critical thinking skills in math problem solving.

It is worth mentioning that for 1st Grade / Primary 1, 20% of their math assessment consists of such math word problems. This percentage increases to 55% for 6th Grade / Primary 6.

Again, the Singapore Math workbooks that come together with the Singapore Math textbooks provide only minimal practice in the most fundamental math word problems. Those Singapore Math workbooks are not enough for the following reasons:

  1. They are meant for use in a classroom environment, where Singapore teachers typically supplement them with other Singapore Math worksheets and workbooks.

  2. They provide little practice for your child in word problems for each math topic. Singapore teachers typically have to go through many more math word problems in class, e.g. on the blackboard, than those that you see in the Singapore Math textbooks and workbooks.

  3. They do not teach your child how to solve math word problems step by step. He is expected to make the leap from understanding simple math concepts and math skills to applying them to math problem solving.

  4. Math is a live subject that requires practice, practice and more practice. There is no shortcut to being number one in math in the world. Singapore students are trained rigorously in the basic math word problems both in school and at home, thereby acquiring a solid foundation in math problem solving.

The third reason as mentioned above has caused much frustration for many non-Singaporean children, teachers and parents. What they do not know is that there is ready help at hand. Many Singapore teachers and parents use supplementary Singapore Math workbooks to teach their children how to solve math word problems step by step. Check out our recommendations.

4. Choose a supplementary Singapore Math workbook for your child to practise challenging math word problems

If your child is able to solve the basic Singapore Math word problems, he should have no problem being average in math. In order to be above average in math, your child definitely needs more. He should be able to solve advanced or challenging math word problems. Singapore children are fed with so many challenging math word problems that they are even able to solve algebra-like math word problems without using algebra!

As a note aside, it is quite disheartening to see that many non-Singaporean teachers and parents resort to all sorts of algebraic equations to solve challenging math word problems in Singapore Math for 3rd Grade / Primary 3 through 6th Grade / Primary 6, when Singapore children are only taught extremely basic algebra in 6th Grade / Primary 6. Even then, Singapore children in 6th Grade / Primary 6 are not expected to solve any math word problems using algebra. It can also be quite sad to see these on-Singaporean teachers and parents pulling their hair out while trying to explain their algebraic solutions to their children, especially when Singapore children, teachers and parents have easy access to better resources. Check out our recommendations.

5. Choose a supplementary Singapore Math workbook for your child to gauge his mastery of math concepts, math skills and math problem solving

As like any other course, it is not complete without some sort of test at the end of the curriculum. Your child needs some math tests in order to gauge his mastery of math concepts, math skills and math problem solving. If he proves that he has mastered all the math concepts, math skills and math problem solving in each topic, then well and good. Otherwise, you can help him go through those particular math concepts, math skills or math problem solving that he is weak in. Check out our recommendations.

6. Choose a Singapore Math workbook for your child to practise non-routine math problems

So many Singapore children are doing so well in math these days that it is becoming more and more difficult to separate the cream of the crop in Singapore. As such, Singapore teachers are starting to introduce non-routine math problems that are so challenging even many adults cannot solve! Check out our recommendations.

So these are the 6 steps that will help make Singapore Math work for your child if he is in 1st Grade / Primary 1 through 6th Grade / Primary 6!

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