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Question for Carrie...

Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 5:22 pm
by Candice
Hope it is appropriate to specifically direct a question to you on the forums. I am curious why Singapore math was chosen as the math option for the curriculum packages. I do realize we may choose a program of our own, I am simply curious what drew you to choose Singapore over other programs. What factors helped you in deciding Singapore would be the one. Thank you!

Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 9:58 pm
by Carrie

You may be sorry you asked! Here's a long reply to a tough question. As you mentioned, you are more than welcome to choose your own math curriculum to use with any of our programs (and we do realize that there are many excellent math programs to use out there). However, we have tried many of the big-name, and not so big-name, math programs for at least a year each and found many of them didn't fit our family well for a variety of reasons.

Many of the programs were just too time-consuming in the amount of teacher presentation required. As we added more children to our homeschool, I realized a 30 minute math presentation for one kiddo would quickly turn into 2 hours of math presentation when multiplied times my 4 boys. That would leave precious little time for the many other necessary school subjects.

Some of the programs required too much prep. or planning ahead of time prior to teaching. When I wasn't prepared, my students were wasting time waiting on me. Other programs had way too much drill or too many problems daily for my non-math loving oldest son. So, I found I was tweaking which problems to do daily and eventually the programs hardly resembled the original progam anymore.

In keeping with the Charlotte Mason philosophy for math, I wanted a program with short lessons, some hands-on, almost no prep., in a workbook form (to cut down on time spent copying problems) that emphasized higher-level thinking and reasoning along with computation. I also wanted it to be economical if possible. So, when we began with Singapore we knew we'd found the fit for us.

Where the program lacked hands-on in the early years, I added in lessons to include that. The one problem we have found with Singpaore is that the clean page layout and the few problems on each page makes it easy to assign too much daily, thus complicating what should be a short and sweet program. We compensate for that by including schedules in our guides that follow the original Singpore pacing, completing 2 workbooks in one school year.

Our plans are to phase out the hands-on teacher lessons starting with 3A/3B and move toward the textbook/workbook schedule only at that point. With a strong hands-on background from the previous Singapore years, we're finding the kiddos will be ready for that change.

At this time, we will probably endorse Singapore through 6A and 6B. It gets more teacher-intensive after that point, and we most likely will suggest an alternative prior to continuing on to the New Elementary Math that comes after 6A/6B. Since Singapore has such a solid base in problem-solving and reasoning, and an advanced scope and sequence, the switch to almost any other program should be a fairly painless one.

So, to make a long story short, all kids are different, and we know one math program will not fit them all. But, we do want to share what we've found with others in the hope that it may be a fit for some of you as well.


Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 5:47 pm
by Candice

Thank you so much for taking time to explain your reasons for the selection of SM. It was very helpful!

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 5:52 pm
by Carrie
You're very welcome. I hope it helped in some small way. My sisters often give me a hard time for my research mentality resulting in lengthy responses. Now, you'll know why!