Thursday, April 8, 2010

Considering making the switch- from Saxon to Singapore Math

I've never been crazy about Saxon Math, but I do like that it forces the kids to continually review what they've learned in previous lessons. I'm not a visual learner, so when I first heard about Singapore math I was not too tempted by it. I am a mental math person, though, and the more I hear about Singapore, the more drawn to it I've become. I just don't know if we can make the change at this point. I'm not one to change course mid-journey. I feel like we have to stick with Saxon, although they've just renamed all their courses and I am a bit confused. Monk just finished up 7/6 and we were going to move to 8/7, but I see now that they've renamed the middle grades to 1, 2, and 3. So, maybe this is a good time to make the switch.

The main drawback to switching at this point is that my 10 year old, who is almost 2 years ahead in math, will have to back up about 4 years. I've heard that you can't just start Singapore at level 3 or 4, but that you have to start with level 2 (3rd grade). On the up side, since he is so far ahead, maybe we could take the remaining two months of this year and the summer to work through level 2 and see how we like it. I've also heard that kids really enjoy Singapore math. That would be worth a little backtracking, for sure.

What do you think? Anyone out there made the switch from Saxon to Singapore? Was it painful? Are you glad you did it? I'm not sure Monk needs to switch, I mean, he does well in math. I just thought he might like it better and that it might better prepare him for Algebra and Geometry. It would be a much easier switch for my girls since they wouldn't have to backtrack so far. And my girls struggle more with the mental math. Maybe Monk doesn't need Singapore, but maybe my girls would really benefit from it. I just can't decide. I think I need to let Monk try it and see what he thinks, although I hate to make major educational decisions based on the whim of a 10 year old. I need your input. Please. Help. I have analysis paralysis.


  1. My preference is Math-U-See as it can be video based and requires much less of me and the kids work on mastering one skill at a time.

  2. honestly? i used switched on schoolhouse and love love LOVE it.

  3. We use Singapore and LOVE it. We chose it after looking at many different options and getting a lot of feedback. I believe it is well-planned and well-balanced. Since your son doesn't struggle with Math, it sounds like he's an ideal candidate to make the switch. Hope you love it too!

  4. As a (public school) teacher, I would suggest you not switch. The primary reason being that you indicate the change would force you to take some of your kids backward in their math studies. This may lead to boredom and a lack of interest. My son had an educational disaster when his mother and step-father moved him from a more advanced school to the public school system and he got bored re-learning what he had already learned 2 or 3 years previous.

    What they learn matters much more than how they learn.

  5. Oh yeah.... a (belated) congratulations on your anticipated new addition to the family.

    One more thing... you might want to consider switching the ones who aren't "getting it" using the Saxon math to Singapore, but leave those who are able to handle the Saxon alone.

  6. We have used Singapore from the start and love it.
    I am not sure that you would need to go back two levels. I have been told that Singapore is 1 year ahead of the American scope and sequence. That may be why you have heard 2 levels back (there are 2 levels of singapore per school year). But if your child is on 5th grade math, he may need to do the level 4A book (it's not grade specific) which would be similar skills as in his American program. IT seems like going backward but it is really moving forward.
    My kids really enjoy it and they have learned algebraic thinking and problem solving. I have a few friends who are at the place of moving their eldest from elementary math to algebra and their kids aren't ready and are struggling b/c most elementary programs do not stress this thinking.
    The down-side to Singapore is that I do have to supplement for those skills that take extra practice to master (like multiplication facts). But supplementing that is much easier to do than problem solving/mental math/algebraic thinking.
    Sonlight used to offer a placement test for Singapore. I would check that out and see if your children would have to move back a level or more. But consider that they may not really be moving back; Singapore is just leveled differently.
    I know this has been a lot of info. I hope it helps. We have used Singapore from 1st grade, so I don't have experience with transitioning from another curr, but if you have any other questions, feel free to email me and I will do my best to help.

  7. We love Singapore math. I started my first on Saxon and we both hated it for the constant repetition and it's sooooo dry. The Singapore books are like you're playing. If you did have your kids go back, they'd probably actually enjoy it it because there are so many codes and mazes and things to , so if they already know the concepts it would be a fun review and practice but you can have them take the placement tests on the Singapore site to see where they are.

    I have posted a couple posts on our math experience on my blog if you want to read about it. My first daughter had a bit of a hard time transitioning and we took a loooong time on levels 1 and 2, finally by level 3 I decided we needed to really focus on math and get her caught up. Level 4 was tough, but now she's onto level 5 and whizzing through. I'll find out tomorrow how well when she takes her test which is the placement test on their site. I'm hoping she'll start Algebra by the end of this year, she'll be 6th grade age.

    It was a tough transition I think mostly because she got a sour taste for math from the boring Saxon books, and she's more of an artsy imaginative kid not real math minded. The other kids who started with Singapore have just whizzed through with no problem. They slow down when we get to a harder section, but once they get it, they're off. They should be fully prepared to start Algebra when they finish level 6, and the story problems are amazing. I'm learning how to solve them without Algebra. Then we plan to use the Algebra and Geometry books from McDougall Littell. We haven't picked the Trig or Calculus books yet.

    Also the US edition Singapore math books are the ones they were using in their schools when they were ranked #1 in the world for math. Tried and tested with excellent results. Love it!!! Good luck on your decision.

  8. I would switch! As a homeschool evaluator and homeschooling mom, I have seen it work many, many times!!

  9. Did you switch to Singapore Math from Saxon? If so, how did it go?



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