Math Choices

June 25, 2006 at 3:42 am Leave a comment

Right Start
http://www.alabacus.com

Singapore Math
http://www.singaporemath.com

Singapore Math is actually from Singapore. The Asians are known for their superior knowledge and use of mathematics in comparison to US students. (TIMSS: check out this pdf for some stats) It is not based on rote memory but emphasizes mental math. A U.S. Edition is available that does have U.S. currency and some U.S. measurements although not a lot. The teacher’s editions are made by Sonlight (at least that’s the one I have) and are okay, but I never used it.

Right Start is a program written here in the United States, but based on the Asian methods. It has 5 levels for kindergarten through fourth grade. It uses one main manipulative, an American based abacus. It also has quite a few games that reinforce the concepts taught. The math games can be bought as a separate kit, or the instructions are in the teacher’s manuals and the cards can be made yourself. I would recommend just getting the Math Games Kit. The kit comes with all the cards nicely laminated, an instruction manual, and a small abacus (which you need anyway). The teacher’s manuals are clear and easy to understand, better than those for the Singapore Math.

That said, I am currently going to be using Singapore Math for my 2nd grader instead of Right Start. First reason, Right Start is quite expensive compared to Singapore. Second reason: I used two levels of Right Start with my older kids and feel like I have the methodology down. I use the abacus and the games from Right Start with Singapore Math. I also still have an older book put out by Right Start that says Activities and Worksheets for the AL Abacus. I use these anytime I need to reinforce a concept or help in explaining one. And not a great reason, but I consider myself good in math and so teaching and explaining it comes fairly easy to me.

My recommendation for those beginning to homeschool in the K-4th grades would be to use Right Start. You will appreciate their teacher manuals. If you start with Singapore you could become easily frustrated and quit. Switch to Singapore once you feel comfortable with the methodology as explained in Right Start (at least a couple years).

As they get older… My son is going to be doing 6A and 6B and finishing the Primary Series this year. My daughter (almost 14) is in book 3 of the New Math Counts series. On the Singapore website they recommend the New Elementary Math instead of NMC, but we found that the lack of teacher manuals was too much. In NEM the concepts go from concrete to abstract, easy to very deep, way too fast. I would have to sit down and work through many of the problems on the page before I could explain them to my daughter. This proved to be just too time consuming for our family. From the website it says the NMC covers much of the same content, just not as deep. The explanations in the student text are thorough and my daughter can work them much more independently.

My son is probably one that might pursue a career in some kind of math field. For him, we may start with NEM. It looks like they have put out new Teacher’s Manuals (NEM) for the first two books. I will be ordering this as he gets to the end of 6B.

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Entry filed under: teach.

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Psalm 78:4

We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.

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