Monday, February 6, 2012

Singapore Math Kindergarten A & B Review

By Umm Abdurahman,

Previously I wrote about setting the foundations of mathematics for your child and about starting with a syllabus. After hearing so much about Singapore math we purchased a few levels and gave it a go. Now that my son has finished the kindergarten level, I would like to post my review for the books.   

The pros

1.      The breadth of subjects covered in the books is diverse. The first book covers numbers up to 10, shapes, patterns, length and size, weight, capacity and comparing sets. The second book covers comparing numbers, numbers up to 100, number bonds, addition, subtraction, time, and money.  I feel it is a great first step for a kindergarten level student.

2.      One of the most appealing aspects was the apparent ease of the program. I think from both a teacher and a child’s perspective working through the syllabus is a breeze. It took us around three months to finish the kindergarten books, as they were so easy and enjoyable to work through.

3.      The books were fun and exciting.

4.      The building of concepts was gradual.

5.      My son does not like to review too much, once he gets something he wants to move on. The Singapore textbooks provided just enough practice for him to do this.

6.      You do not need to buy either the activity book or the teacher’s book for this level.  The textbook is sufficient with enough practice to grasp the concepts without need of the activity book.  As for the teachers book instructions are written at the bottom of the page for each exercise within the textbook, therefore you don’t need it and can save money. 

The cons

1.      The textbooks were fairly effortless to teach save a few chapters, and even though I purchased both the activity books as well, I believe the textbooks at this level are more than sufficient.  The activity books did not add much benefit with regards to additional practice, so you can do without them.

2.      Although it was rare, some sections of the books I felt I could teach better than the approach offered.  From book A the unit teaching measurements of length and size asked the students to measure things according to cubes, e.g. the red shoe is as long as four cubes. For me I felt this was unnecessary and thought it would be much more beneficial if I taught my son to measure the relative sizes of objects using a ruler.  This worked well. 

3.      As for book B the unit on time was not very valuable. It covered telling the time by the hour, days of the week, year and some calendar work. The drills on telling the time my son liked but the other exercises I did not see much purpose to them.

4.      There is a small section which covers counting by tens and fives in the chapter “numbers up to 100’’ in book B. One of the things that I felt weakened this section is that they don’t explain the concept of multiplication, even though that is what it appeared to be.  I took some time out and decided to teach my son what multiplication was about so that if I asked him what six six’s were, he knew what it meant and could work it out. I don’t think this section was appropriate for this book.
I am extremely happy with the syllabus as a whole. The progress he has made so far is very evident. My son now applies a quantitative approach to many aspects in his daily affairs because he now understands and comprehends the relevance of mathematics in everyday life. When we started my son could barely write legible numbers, and had very little knowledge of math. Now he is able to count and write any number from one up to 100, he can carry out simple addition and subtraction equations. He understands the concept of multiplication and can answer simple equations.  I would definitely recommend the books and feel that it was a worthwhile buy.