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Why the US Edition of Primary Math?

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Why the US Edition of Primary Math?

Having SO many editions to choose from can make using the Singapore Math curriculum rather complicated – and there’s even another “new” version of Primary Mathematics coming out this fall! Brenda Barnett, founder of Singapore Math Live and mother of 4 home educated students, believes that the US Edition of Primary Mathematics is the best option for home school families. Here’s why:

The US Edition and Newer Editions

The US Edition of Primary Math is the program that is the most similar to what is used in the country of Singapore. It is called the “US Edition” because it includes US currency and the Imperial System but still includes the Metric system. ALL of the other editions were either tweaked to fit into a classroom (Standards and Common Core for example). Dimensions and the new Primary Math were written specifically for a US classroom. (Click here to see the publisher’s website for the New Primary Mathematics series, notice that it is a “simplified program” that was “revised for the US classroom.”)

All editions of the Singapore Math curriculum use the same methods and strategies, but they differ in depth and rigor. In the books that Singapore Math Live supports, including the Textbook, Workbook, Intensive Practice, and Challenging Word Problems, the practice has a very wide range of difficulty. It is not expected that students will be able to solve all of the problems without difficulty because the problems are designed to stretch students to see how far they are able to apply the concepts they have been taught.

Math in Singapore vs. the US

In the country of Singapore, the grading scale for an “A” is 80-100 because they do not hesitate to ask students to solve problems that will challenge them to synthesize their learning and apply old skills to new problems. Singapore has great success in mathematics education because of the strategies and methods their curriculum demonstrate, but also because they teach and give assessments that measure the students’ ability level as they apply what they learned in unique ways.

Contrast that with the way that US classrooms are set up. Here, students rarely see anything on an assessment that was not specifically demonstrated in class. If a student does their homework and understands what was presented, they expect to make an “A,” which is defined as 90-100. The questions can’t push students to see how far they can synthesize and apply knowledge because the practice and assessments are designed to measure the students’ level of achievement in demonstrating mastery of exactly what was taught.

Why the US Edition?

By using the methods and strategies that each of the editions of the Singapore Math curriculum employs, students will become better at thinking mathematically and will have a solid math education. However, by using the editions that are made for a classroom environment, the student’s learning will be somewhat limited because the edition has been modified to fit a US classroom which is an “achievement” rather than an “ability” learning environment. For some students, that will be enough challenge. But for many students, the opportunity to be exposed to a higher level of depth and rigor will enhance their critical thinking skills and challenge them to learn to apply old learning in new situations in abstract ways. 

Singapore Math Live does not expect students to complete every problem on every page of every recommended book during every year. The final decision for how much is “enough” is firmly in the hands of the home educating parent! But with the problem set that is available in these books and with the recordings that SML offers, students will have the opportunity to achieve what their ability level allows – which is a big part of the reason we homeschool!

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