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Singapore Math Grade 3 SET Review by Brittney Rutherford

Singapore Math
Singapore Math Inc.
19535 SW 129th Avenue
Tualatin, OR 97062

In the homeschooling world, Singapore Math is a well-known and respected math curriculum. It utilizes the teaching methods used in the country Singapore, a country that consistently performs well in international math assessments. Defined by the concept of visualization, Singapore emphasizes a Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract method. The student moves from hands-on exploration, to pictorial representation, to numbers, in order to truly master mathematical concepts.

To facilitate a review of this program, I received nine components:

Primary Mathematics 3A Textbook

Primary Mathematics 3A Workbook

Primary Mathematics 3A Home Instructor’s Guide

Primary Mathematics 3B Textbook

Primary Mathematics 3B Workbook

Primary Mathematics 3B Home Instructor’s Guide 

Extra Practice for Primary Mathematics 3

Singapore Math Intensive Practice 3

Primary Mathematics Challenging Word Problems 3

The curriculum is divided into two semesters. There are three main books for use each semester. The Home Instructor’s Guide includes the objectives, instructional ideas, activities, games and corresponding assignments from the textbook or workbook. The guide also includes the answer keys, and a suggested weekly schedule. The Textbook has meaningful examples, followed by practice sections. It is non-consumable, and students are directed to transition to the Workbook for written practice. The Workbook is consumable, and I love the variety of exercises.  Instead of just traditional problems, the presentation is fun and visually appealing, where answers are written inside train cars, or as a cross-number puzzle, or other interesting activities. I think this is helpful for students who get bored easily with repetitive assignments. I feel like it’s necessary to use the three books simultaneously to get the most of the program, though the Textbook could be used less with students who have a quick and firm grasp on the concepts.  

The Extra Practice book provides supplement exercises, allowing students additional time with the material when necessary, while the Intensive Practice is intended to provide more challenging material and generate more interest in mathematics. I can see the Intensive Practice being particularly useful for advanced or math-gifted students. The last book, Challenging Word Problems, provides worked examples and two levels of word problems. Practice Questions are similar to the ones in the series textbooks, while the Challenging Problems are higher-order and require more developed problem solving skills.

It should be noted that Singapore Primary Mathematics follows a different scope and sequence than traditional US math programs, and it is recommended to take the placement tests before beginning any level. The transition into this program takes a little time for both the student and teacher, as the teaching method is different, and I found the bouncing around between multiple books to be a little tedious.  Like any program, however, once you familiarize yourself with it, it become easier.

Used together, the full set for each level can provide an entire year, or more, of mathematics for students of all different levels. Students can work through the material at their own pace, with advanced students being offered more challenges through the additional materials. Although review is included in the workbook and schedule, you could also use the additional books as periodic review or as summer work to keep skills fresh. I can see this program being useful for students of different abilities and learning styles, and I would recommend it for most families as a possibility to explore. 

-Product review by Brittney Rutherford, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2017