Review: Singapore Math Primary Workbooks

While we don’t generally follow any set curriculum, we did use Singapore Math.

singapore math

Singapore Math publishes a variety of materials, and my kids each worked through the entire set of “Primary Math Workbooks, U.S. Editions” 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 5A, 5B, 6A, and 6B.

I ended up with the Level 5 Teacher’s Guide, and Level 6 Home Instructor Guide as well.  I think these may have been given to me or encountered at the thrift store or perhaps a curriculum swap; I know I didn’t buy them new.

When my kids were in the first grade, we started with the 1A workbook, and it was pretty simple, straightforward, and seemed very unnecessary to have any of the accompanying books at this level.  My kids would complete a lesson every few days and they generally enjoyed it.  So we kept moving forward.

By the time we got to level 4, each kid needed a little more help figuring things out on occasion, but they often worked independently through the lessons.  Likewise, in levels 5 and 6, there were times they needed more help, and times they were able to figure it out for themselves.

As for me, I don’t think I ever looked in the Level 5 Teacher’s Guide, it just didn’t seem to be necessary.  I did refer to the Level 6 Home Instructor guide a couple of times, mostly to make sure I was explaining something correctly.  It was also useful to note that the answers to the workbook problems were included in this book.

My only real complaint is that I wish there was a seamless flow from these books into more advanced math books.  When we were ready to transition into algebra, it was a challenge to find an algebra book that was able to explain and display concepts in as straightforward a method.  I will write a separate review of our Algebra experience thus far.

Overall, these elementary-level workbooks were very good and worked well for our family.  We did supplement with some basic manipulatives (coins, poker chips, marbles, cuisenaire rods, shapes, etc.) when it seemed that someone needed a visualization of a concept.  Otherwise, we simply worked through the workbooks at a steady pace.   Each chapter introduced a new concept which included several related problems.  Then every few chapters, there was a review section with a series of questions and problems to work out that spanned all preceding chapters.  My kids sometimes thought this seemed tedious, but it was clearly useful because they didn’t always remember everything from previous chapters.