What is Singapore Math?
When I first started homeschooling my kids, I was terrified of teaching math. That might sound a little ridiculous, but you don’t know how bad I am at math. I wondered how I would manage to teach concepts I struggled to grasp. Then I discovered how simple it is to teach Singapore math. The straight-forward approach helps students to master one concept at a time before moving on to the next, more challenging concept. This style is perfect for people who have a hard time with math, but it’s also excellent for people who excel at math. You really can’t go wrong when you’re choosing Singapore Math.
Why Choose Singapore?
Singapore math is tried and true. Whether you are looking to teach Singapore math in your homeschool, or looking to supplement what your children are learning in school, you really can’t go wrong with this program. You can find online courses that use Singapore math, or you can purchase the curriculum. Whether you are helping your Kindergarten student or your advanced honors student, Singapore math can help your child master mathematical concepts and move on to more difficult problems. Singapore is easy to use. The program is designed to help students focus on one concept at a time and practice that concept until it is well mastered. The History of Singapore Math has shown that it consistently produces students with the highest levels of math skills.
Singapore Math and Standardized Testing Scores
One of the main reasons Singapore math became so popular worldwide is because students from Singapore were scoring so high in math on standardized tests. This led researchers to look into what was causing these students to outperform others to such a degree. They discovered that Singapore taught their students math in a style that differed from that of the western world and many other countries. Singapore used a mastery technique, which allowed students to drill concepts over and over until they had thoroughly mastered each concept. Then, students could move to the next skill. This method has proven itself time and time again when it comes to standardized testing scores. The magic ingredient for Singapore math’s success is in its three-stage learning process.
What is the Three-Stage Learning Process?
You know that Singapore math helps students on their placements and that it really focuses on the mastery of each mathematical skill, but how, exactly, does it work? Singapore math helps students to master concepts through a three-stage learning process. This three stage learning process involves the concrete, the pictorial, and the abstract. This concept of skill mastery was designed by Psychologist Jerome Bruner. His method includes teaching students in the concrete, the pictorial, and the abstract. To simplify those terms, you can think of objects, pictures, and symbols. The concrete are the objects. When a student is first learning a mathematical concept, they will use manipulatives or some sort of concrete object that they can touch and handle. The next step is to learn that same mathematical concept by drawing a picture of the problem. This is the pictorial step. The final step to master a mathematical concept is to master it using symbols. This is most often the use of numbers. This is when students master the concept in the abstract.
Imagine you are teaching your child how to add two and two to make four. First, you might give her two red legos and two blue legos and ask her how many legos she has all together. Then, you might ask her to draw a picture of two legos and then ask her to draw two more legos before asking her to count the total number of legos she drew. Then, you would show her the numerical number for two and explain that the numerical number represents the two legos. Then, you would show her how to add two plus two using the numerals. This is the basic format of the three stage learning process.
This three stage process can be used in your Singapore Math Homeschool, or you can implement this technique as a complement to your child’s public or private school curriculum.
Getting Creative with Singapore Math
Singapore math is especially fun when you are teaching kindergarten, as you can get creative in how you teach the concrete stage. One morning when I was trying to teach my kindergartener son his math lesson, he was not exactly interested in the math manipulatives I was using. He did, however, want to dig in the yard for worms and bugs. I decided to get a little creative. “Okay,” I said, “You go and find all the worms and bugs you can find, and we will add worms plus bugs today.” I have to admit, it wasn’t the most enjoyable lesson for me, but my son loved every minute of it, and he was adding worms and bugs in his head as he ran back and forth across the yard. The next day, I asked him to draw pictures of the worms and bugs we had found, and to remind me of how many we had. The following day, we took those pictures and turned them into numbers. Whether you’re homeschooling or just trying to help your children succeed at school, there are so many fun and creative ways that you can cater to your kids’ specific interests and use the Singapore math method to help them master mathematical skills and have a great time doing it.
How Can I Start Using Singapore Math?
Whether you are homeschooling, looking for a form of online education, or supplementing your child’s private or public school education, you can start using Singapore math even if you have no experience teaching and even if you aren’t particularly good at math. Consider enrolling your child in an online Singapore Math class. This way, you can learn alongside your child. As you start to pick up on how Singapore math works, you’ll feel more and more confident teaching it to your children.
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