Singapore, Saxon or Math-U-See?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What is it about the Spring semester that makes me tired of our school books and longing for fresh curriculum?

Since Christmas, I've been reading reviews, ordering catalogs, and now, asking you for curriculum advice. Specifically: Math.

We've very happily used Singapore Math for 3 years with Belle, and in the fall will be starting a Kindergarten level Math with Boo.

The simplest thing to do now is to continue with Singapore Math for both.  And cheapest.  That's nice.

Then I saw a Math-U-See video and thought how wonderful for Boo to "see" math and use his hands to learn critical concepts.  He's a boy, and I thought that might be good for a boy.  Right?

It has also always been my plan to at some point make the switch to Saxon Math, because I used in junior and senior high and appreciated the repetition.  Yes, some people actually doing the same things over and over.  I am one of them.

However, I don't want to use a different curriculum each year.  And I don't want to spend a trillion dollars on kits, manipulative sets, and more manipulatives to complete the first manipulative set.

Okay.  Your turn.  Give me your opinion and I will listen.  Just don't say anything mean about Saxon.  It might hurt my feelings.


***Update:  I found Math U See at a garage sale and snagged the complete Gamma Set as well as the Starter and Completer Blocks.   Now I'm wondering how Belle will do going from Singapore 2 to Gamma.  Should we have done Beta first? ***

12 Creative People Had This To Say:

OneThankfulMom said...

This may be boring, but I love Saxon math. I am in my 20th year of homeschooling and I've tried several math programs. For years I have used A Beka math through 3rd grade and then moved them to Saxon 5/4. Some of the children got bogged down in A Beka 3, so I moved them to 5/4 part way through the year. One of my children skipped A Beka 3 all together and went straight from 2 to Saxon 5/4. He was unique :-)

This system seems to have worked well for my kids - so far!


care-in said...

I love ABEKA math for the repetition. I am using Saxon 1 with my kindergartners and it is a lot for them. The school chose to do one grade level ahead in math because the grade level one is too easy. I also don't like that there is no mastery of some concepts at this point in Saxon...I guess they plan to introduce it several times in the next year or so before mastery is expected. I also don't like the order they introduce the math facts. I have heard great things about Saxon for the upper elementary and middle/high school.

You can add hands on and manipulatives on your own. There are so many ideas on the web of activities and games you can make.

The Park family said...

My oldest DD began MathUSee in Gamma. We used Abeka prior to this. She did pretty well but the only thing that was hard to grasp was that in MUS you begin learning place value in Primer. This is solidified with each stage so that was hard to come in half way. We borrowed a DVD Beta from a friend and went through one lesson that seemed to help tremendously! Forget which one; sorry!
Also the one thing I learned mid way through her book was to not move on to the next lesson till she had that multiplication set memorized. Each lesson teaches you one number set. It teaches it through skip counting so it is imperative they memorize those facts before moving to the next set. This means printing out more sheets from the MUS website but it is so worth it if your kids get them memorized since everything else builds on the multiplication tables! Since we moved ahead too quickly, she never really GOT her facts completely memoried by the end of the year and struggled as the problems got bigger. We continued on through though as I learned the ropes. She is now on Epsilon (5th grade) and doing very well. I want to continue MUS through the Jr High and highschool ages but pray about it with each year since God knows best. I know my more kinesthetic kids will probably need MUS through the rest of their schooling but I am open to switching with the oldest because she has the brain for Saxon.


Jen said...

How about me just being impressed that you homeschool at all! Much less get as crafty as you do. You probably cook too. Just stop it -- you're making me look bad! :-)

care said...

Good topic. I'm interested to read everyone's thoughts too! You know I'm a big fan of Saxon. I keep thinking I might switch to Singapore since I've heard such great things about it, but I keep getting happier and happier with Saxon so for now I'm sticking with it at least for next year (grade 2). I will say that Saxon K is super easy for kindergarten, but Saxon 1 starts out easy, but gets hard . . . too hard to Kindergarten in my opinion. Even though it was easy, I'm glad I did Saxon K and then Saxon 1 at grade level. We just skipped though Saxon 1 a lot for the first half until it got more challenging. I've heard such great things about all the curriculum you mentioned so I'm curious to see how people respond. I don't think you can go wrong with any of those choices!

H-Mama said...

We used 5th grade Teaching Textbooks this year for our 4th grader {coming from ABeka} and loved it. We plan to use it next year for our youngest as well who is currently using MUS. She's our visual/hands-on learner.

Whatever works! ;)

Anonymous said...


Empty Nest Full Life said...

It has been quite some time for me, but I used Saxon math with my son and it was great. The repetition was a good thing for him. He went on to public High school, and now in college, and has never had a struggle with Math. I would say it worked well for him, and I learned a few things along the way. Jackie

Kristen, The Pajama Mama said...

From Laura::

We used to use Saxon at Johnson when I first started there and I absolutely loved it! When I taught 1st grade, I felt as thought the repetition and spiraling of concepts was so helpful for the young ones who are just beginning to learn how to problem solve. It's nice also b.c you can supplement the program using whatever manipulatives you have.

Right now, we use a more exploratory math program called Investigations. It basically allows children to come up with their own ways to solve problems and uses lots of manipulatives and questioning while solving problems. There are many lessons that are great, but there are definitely "holes" in the curriculum when lining it up with our Standards of Learning..therefore, we have to supplement with other things. I see this as a great program to use in a classroom though b.c a lot of it is cooperative learning..where children listen to other student's ideas and watch their ways of solving problems. However, I think this would be a little challenging to use at home. Have you ever heard of Math Our Way or Everyday Math?? I don't know a whole lot about them, but heard that some teachers really like that program as well.

Okay..well I think that is all I have to say :) Hope that helps.


Kristen, The Pajama Mama said...

Thanks for all the input! I'm excited about starting something new and your comments are helping me relax about my choice. It's a luxury that we have so many good options!

laney said...

I understand your dilemma being home grown on Saxon too : ) I love the spiral review aspect of Saxon and it is also stronger in the area of word problems and critical thinking. However, I will say this for Math-U-See, having used it with both lower level and high school students I think it's the best curriculum I've used that helps you understand why, what, and how of the concepts you're learning and not just steps for solving problems. For visual learners this is TOPS!!

Aljandro Barbosa said...

Singapore have been leading the world in Mathematics. I think what it keeps it strong is its implementation of Singapore that focuses on basic concepts through visualizing things which could be more favorable in Math-U See.