Looking for ways to supplement

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Nikki P.

May 15, 2009, 9:46:09 AM5/15/09
to Parents for Quality Math Education
Hi All,

I know some of the other Corl Street parents in this group, and I know
Oak Norton's sisters and parents here in SC. I feel right at home in
this group! I have four little boys (ages 7,5,3, and 1). My oldest
is just about finished with 1st grade, and I am concerned enough about
the math program in the SCASD that I want to supplement this summer
with a more traditional approach (nothing against his teacher- she is
great and has done a fabulous job with my son). My husband is an EE
who is very good at math, and I was very successful in math through AP
Calc in high school, but then I went to college and got a degree in
Speech Pathology- and never took another math class. I want my boys
to be successful in whatever profession they choose, and I especially
want them to be prepared to enter technical fields if they so choose.
So my question is... what program do I order and where do I order it
from??? Should I stick with Saxon math since I haven't been
especially trained in Singapore math, or would I be savvy enough to
understand and teach Singapore math. I'm not so worried about the
elementary curriculum, but more the time it takes to understand how to
teach the different methods.

Have any of you had success in supplementing the math curriculum for
your children? I feel like if the school district is failing my child
in any subject, it is my responsibility as a parent to correct that.
Math and physical activity are the two areas I feel most concerned
about right now. It is so hard to fit everything into one day! By
the time my son is home from school, I feel like he needs to run and
play as much as possible (he only gets one twenty minute recess and PE
once a week). Between play time, piano lessons, and soccer, when am I
going to teach him math??? I wish the school district were a little
more accommodating. It seems like everyone talks about collaborative
efforts but no one is willing to practice them!

Thank you for your input.


Barb Schaefer

May 15, 2009, 10:50:09 AM5/15/09
to Parents for Quality Math Education
Hi Nikki,
I can totally relate to the 'when am I going to teach him math'
concern. May I suggest that your supplementation work need NOT be a
'sit down' curriculum per se. Certainly, you might find a textbook to
be a useful resource, but I'm sure you know enough math to get you
through grade 5 curricula with a little reminder here and there.The CA
standards posted on this site provide very concrete guidance about
what we can work on at various grade levels.

Next year I'll have one in grade 5, one in K. (I'll be dusting off my
algebra skills next, myself. Calculus, well, that would be a stretch.)

At our house, we had some fun with afterschool time using whiteboard
markers on our windows as a 'blackboards' and practicing traditional
math algorithms as part of 'homework' (put one on each window like a
race - "how fast can you do all 5 problems?"), and charting their
progress can be fun. The Wegman's produce scales are a big draw for
my youngest (they get to do the #s and print out the sticker - "How
much is that?" "How many fruits do we have all together?"). We've
often used our travel time in the car to work on fluency with math
facts or simple problem solving, for example. ("Let's see how many we
can do before we get to soccer practice"). With a carload of kids,
each could do counting a different way (by 1's, 2's 3's, etc), or
count different colored cars, then the oldest can add them all up. One
mistake(?) I made was teaching my kids about numbers on speed limit
signs and greater than/less than ("what number is that?" 25; "is that
more/faster or less/slower than 35?" - "should I slow down or speed
up?" . Great fun, but now they enjoy comparing my speed to the signs
"MOM - YOU"RE SPEEDING!". Oops :-)

I'm sure others have lots of great ideas, too. What else have folks
been doing?

Steve Piazza

May 15, 2009, 1:43:22 PM5/15/09
to Parents for Quality Math Education
We use the Singapore Math books and I agree with you that it would
be near impossible to fit it in on our hectic weekday schedule. The
best we can do during the school year is about an hour on the weekend,
but I think they get a lot done in that time. The Singapore Books are
good, but giving up weekend time for essentially more homework can be
a tough sell. I don't know if this would fly in your house, but what
seems to work for us is bribery. Our sons have video games but we
limit the amount of time they can use them. On the weekend, we say
that for every minute spent on extra math, they get an extra minute of
video games. Everybody seems very happy with this arrangement.

When we ordered the Singapore books, I was all set to deliver math
lessons to my kids, but it hasn't worked out that way. Sometimes I
explain things, but more often the boys are working through the nicely
illustrated and clear examples in the front of each chapter
themselves, then working through the practice at the end of the
chapter, and then we go over the answers together. I'll bring my set
of Singapore books (I have grades 3-5) with me to the Board meeting on
Monday evening for anyone who wants to see them.


Nikki P.

May 15, 2009, 2:08:41 PM5/15/09
to Parents for Quality Math Education
I've been doing some research on the Singapore math books. The sample
pages look pretty clear and easy. Do you use only the textbooks, or
do you use the homeschool teacher's refrences and workbooks as well?
We have the same limited time for video games at our house. I think
we might be able to make the weekend approach work... I'll see if I
can go to the board meeting Monday night and take a look at your


Steve Piazza

May 15, 2009, 2:59:49 PM5/15/09
to Parents for Quality Math Education
I have what I believe are called textbooks, but they are fairly thin
and there are two per grade level (3A, 3B, 4A, etc.) and they cost
about $8 each. There are placement tests on the Singapore Math site
that can help you decide which books to purchase. I don't have the
teachers' edition or the workbooks. It might be nice to have the
workbooks, since our kids write the answers on separate sheets of
paper currently.



May 15, 2009, 5:34:21 PM5/15/09
to Parents for Quality Math Education

I use Singapore math for my 2nd and 5th graders.
I use the US ED, and I use both textbooks and workbooks.
These are beautiful books. Math concepts are explained
conceptually in textbooks, and you will find many practice
exercises in Workbooks. My girls love these books.

In general, the US ED is one year ahead of what our kids
learn at school. For my 5th grader, I order this March the books
4A, 4B, and they were just fine for her.

Hope these information can be of help.
If you want to look at these books, I have the whole
set from 2nd to 6th grade. You are welcome to them.

Wen, PhD

Oak Norton

May 16, 2009, 1:05:53 AM5/16/09
to Parents for Quality Math Education
Hi Nikki, I'll have to ask my family how you know each other or you
can email me privately. Nice to meet a long distance friend of the
family. :)

There are both textbooks and workbooks. You could get both, but I
recommend you just start with the workbooks by themselves if you have
a decent understanding of math. With younger children you'll have no
problem explaining a concept, but the illustrations are so clear and
applicable to the problem I found my children learning without much or
any help. Some of the problems in the 5th/6th grade workbooks you may
want textbooks for help to explain concepts. I also recommend you get
the challenging word problem book for the grade though in older grades
you'll be hard pressed for the kids to work out the problems because
they'll be lacking the SM modeling training. I'd bet there aren't many
kids in our country that can do the algebraic problems SM kids do in
5th grade. You might also get one of the Brain Math books which
contain some fun problems to work out.


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