Review of Singapore Primary Math Standards Edition

This is an independed review. I purchased the curriculum and am not being compensated in any way by the authors or publishers. There are no affiliate links.

I used Singapore Primary Math Standards Edition 1 with my daughter during her kindergarten year. We had already worked through Earlybird Kindergarten during her preschool year. We started 1A at the beginning of October, when she was 5.5 and it took us through the end of May, just after she turned 6, to finish that book. We will now be working on the 1B book throughout the summer and into the first grade year.

I had done a lot of research before settling on the Standards edition, though I cannot quite remember what ultimately tipped the scales. I purchased the Home Instructor’s Guide (HIG), textbook, workbook, and Extra Practice workbook. I did not see the need for the tests, since I can see every single day whether my child gets the concepts or if she needs more practice or a different approach. 

The HIG introduces each chapter with an overview of what will be learned and some general notes on the approach used for that concept. Then, it gives hands-on activities for each section to prepare for the concepts taught in the textbook. It lists the order in which to do pages from the various components, so you don’t have to match up the pieces yourself. At the conclusion of many sections, it also provides games for reinforcement. I find the hands-on activities and games very helpful and would not be able to come up with all of those on my own. 

For the activities, several manipulatives are listed in the front of the HIG. I did not buy all of those items and frequently made substitutions of manipulatives we do have around the house. The HIG also gives the answer key to all of the components in the margin of each section, though I have not used those, since it’s 1st grade math. In the back of the HIG, there are mental math drills that are useful for reviewing.

One gripe I have about the HIG is that the lesson plans are riddled with typos in the page numbers of textbook sections and workbook problems. I plan out daily lessons for a few chapters at a time. Time and again, the given page numbers just did not correspond to the pages in the books. It wasn’t a matter of different editions being used, they were just typos. It makes me wonder if there are mistakes in the answer keys as well, which I just haven’t paid attention to.

The textbook and workbook work in concert. So, we do the activity out of the HIG, followed by discussion of the related textbook pages, all on one day. The next day, we follow that up with the workbook pages. I have kept it to an average of 2 workbook pages a day, which may be why it took us more than half a year to complete the semester book. The workbook also has review sections after several units.

The Extra Practice book has a short review lesson of the concepts before each chapter. The problems are very similar to those found in the workbook. We did not use the lessons, but completed the problems as they are laid out in the lesson plans in the HIG. I like having the extra practice book for reinforcement but it is probably not really necessary.

Overall, this curriculum has worked well for us. Some chapters were very easy, especially the beginning and the end of the 1A book. However, other topics like addition and subtraction over 10 were a bit of a challenge. My daughter is still not quite fluid on those, but for now, I am chalking that up to mental maturity. We are going to continue working through the units in 1B and when we reach those skills again, I will assess whether she needs more scaffolding before we can continue on with addition and subtraction of higher numbers. I have added the use of an abacus (borrowing some ideas from Right Start Math that I have heard at conferences) to help with addition and subtraction.