Saxon vs. Singapore Math

Mar 12th, 2008 | By | Category: Curriculum Reviews, Math and Science

Someone asked me today what the difference was between Saxon Math and Singapore Math.

The difference is fairly simple.  Saxon’s instruction is cyclical.  It provides instruction, gives clear examples, then gives plenty of practice.  It will then cycle back to review the concepts again later in the course (often with practice).  Saxon does include some critical thinking skills, but its primary goal is to help students learn the skills involved in math. Therefore, you will find a lot of repetition in Saxon Math.

I usually recommend Singapore for students who have strong math skills. Singapore approaches math with the goal of developing mental math skills.  It begins by teaching a concept, providing some practice, then taking the concept further with mental math activities.  With Singapore, you will see a lot of  word problems as well as graphs for analysis, etc.  I also always recommend that they go to the website to take the placement tests in order to determine the right level for their child.  This is not a course to get hung up on grade level.  Because of the focus on mental math, you need to place your student according to the placement tests.  Be careful about shifting a student to Singapore Math’s Elementary Math program if your student has not completed level 6A & B.  The Elementary Math is designed for 7th-10th grade; however, if your student has not experienced the lower levels in math, he or she will really struggle with these courses.

Elementary Math combines algebra, geometry and trigonometry in each course for four years, so it is essential that your student has been introduced to all of those concepts before tackling this level.If your student needs repetition and review in order to truly grasp a concept, be sure to supplement Singapore Math with daily math practice.  Some great titles are Daily Skillbuilders (for grades 3-6) and Daily Math Practice (grades K-6).  Both are available from Curriculum Express, where you can also purchase both Singapore and Saxon at discounted prices.   

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