When it comes to homeschool, I kind of feel like as long as we are consistently learning math and spending time reading, that the rest of the things we do will fall into place. I remember when I was researching when my daughter was still only three or four and thinking that the math curriculum we chose would be vital. Three years later and I am happy that the decision I made then has worked really well for us. We began using Singapore Math when Maggie was in kindergarten and now we are working through third-grade math. I was excited to review Singapore Dimensions Math 2A to see what we liked or didn’t like about it.
If you are unfamiliar with the Singapore Math Inc. program – here is the lowdown. Singapore teaches your child to think mathematically. They are not simply memorizing math facts. Singapore math teaches children to solve a problem in a variety of ways, using the Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract approach, number bonds, bar modeling, and mental math. Dimensions Math follows that same line of thinking with a few other things. Dimensions Math PK-5 has five character friends that recur throughout the books reminding students of different things they have learned or help them figure out how to solve the problem.
There are three books for each level. The teacher’s guide, the textbook, and the workbook. The teacher’s guide is separated by chapters which are color-coded to match the colors in the textbook. Each chapter opens with an overview that tells you what you are doing for each lesson, the objectives with explanations, extra materials like the Blackline Masters, stories or activities you can use or will need. These are all different ways to help your child understand and fully grasp the concept they are learning. We are a game playing family, so we love the different card game ideas. The lessons within the chapter are laid out with four sections – Think, Learn, Do, and Activities. Now – here is one of my favorite things about Singapore Dimensions math. In the teacher’s guide – as it explains these four sections – pictures of the textbook page accompanying it are included. At the end of the lessons – you will see a pencil across that points you to the correct workbook page. At the end of each chapter you will find the answers to the workbook questions.
The textbook is color-coded to match the teacher’s guide which is awesome. This is where teaching styles will differ. I prefer to pull out our giant whiteboard. We talk through the problems together on the board. Our whiteboard may just be my favorite homeschool tool ever! My daughter will cry through a problem in the workbook but solve it in seconds on the whiteboard. Why? No clue but I just roll with it when it happens. Remember those five characters I mentioned? This is where they come in. Emma, Alex, Sofia, Dion, and Mei will reappear throughout the lessons with helpful hints, reminders or thoughts to encourage your child to think it through and solve the problem
The third part is the workbook. This is where you can turn over the lesson to your child. You have discussed and worked on many examples so your child has the tools to solve the problems now. The workbook takes them through three parts – basics, practice, challenge. I love the challenge section that really makes them think about what they have learned already.
We have been successfully using the Singapore Math program for a few years now and really like it. We do math somewhere from three to seven days a week – mainly because there are months like December where we are very lax in what we do as far as actual schoolwork so we pretty much school year round in a relaxed manner. Our daily lessons usually involve working through the textbook together and playing some of the games or activities introduced. Then they get to work on their workbook page. Some of the lessons are longer than others. If they are struggling with a lesson, sometimes we call it quits partway through. The next day, we may review the textbook problems or they may just start their workbook. If I’m being really honest – sometimes I write all of my daughter’s problems on the whiteboard. She works through them on there and then just writes the answers in her workbook – huge perk to homeschool – right?! I love the focus on mental math. My daughter struggles with that and wants to quit. I have her write out many problems and I solve them almost as quickly as she can write them on the board. Then we talk about why mental math is so helpful in the real world and that we aren’t just learning this to forget at a later date. I really believe in the Singapore Math methodology and I can see it working for my kids.
Check out some of the other reviews of Singapore Dimensions Math by clicking the image below.