Appreciating Singapore Math

Singapore Math.  To add 15 plus 8, first dissect 15 into 10 and 5 and then add the 8 to 5 and add the 10 back.  To multiply 5x8, first multiply 5 to 10 then minus 2 5's. Complicated?   Not really. 

It took awhile for me to appreciate Singapore math.  Simple addition and subtraction are formed into bonds and to solve word problems you would have to draw models.  But now that my son is two years into it, I realize it's brilliance.

Children are taught the how's of math instead of memorizing tables and formulas.  Kids are deeply involved in lots of word problems which require deep analysis.  It is a bit harder than traditional but the science and thinking behind solving solutions will surely make one come out smarter.  Plus since it is dealing with day to day word problems,  kids appreciate it better.  I myself, a self confessed "duh math?" girl,  is begginning to like math.

Xavier hosted one Singapore math proponent and whiz Dr. Yeap Ban Har.  He was a very engaging speaker, not a dull math prof.  Essentially, he rallied the parents to support Singapore math because of the statistic data of the rise of intellect of Singapore math instructed students vs the traditional one.  It made average students become above average. 

He said that multiplying 485 x 87 can easily be done by a $1 calculator.  What figure to input and what operation to use is what matters.

Aside from making me close to rallying "I love Singapore Math!" I realized that I should go with the flow of the book and not try to inject my old method of answering the problems.  Visual instruction (ex. models, blocks)  is better grasped by kids.  

And it further emphasized what my son and I have already been doing which is practice makes perfect.   I provide my son with different problems and different scenarios according to his level.

Third is that you don't have to be a good soccer player in order to be a good soccer coach.  Ergo, you don't have to be a math whiz to teach your kids math.     Sometimes,  when my son doesn't get the word problem I am tempted to ask him questions that are short of giving away the answer.  You just have to ask the right questions.  Probe.  Write down given and label.  And give kids time.    It takes time so I allocate a lot of time maybe 5-20 minutes per problem.  Given enough time, using models, understanding the word problems my son will soon find his Aha moment.  It takes time but it's definitely worth it.

For more of Dr. Ban Har please visit his website: - question and answer blog - lectures given by Dr. Ban Har