Singapore Math Buying Guide for Homeschooling Parents

How to pick the right Singapore Math curriculum for your family
August 03, 2022 1518 0 9

You have choices

You may choose between purchasing the complete Singapore Math Adaptive Learning
curriculum or a program which contains printed materials with only basic technology (ICT
tools). You may also combine both. For example, you could use the adaptive learning program
as your core curriculum and supplement study with books. Alternatively, you could purchase
Singapore Math in-print program and use it as your core curriculum and supplement it with
adaptive learning.

If you have read the how to teach this curriculum guide, then you already know that teaching
Singapore Math at home could be an intricate process that requires some planning and
preparation. Therefore, it’s critical to select a program which contains the right amount of
materials, content, teaching activities, and exercises to meet your homeschooling needs.

Singapore Math Buying Guide

To help you choose the right program, ask the following questions:

Question 1: Is the program homeschooler-friendly?

Check the number and relevance of teaching activities. Generally, the less activities to cover, the
easier it will be to plan, prepare, and teach the program. Activities such as Test prep, STEAM or
“discovery” projects may not be relevant for homeschooling families. Doing them could cause
unnecessary frustration and could take days to complete. Also, if the program contains fewer
activities it probably costs less.

Question 2: Is the curriculum personalized?

A personalized curriculum has a major advantage over non-personalized programs because it
delivers learning at your child’s level and desired pace. The adaptive option also provides for
acquisition of 21st century competencies.

Some educators and some homeschooling families still prefer to provide their students
exclusively with paper-and-pencil work and this option could work for them. However, research
shows that technology-based learning can increase acquisition of new math skills by as much as

Importantly, the latest Singapore MOE’s syllabus specifically focuses learning on acquisition of
21st century competencies with modern ICT tools.

Question 3: Does the curriculum fit into my budget? Are there any discounts for families?

To truly assess the cost of any program, you should add the cost of all materials, including access
to the ICT tools (i.e. videos, practice, games, assessments, etc.) and physical or visual
manipulatives (must have and be used during the CPA phase).

Some publishers market their programs as “most affordable” by showing you the cost of their
textbooks and workbooks only. However, when you add up all the necessary components
including all printed materials, ICT tools, and manipulatives, their program becomes very

Should I purchase the Singapore Math Adaptive Learning program?

Choose Adaptive Learning if you want to:

  • start asap
  • personalize your child’s learning
  • deliver high quality, clear, and straight-forward instruction daily
  • teach 21st century competencies with the use of technology
  • transition to Singapore Math from another program
  • provide remediation or enrichment
  • provide catch up or review
  • fill knowledge gaps
  • move your child ahead of her or his grade
  • combine paper-and-pencil practice with online practice
  • make study more interesting with games

Also choose Adaptive Learning if you don’t have the following:

  • time to prepare and teach on a daily basis
  • knowledge to teach with the CPA or don’t have time to acquire it
  • knowledge to teach mental math and bar modeling techniques or don’t have time to acquire
  • manipulatives or don’t want to buy them
  • confidence in your math abilities

Should I purchase Singapore Math student books and Home Instructor’s Guide?

In general, teaching with student books should work well for you if you are confident in your
math abilities and/or know that your child prefers paper-and-pencil study to online learning or
online games.

You should purchase books and the Home Instructor’s Guide if you can:

  • invest some time to learn about CPA, mental math, and bar modeling
  • prepare for teaching daily
  • teach with the CPA method
  • use manipulatives consistently

What’s the best Singapore Math curriculum? How do I know?

Genuine materials

Researchers found that first generation Primary Mathematics (PM) curriculum and books were
instrumental to Singapore’s success in achieving top rankings on PISA and TIMMS. The
authentic resources refer specifically to the PM Third Edition and PM US edition printed

Focused and updated

The genuine books are thin and focused. On average, these textbooks contain 13 topics and 200
pages per grade. Teaching and learning one to two-pages per day is manageable for most
homeschoolers. The curriculum must be updated, relevant and forward looking to reflect
acquisition of 21st century skills with modern technology.

Plenty of practice

The significant advantages of focused learning include providing plenty of space for young
children to explore math concepts, delivering multiple opportunities for practice, and allowing
plenty of time to achieve mastery. The textbook publishers used the genuine PM curriculum as a
model in creating new programs. Therefore, the first generation PM curriculum is the standard
which should be used to rate the current programs.

The standard

  • curriculum is focused and books are thin
    13 topics per grade, on average
    200 pages per grade textbook or teaching pages in a student book
    each lesson is covered in one to two pages
    focused activities: 1) learn, 2) guided practice, 3) independent practice, and 4) chapter
  • curriculum is relevant and updated for 21st century learning
    aligned to the latest Singapore MOE’s syllabus to focus on 3 key areas:
    1) mathematical processes to develop 21 st century competencies with use of modern
    technology and ICT tools for learning mathematics
    2) big ideas to deepen knowledge, reasoning and appreciation of mathematics
    3) metacognition to promote self-directed study and reflections
  • curriculum is affordable
    families are able to purchase all available resources

The bottom line

Singapore Math curricula line up as follows:

#1 Singapore Math Adaptive Learning 2022
#2 Primary Math 2022
#3 Dimensions 2018
#4 MIF 2020

Books and Homeschooling Guides:

#1 Primary Math 2022
#2 Dimensions 2018
#3 MIF 2020

More details

Singapore Adaptive Learning 2022

The Singapore Math adaptive learning curriculum is the only program which satisfies all three objectives in the Standard, namely: focus, relevancy, and affordability. The program contains 6 focused teaching and study activities.

The adaptive curriculum is the only personalized program. It delivers learning at a student’s
level and promotes development of 21st century competencies with the use of modern ICT tools.
The curriculum is very affordable. The company gives free trials and discounts for
homeschooling families.

The adaptive curriculum is the only program that emphasizes metacognitive thinking in nearly
every lesson in accordance with the latest MOE’s syllabus. Students are encouraged to reflect
and do check-the-answer work after completing the instructional part of the lesson.

Primary Math 2022

The PM 2022 curriculum is the only program which is completely updated in accordance with
the latest MOE’s syllabus. It contains the 3 study phases (readiness, engagement and mastery)
with the focus on helping students develop mathematical thinking, processes, and 21st century

The program’s materials were updated to include 2 student books per grade instead of the older
structure of 4 books (2 textbooks and 2 workbooks) per grade. Even though it contains 12
activities, the resource is homeschooler-friendly and simple to use. The program contains ICT
tools, although they’re pretty basic.

The books are fairly thick because they combine learning from a traditional textbook with
practice in a workbook. As such students can write in the student books and all other workbooks. When adding the cost of all books, manipulatives, and ICT tools, PM 2022 is the
least expensive in-print program.

Dimensions 2018

The DM 2018 curriculum is aligned to the older version of the MOE’s syllabus and it maintains
the dated 2 textbooks – 2 workbooks per grade structure of its materials. Generally, textbooks
are not meant to be consumable and students are encouraged to write in the workbooks only.
The resource contains 11 activities and textbooks are thicker than those in the Standard.

While the program is homeschooler-friendly and fairly simple to use, the curriculum was not
updated to the latest MOE’s syllabus and it doesn’t have any internally developed technology
components. Instead, the company uses a 3 rd party website to provide students with basic ICT
tools, online practice and assessments.

Although, the company offers video lessons to help homeschooling parents with teaching and
students with learning, these lessons are provided in the old distance study format and they’re not

Considering the total cost of all materials in each grade, including two textbooks, two
workbooks, a Home Instructor’s guide, test books, manipulatives, and annual subscription to the
video lessons, DM 2018 costs more than PM 2022 but less than MIF 2020.

MIF 2020

The MIF 2020 program is updated in accordance with the latest MOE’s syllabus. Learning is
focused on developing mathematical thinking and acquisition of 21st century competencies and
skills with the ICT tools.

The student books are thick because, similar to the PM 2022 resource, the materials were
updated to include 2 student books per grade and these books combine learning from a
traditional textbook with practice in a workbook. In addition, the student books also include
directions to the various activities that, arguably, should be placed in the Teacher Editions.

The MIF 2020 curriculum offers the most resources and the best ICT tools. Students can write in
all workbooks. However, the program is the least friendly for homeschoolers because it contains
many different activities, and, therefore, it’s the most challenging to teach. When adding the cost
of all books, manipulatives, and ICT tools, MIF 2020 is the most expensive program.

For more in-depth info

For a more in-depth analysis of the Singapore programs, including description of the materials,
activities and cost, you should read A Singapore Math Comparison Guide article, which contains
a table to help you quickly pick the right curriculum for your family.

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