Singapore Math Gets It Right...
(League City, Tx)
Product: Singapore Math
Levels Used: Earlybird 1a through level 3b;
Dates Used: 2005 - present
Likes: Easy to follow, extra practice workbooks & word problems books for every level but Earlybird (which is a kindergarden level). A friend led me to Singapore Math. I followed up w/research. Singapore sticks with the basics so the student masters them before moving on. American schools teach more math topics, but there is NO mastery because there's not enough time.
My kids like it & so do I - easy to follow & straight forward. You almost don't need the textbooks for 1st & 2nd grade (I hardly referred to them). You might need them for 3rd, though. Also don't need the answer key for the lower grades for the same reasons (unless you're really math challenged.) I've already purchased textbooks up to 6th grade (when I find 'em used). There's more after that, but I don't want to get too far ahead.
If I feel they need extra practice or more challenges, there's workbooks for that, and word problem books too. Since word problems are the 'bane' of everyone's existence, my kids included, I plan to do them over the summer holidays to make sure my kids remember their math.
I add manipulatives for my kids to make it more fun, and I use flash cards to help reinforce multiplication tables, etc.
Dislikes: You can't jump in at the 3rd or 4th grade level. Why? Because Singapore teaches mastery of a concept & then there's no need for yearly review. Thus, students switching at the higher grade levels will have trouble unless some remedial work is done (or there is testing & placement @ a lower level).
Other peeves: No schedule - no idea how many exercises to do per day. Not enough 'mental' math or worksheets. I hear that in Singapore, the teachers supplement these books with drills - 20 problems to be done mentally in, say, 5-10 min. However, online math sites generate such worksheets for free. Flashcards also serve this purpose, and Sonlight has instruction books with a schedule, mental math sheets, manipulative exercises & even fun games to go with Singapore (it's a math option @ Sonlight).