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Singapore's Primary Mathematics Standards Edition was developed specifically to comply with the state of California's educational standards. It follows the same approach as the U.S. Edition, but is not compatible with those texts. There are fewer books to buy with the Standards, making it cheaper overall (individual books are slightly more expensive), but more work than the previous edition.
If you don't live in California there's no need to worry about having the Standards Edition per se, though there are some benefits to the program's layout. It's more visually engaging, the textbooks and workbooks are longer, and there are tests (a notable gap in the U.S. Edition). A population of diminutive little folks guide kids through lessons and point out important information, a feature that isn't in itself educational, but that certainly makes math time more fun.
How Do These Work?
For each grade there are two semesters (A and B), consisting of a workbook, textbook, teacher guide and test book; an extra practice book for each grade level is also available. All books are consumable except for the teacher guide, which is available either as a classroomoriented teacher guide or a home instructor guide. The teacher materials are easy to navigate, and include lots of ideas for use of manipulatives and activities to illustrate important concepts. Both teacher guide options include answers to all workbook and textbook problems.
The concretetoabstract method used by Singapore (see the main Singapore Math review) means teachers will need to take an active role in their students' education. Much of the material is explained and reinforced through the use of manipulatives and teacherguided games and activities.You won't be able to hand your kids a book and let them loose; each lesson will need to be explained to them, ideally after they've read the text but before they finish the problem set.Students are expected to fully grasp the concrete/practical foundation of any given mathematical procedure before learning how to do it in their heads, thus helping them to think mathematically and logically.
Textbooks are divided into chapters, so complete concepts are taught thoroughly before moving to a new one. Each chapter is broken into lessons, so kids aren't bombarded with more information than they can handle all at once. This is considerably harder math than is generally found in an elementary course, though the instruction is clear enough that kids will genuinely learn even if they're stretched beyond their comfort level.
Like the U.S. Edition, the Standards Edition uses the English standard and metric systems of measurement. There is more work in the Standards, though fewer books to purchase as well, so it evens out. The tests are an excellent addition as they provide a good gauge for students' progress. Kids will welcome the fullcolor texts that visually engage them instead of just hurling facts and problems at them.
It may be difficult to jump in to Singapore (Standards or U.S. Editions) from another program because of its advanced nature. There are diagnostic tests available on SingaporeMath.com to help place your child. Don't feel like you need to start with any given grade just because that's what grade your student is in, either; if he's in third grade but is only at the second grade Singapore math level, have him do second grade instead of trying to force him into a level that's too advanced.
Our Honest Opinion:
This is basically a streamlined version of the Primary Mathematics U.S. Edition. Although the math concepts are marginally more advanced, the format is slightly easier to use for both students and teachers, and it is definitely prettier with its fullcolor textbooks. However, it is more expensive (potentially a lot more if you reach 6th grade), and does not offer the Intensive Practice books, so there are still some advantages with the U.S. editions. You could go either way.Singapore students regularly score highest in math and science among international students, and their elementary math program lays an excellent foundation for further study.
Additional Information:
Comparison of Scope & Sequence for Standards & U.S. editions(through 6th grade)
Comparison of Scope & Sequence for Standards, Common Core & U.S. editions(through 5th grade)

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

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