How to choose your homeschool maths curriculum

At Education Reformation, we sell various types of Singapore maths curriculum for primary grades and high school. Choosing the  best homeschool maths program for your situation takes some thought. Singapore maths programs have consistently produced the top maths students in the world. They are well designed and easy for both teachers and parents to use, making them a good choice for home educators. 

Some things to ask yourself when deciding on a maths program are:

Does it use a spiral or mastery approach?

How do I compare Singapore maths with the Australian Curriculum?

How do I place my child in the right level?

Will it suit my maths-strong student or help my struggling student?

What else will I need?

What about high school maths?

Does it use a spiral or mastery approach?

A spiral approach teaches concepts over and over throughout the course, each year looping back to add a little more, building on the concept area, increasing knowledge over time. The concepts are taught in constant rotation and continually reviewed. This can be good in that you don’t get bogged down in a concept and overkill the learning process. However, it may move too quickly for some learners.

A mastery approach encourages a deeper, critical thinking approach and stays with a topic until it is mastered. This can be good for slower learners, but it may be too much to take in for many and risks boredom. On the other hand, it is also good for maths intense students who want to know everything.

A blend of the two is what Singapore maths aims at. It is a mastery program and also spirals back to concepts to build knowledge over time.

How do I compare Singapore maths with the Australian Curriculum?

Being generally ahead of the Australian Curriculum, you won’t need to worry about whether your child is keeping up when using Singapore maths. To check on how the concepts line up, read through the product pages on our website, and compare them to the AC grade concept descriptions.  

How do I place my child in the right level of Singapore maths?

Placement tests can be found here. The tests for the 3rd Edition may be used for all the Singapore maths programs we sell.

Advance your child’s learning

Whether you have a maths-strong student or one that needs extra practice, there are other resources you can use to supplement any maths program you choose.

Word problems are a vital part of a good maths education and Singapore maths can provide plenty of them. Challenging Word Problems train your child to translate real life scenarios into abstract maths problems. Word problems become more prevalent in the Singapore high school texts, and are a strength of Singapore programs. These books can be used with any maths program.

Extra Practice books give just that. Perfect for either a struggling child who needs more opportunity to grasp a concept, or for a fast moving student that could use some extension work or slowing down. Supplemental maths books are useful to have on your book shelf when extra work is needed, or for when you’re travelling and want an easier and simpler way to do maths. 

If your child loves maths and could do with more challenge, our gifted program books could be just the thing.

Enhance your child’s learning with hands-on maths experience

Manipulatives are a must have in any maths program. They are used as standard when teaching Singapore maths and utilised in the second learning step, the pictorial stage. Base ten blocks, counters, connecting blocks and more provide a tactile approach engaging all a child’s senses when learning maths concepts.

What makes Singapore maths different?­­

Singapore maths is based on a three-step “CPA” learning process beginning with concrete hands-on learning, moving to visual representation (pictorial) and progressing to the abstract concept (pen and paper problem solving). This middle step of a pictorial approach is a hands-on approach that involves children drawing diagrams and using manipulatives. Compared to traditional maths programs, Singapore maths programs move at a faster pace and by grade 6, are ahead of the Australian Curriculum by about 6-12 months.

For more in-depth information on how Singapore maths works, watch these videos produced by Marshall Cavendish.

You can read more about What is Singapore Maths in a nutshell here.

Which Singapore maths program do I choose?

To choose the right Singapore maths program you need to prioritise the features. Like Australia, Singapore maths only uses metric measures and its currency has the same denominations as Australia.

However, some programs have been modified for the US market and include imperial measures and US currency. Do you want metric measures only or both metric and imperial? Does learning with American money bother you, or do you want the same money denominations as Australian currency? There are definite advantages in learning imperial measures and US denominations, and there are differing opinions among parents that learning both could be confusing. However, many children growing up in Australia during the 60s and 70s learned both in Australian schools without issue.

Do you want a program that is currently used in Singapore? Any program modified for the US market is not used in Singapore schools. We stock Singapore maths programs that are approved by the Singapore Ministry of Education and one that is not, the US 3rd Edition.

Is price important? Maths programs can be where home educators spend most of their budget, but Singapore maths programs are very reasonably priced.

What about high school maths?

Completing any Singapore maths program satisfactorily up to Level 6, prepares your student for Secondary maths. New Syllabus Maths (Secondary) and think! Mathematics are the two programs we have available. 

New Syllabus Maths 7th Edition is an accelerated program providing three levels of skill: Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. The exercises are divided into problems targeted at these levels, as well as Review and Revision exercises for each chapter. The Teacher’s Resource Book has teaching notes and all the fully worked solutions to the textbook exercises, making it an in valuable teaching tool. (Answers are provided at the back of the textbook.)

think! Mathematics is just the 8th edition of New Syllabus Maths following on from the 7th Edition and has been renamed. 

Tests are not provided in any Singapore maths programs, as these are teacher/school led, however some families treat the revision exercises or workbook exercises as tests. There are 4 books which take the student from Year 7 to Year 11 (Book 3 is roughly equivalent to Australian Year 10).

Although this course is accelerated, it does not need to be when used in a homeschool setting. As the parent/teacher, you have control over how fast or slow you and your student want to go. So this is something to consider when you are choosing high school maths. This course is definitely good value for money, since you get 5 years of work crammed into 4 books.

The answers to the questions above will help you decide which maths program you choose for homeschool. We’ve put together a table of features to help you.

Singapore maths buying guide

FeaturesNew Syllabus
Primary Maths
Primary Maths
US 3rd Ed
Metric measuresYesYes
US measuresNoYes
Same money
Currently used
in Singapore
Teacher’s guideYesYes
YesYes – only metric
Currently in printYesYes


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Education Reformation

Singapore maths and homeschool curriculum