Singapore Math Curriculum

Is Singapore Math Common Core?

Mathematics is one of the most important skills a person could have, which is why it is important to build a good math foundation. Some may argue about the appropriate age at which children should begin learning math concepts, but the truth of the matter is that children are learning about math concepts far earlier than most realize. 

The biggest issue we see in this area is that children are missing primary concepts making it even harder for them to grasp other ones taught later in life. Learning math can be made easier and more enjoyable if curriculum and resources provide children with activities that make learning concepts more understandable, engaging, and fun.

What is different about Singapore Math?

If you’re not familiar with Singapore math then you may find it interesting to know that this is a method that actually comes from the country of Singapore. Students in Singapore regularly rank at the top in mathematics in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).

How does Singapore Math actually work?

The Singapore Mathematics framework was developed on the basis that mathematical problem solving is central to learning math. It involves the acquisition and application of mathematics concepts and skills in a wide range of situations, including non-routine, open-ended, and real-world problems. 

The Common Core State Standards and Singapore Math

The Common Core State Standards outline clear expectations for learning math and was designed to prepare students in the United States for success in college and the workforce. The math curriculum in Singapore was one of the national curriculums looked at by the committee developing the Common Core State Standards. In general, the Sinagpore Mathematics curriculums used in the United States do align with the Common Core State Standards.

It is important to note that there are currently at least 5 different Singapore Math curriculums used in the United States. They are: Math in Focus, Dimensions Math, Primary Mathematics U.S Edition, Primary Mathematics Standards Edition, and Primary Mathematics Common Core Edition.

To see how each Singapore Math curriculum aligns and correlates to the Common Core State Standards, you can refer to the distributor’s or publisher’s websites:

Math in Focus Alignment to the Common Core State Standards

Dimensions Math Alignment to the Common Core State Standards K-5

Dimensions Math Alignment to the Common Core State Standards 6 – 8

Primary Mathematics Standards Edition Alignment to the Common Core States Standards

Primary Mathematics Scope and Sequence and the Common Core State Standards.

Related Post: Singapore Math Curriculum Comparison: Math in Focus Vs Primary Mathematics Vs Dimensions Math

The CPA Approach (Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract)

This model introduces concepts to students in a tangible way that they can grasp and easily build on. In the concrete phase, students are given the opportunity to work with hands-on objects to help solve problems. In the pictorial phase, the physical objects are then represented by drawings, diagrams, and bar models. And in the abstract phase, students are then ready to use math symbols and equations most common to solving problems.

Number Bonds

This method works wonders for early elementary-aged students who are learning part-whole relationships between numbers. Number bonds are shown with the whole number written in a circle with its parts written in adjoining circles connected to the main circle by lines. Because number bonds help develop number sense, it is an important foundation that will follow students throughout their math journey.

Singapore Math Common Core

Number Bonds

Bar Modeling

Drawing bar models is a powerful tool to help students break down information and visualize math problems.  These work particularly well when teaching word problems involving whole numbers, fractions, percentages, and ratios. 

Model drawing is versatile can be used for first grade addition problems or 5th grade pre-algebra. Not only can this be used as a visual aid, but a teacher can use the same model to extend learning and ask questions such as: What is the ratio of the amount of money Kathy’s has to the amount of money Lucy has? or How much more money does Kathy have than Lucy?

Bar Modeling

Mental Math

Through a variety of techniques, students are taught to accurately perform mental math. Some strategies are based on the ability to think about numbers in terms of:

  • factoring numbers into parts
  • performing operations in different orders
  • applying new strategies

Some mental math strategies can actually begin before first grade!

Benefits of Using Singapore Math for Homeschool

Many homeschooling parents realize that math plays an important role in their child’s education, yet they struggle with truly being able to teach it in a way that is enjoyed and embraced by their children. This is where Singapore math comes in with common core. Through its concrete to pictorial to abstract approach, children typically learn to like math because they can actually understand it.

Check out the different Singapore mathematics curriculums before picking one.

Related Post: Singapore Math Curriculum Comparison: Math in Focus Vs Primary Mathematics Vs Dimensions Math

In general,  the curriculums uses textbooks and workbooks that are written in a step-by-step manner making it easier to understand by both parents and child. The curriculums offer either a teacher’s or home instructor’s guide, textbooks,  workbooks and other enrichment or supplemental material. Through these resources you’ll have a guide, exercises, daily lessons, suggested hands-on manipulatives, and mental math exercises. Although it depends on the child, you’ll typically spend about 35-45 minutes a day, maybe less for older students. 

So, what are the overall benefits of using Singapore math in your homeschool? Here’s just a few favorites based off other homeschoolers currently using this program (or have used them in the past):

  • The math concepts are presented in a clear way.
  • The lessons give your child the opportunity to work with hands-on learning.
  • There is a nice amount of paper-pencil work (not too overwhelming).
  • The use of manipulatives really adds to learning the concepts (and you can use household items if you don’t want to purchase actual supplies).
  • The use of bar models helps students breakdown and visualize math problems.
  • Math topics are covered in greater depth.
  • Reviews are not required on a daily basis which makes it overall less intimidating to children.

While we realize that Singapore math may not be for every homeschool, it is certainly something to consider trying. If you’re wondering where to begin with our program, there are resources for starting at the pre-school or kindergarten level. To figure out the best option for your homeschoolers you’ll want to navigate using the following suggestions:

  • Take a placement test, especially if you are switching to using Singapore math for the first time. 
  • Choose an edition and a curriculum. 
  • Choose supplemental books. The three main books are enough (Textbooks, Workbooks and the Teacher’s/ Home Instructor’s Guide), but if you want your child to have additional supplements, then having these can be beneficial.

Singapore math has been a tested, tried, and true curriculum resource for teaching math to many, many students. Parents are grateful for a reliable option to teach their children foundational math skills in a way that clicks for them and their children. 

If you’re looking for a curriculum based on a strong math foundation, then this could the curriculum for you!


Singapore Math Learning Center

At Singapore Math Learning Center, we provide online tutoring and online courses to those who are using any Singapore Math curriculums or who are interested in the Singapore Math method. For a free math assessment, please contact us.




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One thought on “Is Singapore Math Common Core?

  1. Jerry says:

    Well explained and I guess all the information written above is all useful and important. Life is a mathematical problem. To pick up the most, you need to realize how to change over negatives into positives. You can come and check out my blog on Reasons Why Studying Math Is Important
    Hope this will help you as well.


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