Math is a difficult subject in our house, even for me. So, we are always on the look out for a great math product. That is why I was excited to get the opportunity to review Dimensions Math PK-5 from Singapore Math Inc. Here is what we found…
A Little Bit About Singapore Math Inc.
Singapore Math Inc. was started in the early 90s by parents just like you and me. They had been living in Singapore and upon moving back to the States, they realized that the math options were lacking. That is when they decided to bring the math concepts they had been exposed to while living in Singapore to the U.S. and beyond. Today, their products are in schools and homeschools across several countries.
A Little Bit About Dimensions Math PK-5
Dimensions Math PK-5 is the newest offering from Singapore Math Inc. This colorful curriculum is set up with problems for students to solve. Students are introduced to several characters that help them along the way. For example, in the Level PKA, my daughter was introduced to Dion who helped her solve simple sorting problems.
Dimensions Math PK-5 is very colorful with easy to read print and large pictures. This is something my daughter appreciated, as she has vision impairments. Each lesson is laid out in a very simplistic manner which allows the student to concentrate on one concept without a lot of distractions.
Providing the students with simple problems that need solving is an effective way to teach math. In the real world, this is exactly why we use math, right?
My daughter is an English language learner, and has been home now for going on three years. She speaks and understands English quite well, and her vocabulary is quite large. However, we did not realize that she was lacking in the understanding of words that apply directly to math. It was not until she took the placement test for Dimensions Math PK-5 that we discovered this language barrier.
She could not fully understand words like same and different, enough or not enough, etc. Although she would use these in conversation, she did not fully understand what they meant. Dimensions Math PK-5 does not begin math with numbers and counting like the other programs we have looked into. Instead, they begin with these important words. Without a full comprehension of these simple terms, math can become really difficult. This is the first math program that incorporates this very important step.
Things That Could Be Better…
While I cannot find a lot to complain about with Dimensions Math PK-5, there are a couple of things that should be highlighted. The first is that this curriculum can be used in a classroom setting. Because of this, a lot of the suggested activities work best with multiple students. This became a challenge for us with only one student. It would be great for an in-home daycare or a homeschool co-op though.
The only other thing I can mention, is that this program is strictly book-based. We did not find any links to online resources or practice tools. This did not bother us, as we were specifically looking for a book curriculum. If you want online resources, you of course would have to supplement that on your own.
How We Used The Product
As I mentioned earlier, we reviewed Level PKA, which has early math concepts that you might find in a preschool setting. This is not the age appropriate choice for my daughter. Since she has some significant delays, this is where the placement tests had us begin.
We received three books including:
- The Teachers Guide
- The Textbook
- The Workbook
We worked through a lesson per week working for about 30 minutes at each session. For typical kids, you could easily work through an entire lesson each day, but we are pretty slow at working through things. My daughter needs more time to digest each new concept before moving on to the next. Since there really is no built-in time frames, you can adjust your speed to suit the child.
Our Week At A Glance
At the beginning of the week, we introduced the lesson concept. Within each lesson, there are several parts including: exploration, textbook lessons, and workbook exercises.
On Monday, we would typically work through the lesson exploration. During this time, there is typically a hands-on activity or game to get students thinking. As I mentioned, quite a few of the activities are meant for the classroom, so sometimes we needed to get a bit creative and diverge from the curriculum. Since the first chapter covers similarities and differences between objects, we mostly spent Monday doing sorting and classifying games.
On Wednesday we would start working through the lesson’s problem. These usually had something to do with a character’s favorite color, texture, size, etc. Then we would work through the activities in the textbook.
By Friday, my daughter was ready to fairly independently work through the exercises in the workbook. Since the exercises are set up with very little written direction, she was able to figure out how to do certain pages just based upon how they were set up. There were lots of matching worksheets and worksheets she had to either underline or circle certain objects. This made things a bit easier on me, as she could do some of the pages without me.
She is very proud to be able to classify items in our house by shape, color, texture and size. We were amazed that she did not have simple concepts like the fact that the refrigerator is a rectangle. I suppose this is not something we cover with English language learners, but is very necessary for doing math.
Ruth (age 16)
“I learned colors and shapes. It was fun to find shapes in my house.”
“Overall, I really like this curriculum. We need a curriculum that is not too fast, and since there are no time-frames, it works really well for us. I also like that it is a book and not online, as we can take it anywhere. It is also sometimes easier for my daughter to see text than a screen. The graphics are clear and colorful, and they are large enough so my daughter can easily see them.”
Review Crew Thoughts…
You don’t have to take our word for it though. Other Review Crew families have also been working hard to bring you a great review. To see these reviews, simply click the link below.