Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition Review

Science curriculum

If you’re looking for a standards-aligned and multisensory math program that can instill a deeper understanding of math concepts in students, as well as hone their critical thinking and problem solving skills, then Singapore Math Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition might just be what you’re looking for. 

What We Like

Comprehensive and rigorous K-6 math curriculum
Multisensory, hands-on math learning
Uses manipulatives and lots of interesting activities in lessons
Explains math concepts clearly and often visually
Mastery approach dives deeply into math ideas and concepts
Can build a very strong conceptual understanding of math
Encourages creativity, critical thinking and flexibility in math
Lots of supplements to help personalize learning
1 year access to digital resources

But watch out for

Can have a bit of a learning curve for some parents
Manipulative use can raise the cost of the curriculum

What is the Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition?

Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition is an updated and redesigned version of the successful Singapore Math primary mathematics curriculum. 

The Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition represents a significant departure from Singapore Math’s previous versions of Primary Mathematics, more closely aligning with US standards and integrating new methods and approaches in teaching from the Singapore Math Method. 

The curriculum has been rewritten to include new content, both printed and digital, a new lesson structure to help with at-home math learning and a modified scope and sequence. 

As a result, we felt it was necessary to create a new review for this version of Primary Mathematics, which is in addition to our previous in-depth examination of Singapore Math and its various programs.

What Grades or Ages is Primary Mathematics 2022 Intended For?

Primary Mathematics 2022 is, like other editions, aimed at students at the K-6 level.

Currently, the program has material to teach K-5 math, with grade 6 currently under development. 

The curriculum is designed to be used by homeschooling families, as well as schools. While the books do make more obvious reference to grade level on their covers than previous editions, they can be used by those studying outside of the typical grade range. 

Placement and placement tests

Overall the program tends to align more closely with standard, US grade levels than previous editions, which make placement a lot easier for parents just starting to homeschool or those switching in from a standards-aligned curriculum. 

That said, homeschooling parents who are coming in from a non-common core aligned program, particularly one that moves at its own pace, may find things a little more challenging (at least as tricky as switching from a non-common core program to a common core one can be). 

Luckily, Singapore Math offers a variety of printable placement tests on its website specifically for this program, which is actually quite helpful.  

Parents should know that, unlike previous editions of Primary Mathematics, these placement tests are used to see if a student is ready for that level, not to see if they are already familiar with its material and ready for the next.  

For example, a student doing well on the 1A test would be ready to start 1A, those who do well on 4A might be ready to start 4A and so on.

As with previous editions, the tests are designed to be comprehensive and thorough and, as a result, can be a little long. At the grade 5A level, for example, there are 44 questions for students to answer.

They are, however, pretty straightforward and more oriented towards computational questions (although there are some short word problems), so they aren’t that hard, frustrating or time-consuming for students to take, which is good news for advanced students who might want to take a couple tests to their most appropriate level (A and B tests, for example).

What’s Included in This Curriculum?

As with previous editions, the 2022 edition of Primary Mathematics divides each grade into two semesters, A and B (Grade 1A/1B, Grade 2A/2B, etc). 

Each semester has four core components to it, a Student Book, a Home Instructor’s Guide, an Additional Practice Book and a book called Mastery and Beyond. 

Because Primary Mathematics 2022 is a hands-on math program, it also requires parents to buy a set of math manipulatives, whose use is more directly integrated into the lessons than previous editions. 

In addition, there is an optional Assessment Book, a book to help with math remediation (Reteach), a book with enriched material (Extension), and a year’s subscription to digital versions of the program’s materials. 

Student Book

The Student Book is primarily where students will do their work, whether that’s doing practice problems alone or alongside their parents, doing real world tasks or engaging in interdisciplinary projects. 

It is a full color book that is nicely illustrated and is very visually pleasing with modern artwork that is certainly a step up from older copies of Singapore Math. 

picture of singapore math student book showing its visual nature

It is largely a consumable, with ample space for students to do their work and it is something of a departure from other Singapore Math editions that use both a student textbook and workbook. 

Instead, the 2022 edition’s Student Book is a unified workbook, containing exercises and practice alongside demonstrations, reviews, explanations, and a variety of activities that students and parents can complete together.  

This, of course, has its advantages and disadvantages. 

On the one hand, having one book to worry about is far more convenient for parents and students to buy and keep track of. 

On the other hand, because the book is consumable, it is less reusable with siblings (or resellable for those inclined to do so). 

Home Instructor’s Guide

Recognizing Singapore Math’s popularity with homeschoolers, Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition has two lesson guides, a Teacher’s Guide for schools and a dedicated Home Instructor’s Guide for homeschools. 

The Home Instructor’s Guide is a black and white book written to the parent. It contains lesson plans filled with all the information parents need to teach the relevant math concepts. 

The Guides outline objectives and key ideas, provide a list of materials needed for each lesson, provide lesson instruction, offer tips and generally guide parents in a step by step way through teaching. 

It also acts as the core of the program, pulling together, organizing and directing parents and students to the different exercises and assignments from the curriculum’s different books for each lesson. 

Although printed in black and white, the Home Instructor’s Guides are very visual, with plenty of diagrams and illustrations to help parents better visualize what they’re teaching, figure out  how best to convey information to students and efficiently set up a lesson’s manipulatives and activities. 

screenshot of primary mathematics 2022 edition home instructors guide showing visual nature

So, while perhaps not the most stunning to look at for long periods, they are very clear and easy to understand for those new to math instruction or those unfamiliar with the Singapore Math Method.

As mentioned previously, Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition also comes with a Teacher’s Guides, which is designed for school use. 

The Teacher’s Guide and Home Instructor’s Guides are very similar in appearance and organization, however. 

The main differences between the two are that the Teacher’s Guides are written for classroom instruction rather than home use, are full color and contain small copies of relevant student workbook pages printed into lessons for easy comparison. 

They also cost a little more than the Home Instructor’s Guides. 

Overall, we don’t feel there is any real reason for homeschooling parents to go for the Teacher’s Guides over the Home Instructor’s Guide. 

Additional Practice Book

Addressing a common issue with not just Singapore Math but conceptual math programs in general, a relative lack of dedicated practice compared to procedural programs, the Primary Mathematics 2022 edition also includes a dedicated book fiddle with practice problems linked to each semester’s concepts, the Additional Practice Book.

The Additional Practice Book is black and white but, like the Student Book, is illustrated and very visually engaging. 

The book contains a mix of straightforward computational problems, word problems, puzzles, and activities in a variety of formats, ranging from multiple choice, short answer, some multisteps and even the occasional observation. 

example of observation question in primary mathematics 2022 additional practice book

Overall, the practice questions in this book are still very conceptual, with a stronger emphasis on critical thinking than pure number crunching. 

This program is still based on the Singapore Method, after all, and memorization and drill take something of a back seat to deeper conceptual understanding, developing math logic skills and honing students’ critical thinking.

As a result, while there is a fair amount of straight computational questions, which should help develop skill fluency (the ability to solve math problems quickly and efficiently), parents aren’t likely to find quite as many full pages of straight calculations as they might in more procedural programs, such as Saxon. 

Mastery and Beyond

The Mastery and Beyond books are full color and illustrated books that contain even more practice for students, being used to reinforce and sustain the student’s learning, usually at the end of a section

Like the Additional Problems book, Mastery and Beyond contains a strong mixture of computational, word problems and puzzles and, like Additional Problems, its use is integrated into lessons with parents being guided to its use as an additional resource. 

Unlike Additional Problems, Mastery and Beyond also includes cumulative review and practice of previously learned concepts, which can help freshen students’ memories and strengthen learning. 

We feel this is a welcome addition to the program, as a lack of periodic review (particularly of previously learned concepts) is a commonly perceived weakness of pure mastery math programs. 

Recommended Manipulatives

In addition to the books, parents using Primary Mathematics 2022 at home will probably have to buy a set of manipulatives. 

For those unfamiliar with the concept, manipulatives are physical objects that are used in-lesson to help students get a better understanding of abstract math concepts by giving them physical representations that they can hold, touch and, well, manipulate. 

Singapore Math is well known as a hands-on math program and its Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition is no different. 

The curriculum makes use of a rather extensive list of manipulatives in its lessons, at times making use of place value cards, chips and strips, as well as clocks, cubes, spinners, volume pitchers, weight sets, money and much, much more. 

Unlike previous editions of Singapore Math, where lesson plans suggested ways in which to use manipulatives but left the ultimate decision up to parents, manipulatives and their use are more tightly woven into Primary Mathematics 2022 lessons. 

screenshot of signapore math manipulative use in a lesson

The use of these physical objects is explicitly taught as part of the course, being woven into the teaching, and so parents will have to go out and get a set. 

They can be purchased either as grade-level sets from retailers, with smaller add-ons available for subsequent grades, or piecemeal from the Singapore Math Shop online. 

Overall, Primary Mathematics’ extensive use of a wide variety of manipulatives adds a considerable variety to lesson activities and can make things a little more interesting to students. 

It also makes the program far more multisensory than other math programs, providing students with a tactile experience, as well as audio-visual from traditional discussions and workbook exercises. 

On the downside, of course, with a base set of manipulatives and several grade-level add-on packs, it does add a little more cost to the program. 

Optional Learning Material

In addition to the main texts that are required of the course, homeschooling parents can purchase a few other, optional books to help round out the course and tailor it to their and their students’ needs. 

Assessment Guide 

Designed to be used by teachers in a classroom setting, the book contains a variety of different test types, such as chapter tests, cumulative quizzes, as well as finals and midterms, and a variety of typical math test formats, such as multiple choice and long/short answer. 

Available for all grades, the Assessment Guide can be a good resource to parents who want to use more formal assessments in their homeschool, as well as those who just want to periodically assess their students’ retention of information before moving on. 

It is available digitally, access to which is included with most purchases, and as a separate printed book. 

Reteach

Reteach is an optional book for Primary Mathematics. It offers extra instruction, tips and additional practice exercises for students who are having a little trouble at each level. 

As such, it can be a good resource for students who struggle with certain concepts and for filling any skill gaps that might arise.

As with the Assessment Guide, it is available to parents digitally or in pre-printed format.  

Extension

Extension is another optional practice book for Primary Mathematics, and offers students a variety of more challenging problem solving exercises and puzzles, based on the material introduced in each level. 

Available digitally or as a printed book, it is designed to offer something of an grade-level enrichment, helping students who are excelling at the main program hone their critical thinking and problem solving skills. 

Digital Resources

One thing that Primary Mathematics 2022 has introduced is greater access to digital resources available at Marshall Cavendish’s website. 

With the purchase of the Primary Mathematics Home Instructor or Teacher’s Guide, parents get a year’s access to a variety of digital course resources. 

These include digital access to printable PDF versions of the Teacher/Home Instructor’s Guides, PDF versions of the Assessment Guide, Reteach and Extension, printables for home use (cards, tangram shapes, number cards, etc.) and more. 

These digital resources can be quite helpful, as the PDFs can be accessed, printed out and used, meaning that homeschoolers don’t necessarily have to go out and get physical copies. 

One downside, as with any digital subscription, access is only granted for a year, meaning that homeschools who take a little longer to get through the material may run into trouble. 

Primary Mathematics 2022 Ed. Approach to Teaching Math

Conceptual Math 

Singapore Math is known for its conceptual approach to teaching math.

In other words, Primary Mathematics can spend a considerable amount of time helping students explore why math functions work the way they do, examining the reasoning behind it and it explores a variety of strategies, also known as heuristics, for solving various problems. 

The overall idea is to instill in kids a deeper understanding of math, to reflect on what they’re doing, and more importantly, why and to help them learn to use math to approach novel and complex problems.

primary mathematics getting kids to understand math more deeply

 

As a result, students in conceptual programs such as Singapore Math tend to be quite strong in analyzing, formulating strategies and solving complex and tricky math problems later in their careers.

Many of the text’s examples and exercises place a greater emphasis on helping students think through and use their critical thinking skills to come up with one or more strategies for solving problems. 

Encouragement of different strategies in primary mathematics

This approach stands in contrast to what is known as a procedural math approach, which focuses more on developing math skill fluency, that is how to solve problems quickly and accurately.

Rather than exploring math concepts, procedural math programs tend to focus more on memorizing math facts and procedures and doing a lot of drill and practice.

One concern that parents had with previous editions of Primary Mathematics was a relative lack of practice and skill development.

Although still strongly focused on teaching math concepts, we feel the 2022 edition of Primary Mathematics has largely improved in this area, providing ample practice and skill building through the various exercises in Additional Problems and Mastery and Beyond (not to mention optional Reteach and Extension books). 

When combined with the main program, we feel that Primary Mathematics offers a more than decent amount of practice and skill in both word and computational problems, especially when compared to some other conceptual math programs out there. 

Mastery Approach 

Like other Singapore Math curricula, Primary Mathematics 2022 Ed. is a mastery math program. 

This means that students will learn one topic at a time, diving into it over several lessons and taking the time to explore it deeply and until a certain level of knowledge and proficiency (mastery) is reached. 

Once mastery of a topic is reached, they move onto the next. 

In practice, this means that students learning using Primary Mathematics will spend several lessons (which can translate into several weeks, depending on their schedule and progress) on a single topic. 

This is in contrast to a traditional, spiral math approach, which tends to teach a little bit of one topic, then move on before circling back later on to teach the original topic in  more depth. 

The CPA Learning Process

One of the ways in which the Singapore Method distinguished itself as a way of teaching math is that it recognized that young students aren’t as capable of processing and understanding abstract math concepts as their older peers might be. 

As a result, concepts in Singapore Math are introduced gradually, in three stages:

  1. Concrete
  2. Pictorial 
  3. Abstract

Consequently, in Primary Mathematics 2022 edition, as with all Singapore Math programs, the curriculum progressively takes students from a hands-on, physical understanding of math concepts to their equation forms. 

At the concrete stage, students learn by touching, doing and experiencing physical objects in the form of manipulatives and other activities, such as by handling and moving various plastic shapes around, playing with money or by filling a pitcher up with water. 

At the pictorial stage, students then use models and drawings, rather than physical items, to explore math concepts. 

Finally, concepts are introduced in their most abstract forms, through symbols and equations and students make the transition to working with these. 

How it Works

Primary Mathematics 2022 is a parent-led curriculum. 

Parents teach using the Home Instructor’s Guide, which lays out the lessons fairly clearly and introduces concepts, while students explore concepts and do practice either with their parents or individually in the Student Workbook or various practice books. 

As a mastery program, chapters tend to center around a particular concept in math- for example, a chapter on multi-digit whole numbers, a chapter on mixed numbers and improper fractions, a chapter on addition and subtraction to 10 000, and so on. 

Each chapter consists of a number of lessons, each of which touch on a skill or idea concerning that concept. For example, in Primary Mathematics 3A, a chapter on multiplication and division will have lessons that touch on:

  • Multiplication using equal groups and arrays
  • Multiplying by two
  • Multiplying by 5
  • Multiplying by 10
  • Multiply by 3 
  • Multiply by 4
  • Multiplication word problems and strategies
  • Division
  • Division as sharing and grouping
  • Division by 2
  • Division by 5
  • Division by 10
  • And so on

Consequently, students can expect to spend some time really diving into each concept and exploring it fully and in depth (within grade level standards), with chapters taking a couple weeks (or more) to complete on a 5 day a week schedule. 

Readiness-Engagement-Mastery Learning Structure

A major difference between Primary Mathematics 2022 and previous editions is that it has redesigned its learning, integrating Singapore Math’s CTA method into a new lesson structure – the Readiness-Engagement-Mastery phases of learning.

Readiness- Engagement – Mastery essentially takes students from preparation through learning a concept and to practicing that concept for proficiency. 

Readiness

At the readiness phase, as the name might suggest, the idea is really about making sure that a student is prepared and ready to take on a particular concept in math, in particular to make sure that no knowledge or skill gaps exist that will complicate learning as the chapter goes on.

At the start, parents are given a general overview of the lessons that includes key ideas and expectations, a layout of the chapter’s progression, any materials needed, as well as a general Chapter opener or introduction to the concept that gets kids thinking about the material, as well as some questions and exercises to ensure that students are actually ready to learn in a section called Recall

Engagement

Once parents are reasonably certain the student is ready, the learning begins in a phase known as engagement. 

Generally, part of the program starts off with a Task, which are discussions and questions that serve to get kids thinking more deeply about a math concept.

There is then a section called Learn, which introduces the concept and skills, providing direct instruction and demonstration as well as allowing students to work through the logic themselves.

This is kind of interesting as, while the program is parent-led, lessons generally follow a back and forth dialogue with parents introducing and demonstrating a concept, and students being asked leading questions and using their own logic to work things out and explaining their reasoning along the way.

There is also a Learn Together component, which is שךדם kind of cool where parents and students do practice questions and exercises together, with the parent guiding the student through discussions, leading questions, demonstrations with manipulatives, problems and puzzles to better understand a concept. 

screenshot of primary mathematics learn together exercise

Following this there is often an Activity, which is where the lessons introduce real world activities or math tasks that parents can set for kids, such as asking them to tell a story or to fold a paper into certain shapes and so on. 

The engagement phase usually ends with some kind of Lesson Debrief, which is a discussions between parents and kids with the idea of getting students to retell and reflect on what they’ve learned in their own words, a nice addition that not only increases the interaction between parent and child but also can served to identify any knowledge or skill gaps that may still exist. 

example of lesson debrief in primary mathematics 2022

Overall, we found the Primary Mathematics approach to lessons quite interesting.

Rather than just feeding students information and then testing them on it, this methodology encourages them to reason out a concept or explain their logic in some way.

As a result, lessons are far more engaging and require students to think about what they’re seeing and/or saying, which deepens their learning and their connection to math.

Mastery

Once students have been taught a concept, it is time to put it into practice, which occurs in the Mastery phase and involves the Student Workbook, as well as the Mastery and Beyond and Additional Problems books.

In general, this is where proficiency and fluency is developed and is largely done in the Student Workbook, and there can be a few different ways of getting said practice in the lessons. 

Practice on Your Own exercises lets students work on individual skills and knowledge through various different exercises, while Chapter Practice allows students to put information learned over the course of several lessons into use with an assortment of problem sets. 

There are also sections marked Think!, which are designed to challenge a student’s critical thinking and logic skills as they pertain to what they’ve learned in a chapter, and encouraging them to approach problems in different ways and be able to prove and explain their responses. 

The Mastery phase may also include Performance Tasks, which are real world questions to which apply their new skills, some of which are kept deliberately open-ended so that students can use different approaches and strategies, which is pretty interesting. 

There are also Heuristic exercises, which allow students to review and practice specific problem solving strategies, giving students some more experience in applying them to different types of problems. 

screenshot of heuristic exercise

Finally, and something we really thought was an interesting addition to this curriculum, are exercises called STEAM Project Work

These are little projects that integrate Math concepts with activities from a variety of disciplines in Science, Technology, Engineering and Art, the STEA in STEAM. 

Students might do a science experiment using math, cook, do some artwork and more. 

primary mathematics steam project work example

Not only can this section be a lot of fun and involve a lot of lateral and creative thinking, but we really like that it gets kids to see and experience a more obvious and ready application of the math concepts they are learning, which in turn makes the learning from Primary Mathematics a lot more meaningful. 

Our Thoughts 

Overall, Primary Mathematics 2022 offers students a fairly rigorous and in-depth exploration of math concepts. 

Lessons dive deeply into some fairly complex math concepts and do so in a relatively logical and gradual way, allowing students to develop skills in these areas, along with strong and fluid number sense. 

There is, in general, a lot of focus on critical thinking skills and the application of knowledge to unique and interesting problems, as well as an emphasis on seeing different ways to approach math problems and being able to solve them using different strategies, something that many other programs tend to lack. 

This ability to critically analyze and different problem solving strategies, as well as the understanding that math problems can be approached creatively and in different ways, really encourages flexibility, experimentation and independent thought as they pertain to math, which in turn can produce very strong and comfortable math learners. 

That said, Primary Mathematics (unlike, say, programs like Beast Academy) is still a curriculum that can be used by most students, not just the very gifted. 

The lessons explain concepts with a variety of diagrams, visuals and drawings and provide explanations that are fairly straightforward.

In addition, there is a strong emphasis on making sure that kids have the requisite skills before starting a new concept and the Instructor’s Guides provide a lot of advice to slow down and review (or speed up and deepen) learning, depending on students’ needs. 

The lessons themselves are also very multisensory.

The books are highly visual, there are a lot of back and forth discussions woven into the lessons and the strong emphasis on manipulative work can really help students who prefer to learn in a more tactile and kinesthetic way. 

multisensory learning in primary mathematics

On the downside, chapters in Primary Mathematics can have quite a few lessons and many components and activities within those lessons, which can seem overwhelming and can be somewhat time-consuming, and parents who are pressed for time might have to pick and choose how much to include.  

Similarly, Primary Mathematics (and Singapore Math in general) can be fairly different from other math programs out there and can be somewhat unfamiliar to parents, especially those who grew up learning math in a more traditional, procedural manner. 

As a consequence, there can be something of a learning curve to the program. 

How does Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition compare to previous editions?

Overall, Primary Mathematics 2022 is fairly similar to and provides many of the same benefits (and drawbacks) as previous editions of Singapore Math’s Primary Mathematics.

That said, there are some significant differences that parents should be aware of. 

For one thing, it is a more compact curriculum, requiring a single consumable student workbook instead of a textbook and workbook. As mentioned earlier, this makes the curriculum more convenient to buy and use but less reusable with younger siblings. 

Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition also contains a lot more practice and review than previous editions, addressing a common concern parents have had with Primary Mathematics as a curriculum.

In particular, this new edition includes some more complex word problems and has also included more cumulative practice and assessment than previous editions, which can help students out with retaining information in the long term. 

In addition, while previous editions of the program did recommend and demonstrate ways of using manipulatives in lessons, the 2022 Edition makes these a requisite component of teaching and, importantly, directly and explicitly instructs parents on how and when to use them in each lesson, something that can really be helpful for new homeschooling parents. 

We also found that this new edition of Primary Mathematics does include a lot more real world examples and interdisciplinary activities, which we think is helpful in connecting the learning to the real world and other STEM subjects students are learning, making learning more meaningful and engaging.

Finally, Primarily Mathematics 2022 is more strongly aligned in terms of pace, scope and sequence with the Common Core standards, which is something of a departure from older, non-aligned editions.

How Rigorous is Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition

The 2022 edition of Primary Mathematics is a fairly rigorous math curriculum overall. 

A conceptual math curriculum, there is a strong emphasis on theory and concepts, with the program challenging students to hone their critical thinking and logic skills and learn to approach problems from different angles. 

Similarly, although there isn’t as much drill and math fact memorization as more procedural programs, the program does teach students quite a few heuristics and strategies for problem solving, and there is quite a bit of practice and complex problems to work through, including cumulative review and assessments. 

With the inclusion of real life applications and projects, we would even say that it is perhaps even a little more thorough in its examination of math concepts than previous editions of Primary Mathematics, which were already known as being pretty comprehensive and rigorous. 

In terms of pace, Singapore Math is well known for introducing topics earlier than other programs, and while this largely remains true the 2022 edition of Primary Mathematics moves at a slightly slower pace than previous editions, for example by introducing multiplication and division in Grade 2 rather than Grade 1. 

How Easy is It to Teach

Overall, Primary Mathematics 2022 isn’t too challenging to teach. 

Its lesson plans are fairly scripted. Although they don’t offer a precise dialogue to follow, they do provide parents with enough guidance, instruction and a general idea of how to broach and discuss topics that even those new to teaching math should be able to follow along without much of an issue. 

In addition, the Instructor’s Guide is fairly well-laid out and everything is well organized. Although the program can make use of several books (the Workbook, Assessment Guide, Additional Problems, Mastery and Beyond, etc), the lesson plans do a good job at specifying precisely where, when and how to use them.

Further, the Guides are replete with teaching tips, suggestions for helping students understand concepts and even ways to further explore topics in more depth. 

example of teaching tip in primary mathematics 2022

As with other Singapore Math books, Primary Mathematics does use a particular method for teaching math that can mean it has a bit of a learning curve for parents, particularly if they have never used a conceptual or mastery math program before or for those who are expecting a standard, drill and memorize math program.

Similarly, parents who switch to Primary Mathematics 2022 from previous versions may find they need to brush up a bit on the new lesson structure, as it is something of a departure from previous editions. 

That said, once parents are familiar with the methodology, the program does become more or less open and go. 

Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition Pros and Cons

Pros

Rigorous math program

Primary Mathematics 2022 edition is a pretty solid and rigorous math program, exploring math concepts in some depth, offering interesting math problems, activities and reviews, and encouraging students to critically assess and explore different solutions to math problems using a variety of heuristics. 

Multisensory and hands-on math

Primary Mathematics makes extensive use of manipulatives and other hands-on activities and explorations (more so than previous editions), as well as dialogues, visuals and formal instruction, making it a very multisensory program and well-suited to a variety of different preferred learning methods. 

Very good at  explaining abstract math concepts clearly and effectively

Although the math is very comprehensive and in-depth, Primary Mathematics does an excellent job at making sure there are plenty of visuals, diagrams, drawings, manipulative exercises and clear, step by step instructions to help students grasp, and eventually master, the material.

Mastery approach dives deeply into ideas

As a mastery program, students explore one math concept at a time, taking their time to explore it in considerable depth and making sure they understand what they’re doing and why before moving on.

Although a slower approach, they don’t have to feel like they’re constantly being rushed or jumping around from topic to topic as they might with a spiral curriculum. 

Builds a strong conceptual understanding of math

Based on the Singapore Math Method, Primary Mathematics spends more time teaching math concepts and exploring the why of math compared to other, more traditional procedural math programs. 

As a result, students can develop a deeper understanding of the way math works, learn different strategies for approaching it and can ultimately become more comfortable when faced with unfamiliar or novel math problems.

Encourages creativity and flexibility in math

Unlike other programs in math, Primary Mathematics teaches students that math problems can be approached in different ways and using different strategies. 

At times, it encourages students to explore different possible solutions and heuristics, which can get students more engaged and thinking creatively in their math lessons. 

Plenty of supplementary books to personalize learning

In addition to the core texts, Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition also offers parents the ability to integrate remediation and enrichment through optional dedicated supplementary books (Reteach, Extension). 

This can allow parents to better tailor the course to their students needs and math skill development. 

Digital access to resources

Purchasing the Primary Mathematics Instructor’s Guide or Teacher’s Guide provides a year’s access to the digital curriculum, which contains the program’s resources for that grade in downloadable/printable PDF form. 

This can be of great benefit for homeschools that prefer to learn digitally or who just don’t want to buy every single book in the series before testing them out. 

More integrated manipulative use than previous editions

The 2022 edition of Primary Mathematics makes more extensive use of manipulatives and hands-on learning activities than even previous editions, making them a critical part of the teaching and offering explicit instruction in their use, which is beneficial to those new to teaching math. 

More practice and review than previous editions, other mastery programs

Addressing a common concern parents had with previous editions and mastery programs in general, Primary Mathematics has added more practice, review and cumulative revision of concepts compared to previous editions. 

Not only do students get a lot of skill-building practice, but they will also more periodically review and test previously learned concepts, which can help students remember them in the long run.

More interdisciplinary activities and real life applications of math

Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition also includes a variety of exercises that encourage students to apply math to real world scenarios, which can make the learning more meaningful and demonstrate math’s usefulness in the real world. 

In addition, the program also includes STEAM projects, which are interdisciplinary mini-projects in science and art that gets kids thinking about how math can apply to different subjects and activities. 

Cons

Can have a bit of a learning curve for parents

As with other Singapore Math curricula, the way in which Primary Mathematics teaches math can be a little different from how parents themselves were taught math and may require them to read up a bit on the teaching method. 

Quite a few components and activities in each chapter

There are quite a few activities and exercises in each chapter. Although this does make the learning quite comprehensive, it can seem a little overwhelming at times to some new homeschooling parents.

Manipulative use can raise cost of curriculum

Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition does make extensive and explicit use of manipulative sets in its teaching, which means parents will probably have to buy a set, increasing the overall cost of the program. 

Who is Primary Mathematics 2022 Ideal for?

Parents looking for a rigorous but still approachable K-6 math program

Primary Mathematics is a rigorous and comprehensive math program that can build a very strong foundation in math understanding and skill.

While it is rigorous and, at times, advanced, it still manages to explain concepts clearly, visually and in a way students will understand. 

Combined with its additional resources that can help remediate or enrich students, depending on their ability, it really is a program that can be used by most students. 

Parents who want to encourage flexibility and critical thinking in math

By teaching students that there can be multiple ways of approaching a math problem, and by teaching and encouraging the use of multiple strategies for doing so, Primary Mathematics can ultimately help students think about math more critically, encouraging them to be more flexible, logical and even creative in their problem solving. 

Students who prefer to learn one concept at a time (and explore it fully)

As a mastery program, students will dive deeply into one topic at a time and explore it more completely than in a spiral program. 

This can be great for students who like to explore one thing at a time and for those who feel rushed or overwhelmed by programs that frequently switch between multiple concepts in a short period of time. 

Students who benefit from hands-on, multisensory teaching

Some students really benefit and absorb abstract ideas more readily if given the opportunity to feel, touch and use physical representations of the concept. 

For these tactile students, Primary Mathematics and its use of manipulatives and hands-on learning can be a more readily understandable and engaging way of learning math. 

Students interested in the why of math

Some students don’t really care about why the math works, they just want to get the answer right quickly and efficiently and move on.

Others, however, are interested in understanding why they’re doing what they are doing and how the math works. 

For these latter students, Primary Mathematics’ focus on conceptual understanding can be a lot more meaningful and interesting. 

Students who hate learning through rote memorization and drill

Similarly, some students really hate drilling math and reciting math facts. 

With its greater emphasis on understanding math concepts and ideas, Primary Mathematics and the Singapore Math Method can be a better (and less frustrating) approach to math.. 

Parents and students who liked previous Primary Mathematics editions but wanted more review and practice

Parents who enjoy the conceptual approach of previous editions of Primary Mathematics but felt they needed to supplement it with greater practice and revision may be pleased with the addition of more exercises and cumulative review in this new addition. 

Who is it Not Ideal for?

Parents looking for a traditional, computational math program

Primary Mathematics is a hands-on, conceptual program that is based on the Singapore Method and doesn’t really emphasize rote memorization, drill and math fact repetition as it does critical thinking, conceptual understanding and problem solving strategies.

As a result, it may not be the best solution for parents looking for a more traditional, familiar and procedural math program.

Parents looking for a self-study math program

Primary Mathematics is teacher/parent-led and, while there are opportunities for individual student practice, the majority of the program is taught by parents and requires a good deal of interaction and collaboration on their part. 

Students who get bored learning one concept for several lessons

Some students enjoy the novelty of exploring different concepts in a given time and may get bored focusing on only one over several lessons. 

Such students may prefer a spiral approach, rather than Primary’s mastery approach. 

Parents who don’t want to follow a common core aligned math program

Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition is aligned with the common core, perhaps to a greater extent than even previous editions. 

Parents who are interested in a non-common core aligned Singapore Math program might be interested in an previous edition of Primary Mathematics, which are still offered by the company

Price

Note: Prices current as of writing. All prices in USD. 

As mentioned above, there are several core components to the Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition, a Student Workbook, a Home Instructor’s Guide, Additional Practice and Mastery and Beyond. 

Parents interested in more formal assessment of skill can also purchase the Assessment Guide, as well, although this isn’t strictly necessary for homeschool learning. 

Student Workbook: $12.95

Home Instructor’s Guide: $25.00

Additional Practice: $12.95

Mastery and Beyond: $12.95

Assessment Guide: $20.00

In addition to the books, parents will probably need quite a few manipulatives. 

These can be purchased piecemeal from Singapore Math, but are also available as sets from educational retailers like Rainbow Resource

Prices vary, but a core set of manipulatives may cost around $116, and around $50 for grade-level add-on packages.

With all that said, it is always best that parents check current pricing for any offers or deals on Primary Mathematics. 

Is it Worth the Price

Overall, we think Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition is a great program that can provide a lot of value for parents and students alike and is a great addition to the Singapore Math lineup. 

Its books are quite well made and organized, using a lot of visuals, clear explanations and hands-on activities that can go a long way in helping students understand even the most abstract concepts in K-6 math. 

Although it makes math easy to understand, the math itself remains quite rigorous, with students being given a relatively deep and conceptual understanding of math principles that encourages them to think critically about problems and to approach them logically and even creatively. 

Similarly, Primary Mathematics 2022 offers students more review and practice than even previous editions and provides interesting, hands-on activities and projects to engage in, better helping students understand the applicability of what they are learning.

Finally, parents purchasing the program are given a year’s access to its digital materials, which provide downloadable and printable copies of its books, as well as some other helpful teaching supplements and printables. 

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a standards-aligned and multisensory math program that can instill a deeper understanding of math concepts in students, as well as hone their critical thinking and problem solving skills, then Singapore Math Primary Mathematics 2022 Edition might just be what you’re looking for. 

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About the Author

David Belenky is a freelance writer, former science and math tutor and a tech enthusiast. When he’s not writing about educational tech, he likes to chill out with his family and dog at home.