Our family has been homeschooling for nine years now. While homeschooling has a lot of benefits and advantages, there are still a few disadvantages, one of which is the fact that I don’t have a lot of support when it comes to valid concerns that need addressing.
We are grateful that we don’t have a lot of challenges to date, but there was this particular season of our family’s homeschooling journey when Jed dreaded Mathematics (he doesn’t anymore). Our homeschooler is left with me, being the lesser of a Math person between my husband and I. Go figure! Haha!
Introduction to Singapore Math
When arithmetic was first introduced to my son when he was in preschool, we had popsicle sticks for manipulatives, and that was it. Then came Singapore Math, which we were for the most part thrilled over, especially since it was very promising, with our son digging it on his first try.
We bought him a Number Balance Equalizer and the Base Ten Blocks by Gigo Toys. We enrolled him with another Singapore Math provider, but the problem was, the branch where we were enrolled did not exactly use Singapore Math as the method for learning. It was mostly just the regular Math solving method done the traditional way as opposed to the trial class where the Singapore Math provider demonstrated on how their system works. Yes, I did feel we were shortchanged right there, mainly because it was not what we paid for. We have been back to traditional Math since. But I’m happy to report that our homeschooler is doing a whole lot better at Math. With comprehension being a strength of his, I’d say he has gotten the hang of the subject. But this doesn’t mean he cannot be better. In fact, we are considering for him to take Kumon classes on September, to address carelessness, where he usually commits mistakes at when solving Math problems.
Introduction to Seriously Addictive Mathematics (S.A.M.)
While my initial reaction to Math addiction might as well be, “Seriously!?” I really should be the last person to be surprised about Math addiction. My husband is a trophy-holder of his college’s Mathematics Club, tagged as a Math Wizard, aside from the fact that he was a scholar of both Ateneo University and DOST, he took up BS Math. He was also a Scientian at Quezon City Science High School. A crazy lot of Math in all that. He loves Math. Imagine his frustration over our son’s Math dreading phase.
S.A.M. stands for Seriously Addictive Mathematics. It goes back to its beginnings from Singapore, where the people behind S.A.M are educators from the National Institute of Education in Singapore, led by Samuel Chia and Lau Chin Loong and a support team of Marshall Cavendish consultants. S.A.M or Seriously Addictive Mathematics is an international Singapore Math enrichment program with over 100 centres in 16 countries around the world including USA, Australia and Canada. According to the TIMSS (Trends in International Maths & Science Study) survey, Singapore Math has been recognized as one of the most successful national programs in the world since 1995.
The S.A.M program
The S.A.M program follows the Singapore Math Curriculum set out by the Ministry of Education and can either be a stand-alone or supplementary math program suitable for children aged 4-12 years old. What makes the SAM approach different from the other Singapore math programs in Philippines is that it is the only international Singapore Math program from Singapore. Here in the Philippines, it was Enrich Asia which introduced S.A.M. to Filipino families. Enrich Asia is composed of professionals who actively scour the global education arena for new innovative approaches to engaging children and inspiring them to learn.
The Holistic Math Approach of S.A.M.
The S.A.M Approach to Mathematics combines the benefits of personalized coaching, which happens in the classroom in the company of other children with self-learning and self-discovery, which happens when work is taken home. The S.A.M Approach is designed to introduce new concepts in incremental yet sure steps to make learning easier. During class, the trainers of S.A.M. introduce and explain the concepts and the lesson objective. The child then reinforces and applies this knowledge on his own at home through daily worksheets planned and prepared by SAM. Corrections or clarifications, if any, are done during the session the following week.
The Values Instilled by S.A.M.
The advantage of S.A.M. is that it instills discipline, responsibility and independent learning within your child. These values are not just useful in his math subjects but could prove to be helpful as a child tackles his other school subjects.
S.A.M.’s Approach to Math
More than just rote learning, drill and practice, SAM aims to develop math skills going into the 21st century. These skills revolve around heuristics, logical reasoning, metacognitive understanding, modeling techniques and situational word problems. Rather than focusing on rote learning, quick fixes and maverick methods, the S.A.M program builds on kids’ foundation in Mathematics so that they can learn self-reliantly in their later years in school. The once a week teachings provided by S.A.M. is a well-thought of process that guides yet steers a child towards learning math independently yet effectively. S.A.M. programs start children with an assessment, so they start at a comfortable point. Here, both their strengths and weaknesses are identified so the mentors will know which to polish or focus on. There are also no memorizations involved in teaching kids how to answer math problems, ensuring that understanding is the essence of every learning objective. And because what they learn are the concepts, the greater benefit is that the skills taught through S.A.M. stays with a person well into adulthood, where math ceases to be just a subject, and already a way of life.
Our Thoughts on S.A.M.
Apparently, not all Singapore Math providers are created equal. We honestly cannot yet vouch for S.A.M. Because the truth of the matter is, no matter how good the program is, if the system and method wasn’t well inculcated to those who are appointed to operate (the centers), the ability to train kids would not have that much impact. But I’m leaning towards believing in the system, since S.A.M. trainers are educators from the National Institute of Education in Singapore.
Our homeschooling family is highly considering to enroll my son with this provider instead of our initial plan to enroll him in Kumon. We’ll surely let you in as we hopefully get to review this Singapore Math provider.