Primary School Mathematics

Our Maths is a rather convoluted mess of books! There’s just so much good stuff out there! I’ve pieced together math from all sorts of places. My husband and I were both ‘gifted’ as kids, with maths being our favoured topic. I am so excited by the resources available now for my kids, that I simply can’t just pick one. Lucky for me, my kids have inherited my love of the subject.

I see maths as beautiful, logical, and what makes up the world around us. We can see maths everywhere in God’s creation. It’s such a fascinating topic when it’s taught with excitement and passion. Unfortunately, too many people don’t teach it that way. It’s amazing how many adults I’ve spoken to who have rediscovered maths through other sources as adults and see it in a whole new way.

We don’t necessarily finish every single page from every book below, we pull from all of them to put together a course, but use some discretion, especially in regards to our ‘core’ text where we often skip operations practice in favour of our fact practice books.  Likewise, we don’t do every test in the Singapore supplements, and we will skip pages in 2+2 if the child is picking up some facts quickly.


Mathematical Reasoning – This is our spine, our ‘catch all’. I wrote a review about it here, and the purpose of this series for us is to ensure we cover all the minor topics like measurement, graphs, time, etc. It’s a very bright, colourful and most importantly fun series, which includes brain teasers and logical thinking in their exercises. It also has less problems per page, so it is engaging but not too time consuming. We chose to use a fun, light program as our daily math to keep it fun and something the kids look forward to, and we then supplement it with more dull, challenging books, rather than doing the reverse. It suits our family dynamic better this way around. We do 10 or 15 minutes from this book at the beginning of our math time every day, then fill in the rest of the time with other books.


Two Plus Two Is Not Five, and the following books for multiplication and division, are great ways to work on memorizing facts! They introduce all the facts with ‘tricks’ to help bring them to mind, giving them strategies to remember them with rather than simple retention. The worksheets are full of basic sums, pretty dull and a little overwhelming at first, but perfect for my achievement-focused child who thrives on completing things. Doing a worksheet in 5 minutes which she is almost guaranteed to get 100% correct is a huge motivation booster for her at the beginning of the day.


Beast Academy – These books take math and make it challenging, lots of brain teasers and involved puzzles which should intentionally take time and multiple efforts to solve. Not a lot of practice and not a full scope by Australian standards so I am hesitant to use it as a complete spine, but they’re supposedly fun enough that the kids will love reading the guides, they take math concepts and stretch them well beyond the standard scope and cookie-cutter problems. We will probably skim the practice guide and only do the challenge questions and other particularly interesting parts, rather than use it as a full curriculum. I’m mostly just interested in their approach to math, both in teaching and providing problems of genuine difficulty.


Life of Fred has books ranging from 1st grade to college level. They are not very in-depth, and they’re made to be easy, but they contain a LOT of extras, and they’re just fun silly stories. Every problem Fred has to solve, from addition to calculus, is there because Fred has somehow encountered it in his life. This helps to make math relatable and real for kids rather than purely theoretical as it sometimes feels.


And now we hit some of those more boring supplements I mentioned. We don’t use main Singapore Math curriculum, however they have some wonderful supplements to fill in gaps and add extra challenge

Challenging Word Problems is a way to relate math to real life, and also teaches kids how to see a situation and figure out what is needed to solve it. A lot of kids struggle with turning word problems into math sentences and most math curricula lack practice in this.

MathExpress Speed Math teaches mental math strategies, things like 21+19=20+20, switching or manipulating numbers to speed mental computation. Surprisingly it doesn’t appear that any of the curricula I plan to use covers this formally

Math Sprints is a bunch of timed speed tests, aiming for personal best. The goal is to build up speed and quick recall of the facts. I loved doing something similar to these as a kid at school and they really helped build my speed which was of huge benefit when I reached higher level math and didn’t need to think about the basic arithmetic anymore


OPTIONAL – For a kid who would enjoy it, I am also eyeing off Borac Math, which looks dry and dull and boring, but for a kid like me who was gifted in math these books would have been amazing! They’re all challenge problems from the math competitions. lots of great stuff in these.


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