Math Dimensions is a newer math curriculum that caught my attention on Instagram last summer.
Math Dimensions is from the Singapore math company. I’ve used the Singapore math 1A/1B common core previously for both my girls with great success. For some reason when I purchased Singapore 2A/2B primary, it just didn’t feel great using it, mostly it felt too repetitive and that I needed to supplement (and because it was expensive, I started researching other math curriculum). I never had the teacher guides for these levels but did use both the textbook and workbook.
So when I saw the refreshed Singapore Math Dimensions I was excited to try it!
This review covers
- Our math backstory
- The pros of math dimensions
- The cons of math dimensions
- My review and whether we decided to continue using it
Our math backstory (or skip ahead for the review)
Our kids have tried a few of other math curriculum other than the Singapore CC 1a/1b. One day I hope to make an in-depth video about all of these, as it’s been 6 years of trying different math!
Math curriculum we’ve tried in our homeschool:
- Beast Academy is advanced, but offers online video instructions or you can just buy the books. I found the content to change all the time, and it’s fun both online and with the graphic novel format. I’ve mostly used it as a supplement and still do. Questions can be hard though, lots of critical thinking.
- Math Lessons for a Living Education is Charlotte Mason inspired which is what drew me to it. However it’s light, yet I never had any tears from my kids but it was almost too easy for each grade level and not comprehensive enough as the kids got older (in my opinion). There were also mistakes in the answer key numerous times, or even in the workbook itself which even my daughter caught, so that was a deterrent.
- Mathematical Reasoning are great math books that we’ve enjoyed as supplementary practice (although it is a stand alone curriculum).
- Math Mammoth had my daughter in tears, so it didn’t last long. I do like the way the lessons are explained and the price, but it also felt a way too dry.
- Jump Math Canadian and very inexpensive. I wanted to see what the public school was ‘roughly’ teaching for each grade level, and use the Canadian money and measurements as most math curriculum is US specific. You have to download the answer key and there’s very little direction if you get stumped on something.
I found Math Dimensions because I wanted a lot of teacher guidance
Last year with our grade 4, I made it through the year decently until I had to re-teach myself long division and mixed fractions. I realized that I would need more guidance re-learning math concepts to teach older grades.
That’s what drew me to Singapore Math Dimensions, a big juicy teacher guide.
Math Dimensions is very pictorial, concrete with abstract thinking.
The pros of Math Dimensions
- Very comprehensive teacher guide
- Lots of additional activities and games to reinforce the understanding
- Abstract math concepts that build upon themselves over time
- Builds a very strong math foundation for older grades
- Colourful textbook, black and white workbook
- Offers multiple approaches to learning math concepts
- I love that it’s similar to other Singapore math but refreshed, newer, and more engaging
- Year is split into A and B, great for selecting the best one with the placement test.
The Cons of Math Dimensions
- 3 books can feel like a lot to juggle: A teacher’s guide, a textbook (full color) and a workbook (black and white).
- Long lessons, that could be a good thing, but our kids have shorter attention spans and we have little kids interrupting
- Can be advanced if your kids struggle with math. Definitely take a placement test! You often need half a year, to a full year ‘behind’ the grade level if your kids aren’t advanced math students or you’re switching from another curriculum
- Extra activities are geared towards a classroom setting or with multiple kids the same age. You can definitely make adaptations for many of the activities.
- If your kids aren’t abstract thinkers, it may take awhile to adjust, or might not be the right fit.
- It may take some adjustment if your kids aren’t used to spending lots of time thinking about a question.
My current Math Dimensions review
We purchased the pre-k, level 2 (for our grade 3) and level 4 (for our grade 5). We stopped using it for our grade 5, but are still using it for our younger two.
Although I was looking for a big juicy teacher guide that would help me re-learn math concepts to teach older grade levels, these teacher guides are A LOT.
A lot of pre-reading, a lot of looking up the activities and finding those materials, seeing how you can alter the group activities. It would take me a good 30 mins to pre-read through the lesson. I currently feel quite overwhelmed with using 3 books for a math lesson. Going back and forth with what pages are needed is time consuming (although now I mark them at the end of a lesson). Two books I feel like I can manage, but 3 feels like a juggle.
I’ve basically discovered I prefer shorter lessons
We’re very Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, and these lessons are long. You work through the workbooks and students answer questions, then there’s more practice in the student workbooks. One reason why this math curriculum might not be the right fit for our family is because right now I still have a 3 and 5 year old in tow.
I don’t personally have the time to read many pages on new instructions and do the extra activities.
But that’s just me!
It’s fantastic for kids or parents that really get math.
I’m a pictorial learner, so I thought this would be fantastic for me to help teach. But abstract math? Advanced mathematical thinking? I’ve come to realize, that isn’t me, or my kids. (yet I hope).
I feel guilty trying to find the ‘perfect math curriculum’ for myself to teach math, and for how my kids learn.
My oldest often gets teary when something is too hard (or storms off) so Math Lessons for a Living Education made me feel better. But easy isn’t always better because I knew we were behind really ‘grasping’ math concepts.
For now, we’re still using levels 2 for our grade 3 because teaching those grades comes pretty easily to me because I’ve done it with my eldest.
However, I’ve decided to to back to Beast Academy for our grade 5 for the online video lessons. I really like the video lessons for Beast Academy, although I prefer to read the graphic novel in person. The workbook the kids enjoy doing online as they like having computer time. For our eldest daughter, she needs something to look different with almost every lessons, so Beast Academy is great for that.
Beast Academy, like Math Dimensions or other Singapore math, is advanced and requires longer thinking for some of the questions.
But for some reason my eldest really enjoys the graphic novel format, and the online video lessons.
My grade 3 is also asking to use Beast Academy online, but I prefer the way Singapore teaches addition and subtraction so we are doing a little of both.
So for now I can see myself using Math Dimensions pre-K – level 2, but not sure about older grades because I’m preferring video lessons now.
Have you tried Math Dimensions?
We really like using the videos available for this curriculum. It walks you through each lesson step by step!
Isis Loran says
I had no idea there were videos! I will seek them out thank you
I really appreciate this review! Math has been a finicky subject for us to find the right fit due to our goals (bilingual integration of terminology) and circumstances (some learning challenges and a younger sibling), and we usually end up juggling two different programs. In past years, I have modified our curriculum in order to find a less teacher-intensive approach, as well as something that resonates and appeals to our older child. I have re-considered various Singapore programs (Primary, Dimensions, Standard) numerous times, yet it has never felt like the right fit at that particular time. I am able to identify with much of what you describe, and your review has helped me with my selection for the upcoming year’s choice of Math curriculum. Thank you very much for your review!