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Saxon: Do you skip problems?


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I didn't skip any problems when we used Saxon...

 

A friend has her kids do the odd-numbered problems on one day and the even-numbered problems on the second day. (takes 2 days to get through one lesson) **And, she mentioned to me that she doesn't do the drill page every day...I think she said she does them 2 - 3x/week.**

 

HTH

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Don't skip any problems. Believe the book when it tells you that.

 

This is Jann in TX's reply:

 

You will get many different answers to this question. There are many here on the boards who only give the odds or evens out...the PROBLEM with this is that Saxon DOES NOT design their program to be used in this manner (many other texts are designed this way). When you skip problems with Saxon you are setting yourself up for trouble later on...the problem sets do not have ‘evenly spaced’ concepts AND some “concepts†may ‘look’ the same to the untrained parent--BUT each problem is actually teaching/testing in a different area. By routinely skipping problems you are missing out on critical review. In most of the series--7/6 and above the practice problems often DIFFER from the original concept (the one noted by the little number). As the student’s knowledge and experience increases so does their ability to COMBINE concepts. The review problems are often more difficult/complex than the original practice problems.

I’m a certified Math teacher--turned homeschool Mother. I have taught/tutored Saxon for over 7 years (1st grade -Advanced Math). The vast majority of the students seeking tutoring in Pre-Algebra and above are those who routinely skipped problems--working only half of the problem set.

Skipping problems in the texts below 7/6 MAY work out well for some students as the concepts taught are very basic. From 7/6 on it is very important to work EVERY problem. If the problem set takes ‘too much time’ to do each day most likely the reason is that the student needs MORE practice!!!

I have a dd with some learning differences and she has had success working 15-20 problems a day--continuing on the next day without skipping any problems. She completes a little over 3 problem sets a week.

Some people are fine with their students making a “B†in math. It is sad that those students could be making “A’s†if only they had used the text the way it was designed!

It is probably obvious that I am passionate about this issue. When you choose to use a program such as Saxon that is designed with a complex spiral review it is important to use the program correctly--taking shortcuts will only shortchange your child. There may be other math programs where working only 10-15 problems a day is sufficient--but Saxon is definately NOT one of them.

This is another reply:

Like Jann, I am a teacher turned homeschooling mom. I have an education background in curriculum development, as well as testing and evaluation.

I, too have seen numerous students struggling, who had been using Saxon and skipping problems. I have not seen many struggling who were using the program as Saxon designed it.

As far as getting a “B†instead of getting an “A,†I agree with Jann. But along with this, I would say that the degree to which a student actually learns and the length which a student retains the material is greater when all problems in the problem set are completed.

Saxon interweaves so much into the problem set it is hard to demonstrate through words on a screen. Not only are the previous concepts reviewed, but they are expanded and combined with other aspects of math along the way. If you were to go through an entire level of Saxon Math and write down all the problems that related to a certain lesson, you would be amazed to see the progression and the development. Not only that, but Saxon often relates one lesson to another by having the students work problems which relate to each other across the lessons, as review is done. Glance through your answer key [especially easy where the problem set answers are in a chart form]. You will see that there are multiple answers that are the same value, but if you look at the problems you will see that the problems were reviewing or expanding different topics. [but the number answer is the same-- this skill of seeing this within the lesson is great for Algebraic thinking and more] These types of things also help the student see the relationships between percents/fractions/decimals and more.

It would be much more helpful to spread the lesson out over more than one day and cover the material a bit slower, than to rush through and skip part of the teaching and learning involved. You may find that your student improves his work time and can easily complete an entire lesson in an allotted time frame. [although I have come across some home schoolers who try to complete each subject in 30 minutes, which may be unrealistic for the Algebras or higher]

None of this is shared to imply anyone is doing their math lessons wrong, but only to share from experience and research what has shown to work or not to work in other situations, so you can make the choice for your student and your home school.

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In the elementary program--grades 1-3 MOST students probably do not need to work both sides of the assignment... it should be obvious when they need more practice.

 

Even in 5/4 and 6/5 many students can get away with only half of the problems--but "understanding" and consistently getting the correct answer--(tiny 'speed' errors are still INCORRECT) are 2 different things. 90% of all Algebra 1 errors have to do with math learned in 5th and 6th grades!

 

At the 7/6 level the Saxon program changes dramatically. The number of concepts taught greatly increases. If you only work the odds, some concepts may only get practiced 10 times in the whole book--and since they are spread out, the student may not understand them--and even if they consistently miss that problem type the parent may never notice.

 

The missing of these tiny concepts is what later snowballs into trouble once the student hits about lesson 35 in Algebra 1.

 

Saxon teaches inside the problem set beginning in Algebra 1. Two problems that look 'identical' can be VERY VERY different in conceptual practice... those problems were placed in that order for a reason. Skipping them at this point is greatly increasing the opportunity for failure....

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I appreciate hearing different viewpoints.

 

I'm in this dilemma of meeting state standards (we just joined a charter school) vs. doing what is best for my child. Progressing at our current rate will not meet state standards because not all topics will be covered in the year. I was told "her report card would reflect that."

 

Never mind the fact that she's working at least one grade level ahead in Math, as she's iin 5th grade doing Saxon 87.

 

Best case, I'd love to meet state standards and do what's best for my child. But if I have to choose, I'm choosing my child.

 

She did tell me that she could do a whole lesson a day (she's been doing only half), in which case we'd finish the book by the end of the year.

 

However, now I'm tempted to switch to the 3rd edition of 87 so she can skip Alg. 1/2. But, switching would mean falling behind in the book. She has already finished Professor B and I'd put her into algebra but Saxon Algebra 1 is definitely not written at her level.

 

If anyone knows of an algebra book a 5th grader could do, please let me know. I know she could do Prof. B Algebra but I'm concerned that it won't meet state standards, because it's 3 books to cover Alg. 1 and 2 and we'd need to cover Alg 1 in one year.

 

The lesson here is "Make sure it's really worth it before you get in bed with the state." This math thing may break the deal.

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I did and I regretted it.

 

Saxon is meant to be used as written. They develop the concept through the problems over many days and weeks. Students who skip problems miss out on that concept development.

 

If for whatever reason you don't want your student to do so many problems, either slow down in Saxon or choose another program. If you absolutely must use Saxon *and* skip problems, then Saxon recommends that instead of doing odds or evens, that you do every other problem set in its entirety.

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Never mind the fact that she's working at least one grade level ahead in Math, as she's iin 5th grade doing Saxon 87.

 

***

 

If anyone knows of an algebra book a 5th grader could do, please let me know.

 

 

 

I would definitely recommend that you look at other programs for an advanced math student. I think Saxon shortchanges advanced/gifted math students with their approach.

 

My son did Jacobs Algebra over two years starting in 5th grade. It was a wonderful fit for him.

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Not only don't I skip problems in the home environment, I wrote additional problems, because I rarely thought they'd had sufficient practice on the new concept prior to evaluation.

 

Most students work too *few* math problems, not too many. My dd (who graduates with a BA in mathematics in December) routinely works 100+ problems per day in her undergraduate program. The only exception is when she is writing proofs, and then she's typically writing 15-25 pages of proof each week. :001_huh:

 

Now, in the classroom, I do occasionally skip an ENTIRE lesson set, and teach "two in one" days. Then, thanks to Saxon's spiral, there are problems in the next lesson to cover the new concepts from both of the previous lessons. But I almost always work several of those "skipped" exercises as example problems for the class, and they do the copywork of putting those in their notes.

 

LoriM

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Dd started Saxon Algebra I back in March, and finished in August, only doing half of the problems. I read the advice here to do them all, so now in Algebra II, she is doing all of them. It's going fine. She started 3 weeks ago and is on lesson 33 or so.

 

She really loves Saxon (we used Spectrum in elem.). She's really encouraging me to start her younger brothers on Saxon. I guess we all experience Saxon differently.

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I would definitely recommend that you look at other programs for an advanced math student. I think Saxon shortchanges advanced/gifted math students with their approach.

 

My son did Jacobs Algebra over two years starting in 5th grade. It was a wonderful fit for him.

And yet there are legions of advanced math students who believe that they were well served by Saxon.

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I guess we all experience Saxon differently.

 

Yes, I think you're right. It seems to depend on the student's learning style. I prefer Saxon to most of the other programs we've tried, but I really wasn't a fan until I got the "big picture" - flipping through Algebra I through Calculus all laid out in a row on the table (right-brained, whole to parts thinking style). It's really an excellent, cohesive program, with very good (not perfect) explanations. Saxon's program is probably a better match for incremental thinkers than whole-to-parts thinkers. Many of the textbook series homeschoolers are using cover pretty much the same material when viewed in their entirety - the differences boil down to presentation style and the degree of complexity of the problems.

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One of the two areas in Math that I found my home schoolers had problems with was speed and accuracy. Mental Math helps with both of these but I added incentive to Saxon by giving the option to do half the problems in the next lesson if you got 96-100# in the last lesson. I started with only giving it out if for a perfect lesson but modified for one wrong.

Some of my dc who struggled with language and math, we timed the amount of the day we spent on math and worked to accomplish more. We also ended up finishing during the summer, thus eliminating the summer brain dump.

I still think the must do everything exactly the way the publisher/ author insists is more an insurance policy for them.

I didn't get into this alternative radical lifestyle to be dictated to!:001_smile:

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My answer like some of the others is a work in progress. Right now it stands at this -

 

You must complete all of the Lesson Practice daily...

You can choose to do all or just the even numbered Mixed Practice BUT ONLY if you score above 80% on your tests. The answers to the odds are in the back of the text and make a good self check tool.

 

My students have almost never had difficulty scoring above 80%. And fwiw, my ds detests Saxon and dd loves it.:001_huh:

 

I've read the other threads:bigear: and Art Reed's book on Saxon and considered changing, but right now it ain't broken....

ymmv

 

When they were little, we completed the lesson and the front of the work sheet. Then if they needed more practice.. the back.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Saxon math along with many homeschool math programs are asking for math BURNOUT! We did odd/even for the review problems only.

 

 

:iagree:

 

This has been discussed many times and every time I say - SKIP! THERE ARETOO MANY!

 

My DD18 did Saxon, doing all of the lesson practice and only half of the mixed practice. She did 6/5 and 8/7 and Algebra 1/2 that way. She went on to teach herself Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry with other texts and no help from me, then took College Algebra at the local CC her senior year. She aced it with the highest GPA in the class - no holes in her math skills!

 

DD8 is in 6/5 and also doing only half the practice problems. We do facts practice and metal math every day. She gets all A's on the tests.

 

You can be wise and make sure that your kid is not missing the same kind of problem every time. Just pay attention to the problems they do miss and make sure they review that lesson if there are many from the same one. It isn't that hard. Why do we believe that EVERY SINGLE KID needs the exact amount of math practice? They don't all need that much. My girls would be mad at me for making them do so many practice problems when they get it and don't need the repetition. If your kid gets it, there is NO REASON to do every single problem. It is just plain not necessary. JMHO.

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We do all of them, including the facts practice. It seems to be the only way my son really internalizes math.

 

Although he can grasp concepts quickly and solve more advanced problems, moving him ahead too fast causes us pain. E.g., last year we completed Singapore 5th grade and the first two LOF books. I found that moving too fast without enough reinforcement practice, he would not remember how to solve certain problems and would also make arithmetic mistakes. He knew the steps to solve simple algebraic equations, but would muff the multiplication.

 

So we came back to Saxon. He placed borderline between 8/7 and Algebra 1/2. So we started with 8/7. It turns out that this was too difficult. He could answer the problems, but it would take about 75 minutes to do half a lesson, and he would make arithmetic errors. He also complained that the problems were too hard, even though he knew what steps to do to solve them.

 

So we moved back to 7/6. He can do an entire lesson, including facts practice in under an hour. This seems to be the right level for him, and I know the continual practice will work for him. By the time we advance to 8/7, he should be able to complete those lessons in under an hour as well.

 

So my feeling is that, even though it may seem tedious at times, the program works and all that practice will work well in the long term.

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didn't read all previous posts,

but I'm trying something new based on a recommendation I read here somewhere. Basically this poster said you'd be better off skipping the 30 problem set of an entire chapter, and doing the entire next set rather than doing only odd/even on each chapter. I wasn't comfortable going completely this far, but we've decided to complete 3 chapters over our 4 day math week and skip one chapter--averaging out to about 23 problems a day. I'm wiped out today so I hope I explained that clearly.

I've noticed how many of those seemingly identical problems complement eachother and reinforce skills--so I like the idea of doing every problem in the set, but in our house we are in major burnout mode if we keep up the schedule of an entire lesson a day. We're in a weekly math class, so we have to keep moving forward at that pace, so thats how we're working it out. Time will tell if this is enough review as we get out of review mode, but I feel like we're keeping closer to the original Saxon 'method' this way, without doing SO many problems.

I read the book about 'Using Saxon Math', can't remember exact title--and he gave a very persuasive argument about never skipping around. I'd love to be a Saxon purist, but I can't have my child spending 3 hours a day on math-every day.

Hope this helps!

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No, but the Saxon Algebra DIVE CD does suggest that most children can skip one in every five lessons: teach two lessons on Monday and have your child complete the problems for the second lesson; test every Friday. However, if you print out their sample syllabus, it differs even more. I think they do the one in five lessons skipping in the first 30 lessons only which are a review of Algebra 1/2, then slow the material down to three lessons per week as the difficulty of the material increases.

 

If someone wants me to review these alternative schedules to verify the accuracy of what I vaguely recall and post again, I will. Again, this is at the Algebra level, I also remember reading in Saxon 8/7 to NOT skip any problems.

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No, but the Saxon Algebra DIVE CD does suggest that most children can skip one in every five lessons: teach two lessons on Monday and have your child complete the problems for the second lesson; test every Friday. However, if you print out their sample syllabus, it differs even more. I think they do the one in five lessons skipping in the first 30 lessons only which are a review of Algebra 1/2, then slow the material down to three lessons per week as the difficulty of the material increases.

 

If someone wants me to review these alternative schedules to verify the accuracy of what I vaguely recall and post again, I will. Again, this is at the Algebra level, I also remember reading in Saxon 8/7 to NOT skip any problems.

 

:D

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