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I am SO GLAD that we switched back to Saxon this year!

Carol in Cal.

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I used to use MUS for my now 7th grader and 3rd grader. They were well prepared for ps. The only problem I had was that I couldn't understand the methods Steve used for long multiplication and division because they're different from the way I was taught. I just couldn't get it. So I had to stop teaching math in the 4th grade. It's really embarrassing to admit. The kids are doing well but we have other issues with school and are contemplating bringing them back home. I'm thinking about trying Saxon because I've heard such good things from some friends and I think they teach math in a way that I'm familiar with so I can help the kids better. Also my dc really do well with book learning. I think MUS is fantastic for those who enjoy hands on math.


Anyway looking forward to hearing your story.

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DD started with Saxon 1, and I thought it was really inane. But, it was the curriculum that her Lutheran school was using, and so we went with it. It was grab and go, do the next thing, she was good at it, she felt proficient, and I could focus on teaching her to read which was much harder.


We started Saxon 2, and I decided that she was never going to be able to take Algebra 1 in the 8th grade if we stuck with this program. It just was not going to converge. So I taught her from the state standards on my own for a couple of years This was pretty good. She learned concepts really well. I think that I did not give her enough practice problems, though. And if she knew how to do something but made a silly mistake, I pointed it out and we redid it and moved on. I could give her more practice in areas where I thought she needed it, and lots of oral review.


Simultaneously, I also looked at several math programs to decide what to use in the long run. I considered a constructivist method, Miquon (we tried this a bit. She hated the rods, hated the program, hated everything.), Singapore, Silver Burdett, and Harcourt CA. I decided on Harcourt CA, because it was what the better public schools were learning, it had mixed review, and it taught in quite a lot of depth.


So we used this for several years. It was really an unmitigated disaster. It covered so much material. It covered it in so much depth. DD was spending a horrendous amount of time on math, and hating it more and more, and actually seeming to go backwards at times. We lost our focus. I was teaching the curriculum rather than the child. I was pushing pushing pushing to get through it.


Then I realized that I had made a bad mistake in a curriculum choice, and was judging my child based on what I thought the public schools were doing, and that maybe they weren't. For instance, how much time is reasonable to spend on stem and leaf plots? I worked in engineering for almost 20 years, and I never saw one used IRL. Who cares? But they are covered in the books because they are on the state standards list. Who knows whether the teachers actually cover all of this. Also, I asked around last year, and assigning all the problems was not done in all the schools. Who knew? It was clear that she needed more practice than just the workbook, which is all that some schools assigned, but less than the full textbook lesson, which most of the schools were more selective about assigning. I found out that one school was assigning just the practice textbook problems to its 'normal' students, and just the difficult word problems to its 'accelerated' students. I knew DD needed some of both, but changing to an every other one approach did not work. She was still struggling.


So I took a deep breath, gave her the Saxon test, and it placed her at Math 65. This was crushing, as we had finished Harcourt 5th grade completely by then. (And I would guess that Harcourt is about 1 year ahead of Saxon. So she should have been able to start 87 or at least 76.) I debated what to do, and decided to start with 65 but to go through it more quickly than one lesson per day. This has been so great. DD is really understanding the material, and truly assimilating it. She is thinking mathematically instead of applying rote formulas! (Not something Saxon is known for, but I think that slowing down enabled her to start noticing patterns that she had missed in the past. Also, the specific spiral approach really works for her.) This school year she has successfully finished Saxon 65 and gotten well into Saxon 76. I expect that she will slow down her progress through 76, but that by working year round she will be ready for Algebra 1 by Fall of 2009, right on schedule. And even if she is not, she will be really learning this material instead of surviving it.


It is too much to hope for that she will love math, but I want her to be good at it and be able to use it as a good tool. I think that that is where she will end up.

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I really like Saxon math . No its not the how to find the answer for 2+2=4 a million ways type of math program . Its just a down to earth math program that can help alot of children who are not math oriented be sucessful at it .

I've used K and 1st and its a gentle way to teaching math . Plus I found other then supplementing with singapore challenging word problems that I had no real need to ever supplement Saxon at all with anything else because everything is included . Workbook , helpful teacher's manual , drill , flashcards etc .

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