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Okay...Abeka Math vs. Saxon Math... Need some input please!

Mandi in Ohio

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We are in the middle of deciding on a math curriculum for our family and could use some input. We have a 2nd grader and a kinder that we will be schooling this year and have it narrowed down to pretty much Saxon or Abeka for math. We started our new 2nd grader on Abeka across the board when she started school and were really pleased with it. This will be our first year taking a more classical approach to their lessons and so we are looking at new curriculum across the board. I have heard great things about both and actually I had Saxon at the private Christian school I attended in middle school growing up. I do remember it was pretty driven and there was a lot of problems to complete each day but that is about it...of course I was looking at it as a student and not a teacher then too. I've heard both programs are pretty similar with a spiral approach but that's about it?


Our main thing to think about when choosing a program are 2 things: 1. We have several more kids coming up behind her so we need something that we're going to stick with and be able to use again and again, hopefully through high school. 2. My daughter is much stronger in language arts and does ok with math now but I don't want her to get to a place in that program where it gets tough and she gets frustrated and then doesn't like math anymore. That is what I did in school and I still am not fond of math today.


So in short I need something we'll stick with and something that she will feel like she can acomplish. I hope that makes sense?


One more thing to consider, our kinder girl is much more hands on and visual. I'm not sure if that makes any difference in either program or not?


I'd love to hear why you do or do NOT like either of these programs!




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These seem to be two programs that are not loved on this board, but since I was choosing between the two and you haven't gotten an answer, I'll take a stab and maybe give you a bump!


We chose Saxon over Abeka. In my research on this forum and others, Abeka did not seem widely liked after about 3rd or 4th grade. From what I read, it got way too intense drill-wise. I heard many more positive reports on a complete program for Saxon. In other words, I had a feeling if we went with Abeka we'd be changing programs down the road, but Saxon sounds pretty solid all the way through. (Or at least through Jr. High, which is as far as I'm willing to consider at the moment!)


My son is using Saxon 2 and we are enjoying it. Today he played with pattern blocks, so I do find it very visual and hands-on.


Another thing with Abeka is that I find the teacher's manuals hard to follow. I guess if you did every.single.thing they tell you and buy every.single.expensive thing they offer, it might be hands-on, but that gets to be a little too pricey and time consuming for me.


I like the Saxon manual being scripted and it doesn't take us all day. To consider - it is incremental and some people say that it beats a dead horse. (I did find this when we used a level that was below where we should have been.)


So, there's my humble opinion - good luck in your choice!

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I've used both, and it's really a personal decision you need to make. My oldest is very bright and he struggled a bit with how fast Abeka was throwing things at him. He still did well with the program though.

My second ds... theres no way he would be able to keep up with Abeka.


Right now we are using BJU (dvd's) like the pp mentioned. We are finishing week 3 and my 7 yr old is doing fine, but my 10 yr old is bored. He's a bit more advanced in math coming from Abeka 3 and Saxon 5/4.

I've decided to have my oldest do Saxon and MUS Epsilon, and my little guy do BJU and MUS Beta.

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For that grade/age, I would opt for Abeka. We used Abeka2 for my oldest, and switched to Saxon for my 2nd daughter for 1st and 2nd grade. Those worksheets for Saxon2 are sooooooooooo boring (plain, white paper with black print). It really, really got to me after 2 years - staring at those boring worksheets.


I switched back to Abeka1 for my son.


Now - I do leave Abeka for Saxon when they're ready for 5/4 (and just started RightStart for ds, who is a very visual kind of kid and I think will thrive with RS).


I like both Saxon and Abeka. A BIG plus for Saxon5/4 (we use the older, 2nd edition version of the textbooks) is that these are hardback and non-consummable, so all 3 of my kids will be using the same textbook. (and the black and white stuff doesn't drive me crazy when it's not worksheets... ymmv, of course).

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We chose Saxon.


Dd has commented lately on the way the lessons progress. She questioned the drill sheets, mental math, problem solving, and patterns as well as why a test is so many lessons away. She has recently noticed that the lesson contains very few problems on the content explained. However, her scores have always been great.


Sometimes, I think we look for faults with a program. I believe that with all of the visual medium (just watch Fox or CNN and look all over the screen) we tend to want something that is busy, bright, and colorful. I do not make this a factor. I look for layout, practice, and reinforcement with a math program. I want an adequate pace. I want a program that can be easily read.


At the beginning of any Saxon book, it appears to be dull and slow. In 54 for example, they are working on improving mental math skills. It appears that the student does addition and subtraction for days and days without or very few new concept problems, but incorporate the mental lessons and evaluate that lesson once again. You will notice that the problems have changed. There is a focus and a goal.


As with any program, you can skip too much and lose the value and effect. I would caution anyone if they chose Saxon that the lesson "boxes" should never be skipped. I say this now as I am setting out 100's charts that I personally think are silly, but I know this develops her reasoning and demonstrates to her the pattern. I have dd complete each and every problem. I check each and every problem.


I rambled a touch, but it is early! I hope this helps you evaluate Saxon.

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I have never seen Saxon, other than the cover. I have looked at elementary A Beka and 1st grade and up seem good. I looked at the K because we considered sending my ds1 to K at a private school that used it. After using Singapore Math Earlybird, I was not impressed with ABeka K.


SM Earlybird is so simply laid out and uncluttered. *I* got overwhelmed just looking at a page in ABeka K math. It looks like someone gathered a bunch of patterns, addition, subtraction, clocks, and various other things and threw them at a page. It's so random and cluttered.


Anyway, that's my thought on ABeka K math. I went through ABeka math and managed to pass Calculus 1 and 2 in college, so your child will learn. Just make sure they understand. That was and is my struggle. I tend to be a memorizer not a thinker.

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I chose Abeka. Why? The presentation of material was easy for me to accelerate or decelerate.


Saxon's incremental (I believe that's the right term) approach meant they would introduce the topic and give very little practice. You would do more review of prior topics. So, with a child who "gets" math fairly easily, this was incredibly frustrating for both of us. I could "see" my child "got it" - but when we got to a new concept I had to "go hunting" through every lesson to find the actual practice he needed.


For us, Abeka in the early grades (we use the K-2 books) was perfect. My children could read and loved to do most of the work themselves. I never used the lesson plans, we just "did" it. If there was a new concept, we'd break out the manipulatives and play with it. I could easily scan a worksheet and say "skip", or circle the required problems.


After Abeka 2, my children all got very bored (lots more repetition, fewer new concepts), and quickly moved into math levels in other curriculum (such as Sadlier-Oxford) 2 levels ahead (difference in the scope and sequences of curriculum -- they both end up pretty much in the same place).


You may find that you can go from Abeka 2 into Saxon 5/4 -- just keep working on the math facts :D

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Out of the two, I have only used Saxon. I have used Elementary and High School Saxon. It definitely does not have all the bells and whistles, but it is good, sound math. Personally, I believe that you will have to choose for yourself based on your child.


Best wishes with your school year!

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My dd thinks saxon is terribly boring. She likes the bright pages of the Abeka, and it goes into detail teaching the work right on the student page. I like the curriculum guide for the arithmetic because it gives you other helps to do for drill work and such. However Saxon, Abeka, and most of the others were made for a school setting and busy work. If your child knows the material, move on, dont drill drill drill if they are good at it, move on to a new lesson. I know some friends who use saxon and do every other problem. I know some who do that with abeka. You rule the curriculum it doesn't rule you. God bless, nancyt.

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