# saxon question~levels~saxon newbie

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hello!!

i am taking the plunge and going for saxon for my "4th" grader. looking forward to it~

in the past we have used shiller & singapore.

on the placement tests, she tested (barely) into 6/5.

i was given 5/4 by a friend, because i naturally thought she would go into that one.

now i am confused, do i take the chance that she will be bored in 5/4.

or go for 6/5? is there a lot of review? if so, she might be ok in 6/5, but being a new user, i am at a loss....

i have looked through 5/4 and it looks pretty basic for us, but there are a few things she does not know, like negative numbers, some geometry stuff etc.

help!

:confused:

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There is a lot of review in 5/4 and 6/5. But I would still stick with 5/4. There is a lot of review during those two years for a reason. The pace picks up (so I've been told by the Saxon reps.) in 7/6. You need to make sure your dd knows the concepts very well, or she might struggle later on.

I've used those two (review) years to help my ds work on taking his time, reading problems correctly, writing neatly, and checking his work. He has improved considerably and makes very few careless mistakes. He has not been challenged at all in regard to new material. I often look over the daily lesson and let him just get started on it. We do short review, but he definitely knows the material. I still make him do every single problem and every single lesson. When we were in 5/4, I also made him do the supplemental exercises in the back of the book (we often did even or odd numbers).

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Saxon 5/4 develops mental math that is sorely needed. It is not so much review as it is learning not to use fingers and manipulatives for most problems. There is a lot of pattern teaching. Ex. How do you add 9 plus 23? You add 10 and subtract one. 33 - 1 = 32

I would not skip this level. It is very, very important that you do the Facts Practice most everyday. Imagine getting to Algebra and not being able to complete simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in your head!

I will be adding some MM, from the topics not a curriculum, Life of Fred for fractions, and a bit of Everyday math to Saxon as well. I only do this for the "reality" of math. LoF is for fun and reinforcement.

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I'm a relative newbie as well (we just started this year and are on lesson 22 :)) but I can share what we chose to do in a similar situation, with a child who is not math-intuitive.

We had been doing Singapore all along until we got to the end of 4A (4th grade) and I finally acknowledged that Singapore was a bad fit for us. I had my daughter do the placement tests for Saxon and she came in barely under 7/6. I looked carefully at the problems she missed for conceptual reasons (rather than computational errors due to carelessness) and saw that there were only a couple of key concepts she was missing, primarily because she had not encountered them yet in Singapore (for her it was some geometry terminology and decimal work). I had the opportunity to look at both 6/5 and 7/6 in person and it looked like 6/5 would get old really quickly for her. I was also told that, in Saxon, the first third or so is review, the middle third is the on level, then the last third gets challenging.

I decided to start with 7/6, but was ready to drop back to 6/5 if we had trouble in that first third of the book. Since I was able to get the entire level for \$25 used, I wasn't worried about having to buy the lower level if needed. We took a couple of months with some of the Key to.... series to fill the identified gaps (because she tested under level a bit) and then started this summer. So far, it's been a wonderful switch and she's done very well on the tests, likes the pacing and constant review. I grade the problem sets and make her rework any she missed, which has given her an incentive to pay closer attention to careless errors, making sure she is answering the question asked and including units when needed---basically attention to detail that she frequently wasn't wont to do before.

In your situation, I would likely go with 6/5 but be prepared when you get to negative numbers and the geometry review that you might have to do a little extra practice if she bogs down (though you may be surprised). I'd rather do that and know I might have to stretch this level out a bit than risk turning it into "drill and kill" boring with the lower level (and I wonder if that's why a lot of folks don't care for Saxon---that they are in the wrong level?).

Edited by KarenNC
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If she barely tested into 6/5, I would do 5/4. Make sure you do every bit of it. Do it all. Don't skip problems. (Is that clear enough?:D)

On Fridays or maybe twice a week, add in a few Singapore Challenging Word Problems or other tricky but fun book, to spice it up a bit. Don't forget the real world stuff--measure her room to see how much carpet you'd need, double or half a few recipes, etc.

I love Saxon, but we do use it a year ahead. I have found the placement tests (used by others--you can't use them if you have already done Saxon and have them come out accurately) to be pretty spot on.

One other thing--sometimes Saxon uses an easy, well-known procedure to illustrate a harder concept, so folks look at the procedure and say, OH, we know THAT, and just do it another way they've been taught by another program. Then later, the concept will be reintroduced with a much harder procedure and they are lost. Do all the procedures the way Saxon intros them. Many things in Saxon are important later on.

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Saxon 5/4 develops mental math that is sorely needed. It is not so much review as it is learning not to use fingers and manipulatives for most problems. There is a lot of pattern teaching. Ex. How do you add 9 plus 23? You add 10 and subtract one. 33 - 1 = 32

I would not skip this level. It is very, very important that you do the Facts Practice most everyday. Imagine getting to Algebra and not being able to complete simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in your head!

I will be adding some MM, from the topics not a curriculum, Life of Fred for fractions, and a bit of Everyday math to Saxon as well. I only do this for the "reality" of math. LoF is for fun and reinforcement.

If she's coming from Singapore, those strategies have already been introduced and practiced (I'm not familiar with Shiller). I am finding that the daily facts practice and mental math practice in Saxon are working well---she's actually applying the skill, which she had trouble doing in Singapore. This is part of what I meant by being willing to drop back to the lower level---if the child consistently struggles with the mental math daily section, then I would take it as a sign that you might need to drop back in that area. It should be fairly easy to see a pattern of what is causing difficulty. For us, that's not been an issue. Since she already has 5/4, it would be easy enough to keep it on hand and pull out the lessons related to any problems that crop up in 6/5 so that she could use them as supplementation if need be.

Edited by KarenNC
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I guess I'll go against the crowd here and say that it really depends on your daughter and how you intend to use the program. I'd go with 6/5 if she is a good math student or if too much review makes her cranky (actually, if this is the case, I'd go with a different program altogether!). I'd go with 5/4 if math isn't her strong point or if you plan to have her use the program independently.

I've had two kids place one question away from Saxon Math 3. For the first one, I was like you and thought he could probably use the review. Big mistake! So for the second one, I went with Math 3, and as far as placement was concerned, it was perfect.

There is *so* much review in Saxon that she'll be fine as far as gaps go. Believe me.

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I think those math facts are super important. Does the child have them down. I mean down! quick recall able to do the Saxon math fact sheets in the time allotted?

7/6 requires the kids to know their math facts. Add, subtr, mult and division. They'll stumble around if they don't know them well.

I also agree on the 5/4. Test and see where they'd place.

That's what I was told when we started and worked fairly well for us. Math is not something to place catch up with, especially when using Saxon.

And yes, do all!!! the problems :tongue_smilie:

alg I for 7th grader - yikes. Even Jann in Tx says algebra for youngers is asking for trouble

I'd go with 5/4 - and actually that's what we're using for my 4th grader. She has been using Saxon forever and still has trouble with all the four fact processes (add, subtr, mult, div). She needs the practice every every every day.

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