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Give me your honest opinion on Saxon


thowell
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I have 7/6 on my shelf. I am a little nervous because the reviews are so mixed. Dd10 is pretty strong in math but it isn't her favorite subject. What are the pros and cons of Saxon? Is it a solid math program through high school? I don't want to switch her again.

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:iagree: I used it myself in Jr. High & high school. It is thorough and it's a very good program. For some kids it is too much - not too hard, just the volume of problems. I respect it as a time-tested, solid program, though, whether I use/will use it with my kids or not.

 

From my notes, here's a quote by Jann in TX (member here regarded for her math knowledge):

"Saxon's lessons offer tiny pieces of information (partial concepts). They add something DIFFERENT every day into the mix--often totally unrelated to the previous lesson. A problem taught in lesson 23 will be repeated in the rest of the lessons in the text--but by lesson 50 that problem as MORPHED into something 'related to' what was taught in lesson 23--but things have changed enough that if a student has difficulty they will NOT be able to go back to lesson 23 (like the little number says) for help--the lesson was too basic... In the end the majority of the problems in the text will be COMBINATION of concepts and the student will not have a clear-worked out example to go back to.

 

Because of this it is possible for a student to make good 'grades' on their homework and then suddenly BOMB a test-- or a problem set. By consistently missing 1-2 problems in each homework assignment, missed concepts tend to SNOWBALL and soon the student is STUCK to the point that the only way to fix the problem is to go back and re-work most of the book...

 

This is UNNECESSARY frustration. A student in this situation would be better off served by a traditional text that camped out on similar concepts for a while--then moved on --BUILDING on those well-practiced concepts and adding to them.

 

I like Saxon--I taugth the high school levels when my girls were little--my girls used Saxon until the middle of 8/7--when the SNOWBALL happened to my oldest daughter... no matter how much "I" liked Saxon--it was NOT working for her... when I switched her to a more traditional program (I chose Lial's Basic College Math) it was like a breath of fresh air and she started making progress again!!!

 

It is not that one program is better than another--it is HOW that program is used vs the learning style of the student. I teach from traditional texts with my online classes because I can adjust the difficulty of a traditional lesson easier than a student can adjust their learning style to spiral/incremental learning."

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The only thing I have to compare to is the TT she is using now. She doesn't mind TT but I can't continue to afford it. She is very visual so I was thinking of using the Art Reed videos with it. I just hate to spend half a year and find out Saxon won't work. I don't want to create any gaps. My other thought was LOF but I don't know if that is complete on its own.

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I hate it with a fiery passion.

 

(oldest dd - now 21 - was using that in the charter school she was in before we took her out of school in 4th grade. We got it and figured we would just continue with it. I hated it. She hated it. Dh hated it for us, too.;) )

 

We have used lots of Math programs over the years. Never even considered going back to Saxon for the other children.

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I used to dislike Saxon, but now I love it. I changed my opinion after actually working my way through Saxon Alg. 1 and 2, and now I'm in Advanced Math.

 

The books don't make good reference books, because the concepts are not in order and easy to find, if you're looking up a particular type of problem or progression. I can see how this would be annoying for a teacher or tutor.

 

But, if you actually work through the book yourself, you will learn, and it doesn't seem disjointed. I hated certain word problems, and they came up every day or every other day, so finally I just had to work to figure them out. Saxon didn't let me ignore weak spots or problems types I disliked. Its constant review made me really understand certain concepts and progressions. Now the format doesn't bother me at all. I'm a convert.

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I started with Saxon, got talked into switching, and then went back to it.

 

Now that I'm self-educating I'm using Saxon. I bought a copy of Algebra 1 for a friend who was tutored and rushed through Calculus 2, and never understood what she was doing.

 

She is on the phone several times a day with a friend of ours who is a retired CC science professor discussing problem after problem after problem and they are just both THRILLED with the book, thinking I'm a genius for giving it to them.

 

Robinson curriculum people are the experts on teaching how to tweak a Saxon book if any problems come up. Often all people need to do is tweak, not quit.

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Saxon is excellent. I've used it with two kids.

 

Older DD did 6/5, 7/6, & 8/7. She did end up using other texts for high school because we got them free from our co-op. But I definately feel that Saxon prepared her very, very well for advanced math. She went on to get an A in college algebra her senior year of high school at the local CC.

 

DD9 has finished 5/4 and 6/5 and is now in 7/6. I wouldn't use any other program for elementary/ junior high. We'll use it through Algebra 1 with her. This is how I use it. We do every lesson and all lesson practice problems. We do all the problems in every OTHER mixed practice. In other words, she'll do all of mixed practice 20, then all of mixed practice 22, etc. We do every other Warm Up and we do a Facts Practice every other day. Doing every single problem that Saxon provides is unnessecary for a kid who's good at math. It's like beating a dead horse. If you get it, you get it.

 

It is VERY easy to monitor the types if problems your child gets wrong and review those concepts because every problem is labeled with a lesson number. My daughter corrects every single problem daily. There are no missed concepts this way. If she gets it wrong, we figure out why and make sure she understands it - DAILY. If needed, there are additional practice problems for most lessons. (We have never used them, but they are there.) She gets A's on most tests; rarely, a B.

 

I know there are a lot of people who hate Saxon and that is fine for them. For the life of me, I don't get it. I think it's a very successfull, proven program and easy to use and understand. Oh well...everybody's different. For full disclosure, both my girls are excellent in math and concepts come easy for them. I am also very good at math and have no problem teaching it or keeping up with what they are studying. I don't have any idea how Saxon would seem to someone who struggles with math. I do know that once completing 5/4 through 8/7, a child will have the basics of arithmatic, fractions, decimals and percents down pat!

 

Edited to add: I want to make sure you know too, that my girls had/ have no problems with Saxon. No tears. They don't hate it. We all have enjoyed it just fine.

Edited by katemary63
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My take is that with Saxon, your kid will definitely learn the information. They just may be miserable while doing it. My DD used it in 5th and tears were a daily occurance.

 

This is my son. My dd is fine w/it. I keep doing it w/my son b/c he's clearly learning from it. We use the Art Reed dvds and Saxon Teacher. Art Reed says you can call him any time if you get stuck. We haven't yet. I'm always tempted to switch, but haven't yet. We do LOF over the summer.

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I know there are a lot of people who hate Saxon and that is fine for them. For the life of me, I don't get it. I think it's a very successfull, proven program and easy to use and understand. Oh well...everybody's different. For full disclosure, both my girls are excellent in math and concepts come easy for them. I am also very good at math and have no problem teaching it or keeping up with what they are studying. I don't have any idea how Saxon would seem to someone who struggles with math. I do know that once completing 5/4 through 8/7, a child will have the basics of arithmatic, fractions, decimals and percents down pat!

 

Edited to add: I want to make sure you know too, that my girls had/ have no problems with Saxon. No tears. They don't hate it. We all have enjoyed it just fine.

 

:iagree: My dc range from a child who struggles with math to a child who excells at math. All of them are doing well with Saxon. No Saxon tears in this house! :D

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I think many children who cry are placed too high, and/or are completing more problems a day than they can handle. The way the lessons are laid out, it's easy for a parent to expect a child to be on grade level, who isn't ready to be on grade level.

 

Many students can handle being introduced to problems they are not ready to master. So at first switching to a program that introduces on grade level topics but doesn't expect mastery will relieve the tears. But without mastery, a new problem will be reached the next year, of the student not even being able to be introduced to on grade level topics.

 

Some families need to set a goal of students only completing Algebra 1/2 or Algebra 1 by graduation. There are Junior Colleges using Saxon Algebra 1/2 and 1 in their remedial classes instead of texts with the names "Basic College Mathematics" and "Beginning Algebra for College Students".

 

Saxon is integrated, so geometry and statistics and even a little trig are included in in the early algebra texts, so a student who does not complete high school math gets a taste of the subjects usually reserved for older students.

 

A student who completes Saxon Algebra 2 is fully prepared for CC freshman math and most sciences and will often get by with just having finished Algebra 1.

 

The biggest Saxon mistake many parents make is placing the child too high and expecting them to progress too quickly. As I said Robinson people have learned how to tweak and pace the curriculum to match the students. Yes a LOT of students do best, just working through the program lesson by lesson as written, but the books don't need to be used that way.

 

And yes, many tutors hate the books and give them a bad review, because they are harder for an unprepared teacher to use, who hasn't mastered the material. She can not quickly review before teaching a lesson. I had this happen with my son during calculus.

 

One of the people we sought help from was not honest about this, and the other bought the book and used it himself. The one who bought the book was a physicist who had retired early after doing something sucessful and selling the patent :-0 He said that any book that pointed out his deficiencies and then systematically fixed them was a good book.

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:iagree: My dc range from a child who struggles with math to a child who excells at math. All of them are doing well with Saxon. No Saxon tears in this house! :D

 

:iagree:

 

Saxon is all we've ever used. I currently have children in 8/7, 7/6, 5/4, 3, & 1. They all are doing well with Saxon, and we have no tears. It's not their favorite thing to do, and lessons do take a while (60-75 minutes for my older 2), but they don't complain because they realize they are learning the material. Math has always been their highest score on the ITBS, and they can apply what they've learned outside the book.

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I agree with Hunter. Placement with Saxon is key. It took our daughter a long time to get rolling with Saxon, and we had to do some tweaking, but she's doing great with it now. I am working Saxon as well and love it. My late middle-aged brain needs the constant review in Saxon. Btw, this is our third student through Saxon. It has worked with all of our children -- math and non-mathy.

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I am glad to hear this! I have looked through the book and it looks very good. Dd10 gets math pretty easy so I am hoping this will fly for her. She placed into 7/6 on her placement test so I feel we will be starting with the right level. She is not crazy about it especially coming from TT. I am curious as far as the amount of problems do most of you do all the problems in one lesson or do you split them over two days? Is there anywhere that will give me an idea of a schedule to teach to? Thanks! Oh, and if anyone has the answer key for 7/6 for sale please let me know. Thanks!!

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Hate it. I taught it last year to a group of students, because I had no choice in the curriculum. I cannot stand the way things are explained or the incremental approach. I had to work really hard to combine lessons, bring in extra resources, etc. I've never had to do that with other programs I've used/taught.

 

I guess the only good thing I'd say aobut it is that it is self-teaching. If a parent needs a child to do math totally independently, it is truly set up that way, which is better than buying a program intended to be taught and trying to use half of it.

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I really hate it. My oldest used it for a few years, then we found Singapore and we will never go back.

 

We had a problem keeping my oldest, who is very mathy, challenged with Saxon and he was having to use the books years ahead of schedule.

 

That said, my husband, who is an artist, used Saxon through highschool and has a fine grasp of mathematics... but it isn't his field. Ds will probably go into a math/science field.

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I love it. We started at 5/4. My dd10 is in 7/6 now. She has turned from hating math to loving it. She loves that the instruction is all in the book. The small incrments make it always seem easy for her.

 

We switched to it finally after my brother a highschool math teacher recommended it for us because of the trouble we were having. I plan to switch my younger to Saxon when she's ready for 5/4 also.

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We like it. We had years of tears with Singapore and finally dropped it. I did initially place my 5th grader too high (in 7/6 because she was so close and it looked like so much was review from 6/5). After seeing her first 8 tests seesaw, but in a steady downward trend, I emailed Mr. Reed and he called back quickly with some suggestions. Now we are testing and explaining our way through 6/5 to find where to start full lessons and things are going much better. I am planning to get his dvds when we start back into 7/6.

 

Even with dropping back a level and all the problems, my daughter still vastly prefers Saxon to Singapore.

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I've used Saxon levels 2-8/7. I've also used MUS Beta-Zeta, Singapore EB-5B, and RightStart B. As for upper level math, I've used Thinkwell Prealgebra, Jacobs Algebra, VideoText Algebra, Jacobs Geometry (2nd and 3rd editions), TT Geometry, Foerster's Algebra II, and Lial's Intermediate Algebra. Oh yeah, and ALEKS. Whew! (And yikes!)

 

Anyway, Saxon has some major strengths--most notably the systematic, daily review. It also presents concepts well, many times in exactly the same way as the more conceptual programs do. Saxon is a natural choice for a kid who needs lots of review.

 

Saxon's major strength is also its weakness. All that review has some downsides. For one, the sheer number of problems freaks some kids out. Also the repetitiveness of it all makes some kids nuts. It can also cause a more sinister issue, sinister in that the parent won't know it's happening until it's too late. All that review can mask a lack of conceptual understanding. Through the daily review, a kid can learn to do the problems by rote and can score well on the assessments, but if the kid lacks a solid conceptual understanding, he/she will tend to forget how to do things that stop being reviewed and worse, will not be able to do problems that require the ability to flexibly apply the concepts they've supposedly learned. Another problem with Saxon for some kids is the incremental presentation, which can make it difficult to see the big picture, that is, overarching concepts.

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I've used it with 6 of my dc so far. My oldest transitioned well into college math through dual-enrollment after completing Saxon Alg. II. I use supplment with lots of manipulatives, games, living math books, and other math. For example, my dc have used a Cuisenaire rod book to nail down fractions after completing Saxon 5/4 and we've used Life of Fred geometry between Saxon I and II (though Saxon incorporates geometry).

 

Lisa

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I used Saxon K and 1 with my oldest and swore off Saxon for years. She didn't like it at all. A couple months ago I wound up getting Saxon 6/5 for my 10 year old and it's going well this time around. My dd needs something with a lot of practice and review. Saxon has both.

 

My son picks up math concepts very easily and I doubt I will use Saxon with him. He doesn't need a lot of review like some of my girls do.

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I hate it with a fiery passion.

 

(oldest dd - now 21 - was using that in the charter school she was in before we took her out of school in 4th grade. We got it and figured we would just continue with it. I hated it. She hated it. Dh hated it for us, too.;) )

 

We have used lots of Math programs over the years. Never even considered going back to Saxon for the other children.

I LOVE it with a fiery passion! LOL

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I feel that Saxon is for an advanced student. Saxon is hard for the parent if you don't know the material so get the teaching CDs if needed. My son is dyslexic, so we do Math U See of the math to be taught in the summer then Saxon during the school year. The Math U See gives a basic understanding and the Saxon gives challenging problems that helps connect the learning. Saxon can be a confusing program but it builds up to the next level. It has lots of repetition in which I like but my son hates. Now that he is in Geometry I'm glad that he has the repetition. Saxon goes back to make sure that remember concepts from early learning. For example, my son in Geometry may have a problem working with fractions just to see if you remember it.

 

Thanks,

Dyslexic Mom

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I did Saxon through my jr. high and high school years and I will say I almost died of boredom. :) I won't put my kids through that. Though some people like it. Just please don't be afraid to abandon it if your child doesn't "fit" with the program.

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Hate it. I taught it last year to a group of students, because I had no choice in the curriculum. I cannot stand the way things are explained or the incremental approach. I had to work really hard to combine lessons, bring in extra resources, etc. I've never had to do that with other programs I've used/taught.

And yet thousands of classroom teachers--and probably that many homeschoolers--happily teach Saxon just the way it is, without combining lessons (I don't even know what that might look like:001_huh:) or having to bring in extra resources, and their students excell in math.

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And yet thousands of classroom teachers--and probably that many homeschoolers--happily teach Saxon just the way it is, without combining lessons (I don't even know what that might look like:001_huh:) or having to bring in extra resources, and their students excell in math.

 

I'm sure they do, but the OP asked for our honest opinion, so I gave it. :001_smile:

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And yet thousands of classroom teachers--and probably that many homeschoolers--happily teach Saxon just the way it is, without combining lessons (I don't even know what that might look like:001_huh:) or having to bring in extra resources, and their students excell in math.

 

Are you annoyed with her for not liking Saxon? :) People learn differently. And if Saxon doesn't speak to the way you learn, it must be very hard to teach the material in the way.

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We are using Saxon again here after a several years hiatus to MUS and Singapore. I'm not saying that they *love* it but I don't really care. :) My older kids that used Saxon in their younger years (up to 6/5) know their math much better than their siblings that did several elementary years of Singapore and MUS and because of that we are done switching . . . I'll tweak to learning styles as best I can, but Saxon is the basis of our math because I know that it does the job.

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If your daughter is strong at math, Saxon might be too repetitive and overly through to keep her interest. Singapore moves faster and you can skip if she is getting things.

 

My DD9 is strong in math. We skip and reduce the number of problems with Saxon. I don't see why what you said wouldn't apply to Saxon also.

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I did Saxon through my jr. high and high school years and I will say I almost died of boredom. :) I won't put my kids through that. Though some people like it. Just please don't be afraid to abandon it if your child doesn't "fit" with the program.

 

You should have just done less problems. Like I said, if you get it, you get it. No need to beat a dead horse. Saxon provides the problems needed to help the material sink in for all students. But mathy types just don't need to do that many. We never do. We only do 50% of the problems by skipping ever other mixed practice, warm up and facts practice. We do all lessons and most lesson practices unless it's an early review lesson and it's obvious she doesn't need it. We often do two lessons a day if the concepts are "duh" to DD. It takes 5 minutes.

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I'm ditching Saxon for my 1st and remediating my 4th grader who did Saxon 3 last year at school, but will return to it when they are older. My oldest is doing Alg. 1/2 w/ DIVE and doesn't *love* it, but it's getting done and he understands it.

 

I just do not like it for elementary at all.

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We used Saxon from K on, and then tried a couple of other math programs last year and lat fall. We are solidly back with Saxon now and will stick with it (although I may add in some LOF for my ds soon).

 

My kids like the variety of problems every day. I like the constant review of concepts. Both my kids show a strong understanding of math. I do think that the upper levels (5/4 and up) are stronger than the lower levels, but working through the lower levels does prep a student well for the upper levels.

 

Over the years, I have heard the complaints that it is a) not colorful enough in the lower grades, and b) too repetative. My solutions to this are to allow my children to use crayons and colored pencils, and to skip problems when practical.

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My nephew's GT class uses Saxon. They scored very well in Math Counts this year.

 

We just began adding in Saxon with my oldest DD. She worked through mastery based programs after coming out of PS and has forgotten all those older concepts. It is to early to say to much but for now she likes the program, we don't have tears or fights about doing math, it doesn't take her hours like others have mentioned, it actually takes less time than the traditional program did. We were conservative on her placement and I think that helps and is working to rebuilt her confidence in her ability to do math. She will continue with 15-20 minutes a day from a mastery program so I am sure she understands the larger picture and not just how to plug in numbers.

 

I was always told mastery was the way to go with my oldest because she was always labeled advanced in math. I had written off Saxon without even looking at it with all the scathing reviews it tends to get on the boards. Everyone learns differently. Asian math isn't the answer for everyone. Combinations of approaches can work well.

 

I am considering Saxon Intermediate 3 (Hake) for my younger DD's when the homeschool version is released in March because I will continue to use two programs with them, one mastery and something with review.

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Disclaimer: I like curricula. I would probably be content with just about any math program as long as my kids progressed.

 

We started with Saxon and we'll probably end with Saxon. Some days are looong days, but that is 90% due to the attitude of the kids doing the work (in my house).

 

Dd7 is in Saxon 5/4. She occasionally needs help with a problem, but she does most of the work herself. I haven't noticed major problems with not retaining skills. Occasionally, I will notice a pattern of missed problems, and I will work with her on that skill. For example, when she was doing Saxon 1, she consistently confused 12 and 20. So we worked on that. A few months later she had trouble putting numbers in the correct order from least to greatest, so we worked on that. I do plan to add in LoF to finish off the year before we start Saxon 6/5. It isn't that I have a problem with Saxon, I just want to slow down a bit.

 

Ds6 is in Saxon 2. So far he is doing very well. I confess I rarely actually do the lessons with him. The incremental approach seems to be enough for him to grasp the concepts. He is naturally into patterns, though, so I wouldn't really recommend that approach.

 

I'm fine with Saxon. I don't LOVE it, but it works. I think I would be equally happy with many programs, though.

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TT IS kind of expensive, but with some patience you can usually find it used. I know, even still, it's still kind of expensive- but it seems to hold its resale value very well so you can get most of your money back.

 

5th grade (this year) was the first year we were "supposed" to start using Saxon. But I took one look at it, and knew that I (I am not mathy) AND my daughter (who is also not what I'd call overly mathy) would HATE it.

 

I thought my eyes were going to start bleeding just looking at the first lesson in Saxon 5/4 :D It seemed SO dull and overly technical and time consuming and boring. I knew I'd struggle to explain things to her and she'd struggle to understand them and we'd both hate "doing math." I just knew it. I promptly turned around and resold it.

 

We went with TT5 instead. And it's been WONDERFUL. My daughter actually LIKES and LOOKS FORWARD to doing math. She actually GETS it- the computer and the animated buddies makes it fun, the friendly tutor who never loses patience or stumbles over how to explain a concept is easy for her to understand, she's not drowned in busywork but each week always reviews material previously covered in addition to learning new things, so it's constant review and not being inundated with all new material at once... it really, really seems to be working for us. And it is SO convenient for me, not having to sit down and "teach" the math- I can just keep an eye on things but don't have to cover it all myself which is great. It even keeps the grades for her and whatnot- we will definitely be sticking with TT over here, I couldn't even imagine going from TT to Saxon and not being miserable in the process, especially if either or both of you are not mathy to begin with.

 

P.S. I know some people say TT is "behind" other math curricula but I don't even care. She GETS it (did I say that already?) She LIKES doing it (did I say THAT already? lol) and most important of all: because she is successful with it, she no longer has an "I'm bad at math, math is too hard" attitude which is HUGE...I know from personal experience that an attitude like that can follow you for the rest of your life). So personally I would say if there is any way at all you can continue to swing the cost of TT...I would say, do so!

Edited by NanceXToo
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We've used Saxon with one from Saxon 1 up and the other from Saxon 3 up. When they both hit about 5th grade and were in 6/5 and the beginning of 7/6 they both squirmed, scores went down, etc. And then they both picked right back up. I think it may be an age/development issue. We are now using the Saxon Teacher DVDs and my older child is loving it a zooming along-scores have really gone up. I plan on using them after Saxon 3 with our youngest when the time comes.

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Love it. My ds needs the incremental approach. I will definitely stick with it thorugh middle school. I like that if there are issues I can look into getting the teaching dvds or dive cds when we get there. We started with Saxon 3 and it took some time to transition to 5/4 but he's doing well now minus the dawdling (we're working on that). We had tears from MUS before starting saxon because it was too repetitive, however the mixed practice in saxon gives a variety of problems to complete each day.

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We tried TT with my son...he doesn't like the animated buddies...in his words, "they're babyish." :001_huh:

 

I like the presentation/lecture, the layout, the step-by-step solutions (if you need them -- we have not), BUT that's where it ends for us.

 

One thing I am concerned about is that the TT CDs could lead students toward laziness. (not having to copy the problem, set it up, etc.) The work is all done for them...just a thought. ;)

 

That's not an issue for us being as the work gets done on paper first and only then entered into the computer program to be checked. And I do mean on paper- we do not write in the book itself because it will be eventually reused for my son and then resold. I haven't noticed my daughter becoming suddenly lazy since starting TT so I think we are fine ;)

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