Jump to content

Menu

Saxon not working for my Mathmatically Gifted Child


Recommended Posts

We are using Saxon with our son who gets math naturally and masters new concepts quickly.  We are using Saxon but the repetition and seemingly slow pace seems to not be working for him, it almost feels like it is holding him back. I am wondering if there is some future benefit of the repetition and drills that make it worthwhile?  I also am not sure what approach would work for him, since it seems like it may be a general problem that he is introduced to a new topic and is able to master it sooner then the curriculum moves on from it (and this seems even harder to get around with Saxon, when I try to go ahead I  cannot really find a good start point).  He loves word problems also, but Saxon right now is only putting them in the context of the calendar which he will do, but really does not enjoy.  Any advice? 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Move to Singapore Math. (Only slightly kidding...).

 

I'd drop the drill and review if you're feeling it unnecessary.

 

Could you give unit tests or review and see what he DOESN'T know before working through the unit? That way you can skip things that he does know.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you recommend the teacher's guide with Singapore? There seems to be no unit tests that I can find in Saxon.  I just don't know how to approach math with him or where to place him, since he can do a lot of it naturally but still needs tools to handle more complicated problems.  Once he gets a concept, he can apply it to more complicated scenarios quickly. But again, I am unsure if the spiral approach to Saxon builds some future foundation and so there is a benefit to having him continue to do the work.  Saxon was high recommended to me, but I am just not seeing it right now.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

My oldest kiddos and nephew used Saxon in school, so I'm pretty familiar with it. For most gifted kiddos, Saxon is too fragmented. Often (not always) they need to see the big picture. What grade level are you working at? Singapore really is an excellent option. Math Mammoth is also good depending on how many other kiddos you have (reprinting for them), and depending on how fast your kiddo needs to move (a highly gifted kiddo would find MM tedious).

 

There are lots of other options as well, but for the long haul, Singapore is a great place to start.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've pretty much only used Saxon for Pre-algebra.  Otherwise we use Singapore.  I like reinforcing and drilling right before algebra to make sure everything is solid computationally.  Singapore doesn't do a lot of drill and sometimes concepts can be missed bc you thought they understood it...they did in the moment...but 6 months later they have no clue what you are asking.  Especially 4A - that seems to be a sticking point for all my kids. 

 

But my kids don't hate Saxon.  In fact I have one that kind of likes it (ds11 currently 3/4 through pre-algebra).  I also have begun telling him to spend 1 hour on math and to choose the problems he thinks he needs to do.  He only does about 1/2 the problems at this point.  I know the Saxon people would have a fit.  They say do EVERY problem.  I am trying to teach my son to take responsibility for his education though AND he can't get a lesson and 30 problems done in an hour, which means he would be unnecessarily slowed down in his progress since he does fine on the tests.  If he is lazy and skips the difficult problems, it will show on the test and he will see the value of hard work.  Knowing when you need to study harder is an important skill.  So far so good and I praise him for it.

 

Brownie

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Saxon people told me not to skip either, and we haven't been yet.  The issue Saxon seems to introduce something lightly and do much repetition lesson after lesson just on the surface and it seems unchallenging, especially as he often goes into the lesson understanding the concept already, and can skip count with ease so the constant practice just seems tiring.  He does it because he enjoys math, but it is not challenging him and he has mentioned it is too easy.  I think he would benefit from a program that takes a concept and applies it more complexly before moving on, and then revisits it. And at the same time, does some drill on math facts and multiplication tables just to be sure this work can be done with ease as problems get more complex.  Saxon seems to do the drill and repetition a lot, but does not seem to make the concept more complex so they can learn how to apply it more difficultly. From what it sounds like Singapore may do this? Does anyone know if it also does focus on some drill and memorization for ease of answering problems ?  What about Math Mammoth?  It seems like MM does mastery and uses memorization also....but I can't really tell....so confused! 

Link to post
Share on other sites

SAxons repetition is important for the kinds of kids who learn that way.  Kids who learn the way your son learns will not be missing anything by skipping it.

 

You dont say how old your child is.  Singapore is considered the strongest math curriculum, except for the newcomer, beast academy.  But beast academy only has grade 3 out so far, and some of grade 4, it seems to be taking them more than a year to publish a full year of curriculum, and its costly.  Plus the 'textbook' is in comic book format, which some people cant stand.  But the workbook problems are fantastic - challenging, pushing these intuitive kids to have to think much harder.  Beat academy turns in to Art of Problem Solving at the pre-algebra level (tho some say the pre-algebra book is harder than the algebra book)

 

If you go with singapore, there is also singapore challenging word problems to supplement.  The teachers manual is not usually necessary if you are comfortable with math enough to help your kid if they should get stuck.  it is important if you need help teaching - but it sounds like your kids wont need much teaching.  

 

Another option is Life of Fred - which some see as supplement and some see as enough math for gifted kids.  I've only used it starting with the fractions book.

Link to post
Share on other sites

SAxons repetition is important for the kinds of kids who learn that way.  Kids who learn the way your son learns will not be missing anything by skipping it.

 

You dont say how old your child is.  Singapore is considered the strongest math curriculum, except for the newcomer, beast academy.  But beast academy only has grade 3 out so far, and some of grade 4, it seems to be taking them more than a year to publish a full year of curriculum, and its costly.  Plus the 'textbook' is in comic book format, which some people cant stand.  But the workbook problems are fantastic - challenging, pushing these intuitive kids to have to think much harder.  Beat academy turns in to Art of Problem Solving at the pre-algebra level (tho some say the pre-algebra book is harder than the algebra book)

 

If you go with singapore, there is also singapore challenging word problems to supplement.  The teachers manual is not usually necessary if you are comfortable with math enough to help your kid if they should get stuck.  it is important if you need help teaching - but it sounds like your kids wont need much teaching.  

 

Another option is Life of Fred - which some see as supplement and some see as enough math for gifted kids.  I've only used it starting with the fractions book.

Thanks!  That Beast Academy sounds right up my Son's alley!  He is a 7 and I have him in Saxon 3 at the moment.  Also Singapore sounds good.  The thing I like about Saxon, is some of the drill work and timed tests,  it seems that  doing this with ease will free them up to move more smoothly as problems get harder.  But my son actually started off doing the timed tests with ease anyway, he usually gets past the goal of a certain amount of problems in x amount of time, and does the whole thing. But he enjoys the timed tests.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We had two mathematically gifted children with different characteristics.  One had a steel trap memory while the other caught on quickly and forgot as quickly.  The first was taught algebra at home from Jacobs Elementary Algebra and benefited enormously.  The second was taught at school from Saxon and may have benefited in retention from the repetition, but found it dull.  Both scored very high on SAT math tests.

 

The first became a math major in college, the second dropped out of math in college.  Unless a child has retention issues, I would tend not to encourage use of Saxon materials in the case of mathematically gifted kids, due to what I perceive as lack of creative stimulation, understanding and depth.  Indeed some scholarly studies I have read show that even the claims made for increased standardized tests scores and increased math interest by the publishers of Saxon are unjustified.

 

To me, Jacobs excels in creativity, challenge, and the element of fun, combined with solid mathematical content.  For profoundly gifted kids, the classics such as Euclid and Euler may be worth a try for geometry and algebra.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We had two mathematically gifted children with different characteristics.  One had a steel trap memory while the other caught on quickly and forgot as quickly.  The first was taught algebra at home from Jacobs Elementary Algebra and benefited enormously.  The second was taught at school from Saxon and may have benefited in retention from the repetition, but found it dull.  Both scored very high on SAT math tests.

 

The first became a math major in college, the second dropped out of math in college.  Unless a child has retention issues, I would tend not to encourage use of Saxon materials in the case of mathematically gifted kids, due to what I perceive as lack of creative stimulation, understanding and depth.  Indeed some scholarly studies I have read show that even the claims made for increased standardized tests scores and increased math interest by the publishers of Saxon are unjustified.

 

To me, Jacobs excels in creativity, challenge, and the element of fun, combined with solid mathematical content.  For profoundly gifted kids, the classics such as Euclid and Euler may be worth a try for geometry and algebra.

He doesn't seem to forget, he seems to go into the lessons getting the concept before the lesson.  He has been doing math in his head since he was young, I remember at the age of 4 and I was giving him stars worth 25 cents, he would know how many more he needed to get to 20 dollars, ect.  I did not do any instruction with him in math at the time, he just seemed to naturally know how to use mathematical concepts.  But, like in the case of regrouping, he needed formal instruction of the concept and how to apply it because doing long math problems in his head was not ideal.  So this is where I don't want to skip too much and leave gaps, and give him enough practice and repetition to solidify it.  So difficult to know how to approach this!  Looked into Jacobs but it seems to start at grade 9? 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Our older child started jacobs algebra at about age 11 or 12 and did it easily.  the younger one was capable of doing the jacobs geometry at age 8 when we briefly experimented,  but we resisted because the older one had objected to being taught extra math at home in addition to school.  7 years later, when the younger one finally got to geometry in school, I regretted not introducing him to jacobs earlier at home, since by then his school had switched to saxon.

 

 

I believe there is no particular age or grade at which a child can handle a certain topic, if he/she is interested and it is introduced with words and terms he/she can understand.  E.g. not every child should have to wait until age 15 to contemplate a circle, or a triangle, or an icosahedron for that matter.  A very young child may appreciate, by playing with straws, that a triangle is rigid but a 4 sided plane figure is not, whereas all convex solids are rigid, no matter how many faces they have.  i.e. you can squash a square made of straws but not a triangle (this is called the side -side -side congruence theorem), but you can't squash either a tetrahedron or a cube.

 

It is true that today many geometry books, including jacobs, assume a child already knows about real numbers, and base geometry on measurement.  Although I like Jacobs' book, I find this approach somewhat artificial.  In particular it departs totally from Euclid's original naive treatment which assumes only a knowledge of adding and subtracting integers, barely even that.  Euclid does everything using only the simplest notions, such as comparing two things to see which is greater.

 

Jacobs' approach to algebra is also very elementary and intuitive, using empty boxes to represent unknown numbers.  thus again essentially one only needs to know about adding and subtracting and multiplying.

 

my apologies as this is fast becoming another one of my pointy headed professor soapbox speeches.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Our older child started jacobs algebra at about age 11 or 12 and did it easily.  the younger one was capable of doing the jacobs geometry at age 8 when we briefly experimented,  but we resisted because the older one had objected to being taught extra math at home in addition to school.  7 years later, when the younger one finally got to geometry in school, I regretted not introducing him to jacobs earlier at home, since by then his school had switched to saxon.

 

 

I believe there is no particular age or grade at which a child can handle a certain topic, if he/she is interested and it is introduced with words and terms he/she can understand.  E.g. not every child should have to wait until age 15 to contemplate a circle, or a triangle, or an icosahedron for that matter.  A very young child may appreciate, by playing with straws, that a triangle is rigid but a 4 sided plane figure is not, whereas all convex solids are rigid, no matter how many faces they have.  i.e. you can squash a square made of straws but not a triangle (this is called the side -side -side congruence theorem), but you can't squash either a tetrahedron or a cube.

 

It is true that today many geometry books, including jacobs, assume a child already knows about real numbers, and base geometry on measurement.  Although I like Jacobs' book, I find this approach somewhat artificial.  In particular it departs totally from Euclid's original naive treatment which assumes only a knowledge of adding and subtracting integers, barely even that.  Euclid does everything using only the simplest notions, such as comparing two things to see which is greater.

 

Jacobs' approach to algebra is also very elementary and intuitive, using empty boxes to represent unknown numbers.  thus again essentially one only needs to know about adding and subtracting and multiplying.

 

my apologies as this is fast becoming another one of my pointy headed professor soapbox speeches.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Our older child started jacobs algebra at about age 11 or 12 and did it easily.  the younger one was capable of doing the jacobs geometry at age 8 when we briefly experimented,  but we resisted because the older one had objected to being taught extra math at home in addition to school.  7 years later, when the younger one finally got to geometry in school, I regretted not introducing him to jacobs earlier at home, since by then his school had switched to saxon.

 

 

I believe there is no particular age or grade at which a child can handle a certain topic, if he/she is interested and it is introduced with words and terms he/she can understand.  E.g. not every child should have to wait until age 15 to contemplate a circle, or a triangle, or an icosahedron for that matter.  A very young child may appreciate, by playing with straws, that a triangle is rigid but a 4 sided plane figure is not, whereas all convex solids are rigid, no matter how many faces they have.  i.e. you can squash a square made of straws but not a triangle (this is called the side -side -side congruence theorem), but you can't squash either a tetrahedron or a cube.

 

It is true that today many geometry books, including jacobs, assume a child already knows about real numbers, and base geometry on measurement.  Although I like Jacobs' book, I find this approach somewhat artificial.  In particular it departs totally from Euclid's original naive treatment which assumes only a knowledge of adding and subtracting integers, barely even that.  Euclid does everything using only the simplest notions, such as comparing two things to see which is greater.

 

Jacobs' approach to algebra is also very elementary and intuitive, using empty boxes to represent unknown numbers.  thus again essentially one only needs to know about adding and subtracting and multiplying.

 

my apologies as this is fast becoming another one of my pointy headed professor soapbox speeches.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, I can always make it available for him if he is ready, although I am thinking it may be to hard for him.  The other issue is that he just came out of the school system, so he is used to floating by with little effort and getting a 100%.  So sometimes it is just a motivational or perfectionist thing, that with a challenge comes more work and errors.   I don't want to overdue it of course, but I would like to see him being challenged.  He had asked for it all year last year in school (even writing it on the top of his work), but then he stopped and was content to coast along easily after the harder work came with 10 rules to complete before he was allowed to work in the "challenge" folder.  :? rr.

Link to post
Share on other sites

you have a real challenge.  what to do for a kid who has been so successful that he thinks everything should be easy?

 

hats off to you in this situation.  this was my own problem and it threw me for a loop in college after being a star in high school.

 

somehow we need to remind our kids that real science means facing hard challenges and grappling with problem that are hard for us,  i.e. the point is not to breeze through every curriculum, but to challenge ourselves until we find the one that is hard for us.

 

real character is built by finding our own challenge and facing it.  good luck and god speed.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

We love, love, love Singapore. I actually have a math anxious son (2e) who has trouble with memorizing math facts (drill never, ever worked). However, his conceptual understanding of math is excellent, and so are his problem solving skills. You can find many, many ways to do timed drills if your son likes them, regardless of the program you use. You can even generate and print sheets free custom worksheets for drill from the web if you do a search. For Singapore, we use the textbook to present a topic, then move quickly to the Intensive Practice. I hope to introduce the Challenging Word Problems for review. The nice thing about the different books is that they explore topics at different levels and points of view, and you can delay incorporating them to use them as review, or you can use them as primary teaching if your child catches on fast. We have the home instructor's guide if we get stuck. I also refer to Elementary Mathematics for Teachers (http://www.christianbook.com/singapore-elementary-mathematics-for-teachers/9780974814001/pd/814008?dv=c&en=google-pla&kw=homeschool-20-40&p=1167941&gclid=CLOWnvCppLoCFek7Mgod4gMAAg). It's a very easy program to accelerate if you want to do so. Even without the drill and spiral review, my son seems to retain a lot. His math program in school had lots of drill and repetition, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

 

You'll want to do the placement test for Singapore if you choose to go that route. My son was borderline on which level to start with when I pulled him out of school. We chose to move forward (the few things he missed were easily taught), and it was a great fit.

Link to post
Share on other sites

How about something like Hands On Equations or Balance Benders and Balance Math from Critical Thinking  while taking a break from regular math.  

 

Then how about either Singapore or Beast, or something that can be accelerated very easily like MUS, and get to the more interesting parts of math asap while not leaving out regular arithmetic?  Or even a book meant to review all of math such as a Barrons Arithmetic book and then moving on to algebra, geometry, etc.?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I would get out of Saxon. The repetition for many gifted and math-intuitive children is pretty frustrating.

 

There are a couple of options. Singapore, Math Mammoth, or MEP are really conceptually strong curricula. With Math Mammoth, you can get the books by grade-level or by topic. Going by topic might be good for someone who's already had some math with a different curriculum -- you can get every single one of the blue series books as a download (print it yourself) for $105 according to her website. That way, you could skip through the book -- for example, if he can do the hard pages at the end of the multiplication book 1, he is obviously beyond the level of that book and should move to the next one, but if he finds it difficult, he should move back within the book a bit.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the Intensive Practice books with Singapore. Some of the challenge problems have been great for my son. I love that some problems have taken him a couple of days to do. He gets the experience of struggling with a problem, making progress, getting stuck, putting it away, then taking it back out again. He gets challenge.

 

We used Singapore, Standards edition (I preferred the extra topics and regular review), workbook, IP, CWP, and iExcel (now replaced by Process Skills).

After getting through level 5, my son is doing fine with the beginning algebra class I teach at the cc.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I would get out of Saxon. The repetition for many gifted and math-intuitive children is pretty frustrating.

 

There are a couple of options. Singapore, Math Mammoth, or MEP are really conceptually strong curricula. With Math Mammoth, you can get the books by grade-level or by topic. Going by topic might be good for someone who's already had some math with a different curriculum -- you can get every single one of the blue series books as a download (print it yourself) for $105 according to her website. That way, you could skip through the book -- for example, if he can do the hard pages at the end of the multiplication book 1, he is obviously beyond the level of that book and should move to the next one, but if he finds it difficult, he should move back within the book a bit.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...

Saxon 2 is the point that the curriculum became too repetitive.  We had to switch to Singapore.  We plan to try Saxon again at the Algebra stage, but we may investigate others.  Singapore has been perfect.  We use the additional workbooks for practice when needed.  We never need the textbook even though I always buy one. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...