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Saxon Author Stephen Hake on Hake Grammar and Writing Curriculum

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Hi,

 

In the past, I have posted my email exchange with Saxon Author Stephen Hake regarding his Saxon math series.  

 

I wanted to share with you his views on incremental learning and his Hake Grammar series of books.  We use this series of books with our children and they are great in my opinion.  My children love them, and are they are really retaining the concepts while applying them to their writing.  I wish I learned from books like this.

 

http://homeschoolingodyssey.wordpress.com

 

I hope you find some value in this interview. 

 

- Scott

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I bought Hake 7 and thought I would like it better than I do.

 

Do the levels before grade 7 include literary analysis vocabulary, even though it's not advertised? Some of the literary analysis vocabulary is not entry level vocabulary. Is there just assumption that literary analysis was covered with another curriculum?

 

The 1st writing lesson in the grade 4 book is about passive and active sentences. That seems quite rigorous for lesson 1 in the entry book. It's quite an assumption that the grade 3 curriculum prepared for that, and that the student mastered the material well enough to jump right into active vs passive the first week of school.

 

For a gifted student, that completed a rigorous grade 3 curriculum and didn't take a long summer break, I think this could work. I cannot imagine expecting average students to complete this independently, though. And I don't like the grade 7 book for a student that hasn't used the earlier levels.

 

I'd love to hear more about the series as a WHOLE, and how the levels build on each other, and jumping into the series cold turkey or switching from another curriculum.

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Hunter,

 

Yeah, I am not sure if there is some placement test like Saxon math uses to evaluate where a child should be placed in the series.  From looking at the 4th, 6th, and 8th grade books, they seem to cycle through the same topics but in a deeper fashion for each successive book.

 

I can only give an opinion based on my two son's experience with the 4th grade and the 6th grade books this year.  Both of them came out of a "normal" public school system this year into homeschool.  The oldest would have been in 6th grade and the youngest would have been in 4th grade.  I would rate the public school grammar, vocab, and writing education that they had up to that point as being a bit above average; nothing great.  The public schools don't focus on grammar very much.

 

We didn't see or experience any difficulty at all for the 4th grader to independently work through the 4th grade Hake book.  As a matter of fact, from our experience, my wife and I are very surprised how much he is retaining and more importantly applying to his writing.  We've seen tremendous improvement in his spelling as well.

 

Also, that first writing lesson you referred to doesn't get used until after the first 10 grammar lessons and the first test.  So technically it is around the 3rd week, that the student will see that lesson.  Not trying to nitpick.  Still, my son didn't have any problem with it.

 

Similarly, the 6th grader has had no problem starting right off in the 6th grade Hake book directly out of public school.  I believe they both are above 90% average on their cumulative test scores for the year as well.  Again, what I am most impressed about is that they are adapting their writing to what they are learning in the grammar portion.  It is really being understood enough to be utilized.

 

I have seen a relatively small number of literary analysis vocabulary words in the books that they are using, so maybe that is a focus of the 7th grade book?  Not sure.  I do love the Core Knowledge content that they use in these books as explained by Mr. Hake in his email.  The 8th great book is great with it's government content.

 

I actually purchased the 8th grade book to go through myself because I am a victim of a 1980's watered down grammar education.  I am on lesson 34 so far and find it very interesting to actually feel and experience the effects of incremental learning.  I have always struggled understanding grammar, but the incremental approach with the constant review over time helps it to really sink in.  Maybe I can be helped yet, after all these years! :)

 

Anyway, that is just the experience of one family for one year.  They are almost finished with these books and we will move on to Grammar 5 and Grammar 7 next year.

 

Warm Wishes,

 

Scott

 

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You are NOT nitpicking! That is the type of information I did not see in the sample. Maybe 3 weeks of the grammar prepares for that 1st writing lesson. That would make more sense.

 

I WANT to like this series. I'm willing to maybe work with minor weaknesses. I've just been leery to invest any more money to see if MAYBE it will work. I heard there is a big jump from 6 to 7, and that 5 and 6, and then 7 and 8 are about equal.

 

I like the imbedded Core Knowledge content too, but it's a bit tricky if the student hasn't been using Core Knowledge and hasn't yet covered the prerequisites to the material being taught in Hake. I think the literary analysis is Core Knowledge content rather than incremental skills taught by the curriculum.

 

For placement, Hake says 7th graders that are reading at 7th grade level and have no previous grammar experience can do grade 7. I just don't agree. I'm thinking maybe grade 6 would be a better entry text for students with a very weak grammar and literary analysis background, not matter what their reading level.

 

I have no trouble completing grade 7 for my own self-education, but I've covered much of that content with Cozy Grammar.

 

I don't want to be agreed with. I want to learn as much about the series as I can, before I decide to give up on it or invest more money into it.

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I really appreciated you posting this and I want to go back and read the other articles.  I am convinced that the Larson/Hake/Saxon/Simmons programs (this includes math, phonics, and grammar/writing books plus Nancy Larson Science) are the way to go from here on out.  I picked up the phonics K book that I dropped earlier this year to try to do a more natural way of learning to read.  We stopped the book somewhere around lesson 24 I think and what I had covered with her in the mean time the whole rest of the year would have brought us up to maybe lesson 42.  If I had stuck with Saxon Phonics we would most likely be close to being done and her reading skills would be so much stronger by now.  The incremental learning and continual review is just absolutely brilliant.  The fact that they can make a 4th grade student almost independent is wonderful.  More and more I believe in the advantages of independent learning, but there needs to be solid foundational skills first and I believe the K-3 books do a great job at this.  The books work for both my quicker learners and my slower learners.  To me, if the learning is not retained it is a waste of time and the strength of this series of books written with the Saxon pedagogy is the retention.  Most of the people who don't like it didn't stick with it long enough or weren't successful at adapting it to meet the needs of their child.  Many people drop it because they read other people's opinions that it does not promote conceptual understanding, but I hear over and over again how beneficial the program was to people who chose math or science as their career.  

 

I love that the programs are so comprehensive that I don't need to piecemeal other things with it.  They can do Saxon Math and language arts (phonics to grammar/writing) and then just add in great books and anything else is just icing but not essential.  Having a program that works so well frees up time for them to do other things of interest without me worrying they aren't getting enough and it also lays a strong foundation so that they have the skills to pursue other interests well.  

 

Every time I have left the Saxon methods I have regretted it.  And this is coming from a girl who turned up my nose at Saxon for 2 years before I would even consider it.  I had taught Saxon 3 in a public school and therefore in my mind it was too "schoolish".  I should have realized that they used it because it worked so well in their school and that doing Saxon one on one with my child next to me doesn't have to be "schoolish" just because it has a script.  What matters is what works.  I can take a scripted program and make it my own, but I can't take something that isn't comprehensive or repetitive enough and Saxonize it without an insane amount of work.  I wish more people knew about Saxon language arts.  I can't wait to start using grammar and writing with my oldest two this summer!  And I really, really hope the 3rd grade book is out by next summer for my third child to use.

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Yes, he mentioned it in the article and in an email response to me once. But they told me it was being written by the author of the phonics books but his article sounds more like he or his wife are writing it. I emailed them for clarification so I will share when I get a response.

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I also asked if they think it will be done by next summer when I will need it.. Lol

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Gosh stm4him, that was very well said and mirrors so much how I think about curriculum at this point.  Just balancing out simplicity, common sense, with efficiency.

 

When my oldest son was beginning to deteriorate in mathematics in the 5th grade, I knew I needed to intervene.  So being strong mathematically, I did intervene by what I now in retrospect understand was studying for the test.  In school they would study fractions in a chapter fashion for 4-5 weeks or so and then the review packet would come home showing that he knew 75-80% of the material.  He definitely is a smart kid too but this wasn't cutting it.  So Dad would intervene for a couple hours at night and hand hold him through the problems and bam, a 98% A on the test. Sadly, the intervention was only for a total of 2 hours; so God knows what was going wrong in school for 4 weeks.

 

However, when the review packets for the state standard test starting coming home 3 months later, the fraction mastery was non-existent.  We had studied for the test.  Not good, not good at all.  This applied to most topics not just fractions.

 

So reflecting back on my own mathematics education,  I realized that as a child I had a computer program for my TI-99/4A home computer called PLATO that I used to review math problems all year for the "fun" of it and because I NEVER understood them from the initial teacher lecture or practice problems.  I was reviewing over time. How else can we retain?  Didn't I practice sports and music like that?

 

Surely there had to be a better and more efficient way of including review over time in my children's education.  After some research, I found that John Saxon and Stephen Hake had actually created a math program that did just that.  I read and researched incremental learning with review over time, and the obvious benefits of independent learning; we easily decided that we needed to homeschool math in this fashion.

 

We tried grammar with normal teaching and with outside help, but then discovered in September that Hake Grammar and Writing existed.  What a stroke of good fortune!  These two boys have never looked back.  I think they would be offended if they needed to ask for help in either Math or Grammar at this point.  

 

The youngest would-be 4th grader has completed Math 6/5 and the other would-be 6th grader completed 7/6 by mid March.  They have now jumped to the next books.  Previously, these two boys were helpless, even weenies,  before learning in this model.  If the information couldn't get in there heads passively via a teacher or parent conduit, then it wouldn't get in there all.  Now it is completely opposite, they are self sufficient.  This has only been one year.  I feel their behavior has improved because of this, but I can't prove it.

 

You may be interested in a book by Doris Leclerc called "Revolutionizing Education in America: The TOTIL Method".  She addresses the differences between the international scores of American public schools vs the other schools of the world that massively outscore the U.S.  In a nutshell, her conclusions reflect your observations from your post above.

 

http://amzn.com/B005X8MQII

 

Well I like to always disclaim that this is just one family and for only one year so far.  I hope the results continue to accelerate as they have been.  I know there are other methods for education and I don't want to diminish them at all.  This is just our test case.  Is this the best method for literature analysis?  good question.  Can a child just be left to read great works of literature, source documents, biographies, and autobiographies for history without assistance from a guide?  good questions.  But for math, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and perhaps writing,  in my opinion, this method of learning is a slam dunk.

 

Oh we are really hoping for the 3rd grade book next year also!  We are bringing our daughter into homeschool next year for 3rd grade and would love to start with that book!  I emailed SH regarding it's availability or if we can field test it.  LOL

 

 

Take Care,

 

Scott

 

 

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Hunter,  

 

it will be very interesting to see the 7th grade book when my son uses it next year.  Unlike, Saxon Math, for some reason, I am not in any rush for them to progress though the Grammar books.  So once, they finish 4 and 6 by early May, we will stop grammar study until September.  Math they will definitely do through the summer.

 

Yeah, I really can't compare the Grammar to much else except their non-exist public school grammar.  The other homeschool alternatives I merely researched with my wife.  She is an English/Journalism major and she is extremely satisfied with the Hake books.

 

I am sure there are other excellent and effective English homeschool products out there but for us, it was really the Incremental continual review that made the difference.  Another observation that I can make is that I really love how vocabulary falls into that pattern.  It is a nice gradual way of memorizing important vocabulary. Does that lead to mastery of the words?  I'm not so sure, but it's definitely provides a good recognition of the words and prefixes.  So we require the words go into Quizlet and be studied for mastery - it takes only 2 or 3 15 minute Quizlet sessions for a list of 20 to be mastered because they have been seen so many times in the practice sets..

 

 Also, originally I didn't see the value in dictation but over the year it has become my favorite aspect of the program.

 I was very surprised to see how beneficial the dictation exercises are with regard to spelling and punctuation.  In the beginning, my wife and I dabbled with skipping it.  I am so relieved we didn't.  In addition the content of those passages are excellent. It taught my 6th grader the Gettysburg Address.

f  

   Another temptation was to intervene too heavily in the writing student workbook.  Turns out it was best for us to let the kids proceed through the writing exercises on their own, and to let them do the self analysis exercise by themselves.  My wife does intervene after the entire writing assignment with suggestions and edits.

 

  Both kids love the diagramming of sentences.  They both said it really helps them understand.  I hope this all leads to an easier time learning a foreign language. We shall see.

 

   Finally it only takes them about 1 hour to do the entire hake grammar exercises for the day. Many times less.

 

  … Scott

 

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Thank you both for sharing your experiences.

 

I might try and get ahold of some of the earlier books. I never judge a curriculum by one level. I am a whole to parts person. 

 

I really wish the grade levels on these books was a bit higher. Honesty, I do not think they are reflective of normal students. This is definitely an accelerated curriculum. At least in my opinion. I tend to be CM when it comes to grammar instruction. 4th grade is early enough to start grammar and composition and Latin. And Hake 4 is not meant to be the first comp and grammar text.

 

I will use a curriculum "behind" if it's orderly enough, and I otherwise like it. I'd really really really like to see grade 3. If it fits my idea of grade 4, I'd be tempted to adopt the series, and just work through it slower than recommended.

 

I'm wondering if any of the texts can be skipped. My initial reaction is that I want grades 3 and 4 to be easier, and them to compact the following grades a bit.

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   Another temptation was to intervene too heavily in the writing student workbook.  Turns out it was best for us to let the kids proceed through the writing exercises on their own, and to let them do the self analysis exercise by themselves.  My wife does intervene after the entire writing assignment with suggestions and edits.

 

  Both kids love the diagramming of sentences.  They both said it really helps them understand.  I hope this all leads to an easier time learning a foreign language. We shall see.

 

   Finally it only takes them about 1 hour to do the entire hake grammar exercises for the day. Many times less.

 

  … Scott

 

Scott,

 

My son will be beginning with Hake Grammar 6 next year. I'm curious to know if you are using another writing program along with Hake or if you are assigning lots of writing in other subjects (or if you feel that the Hake writing is sufficient on its own.) A lot of people on this forum use the grammar but "don't like" the writing, so I've been wondering about the writing portion and if it will be "enough."

 

Thanks for any insights!

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Scott,

 

I will look up the book link....thanks!

 

Also, we should ask why there are no high school books in the series and if they ever plan to make them.  I could see that if a student has essay writing "down" and has been given the tools to self-evaluate that a high school curriculum may not be necessary and the student can focus on writing essays about what they read, giving more time to literary analysis and research.  But I am just curious.

 

I love that it has dictation and journal writing.  I think it is part of what makes it awesome.  But I am wondering how much (if any) is included in the language arts books below Hake 4.  I haven't seen any sentence dictation yet that I can remember, but I am just now picking up the books again after not looking at them for months and also I don't own Saxon Phonics 2 or the Intervention book.  I am planning to use the Intervention book as a third grade book if the other isn't out yet, but it is really meant for older students.  I would think if they already had a good phonics base that it would be ok for a younger student.  I think it was originally designed for a fourth or fifth grader that is still struggling to read and spell.

 

So far I add in copywork to the phonics because I teach cursive immediately after they can print.  I am teaching a language arts class that is mostly focused on spelling and narrations next year to occupy the 1st-3rd graders at my CC campus.  I am not sure how much time I will have to focus on my little ones because my older ones will be writing papers IEW and LTW style.  But I don't want mine having a whole summer of language arts off and my oldest really needs to go back and learn phonics and grammar anyway since she just did not absorb naturally or with any of the Spalding methods I did with her.  The reason she did not succeed is because she did not have the repetition that she would have received from Saxon.  I really, really regret that I did not put her in Saxon in K and keep her in it for both phonics and math.  And I really regret not keeping her in CC, but that is off topic.  

 

Leigh Bortins also talks about how we, as a society, see nothing wrong with "over-practicing" drills for music and sports, but we turn up our nose when we see it in academics.  Maybe that is what is wrong in education these days.  We are too busy trying to teach them to understand everything logically instead of having them continually build on and repeat the material they have learned.  

 

I also love that they are putting meaningful, useful content in the books.  That is what sparks interest for their reading time, just as memorizing facts can spark interest.  

 

I love what we do at CC and working on academics in a group setting has its beauty, but it doesn't replace learning to STUDY on ones own and do it to the point that one can truly use it and articulate their learning to others.  Other curricula provide tools, but they do not always give students a chance to work with the tools until they can use them effortlessly.  

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Here is the response I received.  Then I asked about the high school books and about whether the 3rd grade book would complete the language arts series....I'll let you know what he says.  It is so nice to be able to email the company and hear directly, promptly, and encouragingly from the author!!

 

Dear Mrs. Seville,

 
Thank you for your inquiry. Wow, I really appreciate your interest in our Grammar and Writing program and in other Saxon products.
 
We are making progress on the 3rd grade grammar program, but we will not have it in print for this coming school year. Our lead author has taken a year to work on her dissertation, so new products have moved at a slower pace. Lorna Simmons has had her hands full with other matters, so our authors of the Grammar and Writing series are creating the 3rd grade manuscript. Meanwhile, working through Lorna's program is great for your primary-age children.
 
Regarding the differences between the school and homeschool versions of Saxon Math K-2, I am not the best person to ask about the details of the differences. I do know that the programs are very similar. However, Nancy Larson originally wrote the program for a classroom of students, so the changes she made for the homeschool edition made the directions more appropriate for a parent working with one or two students, and the materials are more likely to be materials you would normally find around the house.
 
To find out more, you might get some help from the Saxon Help Desk. Dr. Bruce Phillips normally handles questions about the program from 3rd grade on up, but he might be able to help you with your questions. His email address is bruce.phillips@hmhpub.com.
 
Also, there might be people at Nancy Larson Publishers who could also help you. Did you know that Nancy has created a science program for young children? It's excellent. You can probably connect with someone through her website www.nancylarsonpublishers.com.
 
Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you.
 
Best wishes,
 
Stephen Hake
 
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Ok, I read the whole book today, Scott, and it was so strange to read something so close to my thoughts. So I looked her up and she passed away in 2011. How did you hear of it? There is almost nothing about it online.

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SweetandSimple,

 

We only use the Hake writing portion.  Your question is very difficult for me because writing is my weakness, and I attribute that to being a victim of the watered down grammar curriculum from the 1980's.  This author highlights the issues well in my opinion:

 

http://www.nas.org/articles/teaching_writing_teaching_grammar

 

My wife, however, was a 5th and 6th grade teacher for 6 years and was an English/Journalism major.  She likes the Hake writing portion, and she believes the boys made good writing progress this year.  We aren't too familiar with other homeschool writing curriculums, so maybe other people know of better one's, so they use that instead?  There are so many different philosophies of what makes a good writing curriculum for students that it all becomes so subjective. 

 

With Hake,  the student does 3 days of 5-10 minute journal entries.  The authors suggest that the parent/teacher NOT grade these journal entries.  They are meant to be a safe, fun place for the child to practice.  At first, my wife wanted to check and mark these journals, but over time she now agrees with the Hake philosophy because both boys love writing and find it FUN.

 

The formal writing lessons in the student work book are well done in my estimation.  They take the student through the structure of an essay and the writing process, step by step.  It does this for many different essay types.  It also has some nice lessons on transitions, improving topic sentences, strengthening the thesis statement etc.

 

So I don't think the writing instruction is weak at all.  Maybe some people think it isn't enough essay writing?  In that case, I would just require more essays.  For instance, once my kids finish their grammar books in early May,  we will go through writing an essay once a week  out of the workbook through June.  If you wanted you could assign essay's, poems, chapter summaries, or whatever writing you want during your school year.  They can follow the process in the workbook for any topic of your choice.  

 

I can't imagine a student who goes through this curriculum from the 4th - 8th book would not be a strong writer.  I expect the same result going only through 6th - 8th like my oldest son.

 

Hope this helps.

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STM4HIM,

 

Wow the whole book!?  Nice power reading!  Yeah that book really resonated with my thoughts also.  It's sad how the high achieving students need to spend so much time after schooling, when it could all be so much more efficient and less grueling. Perhaps even pleasurable.

 

Yeah, I had some questions I wanted to ask her, but also sadly discovered she had passed away in 2011.  I would loved to have asked her about her reading suggestions.

 

I think I was searching something up on Amazon regarding Saxon Math, and her book popped up on the right somewhere.  I decided to click it and read the preview and it hooked me in, so I purchased it.  There is absolutely nothing on the web about her book.  It is very weird.  I guess she passed away right after it's publication so wasn't marketed?

 

 

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SweetandSimple,

 

We only use the Hake writing portion.  Your question is very difficult for me because writing is my weakness, and I attribute that to being a victim of the watered down grammar curriculum from the 1980's.  This author highlights the issues well in my opinion:

 

http://www.nas.org/articles/teaching_writing_teaching_grammar

 

My wife, however, was a 5th and 6th grade teacher for 6 years and was an English/Journalism major.  She likes the Hake writing portion, and she believes the boys made good writing progress this year.  We aren't too familiar with other homeschool writing curriculums, so maybe other people know of better one's, so they use that instead?  There are so many different philosophies of what makes a good writing curriculum for students that it all becomes so subjective. 

 

With Hake,  the student does 3 days of 5-10 minute journal entries.  The authors suggest that the parent/teacher NOT grade these journal entries.  They are meant to be a safe, fun place for the child to practice.  At first, my wife wanted to check and mark these journals, but over time she now agrees with the Hake philosophy because both boys love writing and find it FUN.

 

The formal writing lessons in the student work book are well done in my estimation.  They take the student through the structure of an essay and the writing process, step by step.  It does this for many different essay types.  It also has some nice lessons on transitions, improving topic sentences, strengthening the thesis statement etc.

 

So I don't think the writing instruction is weak at all.  Maybe some people think it isn't enough essay writing?  In that case, I would just require more essays.  For instance, once my kids finish their grammar books in early May,  we will go through writing an essay once a week  out of the workbook through June.  If you wanted you could assign essay's, poems, chapter summaries, or whatever writing you want during your school year.  They can follow the process in the workbook for any topic of your choice.  

 

I can't imagine a student who goes through this curriculum from the 4th - 8th book would not be a strong writer.  I expect the same result going only through 6th - 8th like my oldest son.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Scott, thank you so much for this thoughtful and detailed response! I really appreciate it, especially because I haven't been able to see very much of the writing portion of the program in the online samples. I am excited to start this program!

 

 

I, too, had a rather "grammar-less" education in the 1980s/90s. What a strange time to be educated!

 

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Just thought I would drop in and say we have been using Hake 6 Writing for a few months and my son really likes it. That is all. :)

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Just thought I would drop in and say we have been using Hake 6 Writing for a few months and my son really likes it. That is all. :)

 

Thank you for dropping in! I'm glad to hear that your son likes it!

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Here is the next response I got from him.  So there will be oral grammar lessons in the younger levels at some point.

 

Thank you for your kind words, Shaina. I think you will like Nancy's science program. Our daughter-in-law homeschools her four children, and she helped modify the school version of Nancy Larson Science for homeschool use. She really liked the program.

 
We are considering adding high school Grammar and Writing, particularly in writing. However, we believe that students who successfully complete G&W 7 and 8 really don't require any more grammar instruction. For high school students who have finished those two books, we usually recommend devoting some time for SAT and/or ACT prep.
 
As for primary grades, we do plan to create some grammar and writing content for 1st and 2nd and possibly kinder. The grammar focus will be more on oral language.
 
You are making a significant financial and time commitment with the programs you have selected. Of course, I think you have made wise choices. Some parents need to get by with free or less expensive materials and programs that do not require as much direct instruction. I want you to know that I recognize and respect the commitment you have made. Let us know if we can be of additional help.
 
 
 
 
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Hunter,

 

I want to give you a thorough review of the spelling but I have too much going on today so I will get back to you tomorrow afternoon on that.

 

Also, I wanted to say that in both the Robinson curriculum and in the TOTIL method this lady advocates (which stands for Time On Task Independent Learning), they talk about preparing them to read, write, and learn basic math facts and concepts.  Neither of them mention using the Saxon books, but I don't see why not.  I don't see why kids need to be independent in 2nd grade (as both of these authors advocate), but I do think one could start a "normal" child in the K books in preschool and move as quickly through them as the child is able and then move them into the independent books earlier than 4th grade if they were able.  There are only 3 benefits I can see to having them be independent earlier than 4th grade: one would be so that they aren't waiting on mom for lessons, two would be so they can start college early (which probably won't be the case in our house because we want them to do the Challenge program before college level classes, and three it frees up more of moms time earlier and allows time for them to slow down later when the math gets harder.  I guess that counts as 4 reasons.  

 

So in our house, I want to take my oldest through Phonics Intervention with me and she will work independently on Hake 4 and move through the books on the weeks we are not in CC.  My next child is starting Hake 4 and will also move through the books.  I probably won't take him through Intervention because he is a natural speller, but if I did it would be after my oldest finishes it.  My third one is going to start Phonics 2 and go to Intervention before Hake unless the level 3 book comes out first.  My fourth one is doing the 1st grade book this summer and my fifth one is doing K.  I will start my 6th one as soon as she has some fine motor control.  She is pretty good with her fine motor for her age and already knows lots of her letters and sounds (not that they need to know that first), so she will likely start early.  But starting early is common in homes where kids hear their siblings do lessons.  But it is nice to relax and know that they will not be behind.  

 

The author of Revolutionizing Education in America has some interesting ideas.  Her ideal schedule is this:

 

8:30-10:30 Saxon Math

10:30-12:00 Hake Grammar

12:00-12:30 Lunch

12:30-2:30 Reading

 

That sounds about perfect to me, except that I think Hake can be done in an hour and I would hold off one half hour for lunch and let them do my hour of classical/CM odds and ends because that just adds a little more beauty to their day.  

 

I think an awesome idea for a school would be having younger children tutored one on one through the early Saxon books with the rest of the day to read and explore in an environment facilitated by educators (but not taught), and then to have them move up to a study hall environment the rest of their school years where they complete the schedule above and then have the rest of the day to either go home "early" or go to various rooms or centers with the arts, practical skills, music, fitness equipment, etc. as they choose or as they plan together with a mentor or parent.  But only after their basics are done and checked.  If they are scoring below 80% they would have a tutoring session or something to work on the concept they are stuck on.  For the reading portion they could perhaps sign up for a book discussion date for a book they are interested in, by which time they would need to have the book read.  But it would be their choice as to which discussion to sign up for or they could start their own discussion for a book they want to do.  

 

Hunter, I know you are on a theory break right now, but you may be interested to read it in May.  Also, you will not like her grade level suggestions since you think the Hake books are too hard for the levels they claim, but you will still like what she has to say, I think.  She is basically trying to prove why the Robinson way would work but she is coming from a teaching and psychology background rather than from a homeschooling background.  

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Is there one book or two you want me to read? Revolutionizing Education in America and ... ?

 

Okay, you all are talking about the spelling in the PHONICS curriculum, not the early levels of Hake?

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Just the one book, Hunter.

 

I can tell you about the spelling in the phonics book.  But I have no idea what they will put in the early levels of Hake when they come out and I haven't seen enough of 4 yet (waiting to order it any day when hubby gives the ok....he said I could do overnight shipping :-)) to tell you about that.  But I would love to hear about it from Scott.  Or maybe I can email Hake again and ask about that.  I know there is some spelling in there, but I'm not sure what it looks like or if it is "enough".  If it isn't enough then I would do your SWR plan (and I will either do that or Spelling Plus with the recorded dictation).  

 

I know part of the spelling is to check their spelling in the dictation exercises and find out what they don't know that way, and I know there are some spelling rules in there but I don't know that they give a list.  There are lists in the phonics books, though, but I'll have to explain more on that later......

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In the 4th Grade book the spelling is handled indirectly in the weekly dictations.  There are about 4 or 5 grammar lessons that are devoted to Spelling rules type things such as "ie vs ei".  

 

Each dictation has words that would challenge a 4th grader.  If our sons spell the words incorrectly in the dictation we put them into little spelling lists for them.  So there are no formal spelling lists if that is what you are asking.  Just the vocabulary works that we put into Quizlet so they master that spelling and the dictations.

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stm4him/Hunter

 

What are your thoughts on Mrs. Leclerc's TOTIL Reading segment?  

 

We are kind of doing half TOTIL as I see it.  The boys do complete Independent Saxon Math and the Hake Grammar (except dictations).  We expand the Hake Grammar to include 15 minutes of Quizlet.com for the Hake Vocabulary words.  Quizlet tests them on the meaning and the spelling of these words.

 

The power and effectiveness that I have seen from this method for Math and Grammar has made me curious about the Reading aspect that she talks about.  Do you think it would be as valuable in history, science, and social studies as it is for math and grammar?  I know that  would be very similar to the Robinson Curriculum.  She states in her book:

 

"Care needs to be taken when considering the learning of social studies. When the ideas of various economic and political systems of government and secular and religious philosophies are introduced, children should read original source materials first. Then, they should read non-original source materials that are in favor of, not opposed to, the concept they are studying. Finally, students should study the writings of authors who disagree with the particular concept or philosophy. By this time, students should be well able to assess for themselves the validity of the newly introduced concept. It should be clear what philosophy is being promoted, unlike most school texts that promote particular philosophies in a surreptitious manner to indoctrinate children. It is best to include all forms of each discipline, such as the following for political systems: constitutional republics, socialist/progressive systems, dictatorships, monarchies, theocracies and oligarchies. For economic systems, both Keynesian economics and Austrian economics should be included.

 
-Doris Leclerc Ball PhD (2011-08-23). Revolutionizing Education in America:The TOTIL Method (Kindle Locations 1042-1049). iUniverse. Kindle Edition. 
 
Currently in the afternoon, we do a normal history, science, and literature class online over video.  They are good and the kids like them but I sometimes wonder if it is less efficient and impactful vs something like Mrs. Leclerc describes.  She seems to be going a bit deeper than the Robinson reading list?
 
 
- Scott
 
 
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Okay, so I think one of you mentioned that student spelling improved, and now I understand that was either because of phonics, or dictation. My initial impression that level 4 spelling is equivalent to level 7 spelling seems correct. I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't missing something. I had missed that the first writing lesson in level 4 wasn't supposed to be done the first week. I just want to make sure my initial impressions from the samples is correct.

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I don't have the TOTIL book and can't afford it this month. I did end out breaking down and buying Story-Killers and reading just a bit of it while stuck for several hours at a "hurry up and wait" appointment.

 

I'm not as much of a fan of independent learning, as much as I want to introduce a lot more unstructured reading, and am looking for a short list of curricula that complements the rest of the curriculum being mostly unschooled.

 

As for hiSTORY, it's just STORY to me that tells me more about the author than what really happened. You know that expression "Did the tree make a noise when it fell, if no one heard it?" I'm not sure there even is any truth/noise in hiSTORY outside of what people think about the events. And if there is, I'm too tired to care at this point. I have lived at the edge of too many subcultures, never actually being one myself, to think there is any truth about anything. And add a whopping case of PTSD on top of that, and…"whatever!" is all I feel about most academics and especially history. And that feeling seems to be growing exponentially, lately. Some things happened this year, that just..I don't know. My last hopes/beliefs about some things were stolen.

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I like the TWTM library list for content. Just let the student choose their own books, and if they end out slanted, without my guidance, they'll just be like everyone else in the world. I'm done thinking that anything I'm currently thinking is all that valuable. I have, and have had, Stockholm Syndrome too many times to think I know anything other than what I have been coerced into thinking temporarily until someone else coerces me into adopting their worldview.

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/509216-swb-library-book-list-recomendation-for-each-visit/?hl=%2Bswb+%2Blibrary&do=findComment&comment=5554805

 

The 1st and 3rd edition lists are a bit different. 

 

This is the 3rd edition.

On each library visit, I had them check out the following books: one science book, one history book, one art or music appreciation book, one practical book (a craft, hobby, or “how-toâ€), a biography or autobiography, a classic novel (or an adaptation suited to age), an imaginative storybook, a book of poetry.

 

1st edition list:

 

Their cards allowed them to check out seven books each, and I made them follow a specific pattern: one biography, one science book, one history book, one practical or arts-and-crafts book, and three books of their own choosing–stories, poetry, or nonfiction. We always read everything we brought home.

 

I just want students to have some content VOCABULARY, and not be oblivious to what others around them are thinking. I want them to be able to FUNCTION, not know the "truth". And to enjoy themselves a bit in the moment, because life is SO short and SO hard, and we are not promised a tomorrow.

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I think I'm more Swartzentruber as described in Train up a Child, than TOTIL. Do the 3R's, draw a little, maybe do some geography and health if there is time. Read some books–maybe write a book report.

http://books.google.com/books?id=1MSzboiBfrkC&printsec=frontcover&dq=train+up+a+child&hl=en&sa=X&ei=yS5IU-H4L-ewsASx1YCwBg&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=train%20up%20a%20child&f=false

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The power and effectiveness that I have seen from this method for Math and Grammar has made me curious about the Reading aspect that she talks about.  Do you think it would be as valuable in history, science, and social studies as it is for math and grammar?  I know that  would be very similar to the Robinson Curriculum.  She states in her book:

 

"Care needs to be taken when considering the learning of social studies. When the ideas of various economic and political systems of government and secular and religious philosophies are introduced, children should read original source materials first. Then, they should read non-original source materials that are in favor of, not opposed to, the concept they are studying. Finally, students should study the writings of authors who disagree with the particular concept or philosophy. By this time, students should be well able to assess for themselves the validity of the newly introduced concept. It should be clear what philosophy is being promoted, unlike most school texts that promote particular philosophies in a surreptitious manner to indoctrinate children. It is best to include all forms of each discipline, such as the following for political systems: constitutional republics, socialist/progressive systems, dictatorships, monarchies, theocracies and oligarchies. For economic systems, both Keynesian economics and Austrian economics should be included.

 
-Doris Leclerc Ball PhD (2011-08-23). Revolutionizing Education in America:The TOTIL Method (Kindle Locations 1042-1049). iUniverse. Kindle Edition. 
 
Currently in the afternoon, we do a normal history, science, and literature class online over video.  They are good and the kids like them but I sometimes wonder if it is less efficient and impactful vs something like Mrs. Leclerc describes.  She seems to be going a bit deeper than the Robinson reading list?
 
 
- Scott

 

 

The idea is very intriguing. (I'm wondering if I need to buy the TOTIL book!) However, this history sounds extremely difficult to implement. I don't think that I could do it.  Where would I find all of the original source materials, and non-original source materials, and then to find even more material with differing opinions? It would be a lot of work, and I would worry about missing something vital.  I wonder if there is a curriculum out there that comes close to teaching history in this manner. Does anyone know? Did Doris Leclerc Ball offer any suggestions for materials?

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I think it is very interesting but without a reading list set up this way it would be very hard to implement. And I would want them to have a firm grounding in our family faith first. I think it is an excellent idea for older children.

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subbing and bumping,

 

especially in case any of you having now tried Hake/Saxon grammar and writing for longer have anything more to add

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I have used it for three years now with my older (age almost 13; Hake 5, 6, inside 8) and second (10.5; almost done with 4).  I love this program very, very much - maybe even more than Saxon Math (of which I am also a devotee).  I don't use the writing part; although I consider it every year (and really might try with my almost 5th grader) and use SWB material instead.  I was also in the nebulous period where grammar was not really taught; although I remember a week or so of diagramming sentences, so I also am learning much of the same material as I read through the lessons and grade their lessons.  My oldest really knows his grammar and can spot errors easily.  I like the self-teaching method and like how there is some dry humor as well to make the job a little bit lighter.  I recommend it to those who want a thorough and repetitive teaching of grammar.  I finally know how to diagram a sentence and how to use a semi-colon.  Bonus! 

 

ETA: Now I want to get a better look at Saxon Phonics for my daughter and youngest son, but if it is as wordy as the elementary Saxon math (which it seems to be), I'm still leery of trying it.

 

 

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This is great information.  We used Hake G/W 5... we did it over the better part of two years, just a couple days per week, interspersed with MCT materials.  I think they're both incredibly valuable for different reasons.  My son actually really enjoyed Hake, and he was able to do it quite independently.  He was quite intrigued to know they had a nearly identical math program!  (Although we did use a year of CLE math, which is the same general idea.)

 

If we continue to homeschool, we'll probably use another year of Hake at some point, probably 7 or 8.  I think it gives a great foundation in grammar.  I admit we didn't like the writing portion quite as much... I'm not sure why.  It was very straightforward and easy to use, though.

 

And I'm definitely going to look up "Revolutionizing Education in America"... sounds like a great read!!

 

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Thank you all. I enjoyed reading this thread. Also... hear a year later... any word on Hake 3 coming out? I had emailed them about this last year as well...

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He told me to email him in August and ask for an update. I think they are close, though.

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He told me to email him in August and ask for an update. I think they are close, though.

 

Good to know! Thank you. I am very excited. I'm looking forward to using it with my son, currently entering 2nd.... each day I am loving this curriculum more and more. Surprisingly b/c as a homeschooler in middle school and high school, I HATED Saxon Math...now I have a different opinion. :) Although... maybe I am so drawn to the Grammar and Writing because I was so deficient in grammar growing up and am now wanting to improve my writing and grammar skills as an adult. 

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My third child who is 8 and just finished 2nd grade is using the 4th grade Grammar and Writing book and 5/4 with no problem.  He did Saxon Math K-1 and the first 40 lessons of 2 and then I put him in 5/4.  And I figured if he can handle 5/4 he can handle Hake Grammar and Writing 4 and so far so good.  Just saying that even though I plan to have my younger kids use the 3rd grade Grammar and Writing book, some children may be able to go right into 4 if their reading level is high enough.  

 

I have stepped away from the Saxon Phonics and K-3 Saxon Math because the scripted lessons take so long and I have so many to teach.  I still believe the content is excellent.  I also think that the more they can do independently the better and the phonics curriculum doesn't allow for that.  The math worksheets could probably be done independently if the child can read well enough, though, with just a little help here and there on some new concepts.  But I am just guessing.  I haven't actually tried that.  

 

Right now my younger kids are just doing Saxon Math flashcards (you can buy separately for the middle grades kids for $10) and a different phonics program called Recipe for Reading (similar to Explode the Code and also O-G based).  I am just using the workbooks, though; not the manual.  I am hoping this will be enough to prepare them for 5/4 and the Grammar and Writing 3 but I won't know for sure until we finish Recipe for Reading with my 7 year old this year and see where her reading level is at that point.  

 

Part of me still thinks about how I wish I could successfully use Saxon Phonics and Math in the younger years but I just can't stomach THAT many scripted lessons (I have several kids in that grade range and it was taking me all day to do one scripted math lesson and one scripted phonics lesson for each).  

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Hi, anyone know the difference between Hake Grammar & Writing first and second editions?  

Also, I noticed that the books follow some sort of theme for the different levels...themes like folk/fairy tales, states, animals, etc.  Anyone know what the theme is for the grade 6 book?  Thank you.

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I don't know the difference in the additions but I have referenced this section of the website on several occasions to look at the themes for each book. I put in bold the sixth grade theme below. 

 

http://www.hakepublishing.com/grammar-and-writing.html

 

"Students Also Learn History, Literature, Science, and Art

Embedded in the examples and exercises is Core Knowledge® content from other subject areas, so that students learn valuable facts while developing their English language skills. Each grade level of the grammar textbook contains age-appropriate references to art, music, literature, poetry, science, history, and geography. 

204xNxeinstein-lincoln.jpg.pagespeed.ic.

In addition to the Core Knowledge® content from multiple subject areas, some of the books also have a special emphasis. For example, the fourth grade book focuses on animals and insects; the fifth grade book concentrates on the unique characteristics of the fifty states of the United States; the sixth grade book mentions a wide variety of Core Knowledge® facts that every American should know; the seventh grade book contains many literary terms in addition to Greek and Latin roots; and the eighth grade book highlights U.S. history and the U.S. Constitution. "

 

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Thanks, OrganicMom.  I thought I saw in a sample somewhere that the grade 6 book had themes along the lines of classic authors/literature, but I can't remember where I saw the sample, so I'm not sure now ; ).

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I'm pretty sure that the sixth grade and seventh grade books are about literature, I'm pretty sure.  One is American literature and one is British I think, but I'm not sure which is which.  I'm guessing that the third grade book coming out is going to have a folk tales and fairy tales theme, but I'm not totally sure.

 

I am also not sure of the difference between editions.  I will have to check and see which one I have.  

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Maybe I am wrong.  Maybe the sixth grade book is about authors and the seventh grade book is about folk tales and fairy tales?  I am not sure.  Hunter has Hake 7.  Maybe she could chime in.  I only own 4. I shouldn't make assumptions I guess....

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I am coming in on this not having read a lot of this but have been looking at Saxon Grammar/Writing for a child in HS who has had very little of this.  Would the 5th-8th books be enough to finish HS with these days?

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That is the type of information I did not see in the sample. 

 

Can you provide a link to the sample? For some reason, I cannot find any samples online.

 

I am seriously looking at switching to Hake Grammar and Writing 4 after completion on FLL3 and WWE3. Does anybody have experience with that? I want to avoid gaps in knowledge and ability and ensure a smooth transition.

 

Thanks!

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