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Problems focusing esp. on Saxon math


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Help!

 

My ds started Saxon 5/4 this past year but is having a hard time finishing. It's taking him 2 hours, up to 3 hours (!!), per day to go through the whole lesson. It's no mystery why it takes him so long. It's not usually because he doesn't understand how to do the problems, because he usually does. The problem is that if I give him half a chance, he just stops working. I sometimes walk out of the room, just as he's starting a problem, and I come back in 10 minutes, and he's still working on the same problem. He gets up and wanders off, or just stares into space. He gets Bs and As on the exams, which I understand is pretty good for Saxon, and when I look over his shoulder it's clear he knows how to do the problems, usually.

 

I'm not making it easy on him...per the Saxon instructions we're having him do all the problems, all the mental math, etc. He's working above his grade level...so it might be just immaturity. He doesn't even dislike math. Sometimes he says he likes it!

 

I've really tried everything and I'm at my wit's end here. I don't think it's just Saxon, either. Let me explain:

  • We switched back to our old system earlier this year. It was still like pulling teeth to get him to work on math. And he has the same sort of problem with some other activities we do. So I don't think it's just Saxon.
  • If I have him write down the time that he starts each problem above the problem, then he sometimes finishes a little faster, like in 90 minutes.
  • If I sit down next to him, looking over his shoulder, and nag him relentlessly whenever he seems to be pausing, then he can finish pretty quickly. But who wants to do that?
  • I've split it up into two math periods. It doesn't matter. If we do 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon, then he's about a third of the way through the whole chapter.
  • I've used rewards and punishments...no dice.

He can finish chapters in 60-90 minutes. He just doesn't...

 

Maybe he's ADD, but I really really don't want to get him tested because I really don't want him to get put on drugs. No way!

 

Help!

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My first guess: could it be that he is simply bored? In that case, switching to a more engaging math program might do the trick.

(We were bored stiff with Saxon)

 

ETA: I would also evaluate whether he really needs all those problems. Yes, I know that they tell you you should do that - but curriculum designers don't know your particular kid, they can only design for the average learner. We cut down Saxon problems to bare bones minimum and ruthlessly eliminated large portions that were not necessary for my students.

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Thank you so much, regentrude. I didn't want to stop him from doing all the problems because of advice from homeschoolwithsaxon.com. I like the idea of complete mastery and he's definitely understanding math better than ever. But yeah...maybe he's bored...  :sad: I think maybe we will try it your way...

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I'm not one to change math once I pick what I feel is the best curriculum. [ETA - not that a change isn't an option - but it would have to be something HUGE, not just a focus issue. So for me, this option wouldnt work.] I would sit with him. Every day. I now sit with my older dd and do every problem alongside her. I have my own notebook and take all be tests, too. It's our time. We really enjoy it and I'm a much better teacher for it. We do math together - it's not something I do TO her.

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We used Saxon one year ahead--sounds like you are using it two years ahead? (7=2nd grade or even the end of first, usually)

If that's the case, I'd split the lesson into two DAYS, and each day into two sessions. And I'd sit beside (or in same room, whatever keeps ds on task) the whole time.

So the first day, I'd intro the lesson/do the mental math, and do the practice--that is all teacher-led. Start the problems and do maybe a third of them. The next day, check over what's been done, correcting it (I always gave dd a few minutes to go over it herself and check for careless errors before handing it in to me). Assign the rest of the problems.

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He's 7. He hasn't skipped anything, he just started early and went through 1st & 2nd grade stuff relatively quickly. Then started slowing down a lot with 3rd & 4th grade math.

 

Okay. I ask because my son really went through the early grades pretty fast. He was supposed to go into 5/4 this last year at 8. He sounds a lot like your son, and I anticipated having a year like you're describing.  Ultimately, I decided that just because my son *can* do it, doesn't mean he has to. We ended up taking a real laid back year in math this year where we played games, memorized those pesky facts, focused on word problems, and even went over some of the lessons from Saxon 3 again. I now feel confident that he is more than ready to go into 5/4 next year. So, just my $.02, but at that age, I don't think it would hurt to work sideways in math, rather than push forward.

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Just becasue a child started out crazy brilliant and fast and above grade level that they will always be that way. Sometimes, when the math gets harder, even the brightest, most obedient student with the most patient and nurturing mom/tutor using the most fabulous curriculum just needs more time or a slower pace.

 

Or Saxon could just be completely wrong for this child- I had two who were beyond miserable with Saxon, yet thrived and excelled with other programs.

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Okay. I ask because my son really went through the early grades pretty fast. He was supposed to go into 5/4 this last year at 8. He sounds a lot like your son, and I anticipated having a year like you're describing.  Ultimately, I decided that just because my son *can* do it, doesn't mean he has to. We ended up taking a real laid back year in math this year where we played games, memorized those pesky facts, focused on word problems, and even went over some of the lessons from Saxon 3 again. I now feel confident that he is more than ready to go into 5/4 next year. So, just my $.02, but at that age, I don't think it would hurt to work sideways in math, rather than push forward.

 

This, 1,0000 times.  It sounds to me, OP, that while your son is more than ready for the content in Saxon 5/4, at seven he doesn't yet have the attention or maturity for the format, which is terribly boring and drudgerous.  And that's perfectly normal, because at 7, when most kids are doing 2nd grade work,  he's working in a book that was written for "average" 5th graders or "advanced" 4th graders.  If you're committed to staying with Saxon, give the kid a break and let him complete 1/2 of a lesson each day--do the drill sheet, go over the lesson with the practice problems and 1/2 of the problem set one day, then do the mental math and the rest of the problem set on day 2.  Your son will thank you, and you won't have skipped any problems.  Or go against the grain and only do the odds or evens.  Or stop where you are and pick 5/4 back up again later, when he's a little older.  Or abandon Saxon entirely and look into a less incremental, less labor-intensive program.  There's a good chance he doesn't need all of that review. 

 

But by all means stop requiring him to do math for 2-3 hours a day.  He's seven.  No subject should take up that much time at seven.

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He's 7. He hasn't skipped anything, he just started early and went through 1st & 2nd grade stuff relatively quickly. Then started slowing down a lot with 3rd & 4th grade math.

 

You can also ask on the Accelerated Learning board.  Saxon may not be the best fit for an accelerated student, especially as the handwriting demands for his math level begin to exceed what is reasonable for his actual age.  You might consider adding more problem solving anyway to further develop his math talent; there are a number of options (e.g. Beast Academy).

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There is a strong bias against Saxon. If you asked about any other curriculum, people would give you advice on how to work with it. With Saxon, they say to drop it.

My oldest finished Saxon 5/4 just before she turned 8. She worked quickly, though. My second (currently 9) just finished Saxon 6/5. My little guy (7) will start 5/4 before he turns 8, but he will turn 8 fairly soon after.

Saxon has a lot of problems. For a kid that has trouble focusing and moving from one problem to the next without getting distracted (that would be my 9 year old), Saxon requires focusing at least 100 times/day. We have had some monstrously long math days. People would be quick to point out that it is Saxon's fault. The thing is, that same child has been told at least 18 times in the last hour to focus on his Beast Academy worksheet. People aren't so quick to say that Beast Academy is drill and kill and boring.

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Saxon is not always a good fit, especially for an accelerated student. I grew up on Saxon. I had a horrible time focusing on it. It was enough that I actually had nightmares (no I'm not exaggerating). It wasn't that I found math hard, or the concepts hard to figure out. it was just so long and disjointed and I felt like I was being made to beat a dead horse having to do all those problems every day. I used it for a little bit with my oldest to see if he needed a more spiral approach, he was intrigued for a little while and then responded to it just like your kid it. Easily distracted, drawing it out, and just completely lacking any focus. we changed and although he still isn't working fast (he is just not a fast worker), he is at least staying on task and not wandering of either physically or mentally. Every now and then there are things that a kid simply needs to suck it up and get it done and a mom has to keep pushing to make sure it happens, but more times than not, there is a middle ground.

 

I would not say Beast Academy is for all kids either, and if a kid was struggling like this with BA I would be just as prone tell someone to drop it and find something less intense. Although I personally love BA, not all three of my kids are a good match for it.

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My son doesn't struggle with math. He struggles with focus, across all subjects. He had his choice of which math to do now that he is done with Saxon for the year. He chose Beast Academy. He likes it. That doesn't mean it is easy for him to focus.

 

I don't recommend people use Saxon. I don't recommend they don't. I don't care if the OP uses something else. It does annoy me that anytime someone posts a question about Saxon all the Saxon haters jump on the thread to say to dump it. You don't see that same advice given when someone has trouble with the other programs.

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My son doesn't struggle with math. He struggles with focus, across all subjects. He had his choice of which math to do now that he is done with Saxon for the year. He chose Beast Academy. He likes it. That doesn't mean it is easy for him to focus.

 

I don't recommend people use Saxon. I don't recommend they don't. I don't care if the OP uses something else. It does annoy me that anytime someone posts a question about Saxon all the Saxon haters jump on the thread to say to dump it. You don't see that same advice given when someone has trouble with the other programs.

 

I've seen people respond that way with MUS and TT as well. Saxon isn't the only one that seems to evoke strong reactions.

 

I do hate Saxon, but I am also very aware that some kids do well with it, which is why I did use it for a season with my kid. How I feel about it is simply one view and I will share it, but not everyone is going to feel the same way, I'm good with that. I don't get my panties in a knot over it. It's just how me, with the way I learn and approach things, saw it and felt about it.

 

My youngest also has focus issues. With how long it takes for him to do things (not because he's slow, but because he is all over the place all. the. time.) Saxon would be the death of either him or me.

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Two issues.

 

Saxon needs to be easy. Not just some, but most. students are placed too high in the series in my opinion.

 

Secondly most kids nowadays do not know how to work. They have few chores and younger siblings and pets to attend to. They just don't know how to buckle down. That is pretty normal for SEVEN, though.

 

My youngest was gifted, quite gifted, and I used Saxon with him. I do NOT agree that Saxon isn't for gifted kids. Some of them need to be taught how to buckle down, though. Pour a pile of mini chocolate chips or Skittles or something on the table. Sit with him and race him for the right answer one problem at a time. Winner get a piece of candy and eats it in front of the other person who does not get one. Lessons went from 3-4 hours to 30 minutes in one day. You can wean them off the candy once they learn how to solve problems quickly.

 

You might also want to break lessons up into 2-3 sessions.

 

The Robinson yahoo e-mail group has a lot of people using Saxon again, after everyone–even Robinson people–abandoning Saxon for awhile. People are returning to it, remembering how much better it was in the oldschool days with our older students, compared to the reality of using all this new "better" stuff.

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My oldest is in 54 and she struggles to focus on anything that takes longer than 30 minutes but she is focusing much better with a time requirement than a lesson number requirement. She reports to me how many problems she did. She knows if she doesn't focus we go back to a certain number of lessons per week.

 

I found Dr Robinson' video very helpful. His kids started 54 at 7.

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Two issues.

 

Saxon needs to be easy. Not just some, but most. students are placed too high in the series in my opinion.

 

Secondly most kids nowadays do not know how to work. They have few chores and younger siblings and pets to attend to. They just don't know how to buckle down. That is pretty normal for SEVEN, though.

 

My youngest was gifted, quite gifted, and I used Saxon with him. I do NOT agree that Saxon isn't for gifted kids. Some of them need to be taught how to buckle down, though. Pour a pile of mini chocolate chips or Skittles or something on the table. Sit with him and race him for the right answer one problem at a time. Winner get a piece of candy and eats it in front of the other person who does not get one. Lessons went from 3-4 hours to 30 minutes in one day. You can wean them off the candy once they learn how to solve problems quickly.

 

You might also want to break lessons up into 2-3 sessions.

 

The Robinson yahoo e-mail group has a lot of people using Saxon again, after everyone–even Robinson people–abandoning Saxon for awhile. People are returning to it, remembering how much better it was in the oldschool days with our older students, compared to the reality of using all this new "better" stuff.

 

Sometimes easy is just not enough. I never had problems understanding Saxon.

Sometimes it's not a work ethic problem. Some times you can only expect a kid to work through so much mundane nastiness.

It works for some, and some kids might simply need to buckle down, but it's not the case with all kids.

I was gifted, I knew how to work, and work hard. I grew up in a house with no running water, no power, a boat load of animals and lots of responsibilities.

 

 

Racing might work, might as well give it a try for awhile. But if the kid just doesn't find chocolate chips or Skittles to be appealing enough to wade through that stuff, I wouldn't suggest torturing him forever.

 

The racing is a great idea though.

 

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Thanks sooooo much to everyone. It's nice to know my ds isn't the only one struggling to stay focused.

 

We haven't tried out Beast Academy but we'll look into it. Saxon still appeals to me intellectually, but it is such a grind. We'll also seriously consider halving the workload...but, actually, that's sort of the pace that we've been working at.

 

Doesn't it get easier after a year or two?? Are there kids who start out taking a long time to get through the lessons and then later on find they can get through them in an hour?

 

Somebody elsewhere suggested something that I found very interesting, although it sounds like a lot of work. Break the lesson into parts, and time each part. For example, time how long it takes to get through Facts Practice, Mental Math, Reading, etc. Then record the times in a spreadsheet and (I don't know how to do this, but I guess I could learn) make a progress graph. He says this would help my ds "self-monitor." If I try it and it works, I'll let you know, but my hopes aren't high.....

 

I do like the idea of racing, but at this stage I'll always beat him and he knows it.  :laugh:

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Every child is different. As Dory said. But I think a LOT of children can adapt to Saxon if not thrive on it.

 

I found Saxon worked well with a Robinson like schedule. If we were starting to pile on lots of other textbooks, then Saxon seemed more overwhelming than if it was the only textbook.

 

Breaking it up helped–a LOT.

 

I personally found that I wasn't capable of teaching anything but Saxon after Algebra 2. So it gives me a lot of incentive to use it earlier too.

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I didn't always beat my 10 year old at Algebra 1. And when I did win, it was by the skin of my teeth. Algebra 1 is a bear of a book for a 10 year old. He was perfectly capable of doing Algebra 1, but Saxon can be heavy burden, for the gifted little guys. Once he got used to racing through the problems, and that became a habit, just breaking up the lessons into 2 sessions was enough.

 

After Saxon was snack and an educational DVD. So, he had something to look forward to. Saxon was NOT immediately preceded and followed by more textbook work.

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I think you're expecting too much.  If you really want to use Saxon, you're going to need to adapt it to your son's needs.  He is 7 and he needs an adult to sit with him while he does the problems because otherwise it's just too overwhelming and he gets stuck.  I'd have him do the bulk of the problems orally and the rest on a whiteboard. 

 

However, if he is two years ahead in math (or is it three?), you may want to consider using a program that works better for kids who are accelerated in math.  Singapore math has a format that works well for young kids (workbooks and fewer problems per lesson).  It has the depth and strength in teaching problem solving that accelerated kids need.  Other programs to consider are Beast Academy and Math Mammoth.

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My first guess: could it be that he is simply bored? In that case, switching to a more engaging math program might do the trick.

(We were bored stiff with Saxon)

 

We cut down Saxon problems to bare bones minimum and ruthlessly eliminated large portions that were not necessary for my students.

I totally agree with this. This is our last year of Saxon we are switching to MM, my kids are bored & not being challenged. I have cut down the problems to a minimum. I know that my children know the material and they are efficient at getting through their work, but if I had them do every problem, especially my ds at level 6/5, I'm sure he would drag it out for hours due to pure frustration at the lack of thinking/boredom.

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He's 7. He hasn't skipped anything, he just started early and went through 1st & 2nd grade stuff relatively quickly. Then started slowing down a lot with 3rd & 4th grade math.

 

I wouldn't force a 7 yo to sit through hours of math. How about if you set a timer for a certain amount of time and whatever he gets done in that amount of time he gets done? Just don't skip the problems! Saxon builds understanding through the problems and he will be lost if you skip.

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I've had two kids who could easily take two or three hours on a Saxon lesson if left on their own, despite getting good grades on the tests. First child has fine motor difficulties and visual processing weaknesses that I never realized until she was tested as a teen. I believe, not only the number of problems, but the formatting of Saxon was the difficulty for her. She worked faster with math curriculum that was formatted more clearly--lined up with larger print, and more white space. My second also took super long with Saxon and was making frequent mistakes. She has visual-motor difficulties as well but I didn't make the connection. I started to notice that she did not make mistakes if I wrote the problems on a whiteboard, so this year I had her evaluated by a developmental optometrist who identified convergence insufficiency and a tracking problem, and we started therapy. After two months of therapy, we have seen a huge change in the time needed for finish a Saxon lesson and she's making much fewer mistakes. She doesn't seem to dread math anymore. This week will be her last week of therapy and I couldn't be more pleased with the results.

 

Over the years on the boards, I have seen people complain about the time it takes for their dc to do math, and not too infrequently, it turns out to be a visual problem that is helped either by glasses or vision therapy. I wish I had looked into this possibility earlier rather than assume it was an attention problem. There are genuine attention problems but you wouldn't want to get into medication without looking into other causes.

 

If an otherwise smart kid is taking an excessive time to do math, I will always recommend ruling out a vision problem with a covd optometrist who will not only look at acuity but ocular motor function. Convergence insufficiency, for example, is as common as ADHD and often shows similar symptoms and is treatable with vision therapy according to research. My oldest's problem is not treatable with vision therapy but at least, through getting the evaluation, we know she has genuine difficulty and isn't just not trying hard enough, and we know how to accommodate it.

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I really appreciate all the advice, but...well, not that I necessarily expected consistency, but I'm getting conflicting advice and it's hard to know who is right. Let me try to summarize the different solutions people have given (and did I mention that I appreciate all of this??):

  • Don't do all the problems; do only the ones ds needs to do. (Does this work over the long haul? Has anyone tried it for years and still gotten good scores on the exams? I want a permanent solution.)
  • Sit down with ds and work every problem. Maybe on a whiteboard or orally for some of them. With direction from me, he should be able to get through the lesson much more quickly.
  • Work at half speed, split up lessons into two sections. Or otherwise "work sideways"...
  • Set a timer and let him do as many problems as he can, don't have him work longer than that.
  • Change the curriculum, because Saxon might be a bad fit for an accelerated student but some disagree with this. BA, Singapore, MM
  • Racing for candy  :laugh:
  • Use a "Robinson schedule"...sorry I don't know what this means. I found this http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/ but nothing about a schedule?
  • Consider that he might have visual-motor difficulties.

:confused1:

 

Also, just to put everybody's minds at ease, I rarely make him do 2-3 hours of math in one day. I'm just saying that's how long it takes him all together to get through a lesson.

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I really appreciate all the advice, but...well, not that I necessarily expected consistency, but I'm getting conflicting advice and it's hard to know who is right. Let me try to summarize the different solutions people have given (and did I mention that I appreciate all of this??):

  • Don't do all the problems; do only the ones ds needs to do. (Does this work over the long haul? Has anyone tried it for years and still gotten good scores on the exams? I want a permanent solution.)
  • Sit down with ds and work every problem. Maybe on a whiteboard or orally for some of them. With direction from me, he should be able to get through the lesson much more quickly.
  • Work at half speed, split up lessons into two sections. Or otherwise "work sideways"...
  • Set a timer and let him do as many problems as he can, don't have him work longer than that.
  • Change the curriculum, because Saxon might be a bad fit for an accelerated student but some disagree with this. BA, Singapore, MM
  • Racing for candy  :laugh:
  • Use a "Robinson schedule"...sorry I don't know what this means. I found this http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/ but nothing about a schedule?
  • Consider that he might have visual-motor difficulties.

:confused1:

 

Any of the above might be right - we do not know your son's specific circumstances.

I would definitely address the last point first to rule out any underlying conditions; if there were any, all other solution attempts would be stabs in the dark.

Whether or not Saxon as a program works for your child, none of us can tell you. As you have seen, it works great for some posters' children, and is disastrous for others. Children are different, and need different curricula. Some thrive with a spiral method like Saxon, others require a mastery based curriculum because the incremental spiral does not mesh with their learning style.

Also, since you mention your son being advanced: not all gifted/advanced children react the same way to certain types of materials; some will shut down and lose focus when they perceive anything as busy work, whereas others will do whatever is asked of them; some seek out challenge and wither when they don't have it, others are content to work at grade level and balk at higher requirements.

 

If you find that Saxon works in principle and you would like to stay with it, all the different suggestions to make it workable could work- you need to try out what works for your child. Is he competetive and motivated by a race? Or does splitting the lessons solve the issue?  Or does he simply need your presence and redirection when he loses focus? It will depend on your kid.

 

If you find that Saxon does not work well for him, then you should switch to a different program and not attempt to tweak it to make it fit. This is why reducing the number of problems is not a long term solution. It requires a lot of thought,effort, and expertise to discern what can be skipped and what must be completed; I see it as a short term solution, but if this were needed to make it work, the program is not a good match, and you'd save yourself a lot of headache if you change.

 

And again: whether the issue is Saxon or not is not something we can tell you from afar. All we can offer are different perspectives, BTDTs, ideas. If those suggestions seem contradictory, it is because we can not tell what the underlying reasons for his lack of focus are.

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I had this issue with different curriculum with my 7 year old. I came up with a deal that if he worked diligently for thirty minutes, he was finished with math for the day. He often  was able to finish the assignment. But, I had to stay in that room to make sure he was working. I did not push or nag. The timer did that for me and it showed him that if he stopped goofing around, he could finish a lesson in a timely manner. Timer no longer needed!

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I really appreciate all the advice, but...well, not that I necessarily expected consistency, but I'm getting conflicting advice and it's hard to know who is right. Let me try to summarize the different solutions people have given (and did I mention that I appreciate all of this??):

  • Don't do all the problems; do only the ones ds needs to do. (Does this work over the long haul? Has anyone tried it for years and still gotten good scores on the exams? I want a permanent solution.)
  • Sit down with ds and work every problem. Maybe on a whiteboard or orally for some of them. With direction from me, he should be able to get through the lesson much more quickly.
  • Work at half speed, split up lessons into two sections. Or otherwise "work sideways"...
  • Set a timer and let him do as many problems as he can, don't have him work longer than that.
  • Change the curriculum, because Saxon might be a bad fit for an accelerated student but some disagree with this. BA, Singapore, MM
  • Racing for candy  :laugh:
  • Use a "Robinson schedule"...sorry I don't know what this means. I found this http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/ but nothing about a schedule?
  • Consider that he might have visual-motor difficulties.

:confused1:

 

Also, just to put everybody's minds at ease, I rarely make him do 2-3 hours of math in one day. I'm just saying that's how long it takes him all together to get through a lesson.

Art Reed has written articles about why problems should not be skipped in Saxon but I can't find it now that I'd like to. I will TRY to explain why but his explanations are much better then mine.

The way Saxon is set up is they teach a concept in a lesson then review those things that are taught but the problems get harder without extra explanation. So if you skip problems, say all the odds, or whatever, eventually your child will have a very hard time understanding the math because he's missed some. Not all math currics are like this, I think only Saxon is. I've tried Saxon more than once with each of my kids and really prefer it and Life of Fred together. I don't let my lkids skip problems so with my 7 and 8 yos one lesson may take 2 or 3 days, all depending on how they do. My 10 and 11 yos usually do one lesson in about an hour and my 14 yo takes about an hour and 1/2.

Having said all that I have to add that my 11 yo had to learn over time that I will make him do ALL his assigned work and if he chose to daydream and goof off and take literally 9 hours to do what should not have taken moire than 3 to finish, that was his problem. But he was 11 when he learned this, not 7. My current and past 7 yos never have more than an 1 and 1/2 hours total sitting down school work.

I also have to add I've switched m y kids to TT and LOF math because we are moving and my dh is going to work in another state leaving me behind to sell our house, take care of my parents (who live with us), and our kids so for the sake of MY sanity, I've switched. But, I plan on going back to Saxon ASAP because I feel it's a very strong math curric that works. If only someone else would grade it like TT!

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DD12 used Saxon at that age - 5/4 probably or maybe 6/5.  Here is what it looked like - she did all the mental math problems herself.  Then, she would work thru the problem set standing up at the white board.  If it was a word problem. I would read it out loud for her while she wrote the numbers down (too easy to get lost while figuring it out), otherwise she copied the problem from the book to the board herself. 

 

Writing on the white board was good practice for later on when she had to write the problems in a notebook and show ALL her work.  Since the work was on the board, I would check it before she erased it to do the next problem - which eased up the grading load.   We liked Saxon and it worked well for DD as long as I didn't let her get bogged down while she worked.

 

We did her math together until she was a bit older, just because of the focus issues.  She COULD do the math without any problem, but her brain is often full of butterflies and ponies and she needed help learning to keep her focus when she was younger.

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  • 1 month later...

I thought I would post an update. Thank you all so so so much for your advice.

 

We have stuck with Saxon. I don't think Saxon is the problem. Yes, it can be dry, but it is also a very thorough math sequence and has more practice than we could possibly need.

 

First, I took your advice and sat down with my ds to do the work. This sped things up quite a bit (of course!). But we were still taking two hours, even working together.

 

So I talked things over with a homeschooling friend and now I'm convinced that all we really need to do is cut out the extra problems that cover stuff that ds has mastered. If I'm sitting next to him and I know which problems he understands very well, it is easy to say, "Just skip that one." So, we do!

 

With these time-saving points, we're down to 90 minutes. And even though he hasn't gotten as much practice as he did between tests, his test scores are still fine. His test scores have been 90%, 100%, and 85% even when we've been doing fewer problems. We're probably still doing too many problems...probably 2/3 of the problems, although "officially" I'm aiming to do only half. So we'll be stricter about skipping the ones I've said we'll skip. That will speed us up.

 

Also, I've been having him write down many of the answers, which really isn't necessary, since so many of the problems can be done mentally. So I'm going to have him stop writing down answers that he works out in his head.

 

Finally, today I decided...we just won't go over an hour. If necessary, we'll cut down the number we do even more. I'll watch the clock and if we're coming up against the deadline we'll just skip more.

 

I feel like we're really going to solve this problem. Love it when that happens!

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