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Some Saxon love, FWIW


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I know the way the boards work as far as cycles of popularity, and how if someone is having success with something you get people who have tried it and hate it. I just want to share some thoughts about this program for people who are starting out and don't know they are in a Saxon trough of popularity. I speak mostly of the original editions done pre-2004ish.

 

I have tried to use Miquon and Life of Fred. They were nice, but I kept coming back to Saxon. I just want to establish that I am not totally close-minded. And now, for some anecdotal evidence:

 

Saxon is what I grew up doing, and it is what my husband grew up using. He has, since calculus in college, continued working on all of their advanced books, including Physics, as a hobby. We have a good friend who just received his physics master's degree with honors at Rice University. He and my husband were being nerds together and doing some math and whatnot for kicks. My husband was solving a problem using one of the evil computational tricks you are forced to memorize in Saxon. Our friend was surprised and delighted to find such a simple elegant solution. He begged my husband to teach it to him.

 

So what do I like about Saxon?

1. My kids, myself, my brother, and my husband are all able to use it independently. From grade 4 on up, it is pretty self-teaching. Tiny 10- minute lessons and then on to the problems. It does take a chunk out of your day to finish everything, but it is worth it.

 

2. It spirals. Spiral means never letting an inch of your brain get rusty. It really amazes me how Mr. Saxon can touch on so many subjects in just 30 problems. Everything stays fresh. And if you do forget how to do something, you have the lesson it came from written right there under the problem if you need to do some research. Spiral also means a gentle introduction, a few lessons getting the hang of something, then adding a tiny variation. So not intimidating.

 

3. Results. The mental math sections and the way they teach multiplication means I can be standing in a store juggling percents, taxes, and all kinds of variables in my head because I was trained to do so at a young age. I can read on Facebook about Common Core math problems someone's kid brings home and understand the problem, understand the Common Core solution, explain the solution, and give a way simpler algorithim for the poor kid to try (which may still get him a fail).

 

4. The connections it makes to the real world and to literature are interesting. Learning how to read an airport schedule on lesson, and references to Dorothy and Toto are par for the course. The connections the student who is paying attention will make within the lesson teach things even though it isn't explicit. For instance, problem 23 might have 20 divided by 4. Then problem 24 might be 40 divided by 8. So even though it isn't spelled out, you can figure out that hey, there's a relationship there.

 

I am not saying it is perfect for everyone, but I just feel like it is not getting the chance it needs here on the boards. I am so grateful for Saxon giving me a solid foundation. I have no math fears, and neither do my kids. They see numbers as a language that they expect to understand. No big deal.

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I am kind of torn right now. I was considering using Singapore Primary, Standards Edition for my soon to be 1st grader. I took another look at the Saxon samples (I remember NOT liking the Saxon samples I had seen in the past- maybe I looked at K?) and it doesn't look as horrible as I remember. Have you ever used or seen Singapore before? I know there are a lot of comparison threads out there..I guess I will do some searching. Thanks for posting!

 

Amber

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Algorithms get such a bad rap. I like your description of elegant. They are elegant sometime. Blumenfeld's How to Tutor is the best book to talk about the beauty of the Arabic decimal system.

 

Saxon is the only series I will use for advanced math and calculus. I'm more than fine piecing my own stuff before Algebra, and I am capable of using Aufmann for Algebra 1 and 2, but just hang me before forcing me to use anything other than Saxon for advanced math and calculus.

 

I'm working through Saxon Algebra 1 as a review for my own self-education, and hope to complete the entire series over the next couple years. I'm using the 2nd edition which does not have the little numbers directing the student back to the explanation, but this is what I used with my sons and what I am used to. It has more review and is more of an entry level text, allowing me to use something else for pre-algebra and before.

 

I'm toying with the idea of starting Saxon earlier with students, but right now, I'm still winging it.

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I have heard many great things about Saxon. HOWEVER- are all of these great things on older edition SM books? Or can I just go to the SM site now and order the same book that y'all rave about? What is the recommendation?

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I appreciated coming across this post.  I seem to get a lot of negative feedback when I say that we are Saxon users.  Having only used one level, I too am wondering whether the new versions are just as effective as the older ones?  I just purchased the new homeschool 5/4 edition.

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I have heard many great things about Saxon. HOWEVER- are all of these great things on older edition SM books? Or can I just go to the SM site now and order the same book that y'all rave about? What is the recommendation?

 

Regarding the new books (published by Houghton-Mifflin): Course 1, Course 2, and Course 3 are excellent.  The new Algebra books, however, are a disaster. Definitely stick with the older ones.

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Saxon is working well for my older son. He didn't start it until Alg. 1, but it seems to be a good fit. At the community college, he was able to place at the Pre-Calculus level.

 

I'll be switching to Saxon 7/6 for my youngest ds in the fall simply for the drill/kill method. He needs it.

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I like Saxon. Loved doing 5/4 with my ds but this year he started to get bored. I think it's just him however. He doesn't necessarily like math, so I made a mistake to stop Saxon and switch to a Singapore approach with him. He can do that, but it's more complicated, more Mom intensive and i just don't like it.

 

I want to go back to Saxon. I also want to try the earlier books (K-3). I do plan on trying K with my dd.

 

I'm torn about math right now. With all of my kiddos.

 

Maybe Singapore Standards until 6th and then start Saxon 8/7?

 

I think I want to drop Math Mammoth. Math on The Level sounds interesting.

 

I love Miquon however and will always take my children through those sets of books!!!!

 

But mostly Saxon always calls my name. I think what my oldest started to dislike was the daily repetition, so if I could find some way to get him doing his Saxon lessons and break it up into more interesting bits, or add something.

 

But I can't deny that it works. 

 

I've been interested in knowing how the newer editions have changed? 

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Saxon fan here too!

 

Can you speak to the differences between Saxon integrated math for high school, and the books Saxon has for high school that treat Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II separately?  If we don't plan on going back to public school for high school. I would like to use Saxon integrated math, but I have heard so many bad things about integrated math.  Do you have experience with integrated math at the high school level?  Why the bad rap about integrated math?  I searched the high school boards and came up with very little info that I needed.

Algorithms get such a bad rap. I like your description of elegant. They are elegant sometime. Blumenfeld's How to Tutor is the best book to talk about the beauty of the Arabic decimal system.

 

Saxon is the only series I will use for advanced math and calculus. I'm more than fine piecing my own stuff before Algebra, and I am capable of using Aufmann for Algebra 1 and 2, but just hang me before forcing me to use anything other than Saxon for advanced math and calculus.

 

I'm working through Saxon Algebra 1 as a review for my own self-education, and hope to complete the entire series over the next couple years. I'm using the 2nd edition which does not have the little numbers directing the student back to the explanation, but this is what I used with my sons and what I am used to. It has more review and is more of an entry level text, allowing me to use something else for pre-algebra and before.

 

I'm toying with the idea of starting Saxon earlier with students, but right now, I'm still winging it.

 

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Saxon fan here too!

 

Can you speak to the differences between Saxon integrated math for high school, and the books Saxon has for high school that treat Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II separately?  If we don't plan on going back to public school for high school. I would like to use Saxon integrated math, but I have heard so many bad things about integrated math.  Do you have experience with integrated math at the high school level?  Why the bad rap about integrated math?  I searched the high school boards and came up with very little info that I needed.

 

The old sequence worked very well:

Saxon 5/4, Saxon 6/5, Saxon 7/6, Saxon 8/7 Algebra 1/2, old Algebra 1, old Algebra 2, Advanced Mathematics, Calculus.

 

The new sequence goes something like this:

Course 1 (excellent), Course 2 (excellent), Course 3 (excellent), new Algebra 1 (disaster), new Algebra 2 (total disaster), Geometry (not familiar with this one, but it's probably a disaster) ... and then nothing after that.

 

My son will be using the following sequence:

Saxon 7/6, Saxon 8/7, Course 3, old Algebra 1, old Algebra 2, Advanced Mathematics, Calculus.

 

The new Algebra books are a mess. They introduce too many topics in too little time and there is not enough review. Many of the questions are incredibly confusing and the answer key is frequently wrong.(In fairness, the old Algebra 2 book has a lot of errors in the answer key, too.)

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The old sequence worked very well:

Saxon 5/4, Saxon 6/5, Saxon 7/6, Saxon 8/7 Algebra 1/2, old Algebra 1, old Algebra 2, Advanced Mathematics, Calculus.

 

The new sequence goes something like this:

Course 1 (excellent), Course 2 (excellent), Course 3 (excellent), new Algebra 1 (disaster), new Algebra 2 (total disaster), Geometry (not familiar with this one, but it's probably a disaster) ... and then nothing after that.

 

My son will be using the following sequence:

Saxon 7/6, Saxon 8/7, Course 3, old Algebra 1, old Algebra 2, Advanced Mathematics, Calculus.

 

The new Algebra books are a mess. They introduce too many topics in too little time and there is not enough review. Many of the questions are incredibly confusing and the answer key is frequently wrong.(In fairness, the old Algebra 2 book has a lot of errors in the answer key, too.)

 

 

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Stop the horse. When did this change take place? I have been on the Saxon math site tons of times and it was always 5/4, 6/5, 7/6, 8/7, etc. etc. I just went to their website right now and I cannot find these books! I thought the homeschool books weren't supposed to change? Enlighten me, I hope I'm missing something!

 

ETA: Here is the "new" webpage for the Saxon homeschool math - I'm not seeing anything about Course 1, 2, 3, etc. I would like to hear more about that, as, again, I had heard that while their regular curricula was adjusting to common core, their homeschool curricula wasn't.

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Another Saxon fan here as well. It's what I used myself. We also use older editions - normally 1st or 2nd editions. I know that in Art Reed's book Using Saxon Math, he recommends 2nd or 3rd edition on most. But with comparing the editions, I don't see a lot of different between 1st & 2nd edition honestly.

 

I am about to switch DD to Saxon. Prior to this we used MCP. However, she places in between the 3rd grad Math text & 5/4 - WWYD? She aced the Saxon placement test for k-3, but bombed the middle grades test. I am not sure if I should put her in Saxon Math 3 or use 5/4 & work slowly. She is going into 3rd grade.

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Saxon, since being purchased by Houton-Mifflin(? working off memory here) has restructured.  There's still the old system that most of us are at least familiar with, and then there's a new system that's designed for public school use.

 

 

 

I taught in country school in the mid-late 90s (yeah, one room, like Little House on the Prairie).  Our county superintendant had only old-fashioned Saxon math for the two dozen country schools' use.

 

But it was that experience with Saxon in the K-Algebra ages that made me decide that's what I was using for my kids when we homeschooled.  It worked well for each of my students...Far better than "mastery" type programs I'd seen previously.

The first time I'd seen Saxon blasted here, I was really surprised.  The idea that "it just doesn't work" for so many kids was really odd for me...

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However, she places in between the 3rd grad Math text & 5/4 - WWYD? She aced the Saxon placement test for k-3, but bombed the middle grades test. I am not sure if I should put her in Saxon Math 3 or use 5/4 & work slowly. She is going into 3rd grade.

 

Go with 5/4.  It's only a grade level ahead.  My kids have always worked at least one, sometimes two, grade levels ahead in math.  Even the non-mathy one...

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Both Saxon and Hake believed in the same style of problem sets. Saxon believed in easier and narrow problems sets though. As Hake makes changes according to his own beliefs and what the PS schools are asking for, the series gets harder and wider and reviews the basics less.

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Yeah I never use Saxon K. I just start on Saxon 1 whenever we start kindergarten. I have not actually taught anything past 6/5 which my dd just finished this week.

 

I must say, I totally believe in going through the warm-ups outlined in the TM for level 1-3. It is a job, but it is like instant circle time that I don't have to plan out. I was diligent with my first child, who is really not mathy, and I am so glad I di. I can chalk that up as one of my most important successes so far because those warm-ups introduce concepts so gently and yet always with a variation to keep it interesting. It really built my daughter's confidence so that when she got to learning her 7 times tables, she already had them memorized because of weeks of discussing calendars and skip counting. Like a previous poster mentioned, a kid's confidence really grows when they are in this program that is predictable, routine, and leads them up the spiral staircase by the hand. I wouldn't potty train or teach piano concertos without these values, as bourgeois as they are.

 

As far as middle school and high school, I would get Hunter's advice on that. I personally flourished on the 2nd edition (I think) of Algebra 1/2 in 7th or 8th grade.

 

This thread gave me some food for thought about sequence and editions of books. http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/473988-saxon-math-sequence/

 

I figure anything published before 2004 is safe because that is when Saxon was sold.

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Go with 5/4. It's only a grade level ahead. My kids have always worked at least one, sometimes two, grade levels ahead in math. Even the non-mathy one...

Yes! My kids do the same thing. Another reassurance: Saxon's first 40-60 lessons are very basic reviews. "Addition" is one entire lesson. Then 60-end introduce newer concepts or go deeper on stuff that was covered already.

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Sorry for any confusion. 

 

Here are the old Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 books, which are excellent:

http://www.amazon.com/Algebra-Incremental-Development-Edition-Saxon/dp/1565771346

http://www.amazon.com/Algebra-Incremental-Development-Saxon/dp/1565771400/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399839880&sr=1-1&keywords=algebra+2+saxon

 

Here are the new Houghton-Mifflin Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 books, which are a nightmare:

http://www.amazon.com/Saxon-Algebra-1-Student-2009/dp/1602773017/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399839939&sr=1-3&keywords=algebra+1+saxon

http://www.amazon.com/Saxon-Algebra-2-Student-2009/dp/1602773033/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399839909&sr=1-3&keywords=algebra+2+saxon

 

Keep in mind that John Saxon died 20 years ago. Houghton-Mifflin bought his company and published these horrible books under Saxon's name. Yes, he is rolling over in his grave. Anyway, stick with the old Algebra books and you will be just fine.

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This is what I was planning, minus the Course 3.

 

Just curious:  What is in Course 3?  Is it similar to the old Algebra 1/2?

The old sequence worked very well:

Saxon 5/4, Saxon 6/5, Saxon 7/6, Saxon 8/7 Algebra 1/2, old Algebra 1, old Algebra 2, Advanced Mathematics, Calculus.

 

The new sequence goes something like this:

Course 1 (excellent), Course 2 (excellent), Course 3 (excellent), new Algebra 1 (disaster), new Algebra 2 (total disaster), Geometry (not familiar with this one, but it's probably a disaster) ... and then nothing after that.
 

My son will be using the following sequence:

Saxon 7/6, Saxon 8/7, Course 3, old Algebra 1, old Algebra 2, Advanced Mathematics, Calculus.

 

The new Algebra books are a mess. They introduce too many topics in too little time and there is not enough review. Many of the questions are incredibly confusing and the answer key is frequently wrong.(In fairness, the old Algebra 2 book has a lot of errors in the answer key, too.)

 

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This is what I was planning, minus the Course 3.

 

Just curious:  What is in Course 3?  Is it similar to the old Algebra 1/2?

 

We haven't started it yet, but I have flipped through it. It appears to be a beefed-up, rigorous version of the old Algebra 1/2 book.

 

Stephen Hake has recommended that students go from 8/7 to Course 3 to old Algebra 1; we are following his recommendation. It will mean lots and lots of pre-Algebra, which is fine with me. We are in no rush.

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Saxon had nothing to so with Course 3 either. Is it being sold as a Saxon text?

 

Saxon wrote Algebra 1/2. Hake wrote 8/7 and Course 3. Hake has different philosophies. I'm not surprised he is telling people to do Course 3 instead of 1/2. Personally, I'd do 1/2 that was written by Saxon to prepare for an Algebra 1 that was also written by Saxon.

 

And I'd use Hake texts that were at least edited and approved by Saxon, if I could get them.

 

I don't think it'll be too long before Saxon is taken off the market and replaced with Hake texts.

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I used Saxon in middle school and high school.  I am using Saxon with my kids.  My oldest started out with it in private school, and we continued with it without really even thinking of any other choices.  However, I very much hope they keep the homeschool books just like they are or I may have to go on a rampage and buy every grade.  I will say that I think Saxon K is my least favorite.  If that is your only experience with Saxon, I could see the dislike.  I can also see how some of the drill of the daily meeting can be monotonous at times.  I sometimes skip parts of the meeting if I know my son has it down really well and do it every few lessons or so (for instance, he knows how to count by 5's and clock really well, so I sometimes skip that but rarely skip counting by 7's.)  

 

I don't doubt anyone's curriculum choice as the best fit for one's family, but I think continually switching curriculums for a child, especially in math, can lead to more math problems as most math curricula builds on concepts, especially in a spiral curriculum.  That's not to say you can't start Saxon in any grade, really, but doing Horizons one year, Singapore the next, then trying Saxon will leave gaps.  I would also say that elementary math in Saxon can be tedious, but that doesn't mean that it fails in teaching math well.  Learning math facts for some kids will be hard and frustrating no matter what.  Yes, find the way they learn best, but if a child has difficulty with something, it's easy to search for new curriculum.  The curriculum, however, is not the teacher; it's a tool.  An example is in Saxon 3, my son had a really hard time at first counting by 7's with the calendar questions (How many days in 2 weeks, etc.)  I know he learns well with jingles, and I found a counting by sevens song we learned together, and in a few short weeks, he now finds it super easy and answers the questions before I even prompt him.  

 

Because he is very musical and literary, he does struggle some with quick memory of math facts and even "hates" it sometimes.  But we are working through it slowly at home this year at his pace, and after Saxon 3, we are going to take a small break and do some Life of Fred books.  He saw a sample and he's begging me.  We may supplement with them in the future or even switch for a year, but I keep coming back to the strengths of the Saxon spiral.

 

Anyways, all this to say, that Saxon works well for us.  I like the drill of the math facts (although we only do one side of the worksheet daily and don't time math facts sheets) as memory is good for the grammar stage where they can use that memorization and drill later when they do more complicated math.  I didn't always "like" math growing up, but after a solid math education with Saxon and A Beka, I am very good at math, and it has really helped me in my career with budgeting and as a Finance Director.  

 

On an earlier post on where to place your daughter after Saxon 3, look at Saxon 3 or 4 Intermediate.  It provides a gentle transition into the older grade format and may be a good fit.  These are newer.

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I am kind of torn right now. I was considering using Singapore Primary, Standards Edition for my soon to be 1st grader. I took another look at the Saxon samples (I remember NOT liking the Saxon samples I had seen in the past- maybe I looked at K?) and it doesn't look as horrible as I remember. Have you ever used or seen Singapore before? I know there are a lot of comparison threads out there..I guess I will do some searching. Thanks for posting!

 

Amber

 

 

I was homeschooled using Saxon Math from 5/4 to Pre-Cal. I'm using it with my kids now and plan on using it the whole way through high school. But, I also use Singapore Math. I wanted one of our math programs to be spiral and, having done it, I knew I could teach Saxon. I also wanted a program that was the complete opposite so that the kids could be comfortable with different styles and Singapore seemed the most popular mastery program. My kids do math (and reading) 6 days a week, all year round, so we get through Saxon and Singapore with time left over to do Life of Fred in the summer, for fun. DH prefers a STEM focus and I am an English major so I insisted on the reading and DH insisted on the math. Strangely, our kids hardly ever complain about doing either, even on Saturdays. 

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One more question for the Saxon experts.

 

DIVE? Yes or no? I have the DIVE Disc for Saxon 5/4 2nd Edition. I'm trying to decide between using the 1st edition 5/4 set I have & not using DIVE, or trying to find a Saxon 5/4 2nd edition set so it matches the DIVE disc & use both together. I have the textbook for 5/4 2nd edition, and can probably get the rest of the set cheaply at the local homeschool used book center.

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I recommend not doing DIVE. Saxon is a better teacher than the DIVE teacher. There isn't time to do both DIVE and really read the text. Also, learning to buddy read math texts is important. It prepares the student to read math texts on their own later.

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One more question for the Saxon experts.

 

DIVE? Yes or no? I have the DIVE Disc for Saxon 5/4 2nd Edition. I'm trying to decide between using the 1st edition 5/4 set I have & not using DIVE, or trying to find a Saxon 5/4 2nd edition set so it matches the DIVE disc & use both together. I have the textbook for 5/4 2nd edition, and can probably get the rest of the set cheaply at the local homeschool used book center.

Not a Saxon expert and haven't used the DIVE DVDs but I do have one ready for Saxon 1/2. It might be nice to have a matching set. I know there have been times where my dd and I turned to Khan academy to explain things if we weren't clicking with a concept. If it is a tool you think you will use, I say why not.

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I am going to 5/4 next year and am not familiar with the DIVE much.  I am not planning on getting it for us, but if you think it's something you will use a lot, maybe.  I think the text does an excellent job of teaching, but if you feel like you're not as confident in teaching it, then the DIVE might be more helpful.  I have the newer set I just purchased.  I might be willing to trade you the new for the old.   :laugh:

 

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One more question for the Saxon experts.

 

DIVE? Yes or no? I have the DIVE Disc for Saxon 5/4 2nd Edition. I'm trying to decide between using the 1st edition 5/4 set I have & not using DIVE, or trying to find a Saxon 5/4 2nd edition set so it matches the DIVE disc & use both together. I have the textbook for 5/4 2nd edition, and can probably get the rest of the set cheaply at the local homeschool used book center.

 

For 5/4?

I'm not particularly math-y, but I've managed to "teach" up to Algebra so far, just using the info in the text.  I wouldn't bother with a DVD at just the 5/4 level unless you're REALLY bad at math.

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We used Singapore Math, Standards Edition, up to last year. We loved it. It was a challenge for our son who will be 8 years old this month. This year we used the Rod & Staff Math because that is what came with the Memoria Press package we ordered. The R&S Math is just too easy, and too repetitive. This upcoming fall we will be using Saxon 5/4 Math. If it turns out to be a bit less dry than Singapore Math, and a bit more practical, then we will stick with Saxon. Otherwise it's back to Singapore Math! We're not too much into changing stuff around for the sake of change, or "because we can" :)

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For 5/4?

I'm not particularly math-y, but I've managed to "teach" up to Algebra so far, just using the info in the text.  I wouldn't bother with a DVD at just the 5/4 level unless you're REALLY bad at math.

 

I"m not too bad, but I am rusty. It's been 20 or so years since I did Saxon 5/4 myself, and a good 10 years since I touched any math beyond basic day to day stuff.

 

I may work through 5/4 myself this summer, if I get time, just as a refresher. Not sure either way on the DVD honestly. I don't think I'll need it, but OTOH dd does like external instruction / drill, so she might like the DVD over me teaching it.

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I avoided Saxon for six years because of the negative reviews that I read here.  This past year I switched my ds(12) to Saxon, and it has been wonderful for him!  I love it for all the reasons that you mentioned.  He needs tons of review, and the reference numbers to previous lessons are great for him.  He often forgets how to do something, but he can look back and read the lesson again to refresh his memory.  Over time the concepts stick in his brain.  Saxon also has very good, clear explanations.  He is actually understanding math better now than he did with Math U See.  I call it Math U Don't See, and they all think that is hilarious.  For us Saxon has been amazing.

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Love the Saxon series and method.  It has really filled the holes that developed in my two sons during their public schooling from grades 1-5.  John Saxon and Stephen Hake brilliantly applied common sense learning modalities (Incremental, constant review) to math education (and even grammar).  I view math as a foreign language.  Do you want your student fluent in the language, or for them to have a superficial to moderate ability?  Sure a student can receive "A" grades in French class from 7-12 grades, but can they use it for real?  i couldn't.  I think math education is treated the same way now,  unfortunately.

 

As far as Stephen Hake steering the middle grade books (5/4 - 8/7, and even Course 3) too far from what John Saxon would have advised is an interesting question. I have posted a link to my email interview with him before.  From that exchange, it appears that Stephen Hake was the lead author of that series with John as his co-author.  All major decisions, John deferred to Hake.  Another fact to take into consideration, is that his grandchildren homeschool and have used the newer Course 3.

 

http://homeschoolingodyssey.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/saxon-math-author-stephen-hake-part-1/

 

I am planning on having my child finish 8/7 then go into Course 3, Algebra 1 (Old 3rd edition), Alg 2 (Old 3rd),  Advanced Math, Calculus.

 

However, I think Hunter does have valid points about the books changing to keep up with ever widening standards.  So Hunter's advice about Alg 1/2 instead of Course 3 does have merit. 

 

Mr. Hake addressed this issue of the focus of the books in a recent email with me and and I paste that reply here:

 

"What is important for kids to know? Somebody needs to make that decision. John had his opinions based on what he taught at the community college level and what he knew about the requirements to be successful in an engineering program. I had my opinions based on what skills and concepts were needed by students to be prepared to succeed in secondary math. However the math content expected to be covered in grade school has significantly expanded in the last 30 years. Whole topics like probability and statistics have been added that were rarely a component of math books 30 years ago, and these topics are now expected in all states. The trick now is how to cover all the required content while focusing on the critical content.

 
I often use the analogy of a building to represent mathematical learning. In the preface to early editions I would write something like, Learning mathematics is like building a tall building, the ultimate height and stability of the structure depends on the size and strength of the foundation. That's one reason I like Course 3 before algebra. It provides another opportunity to increase the depth and strength of the foundation. But the building analogy is also applicable to the range of content. Each floor of a building has structural elements like framing members, functional elements like windows and doors, and decorative elements like wall and floor finishes. Grade-school mathematics has a similar range of elements. I feel like its my responsibility to give proper weight to the various elements and not to shortchange structural elements for the sake of decorative elements. John and I were both mindful of maintaining a strong structure when working on revisions. This is an example of what I mean about the refinements and subtleties of the program that are not evident when simply looking through the books."
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OK, Saxon peeps, question for you all:  My daughter is fairly strong in math and just finishing up 7/6 (almost entirely 90-100s); we do every problem, as directed, from warm-ups to mental math to all the problems.  My plan is to have her complete 8/7 next year and then move into Algebra I in 8th grade.  Art Reed recommends Algebra 1/2 following 8/7, I think, but my God, I think she would be bored to death!  Can I just pop into Algebra I after 8/7, without doing Course 3 or Algebra 1/2? 

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Hi reefgazer,  

 

Art Reed suggest after 8/7, if your daughter does well on the last 5 tests ( I believe), that she go right into Algebra 1.  I think that is the normal progression.  Only if she struggled does he suggest 1/2.  How old is your daughter?

 

My son is finishing up 8/7 and we are doing Course 3 because I don't want to rush him into Algebra in the 7th grade.  See my post above yours about what the Saxon author Stephen Hake suggests.  He sort of believes in Course 3 between 8/7 and Alg1.

 

- Scott

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Can I just pop into Algebra I after 8/7, without doing Course 3 or Algebra 1/2?

 

That's exactly what we did.  We did 8/7 in 7th grade, and Algebra I this year in 8th.

And, because he pretty much coasted through the first 50 lessons or so, I would frequently double up the lessons, do the new problems for each, and just do the Practice set from the second lesson.  

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OK, Saxon peeps, question for you all:  My daughter is fairly strong in math and just finishing up 7/6 (almost entirely 90-100s); we do every problem, as directed, from warm-ups to mental math to all the problems.  My plan is to have her complete 8/7 next year and then move into Algebra I in 8th grade.  Art Reed recommends Algebra 1/2 following 8/7, I think, but my God, I think she would be bored to death!  Can I just pop into Algebra I after 8/7, without doing Course 3 or Algebra 1/2? 

 

There are many roads to Dublin.

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However, I think Hunter does have valid points about the books changing to keep up with ever widening standards.  So Hunter's advice about Alg 1/2 instead of Course 3 does have merit. 

 

The problem is that Algebra 1/2 is very similar in content and difficulty level to 8/7. (My daughter did both.) From what I have seen (and admittedly I have just flipped through the book), Course 3 seems like a step up from 8/7. As such, it is perhaps a better bridge to Algebra 1.

 

That is what Stephen Hake seems to believe (thank you for posting your interview!), and I trust his judgment. 

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