# Math curriculum questionsâ€¦ Saxon Intermediate 3 vs 5/4

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The more I think about it, the more I am leaning towards moving away from MUS after we finish Gamma. I love the conceptual foundation MUS has laid for my DS8 and I think it was exactly what he needed for K-2. But as we move into 3rd grade, DS no longer needs the manipulatives and I am finding the way that MUS is taught is so different from the way I teach and understand math that I am unable to help DS (who is also very confused by some of the methods). So I am looking at some other options.

Today I am looking at Saxon Intermediate 3. He is probably ready for the concepts in Saxon 5/4 but since we have only used MUS, I thought Intermediate 3 might help with the learning curve of a new curriculum. He is sorely lacking in math fact memorization and 'real world' applications of time, money, temperature, weights and measures, etc. Cathy Duffy describes Intermediate 3 as being pretty independent which is hugely important. However, if we move on to Saxon 5/4, I have the advantage of using the Teaching Tapes (anybody have opinions on these?).

Thoughts on Saxon Inter3 and 5/4? What do you love/hate?

Other options I am researching are Teaching Textbooks and RightStart

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If he struggles with fact memorization, I would hesitate for 5/4. In 5/4, they expect you to pretty much have addition and subtraction with a few lessons of review in the beginning and then go to multiplication. The way they teach multiplication is mostly skip counting. Multiplication is also accelerated as the large focus is getting into division. Saxon 3 is when multiplication is really introduced.

We just switched from Saxon to A Beka after three years of Saxon math because their way of introducing math facts were, in my opinion, haphazard and hurting my son's retention. Take multiplication. The concept of groups of objects and faster way to do addition was fine, but it was the order of the tables that really bothered me. They would start with the easy tables of ones, tens and fives. They use skip counting to teach it. They will start the child skip counting in the daily warmup through certain extraneous stuff. The first table we learned after ones, twos, tens and fives were the times seven tables. These were drilled in by having the child count by sevens and ask how many days were in a certain number of weeks. Then they went with the twelves by asking how many months were in a year. Then it went to fours and then eights. The eights were introduced with the gallon system that they were supposed to have drilled into memory from before. The perfect squares were introduced on their own. Then whatever is left because that is when I closed the book. I thought 5/4 would be better, but the fact intro for multiplication is fewer than ten lessons and in random order again. When learning addition, they started with all these tricks and gimmicks, and whatever facts were leftover and didn't fit were called the oddball facts. Their method of memory is just page after page of black and white math facts and flash cards.

With all that said, I am not against fact memorization through drill. But Saxon was very dry and colorless and they lacked a logical order of fact presentation. We just switched to A Beka for its color and order of fact families. I plan to supplement with Multiplication the Fun Way. There are also several game ideas and colorful pages. They are similar, but in my opinion, their sequence is more logical. But I wouldnt do A Beka past elementary. I had always thought I would do Saxon in upper grades, but my son has developed such a hatred for it that I am not sure.

Many do well in Saxon, and I am not saying A Beka is right for your family. But I wanted you to understand the things you will encounter in regards to fact memorization in Saxon. I did regular Saxon 3, not the Intermediate. In fact, I have the book I am selling if you want it. :). If they still struggle with addition and subtraction, I would take the summer to work with him on the side. Addimals and Xtramath Are free apps that have been helping us this year. Getting out counters and showing all the ways to make 11 or 12, etc. also help. By third grade, most programs are not going to provide the extra help someone struggling with addition will need. You will need to supplement some extra practice with any program you do. If he doesn't have addition and subtraction down, multiplication and division are that much harder.

If you go with Saxon, I'd go with Intermediate 3 to give you more time to get those facts down and for the slowed pace of introducing multiplication.

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His math and subtraction facts are not an issue. They are not automatic but he can do them mentally relatively quickly. His multiplication facts he uses skip counting every single time. That is one of our projects this summer, to memorize the times tables themselves because the skip counting is wearing. me. out. :)

He is already doing single and double digit multiplication. So if Saxon Intermediate 3 is just introducing multiplication, that may be behind where he is. But if it would be a good intro to the *way* Saxon does things, it may be worth a little remediation...

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I would start him in 5/4. I love Saxon k-3 and 5/4+, but the format of Intermediate 3 was awful.

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Well then he could probably do 5/4.  I believe Saxon has a placement test.  While there are there things in 3 than just multiplication, such as fractions, they do take the entire year to present all the multiplication facts.  It is a very incremental program with little bits that spiral around.  If you already have that level of multiplication down, 5/4 would probably be good, but do the placement test to be sure.  Many third graders are in 5/4 and start Saxon a year ahead.  However, if you think he would have problems with writing out all the problems on notebook paper or the formatting of 5/4, you could look at Intermediate 4. The 5/4 and up have different authors than K-3 and the Intermediate and tend to be preferred more than the others, but only you know if your child is ready for that format yet.

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The more I think about it, the more I am leaning towards moving away from MUS after we finish Gamma. I love the conceptual foundation MUS has laid for my DS8 and I think it was exactly what he needed for K-2. But as we move into 3rd grade, DS no longer needs the manipulatives and I am finding the way that MUS is taught is so different from the way I teach and understand math that I am unable to help DS (who is also very confused by some of the methods). So I am looking at some other options.

Today I am looking at Saxon Intermediate 3. He is probably ready for the concepts in Saxon 5/4 but since we have only used MUS, I thought Intermediate 3 might help with the learning curve of a new curriculum. He is sorely lacking in math fact memorization and 'real world' applications of time, money, temperature, weights and measures, etc. Cathy Duffy describes Intermediate 3 as being pretty independent which is hugely important. However, if we move on to Saxon 5/4, I have the advantage of using the Teaching Tapes (anybody have opinions on these?).

Thoughts on Saxon Inter3 and 5/4? What do you love/hate?

Other options I am researching are Teaching Textbooks and RightStart

Has he done the Saxon placement test?

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