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Mathy kids and saxon or TT


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Talk to me about using Teaching Textbooks or Saxon Math (instead of Aops or some other mathy curricula) if you have mathy kids.  I was about to buy Aops algebra and realized that some people stick to curricula like TT and Saxon for their very capable math students.  Why?  What do you like about it?  

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My oldest is mathy, he did TT 2 years ahead.  In 7th grade he returned to PS and took the math Keystone test... a test every kid has to pass in PA to graduate high school now, and he passed it first try.  He will be a junior this year and many of his classmates have yet to pass the test.  He is on a STEM track.  


Why did I choose it?  Because it took me more out of the equation, it let him be independent and work at his own speed.  If he wanted to do 2 lessons a day he did, if he wanted to skip a day in favor of something else, he did.  My younger kids are using it now.. one on level, one above, and one not old enough for it yet. It frees up some of my time (though I still check their work... they watch the lesson, do the workbook on paper, I check, they fix and enter into the computer), and it lets them take some ownership over their education.  They all do well on standardized tests, so it can't be that bad of a program.

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My oldest is using TT, about 1.25 years ahead. I also have a first grader, and it helps me to have one less subject to instruct/grade. She grasps the subject instantly anyway.

The only problem I've had with TT is when she gets a problem wrong for a reason other than the actual math. She wants 100% every day, and breaks down into tears when she puts an answer in for the wrong question or hits the wrong key. We've had lots of discussions about how in the real world just knowing the answer isn't enough. You have to be able to communicate that answer and check your work before submitting.


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I think a decision about which approach to use, either direct and traditional or problem-based, should be based on the learner and on what end results you want.


A student who is a parts-to-whole learner, and prefers explicit instruction, will find Saxon and TT more in line with how they think. These are also good for those who prefer complete mastery of the TEXT (eg they need that 100% correct to *feel* they are getting it). The use of these textbooks gives them lots of practice in chugging through equations too, which is great for timed tests. This is math that prepares well for solving existing problems.


If your student prefers whole-parts learning, and discovery based learning, then AoPS or eIMACS would be better. They also need to be comfortable with getting more like 70% of problems right and recognizing a good deal of learning happens in mistakes. There's early exposure to the idea that mathematics cannot be mastered - there are always unsolved problems waiting for a fresh, different approach for solving it. This is great preparation for using math to solve NEW problems that don't have an established procedure yet.


My child hated math with a parts-whole approach, and thought herself no good at it. Switching to whole-parts made a significance difference, and she then recognized her own mathematical thinking ability. But I know there are kids who do well with the opposite. Look at your child and decide what is best.


By the way, AOPS and eIMACS' EiM are both self-teaching, so I think that's a non-factor.

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