# Time Spent On Math Per Lesson (X-Posted)

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DD is 13 and doing Saxon Algebra I and complains about the time she spends on it. I think it's about the same time input as the public schools here; maybe a tad longer because she doesn't use a calculator, but about the same.  Each day, we review the lesson together, she works the 30 problems, the next day she corrects her errors, and then we go over what she was unable to correct.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  I am sure this topic has been discussed before, but I am not sure how to search it by keyword to hone in on the info I need.  By your estimate, how much time does your Algebra I student spend per lesson?

Edited by reefgazer
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You didn't mention how long it takes DD to actually do the lesson, just that her view is that it takes too long. I have seen more than once families who use Saxon say that it takes some of their students 1.5 to 2 hours a lesson.

My guess is that a good working average for *scheduling* an Alg. 1 program is 60 minutes, with 45-75 minutes being the extreme ends for shortest/longest time to take for a lesson. Why I say that is because 60 minutes seems to be about the limit of concentration for young high school students for sitting and dealing with a subject.

JMO, but if Alg. 1 almost always takes less than 45-50 minutes, it probably means the program is too "lite" for the student. And if it almost always takes longer than 70-75 minutes, then the student probably needs some sort of change:

- break math into 2 shorter concentrated sessions each day (say, a 40 minute session for learning the new material and doing the problems on that new topic, and then a shorter 20-30 minute session later in the day to do the review section, and then go over the lesson)

- or try short bursts of study -- 20-25 min., 5-min. break, another 20-25 min., another 5-min. break, a final 20-25 min, and then a 15 break and move on to some other topic

- "loop" some of the lesson to the next day (stop after 1 hour, next day pick up where you left off and finish and start the new lesson, stopping after a total of 1 hour)

- only do selected problems, not all

- or maybe the student would click better with an entirely different program to move more quickly and confidently through the Math

Not that it will help to compare with other students -- because every student has a different work-speed and different tolerance for how long they can work at a task, and also each Algebra program is different and different programs will take lengths of time -- but, you asked for how long did it take our students, so here you go:

- DS#1 (math-minded) = 50-60 min./lesson, using Jacobs Algebra 1, because he clicked with math and with Jacobs, and that's the time it took him

- DS#2 (mild LDS in math = 45-50 min/lesson, using MUS Alg. 1, because that's all the "brain battery energy" he had, and would shut down after about 50 minutes -- if a lesson was not completed by that time, we just "looped" it to the next day, finished it, and then started the next one

BEST of luck in finding a good way of working through this with DD! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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I honestly don't know, but for one thing I didn't have him do all 30 problems.  Usually about 15.  If he seemed to need more practice then I had him do the ones I didn't assign from the first day.  He'd often break it up throughout the day and evening.  I doubt it ever took more than an hour and a half total, but I am guessing.

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If math regularly took my students more than 1 hour a day, I'd change something.  If the program is otherwise working well, then I would still cut back the work to an hour a day and do math over breaks or just extend the time to finish the program.  Of course, we were happy with a "lite" program.   :laugh:

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Ds spent an average of 90 min a day on high school math. More in later years. He is not a strong math student, works slowly and that was what it took. That said, I would never put a child who works slowly in math in Saxon. It is too many problems and not designed well for skipping through.

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For Algebra I, DD#1 had a video that she watched, did problems, and then had homework. Her math time was scheduled for 60 minutes. It would run between 45-80 minutes, depending on how many times she had to pause the video, how long it took her to do the problems, and how much trouble she had with the homework.

I suspect that dd#2 will take longer - so she'll probably do the homework during a second session (like Lori D suggests, above) in order to not shut down.

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Doing all the Saxon math problems takes her about 2-1/2 hours per day; that's all the steps, from going over the lesson to reviewing anything she made mistakes on the next day.  This seems a tad long to me, but the kids in public school have 1 hour and 45 minutes math blocks and about 30-45 minutes of homework a night, so...not that far off.  I'm not sure what to make of it.  DH says he remembers spending a couple of hours on math per day between classwork and homework, but that seems a bit on the high end to me, as well.

I can't get a grip on what's up with this kid.  She understands the math lesson without difficulty, but when she does the problems and we look them over the next day, there are tons of careless errors.  She doesn't even need me to help her fix the errors; once I mark which ones are wrong, she *usually* sees it right away.  Oh, and are they dumb errors - not carrying a negative sign, adding 2+3 and calling it a 6, not transcribing the problem correctly from the textbook, not fully reducing a fraction...stuff like that.  Occasionally we have a problem that she needs explained to her, but it's mostly careless stuff.  So we have to essentially burn time re-working lots of problems because of stupid errors.

This kid seems to need a lot of review, and for this reason, Saxon has been good for her.  We tried other programs and she prefers Saxon, although she doesn't really like math.  She scores high on the tests (consistently in the 90s), and when she does make a mistake, it is of the typical careless variety.  But to score that high, she re-checks that whole test twice to get her error rate down.  So I know she can reduce her error rate drastically because she pulls it off for the test.  But again, this burns a ton of time in repeating the work.  I'm not sure what to do with her because she is adamant about not working weekends or through breaks, which I understand because that's her decompression time.  We have a bit of play in our time at the end of the year, where we are planning to divide the tougher lessons at the end of the book into 2 days.  But I can't do that now and still finish the book in a school year (which is important to us for a variety of reasons).

Edited by reefgazer
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Some of these suggestions might work for us.  Thanks!

You didn't mention how long it takes DD to actually do the lesson, just that her view is that it takes too long. I have seen more than once families who use Saxon say that it takes some of their students 1.5 to 2 hours a lesson.

My guess is that a good working average for *scheduling* an Alg. 1 program is 60 minutes, with 45-75 minutes being the extreme ends for shortest/longest time to take for a lesson. Why I say that is because 60 minutes seems to be about the limit of concentration for young high school students for sitting and dealing with a subject.

JMO, but if Alg. 1 almost always takes less than 45-50 minutes, it probably means the program is too "lite" for the student. And if it almost always takes longer than 70-75 minutes, then the student probably needs some sort of change:

- break math into 2 shorter concentrated sessions each day (say, a 40 minute session for learning the new material and doing the problems on that new topic, and then a shorter 20-30 minute session later in the day to do the review section, and then go over the lesson)

- or try short bursts of study -- 20-25 min., 5-min. break, another 20-25 min., another 5-min. break, a final 20-25 min, and then a 15 break and move on to some other topic

- "loop" some of the lesson to the next day (stop after 1 hour, next day pick up where you left off and finish and start the new lesson, stopping after a total of 1 hour)

- only do selected problems, not all

- or maybe the student would click better with an entirely different program to move more quickly and confidently through the Math

Not that it will help to compare with other students -- because every student has a different work-speed and different tolerance for how long they can work at a task, and also each Algebra program is different and different programs will take lengths of time -- but, you asked for how long did it take our students, so here you go:

- DS#1 (math-minded) = 50-60 min./lesson, using Jacobs Algebra 1, because he clicked with math and with Jacobs, and that's the time it took him

- DS#2 (mild LDS in math = 45-50 min/lesson, using MUS Alg. 1, because that's all the "brain battery energy" he had, and would shut down after about 50 minutes -- if a lesson was not completed by that time, we just "looped" it to the next day, finished it, and then started the next one

BEST of luck in finding a good way of working through this with DD! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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I'm afraid to do this because I don't know enough math to the point where I would feel confident making those decisions about what really was a "duplicate" problem, you know?  Although the stuff that is ridiculously easy I could probably confidently ditch.

I honestly don't know, but for one thing I didn't have him do all 30 problems.  Usually about 15.  If he seemed to need more practice then I had him do the ones I didn't assign from the first day.  He'd often break it up throughout the day and evening.  I doubt it ever took more than an hour and a half total, but I am guessing.

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I'm afraid to do this because I don't know enough math to the point where I would feel confident making those decisions about what really was a "duplicate" problem, you know? Although the stuff that is ridiculously easy I could probably confidently ditch.

MFW has lesson plans for Saxon, which cut out some of the problems. They hired someone with a math background to go through the book and determine which problems could be skipped. That being said, my dd did switch back to doing all the problems about halfway through algebra 1 because I felt she did better doing them all. You could use the schedule as a tool to help you decide which problems to cut out if that's what you want to do. Two and a half hours seems like a long time. I think breaking up the lesson was a good suggestion. It might help with focus and cutting back on errors.

My son doesn't use Saxon, but he makes lots of glitchy mistakes on his daily work even though he has a very strong understanding of the material. It isn't carelessness on his part. I think it's a working memory issue in his case. The more he practices and automates the computational part of the work, the fewer mistakes he makes, but he's also a slower worker and Saxon would be too much for him. He used CLE for algebra I, which was perfect, but unfortunately they haven't gotten any of the upper levels out. He's using Lial's now and I add in 15 minutes of the end of chapter cumulative review problems a day to the lesson since Lial's is mastery based and he needs that daily review spiral programs offer. He's usually able to finish that in an hour and he's doing well with it.

ETA : And to answer your original question, my dd spent between 1 and 1.5 hours a day on Saxon's algebra 1.

Edited by OnMyOwn
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1 - 2 hours with doing around 20 out of 30 problems.  If you know the lesson topics and the student, it is fairly easy to select the "20" but of course it is time-consuming for the parent.

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Doing all the Saxon math problems takes her about 2-1/2 hours per day; that's all the steps, from going over the lesson to reviewing anything she made mistakes on the next day.  This seems a tad long to me, but the kids in public school have 1 hour and 45 minutes math blocks and about 30-45 minutes of homework a night, so...not that far off.  I'm not sure what to make of it.  DH says he remembers spending a couple of hours on math per day between classwork and homework, but that seems a bit on the high end to me, as well.

It seems on the high side to me too.  Even if your DH really did spend 2 hours on math per day, you figure half that time was classroom time and I'd expect that to take more with a class than one on one.

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I'm afraid to do this because I don't know enough math to the point where I would feel confident making those decisions about what really was a "duplicate" problem, you know?  Although the stuff that is ridiculously easy I could probably confidently ditch.

Yeah I know.  I was somewhat worried about doing that, but it turned out fine.  There are some you could easily eliminate.

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Ds spent an average of 90 min a day on high school math. More in later years. He is not a strong math student, works slowly and that was what it took. That said, I would never put a child who works slowly in math in Saxon. It is too many problems and not designed well for skipping through.

See, I don't agree.  Especially if you work side by side with the student every day. You start to know what they need work on and what they don't.  Within the 30 problems almost none of them are the one and only problem of that type.  Sometimes there are even 4 or more of the same type.

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Yeah I know. I was somewhat worried about doing that, but it turned out fine. There are some you could easily eliminate.

Jacobs is set up a bit differently, designed for the student to practice only half the problems. I would be hesitant to know which ones to skip in a different program, too, but 30 does seem excessive if she understands the concepts. I would maybe assign every other problem and if she has trouble with them she could finish the rest the next day.

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Thanks!  This is something I'm going to look at today.

MFW has lesson plans for Saxon, which cut out some of the problems. They hired someone with a math background to go through the book and determine which problems could be skipped. That being said, my dd did switch back to doing all the problems about halfway through algebra 1 because I felt she did better doing them all. You could use the schedule as a tool to help you decide which problems to cut out if that's what you want to do. Two and a half hours seems like a long time. I think breaking up the lesson was a good suggestion. It might help with focus and cutting back on errors.

My son doesn't use Saxon, but he makes lots of glitchy mistakes on his daily work even though he has a very strong understanding of the material. It isn't carelessness on his part. I think it's a working memory issue in his case. The more he practices and automates the computational part of the work, the fewer mistakes he makes, but he's also a slower worker and Saxon would be too much for him. He used CLE for algebra I, which was perfect, but unfortunately they haven't gotten any of the upper levels out. He's using Lial's now and I add in 15 minutes of the end of chapter cumulative review problems a day to the lesson since Lial's is mastery based and he needs that daily review spiral programs offer. He's usually able to finish that in an hour and he's doing well with it.

ETA : And to answer your original question, my dd spent between 1 and 1.5 hours a day on Saxon's algebra 1.

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