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Saxon Algebra I and DD


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For those of you who have used Saxon Algebra I or are knowledgeable about tweens and math, what do you make of this?

 

DD is 13, 8th Grade, and finishing up Saxon Algebra I (3rd edition with integrated geometry).  She uses the textbook to self-teach, rarely needs to use the DVDs I've purchased, occasionally calls on me for explanation of the lesson, and generally seems to pick up the concepts easily.  Her test grades are almost always in the 90s, but.... She takes a very long time to finish the entire lesson (couple of hours from reading the lesson to finish, with another 30 minutes for corrections), and then (usually) produces homework where only 12-22 out of 30 are correct.  I put a check by the problems she missed and she goes back to make corrections.  She corrects 50-75% of the wrong answers on the second go-round, without any input from me.  When I ask her why she was able to correct the problems the second time without assistance but couldn't do them correctly the first time, she says she doesn't know why.  She has a history of rushing through things and making careless mistakes, but she's improved on that and I am not/don't think sure that's the issue here.   

 

So what do you think could be causing this?  I am not a math teacher, so what's up with this?  I suggested maybe she needed a second pass through Algebra I with a different text, and she smart-mouthed me and asked how high her grades had to be to pass a class satisfactorily?  OK, point taken.  I actually am loathe to put her through Algebra I a second time, because I think she would be pretty bored and also very demoralized.  But I also don't want her plugging along into Algebra II without a solid foundation in Algebra I.

 

 

Edited by reefgazer
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I don't understand what she's doing for homework. Aren't there ~30 problems for each lesson? 

 

I can't help you. In various seasons, for the very reason you stated (a good foundation), I had my dc do two math books for one subject, testing out of the 2nd book until I found the place they should start. I agree, though, that you don't want her to feel demeaned. 

 

I hope you get good advice here. I know I'm not helping. 

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If you're thinking that a future move away from Saxon is possible, you could have her do geometry in a different publisher next (because the integrated geometry credit is not completed until half way through Advanced Math), and then add in something for algebra review because you don't want her to lose algebra skills during her geometry year.  Using something other than Saxon for the algebra review could help solidify her understanding, or bring to light any weaknesses.   

 

I don't think I've read it here, but I've heard from some folks locally that Saxon Alg. 1 does not go as far as other Alg. 1 texts and would possibly not prepare a student for other "classroom texts" algebra 2 courses.  I don't want to re-start a math war with an unsubstantiated claim, but I think it's worth considering.  Fwiw, I'm in the process of switching my 14yo away from Saxon Alg. 2.  We are backing up to finish a geometry credit with something else.   

 

And, I didn't really answer your question, lol.  In Saxon, the tests are testing anything up through lessons about 5 lessons back, so maybe on the homework she just hasn't had enough practice yet, but by the time she's tested on it she has?  Is there any pattern to what she missed on the homework?  Newer material?  Is it just careless errors?  Another thing to consider, because Saxon is incremental, it can seem like it's teaching how to solve a thousand different problems instead of say, 10 different types of problems.  Some students may be trying to keep all these thousand different instructions straight in their mind without making connections between similar types.  I think at some point, if connections are not made, they might not sustain their early success.  But if she's getting 90s on the tests, that may not be the case with her. 

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I haven't been here in ages but wanted to give you some food for thought. Algebra is all about the details and executive function of the brain - how much detail can someone sustain internally. Computation should already be mastered. I would encourage you to have her find a way to do things right the first time - attention to detail. Is she missing or making errors on the new material or old during the lessons? That will help you determine if she has internalized the material. She may need more repetition of a concept when it's presented than Saxon gives, but she internalizes it over time.

 

Does that make sense? I'm on my phone and I can only see. A few lines at a time.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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My first approach would be to look at each of the problems she missed and see what exactly the mistake was: did she not master the concept, or did she misread the problem, or did she make careless mistakes with signs? Without diagnosing the precise nature of her mistakes it is impossible to fix the problem.

She should be writing out each problem in detail, showing all steps, which will make it easy to identify the mistake.

ETA: she also needs to learn how to put her solution into the original problem and check that it is correct. She should be doing this upon completion of every problem.

 

Getting 30-50%of practice problems wrong is very problematic. I would not let such a  student work independently, but stay close to intervene immediately; letting her work that many problems wrong, and then going back and still missing several is a waste of time. I would work with her on getting the problems correct on the first try. This may mean sitting with her and talking through the problems, maybe having her narrate her approach on the whiteboard.

If you cannot give this kind of support, I would consider a tutor.

Edited by regentrude
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<gently speaking>

 

When I teach math, I teach the basics of the day's concept, and we do several problems, then I teach the next bit of the concept and do several more problems.  We repeat this, finishing with several more problems, gradually increasing in complexity, before setting the students loose on their own to work problems at home.  At the Algebra level, I give them free access to the answers to the homework, and expect them to check their answers after each problem.  Tests and quizzes are done without access to the answers.  The homework is to LEARN the concepts, and cement them through PRACTICE with the problems, and the quizzes and tests are for the student and I to ASSESS their level of understanding, to be done only after they feel they understand the concepts and have had enough time to practice them so they feel solid.

 

If your daughter is being both teacher and student, she should have access in some way to the teacher tools, so she can have immediate feedback when practicing the concepts she is self-teaching.  You are expecting her to self-teach higher level math, without giving her access to the answers, and thus without feedback on her work and her comprehension until she has completed the entire problem set.  It would be much more productive to let her know whether a problem is wrong right after she has finished it.  That way, if she has made a mistake, she can learn from the mistake and use that understanding when she works the next problem.  You can either turn over the answers (and if you feel the need, you can still check her work at the end), or you can have her ask you for the answer each time she finishes a problem.  Tests can still be given without access to the answers.

 
Edited by justasque
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I don't help my son at all with math. We are using a program (Seton) that has him doing the work independently and grading his tests.

 

They suggest - and I require - that he check each problem, then double-check with the Solutions Manual if necessary, before moving on to the next. He hated it at first...still kind of hates it, but he sees the value of not continuing in the wrong direction. It also forces him to focus on one problem at a time and not work thoughtlessly.

 

Naturally we can't do this with tests and he still sometimes make boneheaded errors, but not as many as he used to!

 

I always gave the TM to my older girls to check their own math, though I think that they did a lesson at a time, not a problem at a time. A problem at a time id very sensible and I am glad that he is doing it this way now.

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The cause is that there are too many problems.  I never had my kid do all 30 in one sitting. 

 

It's not a terrible thing that she is getting some wrong.  If she were always getting them correct maybe it is too easy.  Also she could be making errors due to too much work.

 

I'm only going by my experiences looking at my one kid.  So it might not be comparable or helpful.

 

We rarely used the DVDs. 

 

I always sat down with my kid to help.  I still do even though someone else is teaching.  I have him explain the concepts.  It forces him to study and repeat stuff.  I didn't start off doing that, but he wasn't disciplined enough (as an 8th grader) to always do it on his own. 

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Yes, there are 30 problems per lesson, as well as the 2-4 practice problems for the new material.

I don't understand what she's doing for homework. Aren't there ~30 problems for each lesson?

 

I can't help you. In various seasons, for the very reason you stated (a good foundation), I had my dc do two math books for one subject, testing out of the 2nd book until I found the place they should start. I agree, though, that you don't want her to feel demeaned.

 

I hope you get good advice here. I know I'm not helping.

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My son started Saxon in 2nd grade and completed through Algebra 1 before going to public school for high school.

 

We always used the Saxon CDs.

 

I wasn't sure my son was ready for algebra 1 so we did about 1/2 of Algebra 1/2 (or whatever it's called) then switched to algebra 1.

 

My son was similar to your daughter. He would get a ton wrong, correct half and then watch DVD to correct the rest. At times we did odd numbers one day and even the next. There were also times we would just spend a week or two just reviewing concepts from various chapters.

 

I didn't think he would do good in high school math because it had been 7 years of torture. He got an A freshman year and so far has an A average again in math.

 

I praise Saxon Math.

Edited by gingersmom
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I want to mention that she gets her high scores because I have her go over the tests a second time, because she is nearly always guilty of careless errors in her work (elsewhere, as well, not just math).  She generally finds a ton of errors and if she doesn't review her test a second time, her scores would probably be in the low 80s.

If you're thinking that a future move away from Saxon is possible, you could have her do geometry in a different publisher next (because the integrated geometry credit is not completed until half way through Advanced Math), and then add in something for algebra review because you don't want her to lose algebra skills during her geometry year.  Using something other than Saxon for the algebra review could help solidify her understanding, or bring to light any weaknesses.   

 

I don't think I've read it here, but I've heard from some folks locally that Saxon Alg. 1 does not go as far as other Alg. 1 texts and would possibly not prepare a student for other "classroom texts" algebra 2 courses.  I don't want to re-start a math war with an unsubstantiated claim, but I think it's worth considering.  Fwiw, I'm in the process of switching my 14yo away from Saxon Alg. 2.  We are backing up to finish a geometry credit with something else.   

 

And, I didn't really answer your question, lol.  In Saxon, the tests are testing anything up through lessons about 5 lessons back, so maybe on the homework she just hasn't had enough practice yet, but by the time she's tested on it she has?  Is there any pattern to what she missed on the homework?  Newer material?  Is it just careless errors?  Another thing to consider, because Saxon is incremental, it can seem like it's teaching how to solve a thousand different problems instead of say, 10 different types of problems.  Some students may be trying to keep all these thousand different instructions straight in their mind without making connections between similar types.  I think at some point, if connections are not made, they might not sustain their early success.  But if she's getting 90s on the tests, that may not be the case with her. 

 

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It's taken me so long to answer because I spent a few hours with DD and evaluated what she was doing on every problem for today's lesson.  She had an assignment near the end of the book with 30 problems; she got 13/30 wrong (roughly 43% wrong).  Of the 13 problems she got wrong. I looked at her errors and classified them, and watched as she corrected them.  I classified them as follows.  Percentages are percent of wrong answers, and are estimated so don't add up to 100% of wrong answers):

 

23%  Careless issues   

23%  Misreading question/not noticing details in question/not paying attention to what was being

          asked

7.5%  Utter brainfarts/unknown origin

7.5%  Not reducing fractions

7.5%  Not using correct formula (newer concept)

 23%  Not proficient with a concept (newer concept that won't be tested for awhile)

7.5%  Not proficient with a concept (older concept that she should be comfortable with; I was aware

          of this one and we're working on it with some extra practice)

 

So, she is being nickel and dimed to death with a few things, but generally careless stuff sticks out as being 46% of her mistakes.  About 2/3 through this lesson, when I told her I was considering another year of Algebra I because I had concerns about her copious  mistakes, her performance suddenly picked up.  There were no errors for the remainder of that lesson.  She does show every step of her work; she is good about that. 

 

Here is how we work each day: 

 

1.  Review problems that she got wrong from previous day.

2.  Have her read lesson and work lesson examples.  If she has a problem, she stops me at that point and we work through the lesson examples/explanation together.

3.  She does lesson problems (usually 2-4 per lesson).  She generally can handle those without too much difficulty.

4.  When I am satisfied she is comfortable with the new material, I turn her loose to do the practice problems (the 30 problems); we review errors here the next day.

 

ETA:  I don't know if this is a mistake on my part or not, but I am not terribly concerned with the fact that DD struggled a bit with the newer concepts.  She does usually get these concepts by test time and after a bit of practice. 

 

My first approach would be to look at each of the problems she missed and see what exactly the mistake was: did she not master the concept, or did she misread the problem, or did she make careless mistakes with signs? Without diagnosing the precise nature of her mistakes it is impossible to fix the problem.

She should be writing out each problem in detail, showing all steps, which will make it easy to identify the mistake.

ETA: she also needs to learn how to put her solution into the original problem and check that it is correct. She should be doing this upon completion of every problem.

 

Getting 30-50%of practice problems wrong is very problematic. I would not let such a  student work independently, but stay close to intervene immediately; letting her work that many problems wrong, and then going back and still missing several is a waste of time. I would work with her on getting the problems correct on the first try. This may mean sitting with her and talking through the problems, maybe having her narrate her approach on the whiteboard.

If you cannot give this kind of support, I would consider a tutor.

 

Edited by reefgazer
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I don't turn DD loose to self-teach entirely.  I try to encourage independence while still being close by, if that makes sense.  I detailed our routine up thread to Regentrude, where I mentioned that I sit with her as she works through new lessons.  I generally don't sit with her while she is completing review/practice material, however.  If you could give a look-see to the routine I wrote in response to Regentrude and give your opinion, I sure would appreciate that.  I don't give DD free access to the teacher manual because I like to see what is going on and I want to see what she is doing on her own, without the teacher manual.  I will talk with DD and see if that is something that would be helpful to her, though.  I haven't done that because I thought it would be better to struggle through a bit with the problems, rather than rely on the teacher manual at the first sign of difficulty.

<gently speaking>

 

When I teach math, I teach the basics of the day's concept, and we do several problems, then I teach the next bit of the concept and do several more problems.  We repeat this, finishing with several more problems, gradually increasing in complexity, before setting the students loose on their own to work problems at home.  At the Algebra level, I give them free access to the answers to the homework, and expect them to check their answers after each problem.  Tests and quizzes are done without access to the answers.  The homework is to LEARN the concepts, and cement them through PRACTICE with the problems, and the quizzes and tests are for the student and I to ASSESS their level of understanding, to be done only after they feel they understand the concepts and have had enough time to practice them so they feel solid.

 

If your daughter is being both teacher and student, she should have access in some way to the teacher tools, so she can have immediate feedback when practicing the concepts she is self-teaching.  You are expecting her to self-teach higher level math, without giving her access to the answers, and thus without feedback on her work and her comprehension until she has completed the entire problem set.  It would be much more productive to let her know whether a problem is wrong right after she has finished it.  That way, if she has made a mistake, she can learn from the mistake and use that understanding when she works the next problem.  You can either turn over the answers (and if you feel the need, you can still check her work at the end), or you can have her ask you for the answer each time she finishes a problem.  Tests can still be given without access to the answers.

 

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It's taken me so long to answer because I spent a few hours with DD and evaluated what she was doing on every problem for today's lesson.  She had an assignment near the end of the book with 30 problems; she got 13/30 wrong (roughly 43% wrong).  Of the 13 problems she got wrong. I looked at her errors and classified them, and watched as she corrected them.  I classified them as follows.  Percentages are percent of wrong answers, and are estimated so don't add up to 100% of wrong answers):

 

23%  Careless issues   

23%  Misreading question/not noticing details in question/not paying attention to what was being

          asked

7.5%  Utter brainfarts/unknown origin

7.5%  Not reducing fractions

7.5%  Not using correct formula (newer concept)

 23%  Not proficient with a concept (newer concept that won't be tested for awhile)

7.5%  Not proficient with a concept (older concept that she should be comfortable with; I was aware

          of this one and we're working on it with some extra practice)

 

So, she is being nickel and dimed to death with a few things, but generally careless stuff sticks out as being 46% of her mistakes.  About 2/3 through this lesson, when I told her I was considering another year of Algebra I because I had concerns about her copious  mistakes, her performance suddenly picked up.  There were no errors for the remainder of that lesson.  She does show every step of her work; she is good about that. 

 

Here is how we work each day: 

 

1.  Review problems that she got wrong from previous day.

2.  Have her read lesson and work lesson examples.  If she has a problem, she stops me at that point and we work through the lesson examples/explanation together.

3.  She does lesson problems (usually 2-4 per lesson).  She generally can handle those without too much difficulty.

4.  When I am satisfied she is comfortable with the new material, I turn her loose to do the practice problems (the 30 problems); we review errors here the next day.

 

ETA:  I don't know if this is a mistake on my part or not, but I am not terribly concerned with the fact that DD struggled a bit with the newer concepts.  She does usually get these concepts by test time and after a bit of practice. 

 

Clearly something about how you do things is not working, because 43% of problems wrong is just not good - even if it is careless mistakes.

I would suggest that she might profit from immediate feedback, not waiting until the next day. I have found that going over the math problems the next day is not as productive as doing it right away and making her rework every incorrect problem right away.

If the threat of repeating algebra produces fewer mistakes, that hints at a problem with work ethic, not understanding. This is where I would crack down. There should be an incentive for the student to be careful the first time. I don't know how your homeschool is structured; for some families, having the sloppy problems rework on their free time may be enough of a deterrent to slow down and do it carefully right away.

 

 

 

23%  Not proficient with a concept (newer concept that won't be tested for awhile)

I am not sure what you mean by "newer concept" I know that Saxon mixes concepts and never dwells on one topic long enough for mastery but jumps around to the next thing.

It might be that your DD may need more time on each topic and that the random jumping that is the hallmark of this program does not work well for her.

 

 

 

I want to mention that she gets her high scores because I have her go over the tests a second time, because she is nearly always guilty of careless errors in her work (elsewhere, as well, not just math).  She generally finds a ton of errors and if she doesn't review her test a second time, her scores would probably be in the low 80s.

 

What do you mean by that? Do you just remind her to go through the test again before turning it in, or do you already give her feedback before that review?

 

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I would correct her lesson as soon as she has completed it. If there are errors, have her redo those problems on her own. If she misses those problems again, direct instruction is needed. Another option if 30 problems is too much is to assign 15 during math time and the other 15 as homework.

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I don't use Saxon (though I have), but what seems to work here is that I teach my son the new concept, have him do some practice problems with me sitting there to catch any issues, and then I stay in the room with him while he does the problem set.  After each problem he checks his answer with me.  If it is wrong, he has to figure out what's wrong and fix it.  If after a few tries, he is really lost (this rarely happens) I will step in and help.

 

I think that the endless problem sets in Saxon can make some kids *more* prone to error because they are rushing to get through, and that many years with Saxon can get kids in the habit of working this way.  I also think that all that review can make a kid forget the concepts behind the procedures--all that practice makes them able to crank things out by rote, but because there is so much practice, they never have to use the concept to help them remember the procedure (or figure out how to do the problem some other way that is also based on the concept).  I've long thought that these were issues with Saxon (I saw glimpses of these things in my own kids when we used Saxon), but now that I am tutoring a kid who used Saxon for many years, I see that it really is a problem.  

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I think that the endless problem sets in Saxon can make some kids *more* prone to error because they are rushing to get through, and that many years with Saxon can get kids in the habit of working this way.  I also think that all that review can make a kid forget the concepts behind the procedures--all that practice makes them able to crank things out by rote, but because there is so much practice, they never have to use the concept to help them remember the procedure (or figure out how to do the problem some other way that is also based on the concept).  I've long thought that these were issues with Saxon (I saw glimpses of these things in my own kids when we used Saxon), but now that I am tutoring a kid who used Saxon for many years, I see that it really is a problem.  

 

Yes this is what I was trying to get at.  We used Saxon A 1 and A 2 (but I also supplemented with some other stuff like AoPS).  I did not have my kid do all the problems.  I think he would have not only revolted, but would have given up and/or hated math. 

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I don't use Saxon (though I have), but what seems to work here is that I teach my son the new concept, have him do some practice problems with me sitting there to catch any issues, and then I stay in the room with him while he does the problem set.  After each problem he checks his answer with me.  If it is wrong, he has to figure out what's wrong and fix it.  If after a few tries, he is really lost (this rarely happens) I will step in and help.

 

I think that the endless problem sets in Saxon can make some kids *more* prone to error because they are rushing to get through, and that many years with Saxon can get kids in the habit of working this way.  I also think that all that review can make a kid forget the concepts behind the procedures--all that practice makes them able to crank things out by rote, but because there is so much practice, they never have to use the concept to help them remember the procedure (or figure out how to do the problem some other way that is also based on the concept).  I've long thought that these were issues with Saxon (I saw glimpses of these things in my own kids when we used Saxon), but now that I am tutoring a kid who used Saxon for many years, I see that it really is a problem.  

 

Yes!  I agree!

 

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I think this may be part of the problem. as well, and that she is done and over it at the thought of doing that much math each day.  She doesn't care for math that much.  How do you decide which problems your kid is going to do?

The cause is that there are too many problems.  I never had my kid do all 30 in one sitting. 

 

It's not a terrible thing that she is getting some wrong.  If she were always getting them correct maybe it is too easy.  Also she could be making errors due to too much work.

 

I'm only going by my experiences looking at my one kid.  So it might not be comparable or helpful.

 

We rarely used the DVDs. 

 

I always sat down with my kid to help.  I still do even though someone else is teaching.  I have him explain the concepts.  It forces him to study and repeat stuff.  I didn't start off doing that, but he wasn't disciplined enough (as an 8th grader) to always do it on his own. 

 

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I think this may be part of the problem. as well, and that she is done and over it at the thought of doing that much math each day.  She doesn't care for math that much.  How do you decide which problems your kid is going to do?

 

When I used Saxon (8/7, we switched after that), I greatly reduced the number of problems.

I selected the one for the concepts they needed to practice, omitted ones that were identical problems just with different numbers, etc.

Caution, though - it does require expertise to discern which problems are necessary and which problems are redundant. If you are not well versed in the material I would not attempt to greatly tweak this program.

(We ended up with very radical restructuring of material, regrouping of lessons, etc; it clearly was not a good fit for my kids)

 

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Thanks for the ideas!  I will definitely move to immediate feedback, and come up with some incentive to be more diligent with the problems. 

 

By "newer concept" I mean those lessons and problems that have not been seen on a test yet.  Although the basic concept is presented early on, Saxon adds more complexity as the lessons get deeper into the book, and the conceptual trouble with newer concepts happens in those lessons (where the lessons with more complexity haven't been tested yet).  Once she has practiced something a bit, she generally doesn't make mistakes of understanding.

 

By the time I look at the tests, she has already done the work and checked it over; I don't check the test until it is ready for grading.

Clearly something about how you do things is not working, because 43% of problems wrong is just not good - even if it is careless mistakes.

I would suggest that she might profit from immediate feedback, not waiting until the next day. I have found that going over the math problems the next day is not as productive as doing it right away and making her rework every incorrect problem right away.

If the threat of repeating algebra produces fewer mistakes, that hints at a problem with work ethic, not understanding. This is where I would crack down. There should be an incentive for the student to be careful the first time. I don't know how your homeschool is structured; for some families, having the sloppy problems rework on their free time may be enough of a deterrent to slow down and do it carefully right away.

 

 

 

I am not sure what you mean by "newer concept" I know that Saxon mixes concepts and never dwells on one topic long enough for mastery but jumps around to the next thing.
It might be that your DD may need more time on each topic and that the random jumping that is the hallmark of this program does not work well for her.

 

 

 

 

What do you mean by that? Do you just remind her to go through the test again before turning it in, or do you already give her feedback before that review?

 

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Yes, the first bolded paragraph is very close to what we do, as I posted upthread.

 

I can also see that this might be the case with the second bolded paragraph.  I asked DD if she would like to change programs, but she doesn't.  She hated AoPS when we had that.  However, I am open to introducing her to a different book and seeing how that goes if anyone has any ideas on what might be an appropriate text.  She does seem to need fairly extensive review (even if not quite as much as Saxon).

I don't use Saxon (though I have), but what seems to work here is that I teach my son the new concept, have him do some practice problems with me sitting there to catch any issues, and then I stay in the room with him while he does the problem set.  After each problem he checks his answer with me.  If it is wrong, he has to figure out what's wrong and fix it.  If after a few tries, he is really lost (this rarely happens) I will step in and help.

 

I think that the endless problem sets in Saxon can make some kids *more* prone to error because they are rushing to get through, and that many years with Saxon can get kids in the habit of working this way.  I also think that all that review can make a kid forget the concepts behind the procedures--all that practice makes them able to crank things out by rote, but because there is so much practice, they never have to use the concept to help them remember the procedure (or figure out how to do the problem some other way that is also based on the concept).  I've long thought that these were issues with Saxon (I saw glimpses of these things in my own kids when we used Saxon), but now that I am tutoring a kid who used Saxon for many years, I see that it really is a problem.  

 

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I will probably do this, very slightly at first, and with an incentive to reduce more if he test scores remain high and her error rate is reduced.  I'll start with 5 of the problems that are easiest for her and go from there, once I see how this works.

When I used Saxon (8/7, we switched after that), I greatly reduced the number of problems.

I selected the one for the concepts they needed to practice, omitted ones that were identical problems just with different numbers, etc.

Caution, though - it does require expertise to discern which problems are necessary and which problems are redundant. If you are not well versed in the material I would not attempt to greatly tweak this program.

(We ended up with very radical restructuring of material, regrouping of lessons, etc; it clearly was not a good fit for my kids)
 

 

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I think this may be part of the problem. as well, and that she is done and over it at the thought of doing that much math each day.  She doesn't care for math that much.  How do you decide which problems your kid is going to do?

 

Usually there is at least 2 of each type.  Right off the bat you can probably cut it in half and still have one of each type.

 

Another thing I sometimes did was say if you do these 10 correctly (I'd pick the hardest ones) then you are done.  If not then I'll give you a few more of the type you need practice with (I'd look back and find some of the same type). That was VERY motivating to help him avoid careless errors.  If really there was something he didn't get and it was frustrating, I'd usually give the extra problems the next day.  I never wanted to make the extra practice feel like a punishment.

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Three quick thoughts:  

 

--I think it would help if she knew after each practice problem whether or not she got it right, and if not, then had to figure out why and fix it (by herself first; with your help if she is struggling) before moving on. 

 

--I have found that most kids of that age can handle about an hour and fifteen minutes, give or take, before getting "brain clog" where they start making stupid mistakes over things you know they already know.  At that point, there is not much point in continuing, because they're just not taking it in.  If more time is needed, better to break the work into two separate time slots during the day.  Be alert for this.

 

--Take some time to watch her process.  If she's making "copy the problem wrong" or "drop a negative" types of mistakes frequently, she needs to develop the habit of checking each step quickly before proceeding to the next. She may also need to make sure she's not doing too much in one step, she's laying out the problem logically (rather than all over the page), she's writing legibly, etc.  Each person has different areas where they are more prone to mistakes than the next guy, so helping her to understand the kinds of issues she is more likely to have, and encouraging her to develop coping mechanisms to prevent them, should go a long way. 

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I think you should insist that she watch and pay attention to the DVDs you have.

If she had two runs at the material before starting the homework, I believe that she would be far less likely to fail the homework and the tests.

I don't think that Saxon has too many problems--they are not complex, multistep problems like some algebra books have.  But I do think that taking breaks after a certain amount of math work would be wise.

 

My inclination would be to teach the lesson, have her watch the DVD, do the practice problems with her, and then do other things.  Have her get back to the problem set later in the day.  Her subconscious would be assimilating the lesson in the meantime (honestly, this is a thing.  Even more effective with a good night's sleep, actually.) and she would attack the problem set from a refreshed position.

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I'm using Saxon 1 and 2 right now with my oldest 2 dc. I'll often check their practice problems right after they do them to ensure they understand the new material. Then they do all the questions in the lesson that are similar to the new material. You want to ensure that they have a solid foundation in that new concept, and have a chance to do a number of problems immediately.  After that I have them do a variety of the review questions, focusing on areas where they need the most practice based on difficulty and their past performance. 

 

I'm not a math teacher either, so in order to have a better understanding of the concepts being taught, I'll often try the practice problems myself while the dc are doing them.  And for motivation that my dc don't make so many sloppy errors, I do a challenge with them of 5 questions of their choice. Who ever gets fewer errors wins. They've improved a lot in avoiding errors, and I have a much better understanding how easy it is to make errors. ;)

 

Since you already have the teaching DVDs, why not encourage your dd to watch them everyday for a few weeks and see if she finds them helpful. They may be really useful in reinforcing concepts previously covered, as well as assist in your dd gain a better understand of new material. 

 

 

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...

 

I'm not a math teacher either, so in order to have a better understanding of the concepts being taught, I'll often try the practice problems myself while the dc are doing them.  And for motivation that my dc don't make so many sloppy errors, I do a challenge with them of 5 questions of their choice. Who ever gets fewer errors wins. They've improved a lot in avoiding errors, and I have a much better understanding how easy it is to make errors. ;)

 

..

 

This is an excellent point.  I usually do the problems alongside my students.  Then we compare answers - students first, then me if we all got it right, but sometimes if the students disagree I ask them to each convince the other that they're right.  If we all get it right, we move on.  If not, we look closer.  

 

Doing problems with them helps me be able to say "OK, this is how I did it.  I did that part in two steps so I didn't have to be holding two things in my head at once because I know if I go too fast I mess up" or "Yes, I did it that way first, but when I double-checked I saw that I had done it wrong so I was able to catch the error before going further" or "See how I did that calculation off to the side but still part of the work for this problem", or "See how I circled my problem number so I don't get it mixed up with the numbers in the actual problem" or whatever.  Or sometimes even "Argh, you're right, I dropped a negative!" so that they see that mistakes do happen to everyone sometimes.  

 

And sometimes, a problem is kind of cool, and we can geek out over it together.  We had one last week where it was a difference of two squares, and when we factored it out, one of the factors was a difference of two squares, and when we factored that one out, one of the factors was a difference of two squares....  I mean, who doesn't like to have someone else to appreciate that kind of thing with them!

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I'm using Saxon 1 and 2 right now with my oldest 2 dc. I'll often check their practice problems right after they do them to ensure they understand the new material. Then they do all the questions in the lesson that are similar to the new material. You want to ensure that they have a solid foundation in that new concept, and have a chance to do a number of problems immediately.  After that I have them do a variety of the review questions, focusing on areas where they need the most practice based on difficulty and their past performance. 

 

I'm not a math teacher either, so in order to have a better understanding of the concepts being taught, I'll often try the practice problems myself while the dc are doing them.  And for motivation that my dc don't make so many sloppy errors, I do a challenge with them of 5 questions of their choice. Who ever gets fewer errors wins. They've improved a lot in avoiding errors, and I have a much better understanding how easy it is to make errors. ;)

 

Since you already have the teaching DVDs, why not encourage your dd to watch them everyday for a few weeks and see if she finds them helpful. They may be really useful in reinforcing concepts previously covered, as well as assist in your dd gain a better understand of new material. 

 

Yep.  It has been the only way for me to make it work.  I've practiced all along.  I even plan to go and take some math courses at the CC (I took one so far).  I'm enjoying it!

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If you want to reduce the number of problems, MFW sells a booklet with lesson plans for Saxon math and they cut out a bunch of the problems. They paid a math teacher to go through and decide which would be the best problems to skip.

 

 

We are using this now and it has been working out really well.

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If you want to reduce the number of problems, MFW sells a booklet with lesson plans for Saxon math and they cut out a bunch of the problems. They paid a math teacher to go through and decide which would be the best problems to skip.

 

Someone once pointed out a free on-line class that uses Saxon too.  I have to see if I can find it. 

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DS uses Saxon Algebra II. He checks every answer as he goes. If it's wrong we figure out exactly where the error was made before moving on. There are too many problems to complete in a reasonable amount of time for most people (and my ds has OCD/ADHD, so he is super slow!). I've attempted all different methods for cutting back since I'm really not a fan of tjust doing the odd/even problems.

 

1) If there are multiple problems for the same concept, I'll have him do one of them, and, if he gets it right, we skip the rest.

2) We will do many of the problems orally (he can use scratch paper/calculator if he wants). It's sort of like math dictation. He practices using math terminology and holding numbers and equations in his head. Even though it's faster, I think it builds a different sort of math skill in the process.

3) Sometimes we will do the practice problems plus 1/2 the problem set on day 1, and then the other half of the problem set plus practice problems from the next lesson on day 2. The problem set from the next lesson is skipped. For example, do lesson 80 practice problems and problem set # 1-15 on Monday. Do lesson 81 practice problems and problem set # 16-30 from lesson 80 on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we move on to lesson 82. 

4) Time. Sometimes after 2-3 hours of working (which is pretty normal for us--like I said, he's slow!), you hit a point of diminishing returns, and you just need to stop.

5) I have also used Virtual Homeschool Group. They have a method that shortens the number of problems completed in a week. 

6) Slowing down and speeding up. Sometimes all the stars are aligned and ds totally understands all the old and new problems. We will speed things up and skip more than usual. Other times, nothing is clicking, and we slow way down. We might spend three days on one lesson. I hope it balances out in the end. Regardless, his understanding is the gauge.

 

We do Saxon because it is so methodical. DS loves that! He prefers to learn the process and understand the concept later. Also, he loves the constant review. I can totally see how this program wouldn't work for some people (it would probably drive me nuts!), but it works very well for DS if I find a way to reduce the number of problems. I think for Advanced Math I'm going to buy the MFW schedule and try that.  

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DD is using Saxon Algebra I this year, and she's used Saxon for several years.  I found a significant improvement in careless errors when I dropped the number of problems.  Especially as they get higher, the math problems just take a long time, even if they aren't difficult, and I think that leads to brain fatigue.  If DD did 30 problems, she'd get 9 or 10 of them wrong, but almost always, they were careless errors -- she misread a sign, or she forgot to carry a number, or something else that definitely did not reflect that she did, in fact, understand the material.  When I dropped the number of required problems to 15 or 20, or even 25, her scores immediately improved to just 1 or 2 wrong, often 0.  We've done different things at different times.  We've had her do 1-20 of a set one day, then 11-30 of that set and 1-20 of the next set the next day, and then 21-30 of the second set on the third day, doing two lessons over three days.  This means the book takes more than a year, though.  We've had her skip a rotating set of problems -- skip 1-5 on the first lesson, then 6-10 on the second lesson, then 11-15 on the third lesson, and so on.  This keeps a reasonable pace of a lesson a day but doesn't skip the same problems every time (because there's usually a predictable format to how the problem sets are laid out), but it can be confusing.  So this year, I have her doing the odds only, and she checks them herself (after I teach her the lesson and have her do the practice problems); if she gets 0-2 wrong, she corrects the wrong one(s) and is done for the day.  If she gets more than 2 wrong, she does the even problems as well.  This way, she's encouraged to do her best and focus well, because she doesn't want to have to do all 30 problems if she understands the material, but if she does need the extra practice with a concept, she gets it.  I don't count ones that she genuinely doesn't understand as wrong; she marks those and asks me for help before she checks any she's completed.

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My daughter is doing a second year of algebra 1 while studying geometry (Jacobs) at the same time. I'm happy about giving her the second year. Last year she used Foersters and this year she uses Saxon, which is great for review and approaches algebra in a different way. The concepts aren't new, but there have been plenty of things she had forgotten (long division of polynomials, for instance). I have her just do odds one day and evens the second day. On the odds day, we work the example problems together, on the evens day she does the practice a and b problems. She's on lesson 100, and we'll probably go over the summer with the additional sets in the back. She does miss more problems than I'd like... Usually 3-4 of the 15 problems are wrong. I have her fix all answers on her own and she might on average miss one of those a second time, which I review with her. Usually the problems are stupid errors, not conceptual problems.

 

Anyway, you might consider, for instance, having your daughter move on to a traditional geometry year next year while continuing with Saxon algebra 1 and then 2 at half speed (odds/evens). Then switch full time to Saxon algebra 2 the following year which will include some geometry review too. That way your daughter won't feel like she's repeating anything, but she'll get the extra year to mature.

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That  sounds a lot like dd some days.  She reads the book and does the problems.  Most days it is between 5-10 corrections that need to be done sometimes more sometimes less.  It takes her normally about an hour to do her Math (reading and problems) then another 1/2 hr for corrections.  There are some days (more lately I think due to spring fever) that it takes her 2+ hrs to do her Math.  When she is done with her Math I do the corrections and then I can usually see where the errors are, she normally finds them herself too.  I think finding the errors yourself is one of the best ways to see if they have truly learned something.  When dd takes her tests normally she get 1 maybe 2 wrong and can normally correct those herself.  Now anything she cannot correct herself we work through together (or at least with me sitting next to her since she normally does not want my help unless she is really stuck).  I found when we had long stretches of her taking too long or getting too many wrong I would challenge her with some type of reward if she kept it at an hour and less than 5 wrong.  A couple of days of that would usually refocus her.

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