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Enough Review in Jacobs Algebra I?


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I am planning my ds's math course for next year and need some advice. He's now in 7th grade and doing Saxon Pre-Algebra 1/2 online with Veritas. He actually is a strong math student but doesn't like the subject at all and requires steady review to maintain his skills and bolster his confidence. I was thinking I would continue with Saxon Algebra I for 8th grade next year (3rd edition) but in looking at the actual book I'm just not sure. It seems even drier and more tedious than the Saxon Pre-Algebra book and ds has started complaining about the "dryness" of the Pre-Algebra book. I also have started becoming concerned about the Saxon emphasis on algorithms and solving equations divorced from actual situations/problems which, for my son, can be a turn-off depending on his mood on a given day.

 

So, now I am wondering if Jacobs may be a better fit as it seems to focus more on understanding the algebra concepts that underlie the procedures and formulas. Yet, Jacobs also does seem thorough enough in regard to procedures, etc. (I could be wrong of course). I am wondering if Jacobs would have enough ongoing review however, similar to Saxon, which has been very helpful for my ds this year.

 

Any thoughts/experiences would be appreciated! Thanks!

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We use Jacobs Algebra here; it clicked very well and was thoroughly enjoyed by our student who is strong in math. Yes, Jacobs has review of past concepts in every chapter. The review usually covers 3-4 past topics, with usually between 6 to 20 problems for the review. There is no teaching instruction or information with the review, just the problem set.

 

Each chapter is broken down into 4 "problem sets". There is enough review that you can just circle selected problems  as needed. Or, if your student needs more review on certain topics, there is a chapter summary & review at the end of each chapter and you could select problems from there for additional review practice.

 

Set 1 = review

Set 2 = builds up the lesson concept (from very close to the teaching material on the concept, to slowly building up to more problem-solving and applying or working with the concept)

Set 3 = same structure as set 2, for additional practice if needed

Set 4 = optional challenge problem

 

Your student may find that the focused, incremental build-up of a concept over a number of chapters (Jacobs more mastery-based presentation) may cement the concepts more firmly, requiring less need for review in the way that the more spiral-based presentation (a "bite" of info about a concept, then spiral back around to the next "bite" of the concept 3-5 lessons later) that Saxon requires for some students.

 

 

While I have not used any of Saxon for the high school maths, we did use parts of Saxon 5/4 through Saxon Algebra 1/2 as a supplement/review for DS#1, with Singapore Primary as the spine math, so I do understand what you mean about the "memorize a formula and plug and chug" vs. developing problem-solving/math thinking type of presentation (the latter of which is Singapore's approach).

 

From what I have seen on these boards and from homeschooling friends locally, how Saxon fits for a student for the high school Maths really depends on the student. Some really click with Saxon's presentation and they see the concepts underlying the algorithms and it goes beyond formula memorization for them. For others, Saxon's presentation IS just memorization and a sort of guessing game, "trying to figure out which memorized formula to plug in based on the wording of the word problem" (the words of an actual Saxon-using student who doesn't click with the abstract math topics of Algebra).

 

 

BEST of luck, whatever you decide on! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Jacobs has plenty of review both in review sets and also in the problems themselves in the way they build complexity.

 

Our issue with Jacob's was that the explanations were not thorough enough and there were very few example problems. Unless you are a strong math teacher, or your student is on the intuitive side, then I would encourage you to use it alongside some kind of online class or DVD teacher.  I think there is one DVD teacher for it.  I don't know of an online class but you could check around.

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Thank you for your comments/experiences, Lori and Calming Tea.

 

Yes, I forgot to add that we would be doing the class online, possibly also with Veritas. There is a solutions manual for Jacobs that I also would purchase; I have found the solutions manual helpful with Saxon at times.

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