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staceyobu

Saxon 8/7 now... what for next year?

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DD has never loved math. We started with Singapore and she cried every day. About 3rd grade we switched to Saxon and she loved it for years.

 

This year, she has started missing sometimes as much as 50% of lessons. It takes her about 1.5 hours to do the lesson. Most of it seems to be boredom and sloppy mistakes.  She typically scores 80% or higher on tests. They are shorter so she doesn't drag it out and make as many sloppy mistakes. Sometimes she begs off to do evens or odds. When I let her do that, she misses very few problems.  However, I worry that lessening the review problems for a kid who struggles isn't the wisest way to implement the program. I've tried splitting math... starting the day with half and ending the day with half, but she goes back to dragging through because she knows she has the whole lesson.

 

I don't know what to do with her next year. Saxon 1/2? Saxon algebra? Check out Forester or AoPS or something else?  I've been reading thread after thread on pre algebra. Then I started wondering if we should just move on to Algebra. I have zero clue. 

 

Edited to add... She's generally a quick learner. She seems to do exponentially better when she's self motivated to conquer something. I'm not sure if I can find a math program that she would be motivated to conquer!

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My daughter just finished Saxon 8/7 and I am switching her to Teaching Textbooks (I just started a thread last week asking about the program).  She did well with Saxon until the last 10 lessons or so in 8/7.  It was time for a change.  I am spending some time reviewing/working on equations with her (using the "Key To Algebra" equation booklet) and then will give her a placement test.  TT has placement tests on their website, they are available to print along with the answer key.  I think she is ready for Algebra 1, but want to be sure, otherwise will place her pre-Algebra.

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Saxon is designed to have the tests show mastery. If she's scoring above 80%, she's got it down. I KNOW the book says not to skip problems, but I believe in the curriculum working for me. Therefore, i pick 10-15 problems for my kids to do (ones I want them to review more or I know it's scaffolding them to the next step) and only require those. My daughter would take FOREVER with 30 math problems. And it sounds like yours is similar. Mine consistently scores above 80 on her tests and scored above state standards here. So something is working. 

If Saxon is going well, I'd be inclined to stick with it and tweak the program if needed. 

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On 4/15/2018 at 11:47 AM, staceyobu said:

DD has never loved math. We started with Singapore and she cried every day. About 3rd grade we switched to Saxon and she loved it for years.

 

This year, she has started missing sometimes as much as 50% of lessons. It takes her about 1.5 hours to do the lesson. Most of it seems to be boredom and sloppy mistakes.  She typically scores 80% or higher on tests. They are shorter so she doesn't drag it out and make as many sloppy mistakes. Sometimes she begs off to do evens or odds. When I let her do that, she misses very few problems.  However, I worry that lessening the review problems for a kid who struggles isn't the wisest way to implement the program. I've tried splitting math... starting the day with half and ending the day with half, but she goes back to dragging through because she knows she has the whole lesson.

 

I don't know what to do with her next year. Saxon 1/2? Saxon algebra? Check out Forester or AoPS or something else?  I've been reading thread after thread on pre algebra. Then I started wondering if we should just move on to Algebra. I have zero clue. 

 

Edited to add... She's generally a quick learner. She seems to do exponentially better when she's self motivated to conquer something. I'm not sure if I can find a math program that she would be motivated to conquer!

With Saxon, your child must do every.single.problem. in every.single.problem set. It isn't only review; it's that each problem is specifically chosen to continue to develop concepts. When she skips problems, she's skipping the basis for everything that comes next.

I'd have her do Math 87 again, from the beginning, every.single.problem. To move on to algebra when she's doing so poorly on the pre-algebra is a recipe for, well, maybe not disaster, but certainly not for success. Math 87 again. It is pre-algebra; there's no reason to do Alg. 1/2.

Out of curiosity, did she complete Math 76? If so, how did she do on that?

Many children seem to do well if you give them a time limit, e.g., you will work for 1 hour and stop wherever you are at that time, and tomorrow you'll pick up where you left off, for 1 hour. Or whatever your magic number is. :-) We don't know why, but often when children are given that time limit, they are magically able to complete a lesson even when before they muddled through and took longer.

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14 hours ago, Ellie said:

With Saxon, your child must do every.single.problem. in every.single.problem set. It isn't only review; it's that each problem is specifically chosen to continue to develop concepts. When she skips problems, she's skipping the basis for everything that comes next.

I'd have her do Math 87 again, from the beginning, every.single.problem. To move on to algebra when she's doing so poorly on the pre-algebra is a recipe for, well, maybe not disaster, but certainly not for success. Math 87 again. It is pre-algebra; there's no reason to do Alg. 1/2.

Out of curiosity, did she complete Math 76? If so, how did she do on that?

Many children seem to do well if you give them a time limit, e.g., you will work for 1 hour and stop wherever you are at that time, and tomorrow you'll pick up where you left off, for 1 hour. Or whatever your magic number is. :-) We don't know why, but often when children are given that time limit, they are magically able to complete a lesson even when before they muddled through and took longer.

I've probably only let her off the hook about 5 times all year on not doing every problem.  She did complete 7/6. She fared better. Generally scoring in the 80s on daily lessons and 90s on tests. 

 

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Saxon 87 steps up the program (compared to previous levels).  The lessons start to focus on smaller pieces of larger topics and students (should) begin to put the pieces together themselves within the homework set.  In the homework set there may be 2 seemingly identical problems-- but a slight difference may make a huge difference in the outcome.  This happens quite often and is one reason why working the 'evens or odds' only is not the best idea for most students (there are exceptions). 

The program itself can literally 'suck the life' out of students-- I've seen it happen over and over.  About 30% of students I've worked with using Saxon would have been better served with a different (more traditional) text-- by better served I mean they would have mastered the material at an A or B level with a LOT less stress and a more complete understanding of the material.

"Sloppy mistakes" at this level could be boredom-- but more likely it is the student not having the mental maturity to focus on the little details (typically age related and seen more in younger students).  These students 'speed read' the problem-- sort of like a beginning reader guessing a word by looking at the first and last letter-- instead of seeing and reading the word 'cat' their brain processes the word as 'c _ t' and they end up guessing the middle sound according to context-- and in the case of math-- similar problems previously worked.  This is why the most common error types I see among Algebra 1 students are problems like ' 2 x 5 = 7 '  where the students absolutely know their multiplication facts-- their brains just skipped over the multiplication sign.

Also, when considering if your student is ready for Algebra 1, and your student is not passionate/excited about math (and is prone to 'sloppy mistakes') please consider their future high school math track.  VERY FEW students will need to go beyond calculus in high school-- with the majority being very well prepared for college level maths having Pre-Calculus as their final high school math (and some even Algebra 2!).  I've seen way too many 7th and 8th graders stumble through Algebra 1 because it was the 'next level' when they would have been better served with an additional year of Pre-Algebra topics (allowing for more mental maturity before reaching the abstract AND multi-step problems of Algebra 1).

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This sounds a lot like my daughter who has been doing Saxon 87 this year. It just didn't seem to be completely solidifying in her brain. I knew it would be disastrous to move her on to algebra without prealgebra being super solid, so after much research, we are doing Saxon 87 again using the WTMA class that uses Saxon. I corresponded with the teacher and was very impressed by what the class will be like. I'm not sure if it's in your budget, but I would check it out. The teacher was very helpful in answering my questions. For my daughter, I don't think Saxon was the problem. It actually helped her so much. But she just isn't ready for algebra. 

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If she is making sloppy mistakes from boredom I would NEVER have her repeat the text. Yikes. If you are certain she needs more solidification of arithmetic (preA) I would choose a different approach.  I probably would not choose AOPS if math isn't her thing, you are concerned about review, and she didn't like Singapore.  You might look at Jousting Armadillos, Dolciani PreA, the Key to... Series, or any of a number of texts. Or, you could proceed to Algebra with something like Jacobs.  Either way, I would take a hard look at how she learns - does she need interaction or prefer independence? does she prefer big picture then details or details until she gets the big pictures? does she need to see or touch to learn? Having something that is more congruent with her way of learning might be the only thing she needs to move on to Algebra.

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I second the suggestion of setting a time limit and then picking up the next day.  If you want to stick with Saxon, and she finishes 8/7 with a 80 average on tests I would move on to Algebra but with  a time limit in place and correction of every problem (with you) before going on to the next lesson. 

I've let go of the idea that a Saxon lesson needs to be completed in one day.  We spread them out as needed and just keep going at our pace.

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I 'third' setting the time limit. Also, with 80+ on the tests I definitely wouldn't repeat 87. If you really think that your dd is not ready for Algebra 1 then maybe do Algebra 1/2 instead.  You could start Algebra 1/2 by working through the tests until she starts getting less than 80 then pick up the text from there.  

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