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Bpoll

Should I switch math curriculum?

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We've homeschooled our 10 Year old Daughter (Oct birthday) from the beginning and she's always been smart but now Im wondering if I've been missing something and she's more than your average smart. We've done saxon from the start bc I was homeschooled and I knew it was a solid program. She did great K-2. 3rd was more of the same stuff and she had her facts down so half way thru the year we started 4/5. When we started 6/5 it was driving her crazy that there wasn't anything new so we skipped the first 30ish lessons and even though she kept complaining that it wasn't new I kept at it. Now I'm looking at them and most of 7/6 and 8/7 is review. There are a few topics (multiplying and dividing negatives etc)  I know she doesn't have down solid enough to move to pre-alg so the past few weeks we've been covering them topic based with khan and flipping thru saxon lessons and she is loving it! 

Any ideas of what to do with this kid? :) Do I keep covering topics with what I have to get her ready and go into Alg 1/2 or will the slow intro of topics with saxon keep being torture? Is there a better curriculum for her? I like the review of saxon and I don't think she'd mind some daily problems to work thru of past topics but she needs a daily light bulb moment in math. She loves thinking thru deep problems. Or maybe theres a fun supplement I could add in to give her that ah-ha every day? 

 

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Saxon is solid.  Part of its charm is that it has so.much.review.  Your dd might enjoy Beast Academy, which encourages outside the box thinking.

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Definitely switch.  There are much better curricula out there to challenge a gifted math student.  Beast Academy is the curriculum you will hear the most about.   It’s not for the faint of heart though.  My kids have thrived with BA, but there was a good deal of hand holding in the beginning.  Also the meat of BA is entirely in the practice books.  The guides are fun, but the advanced learning happens when you tackle the starred practice problems.  

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We loved Singapore. Solid program and mastery, not spiral. Intensive Practice allows for out of the box challenges. Beast Academy was loved here too, but it was harder and more number theory focused than Singapore. We loved both. 

Many kids thst love math struggle with the repetitive nature of Saxon. 

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My public school used Saxon for higher math. Math went from being my absolute favorite subject toone that I dreaded. That very slow, repetitive, incremental approach completely killed the subject for me.

Beast Academy and Singapore are commonly used and recommended for mathy kids. They are deep, mastery programs with relatively little repetition and lots of interesting ideas. Some who use Singapore choose to use the Intensive Practice workbook in place of the regular workbook in order to have more depth and less repetition than the standard program.

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I really haven't researched other maths bc I was set on sticking with what I knew so please excuse my ignorance. It seem like peoples assessment is spiral takes a long time to finish teaching a concept but mastery doesn't review often enough for the child to remember? Where does BA fit in there? From what I'm reading it does look promising. When I look at a saxon book I don't think the review in each problem set is the problem, its the fact that the next book will reteach a lot of what was already taught. Does that make sense?  So I think I'm looking for something that will teach the topic in depth but still review for a little every day what was taught throughout the year. 

Also BA looks like younger and then they go to AOPS? 

I haven't heard of many doing singapore into high school. Most I've run into do it to start with MFW then switch to saxon so Im not sure if thats a direction I want to head but Im kinda clueless so any input is valued greatly!

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19 minutes ago, Bpoll said:

I really haven't researched other maths bc I was set on sticking with what I knew so please excuse my ignorance. It seem like peoples assessment is spiral takes a long time to finish teaching a concept but mastery doesn't review often enough for the child to remember? Where does BA fit in there? From what I'm reading it does look promising. When I look at a saxon book I don't think the review in each problem set is the problem, its the fact that the next book will reteach a lot of what was already taught. Does that make sense?  So I think I'm looking for something that will teach the topic in depth but still review for a little every day what was taught throughout the year. 

Also BA looks like younger and then they go to AOPS? 

I haven't heard of many doing singapore into high school. Most I've run into do it to start with MFW then switch to saxon so Im not sure if thats a direction I want to head but Im kinda clueless so any input is valued greatly!

Mastery vs. spiral: it depends on what you choose.  I used MUS (mastery) with a fast moving child and it had 3 pages of 'new' practice, 3 pages of review for every lesson.  I use MEP/Right Start with another child and they teach the concept in several different ways with different applications and seem to move rather quickly some times and slowly others (we skip the slow.)

BA moves quickly for children who don't need plenty of time to understand and remember a concept.  It looks like it is for young children, but the concepts taught within it are probably right about where your daughter is at because of the different ways of looking at math.  You should check out the readiness test to see what is expected.  They then move from there to AOPS pre-algebra.

You might enjoy taking this math curriculum quiz to see what you're looking for and be able to identify those qualities in your search.

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7 hours ago, Bpoll said:

 When I look at a saxon book I don't think the review in each problem set is the problem, its the fact that the next book will reteach a lot of what was already taught. Does that make sense?  So I think I'm looking for something that will teach the topic in depth but still review for a little every day what was taught throughout the year. 

 

I'm curious why you want specific review? In a *lot* of math areas, review is built in because you can't, say, divide fractions if your grasp on division, multiplication, or fractions isn't solid. You can't do it well at least. You can't really do percents (well) if your fuzzy on fractions (and everything that fractions rely upon). You can't think about trig (well) unless you can do a bunch of other stuff already. Etc.  While it's still possible to forget things, continuing on in math includes unavoidable review anyway. So we don't worry about setting aside time to specifically review over here. We review topics as necessary if we stumble across something we haven't seen in a while, but otherwise we just keep moving forward.

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It's not just Saxon that is repetitive.  Singapore has the same problem.  For bright kids, 8 years (K-7) of arithmetic is ridiculous.

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Art of Problem Solving is often recommended for bright students and it is a very rigorous series but my DS is lukewarm about it. He much prefers Elements of Mathematics. He finds the animations and games much more engaging than the straight textbook presentation of AoPS.

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14 hours ago, Bpoll said:

I really haven't researched other maths bc I was set on sticking with what I knew so please excuse my ignorance. It seem like peoples assessment is spiral takes a long time to finish teaching a concept but mastery doesn't review often enough for the child to remember? Where does BA fit in there? From what I'm reading it does look promising. When I look at a saxon book I don't think the review in each problem set is the problem, its the fact that the next book will reteach a lot of what was already taught. Does that make sense?  So I think I'm looking for something that will teach the topic in depth but still review for a little every day what was taught throughout the year. 

Also BA looks like younger and then they go to AOPS? 

I haven't heard of many doing singapore into high school. Most I've run into do it to start with MFW then switch to saxon so Im not sure if thats a direction I want to head but Im kinda clueless so any input is valued greatly!

 

Mastery covers a topic in depth and then moves on, but the topics are still used in future problem sets. There simply isn’t usually a section titled “Review”. For example, DD did a chapter on Factors and Multiples, followed by a chapter on Fractions. The Fractions chapter leaned heavily on skills learned in the F&M chapter.

BA goes up until Pre-Algebra and then switches to Art of Problem Solving from there through Calculus. However, the problem solving in BA is much deeper than in Saxon. When DD was finishing up BA3, I was toying with switching her to a more straightforward math program and gave her a couple of placement tests. She tested into Saxon 7/6 at that time. Use the placement tests for any program you may switch to, as the levels may be vastly different.

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16 hours ago, 4KookieKids said:

 

I'm curious why you want specific review? In a *lot* of math areas, review is built in because you can't, say, divide fractions if your grasp on division, multiplication, or fractions isn't solid. You can't do it well at least. You can't really do percents (well) if your fuzzy on fractions (and everything that fractions rely upon). You can't think about trig (well) unless you can do a bunch of other stuff already. Etc.  While it's still possible to forget things, continuing on in math includes unavoidable review anyway. So we don't worry about setting aside time to specifically review over here. We review topics as necessary if we stumble across something we haven't seen in a while, but otherwise we just keep moving forward.

I'm noticing that there is a lot more overlap of concepts in the samples and assessments for BA than I am used to seeing with saxon.  When I picture mastery I picture Saxons lesson and practice set (all problems of the new concepts) and none of their problem set (30 questions that are straight forward past concepts like adding fractions, subtract a 4 digit number etc) There are quite a few topics that aren't taught (in the math Ive used) using the other past concepts but now Im wondering if thats just a part of saxon bc the review is covered in the problem set? An example is she has learned finding the area of a triangle but hasn't used it with summer break so when she did a BA assessment problem asking that she couldn't remember. 

Thanks for your questions! Everyones prompting is really helping me think what would work best for us and why. What math curriculum has worked for you? 

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1 minute ago, Bpoll said:

I'm noticing that there is a lot more overlap of concepts in the samples and assessments for BA than I am used to seeing with saxon.  When I picture mastery I picture Saxons lesson and practice set (all problems of the new concepts) and none of their problem set (30 questions that are straight forward past concepts like adding fractions, subtract a 4 digit number etc) There are quite a few topics that aren't taught (in the math Ive used) using the other past concepts but now Im wondering if thats just a part of saxon bc the review is covered in the problem set? An example is she has learned finding the area of a triangle but hasn't used it with summer break so when she did a BA assessment problem asking that she couldn't remember. 

Thanks for your questions! Everyones prompting is really helping me think what would work best for us and why. What math curriculum has worked for you? 

We do Singapore and Beast, as well. What I find is that when the concepts are there, usually we don't need as much review either. For instance, with your triangle example, my boy had a problem on prodigy where had to compute the surface area of something, and it had triangles. But because he was actually taught *why* the area of a triangle is 1/2 (bh) with a picture (draw a triangle with the base down, and then create a rectangle out of it with dimensions bxh, draw a line down from the top of the triangle, notice that in each of the two rectangles you just created, your triangle occupies exactly half the space, as shown below), he can easily work out the formula for the area of a triangle himself, even if he forgets the "formula" sometimes. Granted, this example doesn't prove the formula works in the case of *all* triangles, because in some, the top point would stick out to the side or something, but it's enough for him to remember and understand why the area of the triangle is actually half of the area of the rectangle, which is base x height, and thus derive the formula himself. And that is worth far more to me than being able to regurgitate the formula - for now, at least. ?
image.png.37a01457115580d097befb800a009b57.png

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10 hours ago, Jackie said:

 

Mastery covers a topic in depth and then moves on, but the topics are still used in future problem sets. There simply isn’t usually a section titled “Review”. For example, DD did a chapter on Factors and Multiples, followed by a chapter on Fractions. The Fractions chapter leaned heavily on skills learned in the F&M chapter.

BA goes up until Pre-Algebra and then switches to Art of Problem Solving from there through Calculus. However, the problem solving in BA is much deeper than in Saxon. When DD was finishing up BA3, I was toying with switching her to a more straightforward math program and gave her a couple of placement tests. She tested into Saxon 7/6 at that time. Use the placement tests for any program you may switch to, as the levels may be vastly different.

Some blogs and reviews Im looking at are recommending starting BA at 3a (regardless of assessment)  bc its a challenging book and builds a foundation for the different type of math. Would you agree? I know they have assessments and we've done them. I just don't want to start in the 4s and have her be struggling or start with 3 and have her annoyed at it being easy. I think all of the BA would technically be a review but it looks like such a different and deeper way of thinking thru it that I think it might be what she needs before we move on to higher levels 

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3 minutes ago, 4KookieKids said:

We do Singapore and Beast, as well. What I find is that when the concepts are there, usually we don't need as much review either. For instance, with your triangle example, my boy had a problem on prodigy where had to compute the surface area of something, and it had triangles. But because he was actually taught *why* the area of a triangle is 1/2 (bh) with a picture (draw a triangle with the base down, and then create a rectangle out of it with dimensions bxh, draw a line down from the top of the triangle, notice that in each of the two rectangles you just created, your triangle occupies exactly half the space, as shown below), he can easily work out the formula for the area of a triangle himself, even if he forgets the "formula" sometimes. Granted, this example doesn't prove the formula works in the case of *all* triangles, because in some, the top point would stick out to the side or something, but it's enough for him to remember and understand why the area of the triangle is actually half of the area of the rectangle, which is base x height, and thus derive the formula himself. And that is worth far more to me than being able to regurgitate the formula - for now, at least. ?
image.png.37a01457115580d097befb800a009b57.png

Yes! thanks for the example. I totally agree with you that the thought process is more important. I think Ive missed that with my check the box mentality. I don't naturally think thru math like that but she does and I think Ive stifled that a bit with saxon. For example at 6 yr old, 8x5 to her was 8x10= 80 and half of that is 40. To me that seems like a really long process and memorizing is easier to me but I'm realizing I'm wrong. Thanks for helping me think thru this. I'm excited to try out BA. I'd love your input too about placement that I posted above. 

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41 minutes ago, Bpoll said:

Some blogs and reviews Im looking at are recommending starting BA at 3a (regardless of assessment)  bc its a challenging book and builds a foundation for the different type of math. Would you agree? I know they have assessments and we've done them. I just don't want to start in the 4s and have her be struggling or start with 3 and have her annoyed at it being easy. I think all of the BA would technically be a review but it looks like such a different and deeper way of thinking thru it that I think it might be what she needs before we move on to higher levels 

 

30 minutes ago, Bpoll said:

Yes! thanks for the example. I totally agree with you that the thought process is more important. I think Ive missed that with my check the box mentality. I don't naturally think thru math like that but she does and I think Ive stifled that a bit with saxon. For example at 6 yr old, 8x5 to her was 8x10= 80 and half of that is 40. To me that seems like a really long process and memorizing is easier to me but I'm realizing I'm wrong. Thanks for helping me think thru this. I'm excited to try out BA. I'd love your input too about placement that I posted above. 

 

If she likes math and you can afford it, I'd just start at 3A. It's a fun program. My older boy goes through his younger sisters Beast 2 books still (even though he's finishing up 4), because he likes them and they weren't out when he started Beast. If she's solid on everything, then she'll fly through the easier stuff and still get something out of the challenge problems. If she's done a lot of rote memorization but needs work on underlying concepts, she'll get those missing concepts by running through Beast again. My kids also do Beast a year behind where they are in Singapore, so you'll want to encourage her that she's not being demoted in any way and that Beast is hard. If it were to happen that she is bored with them, then you could adjust, but my guess is that that's unlikely. Beast is just different than other things. ?

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7 hours ago, Bpoll said:

Some blogs and reviews Im looking at are recommending starting BA at 3a (regardless of assessment)  bc its a challenging book and builds a foundation for the different type of math. Would you agree? I know they have assessments and we've done them. I just don't want to start in the 4s and have her be struggling or start with 3 and have her annoyed at it being easy. I think all of the BA would technically be a review but it looks like such a different and deeper way of thinking thru it that I think it might be what she needs before we move on to higher levels 

 

I do not agree with everyone needing to start at 3A. My kid strongly resists boredom or repetition. I would start where the assessments place a kid, but I definitely wouldn't stretch it. If an assessment is just barely passed, I would probably do the level anyway. The books go far deeper than the assessments do.

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22 hours ago, Bpoll said:

Some blogs and reviews Im looking at are recommending starting BA at 3a (regardless of assessment)  bc its a challenging book and builds a foundation for the different type of math. Would you agree? I know they have assessments and we've done them. I just don't want to start in the 4s and have her be struggling or start with 3 and have her annoyed at it being easy. I think all of the BA would technically be a review but it looks like such a different and deeper way of thinking thru it that I think it might be what she needs before we move on to higher levels 

 

As for skipping or doing level 3 for a child who placed into the beginning of 4, it really depends on the child and their math background.

When my DS#1 switched over to BA after finishing 4th grade Right Start math, he placed into 4B iirc, except for the problems with variables, with which he'd had limited exposure.  I decided to start him in 3C so he could get that experience, and it was very challenging for him.  He was not used to anything being hard in math.  He was not used to that level of problem solving.  The books of "review" trained him in how to do hard math and boosted his confidence since he moved through them rather quickly. 

OTOH, my DS#3 flat out refused an easier level of BA because it was "tooooooo easy."  He'd already been doing a higher level of BA for several months by that time and didn't need the training in problem solving from an earlier level.

You could pick out the juicy chapters from level 3 and skip what would be repetitive.  I'd say 3A's shapes chapter is high quality and worth doing, as is 3B's chapter on perfect squares.  Being proficient in factoring out from a string of added/subtracted terms as covered in 3B's chapter on the distributive property will make many future problems in the series much more manageable, and its challenge pages were gold.  Experience with variables, as covered in 3C, and/or bar modeling, a Singapore method, as a means to solve word problems and area/perimeter puzzles will make a substantial difference in the tackleability of a fair chunk of the problems in level 4.  3D teaches comparing fractions in a way completely different from Saxon (no cross multiply), and the way 3D teaches estimating quotients is very useful.

If she's highly math-intuitive, though, and has these skills down already, it might well be better to skip level 3 and just start her wherever she placed.  

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1 hour ago, Cake and Pi said:

 

As for skipping or doing level 3 for a child who placed into the beginning of 4, it really depends on the child and their math background.

When my DS#1 switched over to BA after finishing 4th grade Right Start math, he placed into 4B iirc, except for the problems with variables, with which he'd had limited exposure.  I decided to start him in 3C so he could get that experience, and it was very challenging for him.  He was not used to anything being hard in math.  He was not used to that level of problem solving.  The books of "review" trained him in how to do hard math and boosted his confidence since he moved through them rather quickly. 

OTOH, my DS#3 flat out refused an easier level of BA because it was "tooooooo easy."  He'd already been doing a higher level of BA for several months by that time and didn't need the training in problem solving from an earlier level.

You could pick out the juicy chapters from level 3 and skip what would be repetitive.  I'd say 3A's shapes chapter is high quality and worth doing, as is 3B's chapter on perfect squares.  Being proficient in factoring out from a string of added/subtracted terms as covered in 3B's chapter on the distributive property will make many future problems in the series much more manageable, and its challenge pages were gold.  Experience with variables, as covered in 3C, and/or bar modeling, a Singapore method, as a means to solve word problems and area/perimeter puzzles will make a substantial difference in the tackleability of a fair chunk of the problems in level 4.  3D teaches comparing fractions in a way completely different from Saxon (no cross multiply), and the way 3D teaches estimating quotients is very useful.

If she's highly math-intuitive, though, and has these skills down already, it might well be better to skip level 3 and just start her wherever she placed.  

Thanks so much for your overview of level 3. I was leaning toward going with 3 since I have 2 more in line to use them and reading your overview I think Ill go with that and give her a chance to get used to being challenged and make sure we are solid on those concepts before moving on.

Thanks everyone for your help!

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We started off with doing Singapore for a few years and then tried every math program under the sun, pretty much, before setting on Saxon (which I LOVE!!). BA is too young for your kid. Honestly I would just stick with Saxon but move through it faster if she’s not finding it challenging enough. My gifted DS is very mathy and he hated Singapore style math. Just cause it’s popular with Gifted students doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for all of them.

You could look into CLE math... it’s similar to Saxon but I find about 1.5 - 2 years more advanced. I love Saxon though. It’s the closest thing I’ve found to my ideal math program. 

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On 6/25/2018 at 8:22 PM, Crimson Wife said:

Art of Problem Solving is often recommended for bright students and it is a very rigorous series but my DS is lukewarm about it. He much prefers Elements of Mathematics. He finds the animations and games much more engaging than the straight textbook presentation of AoPS.

 

 

ooooh! I didn't know this existed! I've not been paying good attention lately. 

 

OP, We did Singapore and then went to Jousting Armadillos and then Jacobs (with a stop off at their Mathematics: A Human Endeavor book. https://www.amazon.com/Mathematics-Endeavor-Harold-R-Jacobs/dp/071672426X) We skipped a lot in Singapore that was review. 

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