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Do most people stay with Saxon the whole way through?

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I’ve poked around some about math curriculum. My oldest has used Saxon 1 through 8/7. She’s bored with math, not doing exceptionally well, and it feels tedious. 


The general recommendation has been to stay the course with Saxon. Do higher levels get better? Is it worth it in the end?

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The higher levels do not get better.  There are so many other options that can provide your daughter with a solid math education.

 I taught Saxon at the high school level for 10 years and used the lower levels with my own homeschooled daughters.  I had many students do exceptionally well-- but those were also exceptional students in other subject areas as well.  I found that 30% of my students would have been better off with a more traditional curriculum (meaning they could have been A/B students with a HIGHER level of mathematical understanding instead of B/C students who hated math and felt they were horrible at it).  When my own daughters started struggling with Saxon at the 87 level I switched them to Lial (a more traditional text)-- it was an immediate change for the better!  Both of my girls graduated from college with honors making high A's in all of their college math classes.

Saxon can be a great curriculum if it works with the way your student learns.  Students are exposed to small pieces of concepts with a different type of lesson each day (completely unrelated to the previous day's lesson).  Each lesson will have 3-5 average practice problems then the remaining homework will be 'review'.  This sounds great until about lesson 30-50 when the 'review' problems begin to combine concepts without explanation- they simply 'morph' into harder problems.  Many students can put these pieces together on their own-- but  (the 30% I mentioned above) cannot and become  UNNECESSARILY frustrated.  Saxon instructs parents to have the student go back several lessons-- or even to the beginning of the text and simply work through it again... this can make the student feel even more defeated--- and it my not help.

There are a few 'natural' math students who can get away with working every other problem in Saxon-- but even here they are missing critical review as Saxon's problems are carefully placed-- 2 consecutive problems may appear to be the same type-- but the strategic placement of a negative makes the 2nd problem very very different conceptually-- so problem skippers are not getting the benefit of the whole program. 

Saxon was one of the first curriculums to be widely available to homeschoolers-- meaning the TE was available for purchase by homeschooling parents. This longevity issue is one of the main reasons it is still so highly respected in the homeschool world. 

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If you want to switch from Saxon but not make too huge of a change, you could try the new DIVE streaming videos. Dr. Shormann has developed his own courses now. I think there are less problems to work and more explanation. Saxon has worked for us through high school. We are just starting the Calculus book but we have used DIVE videos to pull it all together. I like having the full solution manuals for Saxon even though I like math because it helps me answer questions more quickly, especially since I'm not involved as much as I was in the earlier years and it is hard to keep all the advanced math topics on instant recall especially if you are trying to make dinner or something at the same time. 

I assume you are starting Algebra 1. That would be a good time to change if you're going to. Hope you find something you are comfortable with.

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We made the switch from Saxon after 87 for youngest.  She transitioned to TT then MUS for pre-calculus and calculus.  It was a very smooth transition and she did very well.

Oldest used Saxon for Algebra 1 and 2 but "hit a math wall" at Adv Math.  We switched to Lial's pre-Calculus but first I had to finish geometry with her.  We spent the summer finishing a separate geometry course then started Lial's in the Fall.  It went quite well and dd had many "aha" moments.  Lials has real world word problems that made sense to dd and helped her understand the workings of math.  She took the SAT again after being in Lial's for a semester and her math score came up a decent amount.  She took Contemporary Math and Business Math (pre-Cal based) in college and got As in both. 

So, based on how the transition went for us, I'd say if you are going to make a move to another curriculum, do it prior to Algebra.  Saxon wraps Geometry into their other courses and Geometry is not "complete" until sometime into Adv. Math

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't think it's worth staying with, when there is colorful and simpler options available. If there is a curriculum that appeals to her, that is what sounds good. Specially since there is other curriculum options available that goes through high school math.

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