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lgliser

Our tutor hates Saxon!

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My girls struggle with math. We took a year off of CLE to do Mastering Essential Math Skills in hopes that we'd build some confidence. I found a tutor in our neighborhood and plan to start with her on Tuesday. I filled her in on our journey so far and told her I hoped that the girls would be ready for Saxon 8/7 next year and she practically begged me not to do Saxon! And of course this is after me researching for months what might be good for 7th grade and also pre algebra.

Anyway, she just hates Saxon and said there's not enough review and repetition. 

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Huh??? Not enough review in SAXON???????

Maybe the tutor needed to drink her coffee and wake up???

Saxon has flaws and solid reasons not to like it, sure, but that isn't precisely one of them. Maybe she meant it's not teaching each new skill to mastery and providing enough practice to master the skill before moving on? Sure. But that's the point of incremental instruction, lol.

Did this person come well-recommended or does she have experience with someone like your dc?

Edited by PeterPan
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I can not imagine thinking that Saxon didn’t have enough review and repetition. I detest the program, in part because I believe it to have such a ridiculous excess of review and repetition. Has this tutor ever actually used Saxon?

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This is the tutor's site: http://www.mathheadinc.com/index.html

23 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Huh??? Not enough review in SAXON???????

right?! I've not used it but I've certainly heard enough about it to know that it's got more than enough review. 

I'll try to find out more when we meet with her....

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1 hour ago, lgliser said:

My girls struggle with math. We took a year off of CLE to do Mastering Essential Math Skills in hopes that we'd build some confidence. I found a tutor in our neighborhood and plan to start with her on Tuesday. I filled her in on our journey so far and told her I hoped that the girls would be ready for Saxon 8/7 next year and she practically begged me not to do Saxon! And of course this is after me researching for months what might be good for 7th grade and also pre algebra.

Anyway, she just hates Saxon and said there's not enough review and repetition. 

"Not enough review and repetition"? Really? Saxon is all about review and repetition, unless the students are allowed to skip problems in the problem set.

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Well technically saxon is incremental and during the initial introduction of the topic there are only a few problems, not typically enough to cement it. But she's basically just saying then she doesn't like incremental instruction, which isn't a shock.

I think if you want to use a tutor it makes sense to roll with what they want to use. You wouldn't know till you tried. She might be a pain in the butt to teach mastery but do fine with a live paid teacher doing it. The tutor is likely to bring in quite a bit of repetition other ways. I wouldn't assume it wouldn't work.

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11 hours ago, lgliser said:

This is the tutor's site: http://www.mathheadinc.com/index.html

right?! I've not used it but I've certainly heard enough about it to know that it's got more than enough review. 

I'll try to find out more when we meet with her....

I heard you must skip problems because Saxon has an extreme amount of review.

I went to the tutor's site and saw they like to use Calculus By and For Young People, which I have not heard of.  I googled, and you can download the books at http://mathman.biz/

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16 hours ago, lgliser said:

I found a tutor... and plan to start with her on Tuesday.

Ok, since she is close, I would start with her and just see what happens. You never know what will happen when a student gets in with a different type of teacher. If they click and it goes well, none of this will matter. 

How often are you going to do sessions? Daily or 1-2X a week with homework? I guess see what she's recommending. 

My ds has significant issues in almost everything, but definitely in math, where he's diagnosed with an SLD. I use a mix of materials and methods with him. I really like some of the common core based word problem workbooks available, but he has issues with word problems. This tutor may have a mix of things she likes. Also, I think sometimes tutors just attract certain types of kids. Reading what's on the website, I would say that tutor is *not* working with a student like mine (autism, language issues, SLD math). So hopefully the tutor will turn out to be a good fit for your dd and able to put together a mix that works for her. To me, it doesn't have to be a *curriculum* as long as it's hitting the aspects she's weak in and helping her move forward.

Edited by PeterPan

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4 hours ago, parent said:

I heard you must skip problems because Saxon has an extreme amount of review.

Oh, no, uh uh, you should never, ever skip problems in any Saxon text. I know people do it, but it's a recipe for disaster for most learners. Every single problem in every single problem set is there for a reason---not just for review, which it does, but also to continue developing concepts once they have been introduced in a lesson. When people allow their children to skip problems, the children are missing the review as well as the concepts. You only have to read the introduction to each textbook to see how the author wrote it and why.

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20 hours ago, lgliser said:

Anyway, she just hates Saxon and said there's not enough review and repetition. 

I'd be very skeptical of a tutor that has this particular complaint about Saxon.

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2 hours ago, Ellie said:

Oh, no, uh uh, you should never, ever skip problems in any Saxon text. I know people do it, but it's a recipe for disaster for most learners. Every single problem in every single problem set is there for a reason---not just for review, which it does, but also to continue developing concepts once they have been introduced in a lesson. When people allow their children to skip problems, the children are missing the review as well as the concepts. You only have to read the introduction to each textbook to see how the author wrote it and why.

This is absolutely correct.

If a student doesn't do well with the number of problems that Saxon requires, it is far better to use a different program than to modify Saxon.

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I'll try to answer some of everyone's questions after we meet her for the first time on Tuesday. We're planning on once a week for now. We'll see!

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I wonder if it is as simple as she is used to mastery programs. Someone who has only ever used mastery programs might see spiral texts as not having enough "repetition" in terms of students initially learning new concepts. The review part, though, unless she is referencing pages of repetitious review like in mastery programs, makes no sense.  

It is much easier to assess a mastery program by flipping through the text bc you can see exactly where each topic is going. With a spiral program, flipping through the text doesn't give you the same sort of info bc so much is buried in each individual lesson in small amts. People who like mastery programs and aren't used to spiral tend to think spiral programs don't teach concepts well.

I wouldn't start off assuming she isn't a good tutor as much as not familiar with different approaches long-term outcomes. Her value as a tutor should reveal itself to you rather quickly.

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Was she advising you not to use it because she doesn't want to tutor it, or because she thinks there are better choices?  

You're not using it now, so I see no reason to not start tutoring with her and see how it goes. She doesn't have to like or approve of the program you are using; if the goal is to cement skills (rather than improve a class grade), she really doesn't have to refer to Saxon at all even next year. The more ways students see to approach math, the better, imo. 

By the way, I'm one of those people who skip problems in Saxon, lol. I wouldn't do it randomly (no assigning evens or odds) but the edition we had put a lesson number next to all of the problems so I could choose the amount of review. I'm sure there were some subtleties going on that made one Lesson 11 review problem different from another, but we had no issues. We didn't use Saxon as our only math program for more than a couple of years or so (depending on kid) so that may have affected it also (we used a mix of mostly Saxon and Singapore through about 5th). 

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On April 28, 2019 at 3:43 PM, Ellie said:

Oh, no, uh uh, you should never, ever skip problems in any Saxon text. I know people do it, but it's a recipe for disaster for most learners. Every single problem in every single problem set is there for a reason---not just for review, which it does, but also to continue developing concepts once they have been introduced in a lesson. When people allow their children to skip problems, the children are missing the review as well as the concepts. You only have to read the introduction to each textbook to see how the author wrote it and why.

Well, I assume it's one of those things you can do if you can figure out where they are going with the concepts and know your kid is already solid? 

But it's not my cup of tea, anyway, from what I've heard, so I probably shouldn't talk. 

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I will state upfront that Saxon gives me the hives; however, a good math tutor is a mathematical and novel thinker.  After identifying the underlying issue, they should be able to break down and gently teach the underlying concepts using a variety of methods (pictures, manipulatives, and traditional).  A like or dislike of Saxon is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned.  If the tutor is experienced, they should have multiple teaching materials to draw upon. 

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I'm going to try to include the attachment she just sent me explaining why she says Saxon is inferior.

She did say she'd help me find a good curriculum for DD.

So, she was really nice. DD loved her. I was surprised that there was another kid there at the same time and honestly she didn't pay that much attention to him. He was older and sort of seemed like he knew what he was doing, but still. So her attention was divided between him and DD and whatever she was doing on her laptop. She was trying to get a feel for what DD knew. She was glad she knew her times tables. They went through a number chart to see if she knew prime numbers... I think she was trying to show her patterns. That's what she worked on for the whole hour. I paid for 4 sessions so hopefully we get a little farther next time!!

BlitzerIsSuperior.pdf

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Her attachment shows that she prefers mastery over spiral.  I personally don't like Saxon and its approach would drive my kids batty, but her reasoning appears to be based on a lack of familiarity with how spiral programs approach topics and not one that I would accept as de fide.

FWIW, unless I knew that the tutoring session was not private, I would have been upset by the presence of another student.  

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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Rather off topic but when I saw this thread's title....In my class yesterday, the kids were discussing math (most had just come from pre-algebra) and one of them asked if anyone else had done Saxon. All the kids groaned and said how much they hated it. I thought it was an interesting and honest response by the kids. 

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16 minutes ago, lmrich said:

Rather off topic but when I saw this thread's title....In my class yesterday, the kids were discussing math (most had just come from pre-algebra) and one of them asked if anyone else had done Saxon. All the kids groaned and said how much they hated it. I thought it was an interesting and honest response by the kids. 

Interesting! Did they say why?

One of my AoPS kids recently told me he hated Saxon, too. I wonder what about it inspires such strong feelings?

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11 minutes ago, square_25 said:

Interesting! Did they say why?

One of my AoPS kids recently told me he hated Saxon, too. I wonder what about it inspires such strong feelings?

For kids who get math and can see the big picture, it is like being poked to death.

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37 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

For kids who get math and can see the big picture, it is like being poked to death.

 

Hah. An evocative phrasing! 

That’s not generally true of spiral, is it?

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Saxon is incremental in addition to spiral so it just introduces small steps at a time. 

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3 hours ago, square_25 said:

Interesting! Did they say why?

One of my AoPS kids recently told me he hated Saxon, too. I wonder what about it inspires such strong feelings?

 

My school used upper levels of Saxon, way back when. I went from a kid who loved math, with it being my favorite subject and competing in MathCounts, to thinking math was a miserable subject that made no sense. Saxon contained almost no “math sense”; it was problem after problem after problem of fill-in-the-blank plugging in of numbers using a prescribed way of doing things. The sheer number of problems meant math homework took longer than all my other subjects combined, even though I still usually intuitively understood the math itself. It was drudgery.

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5 minutes ago, Jackie said:

 

My school used upper levels of Saxon, way back when. I went from a kid who loved math, with it being my favorite subject and competing in MathCounts, to thinking math was a miserable subject that made no sense. Saxon contained almost no “math sense”; it was problem after problem after problem of fill-in-the-blank plugging in of numbers using a prescribed way of doing things. The sheer number of problems meant math homework took longer than all my other subjects combined, even though I still usually intuitively understood the math itself. It was drudgery.

That sounds unpleasant :-(. 

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13 hours ago, lgliser said:

why she says Saxon is inferior.

No joke, like we didn't all know that? It's pragmatic. 

13 hours ago, lgliser said:

She was trying to get a feel for what DD knew. She was glad she knew her times tables. They went through a number chart to see if she knew prime numbers... I think she was trying to show her patterns. That's what she worked on for the whole hour. I paid for 4 sessions so hopefully we get a little farther next time!!

This tutor is not motivated to be faster or farther, and that might not even be a healthy goal for your dd. What the tutor is bringing is a way to rediscover her enjoyment of math rather than reducing it to the most basic, utilitarian level. My ds has SLD math but ENJOYS math. And it's not that it's a bad/wrong choice to be really utiliarian and just go let's do this, let's get out of there. But right now your dd has the chance to enjoy it again, LOWER HER STRESS, find her success, see how she can be successful with it. Some kids actually are really strong at math THINKING even if they really suck at other things like the computation or getting it on paper. And reducing that stress can be a goal. Learning how to learn, how to be calm and look at a page and say "I've got this" can be really good.

13 hours ago, lgliser said:

I was surprised that there was another kid there at the same time and honestly she didn't pay that much attention to him. He was older and sort of seemed like he knew what he was doing, but still. So her attention was divided between him and DD and whatever she was doing on her laptop.

Well we already knew the tutor was hairbrained from the picture on her site, lol. I mean who posts a picture of their bookshelves that messy? LOL So she's ok with some chaos and distraction and craziness. Did your dd feel comfortable there? I'm wondering if this tutor kind of rolls with that idea of teaching them to teach themselves, getting their stress down, getting them to where they CAN pick up their math and do it. If what she was doing there with the 2nd student was for that, it's actually pretty slick. Like I can see from a paying perspective why you want more done, but that could be a really good thing too that she has going that could be good in the long-run.

13 hours ago, lgliser said:

I paid for 4 sessions so hopefully we get a little farther next time!!

As long as what the lady does WORKS this won't matter. That's pretty exciting that you paid for the four sessions and are rolling with it. She's different (from how you've taught, etc.), but if I had someone like that locally I'd probably hire them. I'm always looking for people who re-ignite my dc's enjoyment of something. That's a really good sign if your dd was enjoying it. I wouldn't worry about the speed but would just let it come together over time. Some kids repeat quite a bit of math, so that you'll have kids like this doing algebra 1 over and over, maybe really only finishing by the end of 10th. So it's not like there's some race and she's BEHIND. All she needs to do is be going FORWARD at this point and she'll be fine. Seriously.

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13 hours ago, lgliser said:

the attachment she just sent me explaining why she says Saxon is inferior.

That was pretty lame and didn't go into any detail or account of situations where a curriculum like the one she samples might NOT be appropriate. 

Milk the tutor for the good she is. She's going to have some weaknesses, but the only question is whether she's doing your dd some good right now. Getting stress down is good, recapturing joy is good, and learning how to read the language of math and work with a textbook are good. They can be really good goals beyond the math.

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11 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

This tutor is not motivated to be faster or farther, and that might not even be a healthy goal for your dd. What the tutor is bringing is a way to rediscover her enjoyment of math rather than reducing it to the most basic, utilitarian level. My ds has SLD math but ENJOYS math. And it's not that it's a bad/wrong choice to be really utiliarian and just go let's do this, let's get out of there. But right now your dd has the chance to enjoy it again, LOWER HER STRESS, find her success, see how she can be successful with it. Some kids actually are really strong at math THINKING even if they really suck at other things like the computation or getting it on paper. And reducing that stress can be a goal. Learning how to learn, how to be calm and look at a page and say "I've got this" can be really good.

Yes, and I will be thrilled if this lowers her stress level! I'm totally fine with that.

 

12 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Well we already knew the tutor was hairbrained from the picture on her site, lol. I mean who posts a picture of their bookshelves that messy?

OMG and that picture was the room looking CLEAN. When we went in, it was 10 times messier. And that's her living room - like right when you walk in! LOL

I appreciate the advice and thoughts from everyone! I love the experts here!

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9 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

You could offer to barter cleaning for tutoring...

🤣

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Yes, Saxon can be boring and draining for some kids, but i know that mine all think it's pretty easy.  I tend to use many programs in the same school year, and they think Saxon days are the easiest!   Why?  Because the incremental teaching makes it so that they don't even realize they are learning, the just add a step to something they already know!  My kids also like having all different kids of problems rather than 10 or 15 of the same kind.  

I've now used Saxon to the end 1st yo Advanced Math.   Weve also used maNY other programs- here are a few:

Math Mammoth- kids hated the layout, we ended up doing 2 or 3 chapters at a time, with about a half page per chapter per day.  I typically use it to reinforce the new big topics in each grade or for additional practice.   If the pages werent so cluttered,  I think they would have li k ed it.

Math in Focus- this was mew for us this year.  I really liked it!  Clean pages, mostly east to teach, plenty of room to write.... but that stops in 6th grade.  I have the middle school books, but t h ey say Saxon instead, they may do a few units in the MiF.  

Arbor School- one kid liked it, one kid said no way, too wordy, hard to follow

Life of Fred- again,  one liked it snd plans to do all the way to calculus with it. .. the other says it's stupid, hated the story,  just no.

Jacobs- kid who loved Arbor School thought she would like it.  Turns out she didnt, asked for Saxon in January and stated algebra over, finishing quickly.  I did like Jacobs,  but I think the main issue was too many if the same type problem

AoPS- bc it's supposed to be the best.  Kiddo hated it- we used PreAl.  Too wordy, too into math tricks, kid like explicit instruction not discover method.  We do plan to try statistics!  She thinks sge might be ready for AoPS now, and the problem could have been her age at the time.  

Beast- same reason, we tried 3rd and part of 4th grade.   Now I just pull the out to get extra depth.  

Math U See- I've used it here and there to teach specific prob lk em areas (fractions!).  Kids refuse to watch the guy on the video.  I do like and use the manipulatives!   I recently used Al 1 as in intro couse, not impressed, seems very light. 

Weve also tried Cle and a few other random workbooks.  It's not like I make my kids use Saxon- they like it!   That said....  I think I wanna try Foesters, just see if I like it.  

 

I think your tutor may be a good inspiring,  encouraging person.  I wouldn't take her advice on picking a math program.  I've got 5 kids schooling,  and between them I've used many programs.   My advice is to find one that fits your child.  None of us can tell you which one that is. 

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23 hours ago, square_25 said:

Interesting! Did they say why?

One of my AoPS kids recently told me he hated Saxon, too. I wonder what about it inspires such strong feelings?

They said it took forever. I stayed out of the conversation as they were just chatting before class. 

 

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Saxon is super super wordy. If a kid likes math, but not reading/language arts, they might hate Saxon for that alone. 

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Just wanted to encourage those who use Saxon. I have used it through Calculus 3 times. My youngest is majoring in math and is in the honors program. Her professor this year was impressed with her math knowledge and said she asked very good questions and must have been taught well.

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We've used it through Calculus with good results as well. I do know and understand math though and was able to assist at any time. There were a few times where I would pull a unit out of a standard text like Holt or from AOPS to clarify something that was being lost in the choppiness of Saxon. But overall I think it is a great option for homeschool. The solutions guide are very complete and error free. I tutor a student in Algebra 1 using Saxon. He likes it although the lessons are long and I frequently have to explain things to him, but that's my job. 

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So basically it is inferior because you don't repeat the same thing 200 times?  I never liked the sound of Saxon but lack of repetition and review has never been mentioned.

 

I did read a review of AOPS PA once by a teacher saying because it had no "real life" problems she could only see it being used for weaker maths students or remedial purposes though so I know people's opinions can differ.

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Opinions and experiences vary. Since some other people are sharing positives with saxon, I wanted to do the same.  My oldest used the mfw lesson plans for saxon, which means not every single problem every single time.  lesson plans written by a career math teacher in group schools (not by a homeschool mommy doing evens/odds).  Used 87, alg 1, (did a year of jacobs geometry because dh insisted on more proof based year), back to saxon alg 2,  advanced.  for her grade 12 calc year we did not use saxon.   Oldest graduated university in 4 calendar years with 3 STEM degrees, one of which was math, summa cum laude.    Middle gal: slow to average academic ability. not strong in math thinking. also did mfw lesson plans.  87, alg 1/2, alg 1, jacobs geometry year.  alg 2, advanced.  After saxon advanced she did clep prep study and passed clep pre calc exam to meet her college math requirement prior to enrollment.   Other people try that same route and don't have the same outcome.  mileage will vary.   best wishes to original poster getting a tutor and doing what needs to be done with your child.

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On 5/3/2019 at 1:41 AM, lgliser said:

Yes, and I will be thrilled if this lowers her stress level! I'm totally fine with that.

 

OMG and that picture was the room looking CLEAN. When we went in, it was 10 times messier. And that's her living room - like right when you walk in! LOL

I appreciate the advice and thoughts from everyone! I love the experts here!

They looked kinda fun to me... like someone who actually uses their books

😆

ok my house may be messier than I thought!

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9 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

They looked kinda fun to me... like someone who actually uses their books

😆

ok my house may be messier than I thought!

Me too. Glad I’m not alone!

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