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I love Saxon but my child says she hates math....


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I love scripted programs abd that is why I chose Saxon Math. She did Saxon K and did not mind it but then we moved to Saxon 1 and she always hates when we do math and it takes so long. She is not struggling with many of the concepts but I am unsure if it is the curriculum or she just does not like math in general. She is a very creative kid and wants to always be doing art and such and loves colorful stuff. I get annoyed about the meeting part of Saxon but know it is good. We have started to split a lesson into two days and do the meeting and the lesson 1 da and the worksheets and math facts the next day which made things much better but I want her to like math. I am wondering if i need colorful workbooks and such. I showed her an example of math mammoth and she said she liked the color. I also do not know if i should do spiral/incremental or mastery with her either. She didnt seem to like the examples of CLE probably because they are not colorful. I just love scripted programs and I feel Saxon is the way to go for me but maybe not for her. I wish all curriculum was scripted!

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We have had this disconnect happen in our house.  Saxon was not a good fit for my oldest.  It was long, he felt anxious doing it, and even though it was a solid program, it was not the best program for him.

You are in luck, though - most math programs are scripted to some degree.  There are a few that are not, and may be out of your comfort zone right now, but most are.

If I were you, I'd sit down and brainstorm with your dd about what she does like about numbers.  Decide on your own what you want math to look like: how long? Hands on or not?  How expensive?  Whether there needs to be a lot of repetition (if she seems to take time to grasp skills) or less (if she seems to pick up things easily)

You may be able to find a better program for your house once you start to narrow down options. 

 

FWIW: I have found over time that the difference between spiral and mastery isn't as sharp as you think.  Spiral programs can be halted to work until mastery.  Mastery programs can have review added in.  It's not so much an either/or, but a shifting balance.

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I like the older editions of Saxon Algebra 1 and 2 written by Saxon himself and very lightly editted by Hake. I do NOT like the books written by Hake and the other authors.

Saxon was a remedial college math teacher. He wrote the algebra books to remediate college students. These two books do a great job preparing a student for freshman college algebra 101.

Inflicting this intensive drill method onto very young children is something I personally (this is an *I* statement) cannot advocate. Spartan youth were strong and brave, but I personally (this is another *I* statement) would not inflict that intensive training onto very young children. Late teens is early enough for both. If ever. In my opionion. 

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You might look at Kate Snow's Math With Confidence. The program is fully scripted and a mix of mastery teaching with spiral review built in. The lessons are hands-on and playful, the workbook is colorful, and the lessons are short. I believe you can find a sample of unit 1 for grade 1 on The Well Trained Mind website. 

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I've heard many stories of Saxon turning kids off of math. Plus, I agree with @EKS that this level of drill to automaticity prevents kids from having to ever think about the concepts, which is not actually necessarily a win for bringing up strong problem-solvers. 

I'd switch programs, personally. It sounds like she'd prefer almost anything else and there are plenty of other well-regarded programs. 

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First grade is early to label with general dislike of math. 

If you prefer the scripted instruction of Saxon, I do not think I would transition instantly to another program. Children have a habit of thinking colorful means easy. Math Mammoth would not be easier than Saxon, so I would expect equal resistance once actual "work" became involved. 

Instead I would focus on learning what the lessons are teaching myself and then find a more engaging way to teach the material. Hopping curriculum due to children's happiness does not often result in happier children if the mother is not comfortable with the different type of instruction. Therefore, find what works for you to learn how to teach, and then adjust the teaching to the child. 

Old world advice from before there were hundreds of programs to jump to! But I have grown concerned over the years with the amount of math curriculum hopping. It rarely seems to address the problem if the parent isn't comfortable teaching the concepts regardless of book. 

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1 minute ago, Holmesschooler said:

First grade is early to label with general dislike of math. 

If you prefer the scripted instruction of Saxon, I do not think I would transition instantly to another program. Children have a habit of thinking colorful means easy. Math Mammoth would not be easier than Saxon, so I would expect equal resistance once actual "work" became involved. 

Instead I would focus on learning what the lessons are teaching myself and then find a more engaging way to teach the material. Hopping curriculum due to children's happiness does not often result in happier children if the mother is not comfortable with the different type of instruction. Therefore, find what works for you to learn how to teach, and then adjust the teaching to the child. 

Old world advice from before there were hundreds of programs to jump to! But I have grown concerned over the years with the amount of math curriculum hopping. It rarely seems to address the problem if the parent isn't comfortable teaching the concepts regardless of book. 

On the one hand, I agree with you 110% about being comfortable with the concepts. If that's the issue, that this is the main problem that needs to be solved. 

On the other hand, I had a kid who used to throw tantrums about having to add 4 pairs of two-digit numbers and about how boring it was. I'm pretty sure requiring her to do Saxon would have resulted in intense, unreasonable levels of unhappiness. And she learned perfectly well without that requirement, so what would have been the point? 

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2 minutes ago, Holmesschooler said:

First grade is early to label with general dislike of math. 

If you prefer the scripted instruction of Saxon, I do not think I would transition instantly to another program. Children have a habit of thinking colorful means easy. Math Mammoth would not be easier than Saxon, so I would expect equal resistance once actual "work" became involved. 

Instead I would focus on learning what the lessons are teaching myself and then find a more engaging way to teach the material. Hopping curriculum due to children's happiness does not often result in happier children if the mother is not comfortable with the different type of instruction. Therefore, find what works for you to learn how to teach, and then adjust the teaching to the child. 

Old world advice from before there were hundreds of programs to jump to! But I have grown concerned over the years with the amount of math curriculum hopping. It rarely seems to address the problem if the parent isn't comfortable teaching the concepts regardless of book. 

This is really good advice for the beginning of summer. 

It is hard to be comfortable teaching concepts when you've never taught them on your own before!  It's a new feeling, and a slightly awkward one.  The one thing the summer will bring is time to create a toolbox of ideas.  When we first started out, I had a math curriculum, but I had mostly just outlines of what I wanted to cover for other subjects.

I'm not going to lie, I relied heavily on our math curriculum for a few years before I felt comfortable not doing what was on the paper.  I wanted to be sure I wasn't skipping anything.  Saxon has a way of making you feel like you fail if you don't do everything it tells you to and that is a hard thing to get away from.

So, absolutely, fill your toolbox with links to ideas for different games and activities that work on the same concepts.  But also, find a way to be comfortable being the master of the curriculum and not have the curriculum be the master of you.

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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

On the one hand, I agree with you 110% about being comfortable with the concepts. If that's the issue, that this is the main problem that needs to be solved. 

On the other hand, I had a kid who used to throw tantrums about having to add 4 pairs of two-digit numbers and about how boring it was. I'm pretty sure requiring her to do Saxon would have resulted in intense, unreasonable levels of unhappiness. And she learned perfectly well without that requirement, so what would have been the point? 

I think there are different things going on. Parenting difference, teaching differences, and weight given to input from children are some of them. 

I differ from then OP in that I would not set curriculum examples in front of a first grader and expect meaningful input. They do not have the experience to give any truth be told. They're evaluating sheerly off appearance, if that. 

Another difference is that I believe you are a professional math instructor. You are not a general representation of homeschooling parents who use scripted curriculum. The point being, you don't need a script, and you do not sure any mass generated scope and sequence from what I have read of your posts. Since you do not use packaged curriculum from the sound of it, then your teaching methodologies are not going to transfer to someone who needs script. 

My original point being, the OP would do better to expand her own teaching capabilities. Only at that point would she be better equipt to evaluate the curriculum and decide what works or doesn't work. This is first grade. It can be done. 

I am old and crusty at this point, admittedly, and do not care for how this forum has evolved to jumping ship and hopping curriculum as being the solution to all problems. I know that you @Not_a_Numberdo not necessarily espouse such views, as you seem to not use curriculum. But I think most would be better served to improve their teaching skills and not be so dependent on curriculum. If you have a skill set to teach, you can essentially use any curriculum and teach first grade concepts until you can drill down more on where the child is struggling. A better ability to discern what is attitude as opposed to actual disconnect with the subject matter. 

But again, I stand more with the old timers and what was teaching methodologies versus simple curriculum fixes. Ymmv of course. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Holmesschooler said:

I differ from then OP in that I would not set curriculum examples in front of a first grader and expect meaningful input. They do not have the experience to give any truth be told. They're evaluating sheerly off appearance, if that. 

You're right. I wouldn't go off of what a kid says about a curriculum they've never used. But I'd trust them if they said that they disliked their current curriculum, because they really HAVE used it. 

 

5 minutes ago, Holmesschooler said:

Another difference is that I believe you are a professional math instructor. You are not a general representation of homeschooling parents who use scripted curriculum. The point being, you don't need a script, and you do not sure any mass generated scope and sequence from what I have read of your posts. Since you do not use packaged curriculum from the sound of it, then your teaching methodologies are not going to transfer to someone who needs script. 

 

Yes, I agree that people aren't going to be able to teach just like I do.

On the other hand, before I had kids, I would have sworn that I'd wind up teaching via puzzles and games and tricks, because that is how I personally would have wanted to be taught as a kid. As it turns out, my kids don't enjoy that approach. So I've had to adjust my methods to the actual kids I have. 

 

5 minutes ago, Holmesschooler said:

My original point being, the OP would do better to expand her own teaching capabilities. Only at that point would she be better equipt to evaluate the curriculum and decide what works or doesn't work. This is first grade. It can be done. 

I am old and crusty at this point, admittedly, and do not care for how this forum has evolved to jumping ship and hopping curriculum as being the solution to all problems. I know that you @Not_a_Numberdo not necessarily espouse such views, as you seem to not use curriculum. But I think most would be better served to improve their teaching skills and not be so dependent on curriculum. If you have a skill set to teach, you can essentially use any curriculum and teach first grade concepts until you can drill down more on where the child is struggling. A better ability to discern what is attitude as opposed to actual disconnect with the subject matter. 

But again, I stand more with the old timers and what was teaching methodologies versus simple curriculum fixes. Ymmv of course. 

I do think that "learning the concepts" is of primary importance, as you say. I'm not arguing about that at all 🙂

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For clarification of previous post to this, I do not mean that parents should en masse develop their own mathematical scope and sequence when I say not be dependent on curriculum. I think as @HomeAgain just said, it is completely fine well serving to have an outlined scope and sequence. With that though, should come the development of a tool box of strategies to teach the concepts that are in the scope and sequence outside of the script. 

A complete aside from the OP (not directed to you at all @scarlethand), over the years I watched an alarming number of some regular posters curriculum hop math and it resulted in their children falling more and more behind over the years. Meanwhile their posts were/are met with simple suggestions of a new program, when the program is not the problem, the instruction is. And this is not a 2020 virtual school problem, this is a long existing problem for some homeschoolers. That is a tough truth though that many do not like to hear. Home schooling requires the home to provide the instruction, or at least it should. It is more than purchasing curriculum. 

End of get off my lawn editorial haha. 

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As a mom/teacher I would really love a scripted program like I understand Saxon is. HOWEVER, I had Saxon for 8th grade, Alg 1, and Alg 2 back in the day. I hated every moment of it. Also, I stink at math. Saxon either did not help me at all or I’m just naturally bad at math or I’m bad at math and then Saxon made me hate it. I have no idea of the “why” behind the math and (at the risk of infuriating Not_A_Number ) I don’t care. Except to be able to help my own kids at math. So Saxon was a complete bust for me personally. 

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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

You're right. I wouldn't go off of what a kid says about a curriculum they've never used. But I'd trust them if they said that they disliked their current curriculum, because they really HAVE used it. 

I do not know if you are familiar with Saxon 1, but it is about as gentle of a curriculum as there is and is not a laden worksheet. Math Mammoth actually has a much more significant amount of drill and writing. Saxon 1 is not a "drill and kill" curriculum as Larson is a different author and Saxon 1 has nothing to do with Hake. It has very little similarity with the Hake Saxon line, so much so as to be an entirely different program. 

I do not want to be harsh to the OP, but the workbook work is so limited in Saxon 1 that anyone should be able to tweak this to be palatable to a first grader with little work. The program was written in the 1990s and has not been significantly revised to my knowledge. It will simply take some time to look up alternative teaching strategies and their are fortunately a wealth of those online these days. 

OP, I would suggest dropping the morning meeting, switching to a whiteboard, or otherwise something that takes your child away from the worksheets. She doesn't need to know you are working from Saxon if that's your desire! 

First grade math concepts are universal in what is being focused upon. If you dial in on the concepts, you will better be able to see how your child likes to be taught. Only then would I consider transitioning to another program. In addition to disruption, math programs are expensive to constantly switch through. Read the lesson, decide the pertinent concepts and teach without the book. That is fine to do. 

I don't want to further dominate the thread, but that is my best advice having had multiple children survive math, some of which were never thrilled for seat work, yet they all have ended up mathematically concept. 

Best wishes on your endeavors through this OP. It is not easy but it is achievable, so take heart. 

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Just now, AngelaR said:

As a mom/teacher I would really love a scripted program like I understand Saxon is. HOWEVER, I had Saxon for 8th grade, Alg 1, and Alg 2 back in the day. I hated every moment of it. Also, I stink at math. Saxon either did not help me at all or I’m just naturally bad at math or I’m bad at math and then Saxon made me hate it. I have no idea of the “why” behind the math and (at the risk of infuriating @Not_A_Number ) I don’t care. Except to be able to help my own kids at math. So Saxon was a complete bust for me personally. 

LOL, well, you don't infuriate me, but I would guess you'd be better at math if someone had taught you the whys 😉. In any case, I think you're currently evidence for my contention that Saxon isn't a good fit for everyone! 

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2 hours ago, scarlethand said:

I love scripted programs abd that is why I chose Saxon Math. She did Saxon K and did not mind it but then we moved to Saxon 1 and she always hates when we do math and it takes so long. She is not struggling with many of the concepts but I am unsure if it is the curriculum or she just does not like math in general. She is a very creative kid and wants to always be doing art and such and loves colorful stuff. I get annoyed about the meeting part of Saxon but know it is good. We have started to split a lesson into two days and do the meeting and the lesson 1 da and the worksheets and math facts the next day which made things much better but I want her to like math. I am wondering if i need colorful workbooks and such. I showed her an example of math mammoth and she said she liked the color. I also do not know if i should do spiral/incremental or mastery with her either. She didnt seem to like the examples of CLE probably because they are not colorful. I just love scripted programs and I feel Saxon is the way to go for me but maybe not for her. I wish all curriculum was scripted!

I like Saxon very much beginning with Math 54. The primary math would make me crazy, and both of my children. Way too many moving parts. I don't believe that it's the colorful workbooks that make the difference; it's how everything is taught. Saxon may be good for children who need all those manipulatives and stuff, but there's a whole world of children who do well with Rod and Staff's arithmetic, which is a very traditional stealth-vigorous series. If I were hsing again, we would do R&S until my dc tested into Saxon Math 54 or 65.

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3 minutes ago, Holmesschooler said:

I do not know if you are familiar with Saxon 1, but it is about as gentle of a curriculum as there is and is not a laden worksheet. Math Mammoth actually has a much more significant amount of drill and writing. Saxon 1 is not a "drill and kill" curriculum as Larson is a different author and Saxon 1 has nothing to do with Hake. It has very little similarity with the Hake Saxon line, so much so as to be an entirely different program. 

I'm not. But then I do think kids have very different takes on what they are learning and what they find hard. 

DD8 would come home from kindergarten saying "math is hard" because she got tired of drawing every single addition question, including the ones she could do in her head. Kids don't always really know how to describe what's bugging them perfectly. But in my opinion, 1st grade math oughtn't put a kid off of math. If that's happening, I'd drill down and figure out what was going on and WHY they weren't happy with the program. 

I've also heard that Saxon isn't supposed to be accelerated, which is perhaps why I'm suggesting a switch. If a kid hates things taking forever, Saxon seems like it wouldn't work in the long term. 

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12 minutes ago, Holmesschooler said:

I do not know if you are familiar with Saxon 1, but it is about as gentle of a curriculum as there is and is not a laden worksheet. Math Mammoth actually has a much more significant amount of drill and writing. Saxon 1 is not a "drill and kill" curriculum as Larson is a different author and Saxon 1 has nothing to do with Hake. It has very little similarity with the Hake Saxon line, so much so as to be an entirely different program. 

I do not want to be harsh to the OP, but the workbook work is so limited in Saxon 1 that anyone should be able to tweak this to be palatable to a first grader with little work. The program was written in the 1990s and has not been significantly revised to my knowledge. It will simply take some time to look up alternative teaching strategies and their are fortunately a wealth of those online these days. 

OP, I would suggest dropping the morning meeting, switching to a whiteboard, or otherwise something that takes your child away from the worksheets. She doesn't need to know you are working from Saxon if that's your desire! 

First grade math concepts are universal in what is being focused upon. If you dial in on the concepts, you will better be able to see how your child likes to be taught. Only then would I consider transitioning to another program. In addition to disruption, math programs are expensive to constantly switch through. Read the lesson, decide the pertinent concepts and teach without the book. That is fine to do. 

I don't want to further dominate the thread, but that is my best advice having had multiple children survive math, some of which were never thrilled for seat work, yet they all have ended up mathematically concept. 

Best wishes on your endeavors through this OP. It is not easy but it is achievable, so take heart. 

 

Thank you for saying this.  I always forget that K-3 is Nancy Larson, while 5/4 starts Saxon/Hake.  We began with 5/4, which was a mistake here.

I can't say that we're fond of Nancy Larson (her Science 1 was not well received), but that's mostly because we didn't like the script style.

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Thank you everyone for your replies! Yes I am very hesitant from switching to a different program because I am not interested in doing curriculum hopping much at all. I hated doing it for phonics (finally found wonderful phonics pathways after starting in saxon phonics k, which ending up being discontinued) and do not want to constantly switch for something as important as math. I have been reading the forums and so many people did so and so until this grade and switched to something else and then went back and it seems like things might get missed that way. I know i need to become more confident in teaching, I have that new homeschooling "im going to screw them up" attitude still. Im also the type that loves checking off boxes and some people say only do one side of a worksheet or only so many problems and skip this or that and my personality is that i want to do it all. I also think kindergarten and first grade she just wants to play and all of school might feel boring to her because she would rather be drawing and doing art and being creative. I would love to stay in one program all the way through. Maybe over the summer i will try some examples from other programs and such and see if something might be a better fit but if not i will just continue in the fall with saxon 2 and like many have mentioned do some more whiteboard work, math games, maybe do some of the worksheets orally. I know i need to be more confident teaching and being more flexible. I also understand opinions about not asking the children for their input picking out programs because they cant really tell what would be good, i think in a way some feedback from them is good about specifics but maybe not advice to choose a program as a whole. I will definitely look into math with confidence also to see if it might be a good fit. I appreciate everyone taking the time to answer, I love these forums for the honest and truthful answers and advice you get it is very helpful. 

 

Thanks everyone!

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37 minutes ago, Ellie said:

I like Saxon very much beginning with Math 54. The primary math would make me crazy, and both of my children. Way too many moving parts. I don't believe that it's the colorful workbooks that make the difference; it's how everything is taught. Saxon may be good for children who need all those manipulatives and stuff, but there's a whole world of children who do well with Rod and Staff's arithmetic, which is a very traditional stealth-vigorous series. If I were hsing again, we would do R&S until my dc tested into Saxon Math 54 or 65.

In the 1990's, the FIRST edition of Saxon really did work well for a lot of families that were homeschooling on $100 a year. The Saxon book was the ONLY textbook that a lot of these children used. After they finished their Saxon book, they just read and watched what they wanted, or gathered in family style unit studies for the rest of the day, or worked, or played music, or went exploring outside. Saxon provided just enough structure to days that otherwise felt too unstructured.

Hake wrote the first editions of 54-76 and 2nd edition of 76 under the review of Saxon. Later editions are by Hake alone. Earlier grades are by other authors or written by Hake with no input from Saxon. Sticking with Saxon for all K-12 is switching curricula. 

I do not agree that Saxon cripples children from thinking and sets them up to fail at higher math! I just think that young children can burn out if we ramp up the drill intensity too quickly.

The world does need STEM workers to further their worldly goals. The USA government would like to turn more low-income children into STEM workers and soldiers, but are not providing the resources necessary to train this army. They fail year after year, and will keep failing. That whole mess has been absorbed into the homeschool movement by homeschoolers hoping to beat the PS at their own game with their own rules.

I personally (this is an *I* statement) feel no obligation to train STEM warriors. I had one child that was radically accelerated in math, with the highest achievement test scores in the entire town. My other child was very very normal at math. I was a very young mom and did the best I could with what I had. Sometimes I did too much. STEM proganda is loud propoganda.

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4 minutes ago, Hunter said:

The world does need STEM workers to further their worldly goals. The USA government would like to turn more low-income children into STEM workers and soldiers, but are not providing the resources necessary to train this army. They fail year after year, and will keep failing. That whole mess has been absorbed into the homeschool movement by homeschoolers hoping to beat the PS at their own game with their own rules.

I personally (this is an *I* statement) feel no obligation to train STEM warriors.

Hmmm, that's an interesting way to think of it. 

I'm not much of a STEM warrior for anyone else. I just tend to think that this method of thinking is valuable, including for kids who are not accelerated at all. But of course, I'm a mathematician. I would think so. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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32 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Hmmm, that's an interesting way to think of it. 

I'm not much of a STEM warrior for anyone else. I just tend to think that this method of thinking is valuable, including for kids who are not accelerated at all. But of course, I'm a mathematician. I would think so. 

Gifted children learn quicker. They also have a higher tolerance for long days of study, especially if the topic is something they have chosen and doesn't require a rigid template type of output.

Non-gifted children, artists, athletes, and spiritually minded people NEED time to devote to their callings. Children who have experienced violence need some extra time to rest and heal. Poverty is a form of violence! Sometimes all these children can do is focus on survival.

Math takes time and effort: time and effort that cannot be spent on other things.

Many things are valuable, but not as valuable as other things. Determining value depends on the context. Healthy gifted mathematicians can handle and thrive off of more math. A firehose of drill, or worse yet a developmentally inappropriate problem solving course, can overwhelm a child and do more harm than good. 

The beauty of homeschooling is that a mom can take inventory of the family aptitudes, interests, and resources and chart the path forward that is best for that family. 

I switched my major in college from paralegal/law to cybersecurity. No one does that. LOL. No one switches from a humanities based major to a STEM major and as a woman in her 50's, or so all my professors told me. If I go back, I think I will switch again. I have no idea to what.

But I was there long enough to learn that the USA needs more STEM soldiers to continue on the path they have been traveling. It is getting critical, especially since the pandemic. If the USA wants to draft from the lower classes, they are going to have to reduce the financial abuse being inflicted upon the garden they are trying to harvest. That is not one of the ideas being discussed. Everyone just keeps arguing about curriculum and increase the hours of study from children. It is not going to work, inside and outside the public schools.

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16 minutes ago, Hunter said:

Gifted children learn quicker. They also have a higher tolerance for long days of study, especially if the topic is something they have chosen and doesn't require a rigid template type of output.

I do know that 🙂 . I would never argue that other kids can do what my kids can do. But I also work with other kids who are not gifted. 

 

Quote

Non-gifted children, artists, athletes, and spiritually minded people NEED time to devote to their callings. Children who have experienced violence need some extra time to rest and heal. Poverty is a form of violence! Sometimes all these children can do is focus on survival.

Math takes time and effort: time and effort that cannot be spent on other things.

Many things are valuable, but not as valuable as other things. Determining value depends on the context. Healthy gifted mathematicians can handle and thrive off of more math. A firehose of drill, or worse yet a developmentally inappropriate problem solving course, can overwhelm a child and do more harm than good. 

I don't teach like that 🙂 . I don't do a firehose of drill. I don't really drill much at all. I teach math as interwoven with the world. I teach math as concepts. 

 

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The beauty of homeschooling is that a mom can take inventory of the family aptitudes, interests, and resources and chart the path forward that is best for that family. 

Except that in my experience people aren't very good at taking inventory of things they themselves don't understand. 

I've spent a lot of time teaching other people's kids math. I'm on average not impressed. No, the kids aren't all equally mathy. Yes, they do all deserve math to be both more interesting and more COMPREHENSIBLE than what they are getting now. 

I always think there's something to Benezet's experiment, I guess. I wouldn't teach like that myself, but it's better than what kids get nowadays. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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I think attitude is more important than content at this age. 1st grade is very young and I would embrace *learning* rather than a curriculum. When my older boy was in 1st grade, we were still playing shop. It was fun and allowed me to teach on the fly. First grade concepts are not hard, and you don't need some perfect pedagogy to teach them in a way that concepts will stick.

I think kids learn more when they enjoy the work. Learning happens when kids are engaged.

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3 hours ago, scarlethand said:

Thank you everyone for your replies! Yes I am very hesitant from switching to a different program because I am not interested in doing curriculum hopping much at all. I hated doing it for phonics (finally found wonderful phonics pathways after starting in saxon phonics k, which ending up being discontinued) and do not want to constantly switch for something as important as math. I have been reading the forums and so many people did so and so until this grade and switched to something else and then went back and it seems like things might get missed that way. I know i need to become more confident in teaching, I have that new homeschooling "im going to screw them up" attitude still. Im also the type that loves checking off boxes and some people say only do one side of a worksheet or only so many problems and skip this or that and my personality is that i want to do it all. I also think kindergarten and first grade she just wants to play and all of school might feel boring to her because she would rather be drawing and doing art and being creative. I would love to stay in one program all the way through. Maybe over the summer i will try some examples from other programs and such and see if something might be a better fit but if not i will just continue in the fall with saxon 2 and like many have mentioned do some more whiteboard work, math games, maybe do some of the worksheets orally. I know i need to be more confident teaching and being more flexible. I also understand opinions about not asking the children for their input picking out programs because they cant really tell what would be good, i think in a way some feedback from them is good about specifics but maybe not advice to choose a program as a whole. I will definitely look into math with confidence also to see if it might be a good fit. I appreciate everyone taking the time to answer, I love these forums for the honest and truthful answers and advice you get it is very helpful. 

 

Thanks everyone!

Have you purchased Saxon 2 yet? 

This may be helpful over the summer if you find her approach intriguing, but playing math as @lewelma outlines isn't intuitive to you, you could gain some ideas from here: https://denisegaskins.com

I don't know how to search for them successfully any longer but there have been many threads here in the past >5 years or more,  around living math with page upon page of suggestion by parents over the years. We had quite a few posters in the past who were very creative in the approaches to math instruction at a range of ages, not just young children. I am sure the torch is likely being carried on at Facebook or wherever the younger post-WTM world have gotten off to for discussion, so perhaps there are groups there too.  

You could outline the second grade scope and sequence from either Saxon, or another program that may appeal and use Denise's or others' creative methods over the summer to try and check some off. That would give you an idea of if this is a comfortable way for you to teach, or what is a comfortable way for you to teach, that may be worth then transitioning to if it seems  Saxon isn't the fit. 

We could of course list out scripted options, but in the long run, I think you will be well served digging into what approach is best suited to both your teaching preferences as well as her learning preference. I do think there are so many options at this time that a fit can be found for everyone. It's easier and cheaper though to go in knowing what your most successful teaching style is along with how she best takes to the material. Once you know that, it's much easier to then ask for curriculum suggestions and likely have a well suited match. 

The buy and try method is expensive and frustrating in most cases. 

Lastly, if you are wanting to go into Saxon in 4th, you definitely can use about anything else until then and still transition in if that is what you desire. They are vastly different programs from K-3 and then 4/5+. I completely understand where you are coming from on an uncertainty front and think that is a normal part of being a homeschooling parent. It will simply take some time to get your sea legs, but you will! 

Edited by Holmesschooler
spelling errors and sure some were missed!
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If your daughter was just starting grade 1 I would also recommend Kate Snow’s Math with Confidence. It has concise but thorough scripting and mastery check points.

This might be helpful: https://kateshomeschoolmath.com/how-to-choose-homeschool-math-curriculum/

If I were you, I would do Kate Snow’s Addition and Subtraction Math Facts That Stick books (some people like the pdfs for ease of game board printing). Then transition to Math Mammoth 2, doing it alongside her.

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I don’t think it’s a big deal to switch math curric at this point. Saxon K is a lot of playing with bear counters and unifix cubes. My kid didn’t write a single number in Saxon K. Did you complete Saxon 1 already or are you switching in the middle? 
 

Whatever you decide to switch too, I would work through it on your own first. We are switching to Miquon next year and I ordered doubles so I could figure it out first. I find it easier to teach when I actually understand what my child is supposed to learn. The I can adjust the lesson to reflect his learning style and rephrase as needed. 

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Oh gosh, I'd pick any workbook that the child liked and go with that. It's first grade math. Don't overthink it. What does first grade math cover? Addition and subtraction within 10? Counting to 100? Calendars and clocks? 

I am definitely not a graduate of the "Just bake with them!" school of mathematics, but quite a bit of 1st grade math is covered in simply living life and talking with your child about what you're doing.  "Today is Monday. On Thursday, we will go to Grandma's house. Let's look at the calendar. Thursday is 1, 2, 3 days away!" 

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16 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Oh gosh, I'd pick any workbook that the child liked and go with that. It's first grade math. Don't overthink it. What does first grade math cover? Addition and subtraction within 10? Counting to 100? Calendars and clocks? 

I am definitely not a graduate of the "Just bake with them!" school of mathematics, but quite a bit of 1st grade math is covered in simply living life and talking with your child about what you're doing.  "Today is Monday. On Thursday, we will go to Grandma's house. Let's look at the calendar. Thursday is 1, 2, 3 days away!" 

I like to do serious place value as early as possible, but I don’t know that any books out there do, lol. 

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43 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I like to do serious place value as early as possible, but I don’t know that any books out there do, lol. 

RightStart and MUS.

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On 6/13/2021 at 11:42 AM, Hunter said:

Math takes time and effort: time and effort that cannot be spent on other things.

This is one of the elephants in the room.  Students who are naturally interested in math will think about it, well, naturally in their off time or whatever.  Students who aren't naturally interested won't (this was me).  If they don't have someone prodding them to do what it takes to achieve at a high enough level to eventually do STEM stuff in college, they very likely won't or if they do, it will be with big deficits (this was me).  So right away you have a schism between two groups of students:  (1) those who are naturally interested in math as well as those who have someone forcing them to learn math at a high level in spite of a lack of interest and (2) those who have neither of these things.  Students in group two will generally be so far behind by the time they finish high school that it will be almost impossible to catch up (it took me years, and I had a lot of advantages that made it far easier).

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3 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Although I don't think they exactly do what I tend to, which is try to use place value for everything to really integrate it. 

I don't know exactly what you do, but MUS really hammers on it.  The base ten blocks are central to (practically) everything they do.

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Just now, EKS said:

I don't know exactly what you do, but MUS really hammers on it.  The base ten blocks are central to (practically) everything they do.

Mostly it's just that we do lots of backwards reasoning and introduce all the operations early. Otherwise, it's the same: we use whatever manipulative we're working with until everything makes total sense. 

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3 minutes ago, EKS said:

Students who are naturally interested in math will think about it, well, naturally in their off time or whatever.  Students who aren't naturally interested won't (this was me).

The real issue with that is that the way we teach math means that basically ALL the sense-making happens on the kids' own time, if ever. So kids who don't think about math get something like 10% of intuition of the kids that spend time making sense of things, because if you don't spend time making sense of things, you won't understand what happens in class and it won't stick. 

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9 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

The real issue with that is that the way we teach math means that basically ALL the sense-making happens on the kids' own time, if ever.

This exactly. 

It used to infuriate me that my son's honors precalculus teacher would give worksheets with random problems instead of problems from the book where he could check the answers.  This meant that he was not able to do any sense making beyond what came naturally during a first pass through the problems because the only way to find out if the answers were right (unless the student had enough time to check each answer by graphing, using Wolfram Alpha, etc) was to wait until the next class where the teacher would do any problems the students missed on the board.  This robs students of the chance to work through missed problems themselves, and that's where a lot of sense making can happen.

So I did all of the problems before he came home from school each day, and he checked his answers with me.  He worked until he understood everything and all of his answers were correct.  The vast majority of students don't have a parent who is both able and willing to do this sort of thing though.  If he had just assigned problems with answers they could check in real time it would have been much better, though still not perfect.  Perfect is having a human in the room who is able to nudge the student back on track without doing too much of their thinking for them.

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37 minutes ago, EKS said:

Perfect is having a human in the room who is able to nudge the student back on track without doing too much of their thinking for them.

Right. So then getting a decent math education winds up being equivalent to having a parent who's willing and able to do it with you. That's totally unreasonable. 

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58 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Right. So then getting a decent math education winds up being equivalent to having a parent who's willing and able to do it with you. That's totally unreasonable. 

Exactly.  This is why STEM "ability" tends to run in families.  It's actually a form of wealth.

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5 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I like to do serious place value as early as possible, but I don’t know that any books out there do, lol. 

I don't remember if any of our books covered it. I had a stack of random workbooks that DH got from the bookstore. I would have to dig them out if storage to see exactly what we did. 

Our early math "curriculum" was those workbooks, a pan balance, poker chips, unifix cubes, and craft supplies to make models for fractions. We played a lot of games, like "Race to a Dollar" and dice games. We didn't use "real" curriculum until 2nd, when we dabbled with Singapore and Horizons. 

My point is, I don't think a formal math curriculum is entirely necessary for the early years. I know I felt "official" when I bought that Horizons workbook, but I don't think it did any better than I did on my own with manipulatives I found at the thrift store. And I was a crisis-schooler, with utterly no preparation or over-arching philosophy of the "right" way to educate children. 

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16 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

 

My point is, I don't think a formal math curriculum is entirely necessary for the early years.

I completely agree. The key is to get kids interested in numbers and find some sort of joy in working with them. I did only 4 things with my kids in K and 1st: 

1) Played shop - this allowed us to practice adding and subtracting and to bring in place value when we hit it.

2) Estimated number of items - how many birds in that field? How many mushrooms on that log  This gave them an intuitive sense of the size of numbers.

3) Addition or Subtraction War card game - this was just fun, easy drill.

4) We made up silly word problems for each other. This did 2 things. 1) got my kid used to seeing how operations link to words and questions. 2) taught my kids that *they* could be making up the questions. Math was not done *to* them -- they were in charge.  

I had no books that told me to do these things. We just did them, and most of them everyday. We played with numbers, we giggled, we shared ideas. We integrated math into life, while walking or talking. There was not official Math Time. The goal was fun first and learning second.

Kids learn when they are engaged. 

Edited by lewelma
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11 minutes ago, lewelma said:

Kids learn when they are engaged. 

Sure. I just think it’s not a bad idea to get early concept exposure at the same time, and place value is one of the ones that kids struggle with.

All of our elementary math was place value and the four operations. It was perfectly engaging but was not just counting, either.

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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

Sure. I just think it’s not a bad idea to get early concept exposure at the same time, and place value is one of the ones that kids struggle with.

All of our elementary math was place value and the four operations. It was perfectly engaging but was not just counting, either.

There are many ways to the same goal. You take a more theoretical approach, I took a more lived-experience approach. What neither of us did was sit with a kid with a book that they hate and just slog through. This is not a good plan for math at any point, and especially not with young children. 

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As for place value, the best time to introduce it IMHO is when the kid asks about it or when it is a needed tool. This allows the brain to absorb the idea. Slogging through exercises (like with a 1st grade scripted curriculum) will not be nearly as effective as working with the concept when the child needs it to accomplish something they want to accomplish. 

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13 minutes ago, lewelma said:

I completely agree. The key is to get kids interested in numbers and find some sort of joy in working with them. I did only 4 things with my kids in K and 1st: 

1) Played shop - this allowed us to practice adding and subtracting and to bring in place value when we hit it.

2) Estimated number of items - how many birds in that field? How many mushrooms on that log  This gave them an intuitive sense of the size of numbers.

3) Addition or Subtraction War card game - this was just fun, easy drill.

4) We made up silly word problems for each other. This did 2 things. 1) got my kid used to seeing how operations link to words and questions. 2) taught my kids that *they* could be making up the questions. Math was not done *to* them -- they were in charge.  

I had no books that told me to do these things. We just did them, and most of them everyday. We played with numbers, we giggled, we shared ideas. We integrated math into life, while walking or talking. There was not official Math Time. The goal was fun first and learning second.

Kids learn when they are engaged. 

Oh, you reminded me of how much DS *hated* estimation when he was little! There were problems in the Singapore book that used rounding up and estimation, like "99 + 99 = 100 + 100 - 2", and they made him SO angry, lol. "Mommy, the book says I should think 100 when I see 99, but I do NOT want to think 100 when there are really 99!" He was so offended by the whole idea! 😂

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I really appreciate everyone's responses! I am like 15 lessons away from finishing Saxon 1. Today we did it a bit different. We did calendar time on the big wall calendar and did stuff on the whiteboard instead of sitting to do it while she stood up. I set the clock to time how long it was taking. It took us 40 minutes to get through the meeting and the lesson. But i heard no complaining this time at all. And she loved doing it on the whiteboard I have. It made it more fun for her, she even wanted to do extra number patterns. We have a big dining table where we usually work but she got some chairs and tv trays for her and her brother to be their school desks in front of the whiteboard. They played school and it was fun for them. Then we took a break and did the worksheets later in the day. Again no complaining. And I did not make her do the back of the sheet since she got them all right on the front (which felt uncomfortable for me since I like them doing it all! lol) But math went by fun and not dreadful like it usually is. I think everyone is right, just find ways to make it fun and dont be dragged down by the curriculum. I am going to finish out Saxon 1 within the next few weeks. I will probably go with saxon 2 for next year 4 days per week and then on the 5th day do math games and such. I asked her what things she wanted to do for school next year and she said art and logic. We use the mind benders books now by critical thinking press so i may use their mathematical reasoning book for grade 2 and let her work in that on the fifth day. I am looking into mcruffy math and may try a sample lesson with her but i do own the saxon 2 so i am going to go through the lessons and try to find some ways to "fun it up".

 

I do want some conceptual math concepts taught but cant go with a program like singapore i had it and the teachers manual didnt seem to have anything written just pictures for the kids to look at even i was confused. I may look into adding in math mammoth some but i dont know if just one day a week for all these extras would be beneficial or not. I certainly do not want to jump all over for math at all. So if i do choose another math curriculum i will try it at the beginning of our school year in fall for a few weeks and if it doesnt work out i will just start up with saxon 2 and we wont really be behind any.

 

I think my main problem is that i need to be more flexible and not let the curriculum rule me.

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6 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

Oh, you reminded me of how much DS *hated* estimation when he was little! 

LOL. We would estimate the number of cars, and then count them.  If there were like 400 cars, he very quickly realized why estimating was so useful.  Then, I would show him how to dive the cars into 10 groups, count only the cars in one group, and multiply by 10.  It was clearly a much faster way to see if your estimate was right. I could then bring in the idea of things that are moving, like birds, where you could never actually count them before they would fly off, so estimating them was the only way. At that point we could talk about estimates in time. How many trucks go by here in a day? Well, we weren't going to sit there all day, so I showed him how to count for 5 minutes, and then multiply. Then we could discuss how accurate the estimate would be. That there could be fewer trucks at different times of the day.  That estimates would never be right, but that they were useful.  That maths in general was a way of understanding the world. We walked all the time, in both the city and the woods, and we estimated something almost everyday. There is no way that a 1st grade curriculum could ever be as good. We *lived* maths. We took joy in it. It was a shared endeavour. 

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18 minutes ago, lewelma said:

There are many ways to the same goal. You take a more theoretical approach, I took a more lived-experience approach. What neither of us did was sit with a kid with a book that they hate and just slog through. This is not a good plan for math at any point, and especially not with young children. 

No, I wouldn’t do that 🙂 . But I actually think that’s not quite the entirety of what I’m saying.

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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

No, I wouldn’t do that 🙂 . But I actually think that’s not quite the entirety of what I’m saying.

Of course not, but I am actually writing to the bigger homeschool community who feel the *need* to do maths with a workbook everyday with a 6 year old. There are other ways to do maths that are effective. I know you are effective. LOL.

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Just now, lewelma said:

Of course not, but I am actually writing to the bigger homeschool community who feel the *need* to do maths with a workbook everyday with a 6 year old. There are other ways to do maths that are effective. I know you are effective. LOL.

I do write my kids problems every day, to be fair 😉 . I’d do something else if they hated it, of course.

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1 minute ago, lewelma said:

Of course not, but I am actually writing to the bigger homeschool community who feel the *need* to do maths with a workbook everyday with a 6 year old. There are other ways to do maths that are effective. I know you are effective. LOL.

But I agree it’s not NECESSARY, which is your point. If not done carefully, it can be worse than doing nothing.

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