Friday, June 1, 2012

Saxon Math Help

I thought I'd share a wonderful resource for all of you homeschool moms who use Saxon Math Curriculum for your children. I had questions about Saxon and sought some help and solutions to how much time math takes and found this wonderful website.  Art Reed answered most of the questions I had plus more.  I'm so glad I found it and wish I had much sooner!

In general, I'm frustrated with how long math takes. Out of all the subjects, it seems the least practical and takes the most time.  But I am happy with the excellence in Saxon and I don't mind the brain activity that it promotes.  I just wish it could be completed in half an hour.

At one point one concept he explains was huge to me and it will surely thrill my boys when they hear it! Are you ready for it? :-)  There is no need to score the daily math lessons!  Hooray!  :)  Saxon math is designed with a weekly test which is more than enough to determine how the student is doing on their daily assignments. 

What a load off of my mind.  There are many days we did not score the daily work but I felt guilty that we were doing it "wrong".  Now come to find out, it is the best way.  Yessiree, no more daily scoring math.  My kids are going to leap for joy. :)

Our Math Journey

When we began math instruction for our children we were encouraged not to use Saxon's materials until our kids were ready for Saxon 54.  According to popular opinion the early grades with Saxon were a bit cumbersome. 

We followed this advice and did some simple math books and had manipulatives and basically did "fun math" on our own.  When our kids had a working knowledge and understanding of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division we entered Saxon 54. 

Our boys are now using Saxon's Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 and doing very well.  Last year we learned about a trend among homeschoolers which involves only doing the "odds or evens" in Saxon's lesson practice. 

For those unfamiliar with this idea, it simply means that instead of doing all 30 math problems, the student does either the odd numbered problems or the even numbered ones. 

I'm not fully convinced that this is a good idea. I'm considering going back to doing all of them and only skipping a handful of problems (6 per lesson on average) with concepts already mastered.  Since the daily scoring will be removed, there should be time for this. 

Doing It Right Lessens the Time
Art Reed (the author in the linked website) points out that when the program is done properly, it does not take very long.  He lists a string of reasons why most people have trouble and then says, "In any of John Saxon’s math books from Math 54 through Algebra 2, the “A” and “B” students will get their 30 problems done in less than 40-50 minutes. The “C” students will require more than an hour."

I concur with this assessment because my boys usually finish their math in 45-50 minutes and they typically get A's and B's.  Before last year we didn't use the "odds or evens" method. They did everything - from the sheet of facts practice to the warm-up and all the problems.  But now it is taking them over an hour and they "dawdle" more.

My remedy for this is to sit at the table with them during their math each day, doing some quiet activity, and see if we can cut the distractions and speed up the pace. 

I am lucky that they are such great boys and happen to be pretty good at math in general so I am hopeful we can hurdle this plateau and get our motor going again.  :)


Krissy McLean said...

I am so glad I found your post! We started using Saxon 6/5 and 7/6 for the first time this year and love it but do have many questions. Your post helped with a big one...the grading part! And also led me to the Art Reed site. Can't thank you enough.


Simply Keeping Home said...

I'm so glad I could help! Thanks for taking the time to comment, Krissy :) God bless!

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