Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Works For Me Wednesday

I have used Saxon Math since I first began homeschooling three years ago...mainly because it was the only math curriculum that I heard about from other homeschoolers.

We strayed last year and ordered a computer based program in order to inject a little 'fun' into the learnin'.  That was a mistake.  Both of my kids are begging for Saxon.

When I pulled my son out of school he had just completed 3rd grade.  Math was his weakest subject and he had lost a lot of confidence in his math abilities.  He has issues with attention span and distractibility, so if he missed a key part of a lesson, he was lost.

What we love about Saxon is the 'spiral' technique of teaching, where a concept is introduced and you are given several practice problems on that topic.   The rest of the lesson is review of other topics you studied previously...but not too many.  Maybe three division, three multiplication, about five word problems, etc.  That way there is constant review of concepts to keep them fresh.

Another plus (for me) is that Saxon, once you get to level 5/4 ( advanced 4th grade or average 5th grade) the textbooks are set up for the student to work independently.  The instructions are written to the student in a simple, straightforward way and there are at least three examples to illustrate.  The earlier grades do require more teacher-student time. 

I will add that I never bought the manipulatives from Saxon, but instead used household products.  We didn't do the 'meeting book' either as it was geared to a classroom setting. 

Some friends say they didn't think Saxon was advanced enough for their children, or fact paced enough.  I happen to prefer that my kids really "get" a concept before moving on and not trying to push them to far to fast. (Of course, they are average math students...I am sure if your child is a math whiz the best thing is to let him/her soar on ahead!)

It is also very affordable compared to other curricula if you opt out of the manipulatives and 'extras'.  I will add that if you want something colorful and 'fun'...look elsewhere.  But this is a good, solid math program.  We will save our colors for art. ;)

And the best part-my son now says his favorite subject is math.(yay!)

So there you have it.  Affordable, constant review of concepts, set up for independent learning.  It works for us!

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