Scared to use Saxon... should I be? Kind of long, sorry

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Scared to use Saxon... should I be? Kind of long, sorry

Postby Liberty » Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:01 am

It seems everyone raves about Saxon math. I'm afraid to teach my children with it, though, due to my experience with it in public school. Should I be afraid of it? My experience:

When Algebra time rolled around in high school, I was put in the class using the "new" book which was published by Saxon. A week into it, my parents and I begged the counselor to switch me to the class using the old book. I was told I must stay in the Saxon class. I failed the class and had to take it over again the next year. Once again, I was placed in the Saxon class and not allowed into the other algebra book class. I had the help of a tutor and class absences to work on homework and barely passed with a 60.

This is what would happen: On Monday, we had thirty problems to work. On Tues, we went over Monday's problems and what was incorrect had to be corrected Monday night and turned in the next day along with Tuesday's work. Thirty problems were added each day and Friday had a test.

Guess what? Tuesday night I would have thirty incorrect answers that I would have to correct from Monday night on top of doing Tuesday's work. By the time Friday rolled around, I would have a snowball of 90 (or maybe 120, I can't remember if we had homework on Thurs nights since we had a test on Friday) problems to work. I got A's in my other classes, including the advanced placement ones, except for whichever science I had that involved math (I'd usually get a B or C in it).

I was crying and so upset about the math. I would spend the evenings and all weekend at home, yet away from my family working on this stuff cluelessly. Every night I would dream about working problems and shoot straight up in the bed thinking I'd figured out how to use a formula and then forget it by the time I got to the paper and pen next to me. I just could not "get it". My parents allowed me to "skip" school a few times to catch up, though it wasn't really catching up b/c I still couldn't get my answers correct. Believe me, I thought about algebra more seconds in that two years than most math whizzes will spend thinking about math in a hundred years!

So, would I have not had such trouble if I'd been homeschooled so we could have gone at a slower pace? My mother was not a "math-inclined" person to help me and my father is such a brilliant man, he couldn't break it down for me on my level. What seems to be the trouble here? I don't want to deal with Saxon in teaching my children if this is how it will be. I loathe that book when I see it on the used book tables of homeschool fairs, etc.! :roll:

On a more positive note about my high school algebra class, there is only one thing I remember about it and that is the day the teacher brought in a record with a song about the quadratic equation and the domain on the range. I remember those two songs like it was a catchy commercial I just heard on TV. WHERE ARE THE MATH SONGS??? (Just kidding... sort of!) :wink:

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Postby Theodore » Tue Jan 29, 2008 7:03 am

I doubt the problem was Saxon per se, but rather than you didn't have someone to explain the concepts to you while you were actually doing the math. Also, the pace you were setting was a set per day, which means that the average Saxon book would be over and done with in only half a year. If you're grinding through at that speed, I highly recommend only doing every other problem instead of every problem, as that gives more time to focus on the learning end of things.

Basically, don't worry about it. Unlike in public school, the pace can be catered to whatever your children can easily manage, and I assume you'll be around to help out if they get stuck.

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Postby sunnie_skys » Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:42 am

The thing about Saxon PS and Saxon HS programs is that they are totally different. Saxon HS provides the concepts and takes you through it in a visual way. Saxon PS just a textbook with not the indepth details that the HS does. Dont be scared. I love Saxon for my son he is excelling at it. And if he does not get it we stay on it until he does. No pressure.

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Postby Decrease » Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:55 am

I agree with Theodore. I use Saxon and it is successful for us. Now, I do believe that to use Saxon exactly how Saxon says to use it could be annoying, but it is a good curriculum. Now, Saxon is not the only boat afloat and personally I believe that some curriculum does not work with some personalities. Yet, I think Saxon is a great tool... I, though, do not do every lesson as sometimes they get redundant.

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Postby Lily » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:09 am

If you don't want to use Saxon, don't. There are lots of programs out there that can meet your needs.

We use Math U See. We attempted Saxon, hated it, and went for a more hands on approach with a video to help teach and a message board if we had any questions. My 8yo is doing so well on it.

I'd rather use a curriculum that I'm entirely comfortable with than one I had hangups about.
"The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist."
- M. Montessori
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Postby sunnie_skys » Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:04 am

I totally agree Lily. I would also choose math u see if i was not using saxon. That is a very good program as well.

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Re: Scared to use Saxon... should I be? Kind of long, sorry

Postby Ramona » Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:38 pm

We've never owned any Saxon math. I got my oldest all the way through 12th grade and he did great on his ACT and is in college now without doing any Saxon math. We didn't use any one package.

FWIW, I had a very similar experience in PS algebra to yours and we weren't using Saxon. I do believe that drilling is important to learning math, but one must understand how to do the problems in the first place before drilling is of any use.


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Postby mschickie » Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:12 pm

We use the Saxon math for high school and my daughter loves it. She finds the concepts much easier to understand than using the books they did in the public school. The incremental approach is nice since the students are never allowed to forget how to do a particular type of problem. The solutions guide shows you step by step how to work out all the problems in the book so even if there is something you get stuck on you can see how to do it. You might want to look on the Saxon website to view some samples of the curriculum or see if someone you know has a copy to look at. It is easier to tell if you like something if you can look at it in your hand.

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Postby Mathmom » Wed Feb 27, 2008 4:17 pm

You might like to look at Harold Jacob's textbooks. He takes a different approach and helps make the subject more than just something to get through for credits.
Here's what some said at FUN books about Harold Jacb's Texts: ... old_Jacobs
I found his texts at the library when I just wanted to see what they were like.
I hope this helps you.

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