Saxon Math: A Curriculum Worth Sticking With

by Joy

After four years of using Saxon Math curriculum, I am quite glad our family has stuck with the program.

Each year's materials may include a manipulatives set, flashcards, a teacher's guide, student workbooks, student drill tests, and student tests. It is an incremental, academic program geared towards mastery.

Saxon Math begins early elementary students with hands-on manipulatives--an excellent way to help young students grasp math concepts. It is my belief that this practical foundation is what enables the program to progress to basic algebra skills by the 4th grade.

Teacher's guides are incredibly helpful for the homeschool teacher. They include a word-for-word script for each day's lesson. They also include daily reviews up through third grade, covering such items as calendars, time, money, and counting by intervals. Each day's lesson begins with a materials list as well, so that teacher's can gather what's needed the night or week before.

Dive CDs are another option for instruction, on which the student can watch a blue "chalkboard" and hear a teacher's instruction. These are most helpful when you are teaching more than one grade in your home and don't want to spend the entire day teaching math at varying levels.

Student workbooks are flexible. Each lesson has two practice sheets, and it is recommended that one sheet is done immediately after the lesson, and another later at night, to help reinforce the lesson. Up through 3rd grade, the day's timed test drills and tests are included in the workbooks as well. It's wonderful having everything you need in one book.

After 3rd grade, there is a student text and a workbook which includes timed drills, tests, and investigation sheets. To accomplish the day's homework, students are encouraged to write out each problem, preferably on graphing paper, which trains children to write in a neat and orderly fashion--an extremely important skill for long division, in particular. Investigation sheets are a version of paper manipulatives for older students, and are helpful for learning money and geometry.

Flashcards are helpful in the memorizing of difficult facts; however, it's not necessary to use flashcards on a regular basis to succeed in this program.

Tests are scheduled after every 5 or ten classes and are an excellent source of review, giving the teacher an opportunity to monitor growth and identify areas where extra help is needed. There are often oral tests that involve manipulatives for the 3rd grade and under crowd.

The Saxon Math program is truly comprehensive, offering all the materials a homeschool teacher could want in one program. A teacher can choose to use or not use many of the materials and still see increased growth in student skill. I highly recommend the use of the program for family's seeking a high level of mathematical understanding.

Joy, thank you so much for the wonderfully written and informative Saxon Math curriculum review. I LOVE all the details you included - they will be so helpful for other parents who are considering this homeschool math curriculum for their family or child. Blessings, Heather:)

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