Homeschooling

Homeschooling Math Question

We just finished our third year of homeschool. Woo Hoo! I, like Kristie, am starting my planning for next school year this week. I have a question for anyone who can answer me. I am switching to Saxon Math for the first time. I bought Saxon 6/5 at a fair a few weeks ago (dirt cheap 🙂 ) for my will-be-fifth graders. Since then I have discovered that many people use the next grade up in Saxon (so the boys would use 7/6). Is this true? Or is that just for the overachieving types…which we are not 🙂 .  I looked through the text book, and it does seem like a lot of review as opposed to new concepts, but I don’t know how much they will learn “new” from this point until they hit algebra. Does anyone have experience with Saxon? Will they be underchallenged? I am thinking about moving Izzy (the will-be-fourth grader) up with the boys in Math next year and this might make that transition easier. What do you think?

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12 thoughts on “Homeschooling Math Question

  1. I have used Saxon with Stephen all along and have been told the same thing. He will be in 4th grade next year and we are using Saxon 5/4. Saxon does a lot of repeating all through their books, which is intentional and in many ways helpful as opposed to learning a concept, doing it, and then moving on. If you want to move Izzy up, I personally would stick with 6/5. For your other sons, you could always supplement their math with a workbook from Singapore Math, U.S. Edition. They are cheap workbooks and their approach is different and I’ve been told, work different parts of the brain! Their approach to solving problems is a little different and for Stephen this has been helpful.

  2. I have no advice; I just cannot believe the boys are going into 5th and 4th grade! When did that happen? Oh my goodness.

  3. Hi Laurie…Kelly from CB’s church again 🙂 Before I had kiddos, I taught in a public school that used the Saxon curriculum. I think your boys should be fine with the grade you purchased, as someone else commented, the curriculum purposely repeats a lot of the same skills learned in previous grades along with introducing new skills. My gifted kids were rarely bored and my behind kids were thankful (as thankful as a 3rd grader can get with Math!) with all the extra practice that Saxon provides. Hope that helps a little.

  4. Tracy,
    I didn’t know you read my blog. Do you have one? Thanks for the help. It was great to see you and Matt at New Attitude. One of these days we should hang out with all the kiddos. See you at the library or panera 🙂 .

    Bri,
    I know it is crazy that they are getting so big. I told Jason that I think I am at my threshold for math skills, so I hope there is nothing too complicated this year. Otherwise I might be hooking them up for cyber-tutoring with you, Kelly.

    kelly,
    Thanks for taking the time to comment. That helps. I’m sticking with what I have. I also have a 4th grade Bob Jones math book if the Saxon is too hard for my younger guy. We’ll see. I don’t want to push him for my personal convenience :).

  5. My son will be in 5th grade next year also. We’ve been using Saxon from the beginning. At first I doubled up on lessons trying to get him “caught up” to the next grade level ahead. Things went ok untill third grade, I took one look at the forth grade book and knew he would have a hard time. So we repeated the whole third grade book in third grade. With my daughter I started her in the 1st grade book half way through her K year. She just plugs along and is in the middle of the 3rd book (at the end of second grade.)

    I guess my point is don’t feel too pressured to push ahead with Saxon. If your child is really gifted in math (or you have a lot of time to work through the problems one on one) then working ahead works, otherwise in my experience it can backfire! I like the idea of being able to teach the same thing to three kids, so if you think your younger son can handle it, all working together sounds like a great idea!

  6. I think you’ve made the right choice to stick w/ the 6/5. It might be a real challenge for the twins, but Izzy’ll have his fair share of questions, for sure. It’s better that the kids feel confident on target than feel the pressure. You’ll have challenges in other area; why add math to the mix? Maggie’s gonna need the help for first grade math. I’d devote my math energies there. Saxon got high marks from “lots of parents” when I was a “young mom.” But I think it’s more because it’s mom-friendly. For the future, I’m gonna look around for curriculum that spends more time practicing the new concept over and over. All that to say, if you find Saxon 7/6 dirt cheap before the kids need it, hold off. I wish I had given a mid-year and final exam to my kids to see what concepts they were retaining. Some just never “stuck.” I’m going to try something diff w/ Joel to test retention better. Don’t worry about your lack in middle school math; it’s not civil engineering. 🙂

  7. Thank you, everyone for commenting. this was really helpful.
    Zoanna, that’s great advice about focusing on Maggs for first grade math. I am not using Saxon for her. I will be using Bob Jones which I really like for the early grades because it does thoroughly teach a concept before moving on. The reason I am switching to Saxon for the boys is because the Bob Jones doesn’t review enough and I hear that Saxon is big for reviewing. We will see. After three years I still feel like I don’t really know what I’m doing. Is that a problem?!

  8. Not a problem, a learning opportunity! There are a couple schools of thought about sticking with one curriculum vs. switching. Pros to sticking with it: (1) kid and mom don’t have to relearn a teaching style (2) younger ones can use it (3) curriculum writers will probably shoot to cover all the concepts. Cons: (1) can get boring (2) younger one might need diff style and (3) other curricula could present tough concepts in a way that better helps the student. But between you and Jason, I’m sure your kids will do just fine. Remember there’s nothing wrong with switching after 3 weeks or even 3 months if it ain’t workin’. Relaxxxxx.

  9. Wow, so many great comments and experiences. Count yourself blessed – my mom faced these questions in the late 70s, pre-internet.

    My take is that with math, key elements are:
    – consistent effort – 11’s “just do it.”
    – outside support sooner rather than later even if you’re still doing fine
    – awareness of when to “reboot,” e.g. switch curriculums or other aspects of your approach
    – complementary exercises and reading as a family in areas such as critical thinking, statistics, patterns in nature

    Oh, and don’t neglect the older kids. Sibling dynamics in bigger families (you’re not there yet) and the amount of contact home-schooled kids have with their siblings tends to pull the younger kids along.

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