15 July 2009

Saxon Math

Saxon Math is the homeschool golden standard (Cathy Duffy recommends it, everyone seems to use it) In the early years, (K-3) it is a heavily manipulative-based approach to math. It studies math in what is called a spiral, where learning builds new skills while practicing the older skills.

The early years the text is fully scripted, where what the parent/teacher says is actually written out. For example, it will say "ask your child how many bears are on the table. (four) Encourage your child to slide count them from one side of the table to the other, saying the number as she moves it..." This is really helpful if you are overwhelmed or timid about teaching math.

We assembled our Manipulatives apart from a kit. We regularly use:

-counting bears
-geoboards and rubber bands
-linking cubes
-geometric shape blocks (*wooden)
-geared clock
-hundred chart

We sometimes use:

-balance scale
-clear colored counting disks
-base 10 set (cardstock)

They recently published Saxon Geometry for highschoolers. They also have CD-ROMs
video training (teacher instruction) for students doing 5/4 through HS level. So this helps audio learners, or anyone who wants assistance teaching the 'higher maths.' Isn't it great to know you aren't alone out there? Now that they have Geometry, this is a consistent method to teach math in your homeschool from Kindergarten through graduation.

Homeschool kits are available for all the grade levels. Each kit contains a textbook (spiral bound to lay flat on the table), flashcards, and workbooks (practice sheets, drills, tests, quizzes). Early years' textbook is the teacher-oriented scripted text; older grades have a more traditional student-oriented text. I purchase the kit when my oldest begins that year, then I just replace the consumable workbooks for my younger children when they reach that grade.

I have to say after a few years of Saxon, I was tired of the repetition and wanted to do something that made math time more exciting and involved. I tried Miquon Math. I discarded it the next semester and went running back to Saxon. Any drawback to Saxon's repetitiveness is felt more on the part of the parent, and not the student who is doing the material for the first time.

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