Here is my review for the Saxon math curriculum which is hugely popular with homeschool families. The program from K to 3 is very different from Saxon math 5/4 and up to high school level texts.
Saxon math K-3 program kit contains:
- Teacher’s manual
- Consumable student workbook – 2 parts (except K)
- Meeting book
- Flash cards
The teacher’s manual contains a scripted lesson plan and answers to the workbook. It’s very detailed. You start the day with the meeting book and it goes through calendar, patterns, time, money, and temperature. Then you go through the lesson which is scripted and very detailed, which is good for first time homeschoolers. Then the student from grade 1 to 3 is expected to finish the workbook page, it is double sided. There is also a manipulative kits to go along with the program, you will need a geoboard, coloured tiles, counters, a balance, a clock, and thermometer.
This program does take a fair bit of time to go through and may not work well in large families with multiple students to teach. I’ve never felt that I needed the scripted lessons but do glance over them. I have a kindergarten student this year and I have started him in level one which some programs do as well. After looking at the scope and sequence of the K program, I knew he had already learned a lot of the material. The lessons move very slowly because of the incremental style of teaching compared to other programs.
I did not find that I need the manipulatives kit, but I used homemade materials such as m&ms as counters which also serve as a good motivator. My son was not ready to do his own writing in the program so I wrote his answers out for him and we only used one side of the worksheet as long as he got the concepts. There are timed daily fact sheets which we did normally because he would have panicked with it being timed.
Saxon math 5/4 homeschool kit and up include:
- Student textbook (non-consumable)
- Solutions manual
- Test & worksheet booklet
- Flash cards
The upper levels of Saxon math of a two number designation with the second number for average to bright students, and the first number for slightly behind students. For example, Saxon 5/4 would be used for fourth graders or slightly behind fifth graders. The student textbook is directed to the student so is great for those who can work independently. There is a mental math section, then a new lesson, and then 30 questions of mixed review. Each day a new lesson is introduced and the mixed lesson continually reviews material from previous lessons. The student will need to copy the questions onto paper in order to answer them, the text is not consumable.
I always went over the new lesson with my son to make sure that he understood it, then he did the mixed review on his own. There are also drilled math sheets and tests to be given as well. At this level it is not manipulatives based and the lessons can be quite wordy which is why I liked to work with my son through it. Your student should also be comfortable copying down questions and answering them.
I think that Saxon math lacks complex word problems and do substitute with something else. The new edition 3rd and up have little numbers with each question that direct the student to which lesson it was taught in if they are in need of help. Be careful which editions you are using since the sequence of the new edition may be different then the older ones. If your student is not ready for algebra after Saxon math 8/7, he may go onto algebra 1/2 before attempting algebra 1.
- incremental teaching method
- thorough teacher’s manual
- continued review
- daily facts practice
- geared to independent learners
- time it takes to complete daily lesson – 1 hr or more
- conceptual teaching
- simple word problems
- not geared for writing phobic students