This is a series discussing our experience with homeschool curriculum from the past five years. Today we’re discussing Saxon Math, and why I love it. Check out last week’s post about Classical Conversations.
Although we use Classical Conversations as the spine of our homeschool curriculum, we supplement with Saxon Math as our math curriculum. There’s actually some debate among homeschooling moms whether or not your child actually needs a math curriculum in the early years, but I feel more confident with a curriculum.
We began Saxon Math when my oldest was four; he started with Saxon K. I immediately fell in love with it, and use it for my other children as well. So far we’ve used the entire K-3 program, and are now stepping into Saxon 5/4 with my oldest. As I sat down to write out my experience with Saxon Math, I ended up with five pages of material. Therefore, I’m separating this post up into three different parts (you’re welcome). 🙂
Why I love it!
1) Repetition. Saxon Math is constantly repeating so much of the information you get tired of it. On one hand it’s annoying, but after five years of repeating many things, I see my children better able to compute in their minds, and when we approach new material they claim “that’s easy!” Basically, the constant repetition preps them for the next step.
2) Review. We are always going back to review old concepts, and since we follow the classical model, review plays a large role in our homeschool. Saxon Math doesn’t approach learning with the mindset of “they’ve learned that already, so why learn it again?” Our children are in a constant state of learning, so they constantly need to go back. Reviewing helps solidify concepts, and cement these concepts in the brain. How many times have you taught something (anything) all to wonder why the child has forgotten it a few weeks later? Think about those discipline moments-many times we’re reviewing those basics multiple times during the day. It’s simply how they learn. They need review, and it’s naturally built into Saxon Math.
3) Start slow, and build slow. Many claim the first portion of Saxon Math is too easy for their child. This is done purposefully. Why challenge our children mathematically when they don’t yet have the foundation of those early years in place? Math is challenging enough; we want it to be easy for them so that their feet can be grounded in foundational facts before they reach the challenge of upper level math. Saxon does a fantastic job of gently introducing new concepts, in a non-threatening manner, and building on them over time.
4) Scripted. This turns some people off, but I have to say that I love it! Even when I don’t read straight from the book, reading through the script is easier for me so that I can better teach my children. I’d label this as user-friendly, or frazzled mom of lots-o-kids friendly!
5) Manipulatives. The younger the child, the more hands on math you get with Saxon. They slowly fade out the manipulatives as the child grows, but it’s easy to pull out the manipulatives again when necessary. Many times, when my child is stuck on a concept we stop the lesson, and break out the manipulatives once again. We use the manipulatives to our advantage, until my children can move on without them.
As with Classical Conversations, I know curriculum is not one size fits all. We’ve had great success with Saxon Math, and hopefully this will give you a glimpse of some of the positive aspects of the curriculum. However, there are a few things I don’t like about it, and I’ll address those next week.
What math curriculum do you use? What do you love about it?
Click the links below to find out more about Saxon Math: