Saxon Math: What I Don’t Like

This is a continuation of the homeschool curriculum series, in which I share with you my experiences with the curriculums we’ve used over the past five years.  My hope is that you will walk away with a better understanding of these curriculums, and further assisting you in your curriculum research.  Today I share with you what I don’t like about Saxon Math.

Should I use Saxon Math? Here's what I don't like about it! - Anchored In His Grace #homeschool

Saxon Math has been our math curriculum of choice for the past five years.  I’ve experienced the entire K-3 program, and there are many things that I love about it.  However, no curriculum is perfect, so there are some things that I don’t like about Saxon Math.

What I don’t like:

1)  Repetitive Meeting.  Ok, so last week I shared with you that I love the fact that repetition is such an integral part of this curriculum.  After all, repetition is at the heart of Classical Education.  However, I will admit, this gets old…really, really fast.  Saxon begins each lesson with a “meeting”.  This portion includes counting, calendar activities, and practicing other skills such as time, and mental computing.  Although this has been a huge benefit for both my mathematically advanced, and challenged children-it is so predictable that I go cross-eyed.  That being said, after we’re grounded in the meeting (say about five to six months) we don’t do it every day.  Maybe just a few times a week.

What I don't like about Saxon Math - Anchored In His Grace #homeschool

2)  Bridging the gap.  There is a huge difference between Saxon 3, and Saxon 5/4.  The layout of Saxon 5/4 is designed to be read by the student, whereas Saxon 3 is to be read by the parent.  Which indicates that the student should be taking more independent responsibility for his own work.  I did not see where Saxon 3 prepared the children to take responsibility for their work, and encourage the child to work independently.  I would love to see Saxon 3 be a combination between the lower elementary levels of math, and higher elementary levels of math in regard to how the material is presented, and the amount of work required from the student.  The difference is not about the content; the quality and content of mathematics is the same.  This frustration speaks only to the format of how the material is presented.  I’ll share how we overcame this issue next week.

What I don't like about Saxon Math - Anchored In His Grace #homeschool

3)  It’s boring.  Well, this isn’t so much of my complaint as it is many others, and I will admit, there is a boredom factor to Saxon Math.  The worksheets are plain, black-and-white, which bothers many people.  There are a lot of people who want the colorful worksheets for their children, but you won’t get that with Saxon Math.  My children get over it quickly; honestly, colorful math worksheets can be purchased separate from any curriculum.  But know that it’s an issue for many.  I’ll also add that my children do get bored with the lessons; however, my children get bored with just about anything I want them to do.  I’m not in the business of entertaining my children for school, so it doesn’t bother me that they don’t always find their math lessons exciting.  However, it is a concern for others.

These are the few things that I don’t like about Saxon Math, even though we love using the curriculum.  Once again I’ll state that Saxon Math is not a one size fits all curriculum.  It simply isn’t going to jive well with some people, and maybe that person is you.  Hopefully, this has assisted you in better understanding what to expect with Saxon Math.  Next week, I’ll share my thoughts on getting the most out of Saxon Math.

What do you use for teaching math?  What do you love, or don’t love about it?

Check out the other parts of the series:

This was shared with: Fellowship Fridays, Family Fun Friday, Homeschool Link-Up

Experiencing God's grace everyday - Anchored In His Grace

13 thoughts on “Saxon Math: What I Don’t Like

  1. Wow, thank you so much for linking up this post with us on the homeschoollinkup. When I saw it, I had to come and read it. We use Saxon and have used it since the beginning. I love Saxon for all the reasons that you mentioned. When I find funny.

    I would agree that the meeting can be long. However, through diligence I have found that it is very worth while. The children pick up on the concepts and really learn them – which I find to be the best thing. I know this is going to sound – crazy. Faith is things that are not seen but believed in. I have used a lot of faith with Saxon. Sometimes I’m like – what?????? But then, I see it. I see why they do what they do. It has happened to me several times.

    My son has gone from hating math to loving it.

    However, I don’t love colorful worksheets. I actually use Abeka (reluctantly) and I feel that they waste space and resources. I would rather see plain black and white on recycled paper. Worksheets are to stimulate the mind and reinforce skills.

    For my son, we need repetitive. It reinforces his learning. It builds confidence. That’s what we need for him to succeed. And it has helped a lot. We have been using Saxon for my daughter – and I actually have to go faster with her. I do two lessons at a time – and she wants more. It might be too repetitive for her. I don’t know. She catches on super fast. I am going to bring here through the first grade, and see how the worksheets work.

    We love Saxon here. But like you said, not only are families different, children are different. While one might soar with Saxon, another might be bored.
    Lisa Nelson recently posted…Homeschool Link-up – Week 30My Profile

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts, Lisa! And I’m so glad you mentioned faith, because I experienced the same thing with Saxon. It’s a great thing to point out, because now that I’ve seen how the early years build up to the later, I’m confident with the program. Before I was like you, “what?”

      Repetition works well. We see it all the time in daily life: advertising, sports, discipline, toddlers wanting to read books, it just works well. Thanks again for your thoughts, I was excited to find the link-up! 🙂

  2. Hi Caroline!

    I am a Classical Conversations momma and tutor.. I loved seeing that at the bottom of your post!

    Actually, I clicked on your post as I was scrolling through the link up because it made me laugh. I have homeschooled my kids for 13 years, (5 in CC), and have chosen NOT to use Saxon until this year with my Challenge 1 Student. It took tutoring the Challenge 1 Level to help me appreciate what Saxon does offer. It has been a long year for my 9th grader going from math-u-see to Saxon but he will be the first to tell you he is glad we did it.
    What I LOVE about Saxon is the well-rounded classical approach. I should say.. I love math.. I get giddy with a sheet of problems in front of me and that helps me teach it to my kids, however, I really appreciate the scope of the program.
    I still love Mr. Demme and Math-U-See and my girls are entrenched in the work. My oldest stuck with it all the way through, with a little extra from Life of Fred and Undersatnding Mathematics along the way. My youngest will more than likely jump into Saxon at the Challenge Level as well.

    I’ll have to read your post on Why you love Saxon, now. 🙂

    Dawn recently posted…Are we treating others as we ought?My Profile

    1. Thanks Dawn! I used to tutor as well, and now direct our community; fun to connect with another fellow CC’er! 🙂 I know a lot of people who use other math curriculum’s in the younger years, and some who don’t even use a math curriculum at all until the Challenge level. That’s awesome that your son sees the difference Saxon has made for him!

      I should add that I also love the outcome Saxon has brought us. Thanks for sharing with us! 🙂

  3. We’ve used Saxon Math for years. To be perfectly honest…. I tended to skip the meeting in K-3 with my oldest children.

    My oldest 2 sons had a horrible time moving from Saxon 3 to Saxon 54. We did 1/2 lessons for a couple of months before moving up to full lessons. Surprisingly, my 3rd and 4th children had no trouble transitioning to Saxon 54. They were finally able to use the BIG KID textbooks!

    Saxon’s not easy, but it’s worth the time and effort to use. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
    Sara recently posted…Grammar Stage Reading, Writing, Arithmetic in The Well-Trained MindMy Profile

    1. That’s so interesting that 2 of your children had difficulty transitioning to 5/4, and the other 2 did not. I’m very curious at how my other children will transition. Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. I used to teach math and now I homeschool my five children. I’m not a fan of Saxon math. To me, Saxon math is the equivalent of teaching nothing but facts and dates for history. Superficial. Boring.

    Mathematics is a beautiful subject and it’s fascinating! We use and love Life of Fred for mathematics.

    Life is too wonderful to be bored, especially during childhood.

    1. Yes, life is too wonderful to be bored! I agree 100%! I would add that boredom is the perspective of the person feeling bored. My children know that if they’re bored, it’s their job to do something about it, because our purpose in life isn’t to entertain them.

      The wonderful thing about homeschooling is we have the opportunity to experience each aspect of subject matter outside the curriculum. Finding a curriculum which works well for your family in order to teach & practice concepts is important, but the fun & wonder of life don’t have to come strictly from the curriculum. The fun & wonder of math can be experienced through art, games, puzzles, experiences in the backyard, and even while learning other subjects as well; the fact is, we can discover math in so many aspects of life. Not just curriculum.

      I too enjoy Life of Fred, it’s a fun series my children enjoy reading for fun. It’s one of the ways we get to have “fun” with math. 🙂 I’m so pleased you’ve discovered something that works well for your homeschool! Over the years as I’ve discussed math with others I find that many former math teachers love Saxon, and many do not! It’s interesting to see the spectrum of appreciation (or lack of) for this curriculum. Blessings!

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