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Saxon Geometry Review by Camilla Anderson

HMH Supplemental Publishers, Inc.
10801 N. MopAC Expressway, Bldg. 3
Austin, TX 78759

This high school level geometry course comes with an 887-page hardcover student textbook, a softcover solutions manual for the textbook, and a homeschool testing book with tests, answer forms, and answer key (reproducible).

Fans of Saxon Math products are not going to be disappointed. This book, in Saxon style, leaves no stone unturned in high school geometry. There are 122 lessons, each with a warm-up section, a detailed written lesson with examples and illustrations, up to five practice problems, and an assignment with 30 problems.

If you are not familiar with the Saxon math style, here are some things to note. The Saxon method is what some call the "spiral" learning method, which means the 30 problems from each lesson revisit at random any and all the previous lessons to that point (even from past textbooks). The theory is that this repetitive method helps with retention. For me, this method causes a headache. I believe math lessons can build in comprehension and skill without this type of tedious, non-connected, random repetition. However, this method has been standard for Saxon for years, and Saxon is a proven math curriculum. In this particular textbook, each 30-problem set includes problems from both algebra and geometry--some covering the new concept just learned, but most revisiting various past lessons. The problem types include the standard equations and geometric problems as well as story problems, logic questions, and multiple choice. As a matter of fact, I have never seen a math curriculum with such a wide variety of problem types. The student must solve, analyze, explain, create, draw, write, choose, deduce, and more. Does that sound appealing to you, or does it sound like too much? You get to decide.

In each problem set, some problems are labeled with different "applications." For example, you'll find problems labeled for construction, art, surveying, design, drafting, aviation, architecture, hiking, travel, cycling, landscaping, and more. I assume this is to provide an answer for the student who asks, "When will I ever use this math in real life?" Not all these applications are realistic, but in general this is a nice touch that adds depth to this curriculum.

The text for each lesson is straightforward and seems to be written clearly. I read through over 60 different lessons, and my only note is that Saxon sticks to thoroughly technical text and terms, which is sometimes a bit confusing or tedious. This is a mathematician's math book. I can see why math teachers love it. I would think it would work best for those strong in the area of math--homeschool teachers and students alike. Not all students may be able to follow this text without the guidance of a strong math teacher.

If you have used Saxon successfully for your upper-grade students, then you should be able to use this book. We have used Saxon in the past, but we no longer use it in our homeschool. Frankly, I am not the math teacher type, and Saxon was confusing and tedious to us because of its technical writing, the overwhelming number of problems for the student to complete, and the varying types of problems in each lesson. I compared this text to several other geometry programs and found several that I personally would choose instead of Saxon. To me, they had a more appealing teaching method, a more understandable text, and a more effective design. Again, that is just my opinion. All the geometry programs I compared covered the same geometry material. It all depends on your strengths and your preferred style of learning. In summary, Saxon Geometry is a solid high school geometry curriculum in a textbook format. The retail price is $111 for the complete homeschool kit, which is a fair price for a non-consumable and reusable curriculum of this quality.

Product review by Camilla Anderson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2009