The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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Saxon Review by Christine Field, Erin McRee & The Old Schoolhouse Magazine,

"Saxon set the standard for homeschool math." The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Algebra 1/2

Last year Saxon unveiled their third edition Algebra 1/2. Another product in this incredible line of home school gems, this new edition has many new features to offer. Most notable is a new teaching aid. There are now cross-references between problem sets and lesson numbers to show where a concept was first introduced. So if your charming child is stuck on problem number two in problem set 98, a tiny number in parenthesis will tell her that the concept was first introduced in lesson number 90. No more flipping around the book to try to find teaching on the topic. It's all cross-referenced!

Other items of note include practical money problems, more emphasis on certain topics, and the presentation of the Pythagorean theory. Ten new special topics have also been added, including polynomials, graphing parabolas, and basis trigonometry. Lines and trig and base two - oh my!

As usual, the program comes with the homeschool packet of tests, answers, and solutions to text problems. Saxon set the standard for homeschool math. This third edition continues the tradition of excellence.

-- Product Review by: Christine Field, Senior Correspondent, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Saxon Math Review

Saxon Math is an incremental development by Stephen Hake and John Saxon. I am using the 1997 version, 11th printing, May 1999. The home study kit comes with the student book, answer book, and a test book.

These books are so well written that they help students to work more independently. Saxon Math takes the time to explain things thoroughly and I rarely need my parents' help when doing a lesson. It has helped me a great deal since I started being homeschooled in the sixth grade. Before Saxon, math was hard for me. Word problems were especially difficult. In public school, the math books were quite different and they didn't explain things so I could understand it.

The first lessons in each Saxon book are very easy, but they gradually get harder. This book breaks a new problem into steps and shows you a few examples to clarify the process of doing a certain problem. Then in the practice section, you get to try the new problems, usually three to 10 exercises. The last part of the lesson is called problem set, which is the main part and usually has 25 to 30 problems. The problem set combines things taught to you in that lesson along with other things from past lessons so you don't forget what you learned yesterday, last week, or last month.

I have done books 65, 76, and am partly through 87. These math books are good for the average as well as the above average student. A student can start Saxon 54 as soon as he knows his math facts. For instance, my brother started doing Saxon 54 in third grade rather than waiting until the fourth or fifth grade. My brother and I took the Iowa test last year and we received a high grade in arithmetic. I don't think we would have tested so highly if we had not done Saxon. I enthusiastically recommend these math books.

-- Product Review by: Erin McRee, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Math 3

I just have to start this review off by saying that Saxon has changed the way we think about arithmetic in our family! I was hoping for a change in our home school, but I never expected to really enjoy math time. Saxon is laid out in such a way that the parent need not have any math background or even any idea how to teach it! It is self-labeled 'Incremental Development' and is exactly that. Each lesson builds upon the previous and expands upon it. The Saxon Math 3 Home Study Kit comes with a complete Teacher's Manual packed with easy-to-understand, scripted instructions that clearly teach the concept. I have never seen a TM so easy to use and so very thorough. Each day is laid out in the same way so that it becomes a system of teaching that you duplicate each day. Do not mistake that for boring, it is not. The Manual gives you instructions on how to utilize the other parts of the Kit: the two Student Workbooks, the Meeting Book, and the math facts flash cards. The flash cards are one of the chief aspects of the program that initially interested me. As parents, we know that it is essential to understand the math facts in order to comprehend math itself and to really utilize it in everyday life. All early Saxon programs emphasize incremental math fact learning so that your child will really know them. The facts are broken down into small, like groups and are taught over time. This is almost revolutionary if you compare it to other programs that just throw all the facts at your child and expect them to just memorize. Saxon makes it easy for your child to memorize them because they then associate them with a certain group. Each day there are fact drills that they then take after using the fact cards. You track their progress and they see their growth! Math has become fun again in our house, not a daily dread. The Meeting book is where they interact with math each day to see how it works in the world. They fill out a meeting strip that includes the date, and a number pattern that they finish after determining the pattern rule; they count money, read a clock, and solve a word problem for the day. They fill out a calendar, read a thermometer each day, and track this information. They will sometimes make graphs and there is a lot of helpful skip counting practice. There are manipulatives that Saxon recommends you buy separately that are used in the program to make the concept more understandable to the child. This program is everything a family could ask for if they are looking to comprehensively teach their child math without a lot of struggle. We highly recommend it!

-- Product Review by The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC