Saxon Math Review

The past two years, my son has used Saxon Math for kindergarten and Saxon Math 1st grade for math studies. I particularly like Saxon math because it has very simplified instructions for me to teach math. I am an English teacher my nature, not a math teacher, so this particular subject I feel is the hardest to convey well to anyone else. I like working more with abstract than the definite, and felt that finding a program that would suit my needs as well as my son’s needs would be important.

For my son, he really enjoys hands on activities. For the Saxon math K-3 curriculum, there is a manipulative kit that they recommend purchasing because you utilize the materials within the kit on a regular basis. The Saxon Math kit includes teddy bear counters, pattern blocks, geo boards, bands, linking cubes, dominoes, rulers, a scale, clocks, anything you might find you need for math instruction. When the kit originally arrived, two years ago, my son just wanted to take out the kit and play with it. I kept his hands off, explaining to him that the tools in the kit would be used for our math learning time.

Since then, math has been a fun adventure for him. He absolutely loves participating in the lessons. utilizing Saxon Math. The Saxon kindergarten program starts teaching rudimentary concepts of time, the calendar, days of the week, counting to 100, recognizing written numbers and words, and beginning grouping items by color, shape, size, and counting these items.

The Saxon Math first grade curriculum builds on all of these skills. Students write on a meeting strip every day the date, a number sequence, and the amount of money placed in the coin cup. As the year progresses, you start working with only pennies, only nickels, or only dimes, to a variety of all three within the coin cup.

Students learn how to count by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s, add and subtract single and double digit numbers, use flashcards for practice, and work with the manipulatives in the kit to enhance their learning study. They learn how to measure using a ruler by inches as well as centimeters. They learn how to measure on a scale, as well as beginning measurement of liquids. There is a great deal of spatial awareness taught in first grade, which helps students relate to the “shape” of liquid.

Now, I let my son “play” with the Saxon Math manipulative kit. He realizes what the pieces are for and can take them and actually teaches his brother how to play dominoes, or use the teddy bear counters to play games.

There are disadvantages to having such a structured curriculum. There is a great deal of drill work set up for these lessons. Saxon Math Kindergarten lessons averaged for us twenty minutes to an hour, depending on the scope of the lesson, and how many additional games were scheduled for the lesson. For the first grade Saxon Math lessons, we set aside an hour per lesson because there are activities, worksheets, and lessons to complete for each lesson. The curriculum comprises of 130 lessons for first grade. In addition, they recommend the student completes the double side of the page later during the day. An hour of math was plenty for my son to understand the concepts and he often uses them on his own during his free time, so I opted not to have him complete both pages of every sheet, and often he completes worksheets outside of the standard “math time” we’ve scheduled for the kitchen table, where we participate in most of our math lessons where we can spread out.

Having a hands-on program that allows me to teach math confidently has worked out well. Saxon Math has sample pages for the homeschool math program on their website, where you can see what parameters are taught throughout a typical school year for a grade level.

For my family, Saxon Math has been flexible to use, as well as worth the investment.

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