benefits of saxon

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“You HAVE to do Saxon! We just LOVE it!”

“Benefits of Saxon? I’m not exactly sure, but my Ph.D. engineer friend says it’s what she was taught and it seems to have worked pretty well for her!”

“Saxon is great! My kids are scoring way higher than I thought they would on their standardized tests!”

 

Does any of this sound familiar? If you’ve shopped math curriculum or talked about it with more than one or two homeschool families, you’ve probably heard similar testimony. What you may not have heard is WHY Saxon works so well for the people who love it! 

 

Curriculum choice is a huge deal and can take up a lot of your time. So let’s break down the question of “Why Does Saxon Work?” Today, let’s talk about “Why does Saxon work for math learning?” Or to put it another way, “Why do kids who stick with Saxon do well with math in their academic career?” 

 

benefits of saxon

There are five main reasons why there are so many great benefits of Saxon math:

  1. Practice of Basic Facts and Mental Math

  2. Problem Solving Practice

  3. New Concepts Introduced in Increments 

  4. Lesson Practice for New Concepts

  5. Problem Sets Review Concepts Taught Previously

Practice of Basic Facts and Mental Math

Basic facts are the building blocks of math learning. You can’t read a seven-syllable word or a long paragraph if you don’t already know the alphabet and the sounds the letters make in combination with each other. Similarly, you can’t solve bigger math problems if you don’t know your numbers, your math facts, and the rules of math that apply to them.

From the “meeting book” days of Saxon K on up to 8/7 one of the benefits of Saxon is that your student will spend some time every day on these basic facts and mental math. That constant work has been made interesting for kids, but also repeats the information so that it really sticks in their heads and is easy to recall from memory when they need it later.

Problem Solving Practice

Everyone needs to know how to solve problems. Though we may not be doing it with a math book in front of us, you and I use our problem-solving skills every day. Saxon gives kids the opportunity to exercise their brains to develop that same skill when it asks them to solve multi-step problems. They have to come up with answers that go beyond what they’ve memorized.

New Concepts Introduced in Increments

This is at the heart of what’s called the spiral method. New concepts are introduced in increments, and then practiced. They then appear in future mixed practice sets so that the concept is revisited and solidified over time. After that repeated exposure, new concepts are added on to the now-solid ones. 

Lesson Practice for New Concepts

Every day, there is a new concept introduced. Then, there is a set of problems that allows for additional practice with that concept. This lesson practice means the student can work and become acquainted with the concept on their own. These few problems allow for that without overwhelming them with too much work on a brand new concept.

Problem Sets to Review Concepts

Each day, the student is given a larger set of problems that cover a wide range of concepts taught previously. By repeatedly going back and revisiting those concepts, the student is aided in remembering skills and concepts for a long time. This approach keeps students interested and prevents boredom. 

 

If you talk about Saxon for long, you’ll find that people won’t tell you that it’s entertaining, or that it’s easy, or that it doesn’t take much time. People who love Saxon tend to love it because it works. Is it repetitive? You bet. Does it work? Oh yes.

 

So much about enjoying the benefits of Saxon simply has to do with managing expectations. You need to …

 

Expect some repetition. The repetition is there by design, and it works. Concepts that are repeated do take hold in a student’s brain–and when it come to having a lifelong ability to use math, it’s what you want!

Expect that it won’t always be a thrill-a-minute. Saxon books (particularly the homeschool editions) don’t have a lot of graphics or color to them. They are straightforward and to-the-point. While this might feel routine and even boring, in actuality the sparseness and lack of change limits distractions and allows students to focus. 

 

 

Expect that it will take a good portion of the school day to get through the work. It takes some time to work through the Morning Meeting or the Warmup. Your child will likely have times where they struggle with the Problem Solving section of the day–and that struggle is a way of learning in its own right. And of course, if you choose to do all 30 problems, it’s going to take some time. AND THAT’S OKAY. 

 

And hey, if you need to break it up, by all means do! I know families who have great success when they START the day with the previous day’s mixed practice, take a break for other work or play, and finish the day with a new lesson and lesson practice. 

 

Of course, your need to be freed from the grind of math teaching and grading was one of the reasons I started Nicole the Math Lady in the first place. Hopefully, that helps you through as well. No matter how you approach it, I love to see you do what works for you while still reaping the benefits of Saxon and all it has to offer! 

 

Your friends who love Saxon are right–the benefits of Saxon are real! Saxon’s reputation is a strong one and it’s turned out many fine math students. Now you know a little more about why Saxon does what it does and what to expect because of it. 

 

Talk to you soon,

Nicole the Math Lady