“Nicole, do I have to do the Saxon Math Meeting? It takes up so much time and it’s the same thing every day.”
If you’re doing Saxon K-3, you’ll find that the format includes a daily Morning “Saxon Math Meeting” that includes activities related to money, counting, time, temperature, patterns, and problem-solving. This is designed to be done with a parent before the day’s lesson begins. For students using my video lessons for Saxon 3, I get this question alot. And since so many of you using my lessons with older kids also have students in K-3, I want to address this, because I hear it ALOT!
My answer to this question is yes, yes, and more yes! The Math Meeting is, quite honestly, one of the most important parts of the early Saxon years and will reap dividends for years to come.
Have you ever heard of muscle memory? It’s a term athletes use for how, despite a loss of training time, their muscles continue to know what to do once they get back at their sport.
Muscle memory works for your brain, too, and it’s one of the reasons Saxon math and I agree: the daily Saxon Math Meeting is important for young students to do. Every day? Yes! Every day. Here’s why:
Using math in real life is kind of the whole point of doing math, and the math meeting is a child’s first experience with this! They tell time, check weather, notice and unpack patterns, and work with money and math facts. Over time, they start to realize they are mastering certain things and continuing to make new connections.
This is where a lot of that muscle memory gets built. Working with an analog clock every day for several years of math meetings means that even in a digital clock world, they will still be able to tell time when they see an old-school one, too.
If your current perception of the math meeting is that it’s boring and repetitious, I know you may balk at the word “fun” there. But really, the math meeting can be so fun for young children! They get some one-on-one time with you, and because of the repetition, they generally feel quite confident about what they are doing. Even if they aren’t to that “This is fun” point yet, if we can embrace the math meeting as teachers, they will, too. They really are sharing some of their best moments with you!
Just like you need to warm up before asking your other muscles to do work, it can be so helpful to warm up the part of the brain needed to learn new math concepts. The morning meeting does just that. By practicing things they already know, children are activating the part of their brain they’ll need later in the lesson as they are introduced to new concepts.
The meeting means that they aren’t thrown into something that’s new, different, or hard with no prep time. WIth the meeting, they are already dealing with numbers and patterns, and ready to accept new information more easily.
The meeting is designed to continually review concepts with an eye toward mastery, which is a major benefit of doing a spiral math curriculum to begin with. But of course if your child needs to scale it, that’s do-able too. If you have more time, it can stretch into a longer session. But if it’s simple calendar and money work, or temperature and fact family work, that is all valuable, too! Because it is so simple and repetitive, the meeting also allows you the flexibility to identify problems your child might be having and hone in on those.
Even if all you did was the math meeting, it would be tremendously useful to your child. Because this is a lot of the practical work, it’s very hard to “over-do” what is presented there. Of course your child needs to be tackling lessons every day if possible, and that’s where families find using my videos and online grading to be helpful. BUT it’s important to remember that as boring and mundane as you may find the meeting, it is the meat and potatoes of everything that is to come. Spend time mastering these things, and you’ll find that in Saxon 5/4 and beyond, independent work will be much easier.
Look, I understand that you want to outsource as much of your homeschooling as you can. But as much as I support that (I’ve built a business off helping you do just that!), I encourage you to sit down every day, pull out that meeting book, and work through the math meeting with your child. It’s a simple investment in their math learning, their skills practice, and their confidence that will really pay out in the long run. After Saxon 3 you can hand them over to me and we’ll get through the rest with a little more independence. Deal? Deal.
Got any tips to make the math meeting more interesting for you or your child? I’d love to hear what’s working for you! Let me know in the comments.
Talk to you soon,
Nicole the Math Lady