We have been struggling this year with math. My daughter has always had difficulty, but my son seemed to have a knack for it. Until this year, that is. We have been working on Algebra. It is so hard to understand how a student can do the daily assignments with little difficulty then take a test and get just about everything wrong. Drives me nuts not knowing the why or how it happens. We have done just about every lesson in the book twice so far with pretty much the same results. But I think we might have found our help. A couple of weeks ago I ordered the Algebra Saxon Teacher CDs and they seem to be making a difference. The way that we use them is that we watch the lesson, then he does the sample problems, then we watch the “teacher” do the sample problems to be sure my son did them correctly. Then he does the problem set, I score them and whichever problems he gets incorrect he watches the problem videos to see where he made the error. It seems to be working fairly well. I also have him re-watch the lessons corresponding to the incorrect problems and do the practice problems again from that lesson. I like that about the Saxon books. Beside the problem numbers in the book is the lesson number where the concept was taught. He still is not scoring very highly on his tests but he is at least passing them the first time. (Please note that it has always been a policy in our house that my children must make an 80% to be considered passing although I would prefer 90’s or better.)

The Saxon Teacher is basically a virtual whiteboard with an invisible teacher explaining the concepts. The teacher is willing to go over the topic as many times as needed and never loses her temper in frustration. This is probably one of the best assets of using the CDs. When I begin to lose patience and get frustrated with the situation, I am of no help to my son. I can still help him when he needs it, but he is at the education level that he needs to be a much more independent learner and prepare himself for the college experience that awaits him. That’s why I think something like this was a good investment, but only time will tell.

(You can see the Saxon Teacher Demos at the Saxon Homeschool site)

I wanted to let you know about a contest with a chance to win one of my ebooks.

Hurry though, it ends tomorrow!

http://dixonhomestead.com/rachel/?p=929

~Candy~

Algebra can be a challenge. I decide to switch from Saxon for my daughter this year. I like the algebra 1/2 okay, but with full on algebra, I want several problems of the same type, not so much diversity in every excercise. Too much down the road is built on the basics, so if she struggles, I want to have multiple examples available for her to work on the concept, and I don't want to write the problems for her. That became a challenge for me with my 12 yo, too, in regular saxon books. Not enough of the same problems.

There are differing perspectives on Saxon. I know from my public school teaching days that it is looked down upon by certain elements of the math teaching world while other elements think it's the best. Personally, I'm finding that a lot depends on my kids. Some deal with the variety well, some not so much.

It's funny because 3 kids are dealing with more or less the same material right now in different venues…algebra, algebra 1/2, and a 7th grade advanced math book I kept from my teaching days.

I'm still not sure about the Algebra I chose this year…Abeka. I may look for something different next year, too.

Blessings,

Anne-Marie

PS…I tell my kids about my year of fame as the starring Math teacher on "Homework Hotline", where kids called in and I helped them with the math questions on the white board. An English teacher "co-starred" for that portion. The white board is a nice place to work out examples, even if it is pre-done in video form.

John Saxon's math books remain the best math curriculum for mastery of the basics of mathematics on the market today. That holds true only if you are using the correct editions, and using the textbooks as John intended them to be used.

I have taught using John Saxon's math books from algebra 1/2 through calculus for more than a decade in a rural public high school, and I can assure you that continually switching math curriculum creates holes in the student's math basics.

Student's fail algebra because they never mastered fractions, percents and decimals. They fail calculus because they never mastered the concepts of algebra.

If you or your readers now use John Saxon's math books, or if planning on using them in the future, please take a moment and visit my website at http://www.usingsaxon.com before you purchase any Saxon math books or whiteboard CD products.

As an experienced Saxon high school math teacher, I have produced "video" math tutorials for algebra. These are "video" tutorials that show an actual classroom setting with a teacher at the board. They will work on any TV or computer DVD player.

Thanks.

Art Reed

Hey, Ginny! Just gotta laugh. Hope no offense is taken at what I wrote above. As I mention, there are some very opposing views. Thankfully, God leads us in what is best for our children, and I know He will bless you as you seek the best for them. Your kids' success will be dependent on His guiding you, not on a curriculum for its own sake. Praying for success for your son in the challenge of Algebra!

Anne-Marie