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)