Saxon Math is a popular curriculum for public schools, private schools, and homeschools alike. Is it right for your student? That depends largely on your students learning style, your teaching approach, and your educational goals.
Founded in 1981, Saxon Publishers is a Harcourt imprint. According to the website, Saxon Math is the best-selling program in the nation. The company offers both math and phonics programs for students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Saxon uses a well-researched, incremental approach to education, with each lesson building on skills previously learned. There is also a focus on producing high test scores.
Saxon Math for Homeschoolers
Saxon Math is one of the most popular choices among homeschoolers. The company offers special kits for those educating at home. Kits are offered for elementary school, middle school, and the upper grades. Higher level math skills taught include:
Why Choose Saxon Math?
If your child attends public or private school, you likely have little voice in the curriculum choice. Homeschoolers, on the other hand, have many choices in math programs.
Little Preparation Time
Many parents love Saxon because it is very well-organized and planned. There is very little parent preparation needed. In fact, a parent can plan the math lesson in mere minutes a day. What's more, the program gives parents a word-for-word script for each lesson. Saxon Math truly takes the guesswork out of teaching.
Scope and Sequence
Saxon Math closely follows the typical scope of sequence used in most schools across the nation. In other words, your homeschooling Saxon student will likely be studying the same topics as her publicly schooled peers. This is a definite plus for many parents-- and many educators.
Memorization and Drills
Saxon has a heavy emphasis on memorization and drills. Students spend a lot of time repeating math facts. Math skills are further emphasized through worksheets, flashcards, speed drills, and memory games. If you feel that it is imperative that young students are able to recite their multiplication tables and other basic facts, then Saxon just might be the program for you.
If standardized tests are required in your state, you may want to consider Saxon. The program is written with an eye towards developing test-taking skills. Saxon students consistently score well on standardized tests.
In addition to the worksheets, lectures, and drill practice, Saxon Math also utilizes hands-on math manipulatives. It is important to note that manipulatives are not included in the homeschool program. Manipulatives may be purchases separately, but many parents choose to use homemade manipulatives. Some examples include:
- Dried beans
- Small toys
- Hundred board
Disadvantages of the Program
Some homeschoolers dislike the rigid approach used by Saxon Publishers. These parents often prefer "life math", finding teachable moments in everyday life. Others are opposed to early academics, and use packaged curricula only in the later years.