Author Topic: Saxon Math for Homeschooling  (Read 2194 times)

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Offline Thursday

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Saxon Math for Homeschooling
« on: April 19, 2013, 09:09:50 AM »
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  • I'm fairly new to homeschooling but so far I think the Saxon method (grade 1) is a good system. I read that Tiffany doesn't like and I can see why, it is a bit time consuming and sometimes I'm not exactly sure what the point of some activities are. However the approach seems to be working as far as getting left and right down, reading the time, etc.

    Now, it occured to me that this method would be very good for a child with a malancholic temperament. They say that it is hard to make an impression on the melancholic mind at first but through repetition a lasting impression will be made.

    In contrast, the quick minded Sanguine or Choleric may find all this repetition pointless.

    here is an interview with the creator of Saxon Math. It's an inspiring interview and makes me want to embrace Saxon however I have read many bad reviews so I'm still a bit skeptical.

    http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/view/rc/s31p655.htm#Message3339

    I also wonder what other peoples thoughts are on the role of the child's temperament as regards to education. It seems to me that it could make all the difference in the world.

    Offline Telesphorus

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    Saxon Math for Homeschooling
    « Reply #1 on: April 19, 2013, 09:16:58 AM »
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  • If the parent has any knowledge of mathematics at all I can't see why they would use Saxon.

    To learn mathematics endless repetition can be stultifying.  

    The goal should be to develop understanding and technique.  Both were really lacking in the schooling I was given.

    When principles are understood and technique is properly executed everything is 10 times simpler.  

    And that's what you want.

    You don't want to create a distaste for the subject by forcing mindless practice.


    Offline TKGS

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    « Reply #2 on: April 19, 2013, 12:09:34 PM »
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  • Quote from: Telesphorus
    If the parent has any knowledge of mathematics at all I can't see why they would use Saxon.

    To learn mathematics endless repetition can be stultifying.  

    The goal should be to develop understanding and technique.  Both were really lacking in the schooling I was given.

    When principles are understood and technique is properly executed everything is 10 times simpler.  

    And that's what you want.

    You don't want to create a distaste for the subject by forcing mindless practice.


    Until quite recently in human history, the best way to really learn something was considered to be constant practice.  The attitude that nothing should be hard work or boring or "distasteful" is, I think, the primary reason people are getting progressively more ignorant.  Individual people have been trained to think that anything monotonous is beneath them and so they learn the basics and then lose the skill due to non-use.

    Why does the Church use the same old liturgy year after year?  Why isn't the Novus Ordo, with its entertaining aspects and different readings over a three year period a panacea for building the faith?  Because the faith isn't constantly practiced day after day, year after year.

    Many things can fun while learning.  The multiplication tables are not generally considered to be one of those things.  But they are a foundation which has to be constantly reinforced to really learn other things better.  Of course, even multiplication has a foundation--addition.  So many people I meet haven't really a clue how to or why these skills are necessary.  They can, of course, work out an addition problem if a real need comes up and they really do understand how to do it, but they are not proficient at it and are utterly unable to do such simple tasks as giving change.

    A few years ago I was at a fast-food restaurant.  The bill came to less than $10.00.  I handed the kid a $20.00 bill.  He pushed the buttons on the register, but pushed to two and then the double zero twice.  The register told him to give me a little over $190 in change.  He put the twenty on the register and started to count out the change...and after he had three twenties in his hand, he stopped and put them back.  He looked at the total and you could see the steam flowing out of his ears and eyes as his brain was overheating.  He knew something was wrong but couldn't figure out what it was.  He stopped the manager and explained that it looked like there was a problem and he was sure that the amount the register told him to give me was too much.  The manager showed him how to count change and this kids was awe-struck.  He knew how to count.  He knew how to add.  And, I daresay, he understood the "basics".  But he was utterly unable to put those skills to use.  These kinds of anecdotes can probably be multiplied exponentially by many people.  

    On the specific question of Saxon Math, I did not start using Saxon for my children until the fourth grade so I can't say from experience whether or not Saxon Math for a first grader is a good program.  But if it is similar to later grades, then it is a fine text for teaching math.

    Furthermore, the comment than a parent who has "any knowledge of mathematics at all" wouldn't need to use Saxon is plain ignorant.  What makes homeschooling possible really isn't the knowledge of the parent, per se, but the fact that the tools (i.e., ready made text books and other materials) are available to homeschooling parents so they don't have to make a full-time job of creating all the material needed from scratch.  Many homeschooling parents have other children and households to maintain at the same time they are working with a child.

    Offline Telesphorus

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    « Reply #3 on: April 19, 2013, 12:12:45 PM »
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  • Quote
    the best way to really learn something was considered to be constant practice.


    I'm not against regular practice.  I was talking about interminable repetition.  Which is what we had in school.  And it wasn't beneficial.  It was harmful.  If you're doing something the wrong way and are told to do it a thousand times the wrong way, then you're going to frustrated.

    Incidentally I struggled at arithmetic in grade school.  I did poorly on the Catholic high school entrance exam on arithmetic.

    However I ended up eventually with a 730 quantitative SAT score and later an 800 quantitative GRE score, and have a degree in Mathematics, because I started studying on my own, in particular.  Now in retrospect I can see the things that caused me great difficulty could have easily been avoided if I'd had proper teachers.

    grade school and high school mathematics are in some sense vestigial remnants of a time when hand calculation was still very important.  Since no one today actually makes hand calculations for a living, the reason for the training has been forgotten, and so when people are not properly taught, they generally don't miss the skills.  Arithmetic instruction has atrophied (although I doubt it was ever good in this country, in most places)

    Offline Telesphorus

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    « Reply #4 on: April 19, 2013, 12:22:39 PM »
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  • I also taught my brother a good deal of mathematics and geometry.

    He's soon going into his internship in neurosurgery after he gets his MD next month.

    I struggled badly in grade school in calculation.  And it was because of the methods of instruction used.

    Another thing: I don't say Saxon is necessarily harmful.  I'm just saying, I can't imagine relying on it.


    Offline Telesphorus

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    « Reply #5 on: April 19, 2013, 12:26:42 PM »
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  • People need to consider the possibility that the education system has been deliberately sabotaged for rural and conservative middle class gentiles.

    Homeschooling is the way to defeat that sabotage.  I don't say Saxon is harmful, but I do think for more educated parents it's not the best approach.

    Offline MaterDominici

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    Saxon Math for Homeschooling
    « Reply #6 on: April 19, 2013, 02:31:44 PM »
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  • Quote from: Telesphorus
    I'm not against regular practice.  I was talking about interminable repetition.  Which is what we had in school.  And it wasn't beneficial.  It was harmful.  If you're doing something the wrong way and are told to do it a thousand times the wrong way, then you're going to frustrated.


    Yes. And if you're doing it the right way and told that you have to do it a thousand or even just 30 times anyhow, you're not going to enjoy that very much either.
    "If I could only make the faithful sing the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Credo, the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei ... that would be to me the finest triumph sacred music could have, for it is in really taking part in the liturgy that the faithful will preserve their devotion. I would take the Tantum ...

    Offline Telesphorus

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    « Reply #7 on: April 19, 2013, 02:40:54 PM »
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  • I didn't mean to insult people who use Saxon.  I'm sorry if I came across that way.



    Offline Telesphorus

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    « Reply #8 on: April 19, 2013, 02:49:33 PM »
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  • I also don't mean to suggest practice isn't necessary.

    I just know that what I did in grade school was not helpful for developing computational skill.

    And I think it was rather demoralizing.

    Offline songbird

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    « Reply #9 on: April 19, 2013, 04:58:36 PM »
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  • We home schooled in the 1990's and we used Saxon.  With the algebra of negatives and brackets and stuff, that will never be used in life that I can see.  It was a waste, but it had to be taught and we had a tutor for that year only.  We picked a teacher in our area that had taught math for 20 years and he had every math book to choose from.  We asked for Saxon and he said I agree.  He came to our house to teach.  

    Offline Thursday

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    « Reply #10 on: April 19, 2013, 06:15:45 PM »
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  • Ooops! It was Parents for Truth who didn't like Saxon not Tiffany as I said in the original post.


    Offline TKGS

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    « Reply #11 on: April 19, 2013, 08:10:05 PM »
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  • Quote from: songbird
    We home schooled in the 1990's and we used Saxon.  With the algebra of negatives and brackets and stuff, that will never be used in life that I can see.  It was a waste, but it had to be taught and we had a tutor for that year only.  We picked a teacher in our area that had taught math for 20 years and he had every math book to choose from.  We asked for Saxon and he said I agree.  He came to our house to teach.  


    Mathematics is a very logical subject.  It is not, as in almost all other disciplines, subject to exceptions.  Being able to solve even these problems "that will never be used in life" helps train the mind to think straight.

    As I tell my children, outside the Catechism, Mathematics is the subject the most closely approaches God.  We cannot really understand or imagine the infinite God, but we can imagine, in mathematics, the infinity of numbers.  Except for the good theologians, we cannot really understand all of the way the natural law fits in perfect order, but we can understand the stability of each mathematical principle and how the laws in math support each other.  Mathematics, I am convinced, is the best way to understand--outside studying moral principles, doctrines, Church law, and revelation--the perfection of God.

    Those who criticize those "obscure" rules of mathematics that "few people ever use in real life" do so because they see mathematics (and education in general) as purely utilitarian rather than understanding that knowledge of God's creation is beneficial for its own sake in order to better love and serve God in this world.

    Offline Thursday

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    « Reply #12 on: April 19, 2013, 09:11:34 PM »
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  • Great post TKGS!

    Offline MaterDominici

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    « Reply #13 on: April 19, 2013, 10:06:51 PM »
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  • I knew there was a reason I like math! : )

    Wouldn't what you say be more appropriately applied to science, though?
    "If I could only make the faithful sing the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Credo, the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei ... that would be to me the finest triumph sacred music could have, for it is in really taking part in the liturgy that the faithful will preserve their devotion. I would take the Tantum ...

    Offline Maria Elizabeth

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    « Reply #14 on: April 20, 2013, 12:33:05 AM »
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  • I used to use Saxon Math for my son, but it didn't stick with him.

    We changed to Math*U*See and it has really made a difference.  The demo videos really sold us on this method.  The actual program is really great too.  Check out the videos on the site, if you are interested.


     

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