I love the Saxon Math homeschool editions! I've used both the older versions of Saxon Math as well as the homeschool editions. I'll never go back. This is a rare text book update that really is much better than its older version.
How do I know? My sister-in-law and I sat together, one with the old version and the other with the homeschool. We studied several chapters to compare them and then went through random pages, especially in the Mixed Practice. Not only were the lessons better, the instruction was also better.
There were more word problems. This was so age appropriate for us that we've used the Math books as a measure of the children's reading skills.
Every ten lessons there's an Investigation. The investigations teach Math related topics that most Math books assume that a child knows, like measurement. The investigation teaches filling 2 tablespoons to show that it is the same as one ounce. Then to see that 8 ounces or 16 tablespoons are one cup. And so on, up through a full gallon. This was the best measurement exercise I've ever done.
The solutions manuals give the solutions not just the answers. This is so helpful, both to me trying to figure what the child missed, but also to the child especially when he can do his work self study style.
I have used several Math textbook companies throughout the years and, as far as I am concerned, the Saxon Math homeschool curriculum is the best all around that we have used in over twenty years of teaching Math.
The Saxon Math worksheets make this program stand out for me. Saxon was the first set of Math textbooks that I had seen that had worksheets so that the kids could practice the Math facts and gain speed with just 5 minutes work per day. One or two of our children really rose to the challenge to not only work faster, but also to get 100s.
I love the fact that its Math worksheets offer the practice and, newly, their CDs offer the instruction to go directly with the book.
At first we were thrilled to use Dr. Shormann's DIVE CDs for Saxon Math. He sure taught the lessons well, and he taught useful shortcuts. These are excellent CDs for a super great price. See the DIVE here.
Saxon now has its own instructional DVDs which are a God send. They're even very useful for those who are beyond their school years - teachers and parents, too. I can just imagine the giant help to ESL students. Repeat the DVD lesson whenever you need to.
The difference between Saxon's CDs and the DIVE CDs is that Saxon Math was free to use its own curriculum. This means that the examples and lessons are exactly the same as in the text books. Dr. Shormann could not use the exact wording due to copyright issues. The DIVE is great for children who read well and can work on their own. Saxon's CDs are super for children who need more help - even if just at the beginning.
Saxon books and CDs are easy to buy at Amazon, especially since you can get both new and used books. You do not have to be a school or have a co-op. We also have many friends who recommend them, several after having tried other programs.
Our own kids have used Saxon, Math U See, Steck-Vaughn and other Math programs and we compare all the rest to the achievements our students have seen with Saxon. They learn more Math with less work from both of us.
Our older children have used several editions of the Math books that John Saxon put together from Math 5/4 through Algebra II and have done most of the work on their own using just the Saxon books and the DIVE CDs.
We are thrilled with the Math lessons the oldest two had learned by the time they were finished with the Algebra II books. We know many parents who have used the Manipulative Kit for Saxon Primary Math K-3 and the homeschool editions, we personally love the Saxon Math homeschool editions because they have the solutions manuals and the Math worksheets for practice and timed drills - very handy.
Saxon Math homeschool editions are a "total K-12 Math Solution. Saxon is the only major Math program on the market today that systematically distributes instruction, practice, and assessment throughout the academic year as opposed to concentrating, or massing, related concepts into a short period of time--usually within a unit or chapter. Saxon Math's unique approach to math instruction ensures that students not only gain but also retain essential math skills."
Primary Saxon K4
The 5/4 Saxon Math Homeschool Kit is my favorite Math textbook of over fifteen different texts I've used. The text book, test booklets, solutions manual and worksheets are all included in the kit. Math 5/4 has such good definitions and introduction to real Math that, if your children only know the four Math operations, 5/4 will catch them right up to fourth and fifth grade Math skills. I would not skip Math 5/4 as it has the best glossary and really helps the children learn the Math terms.
When Saxon created the homeschool edition, it added the info from the teacher's manual that hadn't been in the previous editions of the textbooks. I can remember many years when our older children heard teacher say, "Study it from your text." That was so frustrating. The information was in her book but not in the students' books.
Saxon had originally intended that a teacher teach the material. Good enough, yet I think that teachers in classrooms would be as happy to have the homeschool editions as I and my friends are, simply because the student has the information available. Having the info in the student's book means fewer questions during class time.
I own and have used several editions of these books and am most grateful to have had Math 5/4 in the homeschool version. If you buy the Homeschool edition, you'll have the solutions manual, and timed worksheets so kids can practice the Math facts. There are timed addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division worksheets that you can use to help your students practice or build speed. The Saxon Math worksheets also have blanks to mark the minutes and grade.
I so glad that John Saxon persevered in spite of many publishing difficulties. He finally wound up publishing these text books with his own money. His story is a wonderful story of a decorated American hero and mighty well educated mathematician who wanted to teach his students to be able to do what he had done in a brilliant career as fighter pilot and Math teacher.
When John Saxon created his original math text in 1979, he wanted a teaching method to help students better understand math. Since then, he continued to add new levels. Saxon's K-3 program is designed to teach basic arithmetic concepts as well as geometry, patterns, time, and more. Each lesson is scripted for the teacher or parent, which takes the guesswork out of teaching.
I am so glad that he produced the Saxon Math homeschool editions. They've been super helpful to our family.
The Saxon Math worksheets are a real treasure the early years. On top of some of these benefits, my sister used my copy of Saxon's textbooks as she prepared for her teacher certification and I know others who have used them to understand their required course material in both high school and college.
Enjoy some common sense Math!
And remember to use the Saxon Math worksheets for regular practice.