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    #1187 - 11/05/06 09:27 AM Saxon math - what to do?
    doodlebug Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/06
    Posts: 433
    Loc: Illinios
    Our school uses the Saxon math program. My first grade son is getting bored, as the program is way behind where he is and it moves so slowly, with so much repetition. I found a homeschool website that had a math placement test and if we were homeschooling he would be starting in Math 2.

    Does anyone know if this correlates to 2nd grade math for the school Saxon program? Son was already skipped into first grade early, I'm a little leery of asking for subject acceleration to 2nd grade for math, but last night he was doing simple multiplication ("give me another one, Mom, let's see if I can do it!") and I sure don't want to lose that spark! I'm worried though about a 5 year old in a second grade class. Also whether the whole Saxon math thing is just not right for him - the pace and structure of the curriculum don't seem a good match for gifted kids. Would 2nd grade still be frustrating since it will be the same general program, but new information? I mean, he catches on so quickly and then wants to get going to the next topic.

    Maybe we should investigate EPGY for school? But would having him do that during math be disruptive for him socially at all, since he would lose out on learning how to do group work? But, he has already commented that sometimes it is more fun to work alone because the other kids are too slow! Oh heavens, I had hoped we'd be set for at least the first semester of first grade!!! At least his teacher agrees that the math is not a good match, so we have opportunity to discuss. I just want to go to the teachers with some ideas. Any input is great. BTDT advice?

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    #1189 - 11/05/06 10:50 AM Re: Saxon math - what to do? [Re: doodlebug]
    Jill Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 05/08/06
    Posts: 40
    Debbie,

    I've done most of the Saxon homeschool K program with my preschool DD and will be starting the 1st grade program in a couple months. The program has been too easy in many places, but despite that I've really liked it for the ideas it gives me.

    Is the teacher willing to expand the lessons? For example, the K book has a lesson about the worth of a penny and using pennies to pay for items up to 10 cents. A bit later it introduces dimes. I simply combined the lessons, added nickels, and played the grocery shopping games with my DD. The lessons give the child enough pennies (or dimes) to pay for a single item, put the money back in a purse and pay for the next item. I gave her a big handful of coins, had her figure out how to buy as many items as possible with the money she had, and then asked her to count how much money she spent when she was done.

    Is the teacher willing to accelerate or combine the lessons for your son? I combine content that has too much repetition. The coin lessons I mentioned are a good example. There were a number of simple coin lessons that I combined into one short explanation about counting coins.

    While the Saxon math has been a lot of fun with my preschool DD, I'm not sure if my approach is all that useful in a classroom. I have the luxury of doing as much material as my DD wants and skipping anything that she already knows.

    If the school accelerates your son to Saxon 2, are they willing to let him work at his own pace? Can he skip a section if he already knows the material and is able to prove it with some sort of asssessment?

    Jill

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    #1191 - 11/05/06 01:07 PM Re: Saxon math - what to do? [Re: Jill]
    willagayle Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/08/06
    Posts: 400
    Loc: Minnesota
    We use the diveintomath.com dvds. It starts at Saxon 54 which is 4th grade level math. I don't know if this is helpful for your situation, but it might worth checking.
    _________________________
    Willa Gayle

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    #1192 - 11/05/06 08:11 PM Re: Saxon math - what to do? [Re: willagayle]
    doodlebug Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/06
    Posts: 433
    Loc: Illinios
    Thanks for the suggestions.
    So far, the teachers have not been open to differentiating the program - saying it is too hard to do that, as the program is so structured. I'm afraid that even though the math class is only 14 kids, they aren't able/willing to let him skip stuff he already knows. I think that part of the problem is that the math teacher just doesn't even know what he can do. I'm going to be talking to her on Monday, I hope. I think I'll ask about volunteering/observing during her class to see what's really going on. She has mentioned several times that there is much more to the class than what we see as homework. Maybe after seeing for myself I'll be better able to speak to the issue.

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    #1195 - 11/07/06 10:46 AM Re: Saxon math - what to do? [Re: doodlebug]
    mayreeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/20/06
    Posts: 156
    Loc: AL
    Good luck - Saxon has their own placement tests I think. We downloaded some directly from their site and placed my DD in first grade (which is appropriate as she was entering first grade) and my DS in 7th grade (which is inappropriate as he was entering 3rd grade.)

    Another approach is to add some logic and problem solving skill building rather than advancing directly in math. In the end, math is about problemsolving rather than arithmetic - so it is the best possible kind of enrichment. Enrichment that matters more than the stuff the rest of the kids would be doing.

    If they can't do that at school - you can definitely do that at home. Computer games like Zoombinis is a great tool for that.

    Mary
    _________________________
    Mary

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    #1199 - 11/07/06 03:16 PM Re: Saxon math - what to do? [Re: mayreeh]
    doodlebug Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/06
    Posts: 433
    Loc: Illinios
    Mary,
    Thanks for the computer game resource. He loves the computer, so that would go over well.

    We do a lot of activities at home, following his lead and then just making activities available. He often wants me to just quiz him on math facts, just because he likes to see how much he knows, I guess! But we also play logic and problem solving games, so I guess we are on the right track.

    I'm still not sure what to do about the math at school, though. I talked with the teacher yesterday and she isn't very helpful at all. Has no clue what my son's needs are or how to adapt what she does to meet those needs.

    I also spoke to a teacher/specialist person at the Saxon publishing company. She had no clue either! At least not about teaching gifted kids with Saxon. But at least I got some clear info on what the program involves.

    I'm hoping to get into the classroom to observe. The teacher said she doesn't need a volunteer to help in the room (?) but that it was fine for me to come observe. But for some reason she needs to "run it by the principal." Once I observe what goes on in the classroom, then maybe I'll ask for a meeting to discuss it. I would hate to wait until DS is so frustrated with homework and class experience that there are behavior issues, but I'm afraid that the school might not do anything until then.

    Thanks again, to all, for the support and advice.

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    #1200 - 11/07/06 03:59 PM Re: Saxon math - what to do? [Re: doodlebug]
    delbows Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/25/06
    Posts: 778
    Loc: Midwest
    Debbie,

    Has the teacher asked the kids to count as high as they can? When my son was 5yo in 1st, his teacher asked each child to count as high as possible with their parent/s for homework.
    After 100, I let my son count by 5s, then 10s. He mistakenly said that 2,000 came after 1,090 (He counted as high as 5,000 something before, but I was happy he made the mistake that night). He appartently counted higher than the other kids and it demonstrated his math readiness to his teacher.
    It seems like a very simple exercise, but it helped show his strenght.

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    #1201 - 11/08/06 06:38 AM Re: Saxon math - what to do? [Re: delbows]
    Grinity Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/13/05
    Posts: 7207
    Loc: Connecticut
    Good luck Debbie!
    I think observing the classroom is a wonderful way to see what's actually going on, and will give you the information you need. He're a link to the "Art of Problem Solving" - it may be too soon, but it's a good thing to know about: http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/


    Love and more Love,
    Trinity
    _________________________
    Coaching available, at SchoolSuccessSolutions.com

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    #1202 - 11/08/06 07:23 AM Re: Saxon math - what to do? [Re: Grinity]
    Ania Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/07/06
    Posts: 802
    Loc: Home :)
    Debbie,
    I checked ALEKS online, for my daughter who is in 4 grade. She loved it. And while she is not a "mathematical genius" , her teacher was indicating to me during P/T conference that she belongs to a group of kids in her class that are more advanced mathematically /grasps problems easily. I suggested Aleks online pull out sessions for those kids and she is running it through the principal to check if it is aligned with Utah curriculum (end of level testing they worry so much about due to NCLB!).
    ALEKS, when purchased through the school, is only $35 a year , as compared to $19.99 /month when purchased privately. I hope the principal sees the value of it ! And there is no need to hire an extra teacher.
    Aleks starts with a third grade curriculum, but if your son is advanced you can still test him online and see if he is ready. You can register for a 48 hour trial at no cost. Go to
    www.aleks.com

    Ania

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    #1215 - 11/10/06 12:11 AM Re: Saxon math - what to do? [Re: Ania]
    ggoebel Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 11/09/06
    Posts: 4
    It sounds like you're going to have an uphill struggle. Which usually means you've already lost. At least until next year or whenever you get a new teacher. The schools really don't have to do anything they don't want to. And any attempts to force the issue will usually be counter productive. In the end you're working with people, and you have to find the way to tap into each individual's motivations.

    I'm not sure of the jargon in your state, but here we talk about establishing "present levels of performance". Try to find a way to get the teacher or school to evaluate your child's current level of mathematical performance. Try to get them to stick to objective tests rather than subjective opinions or homegrown tests. Don't expect them to perform nationally normed standardized testing, or expect them to accept any independently performed testing. This would be more scientifically accurate and meaningful, but schools don't tend to like the advice of independent experts. You might however be able to get them to use the assessment tests that are provided with most of the major brands of standard math cirriculum.

    Once you've established where your child is at, encourage the idea that your child should not be force to work on material for which he has already demonstrated mastery. You'll have to negotiate both those terms carefully: "demonstrate" and "mastery". Make sure that there are regular opportunities to demonstrate mastery. Your best bet is you use assessment testing provided from the standard cirriculum and allow them to require a score of 90% or better.

    None of this really helps if there is no provision made to instruct your child at an appropriate level or pace.

    As Ania suggested, I'd try to get your child enrolled in ALEKS. It is relatively inexpensive and appears to be somewhat accepted within the education establishment. EPGY is excellent and a bit more rigorous, but a whole lot more expensive.

    If all else fails, you really have very few options outside of changing schools or homeschooling.

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