I get a ton of questions about Saxon Math for homeschoolers. This math curriculum has worked so well for my family! I’m excited to share my review and experiences with Saxon Math placement tests, Saxon Math levels, the order of Saxon Math books, and much more.

## Do You Have Questions About Saxon Math For Homeschoolers?

I have been homeschooling for 17 years. My two oldest children are currently on full scholarship at college, thanks to such high scores on college entrance tests. So I get a lot of questions about homeschooling.

The question I’m asked most frequently is, “Is Saxon Math a good curriculum?”

Saxon Math seems to be quite controversial in homeschooling circles. Homeschool moms either love it or hate it! And everyone seems to have an opinion, whether or not they’ve ever used it.

My family has had so much success with Saxon Math! I often recommend it to other homeschool families. It doesn’t come with bells and whistles, but it’s thorough.

Each lesson builds on the last, so that lessons are continually reviewing previous concepts. It then builds on those concepts and goes further in-depth. I love the scope and sequence.

As children review concepts that slowly grow increasingly complex, other concepts are introduced. They begin to really understand the way the numbers relate to one another and the whys behind each procedure. The numerous word problems make the concepts applicable to real life, too.

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions, along with my Saxon Math review and experiences:

## 1. How do Saxon Math levels work?

Thus, Math 3 is followed by Math 5/4 , which is for advanced fourth graders or for average fifth graders.  The second digit is for quick workers; the first is supposed to represent the “average” student.

Here are the Saxon Math books in order:

** Saxon 8/7 and Alg 1/2 are both considered Pre-Algebra. Algebra 1/2 was written by John Saxon for high-schoolers who hadn’t previously taken pre-algebra or who had scored poorly. It moves at a faster pace than 8/7, but the material is the same. Saxon 8/7 was written by Stephen Hake for younger students who were ready for pre-algebra.

If your student finishes 8/7 successfully, it isn’t necessary for him to complete both.

***Saxon also offers Geometry.  (I’ve never used it, though, because geometry is covered adequately in the Algebra 1 & 2 books.) According to the Rainbow Resource Center catalog, “For the non-college bound student or the student who does not wish to pursue a math or science degree, use Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and Advanced Math (if you want or need a 4th year of math).  If your student is college bound in the area of math or science or they just really love math, use Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Advanced Math, and Calculus and your geometry will be covered by the content found in these texts.”

We have never used the Geometry text in our homeschool, and my kids have been well-prepared and successful at both the AP Calculus test and college-entrance tests.

I recommend that you skip Saxon K and jump right into Saxon Math 1 with your kindergartner. Saxon Math 1 covers everything that Saxon K does, so using both is redundant.

You’ll want to teach number familiarity before kindergarten, though. You can read all about how I do that using fun games in ‘Homeschool Your Kindergartener (for free!) in Just 20 Minutes a Day’.

Saxon Math 1 offers plenty of practice. None of my children has ever used Saxon K, and it has not affected them negatively at all. In fact, my children have benefitted immensely from moving much more quickly than recommended, upfront, and then more slowly through advanced mathematics and beyond. I’ll talk more about the math schedule we follow below.

Be sure to check Amazon for used Saxon math books! You can usually find used ones much cheaper. Just be sure you can find the answer booklets and test booklets (if you plan to give tests) that match the edition of the Saxon math text you are purchasing.

## 2. Where can I find Saxon Math placement tests for homeschoolers?

Are you homeschooling an older child and wondering where to start? Here’s where to find the Saxon Math placement tests:

I’ve used these Saxon placement tests with my own children, and they are very accurate! They include the answer keys for you to use in grading the tests, too.

## 3. How long should we spend on Saxon Math each day?

Honestly, it depends on your child’s age, math level and maturity.

Saxon Math K through Saxon Math 3 are consumable workbooks, and my kids are happy to complete 2 pages each day, M-F. It typically takes around 10 minutes. None of my kids have ever needed the B side of the page, we just do the A side.

Starting with Saxon Math 54, it will take a little longer to complete each lesson. We seldom spend more than an hour, until we get to Saxon Algebra, at which point my kids often spend longer than an hour per lesson.

Saxon Advanced Mathematics and Saxon Calculus have taken my children two or even three hours per assignment at times, so I require fewer assignments per week from them. It has always taken us longer than a year to complete each of those upper level courses.

## 4. Do we have to complete a lesson every day?

You don’t have to do anything.  Do what works best for you and your family — that’s the beauty of homeschooling!

In my family, Saxon 1-3 level students complete 2 pages per day, which is sometimes 2 lessons and sometimes a lesson and an assessment.

We also usually work through most of the summer, and, because my kids don’t need to review since we didn’t take the summer off, we usually skip the first 10-30 lessons of each book.

My kids in Saxon 5/4 – Saxon Algebra 1 complete one lesson per day. We only homeschool 4 days a week, though. But we do homeschool almost year round, taking extended breaks for holidays and traveling. Make it work for your family.

On this schedule, my kids end up at least two grades ahead of schedule and typically complete Algebra 1 in 6th grade, with fantastic comprehension.

Beginning with Algebra 2, my children have needed to take a little more time on each assignment. There is a combination of factors contributing to this need to slow down: the concepts are more difficult, requiring more time and effort to thoroughly comprehend, and the child has hit puberty, which makes learning difficult.

The phenomenon is called the Early Adolescent Achievement Drop and lots of psychologists have studied it. You just have to realize that your child is undergoing important physiological changes around ages 12-13. Make allowances and go more slowly where needed, possibly even repeating assignments.

Above all give those tween-aged kiddos extra hugs and encouragement. Your student will get back to normal – I promise!

From there on out, though, my experience is that the math schedule has to seriously slow down. Saxon Algebra 2 takes an entire year to finish, including the additional days of study during the summer. Don’t be afraid to repeat assignments where understanding seems lacking.

My four oldest kiddos took two entire years (usually around 8th grade) to sufficiently understand and retain Saxon Advanced Mathematics, though my 5th ripped through it in a year.

I consider good understanding to be 85% of problems correct the first time I correct a problem set, with the ability to easily correct the rest of the problems, meaning that the errors were arithmetic in nature and not a lack of conceptual understanding.

I also supplement the trig in Advanced Mathematics so that my kiddos have more experience with the identities before moving on to Calculus. And I require my kids to thoroughly memorize the unit circle, which takes extra time.

Saxon Calculus takes another year. We’ve found it best to take a second non-Saxon Calculus course (because Saxon terminology and sequence doesn’t match AP College board) before taking the AP Calculus exam, which my kids take either their 10th or 11th-grade year, depending on their preparation. Taking the AP test at that point seriously lessens the stress associated with it, because things are spaced farther apart.

Each of my kids has chosen to earn their associates degrees during high school, which requires 60 credits of college work, in order to be eligible for the myriad scholarships that accompany this feat.

Students earn 8 credits for passing the AP Calc test. AP exams only take place during the second week of May each year, and scores aren’t returned until mid-June.

If a student waits until Senior year to take the AP calc test, their credits don’t hit the transcript until after they’ve officially graduated high school, which can cost them scholarship opportunities.

So junior year is a much better time to take the AP exams. Still better, though, is 10th grade. If students have those credits upfront, in 10th grade, they can better plan the next two years and take a lot of pressure off of themselves.

I don’t recommend taking more than 3 AP tests each year since they are all administered in one week (the first two weeks in May every year) and are very high-pressure.

A great understanding of upper-level math is also very helpful for college-entrance tests which are typically taken the sophomore and junior year. You keep all of your opportunities wide open by diligently working ahead, just like with an emergency savings account.

High school is also such a busy time for kids. Mine have all worked part-time jobs and taken university classes. The further they can get ahead early on, like during elementary school, the more successful they will be during high school.

Regardless of what my thoughts are, you should absolutely make any changes necessary to your schedule so that your child feels confident and capable. As soon as you find your child struggling, slow down. Stay on course, but slow down. Homeschool is so fantastically beautiful because you can tailor it exactly to each child.

## 5. Do you make your kids complete every Saxon assignment?

I have a friend who doesn’t, though I do. So do it whichever way will work best for YOUR family!

The reason I make my children complete each problem from every assignment (excluding the Side B of the worksheets in Math 1) is that I feel practice and experience and familiarity with math contribute to understanding.

I also love the ‘incremental development’ approach that Saxon Math uses, practicing each concept through multiple consecutive lessons, but in increasing complexity. If I cut problems out, I’d be reducing the efficacy of the spiral. And I’d be reducing my childrens’ exposure to and experience with math.

I do let my children skip the first several lessons in each textbook (if they choose to) because those are intended as review for government school students who take the summer off learning, and we homeschool year round (mostly) so my kids don’t need the review. I would never let my children skip any assignments from the end of the book, however, as that is where the learning is the deepest, thanks to the beautiful spiral approach taken by John Saxon. He introduces concepts simply, then each time a concept is revisited, it is with more depth and complexity.

I have degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science  and have taken and enjoyed 3 semesters of Calculus, plus differential equations and two semesters of Discrete Math. I remember SO many instances in which I would require a visit to the tutoring lab in order to solve a particular problem and being astounded at the brilliance and simplicity of what the tutor would show me.

I would ask incredulously why I had not been able to come up with the procedure and each time the tutor would tell me that I just needed more experience and familiarity.

Not only do my children complete all of the problems from each problem set, but they strive for mastery. Here is how it looks:

We do our math first thing every day, around the kitchen table. As each child completes a problem set we check it together. Then the child corrects each problem missed and I re-check. It takes a lot of time, but we do that until every problem is correct and thoroughly understood.

The very most significant learning takes place during the correction process, which is (sadly!) completely missed in public school.

Most of my math classes at school consisted of completing a problem set, then passing our work to the child sitting behind us to correct the assignment, then calling out our scores to the teacher, for grading purposes, then throwing the assignment away as we filed past the trash can on the way out the door.

Is that bizarre or what? The missed problems, the very things that need to be worked on and relearned, the most critical opportunities for learning — just disappeared into the trash can.

The bottom line is that you make Saxon math work for you and for your children. You decide whether or not your child needs to do all the problems, or just the odds, based on your child’s understanding of the material and need for further practice.

If you’re not sure about your child’s mastery of a concept, administer a test that falls within those chapters. If your child scores 85% or higher, and you can see that he understands the concepts — that the errors were mainly arithmetic — he’s fine to proceed with the problem sets beyond that test.

## 6. How much parental involvement is required? How can I help if I don’t know the math myself?

Because I have eight kids and the littles always need more help, my kids have learned to be pretty self-directed. They read the lesson themselves and begin working on their own. When they encounter a problem they don’t understand, they work through the examples and try to learn it themselves or ask me for help if they need it.

They are going to need help — it is just a fact. If you’re homeschooling an older child, there are places you can go for help. Our local university has a free online math lab, staffed by students. You could find a tutor.

Khan Academy, Purple Math and other online sites have videos as well as forums in which to ask questions. You can even type the problem right into google, and usually find a solution and explanation for that exact problem.

You may also purchase ‘teacher’ and D.I.V.E. CD’s for Saxon Algebra 1 and above that provide video instruction. We haven’t used them, as my kids prefer my instruction. But they have fantastic reviews and would be a great option for a parent with less math experience.

If you’re homeschooling a younger child, I would take advantage of the tremendous opportunity to learn math right along with your student. You probably learned it once, and just need to refresh your skills. And if you never learned it, this is your opportunity!

## 7. How will I know if Saxon math is a good fit for my child?

A great curriculum will provide good understanding, but also be engaging. It doesn’t need to be fun and full of bells and whistles, though.

Don’t expect that your kids will get up super early from sheer excitement over their math curriculum. There will be times that they dislike it. I have tutored lots of high-school-aged kids and seen parents struggle to find a curriculum that excites their child. I don’t think that’s necessary.

Do you love doing the laundry and making meals? Life is full of doing hard things that we don’t love just because they need doing.

But neither should your child should cry or throw fits or hate a curriculum so much that it really prevents learning. You do need to find something that appeals to your child’s particular learning style.

Saxon math is basic but thorough and well-organized in it’s systematic, spiraling approach. I actually love that it has no fluff. I appreciate that it is in textbook form, rather than on the computer, for my own children’s learning styles and my sanity.

I can easily gauge how well they understand concepts as we check daily assignments. Good understanding is the best way to gauge how well any curriculum is working.

I also want to add that I always look for ways to use math manipulatives to add conceptual understanding as I work with my kiddos. My little ones use linking cubes and toothpicks bundled together into groups of ten, and money, and baked goodies to cut into fractions.

I consider manipulatives an essential part of math instruction, as they build a knowledge of the ‘why’ behind the ‘how’. It’s just a bonus that the manipulatives make the lessons more enjoyable.

## Bonus: What’s the difference between homeschool Saxon math editions and all the different editions I see online?

We started Saxon Math back in 2002 when my oldest was about 5-years-old. Even then, I purchased used Saxon math textbooks from a friend, so they were already a couple of years old.

Saxon math 87 is the only grade for which we have the actual Saxon math homeschool kit. I think I ended up buying that one new because I couldn’t find it used. All of our other Saxon textbooks are varying hardbound editions of the public school versions.

In 2005, after being purchased by Harcourt publishing, Saxon released a line of “homeschool edition’ books. At the same time, they discontinued offering hardbound textbooks to homeschoolers.

Since 2006, the “homeschool edition” sets have been the only ones they are allowing homeschoolers to purchase, either through their site or other curriculum companies.

It seems to be quite the money making venture for the publisher.

The new “homeschool editions” are soft bound, and made with much thinner paper. They are much less durable and more expensive.

Honestly, they charge \$25 more for the ‘homeschool version’ of the exact same set of books. I’ve only used Saxon math 8/7 specifically, but the content seems exactly the same.

I know I said it before, but I’ll say it again; buy older versions of Saxon math used online with confidence. Just make sure you buy the same edition for the textbooks and the solutions manuals!

I have not used (nor even perused) the newest editions of Saxon math, which they claim to have aligned to common core. That just makes me leery, because common core standards are so low.

## My absolute BEST advice for math curriculum for homeschoolers

My pregnancies were difficult, and I struggled with some health problems along the way. Having birthed eight children, I have spent over six years pregnant, and probably twice that nursing.

Many of those years I was sleep-deprived or had postpartum junk going on and was barely able to feed my children and keep them clean and alive. I certainly wasn’t homeschooling very well, and I worried at times that I was ruining my precious children.

However, because we were consistent the rest of the time (and because God makes up where we lack), my oldest two scored so high on their college entrance tests that they were offered scholarships everywhere they applied.

Both are currently attending a prestigious university on full academic scholarship. Neither of them had a high school diploma. Both just applied with their ACT scores and college GPA’s (they both earned associate’s degrees while in high school). My third child is on track to do the same.

I’ve learned that we don’t need to sweat the small stuff! Do your best, but do not feel like you need to create public school at home, spending 7 hours each day on schoolwork, in order to be successful. You’ll burn out. Be as consistent as you can, but also keep things as simple, minimal and enjoyable as possible.

Whatever curriculum you choose, make it work for you! Make it work for your children and for your family!

Once you find the right curriculum for your child, stick with it. Different curricula use different sequences, which will create holes if you bounce around very often.

And MOST important of all, pray about your decisions. Always remember that your children are also God’s children, and that He, in His omniscience, will give you inspiration regarding their educations.

I hope this post answers your questions about Saxon math for homeschool. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below, or email me!

I have not been compensated in any way by Saxon. These are my own personal opinions after a lot of research and experience.

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## Similar Posts

1. Amy says:

Thanks a ton for your helpful insights! I’d love to pick your brain a bit on two topics. One, math. My oldest understands concepts well but easily forgets. Thus, lots of repetition is helpful. But she has adhd and so is incredibly slow at her work. She’s now in 5th grade. I won’t give you all the details, but I’ve done a ton of customizing with her to get her where she is now. We finally are to the point where she easily understands math lessons when first presented and finally has her math facts down. I noticed retention was an issue, so for 5th grade, we switched to Saxon. The level of difficulty is just right conceptually, but she was easily taking 2-3 hours a day just because she’s slow and distracted. After half a year of trying whatever I could to speed that up, I decided to just cut her off at 45 minutes, hoping that she’d get more done in a shorter time if she could look forward to a hard cut off. That’s helped, but now she’s missing the beauty of the spiral approach as she doesn’t get to all the problems each day. So all this makes me wonder if there is a better way or if I should go back to reevaluating curriculums. Any tips for a child who understands just fine but is crazy slow? Part of me wants to go back to requiring her to complete every problem because standardized tests are timed. But I also don’t want her doing 2-3 hours of math each day. And taking 2 days to do one lesson doesn’t seem necessary as she’s understanding the concepts. If you don’t have any children who can relate, then that’s fine. I just figure that you might have some good tips as a seasoned homeschool mom.

Here’s a second question. How do you go about completing an associates degree? I’d love to hear some specifics as to how you did that. With my daughter’s adhd and with so many high school courses essentially just being repeated in college, I figure that double dipping with some sort of dual enrollment would be fantastic and really helpful for her. No need for her to essentially go through the same course twice: once for high school credit and once for college.

1. Amy Saunders says:

2. Fabienne says:

It is kind of unfortunate you mention all the accomplishments your kids have made in the area of math and in college. It sets new and eager homeschool parents into the doubt and comparison game within their minds. I see these comments here from well-meaning parents and they sound so concerned their kids are not where they should be. I understand you are probably sharing your kids accomplishments to bring light to the idea that you can be successful in college from having been homeschooled. Yet, it does not help as you mentioned so many times how fast your kids completed their math, college acceptances, scholarships, prestigious universities and beyond.
Your wisdom specifically to Saxon is well presented. Perhaps next time reduce the amount of sharing of personal family accomplishments to not intimidate or confuse the new homeschool parent. We have loved Saxon for years and have found great strength in their curriculum!

1. Amy Saunders says:

I’m sorry you feel that way, Fabienne. It wasn’t my intent. When I began homeschooling 23+ years ago, it was much less common. I knew only ONE person who homeschooled when I was young, and it was due to mental health issues. My biggest concern for my children was whether or not they would be able to go to college, earn degrees and lead successful happy lives. I couldn’t find any statistics and I would have loved some reassurance. My intent in all of my writing is to assure other homeschool parents that they, too, can homeschool their children. I’m nobody special and my kids aren’t exceptional (well, I actually think they are, but I realize that’s my parental bias).

My intent in sharing my children’s academic successes is to highlight the excellence of the Saxon program. It is rigorous and thorough and conducive to great understanding, which is demonstrated by their college entrance test scores. I don’t give them grades (is an A from a mom even worth anything?) or tests, so their formal testing scores are the only way I can compare their understanding to their peers.

I believe (and I’ve expressed it many times) that ALL children can excel at math and that great foundational understanding is much more important than arbitrary grades or levels. I try to share that I back my children up in their math texts regularly when I see misconceptions that need to be fixed — that understanding is the goal and not rapidity. However, even though I back my children up regularly and make sure they complete their textbooks (except for the review lessons at the beginning) and slow things down when necessary (always in the Advanced Mathematics textbook, but also in the Algebra books), we STILL accomplish our objectives by working consistently. I also try to share (elsewhere on my blog because this article is too long already) our homeschool struggles so other moms can see that they aren’t alone.

2. Edifying and Edified says:

This comment seems to have some background to it. Homeschool parents often feel judged and criticized. Not every child will be a math wizard, and that is by the Lord’s design. Sonia telling us the results her children got and how they got to them was very helpful to us! I was very interested in the amount of time Sonia’s kids spent in each Saxon level, her math background, and the results they have. We are early in our homeschooling career. We are also dedicated to staying on a good path. We feel Saxon is a good path, and we really enjoyed Sonia’s well-written article. We especially wanted to know how she used it day-to-day and her end results. We will be printing this article to reference over the next 20 years and thank Sonia for the time she spent putting it together.

3. Suzanne Lesser says:

I find it ironic how Homeschool advisors are always saying (but usually not in the same post) “The beauty of homeschooling is it you can take your time/circle back and review missed concepts. You aren’t on anyone else’s schedule” while also sometimes advising, “you should try to get as much done during elementary and middle school so your kid can finish two years of college in high school.”

Can you tell I’m the bitter mom of a struggling student? I have spent about 4-5 years trying to help my child learn her multiplication facts using every trick in the book: flashcards to start, of course; games, songs (related to skip counting), and seeking out a story-based/pictorial approach that worked but still didn’t give her instant recall. We have spent more time on math than all of her other subjects combined.

With an emphasis on needing the facts down pat, we have really stalled in making progress to higher math concepts (which she mostly understands easily). Now we are in June of 7th grade and only about at lesson 60 in 5/4. We don’t homeschool year-round so I guess we will pick back up with it in the fall.

I will say I love Saxon math compared to others we’ve tried. They *always* explain new concepts, even ones I would have thought were intuitive. It’s also truly spiral, unlike many other curriculums which claim to be spiral. It keeps concepts fresh in the kids’ minds.

As you probably know, the author did not intend every practice problem to be graded. The tests are supposed to be the child’s best effort and those are supposed to be graded. Not having to grade every problem greatly decreases the “homeschooling mom” load and takes the pressure off daily class work for students (according to the author.)

That said, it sounds like your approach is working very well for you and it makes sense you don’t even need to test if every day there is grading and correction on each problem. I suppose not having to spend time on the tests lets you go a bit faster through the material.

I find the tests encouraging as they are a little easier than the recent daily work and show her progress.

Thanks for your post. As a result of it, I guess we will work on finishing the book instead of skipping some lessons near the end.

1. Amy Saunders says:

I’m sorry you’re struggling, Suzanne! It does seem ironic to say that, but what I mean is that typically elementary math concepts are easier so we should allow our students to fly through those as quickly as they are ready to, where more advanced concepts take time and a great deal of experience to stick. It’s nice to be able to let our kids take more time where they need extra practice and extra TIME to let concepts percolate, and speed through concepts that are easy for them. Of course, all kids are different and things that one child finds difficult will be easy for another and vice versa. Your daughter is blessed to have you and your concern for her individual needs. Imagine how she would struggle in a classroom of 30 kids. You are right to persist with the multiplication facts. Just keep plodding along and one day you’ll look back at the journey with affection and gratitude, even though today is hard. Know that your fellow homeschool moms have empathy!

4. Alisha Fredrickson says:

Thank you Amy for all this information regarding Saxon math. I would love your thoughts on how I should move forward with Saxon math for my 15 year old daughter. I’m feeling like she’s behind. I’ve been using Saxon math for her since 7th grade, after the pandemic we didn’t send her back. She started with Saxon 7/6 and is still currently working through 8/7. She wants to work in the animal field and she typically does well with math, but these lessons have been taking her longer to complete (~hour) so we had her start doing evens/odds. She’s only halfway through the 8/7 book and is technically in 9th grade. We also work through the summer. Should I move her up to the Algebra or have her complete 8/7 and not complete the math sequence you suggested above.

Thank you for you help,
Alisha

1. I would have her complete 8/7 before moving on to Algebra. The very best, most in-depth learning is at the end of the book. An hour per day for math isn’t too much to expect from a 15-year-old. It’s good for her character as well as her concentration skills and thinking skills to spend a good chunk of time on something difficult.

Also, your daughter isn’t behind. Behind what? As you homeschool longer, you’ll realize that all of the checklists and levels made up by administrators and bureaucrats are arbitrary. They are useful for the education factory in moving huge quantities of children along the conveyor belt, but meaningless in the home, where children can be individuals. If your daughter is challenged and engaged and learning, it does more harm than good to focus and levels or grades. Instead focus on building a really solid, stable foundation and spending an hour a day, every day, working on it. She’ll get where she wants to by building excellent learning habits.

5. Benard Dankwa says:

Thanks

1. Amy Saunders says:

By HS do you mean high school?

During high school you’ll want to spend 1 year each studying: Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Earth Science.

We’ve used and enjoyed Saxon Physics. It’s calculus-based so you would want to wait until your child has completed Calculus.

We’ve used the Apologia Homeschool Science books and enjoyed them, but they are written from a Christian worldview, so it depends on whether you appreciate that or not.

We’ve also used the Greg Landry’s courses at College Prep Science.

We used MEL science kits one year and my children loved them, but the kits didn’t include a lesson or anything — just the experiment and materials. So they were fun for the kids, but more work for me because I had to come up with the lesson.

Recently we’ve thoroughly enjoyed BookShark science. That one is easiest for me because my children LOVE to read so I don’t have to nag at all and they work independently and happily. Regardless of the ages specified, my older kids have studied alongside my younger kids and learned just as much on their own levels.

We tend to learn family style, meaning we all study the same subject together, until my children reach age 15/16, at which point I enroll them in college classes. So I’m sure there are loads of High School specific science curriculum I’m not even aware of.

If you have your child choose a field of study (physics, chemistry…) and then google that + homeschool + curriculum, I’ll bet you will find a lot of helpful reviews so you can find one to suit your own children.

1. Benard Dankwa says:

Thank you

2. Amanda says:

Hi Amy!
I have a 7th grader who is a good reader. Should I do Greg Landry at this age combo science? Apologia general science? Right now we are working through the chemistry and physics course intended for 2nd-6th apologia. I’d be very interested in your favorites for each of the subjects you mentioned for middle thru HS. How about a 6th grader who isn’t a big reader, more of a tinkerer. What would you recommend for middle school? I appreciate your advice!

6. MrsJDT says:

Thank you so much! 🙏🏼 I found your site trying to determine which book was next, and not only did I find that, but a whole treasure trove more! I was also homeschooled way back in the day, and even though I wasn’t a math person, I did have fond memories of Saxon, so that’s what we’re using with our kiddos too. So far so good! We use MyMathAssistant.com as an online grading system, and we LOVE it! The kids get instant feedback, and it’s one less subject for me to grade—win win! It’s also totally customizable from the Teacher Dashboard, so you can set how many attempts they get, if they get full or partial credit after the first attempt, etc. With 7 children (5 of whom are full-time students + a toddler and a baby), it’s been a lifesaver for us. 🙌🏼

Thanks again for the great, thorough article! It’s always helpful to hear how other families make homeschooling work. 😉

1. Kay Emery says:

Just curious if u know much about Singapore math? I’ve been recommended that & then Saxon so I’m trying to decide between the 2.
My boys are 9/11 & just ended up getting D average on level 3 teaching textbooks…. I didn’t realize until our year was up where they were struggling & got hung up right around multiplication….I know we need to kinda start there ???? I’ve heard Singapore is more complicated so when testing them on that I’m leaning to the level 2 to create solid foundation -which makes me feel like we are so behind & I’m trying not to get caught up on that but I do need to just do a proper curriculum in math already…kinda been doing workbooks & TT but I think they need guided lessons. I’m not a big math person so having videos or help teaching concepts would be helpful. Any guidance or advice I’d be so grateful! ❤️
Also still struggling with LA. Just heard of writing & rhetoric….looking into it….my oldest still struggles to read & I can’t seem to teach spelling… any Curriculum ideas from a mom of successful homeschooled kiddos would be so amazing! Thank you! -Kay

1. Amy Saunders says:

I used Singapore math YEARS ago for about three months. We had been using Saxon and a friend raved about Singapore, so I switched. The colorful workbooks were fun, but it felt like there was too much extraneous stuff and we switched back to Saxon. My kids who I switched were maybe about 8 and 7 years old and they, too, wanted to switch back to Saxon. We really appreciated the straightforward simplicity even if it was dry and black and white.

As far as LA goes, my priority at that age is to create a LOVE of reading within each child. So we read aloud together a LOT, and I seek out books that are really high interest for my children. We visit the library every week and I try to always combine it with a trip to the park or a stop for ice cream or something so that library day is a highlight. I add grammar around age 12, using the Easy Grammar series, which is just a simple, 10-minute lesson/exercise each day. Then I enroll my kids in a local, homeschool speech & debate class, where someone besides me teaches them to write, haha! I find writing to be subjective and oh, so painful to teach. Literature, grammar and writing effectively covers Language Arts.

7. Amulya Castelino says:

Hi Amy
Thank you so much for your post
I have 2 kids and a 3rd one on the way
Was wondering,….. Is in necessary to buy individual Saxon workbooks for each kid or csn i buy 1 and photocopy it?

1. Amy Saunders says:

Only Saxon MathK – Math 3 have consumable workbooks.

The workbooks are bound across the top, so it wouldn’t be that hard to photocopy them. They’re also 3-hole punched so you could put the loose pages in a binder. When I first started homeschooling I wanted to use them repeatedly, like you, so I used sheet protectors over the page and had my daughter use fine point dry-erase markers. But that was time consuming and frustrating for her. Photocopies would work better.

Another idea is to use Side A of each page for one child and side B of each page for the next child. That’s how I used the Saxon workbooks so they would last for two children. Depending on your printer, that might be cheaper than photocopies because the workbooks are about 130 lessons, often more than one page per lesson. Between the two books in each workbook set, part one and part two, that would probably be over 200 pages. I feel like there is still sufficient practice without completing both sides — none of my children have ever completed both sides.

8. BethG says:

Hi- My child used Singapore from k-7th and Saxon 8/7 for 8th, although he didn’t complete it. I gave him the Saxon placement test before 9th and he tested into Alg 2! I guess all those years of making him rework incorrect problems paid off! Anyhow, he’s about 2/3 through Alg 1 in 9th grade and we homeschool year round, so he has until fall to complete it. Should I make him finish the book? Or just move up to Alg 2 in the fall even if he’s not done? Also, it sounds like he could/should skip geometry and just move onto Adv in 11th. He’s a meticulous (read:not fast) worker and may need 2 years to complete Adv. How do you indicate on transcripts that geometry has been covered? Is it ok that he most likely won’t get to Calculus?

1. Amy Saunders says:

Yay! It sounds like you guys are doing great! Good job, Beth! I highly encourage ALL Saxon users to complete ALL of the lessons in each grade level beyond Saxon 5/4, (except for the few lessons at the beginning of each textbook intended to be review for students in government schools who take summers off) because the lessons at the END of each text are so much deeper, richer and more valuable than the lessons at the beginning. John Saxon did this wonderful thing where he introduced concepts simply and then reviewed the concept, more deeply and thoroughly and expansively, over and over throughout subsequent lessons. His textbooks grow progressively more difficult, not because the concepts are more difficult (although they are), but because all of the review in each lesson grows progressively deeper, requiring students to really internalize the concepts. Instead of trying to stick to any particular schedule, keep prioritizing thorough understanding the way you have been.

It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t get to Calculus by any specific age. If he wants a STEM career, he can take Calculus in college and will be well prepared for it by having been given such a solid foundation. On his transcripts, you can either write the topics of his class, so for this past year indicate Algebra & Geometry instead of calling it Algebra 1. Instead of writing Advanced Mathematics for his Jr. and Sr. year, call it Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus. If you are using the older versions of Algebra1 and Algebra 2, they include plenty of Geometry and he won’t need the separate course. I haven’t used the newer editions and I’ve read that since Saxon was sold that the content was changed, but I’m not sure to what extent since I don’t have those books.

1. Rachel says:

My rising 9th grader is on lesson 108 of Pre Algebra 1/2 and eager to “catch up” with his friends in Algebra 1. We transitioned to Saxon this year. I assumed the end of 1/2 was mostly geometry, and thought he could get away with moving on to Algebra 1. But after reading your review, it sounds like he should plug away at 1/2. Is that right?

1. Amy Saunders says:

Yes, I always recommend finishing each Saxon math textbook, just because the concepts taught at the beginning of the book are visited over and over throughout the textbook and most fully and deeply at the end of the textbook. That’s why the lessons at the end are always so much more difficult for students.

Good news, though — he’s SO close! Isn’t he fewer than 20 lessons away? Point that out to him and promise him an ice cream party or something fun when he finishes. That will motivate him! And make sure he understands that learning math is like building a house. The foundation really matters and the house will have issues down the road if you skip steps now. Completing ALL of the steps thoroughly and well is MUCH more important than any arbitrary, pretend deadline.

9. Sarah Deason says:

Oh my word. I am a first generation homeschooler and now homeschooling my kids (and using Saxon like I did when I was a student) . I am overwhelmed, in a good way, with all of the helpful information you poured out in this single post. I am so grateful, thank you!

1. Amy Saunders says:

You are SO welcome, Sarah! 🙂

10. Laura says:

Hi there! My son just turned seven and is about 2/3 of the way through Saxon 3. You mentioned that the worksheets only take 10 minutes for your children. They take around 20-30 minutes for my son, and his test scores average around 75%. What should I do? Push on and start Saxon 5/4 in the fall? Or have him redo Saxon 3, but moving faster and giving him two lessons a day? I find I have to use the teachers guide and make him work every single problem in the scripted lesson plan to make the concepts stick. We also struggle with basic organization (I’ve started using lined paper turned sideways to help him organize his subtraction and addition problems.)
He seems to struggle with reading comprehension and catching all the details in a problem. We’ve been having great progress since I started working problems on a whiteboard instead of reading the problems to him.
I’ve also noticed that he will struggle with a new concept, but when it comes back up in the spiral it’s significantly easier for him.
How to I gauge his math maturity?
Do I redo level 3 at double speed to make sure he has a really solid foundation?

1. Amy Saunders says:

Hi Laura! I wouldn’t be concerned at all about how long it takes him to complete assignments because it’s totally normal for kids to get sidetracked, and my boys had a little harder time focusing than my girls did at that age. Or rather, they were focused on things other than math, haha! Seven is REALLY young!

You are right to be concerned about his test scores and I do agree that 75% means he may have missed some key things (OR he may have just made simple, normal mistakes — you will know when you look over his tests). You know your son best. I would encourage backing him up about 1/3 of Math 3, or about 35 lessons and just repeating that much, plus adding in some math games, math conversations and ways to build number sense and fluency. Make sure he knows his math facts forwards and backwards before proceeding with Math 54. I don’t suggest having him complete two lessons per day unless he WANTS to. At his age, math confidence is HUGE (and so is a basic enjoyment of math) so be sure to emphasize that you are going to repeat some assignments in a way that won’t make him feel deficient in any way. You are in no hurry. A really solid foundation NOW will be well worth the extra time it took later. And homeschooling is naturally more efficient than government schools — he won’t be behind as long as you continue the way you have been. It sounds like you’re doing a great job!

11. sherrie s mota says:

Hi I have a question. First, THANK YOU so much for ALL this information. Sincerely, i am so thankful. Here is my question: I keep seeing info on line that says something like “recent changes to the SAT make the Saxon books not prepare your child for the SAT as well.” The info claims that there were changes to the SAT in 2015. Have you found this to be true–have your children who have taken the SAT after 2015 gotten scores that were lower than the scores your children had who took it before 2015? And yes, it must’ve been a lot of God in the mix for things to work out so well. I am wondering, how do you get yourself to have so much faith? sigh. Thanks in advance for your answers to my questions.

1. Amy Saunders says:

Hi Sherrie,

My kids have only taken the ACT, never the SAT, and I haven’t found that to be the case with the ACT. On looking through an ACT prep book from 2021, there are minor terminology differences between the ACT and Saxon math, but they are inconsequential if the student actually understands the math conceptually and can work through the math process, which is always to draw a picture and label all of your knowns to help you determine what information you have/need and what you are looking for. If students can do this, it doesn’t matter whether the test calls something cartesian coordinates and asks your child to convert them to polar coordinates and your student is used to calling them rectangular coordinates, because your student will be able to work through the math process and use the context of the problem to find the answer the test is looking for regardless of the terminology used.

Having heard some similar rumors myself, but in regards to the ACT, I bought this new prep book for my 15-year-old daughter rather than having her use older books we already own. After comparing them, I honestly don’t see any significant differences. If I were you, I’d compare older versions of the SAT test (or the prep booklets) to newer versions to see if and where changes have been made. But I think your main objective should be for your child to obtain a thorough, conceptual understanding of math so that minor terminology differences don’t really matter.

About the faith issue — just remember that government schools have only existed for about a century. THEY are the experiment, not homeschooling. Aristotle, Archimedes, Galileo, Newton, Pascal, Pythagoras, Michael Faraday, and our founding fathers were all educated the same way YOUR children are being educated — at home, by their parents or by mentors sought out and employed by their parents. I have no faith in our government. Just look at the state of our country (I assume you are in the United States if your children are taking the SAT). Why would you trust THEM to educate your children? You know? So I don’t see homeschooling as being a matter of faith as much as it is a matter of statistics. Statistically speaking, I can provide my children a better education than the government can. Happy homeschooling!!!

12. Jill says:

I’m curious for your advice… my son is in 6th grade… the last few years have been a struggle in Math! We used Horizon through 3rd grade math and then switched to Saxon 5/4. He hated it, but I do like the spiral approach so I kept on. We persevered and finished through Less 84, but then tried to switch to 6/5 the following year. We tried the online version so he could have direct answers without waiting for me. That was overwhelming and discouraging… so we tried Teaching Textbooks to finish out the year. He loved that, but I didn’t like no work or basic math lessons being taught. This year then we tried to just do some review of topics and start 6/5 again. We also tried to switch back to Horizons 6… he’s confused. Has many gaps! Do we go back to 5/4? Try Horizon 5? As you can see I’m at a loss too! Any advice?

1. Amy Saunders says:

I’m sorry, Jill! That sound difficult! Horizons and Saxon do have different scope & sequence (as do pretty much all curriculum) so it’s inevitable that switching curriculum will cause a few gaps. Luckily, it’s not too horrible to remedy them! In Saxon, the lessons at the end of the book (in my opinion) are more important than those at the beginning because that is where the student is finally deep into all of the concepts that have been taught and really mastering them. I prefer Saxon to Teaching Textbooks, but if your son really liked Teaching Textbooks, you might want to consider just allowing it. The hardest thing with TT is to make sure your child isn’t just gaming the software and learning how to answer the question without really understanding the concept.

6th grade is old enough to be able to give you some pretty wise feedback, generally. You might want to have this conversation with your son and tell him exactly what you explained here. Tell him the reasons you prefer Saxon and that you think, long term, that it would provide him a better math foundation, but that you also want to consider his preferences. If he really pushes for TT, ask him if he’s willing to be self-motivated and really be responsible for making sure he understands the concepts. Explain how math is the foundation for all of the sciences and ways in which he’ll use it in his daily life and that you want HIM to head up his educational team. You and other family members are on his team and supporting him 100% and even requiring/pushing/nagging when he falls short (because you love him) but that he needs to head up the team.

If he were my child, I’d be pushing for Saxon pretty hardcore, because I’ve seen the difference it can make in developing a solid foundation, but I’d also work to mitigate the parts of it that he found hateful. I use a lot of math games for practice and I hold my kids on my lap to explain things when they’re frustrated, so they feel loved and supported. And when they triumph over a difficult concept with which they struggled, I make sure we celebrate hard! I also talk a lot with my kids about doing hard things and how much it helps us grow and learn, and we talk about the problems they miss each day and have to correct as wonderful learning experiences. For the most part, those things work for my kids. If your son decides to proceed with Saxon, ask him to help you help him. Tell him you need to know when he’s frustrated and how you can support him. Also, talk about the power of perseverance with him (and the reasons for sticking to a single curriculum) so he knows that whatever he chooses you are going to stick it out long term.

As for where to start… If this were my son, I’d give him a placement test to determine where to back him up to. It might feel horrible to him to have to back up, so I’d phrase it in a positive way, like a challenge that you two are tackling together. Be sure he always knows how smart and capable he is! I back my kids up whenever they need it and they understand that it’s just part of life and sometimes they ask to get backed up, haha! Just make sure he knows it’s a good thing and not a bad thing! I always use the analogy of home-building and we talk about how it’s easier to tear out a cracked foundation as soon as you notice the crack, like with just a few walls framed above it, rather than waiting until the drywall is up and the painters are there. Also, be sure to not communicate your stress or worries to your son. In fact, I can promise you that you don’t need to stress over this! It will all be okay! Kids are so smart — this will just be a tiny blip in his educational career! You are obviously a good mom who cares a great deal. You two will find the right path forward! Hugs!

13. Toni says:

Hi Amy, Thank you so much, this site has been such a big help! My daughter seems to be on track very similar to your children. She is aged at 7th grade and doing Saxon Algebra II (Third Edition). (She completed Saxon Algebra 1 2 {Second Edition} and Algebra 1 {Third Edition} the previous years.) I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to figure out what is next. I found all my answers here, but have a couple of questions. According to what I have read, would you suggest:
Next year (8th Grade)- Saxon Advanced Mathematics with some Trig extras as we go to supplement (no recommended text)
9th Grade – Saxon Calculus self study
10th Grade – James Stewart Calculus for self study -or- Online Derek Owens Calculus
Here are my questions:
1. If the above is correct, I am guessing that Saxon Advanced Mathematics is Pre-Calculus and no other pre-calc is needed if she does well?
2. Could you please explain to me what is meant by AP College Board for AP Calculus? Is this a test? or a class? and when should she do that?
3. Is the above what she needs for college placement, so in 11th and 12th grades she would be taking a College Calculus Course?
As you can probably guess I am just beginning to put together High School plans. I greatly appreciate any suggestions/guidance. Thank you !

1. Amy Saunders says:

Hi Toni,
Yes, I think you are right on track. 8th grade is pretty young for some of the Advanced Mathematics concepts (although completely doable) so just be willing to slow things down if your daughter needs to. Most of my children have taken about a year and a half to complete Advanced Mathematics. I mainly supplement using the Unit Circle and it’s relation to sine, cosine, tangent, starting from about lesson 30 on. If your daughter understands their purpose and relationship, it will make progress through the rest of the textbook so much more logical for her. Advanced Mathematics is Pre-Calculus and will thoroughly prepare your daughter for calculus the following year, especially if you spend extra time on the Trig concepts.

I like Saxon’s Calculus text myself, but the terminology, the order in which concepts are presented and the concepts themselves are taught much differently than recommended by the AP College Board. (The AP College Board is the governing body for the AP classes. They lay out the scope and sequence of each class based on what is required on the AP tests. AP tests are a U.S. thing, similar to IB elsewhere in the world. Students can take the AP tests in May of each year to earn college credit, and good scores also lend credence to homeschool college applications. 11th and 12th grade are typical for taking AP classes/exams, but I don’t think there is an age cutoff and my children have taken several in 9th grade.) My two oldest children self-studied using Saxon Calculus and were not adequately prepared for the AP test. My children who took Derek Owens’ Calculus class passed the AP test, just because they were familiar with the jargon and the way in which the concepts were presented. If you feel your daughter is prepared for the AP Calculus test in 9th grade, I’d have her go for it. You have to sign her up in about November of the year she’ll take it. Just ask the counselor at your local government high school and they’ll be able to enroll her.

What happens beyond Calculus is up to your daughter and her plans for her life. Two of my children wanted to pursue degrees in astrophysics and computer engineering and chose to take online Calc 2 and Calc 3 classes from a local university. They were not super awesome classes (asynchronous with zero teacher interaction and poorly structured), so I don’t recommend them. But you can look around locally and see what you can find. My fourth child planned a career in violin performance and wanted to just be done with math and had also earned her associates degree by that point and was ready to just jump into college, so she did not pursue math any farther. I’m okay with that! Tenth grade is pretty young to know with any surety what their future career will be, but your daughter will probably at least know whether she wants to pursue a STEM-type career, in which case she should continue with college math during high school, or whether she has other plans and may not need further math.

I would look into other early college options for your daughter if I were you. It seems redundant to me to have kids take the same classes in high school that they would take the first two years of college. Thus far I haven’t felt ready to drop my 15/16 year-olds off at the dorms to attend college full-time, so we’ve used online and local early college options and so far all of my children have earned their associates degrees at a minimum before “graduating” our homeschool at age 17 or 18. I’ve written a bit about our experiences with those programs here on my blog. Feel free to ask more questions as they come up!

14. sandra says:

Hi,

I am new to Saxon math and homeschooling!
I read your article about Saxon math, and I bought the workbooks with the flash cards. However, I want to buy an used teacher’s edition book. I find that the majority of them are copyright 1994. My workbooks are 1997. They are 1 edition. So would it be any problem if I buy the teacher’s edition 1994?
Thanks!

1. Amy says:

Hi Sandra,

Does the Teacher’s Manual list an edition? I assume you are talking about Math K-3 since you mention flashcards, and those Teacher’s Manuals contain the answer keys as well as the teaching instructions, so I would try to match the editions if possible. I’m not exactly sure, though, because I bought the Teacher’s manuals initially and then I never used them, so I gave them to a friend.

Amy

15. Alexandra says:

Hi! Thank you so much for sharing your math teaching journey! I just completed my first year of homeschooling Pre-K, which consisted of Unit Studies of mostly hands-on, play learning with some worksheets here and there. My child at this point is somewhere between kindergarten and 1st grade, so I’m looking at starting with Saxon Math 1. I was hoping to save some money and just get the workbook and instruct on my own. Do you think the teacher manual is necessary for this level? Also are the test/answers a separate book(s) or are they part of the student workbook?

1. Amy Saunders says:

Hi Alexandra,

You can absolutely do that! In fact, I recommend it all the time because I, too, am very frugally minded. You will need the two consumable workbooks, Saxon Math 1 Part One and Saxon Math 1 Part Two. I have never even used the answer keys for that level because the worksheets are basically addition/subtraction and you’ll be able to see at a glance whether they are correct or not. It would take MORE time to check them with the answer key, in my opinion. Happy homeschooling!

16. Kate Wolfert says:

Hi Amy. We have a 6th grader and this is our 2nd year homeschooling. Do you have a recommendation for writing/ grammar? Thanks for all this great information!

1. Amy Saunders says:

I love the Easy Grammar series because it’s so stinking easy! It’s a consumable workbook your child can complete independently in only about ten minutes per day. I don’t start my kids until 6th or 7th grade, at which point I just hand them Easy Grammar Plus (a giant red workbook) and let them go to town. By the end of the year, they know more about grammar than me! Here’s a link if you want more information: https://www.christianbook.com/easy-grammar-plus-workbook/wanda-phillips/9780936981147/pd/6981147?event=Homeschool|1005074

17. Carrie says:

Hi!
I am new to homeschooling this year but we are going to use Saxon math for my KG and 3rd grade. kids I am going to start my KG in level 1 but am confused on what level I should use for my 3rd grader. If my KG does a level a year she would be on level 3 in 2nd grade. I am not sure if I should start my 3rd grader on level 3 or 5/4? If I do start them higher in 5/4 will they miss concepts taught in level 3?
Thanks!
Carrie

1. Amy Saunders says:

Your 3rd grader probably did 2nd grade math last year since she was in public school, right? So I’d just have her jump into Saxon Math 3. If you want, you could have her take a placement test to make sure. I’d have your kinder start with Math 1, just because it and Math K are so similar they’re redundant. So yeah, they’ll just be two grade levels apart in math, but that’s no big deal. Also, there will be ebb and flow to their understanding so some years (or seasons) they’ll move faster than others and you’ll notice that they will naturally move farther apart/closer together over the course of their homeschooling. You’ll get used to not thinking of things as grade-level , and rather as just individual progress, as you homeschool longer. I hope you enjoy homeschooling! Please feel free to ask further questions if you have any!

18. JM says:

Hi Amy,

Hope you are well! First year to homeschool my daughter who is 6 years old. So excited and a little worried. Anyway, about Saxon Math – just wondering if I should buy the set of Saxon Math 1 curriculum or just one particular book should be fine. I was browsing through Amazon and I saw different kinds of Saxon Math 1. Which one should I get / necessary? Is there a hardbound one? Can you kindly help point me to the right direction. Lastly, any tips teaching Math to a Grade 1 student?

1. Amy Saunders says:

Hi JM,

There are hardbound versions of Saxon Math 1. They are likely published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, who bought the rights to Saxon’s text after he passed on. They have been modified to common core standards. I haven’t purchased or used any of those texts because I prefer the conciseness and clarity of Saxon’s work, I feel like the new publishers have just bloated everything.

John Saxon himself actually only wrote Math 5/4 textbooks up through Calculus. Nancy/Ron Larson wrote the original Saxon K-3 series to fill in the gap, and John Saxon approved and published them. I think they’re excellent, although they provide TOO much practice for the average child, so I always just had my kids complete side A of each worksheet. Those versions are softbound and include a teacher manual (thick, spiral bound, soft cover), a meeting book (thin, soft bound, stapled binding) with cardstock facts flashcards and two consumable workbooks, labeled Part One and Part Two (soft bound with perforated worksheets). Those are what I used for my children. They are black and white with few illustrations, for which they get derided, but my kids never complained. I used the meeting book with my oldest and it is valuable, but for convenience’ sake I haven’t used it with the rest of my kids and it has not been detrimental. I barely opened the teacher edition EVER. So you can honestly just purchase the two consumable workbooks and you can have one child complete side A of all the worksheets and save them for your next child to complete side B, thus getting two uses out of them. I frequently see them used on Amazon, Thriftbooks or AbeBooks for much cheaper than the new price for the entire Home Study Kit.

6 years old is such a fun age! Have fun homeschooling!

Amy

19. Kathleen says:

If my going to be 10th grader did algebra 1 in 9th grade at a public school, (we are homeschooling now) would the geometry review in algebra 2 be enough or should we do the Saxon geometry before starting algebra 2? Thanks for all your great info.

1. Amy Saunders says:

Hi Kathleen,

Amy

20. Carly says:

Good Evening Amy!

Ok, I have read, re-read, and prayed and I think I might jump into Saxon Math now, so I don’t have to worry about switching etc, later. I found a hardcover on ebay for Saxon 3 (my son is going into grade 2, but I checked the assessments, and he should be fine for Saxon 3…I have always worked above grade for him anyway, so he actually did a “grade 2 level” math already this year). My only concern is trying to make sure “I get the right one”.

We are actually Canadian, so on top of it, I want to make sure I’m not getting a “common core” aligned one anyway. I know like you mentioned (I feel the same), that you would be leery about it. The one I found on ebay was a 2007 hardcover one, with the solutions manual, student workbook and cd with the teacher’s manual and tests or something (I believe). Would that one be ok? Is that one you would recommend?

Looking forward to hearing back from you. Thank you in advance Amy!

Love and Blessings Always,
Carly

1. Amy Saunders says:

Hi Carly,

It sounds like Saxon 3 will be perfect for your son. I just have one reservation — I’ve never seen a hardcover version of Math 3. Math K, Math 1, Math 2, and Math 3 are all softcover, consumable workbooks (bound across the top) in two parts. Each level includes: the spiral bound teacher manual, two student workbooks (part one and part two) and a student meeting book, which is softcover and the size of a magazine. All of them are dark blue with lighter blue writing. Here’s a link to the same set new on Rainbow Resources: https://www.rainbowresource.com/product/018401/Saxon-Math-3-Home-Study-Kit.html?trackcode=googleBase&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&adpos=&scid=scplp018401&sc_intid=018401&gclid=CjwKCAjwos-HBhB3EiwAe4xM9_-e9Cf6p5UYXGruH-Ex9c9NujaenIncrTzdRrvC9qYhTAXG8AtsFhoCE2UQAvD_BwE.

If that’s what you’re looking at, go for it! If it looks different, it might just be a version I’m unfamiliar with. You could send me a link and I’ll check it out for you.

1. Carly says:

Good Evening Amy,

Thank you sooo much for getting back to me!! Here is the link for the one off ebay that I was mentioning:

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/263593162979?_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20160908105057%26meid%3D0f1eb7e6474f4e26859b03f3a84d9266%26pid%3D100675%26rk%3D5%26rkt%3D15%26sd%3D284374276013%26itm%3D263593162979%26pmt%3D0%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2380057&_trksid=p2380057.c100675.m4236&_trkparms=pageci%3Aabf7e1e0-e80d-11eb-b5fc-56998f61bc49%7Cparentrq%3Abb7bea1a17a0acf053362210ffd35f2c%7Ciid%3A1

Let me know what you think! <3 Thank you so much again!! Would you still recommend the new ones though? I wasn't sure if there was a content issue with the "homeschool ones/soft cover" ones? I really appreciate your opinion!! XO

Love and Blessings Always,
Carly

1. Amy Saunders says:

Oh, yes. I totally forgot I have seen those before. I haven’t used them, but when I looked through them, they looked like the exact same content as the home study kit I linked, just packaged for public school. They’re probably nicer because they AREN’T consumable! I would guess that it doesn’t have additional content (blech!) since it’s written and published by Stephen Hake, but I’m not 100% sure. The reviews are good.

When I said I didn’t care for the homeschool versions of the textbooks, I was actually referring to the Math 5/4 and up textbooks written by John Saxon. And there’s nothing wrong with the content, I just don’t care for the format of the books because they’re so cheap they don’t last. I just prefer to buy a textbook once and use it for all of my kids, and the homeschool versions barely last through one child. I’ve always used the consumable workbooks for Math 1-3, though, because that’s what was available when I was making my purchases.

1. Carly says:

Good Evening Amy!

So in your opinion, what should I get? I have 2 other children, but I already have a math program for the next year for my daughter or two potentially (she’s 4, turning 5), so if I bought the hardcover, it would be used at least 2 more times. Or I either buy the consumable one this year, and then in 2 years, I would be buying 2/year and then eventually 3/year (and maybe 4, if we’re able to have another baby). My biggest thing would be content….making sure it’s just as good (either way) and cost (is important, but secondary to quality/content).

And was there any other supplements you did alongside Saxon? We have be doing 2 different math curriculums this past year…so that would be another transition (going from 2 to just one program). Thank you Amy!!

Love and Blessings Always,
Carly

2. Amy Saunders says:

I’d buy the hardcover so I could reuse it for subsequent kiddos. I haven’t read anything negative about those texts and I trust Stephen Hake and Saxon publishers. The new, common-core versions are published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, I think. I’ve never supplemented our Saxon curriculum in any way. One year, I did purchase the CD’s to accompany the Physics text, but my oldest daughter didn’t like them, didn’t use them and lost one of them and I never replaced it.

3. Carly says:

Good Evening Amy,

Thank you so, so much for all your help!!! I will look at getting that one that I linked then, for this upcoming school year <3 I'm excited but nervous to switch lol! Have a wonderful night and rest of your summer! I might come back and update you throughout the year hehe. XO

Love and Blessings Always,
Carly

2. Carly says:

Good Evening Amy,

Somehow my reply went away. Here is the ebay link I was mentioning:

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/263593162979?_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20160908105057%26meid%3D0f1eb7e6474f4e26859b03f3a84d9266%26pid%3D100675%26rk%3D5%26rkt%3D15%26sd%3D284374276013%26itm%3D263593162979%26pmt%3D0%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2380057&_trksid=p2380057.c100675.m4236&_trkparms=pageci%3Aabf7e1e0-e80d-11eb-b5fc-56998f61bc49%7Cparentrq%3Abb7bea1a17a0acf053362210ffd35f2c%7Ciid%3A1

Please let me know what you think, I respect your opinion <3 Also, I wasn't sure about the new ones…I thought the softcover/new ones were not as good? Thank you again Amy!! Have a great night!

Love and Blessings Always,
Carly

1. Carly says:

^^Sorry for sending two messages about that! <3 Thank you again for responding!

21. Megan says:

Hey! Can you give tips for how to grade saxon math? There are several grade recording forms that do not have directions or explanations. Thank you!

1. Amy Saunders says:

I’ll tell you my process, Megan. I don’t use any of the recording forms because my kids have 100% after completing every single assignment — therefore I don’t need to keep track. My kids and I sit at the kitchen table together so I’m available for questions while they work. They read the lesson independently (or rather, they are supposed to read the lessons but often don’t in favor of letting me explain once they reach the new material, which I’m fine with) and then work all of the problems in the set, asking for help whenever needed.

My kids hand me their assignments and I use the answer key to grade them, marking incorrect problems with an X. I don’t bother with a score or anything. I return the problem set to my child, who corrects all missed problems, often with my help. I then grade those corrections and if any problems are still wrong, I again hand the problem set back to my child to correct. At this point, my children usually want help with corrections and this is where the REAL teaching and magic happen. Sometimes, though, it’s just a missed sign or Order of Operations mistake or something they can fix easily. Anyway, we go back and forth until the problem set is 100% correct and then my children are done for the day. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it’s really only a few minutes to grade each problem set initially and fewer than that to grade their corrections. Honestly, it makes a TREMENDOUS difference to real understanding because kids never proceed to new material without completely, thoroughly understanding previous material.

This way, too, I can spot fundamental misconceptions right away and work to correct them. Sometimes we’ll depart from the textbook for a day or two to play math games or watch videos or work in such a way that any misconception is corrected before we dive back into the textbook and proceed. As far as tests and grades go, I just skip them. I only use the tests for benchmark testing and I don’t assign them grades. If I had to give them grades as a state requirement or something like that, I would go ahead and give them 100% for each problem set because that’s what they earned.

22. Amy says:

Hi! I am just completing my first year homeschooling and we had a few math restarts with my 9th and 10th grader. We eventually landed on Saxon for both girls and they are doing well. My 9th grader is doing Algebra 1 and I’m wondering if I would need to have her complete every single lesson before moving on to Algebra 2. Because we got a late start, she won’t be finished until well into September. I’d like to cut some out and finish earlier if possible. Thanks for the thorough review though. It was great!

1. Amy Saunders says:

Hi Amy! I actually think the problem sets at the END of each book are far more critical than the lessons at the beginning. John Saxon was brilliant in the way he laid out the spiral approach. He introduced each concept very simply, then added complexity each time that concept spiraled back around, so by the end of each textbook kids are performing pretty advanced mathematical calculations. The first twenty or so lessons of each textbook are a review of the previous textbook, so sometimes we skip them (my kids often don’t want to skip them because they like the mental break). If you have to skip something, I’d skip the first few lessons of a textbook instead of the last few lessons.

However, as a homeschooler you don’t need to adhere to any arbitrary “school year”. I homeschool year round (but with lots and lots of travel breaks and field trips every Friday, so we skip school) and my kiddos usually finish up their textbooks in less time than what is considered a school year, so we just break out the next textbook and keep on going. We pretty much never start new textbooks in September. If it were me, I’d just not even bring up a start or end date and just finish out Algebra 1 whenever it happens, then let your daughter choose whether or not to skip the first several review lessons of Algebra 2 and just keep right on going (after celebrating finishing Algebra 1, of course!).

23. Janae says:

Hi! After some research, and landing here as well regarding using the older editions of Saxon, I found the very 1st edition of 65. I am having the most difficult time finding the test forms though. The only thing I have come close to is finding the test forms booklet for the 2nd edition. Any idea if that would match up? I am bummed because the book also mentions doing the “Facts Pracitce: 100 Addition Facts (Test A in Test Booklet)” at the beginning of each lesson, which I also can’t seem to find. Argh! It appears I need a solutions manual, test forms/booklet? If you can suggest anything I would so appreciate it!

1. Hi Janae,

I don’t have a copy of the first edition, but I do have the second edition of Math 6/5, both the textbook, test forms and the answer key. I could send you photos of them if that would help. I’m sure there will be differences between the editions, but I don’t know exactly how extensive the differences will be. That’s why I’m always careful to make sure I buy the same edition of the answer keys and textbooks. I actually never use the test forms booklet AT ALL because when you are grading your child’s work every day and making sure they correct every problem they miss, it’s really easy to see exactly when and where they don’t clearly understand a concept. I think tests are useful in a classroom setting, but are redundant in a home setting. Honestly, if you have the textbook and answer key I think you could easily get away with not having the test booklet.

The solutions manual is different from the answer key in that the answer key JUST includes the answer while the solutions manual also includes the solution. So you don’t need both of those. The entire Home Study Packet (older version) includes three books: a hardcover textbook, a softcover test forms booklet, and a softcover answer key booklet with answers to the tests and the assignments and practice problems. It also included a bunch of perforated cardstock sheets you could tear apart and use as flashcards. Newer “homeschool” editions switched to a super cheap, softcover edition of the textbook, but the content was basically the same. Solutions manuals weren’t included (that I know of) but could be purchased in addition to the answer key. The “materials” section in the front of the textbook refers to those items.

Please let me know if you want photos or need any more help!

24. Mrs. T says:

I really appreciate this post. I love Saxon Math! Especially the spiral approach. ! I wish I would’ve used it in the very beginning instead of bouncing around. Bouncing created so many gaps in my oldest that he is technically behind. He is currently in 65 book, doing well but bored with it. Would it be foolish to go to the 78 book? He’s about halfway through 65. And I’m glad you mentioned the physiological changes that happen around 13. He is seriously brain fogged! Appreciate your honesty about your worries and doubts through pregnancy and multiple babies. I am currently pregnant with number eight so I know how you feel!

1. Mrs T says:

I meant 7/6

1. Amy Saunders says:

Thank you so much for your comment! You expressed the one think I would love to communicate to homeschool parents above all else — stick with your chosen curriculum. Whether Saxon or anything else, just stick with it. I happen to LOVE Saxon, too, for a gazillion reasons. But I very firmly believe that the curriculum you choose matters a whole lot less than just diving in and persisting. So many homeschoolers worry too much about finding the perfect curriculum that they waste a lot of time in the weeds.

As for your son, I’d have him take a placement test. I think it’s really important to keep kids moving when they want to, in order to keep interest high. Plus, Saxon is great at detecting and remediating gaps, so don’t worry about those at all. The placement test will give you a benchmark and then you can watch his homework scores to make sure he’s getting it. I feel like 85% correct means a child has pretty good understanding of the material, because you have to allow for simple mathematical errors. If he falls lower than 85% or begins complaining about a lack of understanding, you can always back up. Just communicate to him upfront that you’ll be moving around a lot trying to find the best place for him, and make him your partner in that quest, so he doesn’t feel dumb or like a failure. I’ve learned that my kids always know even before I do about where they should be and when to speed up or slow down.

And good luck with your newest little blessing! At least you’ll have a lot of helpers this time around!

1. Mrs T says:

Awesome, thanks so much! And yes, I agree 110%. There is NO perfect curriculum. A steady, consistent pace is key!

25. Judy Dendy says:

1. Amy Saunders says:

Thanks for that tip, Judy! I hadn’t heard of Color Blocks before — it looks like a great resource! It sounds like we’re very similar in how we use Saxon. You’re doing a fantastic job!

2. Carmen says:

Judy “Nana” – thank you for this wisdom & encouragement. Did you ever find a home for the Saxon level 2 set you referenced? We are using Life of Fred which we love but I would like to try Saxon.

26. Shari Arctander says:

My two older children have been homeschooled with A.C.E. the last two years, which has worked out okay in most respects. My youngest is just starting school this year, so everything is new for her. My kids were born and raised in Norway and had a hard time adjusting to school in English, even though they spoke English fluently. It also appears to me that math in Norway is somewhat aligned with Common Core, which absolutely has not worked for my middle daughter, age 12 (6th grade). She has just taken the Saxon placement test for both primary and middle school math as she has serious difficulties with math. Her primary math placement test suggested starting with Math 3; the middle school placement test (score of 12) indicated she could start with Math 54, but for a weak student Math 3 ought to be considered. She is definitely a weak student. We didn’t even do the placement test for Math 65 because she had no idea how to answer the first 8-9 questions.

1. Shari Arctander says:

My question for you is, since my 12 year old really struggles with math, should I go ahead and start her with Math 3 so that she might finally master some concepts she has obviously never understood? (Her school in Norway thought she might have dyscalculia at worst, and just “learning difficulties in math” at the best, but they didn’t want to test her and thus “give her a label”.) Or do you think she could start with Math 54? I definitely want to go with first or second edition versions and would appreciate it if you could also help me locate exactly what I would need. My youngest tested in Math 1, which is appropriate since she just started school in September. However, she does not read yet (my children are bilingual Norwegian and American English, and we live in Romania, so they are learning that as well). Being raised in Europe, they are all totally confused with American units of money, which American children take for granted. Will this program still work for them? Thank you any help, and sorry for two posts – I have no idea how that even happened!

Shari

1. Amy Saunders says:

Hi Shari! Saxon will still work fine for them. Money is just a small portion of the program and you can substitute the Euro or whatever monetary unit you want for those problems in the lower grades. Money does persist up through Algebra, but it really just decimal manipulation, so you could have your girls think of the problems in terms of decimals. Since the Saxon placement test suggested Math 3, I would start there. If she’s just missing a few key concepts, you could make sure she understands those and then skip over the concepts she already knows. Trust yourself and her (always ask for student input) to know what those are. I would just tell her the numbers (Math 3, Math 54…) don’t mean anything if you’re worried about her feelings about being placed in Math 3. It’s so critical to get a strong foundation that it’s absolutely worth backing up if need be. I back my kids up all the time. In fact, I’m in school right now, studying Computer Science, and I back myself up all the time. Backing up to re-learn missed concepts is how real learning happens, and it’s unfortunate that public schools cannot take advantage of that useful tool. Good luck!

I always look for used editions on Amazon, ebay and online used book sellers as well as in local homeschooling groups.

27. Where do you find used text books? I’d much rather have the hard bound old version!!

1. Amy Saunders says:

Try Amazon. I find lots of used 2nd and 3rd editions on Amazon. Also try Thriftbooks.com or Abebooks.com. Local homeschool swaps are good resources, too, as are Facebook groups for homeschoolers.

28. Christina says:

Hi! I am strongly considering Saxon next year for my daughter, who will be in the 4th grade. We are currently using Abeka’s 3rd grade math program, which is EXTREMELY rigorous (honestly, it has overwhelmed her!). I want her to be able to enjoy math again, and I think Saxon would be a much better fit for her. A few questions…. Do you need to purchase the DVD (Dive?) for the lessons? Or can a student easily read and follow the directions in the book on his or her own? (My daughter is a very strong reader). Also, if I were to purchase the older edition of the materials, what exactly would we need to have everything we need? We would probably be in 5/4.

1. Amy Saunders says:

Hi Christina!

29. Kathlen says:

Thank you for your feedback. I am on board with Saxon Math. I am curious to know what other curriculum you used for your kids. I am a math teacher as well but I am looking for strong curriculum in the other areas.
Thanks!

1. Amy Saunders says:

We liked ‘Story of the World’ when my kids were little. The accompanying activity books really make history come alive. It’s much too simplistic for older grades but great for early elementary. We use Easy Grammar, Wordly Wise (vocabulary) and fantastic literature for our language arts program. I don’t have my kids write until about age 12, when I enroll them in an excellent and inspiring local Speech & Debate class. Trying to teach them to write was just too painful for both of us! It hasn’t seemed to hurt them much to wait, though. They all start university in 9th or 10th grade and receive compliments on their writing from their professors, so I figure I’m not too delinquent. We’ve been using and LOVING Mel Science (I wrote all about it here on the blog if you want to look it up) for a little over a year. Before that we used Delta Science kits.

We also use a lot of Unit Studies, both commercial and studies I prepare myself, because they lend themselves so well to family-style learning. We play geography games and math games and I try to structure our environment so my kiddos are constantly being exposed to our fascinating world in ways that make them ask questions.

Honestly, the only subject we complete daily is math. The other subjects are kind of hit and miss. We’ll dive deep into science one week and accomplish a whole semester’s worth of learning that week, and then not hit science again for a couple of months. Same with the other subjects. It works well for us because with a farm and a big family I can only fully invest myself in one thing per day, and I choose math because I think it really needs to be learned that way — incrementally, a little at a time and daily. That might feel haphazard to some families, and it would have to me as well when I was just starting out, but I’ve grown to really appreciate and enjoy the relaxed structure and simplicity. Good luck finding your own homeschool rhythm, Kathlen!

30. Andy says:

What other programs are available to use with Saxon Calculus to study for the AP exam?

1. Amy Saunders says:

Saxon Calculus does not follow the same scope and sequence as AP Calculus. It’s been six years since I helped my oldest prepare for the AP test, so it has probably changed, but you can find the syllabus of the class on the AP College Board site here: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/courses/ap-calculus-ab/classroom-resources?course=ap-calculus-ab. We used Stewart’s Calculus and Saxon Calculus about half and half to get that daughter all she needed. My subsequent children have used Derek Owens’ course to prepare for the AP Test after finishing up Advanced Mathematics and at least partly finishing Saxon Calculus. Derek Owens’ follows the AP College Board format exactly, so that made my job much easier. I did experiment a little to try and find something equivalent to Derek Owens’ course for my fourth daughter, but switched back to Derek Owens. My kids all agreed that he was a great teacher.

31. Genethie Harrison says:

Does Saxon Math have online courses or resources?

1. Amy Saunders says:

Yes! They aren’t from John Saxon himself, but there are a few excellent resources you could check out:

1. Nicole the Math Lady provides excellent online instruction that your child would watch before completing each problem set.
2. D.I.V.E. Cd’s are a similar resource and you can purchase them to coordinate with each textbook from Math 5/4 up. We tried them one year for Advanced Mathematics and my daughter didn’t like them. She felt the teacher was too loquacious and preferred to just read the lesson from the textbook, but I’ve also seen rave review for them.
3. Math Assistant is a resource for checking math assignments — so parents don’t have that daily burden. We used it for a couple of months and found it helpful, but we ultimately returned to our regular format of my kids completing the problem set, us checking together, making corrections, checking together, making corrections, etc… because I could see them missing concepts when I wasn’t on top of corrections. In my opinion, the daily corrections are the very most valuable part of the learning process. I would still that resource if I were to be gone or unavailable for a day here or a day there, but I don’t feel good about handing it off entirely. We each have our own ways of doing things, though, so it might be a valuable resource to someone else.

32. alex says:

Hello,

I would like to know if is necessary to buy the test and worksheet book for Math 5/4?

1. Amy Saunders says:

4th editions because they are Core aligned and will prepare your kiddos to jump right back in with their peers next year.

2. Amy Saunders says:

Do you mean the answer key and the test forms booklet? Sometimes they call it the home study packet and yes you will need that. I personally don’t use the tests with my kiddos, but the answer key would allow you to grade the daily problem sets without having to complete all of the problems yourself.

33. Kay says:

Your article was very helpful. I have a question. This is my first year homeschooling due to Covid and we plan to return to public school next school year. You mentioned the newer Saxon is more common core aligned. Should I purchase the new or the old? I’m not really familiar with the program. My kids are 5th and 3rd but protested to do 2nd and 5/4. Thanks

1. Kay says:

Also, when searching all the different editions, I’m not sure which ones are the more common core aligned.

1. Amy Saunders says:

The 4th editions are core aligned. They have a picture on the front and look very different from the older editions with the big SAXON letters printed on them.

34. Luci says:

Hello,
I am planning on using the Math 3: An Incremental Development Set: Student Workbooks, part one and two plus flashcards (Saxon math, grade 3),
and the Math 1 for 1st grade. Would you be able to tell me if they come with an answer key? Thank you so much for this post!

1. Amy Saunders says:

If you’re purchasing the full kit, it will contain the answer key. If you’re purchasing used curriculum, it will only include the answer key if it specifies that it does.

35. Larry Brown says:

I am one of the early Saxon junkies. Retired LCDR USN in 1979. Wound up teaching Math, Chemistry, Physics, and other stuff of marginal value in a small rural HS..

I inherited the Saxon Alg 1-3 series. Used it 1986-2003. Your comment about learning takes place during finding errors should be the center of any program. We, the students and myself, grew tired of making the same, really silly, mistakes time after time. We spent a lot of time analyzing the errors, and came up with 10 fundamental errors to be watchful for. The most important of which we determined were KISS, Keep It Simple Student. I emphasized that this stuff is not intended to break anyone’s back. The other, directly related to Math is WTS, Watch The Sign. 15-30% of errors were traced directly to this. Development of the other 8 or so rules Are left as exercises for the students.

Another point I made with no doubt, was that generally the student would rarely, if ever, use this stuff in real life. Come on completing the square to solve quadratic equations as a police officer, or whatever. What I did pound into their minds was that the thought processes would become fundamental to the rest of their lives. Subsequent encounters with my students has borne this out.

I now intend to become a Saxon consultant for the local homeschool community. We’ll see how that goes.

1. Amy Saunders says:

Hi Larry! I really appreciate your comment! I hope your comment about math, chemistry and physics being of marginal value was tongue -in-cheek, haha! Those subjects are life! I love that you distilled error-making down to the 10 most common. I’m going to use that strategy myself!

I agree with you that some professions may not use quadratic equations, but I’ll argue that there would be very few that don’t in this information age. My children (so far) are all choosing professions that will require daily use of math up through differential equations, and the hubs and I use that math daily in our own occupations as well.

I teach my children that the various coding languages will be as useful and as necessary as English and that not knowing and completely understanding coding (which requires excellent math skills up through Calculus, Discrete Math and DiffEq’s) will be a huge handicap. I show them how we use Differential Equations to BUILD the equations that mimic graphs of real objects and that quadratic equations are just the start. Quadratic equations are like when you learn to find the volume of some easy, rectangular object in 2nd grade. Real life rarely throws you those objects. Instead real life needs to know the volume of mountain ranges and machined 3-D parts and messy things that require integrals. So quadratic equations teach you how to work with the very simplest forms of messy graphs, and won’t be incredibly useful in life, but you need to understand them in order to eventually understand the real, very useful stuff down the road.

I couldn’t agree with you more that learning math teaches you how to think. It does so in such a beautiful and profoundly simple way! But the information age we have progressed into needs our children to take math all the way to the end and really understand and internalize all of the whys and hows. If kids “finish” math with college algebra or even Calculus, they never reach the best and juiciest content.

Policemen will be better policemen for knowing the math and science behind their equipment. My daughter who writes music with a midi controller and makes recordings with a DAW is a better musician for her mathematical understanding of the frequencies of all the sound waves she is combining. So anyway, that’s just my opinion, but that’s why I teach my children the way I do.

I love that you are becoming a Saxon consultant for your local homeschool community! You may want to look into consulting online in order to widen your customer base because it sounds like an excellent and much-needed service. Best of luck to you!

1. Larry Brown says:

In a small HS I got saddled with 10th grade geography, math for a credit, computer applications (typing, and actually a lot of fun), a couple of English classes. I did these so I could concentrate on the important stuff.

I did not try, or claim to make Chemists, or Mathematicians out of teenagers. I did claim my students would be able to be appropriately skeptical of ‘scientific’ claims, and misuse of math. I told the students up front that these classes were not about balancing a checkbook, or measuring boards. I also pointed out that the Algebra classes were the only classes that had provable correct results to questions. We did not work problems, we resolved questions. And I got paid too.

36. Monica Peckinpaugh says:

Hi, I realize this is a very old post but I’m looking for moms who have used Saxon. We have done 1-3 with my son and he is just start 5/4. We have also finished 1 with my daughter and have started 2. My issue is that there is so much over lapping of material moving from one book to the next. Did you feel this way or did you take it as just more practice? I feel like they are asking me to reteach concepts that have been mastered, which is frustrating me to and the kids.

1. Amy Saunders says:

Hi Monica! I think the overlap from textbook to textbook is due to the “summer slide” most public schoolers experience. A review is necessary in that circumstance. The teachers have to cater to the slower students, so the whole class goes through the review. When my children don’t require the review I just have them skip it. We frequently skip the first 20+ lessons in a textbook. It’s pretty easy to see where new concepts are again being introduced. Just do what works best for your own children.

37. Jessica Morgan says:

Thank you so much for your information. I am going to homeschool for the first time. I have a daughter going into 8th grade but is supposed to be taking advanced math so essentially 9th grade math which is algebra. She has to take the New York State Regents which is based off common core. So she is essentially skipping 8th grade math. Do I get her saxon algebra 2 even though she would be skipping algebra 1 to have her be ready for the state test? So confusing!

1. Amy Saunders says:

I’d have her take the placement test linked in the post above. You definitely don’t want her missing skills, and the placement test will show you exactly where she should be. Skipping Algebra 1 entirely would be a huge mistake because it’s the foundation on which the rest of Algebra is built, and it could potentially destroy her confidence. She may understand those concepts well enough to skip them, if that’s the track the school had her on, but the placement test will help you to really know.

38. I just wanted to pop on to tell you that I think you are amazing! And thank you so much for encouraging others with the gift this post is. It is so helpful and inspiring. After reading the wisdom you shared, I knew I was able to do what I started to feel I couldn’t. Thank you.

1. Amy Saunders says:

Thank you for your sweet comment, Ashley! Homeschooling is such a joy — I wish all moms could experience it!

39. Emilie says:

1. Amy Saunders says:

Hi Emilie!

I think the specialists advice was great if you were trying to stick to a schedule. In a public school setting, that would have been the right thing to do. However, the beauty of a homeschool setting is that the kids get to set the pace and learning can ebb and flow according to each child’s specific situation. It sounds to me like you’re homeschooling, so my advice is geared in that direction.

In my opinion, the investigations are one of the most brilliant parts of Saxon curriculum because they give kids the opportunity to delve deep into math concepts and see how they apply to real life. I wouldn’t skip them. I also don’t think “showing” a child how to work what he missed is as effective as having him re-work the problems himself. Sometimes, if a child is frustrated, I’ll work the exact problem all the way through on a sheet of scratch paper and then have my child work it himself (having just seen it worked) because that is faster and less frustrating for them, but still more effective than just watching me work the problem. I also would not skip the last ten problem sets. It seems to me like the last problem sets in each textbook are the most in-depth and enjoyable. Stephen Hake wrote Saxon 8/7 and followed John Saxon’s methodology, which was to introduce concepts simply and then take them deeper and deeper each time those concepts are revisited, so the back of the book is actually a lot more interesting than the front.

As a homeschooler, I tend not to think of our years as having a beginning or end in terms of curriculum, especially since we homeschool year-round. So if we happen to be in the middle of a textbook in May when the other schools are getting out, no biggie. We just keep plugging along. On occasion, I’ll notice that a child has missed a fundamental concept and I don’t hesitate to back them up in the textbook and have them redo a couple of weeks or months worth of work. I don’t want my kids to feel frustrated, so I’ll just explain that our objective is to thoroughly learn all of the concepts and not just adhere to a schedule or plow through textbooks. They get it.

If I were you, I’d ask my son what he wants to do. He’s old enough to know whether he feels confident enough to move on. Algebra 1 spends the first 15+ lessons reviewing the concepts from Saxon 8/7, so your son might do okay just moving on. I don’t usually give tests except as benchmarks, but in your case I’d give him the tests as proscribed (just for a few tests until you’re sure he’s okay) and make sure he’s achieving at least 85% in order to proceed. Include him in the decisions and let him know that he doesn’t need to feel 100% confident on each concept to continue, but rather just feel mostly proficient. Let him help to determine the pace.

It doesn’t matter if it takes more time than you think it should or than anyone says it should– a good, solid foundation is critical. Your son’s confidence is also of supreme importance. In general, kids who hate math lack mathematical confidence and kids who lack confidence hate math. Both of you should have a mindset of collecting skills rather than adhering to deadlines. Since he wants to be a scientist, approach math from the point of view that he is gathering tools that will be used in his future career. Each concept is a new tool. If you were going out to purchase those tools, wouldn’t you rather save up a little longer to purchase the best tool possible?

One last thing, all kids struggle a little academically through puberty. There is so much going on developmentally that academics are forced into the back seat. Boys seem to struggle a little more and for longer. If your son is that age, this phenomenon might be a real issue. My older two sons struggled mightily through this age and then they snap out of it almost like flipping a light switch. My third son is going through it right now. As I sat and talked with my sons, they really wanted to do better than they were doing, and they seemed to really try, but it’s almost like they absolutely can’t make themselves concentrate. Lots of extra hugs and understanding and just plain slowing things down academically can help preserve good relationships and self-esteem.

My second son had two years of straight F’s — no exaggeration. I don’t give grades. He had F’s because I’d enrolled him in fantastic classes because I felt like I was failing him and sought out excellent classes and mentors for him. I stayed up until midnight with him, working alongside him and getting him caught up. I’d let him help choose classes and subjects he was interested in (almost all computers and coding). Nothing seemed to help.

And then at about age 14 he suddenly cared about his education again and had perfect scores and earned an associates degree (with a 3.98 GPA) during high school. He scored near perfect on his ACT and is currently in a prestigious Computer Engineering program on full scholarship. We recently talked about those rough years and he said that all of the classes I’d enrolled him in — the ones he’d failed — had prepared him really well for the career he is pursuing. Despite earning straight F’s, he was learning. Isn’t it interesting?

I hope that helps! Please feel free to ask more questions if you need to.

1. Emilie says:

Thank you Amy for your helpful answer! We are now ready to jump in again this year! But I have a hard time to find Algebra 1 (2nd or 3rd edition), what I find on amazon is 212\$ CND for the kit, is this a normal price? Beside of that, I just find a student book alone or a non-matching answer key… Do you have any hints on where else I could find that?

1. Amy Saunders says:

Woohoo! Getting started is half the battle. I just checked a couple of online used bookstores for you and found exactly what you’re looking for. Abe Books has the textbook for \$9.99 and the corresponding answer key is \$25.99 in USD. I don’t know what shipping will be like for you to Canada.

They had more copies, too, in case those two offers are gone by the time you see this. Abe Books, Thriftbooks.com and Ebay are all great places to check. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, just try again every day until you do. If I need something right away, I’ll usually compare the prices at Christian Book Distributors and Rainbow Resources because they generally have better prices for new textbooks than Amazon.

Good luck! This is exciting!

1. Emilie says:

Hi, Amy! I just received my order for Algebra 1 second edition (thanks for your help to find it!). I am glancing at it and I have few additional questions…
– There are 132 lessons (plus the review lessons A-B-C at the beginning) but I see no “investigations”… Is it because they are just called “lessons” in this edition?
– I don’t see any tests in the student book, nor in the teacher’s edition (which is exactly the same 😂), where should I find them and their answers?
– I have the solution manual with all the answers of the problem sets, but I don’t have the answers to the even-numbered practice (the odd numbered answers appear at the end of the student book) Is there somewhere I can find that?
– With the third edition I had a book of forms and fact practice sheets to go with each lesson. Is there such a thing with the second edition?

I think I miss some parts to make it complete… I have The student book and the solution manual (and the teacher’s edition book, which will be useless!)

Thanks again!

2. Amy Saunders says:

Hi Emilie! The investigations as stand-alone lessons end with Math 8/7. Algebra I problem sets do include deep, thoughtful problems somewhat like the investigations in previous books, but just as part of each problem set. As far as your other questions go, I just grabbed my daughter’s Algebra I set to make sure — I can’t keep everything straight otherwise. She is using the 3rd edition. She has the textbook and also the ‘Homeschool Packet’ which includes ‘Test Forms’ followed by ‘Test Solutions’ followed by ‘Problem Set Answers’, which includes the answers to all of the problems odd and even. I don’t have the Solutions Manual for this level, though I have looked through it before. I’m not sure what you mean by Practice Worksheets — I don’t think I’ve ever seen a supplement like that other than the cardstock flashcards that come with Math 1-3.

40. Lindsay says:

Hi! First off, you are amazing for raising all those children and to homeschool them as well. Awesome job!!

I have a 4.5 year old starting pre-k this Fall. I will not be sending her so I will be teaching at home for the time being. The school uses Saxon math. We did that assessment and she knows the MathK stuff but not the Math 1. Do you think we need K or 1?

You recommend the earlier versions bc they last longer. If I am not homeschooling after this should I get the most recent version ?

Is this the one to buy ?
Saxon Math 1: An Incremental Development Home Study Meeting Book https://www.amazon.com/dp/1565770226/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_aePfFb20Y93H7

Saxon Math 1: An Incremental Development, Part 1 and 2 https://www.amazon.com/dp/0939798816/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_FePfFbEWR0REQ

Any help is greatly appreciated.

1. Amy Saunders says:

That will work great for you! And it’s perfectly fine for you to skip the Math K because Math 1 will also cover it. Have fun! Preschool/Kindergarten is such a great age!

41. Rebeca says:

Hi! Thank you for sharing this info. with us! It’s so helpful. I have a few questions.
How many Saxon editions are there? (I’m not having much luck on google)
Im, thinking of getting the second edition 5/4 for my daughter , I tested her to see where she falls and it was 5/4. But I’m feeling so confused and overwhelmed. How many books do I need for that level? Student workbook, teacher book, and test book? TIA,

1. Rebeca says:

Forgot to mention, my daughter is going into 5th grade

2. Amy Saunders says:

Hi Rebeca,
I’m sorry you’re confused! It is a lot of information to take in. To study Saxon 5/4 , your daughter will just need the textbook. To check her assignments, you will need the answer key. Those need to be the same edition. If you purchase 2nd edition textbook and answer key, that’s all you’d need. They also sell a solutions manual (though not for every level) which includes the solution to the problems rather than just the answer.

There is a 3rd edition (and a 4th edition) geared to homeschoolers, called the Homeschool Kit. The content is about the same, but I really hate that they’re all softbound and printed on super cheap, newsprint-type paper, so they don’t last. I like to use curriculum for multiple children, so those don’t work for my family, but they might be fine for you. I actually did purchase the Saxon 8/7 homeschool kit and it only lasted for one child. The homeschool kit includes 3 books because the tests and students worksheets are in a separate, consumable workbook. We rarely use tests and I prefer a textbook format to a worksheet format for math, so that book was just a waste for my family.

There are also 3rd and 4th editions in the hardbound textbook format. The 3rd edition textbooks aren’t drastically different, but the 4th edition was produced by Houghton Mifflin (John Saxon’s children sold them the rights to the textbooks after his death). The new publishers cater to a public school market, so they have to include all of the common core standards as well as state standards, or not sell any books. So there is a whole ton of additional content and some of the great things about the the original teaching methodology were lost.

As of right now there are 4 editions, but you have homeschool versions as well as public school versions for both the 3rd and 4th editions. I recommend purchasing the hardcover (not homeschool) 2nd or 3rd edition. You can find the 3rd editions new on Rainbow Resource. I usually search for used books on Amazon, just making sure I can get the matching edition of the answer key. Again, if you buy the hardcover text, all you really need are the textbook and the answer key.

Oh, in regards to the teacher book — I never use it. The student textbooks have such fantastic explanations that students are really able to self-teach this curriculum. I have friends who are less math savvy than I am and still agree that they don’t need or use the teacher book. I hope that helps! Feel free to ask more questions if you need to.

1. Rebeca says:

Thanks so much! That’s very helpful!

2. Lindsay says:

Thanks! I have similar questions and this was very helpful. My question is what are the answer key and solutions manual called? I’m finding things on eBay for example that have the textbook, a home study packet, and what is called “test forms”. Are these what you are referring to? Thank you!

1. Amy Saunders says:

The answer key ONLY contains the answers to problems. Solutions manuals contain the solutions as well as the answers. Either can be used, though many parents prefer the solutions manual. The home study kits usually contain all of the components, especially if they are sold as new. You could email me a link if you want me to check something out for you. Amy@orisonorchards.com

1. Amy Saunders says:

I just wanted to add that the thin, paperback book titled Home Study Packet includes the Answer Key as well as the Test Forms if you buy it new. The ‘Test Forms’ is sort of a pull-out booklet on its own so when you buy the resource used it is sometimes gone. I actually don’t use the Test Forms so I don’t care about them being gone, but you might.

42. Mrs. I says:

First of all, thank you so much for all the information in this article and all the responses to the comments. I tried to find the answer to this but unfortunately I couldn’t get through all the comments to find it.
My first question is, do the earlier versions of the teacher books, 5/4 and above, show the work involved in getting to the answer like the new home school versions do?
My second question is, could I use the older versions of the text books and teacher keys with the tests from the newer homeschool versions (just in case I can’t find older version tests/test andwer keys).
Thank you!!

1. Amy Saunders says:

I’m sorry, I don’t know the answer to your first question. I’ve never purchased the teacher books, aside from Math 1-3, which came with our curriculum. I love math and studied it extensively while earning my mechanical engineering degree, so I never needed them. Maybe you can find one on Amazon with the ‘look inside’ feature to see.

The answer to your second question is that the versions should match, because each textbook revision brings changes in the ordering of materials, changes to questions themselves, fixing of errors, addition of material , etc… The newest editions added a lot of common core material. I’m positive there would be frustrating differences between different editions of textbooks and answer keys. Different versions of teacher materials wouldn’t matter as much.

43. Arthi says:

hello,

my son will be starting 5th grade this fall and daughter 3rd grade. we did the Saxon assessment for both the kids. My daughter could easily solve all the questions on the 4th grade with little help on long division problems. and my son was comfortable till 5th grade and had problems with 6th grade assessment.

What grade books do you recommend for both of my children? Which edition and should I be buying the entire home school kit?

1. Amy Saunders says:

I don’t like the homeschool kits because they’re basically the same book, except printed on super cheap paper with a paperback cover. I prefer to purchase used 2nd or 3rd editions. Check Amazon used or thriftbooks or even your local textbook swaps. Just make sure you can find a matching answer key and test booklet. The links in the article above will help you find what you need.

44. Lori Brooks says:

I love Saxon math. I used it in the classroom as a second grade teacher and have always used it In our homeschool with our five children ranging in ages 4-15. We are normally “book finishers,” but last year we tried the Geometry with my oldest daughter (after a year of Algebra 1) and wanted to curl up and cry. This year, Algebra 2 has been smooth sailing, but with all of her other course work we still have many lessons unfinished and summer is knocking on the door. How far did do you get? Did you always complete the textbook?

1. Amy Saunders says:

Isn’t it a great resource? Saxon math is so thorough and logical and sequential. My honest recommendation is to ALWAYS finish the book. I’ve found the ends of the books to contain SO much great material, and I think kids could really suffer for not finishing. I do sometimes let my kiddos skip the review lessons at the beginning of books (most of my kids don’t want to because they think it’s nice to have a couple of weeks of easy lessons), but those lessons just review general concepts from previous textbooks. The material at the ends of the book is where Saxon delved deep and covered the nitty gritty stuff, the really good stuff. At least that’s my opinion. I’ve never used the Geometry book because we use the older editions of Algebra, which cover the Geometry concepts. I have had to supplement the Trig a little, though, during Advanced Mathematics. I’m sorry that Geometry text was so rough for you both! Advanced Mathematics has always been the kicker for my kids, but we just slow WAY down and take a year and a half or two years to complete it. A good, solid understanding is so much better than speeding through important concepts. Happy homeschooling!

45. Mandy says:

I’m sorry, I’m a little slow… For courses 1-3 you only use the consumable workbooks, and that is all? You do not have the Teacher’s Edition and do not teach the Lesson from that? And I don’t know what is meant by “hard cover” and “textbook” in one of the above comments… I was given Math 2 and 3 Home Study Teacher’s Editions (4th printing) which are spiral bound. I also have the Workbooks. I am trying to figure out what I need to buy to start Math 1 for my 6 year old daughter. She has 5 younger brothers (no, that’s not a typo; I have 6 children ages 6 and under) so obviously I’m looking to spend as little time and money as possible on math. She actually can do Math 2 so far, but her brothers will need Math 1 anyway. Could you please specify the exact titles and publishing editions of the books/materials that you use for Saxon Math 1-3? Thanks in advance!

1. Amy Saunders says:

You’re not slow! It’s just a lot to figure out!

Yes, I only used the consumable workbooks for Math 1-3. I initially purchased the whole Math 1 Home Study kit for my oldest daughter, so I do own the spiral bound teacher’s edition, but I don’t like scripted curriculum and I never used it. However, I DO see a lot of value in the daily meetings. I still didn’t use them, though, except on the rare occasion. The things they teach do come up elsewhere in the curriculum, so not using those daily meetings won’t create “holes” in your child’s education. If you like scripted curriculum, the teacher’s edition could be helpful.

If your daughter is doing well in Math 2 (did you have her take a placement test?) and since you already have that Teacher’s Edition, you could try the script and see if you like it and whether you find it necessary. The consumable workbooks are mainly self-explanatory and don’t require a lesson to be taught, in my opinion. Occasionally, my little people would ask me about a concept or a new math symbol or something, and I’d just give them a quick explanation. The math involved is basic arithmetic. I also only had my children complete Side A of the workbook pages. It was plenty of practice for them, and they were eager to move quickly. But that will depend on you and your children, too.

It’s the sort of the thing where you have to just jump in and swim for a bit in order to figure out what works best for your family.

Here’s what you absolutely need to get going:
Saxon Math 1, Student Workbooks, part 1 & 2 (for some reason Amazon won’t let me link to the used versions they have available)
Saxon Math 2, Student Workbooks, part 1 & 2
Saxon Math 3, Student Workbooks, part 1 & 2

I’d purchase the least expensive, used versions you can find. I don’t even bother with the answer key to these grades because I can look them over and make corrections in less time than it takes me to dig out the answer key. Levels 1-3 are the most basic arithmetic. The daily meeting and the lesson have benefit, but aren’t necessary. My kids have all excelled at math long-term despite never using them.

As for hardcover and textbook, those are just different editions of the textbooks for the older grades, and you can cross that bridge when you come to it. For now, I’d just get started with what you already have, plus purchase Math 1 Student Workbooks, part 1 & part 2 as inexpensively as possible.

Here’s another money saving tip. All of the workbooks are bound across the top of the page, so you can use sheet protectors (just slide them up over the page) to turn the worksheets into write-on wipe-off so you can use the consumable workbooks for multiple kids. It makes things a little more difficult for you and for your child (markers are harder to write with) but I did it with my two oldest. Then I let my third child write in the books on Side A, and my fourth child used side B. So I stretched each of those workbooks over 4 children. By then money wasn’t so tight and I thereafter bought my children new consumables each time.

If it’s still as clear as mud, please feel free to ask as many more questions as you need! I remember the beginning of my homeschooling journey like it was yesterday! I have a big family, too, and I remember agonizing over figuring out the absolute minimum we needed in order to spend the least possible. I understand and empathize! It’s worth it, though!

1. Jennifer Kumpe says:

This is a life saver! I was just going to ask about the daily meetings! I have 4 kiddos- 3rd grade, 1st grade, 3, and almost 1 year old. The daily meetings are overwhelming to do everyday! This is my first year homeschooling and I intend to continue homeschooling and feel so wasteful not reusing the workbooks since I have more kiddos that will need it! I am going to use the meeting strips as a daily check-in/attendance tracker and not stress about it completely. Thank you for this awesome resource!

1. Amy Saunders says:

2. Anna Lee Wisehart Mutter says:

Hi, Amy! I appreciate all you’ve gone over in your post above and the questions you’ve answered. I’m sorry —I feel like you’ve probably answered my question somehow, but I’m about to order for my 1st grader the hardcover Saxon Math Course 2 published in 2006 and the “Adaptations for Saxon Math” Student Workbook 2006. They both have binoculars on the covers. For my Kindergartener, I’ve got in my cart the Saxon Math Course 1 published in 2007 and the accompanying workbook published in 2006 (I can’t find a 2007 workbook). Both have a soccer ball on the cover. Are those within your recommended editions? The blurbs only say when they were published not what edition they are.

Thank you for your helpful website. Your blog posts gave me timely, God-sent confidence that I’ve got this, and that I can give my three elementary children a thorough education while keeping it simple.
—Anna Lee

1. Amy Saunders says:

The textbooks with the photos on the front are the newer, 4th editions with all of the additional common core material. They aren’t bad per se, they just lose sight of the beautiful simplicity with which John Saxon created the original textbooks. The additional material just kind of gums things up. I emailed you some links to used, older editions of the books you’re looking for.

46. Jessica Farmer says:

I switched to Saxon this year from horizons and my son tested squarely into 7/6. It seems too easy though. We’ve made it to lesson 18 but looking ahead, I don’t feel he will come up to anything new for a while. I was thinking of having him just do the tests and the investigations until he needs help. Is this a good strategy?

Also, I’ve been reading that 8/7 was added later and is mostly the same as algebra 1/2. It was my plan to not do 8/7. What are your thoughts on these two?

1. Amy Saunders says:

Yes, I think that’s a great strategy, Jessica. I’ve had my kids do the same before. I figure if they score 85% or better (to allow for insignificant arithmetic error) they are competent at the material and don’t need further review.

Both Math 8/7 and Algebra 1/2 are pre-algebra courses and will prepare your son for Algebra 1. Math 8/7 starts out a little slower and includes a deeper study of essential arithmetic skills like ratios, reducing fractions, and converting fractions to decimals or percents, while Algebra 1/2 sticks more to Algebra topics. I prefer Saxon 8/7 (actually written by Stephen Hake, I think) to Algebra 1/2, but that may be because my kiddos are usually ready for it at about age 10 or 11, which is young, and because I believe in math drill so that necessary math facts are on automatic recall. It makes advanced math concepts so much easier down the road.

Your son would probably be happy in either book. If he’s younger or needs a little more arithmetic review, I’d go with Saxon 8/7. If he’s older and ready to move more quickly and be challenged, I’d go with Algebra 1/2. Keep in mind that the first 20 or so lessons will be a review of the previous book, so you may have to stick with your tests/investigations only strategy to find the right place to start in either of those books, too. If my children have successfully (85% or better) completed the previous book, I generally have them skip all of the review lessons.

47. Jasmine says:

This is our first year using Saxon math. My 9 year old took the placement test and placed into 7/6 so we went from her 3rd grade book (not Saxon) last year to 7/6. I really like the spiral review. Last year there were times my daughter woulda be given a problem she had learned early in the year and outright tell me “I learned that a long time ago, but I don’t remember how to do it now”. That was the biggest attraction to Saxon, the repetition throughout the book so she doesn’t have time to forget previously learned concepts.

1. Amy Saunders says:

That is one of my favorite things about Saxon, too. I love that the spiral also get sequentially more difficult — it really helps to build understanding. I’m impressed that your daughter went successfully from her 3rd grade book into Saxon 7/6! Saxon 7/6 is typically used for 6th graders. Hats off to you!

48. Martha says:

We switched to Saxon this year for my daughter. She took the placement test and ended up in the 6/5, just barely being placed in 7/6 by one question. Now that we have started, it seems too easy for her. I am thinking of just having her take the tests until she misses a problem and then continuing the lessons at that point. I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

1. Amy Saunders says:

I think that’s a great idea. I think I’d allow her to miss more than 1 problem, though, as you have her going through and taking the tests. It’s way too easy to miss a problem due to a misplaced negative or other simple error. I’d make sure she shows all of her work and you’ll know when she’s missing concepts repeatedly as opposed to just simple arithmetic errors. And I’d also probably allow her to start near the middle of the textbooks, so she doesn’t get too sick and tired of tests over the next couple of weeks. It sounds like you know exactly what you’re doing — good job!

49. Cristina says:

So I started home school this year kínder and 3rd grade my 3rd header is coming off of public school my young one is a fresh homeschooler

So I settled on Saxon math because I can get the work sheets in Spanish since we homeschool bilingually and my son was doing math and reading in Spanish in his schools Spanish immersion program
Any who that’s why we are doing Saxon I have the homeschool editions for k and 3rd
Do for next year 4th and 1st should I go w a used older edition ? I ordered it threw the publishing company and it’s the newest edition im very confused on these editions

Can you tell me for 1st and 4th grade what editions to get abs what other consumables I need ?
Thanks

1. Amy Saunders says:

I love that you homeschool bilingually! I wanted to do that, but my Spanish is so poor it was like the blind leading the blind, lol. So we all work on our Spanish as a separate subject — but I’m still holding out hope that we can homeschool completely in Spanish someday soon!

We’ve used the homeschool editions when that was all that was available. I have nothing against them except that they are SO cheaply made. They just fall apart! With eight kids I appreciate sturdy, hardbound books that I can reuse from one child to the next.

In my opinion, John Saxon was a brilliant educator. He taught math incredibly simply and efficiently. After his death his children sold his company to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, who subsequently changed his books for the worse. I feel like newer editions of Math 8/7, Algebra and up have been changed the most drastically. The elementary books have been less affected, in my opinion. Still, though, I always search for older, used editions, on Amazon or Thriftbooks. Just make sure you can find the matching answer key. It might be difficult to find them in Spanish, though.

In 1st grade, I generally use Math 2 or Math 3 (I always skip K so my kiddos start in Math 1 during kindergarten) which is consumable. In addition, I use lots of manipulatives to thoroughly explain concepts like place value, time and money. The meeting book that comes with your kit will prompt you when to use which manipulatives. This Saxon manipulative set contains everything you’ll need, and costs less than if you were to purchase all of the components separately.

Other than that, all you need are pencils and paper. Good luck! I wish you a fabulous year! Don’t hesitate to email me if you have more questions. 🙂

50. Allison says:

Hi! I have a daughter going into Algebra this year. How do I know which edition to purchase? I want her to get the most out of the year. She has friends who are using either the 3rd or 4th editions, but she’s uncertain of their differences. Thanks!

1. Amy Saunders says:

If you can find one, I prefer the 2nd edition. It was actually written by John Saxon, who had a gift for teaching math concepts simply and efficiently. The newer editions were written and published by Houghton Mifflin, and they’ve completely obscured the simplicity in the original Saxon books by adding in all of the mandatory common core material. Just make sure you can find an answer book to match whichever edition you purchase.

51. Irene L. says:

When you say the first 20-30 problem sets are review and you skip those, do you mean you skip the lessons or just the problem sets in lesson 1-30?

1. Amy Saunders says:

We skip the entire lesson, including the problem sets. I just skip them when my children demonstrate a thorough understanding of the previous book, because I don’t want to waste time reviewing material they already understand.

52. Lindsey says:

Hi there! Goodness I’m so grateful to have found your site! I’m embarking into the world of homeschooling after awful public school experiences. The ones I’ll be HS’ing the coming year will be in 9th, 7th, 5th & 3rd. I’m confident that I can’t do much worse than they’re getting now, haha, and as I’m researching materials for our very modestly-incomed home, I’ve settled on Saxon math. My hang-up is with my 9th grader son, who currently has something like a 19% in math. Ugh. He’s got (recently managed) OCD & ADD which has made him struggle with the classes he hates this year… obviously, right? My girl who will be in 7th is doing great but certainly not proficient in math- and my question lies with wondering, what math should he start? Should the two of them both do the 8/7, or is that too wonky? I loved your explanation of 8/7 versus Alg. 1/2. May I ask if you think I’d be better to get both 8/7 & 1/2, since they’re 2 school years apart (& hopefully something has been retained by him, even if he has bombed it, perhaps he’ll learn faster?) or just get 8/7 to start them both and have them go at different paces… or 1/2… or get him right to Alg 1 & backtrack if needed? My brain might explode. Honestly I’m just verrrry grateful for your thoughts, having gone through this with many kiddos!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

1. Amy Saunders says:

If they haven’t yet taken placement tests, I’d start there. The placement tests are very accurate.

If your 9th grader and 7th grader don’t mind, I might have them work out of the same textbook, just to make your job easier and so you don’t have to purchase both textbooks. Both books are well written, with the same content, but my kiddos have preferred 8/7 over Algebra 1/2, so I always use that. For us it might be because they come from having just completed Math 7/6, so it’s a more natural continuation.

I’d check Amazon, Ebay and your local HS groups to see which of them (Alg 1/2 or Math 8/7) you can find for a better deal, and make sure you can also find the solutions manual to match the edition you’re purchasing. Brand new Saxon textbooks can run upwards of \$100. I’d try to find a 2nd edition or older textbook.

If your 9th grader will balk at using the same textbook as his younger sister, then definitely start him off in Algebra 1/2 and her in Math 8/7 to preserve his dignity. Another consideration is whether they can manage to share a textbook. Two of my daughters ended up in the same textbook for only about two months, and we had daily fights and tears. That’s just not worth it.

Long story short, use placement tests for both of them to determine readiness. If they truly are both at the same level, consider your family dynamics as you determine whether to buy two texts or one, and which books to purchase. Honestly, both texts are fantastic and will give equal results — a student prepared for Algebra 1.

Good luck to you! You’re embarking on such a wonderful journey! I’d love for you to keep in touch! 🙂

1. Lindsey says:

Sorry I missed your reply, thank you so very much!! Wow, you really hit home when you said “preserve his dignity”. I hadn’t thought of it that way. I’m blessed with kids who get along ridiculously well (maybe they’re making up for my own siblings? haha) , so I was only factoring in that they don’t argue when considering them sharing. Dignity though… goodness, my perspective just flipped for the better. Certainly an answer to prayer! I will have them both take placement tests as you suggested. Thank you!!

53. Jana says:

For high school math, do you find it necessary to do the weekly tests? We do all the problems in the problem set. Can we skip tests to speed up the process?

1. Amy Saunders says:

I ignore the weekly tests. Since I correct my children’s work daily, or almost daily, I always know right away when they’ve missed a concept, and I help them to correct their work, so they never move on until they’ve mastered the daily material.

I do sometimes give my kiddos an end-of-book cumulative test before they move on to the next textbook, starting with Algebra. I just want to be sure they understand everything well enough to move on. I feel like 85% correct or better demonstrates good understanding, because you have to allow for simple errors. But I’ve even been known to skip that one, depending on how closely I’ve been working with my child.

Occasionally, I’ll be busy or gone, so I’ll have them correct each other’s work. If I did that very often and was unaware of what was happening daily, I would probably test them so as to make sure they hadn’t missed any critical concepts. It’s totally up to you — you’ll know whether your child thoroughly understands the work or not, and feel free to skip any tests you don’t need. Think of tests as a tool for you, the teacher, to gauge understanding. They aren’t in your child’s best interest, so if you don’t need to use the tool then go right ahead and ignore it. Good luck!

1. Jana says:

Thank you so much! Your advice/insight with Saxon is excellent. I appreciate you taking the time to pass it on!

2. Linda Copeland says:

Is it true that after the first and second editions that Saxon math goes into the Common Core way of teaching math?

1. Amy Saunders says:

I’ve read that the 4th editions of Algebra 1 & 2 are Common Core aligned, though I haven’t used them myself. I still use the older editions I picked up years ago, and when I need to replace a textbook, I look for used, older editions.

In my opinion, the 4th editions of Algebra 1 & 2 are not even John Saxon’s work, because those books were completely rewritten (and destroyed) by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt when Saxon’s children sold them Saxon’s company in 2004. There is a huge difference between those texts, and Saxon’s original textbooks are much better. They are simpler and easier to understand, and more concise and enjoyable.

It’s my understanding that the grades K-8 texts are still owned by the original authors, Nancy Larson and Stephen Hake, and that they’ve maintained control over the content and will not allow them to be changed. In order to be able to claim that Saxon is ‘Common Core aligned’ the publishers have printed a supplemental pamphlet to accompany the textbooks. But parents can just throw that away.

I’ve also read that Advanced Mathematics and Calculus have NOT been aligned to Common Core, and won’t be, because Common Core standards only exist up through Algebra 2.

Isn’t it sad that Common Core proponents believe that math education should stop at Algebra 2? I find that very telling.

54. Annette says:

This was SO helpful! Love all the information and the encouragement to have kids move ahead more quickly if they are gifted at math.

1. Amy Saunders says:

55. Janet Schweizerhof says:

my kids are now 37 and 29, and I used Saxon almost exactly the way you use it. It worked for us. One is a neuroscientist and the other a chemical engineer. I also used it successfully with other familys’ kids for remedial work with great success

1. Amy Saunders says:

I’ve heard that Saxon works wonders to remediate math issues, though I’ve never tried it myself. It’s interesting that children who learn math with Saxon tend to be very comfortable with numbers and drawn to mathematical fields! My kiddos seem headed that direction.

56. Ashley says:

Thank you so much! That helps A LOT 😀 If I have any more questions I will as them. Thanks again!

1. Amy Saunders says:

57. Ashley says:

I am trying to get things ready to start homeschooling my 5 kids. My kids are in 3rd, 2nd, k, and preschool. If I purchased the Saxon math, do I need to get the whole set with 4 books for each grade or should I just buy the workbooks? What would you recamend?

1. Amy Saunders says:

Hi Ashley! Welcome to homeschooling! I bet you’ll LOVE it! It sounds like you have your hands full!

I would skip Saxon K altogether. The material is the same as in Saxon 1, just slower. I’ve started all of my kiddos in Saxon 1.

I JUST purchase the consumable workbooks for Saxon 1, 2 and 3, because they’re easy for me to correct assignments at a glance. They only go up to multiplication/division and easy concepts like Venn Diagrams. But you’ll want the answer books for Saxon 54 and up, to make your job easier. I never use the test booklets, because I don’t test my kiddos. But that’s up to you.

The Saxon 1-3 program also includes a meeting book and cardstock flash cards to practice math facts. It’s up to you whether you want to use them or not. I purchased them initially, used them for a bit, and then quit. The meetings felt a little redundant to me, which was why we quit. They do go over useful concepts, though! Things like calendars, telling time, mental math, making graphs with classroom information, such as graphing favorite ice cream flavors. Things like that. The meetings only take about 15 minutes a day, and they are definitely helpful. I guess I’m just lazy! But my kiddos still end up WAY ahead in math, so I don’t think it’s too detrimental to skip them.

It sounds like you’d benefit from keeping things simple.

I hope that makes sense! Basically, I ONLY use the consumable workbooks for Saxon 1-3, and I use the textbooks and answer books for Saxon 54 – Calculus. I feel like it’s the easiest and cheapest way. I buy them used on Amazon, but it’s important to make sure your editions match across each level so the answer keys will be accurate.

If it doesn’t make sense to you, or if you’d like more help, feel free to ask more questions! 🙂 I love them!

1. Danielle says:

Hello. I’m in the same new to homeschool and ages of kids as the original poster. I’m looking on amazon and only seem to be finding the homeschool editions and another called Loose Leaf. When you say textbook is it a classic hardbound text book? My goal is reusable for all kids and affordable. I do THINK we will do some testing from the test book. Your post was incredibly helpful. Buying suggestions are appreciated, I know your tune is precious. Thank you.

1. Amy Saunders says:

Yes, when I say textbook, I mean a classic, hardbound textbook that can be reused year after year. Amazon is kind of hit and miss. Sometimes they have what you want and sometimes they don’t. I’d keep checking, though, because their offerings change daily. You could check Ebay, too.
Facebook also has classified ads (Facebook Marketplace) and you probably have a local homeschool group with used curriculum offerings. The reason I suggest purchasing used books is just that they’re a whole lot cheaper. Just make sure you can find the test and answer booklets that correlated to the edition you are using.

The homeschool editions are pretty much the same content, they’re just flimsier. They’re softbound and printed on thinner pages. I originally purchased the homeschool version of Math 65 and it was falling apart after one child used it, so I had to purchase a new Math 64 (a hardbound version) for my subsequent children. The homeschool versions work fine, though, if you don’t need it to last through several children.

I’ve also purchased some of our textbook sets from Rainbow Resources online. They cost around \$100 new, but when I figure that my 8 children can use it, and then I can resell it, they’re still a good value.

Good luck, Danielle!

58. Northernmama says:

Help!! I just started Saxon math 2 with my second grader. In the front of the lesson book it says lessons are for four days and day five is for practice. So I don’t teach a lesson day 5?? Or is that built onto the book?

1. Amy Saunders says:

I had to grab my daughter’s Saxon Math 2 book and re-read that part, because I had forgotten it. I’ve become so rebellious (ha, ha!) over the last 16 years of homeschooling that I pretty much just do whatever I want and neglect to even read instructions anymore.

The way I understand it, your 2nd grader should complete math daily, M-F. Each day you would complete the meeting together, then your child would complete the front of the worksheet. Later that day (for reinforcement) your child would complete the back of the worksheet. Each 5th day your child would complete a written assessment and each 10th day your child would complete an oral assessment. Does that make sense?

Now that is Saxon’s recommendation, but we always skipped the backs of the worksheets because none of my eight children ever needed the extra practice. We also created our own school schedule. We typically skip schoolwork on Fridays in favor of field trips with our co-op. We also take lots of time off to travel. But my kids completed two worksheets a day (for Saxon Math 1-3) because they were pretty quick and easy to complete.

That has worked great for us, and my children move through the sequence of books much more quickly than recommended, but it gives them more time to spend on advanced concepts in grades 8-12 or so.

The beauty of homeschooling is that you can do whatever works best for you and your little one. You’ll know when you assign too much or not enough, and you can adjust it. Your child doesn’t need to complete the entire worksheet, front and back, if you can see that he understands the concept. Or you can find apps or games to drill math facts when the Saxon pages with 100 tiny problems (if you haven’t encountered those yet, just wait) make your little one cry. Saxon is a great program, but make it work FOR you, however that looks for your family.

59. Sarah says:

I haven’t used Saxon before, but the placement test shows that my daughter (entering 5th grade) is ready to begin level 7/6. Is this too much of a jump from 4th grade math? Should I just have her do 6/5? I’m worried about starting 7/6, but I don’t want her to be bored with 6/5.

1. Amy Saunders says:

The first 20-25 problem sets in Saxon 7/6 are a review of 6/5, so if I were you I would feel completely confident starting her in 7/6. You’ll have those review sets to determine whether she’s able to continue. Saxon also uses a spiral method, where they introduce new material, then continue to teach that material for a good long while, in progressively greater depth, so she will most definitely cover any previously missed concepts as she works through 7/6. I’d be more concerned about her being bored and growing to dislike math, so I would definitely start her in 7/6 if she were my child — but you know her best. 🙂 The beauty of homeschooling is that you can give 7/6 a try and then back up if you need to later on. Or you could give 6/5 a try and then bump her forward where needed. Yay for homeschooling!

1. Sarah says:

Thank you! I am going to go ahead and start her on 7/6.
She is a very quick learner, so I think she will do fine.

60. This is extremely informative! I don’t honeschool myself but am interested in the process and how other moms do it. Thanks for sharing!

61. I was taught Saxon math in school and always enjoyed the curriculum. This is a helpful post for home school moms trying to make curriculum decisions! Pinning!

62. Melissa says:

This is very helpful. Have your kids used Saxon calculus to pass the AP test?

1. Amy Saunders says:

Yes! My oldest two used it and my 3rd is currently using it. We did supplement, though, after looking through the AP College Board syllabus and realizing that Saxon was a little light on certain topics. Also, I didn’t feel my kids understood Trig well enough after completing Saxon’s Advanced Mathematics, so we supplemented there before beginning AP Calculus. Overall, it’s a very good textbook.

Hey there,
Do you mind sharing what you supplemented with for the Trig and AP Calculus?

1. Amy Saunders says:

No problem!

Saxon Advanced Mathematics teaches trig (the unit circle, trig identities and such) but kind of quick. They just cover a whole lot of ground so quickly that my kids seem to need supplementation to really internalize the concepts. So when the unit circle is introduced, I have my kids draw it every day until they have all of the components (angles, radian measures, sine/cosine measures that correspond to each, etc…) completely memorized.

I do the same when the reference triangles are introduced, and then as each trig identity is introduced. I want my kids to be as familiar with those things as they are with multiplication tables, so they have all the right tools as they go into Calculus.

I also have my kiddos take periodic tests throughout Advanced Mathematics (we skip tests up until then because I can tell whether my kids understand concepts or not just as we check daily assignments together) and then we thoroughly review any concept they’ve missed.

I don’t use a particular curriculum to supplement, I just use more of anything that needs more work.

Saxon Calculus teaches things in a different order than is suggested on AP College Board, and misses a few things. They also use a different jargon. So I’ve found it necessary to supplement Saxon Calculus with a textbook that specifically correlates with the syllabus laid out by AP College Board for AP Calculus.

I really liked the Calculus-Early Transcendentals textbook by James Stewart. It’s laid out exactly like the AP College Board material and uses the same jargon.

So far my children have completed Saxon Advanced Mathematics in about 8th grade. I have them self-study Saxon Calculus in about 9th grade, and then work through the James Stewart Calculus text in about 10th grade. So they each get two years of Calculus, from two different textbooks, before taking the AP test at the end of 10th grade.

It has been very helpful, I feel, for them to get Calculus twice!

One of my children was really struggling with our self-study format, so I signed him up for a Derek Owens online Calculus class, which really helped.

The next two years of high school, your kids can take Calc II and Calc III at a local university, if you want. It gives them quite a head start on college. And having covered all of that material prior to taking college entrance tests really boosts their scores, too.

Math is my favorite subject to teach! Isn’t it fun? Good luck, Mady!