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Saxon math

Grades: 1-12       Saxon publishers

Saxon math is one of the most popular among homeschoolers. It uses "incremental approach": This means concepts are divided into smaller, more easily grasped pieces called increments.  A new increment is presented each day and students work only a few problems involving the new material.  The remaining homework consists of practice problems involving concepts previously introduced.  Thus, every assignment (and every test) is a cumulative review of all material covered up to that point.

This "incremental approach" also makes it that for example geometry concepts and facts are scattered throughout the entire school year.  This might hinder the development of a unified view of a specific area and force students to merely memorize the different rules without tying them together.

Word problems are emphasized. Spending most of the homework on review problems might be good for some children, boring to others. I have written my personal opinion on Saxon math here.

Grades 1-3: student workbook set $32.20/year, teachers manual $69.70 - $72.10/year, home study kit $113 - $116.50/year.
Saxon 5/4, 6/5, 7/6, 8/7: home study kits $93.10-$103.60/year.
Algebra 1/2, 1, 2, advanced math home study kit: $115.95 - $128 each, calculus $135.80.

Are you tired of the short spiral of Saxon math?
Try Math Mammoth!

  • Stays on one topic longer and delves into the concepts deeper, instead of changing topics every lesson.
  • Mastery-oriented with some spiral review
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  • Requires very little teacher preparation time—self-teaching for many kids
  • Both downloads and printed copies available

Click here to write a review


Reviews of Saxon Math curriculum

Time: 4 years

The books for 1-3 are very similar, but then 4th grade changes greatly. In 4th grade the lessons are very short and then there are about 4-6 problems pertaining to the lesson. After that there are 28-30 problems that review the entire year. Just about everyday is a new lesson so your child is not "submerged" into the topic. My child loved math until this year. And I don't think her retention of the topics is very well. I know Saxon works for a lot of people, but it didn't for us. It also isn't strong on problem solving. I did like the mental math they taught, however, everyday your child will be exposed to it. The final deciding factor for change is that my daughter may work on math for approx. 1 1/2 hours. Very frustrating to my child.

I hope this helps someone. I am not trying to be a Saxon basher, but it just didn't work for us.

JanetTime: 8 months

Overall, both the student and I liked using this textbook. It wasn't difficult and the explanations were reasonable.
We did object to the amount of review of fundamental math skills. While I understand the need to "go back to the basics" in any math program, there seemed to be a ridiculous amount.
It would, however, would be useful if the use of newly-introduced concept was repeated a few MORE times in that particular lesson. Sometimes it was surprising to see the lack of enforcement of a new concept or formula, particularly in the latter part of the book where it was more necessary.
One thing we both liked is that it is easy to go back and find where previously taught material is found. Anytime the student had difficulties with a certain problem or didn't know a formula, he simply noted the number on the side of th... [review incomplete]

Heidi B.
Time: 6 years

Your situation: I'm a 7-8 Mathematics teacher at a private school.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: It is very thorough. Since bringing the program to our school 7 years ago our students have advanced tremendously in their math skills. The course is very easy to understand for the students. I do supplement it at times, when I assess that the students need extra practice on a particular lesson. I am quite confused that some of the comments mention lack of challenging problems. More than half of each written practice/HW use word problems that incorporate the need for the command of many skills to be able to solve them. Have been a business manager for many years before moving to teaching I see many practical problems incorporated into the curriculum. You do have strictly follow the program for it to work. For some students it can be tedious but I have seen 99% of our students improve their basic skills so that when they get to high school they excel in their math. We do not use Saxon for Algebra 1 but the students are especially ready and are easily able to meet the rigors of the course.


Review left February 20, 2015
Time: three years

Your situation: Needed books for my high schooler and found that many other parents used Saxon Publishing.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: They were not thorough at all! My child could barely understand any of the lessons, let alone find enough practice for each particular lesson. They do not explain their concepts well, and expect the students to know particular "assumptions". They do not tell you how they want you to show your answer, so every time my child would do a problem, it would be a train wreck! She has never had a problem with math until we purchased this book. I do not recommend getting it for new home school members.

Alyssa Smith

Review left January 13, 2015
Time: about 3-4 years total

Your situation: Having lived in California, and keeping up with the news, I got a good look from Ground Zero of the school experimentation movement, and did not like it. Thankfully I didn't have kids at the time. By the time I was married and had a kid, we were in Texas - better, but education is still run by the same type of people that run California, so I vowed to never enroll him in public school, and never did. I taught him to read at age 3.5 (phonics only, of course), and then moved to math. For the first few years, I had no success finding a math curriculum of the type that I wanted for him (something with no bells and whistles, just math), so I just gave him worksheets, which he hated. Thankfully I stumbled on to Saxon when he was age 6.5 and immediately got him started with Math 54. From there, we we worked through all of the books, up to Advanced Math, which is pre-Calc (we didn't do Saxon Calculus). He did every problem, in every book, with one exception, which was when the early chapters were simply repeats of the prior book (i.e., to account for summer breaks). He didn't have any extended breaks and worked hard. He got through 5 years of Saxon books in 12 months and the next 2 years in another 12 months (after the first year, there was no reason to keep up that pace).

For Calculus he enrolled in a local Junior College and did fine (he was age 11 at the time), and then got a couple of 4-year degrees of University of Houston, followed by a Master's in Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M. Needless to say, I have nothing but good words to say about Saxon.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: Obviously I was happy with it. At one point, about halfway through, I was in a book store and checked it against Texas State Standards - it fit perfect, I couldn't believe it - every concept in that standards book was covered by Saxon.

Any other helpful hints: DO EVERY PROBLEM (possibly with my one exception noted above) - Saxon says so, and if you skip, your kid will pay, and you'll wind up whining about Saxon being no good. Every problem serves a purpose...don't think you're smarter than John Saxon

Use the old, hardcover, books - that's what David used and I cannot vouch for the newer books (they were since bought out by a "mainstream" textbook publisher...so the content is likely changing, and not for the better).

Bob Levy

Review left December 25, 2014
Time: 16 years

I homeschooled 4 children using Saxon Math from 4th grade through high school. I used a different curriculum for Geometry only.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I loved Saxon Math because my children were able to master concepts and review what they had learned. I saw it as a great "brain workout" every day, and they were able to teach themselves, freeing me up to focus on other subjects.

All my kids hated Math when they were young, but liked it better when they got to the upper levels of Saxon. When my oldest son was a Senior in High School, he trasitioned to a local college to take Calculus. He was top of the class. Then he went to Baylor University where he is a math/physics double major. He has recently been accepted to some of the top universities in the country to get his Ph.D. in Physics (they have all offered to pay him to attend). Saxon was a great foundation to build on, and it has allowed all of my children to be successful in math. Thank you, Mr. Saxon, for this excellent curriculum.

Any other helpful hints: When we got to high school, I had my kids complete even numbered problems on even lessons, and odd numbered problems on odd lessons. This way they could finish a lesson in a reasonable amount of time and still benefit from the review.


Review left March 17, 2013
Time: 3+ years

Your situation: My older son started with Abeka, K-4. He skipped first and fifth grades and switched to a different school with Saxon for sixth grade. This school placed students in whatever Saxon book they tested into, regardless of grade. He used book 6/7 in sixth grade at age 10, and then Algebra one and two the following two years. He took Geometry and pre-Calculus in public school, but the bulk of his advanced math knowledge is from Saxon. His math score on the "Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE)" used by the best private and prep schools nationwide jumped dramatically in less than one year when he switched from Abeka to Saxon.

My younger son also worked with Abeka through fifth grade. I've just begun homeshooling him. We're using Saxon 5/6 as a review (85% is review and about 15% wasn't well covered in Abeka or he didn't thoroughly grasp the concept) and have finished half the book in 3 weeks. We'll then transition to 6/7, about half of which I expect to be review.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: Saxon's gradual and incremental instruction is logical, rational, and easy to understand. Simple concepts are introduced and built on for later use. Basic math rules are introduced early, and then easily applied later for early Algebra. While I was no math major and took my Algebra and Geometry many years ago, I can easily understand the books' lessons and explain them to my children. I like that there are no distracting boxes, blocks, photos, or loud graphics. There are ample problems for those who need lots of practice. We do some orally and others written; if he needs more practice it's easy enough to add more work, and similar problems appear in subsequent lessons. I read an earlier review complaining that a lesson shows shading in of certain fractional segments, yet the problem asks what portion is NOT shaded. This is precisely what I like - as I've told my son, the problems are not difficult, but he must THINK a little before answering. I want him to see such a thing and realize "I can do this!" The whole concept of taking a word problem and turning it into an equation has gotten rid of his dread of word problems - he doesn't have to show ten steps (a la Abeka) when he can solve many in his head. The explanation of the Distributive property (which took my younger one a bit to grasp) is excellent preparation for Algebra, but has also been extraordinarily useful in discussing mental math - the things we all do to figure some things out in our heads.

Any other helpful hints: If you can read and follow a step-by-step approach, I fail to see how Saxon math could not prove easily understandable. It's clear, concise, and precise. The Christian school from which I recently pulled my younger child just switched to a public math textbook; the very first review lesson was visually chaotic and vague (instructed student to "round numbers" when there were 3-5 digits - yet didn't specify whether to round to nearest ten, hundred, etc.). His classmates are just learning about "variables" and other concepts; I merely explained that variable is a fancy name for an unknown number represented in a problem by a letter, and he understands what we're doing. Too many assume math concepts are difficult because of specialized language; I present it as a puzzle to be solved and math as different methods, shortcuts, or means to solving a question. Too many automatically assume "trained" teachers or "professionals" are better at choosing a curriculum or teaching math. I guarantee I have a better grasp of the subject than the recent ed school graduates with a "general" degree (i.e. lots of "how to teach" classes and little general knowledge). The more academically demanding Christian schools in the area all use Saxon math - and have for years.

Sheila Coyne

Review left September 6, 2012
Time: four years

Graduated a public high school that used Saxon math. Twenty years later, helping my son with his Saxon math homework. As an adult, I had the opportunity to actually learn mathematics, not regurgitate rote memorization and repetition. I currently work in a "job shop", a machine shop that specializes in one-off work. I use math from algebra to geometry to trigonometry every day with much less hassle than Saxon induces.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: The material is presented in a disjointed and abstract manner. There is no correlation between the lesson of the day and practical applicaction.

Any other helpful hints: Based on my horrible experience in high school and the problems my son has until things are actually explained to him, I'd opt to not use it.


Review left August 30, 2012
Time: 6yrs

Your situation: I currently homeschool my 11yr old son. He just finished up in Saxon Math 7/6 and has used it since the 3rd grade.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: I use his Stanford test results to tell how he is doing in each subject along with my knowledge of seeing him work each day. His overall Mathematics score is that of a 10th grade level according to the Stanford. I owe this all to the Saxon Math product combined with the DIVE CD. He uses them faithfully, 1 lesson each day, doing all of the problems, doing timed tests, we only use the Supplemental lessons when I feel he is having trouble learning a certain concept. He currently does ALL of his math on his own. He will ask me for help only when he does not understand something & only after looking back to review. I love the way it is set up & also I love that it teaches my son to look back in previous lessons to help with something you don't understand or are having trouble learning. Even though my son says he hates math (it is his longest subject) he does a great job on his daily assignments as well as tests.

I did use the same Saxon Math w/o the DIVE CD for an older son in middle school & at the time the DIVE CD was not available & he absolutely hated it & did not do well at all so after 2yrs of trying Saxon & struggling I switched him to a different math program.

Any other helpful hints: I think that each student is an individual & this is why we homeschool, to be able to pick & choose what is a great fit for our child. Just because Saxon is a great fit for one of my sons does not make it a great fit for everyone.

Kim G

Review left June 8, 2012
Time: 5 years

Your situation: I homeschooled my children starting in 6th grade for my son and 3rd grade for my daughter. Both my husband and I are smart but not good students. I personally did not truly learn Algebra until I taught it to my son.
I used Saxon 76 math to ensure his mastery of basics before moving on to Algebra. It was very effective. My son and my daughter have very different styles and it worked well for both the "big concept" learner and "methodical" learner.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: I whole heartedly recommend this program. I can understand the dislike of the repetitive nature of the program, but I have witnessed a side benefit that many who dislike this program are overlooking. When concepts are repeated to the level of mastery provided by a Saxon curriculum, students frequently begin to see patterns in math on their own and are able to make huge cognitive leaps. The deep almost instinctual understanding of math facilitates the acquisition of advanced and difficult concepts.
Saxon math curriculum created a level of independence in my children I considered very positive. My children eventually taught themselves on their own with me facilitating, explaining and guiding only where needed. The logical progression of the curriculum played a big part.

Any other helpful hints: 1. If you are not starting at the very beginning, pick a grade appropriate level, make a couple of copies of the test booklet or buy extra. Use the test booklet to determine where your child has strengths and weaknesses.
2. Start where you see less than 85% success. Work the concepts they are weak in more and the strong ones less.
3. I allowed my children to do every other problem. Occasionally this would backfire and the test would show they did not achiever mastery,(my definition 90% or better) we simply revisited the chapter or the specific concept, testing would then require(my rules) 95% mastery to move on.
4. Make use of a white board or a chalk board. Incorporating large motor skills into math can help them perceive the problem differently or relate it to the real (3D)world. My daughter, now a physics major, made a special trip home her first semester, to get our big whiteboard to help herself and her dorm mates. They all had a good laugh over how such a simple thing worked so well.


Review left April 23, 2012
Time: about 8 years

Your situation: I was homeschooled all the way from 1st grade through high school. We used Saxon because we heard from other homeschoolers that it was the thing to do and my mother did the best that she knew how. We didn't realize that there are more practical methods out there.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: Saxon taught me to believe that math is hard. Really hard, and really boring (except it doesn't have to be! I didn't find out until AFTERWARD). I wanted so badly to be good at it but Saxon was so frustrating for me that I cannot recommend it to anyone. There are parts of it that may as well have been written in Sanskrit for the amount of sense they made to me when I was 13 or 14. They manage to make simple, practical concepts seem ludicrously complex.

Now I am in my mid 20s and I have a bachelor's degree but I have suddenly rediscovered math and this time around I'm loving it. I am planning on returning to college to pursue another degree, this time in electrical engineering. I have realized that it's possible to make very fast progress through math when it is presented in a completely logical way. I have steered clear of Saxon and I am doing a combination of Cliffsnotes, Blitzer and internet research. I'm not advertising any book, I'm just saying what I'm up to, text-wise. For a long time I felt psychologically scarred by math. Now is the time for healing and understanding.

Any other helpful hints: If your children understand Saxon and you like it, that's wonderful. If not, please consider that they might actually love math, just not this book. Explore other texts, find a kind tutor. Whatever you do, don't let your children grow up thinking they're dumb like I did. If math is taught the right way it can be genuinely entertaining and intellectually stimulating.

Michael P.

Review left April 7, 2012
Time: 6 years

Your situation: Used saxon for 6 years

Why you liked/didn't like the book: This curriculum's lessons are TERRIBLY written. They were extremely confusing and hard to understand. They didn't explain everything you needed to know in the lesson, which made it near impossible to complete the lesson practice. We tried the DIVE cd's. They helped a little, but NOT much. We are switching curriculums next year for sure. They only good thing about this is the mixed practice.


Review left March 19, 2012
Time: 2 years

Your situation: I have 2 children, a boy and a girl. They go to school with the Saxon Math program. Almost everyday, my kids have to do a lengthy math homework.

My son is in first student and a gifted student. If something he has learned and known, he does not want to do it over again. For the math homework, he does not want to spend more than 10 minutes to do a long and repeated addition or subtraction. If he has to go timeout (sit and do nothing until he changes his mind) for not doing the math homework, he chooses to go timeout as long as 2 hours.

My daughter is in 2nd grade. She is a A student, but she could not retain what she has learned very well. She is very obedient and willing to do the lengthy math homework everyday. So learning the Saxon math, I think it helps her to memorize better.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: What I like about the Saxon Math is it could help someone like my daughter who needs a tool to help her to memorize what she learns in math. The Saxon method could help student to get good grade or overcome the individual math learning problem.

What I don't like is the Saxon method would not help student who could think out of the box and it is not benefit to students who eventually move to the math related field.

Any other helpful hints: In general, I would have my kids to go with the Saxon Math program when they are in the grade school, but I would find another program when they go to middle or high school.


Review left February 3, 2012
Time: 2 years

Your situation: I homeschooled my three children for five years. They are currently enrolled in a private, Christian school. I could go in detail about my IQ and education, but suffice it to say I have college degrees and am above average in intelligence. All three of my children score from two to ten grades above grade level on end of grade tests. We have joyfully used many different math curriculums, such as TT, BJU, Abeka and Chalk Dust Company. I am baffled how anyone could like Saxon math.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: I have read over 20 reviews of Saxon math and the biggest complaint seems to be the repetition. If that were the only negative, it is easily solved - only assign the number of problems that is necessary for your child to 'get it.' Saxon's lessons are horribly written. The examples often do not fit the concept being taught or involve math skills not clearly explained in the lesson. For example, in Math 6/5 Third Edition, Lesson 37 "Drawing Pictures of Fractions" it explains drawing, dividing and naming what fraction of a rectangle is shaded. On several pages of practice problems where the book refers students back to this lesson, it asks for what percent NOT what fraction is shaded. Yet, nowhere in Lesson 37 does it explain how to convert fractions to percents. It shouldn't be rocket science - it is basic math. Saxon math is poorly written and organization is non-existent. It is absolutely the worst math curriculum I have ever seen. With that said, I respect the opinion of many highly educated folks who wrote positive reviews (though I am still baffled) and I am keenly aware that every child is unique. Saxon math is just not for our family.


Review left January 29, 2012
Time: 5 years

Your situation: I am currently a senior in home school. I was recently asked to tutor two girls in math. Though I am NOT presently taking a math class, I have had three years of highschool Saxon math and two years of middle school Saxon Math to introduce me to it.. I am taught by a genius, which speaks volumes to my understanding of math more than Saxon. I honestly hate math because it is hard, but Saxon teaches math well and so does my Daddy. :) Growing up, I used A Beka Math sheets and built up my basic math understanding, multiplication factors, division tricks, etc. It was fine, but, as in the tradition of my older siblings, I made the switch to Saxon in middle school.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: At first I didn't think I would like it. It was something new. I wasn't used to such in-depth work. No pretty yellow designs on shiny perforated pages that rip right out of the book. Copying the problems on a separate sheet seemed dumb too, at first. But overall, the switch wasn't too hard for me. And the more complicated my math level got, the more thankful I am that it was a logically structured, easy to read (most of the time) textbook with challenges laid out in a clear manner. It encouraged me to be independent, methodical, precise, and organized. It's taught me to understand concepts that not only further my knowledge, but also prompts me to ask hypothetical questions and make observations. It's very solid. (Of course, I had no ordinary, typical teacher so my experience is above average.) ;)

I hate math. It's hard. You have to be able to teach Saxon math, and you have to understand it in order to actually teach it WELL. If you can't do this and the student can't understand it either...Then it's not for you.

Any other helpful hints: You don't have to do every single problem unless you need more practice. Go through some easy ones in your head, work them out loud so that you know you are really efficient.

Make sure a concept is understood before moving on...

Victoria Lang

Review left September 10, 2011
Time: 15 years

Your situation: My husband and I were both homeschooled, and we are now teaching our three boys at home. Our eldest is entering 3rd grade and beginning his 4th grade Saxon book. My husband is a PhD Chemist with a Math minor. He used Saxon 1-12 grade. I am a Designer. I switched to Saxon in highschool. After reviewing many curriculums it is our intention to continuing using Saxon throughout our children's education

Why you liked/didn't like the book: When I first switched over to Saxon in highschool I struggled with it. My husband strongly encouraged me to try it with our boys and stick with it. Because of my experience with Saxon I was skeptical, but now I wish I had grown up with it. I believe Saxon's approach makes so much more sense and prepares students for any field they pursue which requires math. It also will help them thrive in the higher sciences and gives a better grasp of any life skill. Math is fundamental in life and I look forward to going through Saxon with them. I personally believe that the spiral (or incremental) approach to math makes more sense than a mastery based curriculum; and helps students retain the information no matter how basic it may seem. Saxon teaches students how to solve problems. It teaches them how to approach problems logically and independently. It integrates algebraic concepts very early, incrementally building on their knowledge and skills so by the time they reach algebra it is a seamless transition and not a new concept they are having to master. It reinforces the basics, giving them a strong foundation to build off of as they break down algebraic and calc problems in the future. My husband and I have looked at many other programs, but always come back to Saxon.

Any other helpful hints: I strongly recommend using this curriculum from the beginning. Saxon's philosophy of math builds on itself throughout the student's academia. The younger grades offer a foundation that will prove very helpful as they enter highschool.

Heather Kesselring

Review left August 23, 2011
Time: 7 years

Your situation:
Home school family, started with BJU math in 1st grade, was not a good fit. Switched to Saxon and was hooked.

Why you liked/didn't like the book:
Saxon builds gradually. Many advanced concepts are introduced early, but it such a way that the students don't realize it. By the time they need it, they are so comfortable with the idea, that's it's a non-issue. It is hard work, but very thorough. One son loves math, and so love it. One son does not like math, and so does not like it. (He likes the Life of Fred series because it is funny, so we do that too). It really depends on the student.

Any other helpful hints:
I think you just have to try it. Each child is different. My boys both hated the timed fact sheets in the earlier grades, so we had to adjust (it was the time thing that bothered them, so we timed up, or did a certain number etc). For grades 2 and 3, a time-saving tip for parents is to use printable meeting strips available here: https://www.ibeleave.com/store/


Review left August 9, 2011
Time: 8 years off and on

Your situation: I used Saxon math to supplement my daughter's education when she was in grade school. I also had to teach out of it at the high school level. Now a school district I am involved with just adopted k-12 Saxon math.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: Saxon is the absolutely worst math series I have used in the classroom. Standardized test scores dropped dramatically no matter what supplemental material I used. The students hated the series and had a hard time understanding. There was not enough practice on the current topics, too much review on problems that were from much lower level books, and no building on each subsequent topic.

However as a supplement or for homeschooling supplement, Saxon helps. After a topic is learned, the added information is a benefit. I gave this series to my daughter in grades 1-8 as a supplement and she worked well with this at home with my help.


Glenda Crum

Review left July 21, 2011
Time: 6 years

Your situation: I switched my son to Saxon after a year of Abeka math. He did much better without all the pictures, etc., which for him were distracting. He got into the pattern of it, enjoyed the graphing, etc. That said, I found some of the repetition in the early grades very cumbersome. My daughter used Saxon exclusively through 7th grade, the when she went to public school in 8th. She was lightyears ahead in math and had no difficulty flying through high school Algebra. I don't know if that says more about Saxon or the public school. I do feel she had a clear development of concepts that had been presented over and over each school year, then built upon.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: I actually think there is too much repetition of some very simple concepts. But we did it anyway. That gets really boring for the kids. (And me.)

Any other helpful hints: The key with the program is sticking with it. If you move around, you'll miss the point of the program. My kids did close to an hour of math each day. So you have to recognize that to get something out of it, it's time consuming and not easy.


Review left July 17, 2011
Time: 1 year

Your situation: I used this curriculum with my daughter, a gifted 4 year old girl. She had already completed all her preschool stuff and so we used this curriculum to continue homeschooling for the year.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: She enjoyed the manipulative based activities, which were quite easy for her. Unfortunately, I didn't feel like I was teaching her anything new. We made it half way through, often skipping ahead significantly, and I never felt like she was being challenged. I like the manipulatives and the methods, but it progressed too slowly for our taste.

Any other helpful hints: It's good for kids that do well with lots of hands on repetition.


Review left July 8, 2011
Time: Four years

Your situation: Our eight year old daughter started in Saxon in a private school and swathed to another curriculum in second grade. We are now homeschooling and went back into Saxon. She is currently halfway through 5/4. We do all the problems and do lots of review practice sheets at the start of the day.

Saxon is a great program if you do all of the work. Lots of people suggest skipping problems, skipping whole years of instruction, etc. I don't think that math is something that you can learn in 15 minutes a day. True mastery comes from diligent practice, like mastery in music or sports. No one gets to the Olympics of into Juilliard by skipping practice and just trying to understand the "concepts".

So where does Algebra 1 come into this? My wife and I are so impressed with our daughters progress that we bought the entire Saxon curriculum up through Calculus (used at a greatly reduced price). I am going through the top of the curriculum starting with Algebra as a review so that I can effectively tutor the higher level math.

Who are we? My wife has a PhD in Anthropology and is widely published. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa from University and have been practicing Medicine for 27 years. Our eight year old is adopted, our 22 year old son was home schooled and is currently a Senior in college (3.8-9 GPA).

Many reviewers seem to confuse Public School grades with competence in an area of study. This is a serious error. A grade of an "A,B or C" in the average school system tells parents very little about the true competence of their children in the subject. Teachers are very aware that a "B" in a course keeps the parents away. I struggle with dyslexia in grade school before it was widely recognized. I averaged a D in Math throughout grad school into my sophomore year in high school. I eventually aced Calculus at Univesity.

Why you liked/didn't like the book: I believe the review and re-review and re-re-review reflect the steps to mastery of skills in real life.

Any other helpful hints: Do it the way John Saxon recommended it!


Review left June 26, 2011
Time used: three years

Your situation: private parochial school with curriculum pushed by board of trustees rather than pro educators

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: My 3rd grader does not need to know the cube root of 512 before she can give correct change out of a dollar. Saxon has 'turned the math circuit off' in her, I'm afraid, for many years to come.

Any other helpful hints:
STAY WELL AWAY from Saxon 'math'.

philly Dad

Review left June 1, 2011
Time used: four years

Your situation: I am highschooler currently in 10th grade, and finishing up Saxon's Advanced Mathematics. I for one, have found it a good fit. One thing that many of my friends, and I can see from previous reviews many other people too, have a problem with is a difficulty. Honestly, Saxon is a hard curriculum. You might notice from other reviewers that they sunk in how well they did in math, such as an "A" student to a "C" student. Although I can't know for sure, a plausible explanation is that there was too big of a difficulty gap between Saxon and whatever other math curriculum they used. Obviously, each student is different. A friend of mine is in 9th grade and he is doing Advanced Mathematics, while other people I know have been forced to switch to other curriculum. I credit Saxon to the fact that I am in the top 6 percent of 10th graders in math.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: The challenge difficulty. Obviously, actually doing hard problems isn't always fun, and at times I wish that it was easier, but you are forced to look forward. So I both hate and love the challenge at the same time. Any other helpful hints: Persevere. It's the only way that you can get through.


Review left May 23, 2011
Your situation: College Student who used Saxon in High School.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: Stay away from Saxon!

I used these all throughout High school. After taking several college math courses, I now realize that Saxon is not math at all. The curriculum simply teaches "number and formula manipulation". The beauty, art, and logic of mathematics is stripped away and replaced with memorization and processes.


Review left May 2, 2011
Time: I don't use it

My husband and I grew up with Saxon Math in the public schools, WE HATED MATH. I didn't understand it, couldn't remember the formulas and it made no sense to me and my husband has severe math phobia. My daughter has the exact same feelings concerning math, she has had 7 years of Saxon in public school. Dry, boring, brings us all to tears.

When my husband and I decided to pull our daughter out of school and teach her at home I knew I did not want her to loathe math the way that we both do and I wanted to help my daughter understand it. It wasn't until I started homeschooling my my boys and used a mastery/logical approach to math that it started to make sense to me - and I realized that I and my daughter actually can be good at math! After taking her off of Saxon, she went from being a 75% solid C student with Saxon to a 95% A student with a mastery based program (Math U See). For high school this upcoming year and the co-op we are a part of uses Saxon, and she has begged me to opt her out of their math and use the other program at home (this is huge for her to say, she is a social butterfly and loves learning in a group setting.)

Neither of my boys have ever used Saxon, they started with Singapore and transitioned to MUS, and they love math and have a firm understanding of how it's used. My oldest son (2 years younger than his sister) is well above my daughter's math level and when she was doing her Saxon homework even he didn't understand the text.

Why you liked/didn't like the curriculum: I do not like the spiral approach Saxon uses, there is so much review in each section from previous lessons but not enough practice to understand and enforce the concept you've just been introduced to. It does not teach you how to understand math or to be able to think mathematically.

Melissa Jines

Review left May 14, 2011
Time: 1st year

My son's school is using and he has never used it before. He is having a hard time understanding it and his grades are failing. My son is not in spec. Ed. but has had diff. in math.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: It is not cohesive and doesn't take in to account differing students with differing rates of understanding and learning.

Lisa Phelums
Review left April 27, 2011
Time: 12+ years

We have always used Saxon Math, beginning with 4th grade. We use another vendor for Geometry and PreCalculus, only because we wanted a course called "Geometry" and the Geometry teacher also taught PreCalculus. (Our editions of Algebra I and II actually include Geometry, but not by that name.) We have found that for the diligent student, Saxon WORKS! The incremental approach masks the fact that the last test of the course is CUMULATIVE. :) For the not-so-diligent student, Saxon still works, but the student must commit to DOING the work, which is true for ANY good, challenging curriculum.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: Saxon WORKS! Several of my graduates have already passed CLEP and AP tests for college credit for Algebra and Calculus. One claims that she "hates math"; yet she tutors a public-schooler in math successfully. The other is an engineering major in college.

I have only one gripe with Saxon: the lack of color. My "artsy" students really missed the colors of their 1st-3rd grade math books from another vendor. But then, adding color would add to the cost of the curriculum. Speaking of cost: At Saxon's current charges, this curriculum has already paid for itself many times over!

Any other helpful hints:
To the student: Be diligent. Do all the problems. Commit to the task of learning.

Review left April 23, 2011
Time: 4 years

I have been using Saxon math since 2nd grade.
Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: I didnt like it because it is way to hard to learn. I used to excel in math with all A's but when we switched to Saxon my grades dropped. Now I have C's. I hate math now and used to love it.

Any other helpful hints:

Review left January 9, 2011
Time: 9 years

Your situation:
Engineering student in University and used math throughout school.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: I was in public school prior to grade 3 and the school as a whole scored low in math, then we switched to Saxon math, and I began loving math. When I got to grade 7, I went back to public school and was in the top 3% in my math class, and bored because I had seen it all already. I went back to homeschooling until grade 12 when the same thing happened. I found my grade 11 Saxon math more than prepared me for my grade 12 public school math and I was actually bored and hated math. I then did calculus, which I found enjoyable and Saxon math more than adequately prepared me for. I am now studying engineering in university. My younger sister similarly used Saxon however when she switched to public school math was consistently confused and found that she no longer understood math, needing me to teach her topics. When I explained to her the Saxon method of doing math she understood;however, in many cases it was too late as she did not do well on her standardized testing due to failure to understand the public school math.

Any other helpful hints:
Stick with it. Don't jump around or only do odd problems. I find from personal experience if that happens you will fall behind and have gaps in your knowledge. Also, stay with Saxon throughout the textbooks. Saxon jumps around but covers all topics. Topics will only not be covered if you switch curriculums.

Review left November 13, 2010
Time: 6 years, starting 7th

I am homeschooling my two boys, one of which is dyslexic. They both do well with Saxon Math. It comes fairly easy for the older one (5th grader) and we do a lot of the problems in the chapter orally. I have him do the remainder on paper, working out the problems. The younger one (2nd grader) has more problems with it so the repetitiveness comes in very handy.

I like Saxon Math because it moves with the right amount of "flow". It reviews all its concepts continuously while working the end-of-chapter problems, yet moves onto new concepts, building on the previous ones. If a concept is forgotten, it has the lesson number written with the math problem so you can go back and look up what chapter it was in.

It explains the concept in basic, thorough language. There are daily worksheets, math fact tests, and supplemental problems in the book so there are ample opportunities when extra help is needed. It's review, review, review which is very helpful, but those that don't need it can skip the review and move on. We have been very happy with it!

S. Riley
Review left October 14, 2010
Time: 3 years

I'm a Home school mom, and was first introduced to Saxon my Junior year in High School. I was always "gifted" in math and the top student in my class until Algebra 2 when my school switched to Saxon for curriculum. I went from a straight A math student to a D and struggled to bring it up to a C.

Fast forward to my son who was very good at math when he started school, but the private school he was in used Saxon and he struggled until I finally pulled him out (in 2nd grade) to homeschool because I spent sooo much time re explaining his math every night. I am now tutoring Algebra to a student who grew up with Saxon. He hated math, but is finally now making sense of it and starting to enjoy it. He said the problem he had with math was remembering all the rules and where they apply. I thought that was such a strange statement because I never thought of math as rules as much as concepts of how things work and how to solve problems.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: The book does not follow a logical sequence of one concept building on the next. Math is like building a structure and if you try to put the roof on before building your supports or put your walls up without a foundation you end up with a mess. The other major problem with this book is new concepts are not drilled the day they are taught, so when they review it the next day, they've completely forgotten what they were taught the previous day. Thus, as the program goes on, it gets more and more confusing and difficult to remember. Some students it works for, but I work with the ones who like me found it frustrating and confusing.

Any other helpful hints:
Personally I wouldn't consider it. I realize most of my friends like it because it has good explanations for the teacher, but the fruits I see are kids who hate math.

Review left September 13, 2010
Time: 1 year

My 10 and 11 year old have been in traditional school all their lives, but I decided to homeschool this year since we were overseas. They were struggling with math skills because of what I believe to be the lack of repetition... a skill is introduced and practiced... only to not be seen for a long time. Saxon Math is full of new concepts plus repetition of ALL previously learned skills. My kids begged me to order this year again! My children have gained confidence again in their math skills. My daughter actually said, "Saxon pounds it into my head and I don't forget what I learned.. that is what I need!" So even though we are adopting a new homeschool curriculum with a new math, the kids want me to buy Saxon math to supplement and have in case the other doesn't work out. They feel comfortable with it but most of all confident!

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: Number of problems can be excessive... I pulled what was necessary and what the kids needed more practice on... individual basis and it worked great. You can clearly see their strengths/weaknesses and adjust from there!

Any other helpful hints:
Don't let the lack of vibrant color fool you or the large amount of problems. Step by step instructions make this so easy to use/ kids to learn. reduce the number of problems to your child's needs... at least there is excess and not enough:)

Review left July 23, 2010
Time: 6 years

I have 3 children who have attended the same charter school. They only use Saxon math

One of my children has done well with the program, for the other two it has been a nightmare! These two children are not able to retain the information given in each lesson because there is not enough repetition and work given on the new topic. The books give a new concept with only a few problems and then jump back to review old concepts for the entire assignment. They (my children) have never been able to grasp the new concept and they have to re-learn all the old concepts with every assignment. I have had to sit with them for sometimes 2 hours to get through one lesson. If it weren't for other positive things about the school we would have left long ago just because of Saxon Math!

Any other helpful hints:
If your child needs any kind of repetition to learn a new concept DO NOT USE SAXON!

Julie N.
Review left July 14, 2010
Time: 7 years

Your situation:
I was home-schooled, and used Saxon math throughout junior high; I then went to public high school, which also used Saxon math.

What Saxon teaches, it teaches thoroughly; I had no problems understanding the book's explanations. I typically did not do all the problems assigned each day; I alternated between odd and even numbers, because all those review problems could certainly get tedious. But for the most part, I didn't even require any extra explanation from my mother or, later, my high-school teachers; I felt the books were pretty thorough, even if the topics weren't always addressed in a logical order.

After making it through the Saxon calculus textbook, I didn't have any trouble getting a 5 on the AP test, and I was well-prepared for my more advanced math classes in college (I was a music major, but chose some math as electives).

Any other helpful hints:
Good curriculum for self-starters, math lovers, and the motivated; for those who already struggle with math, this may feel either like drudgery or overly challenging.

Review left June 7, 2010
Level: Saxon Advanced
Time: several years

Your situation:
As a parent seeing Saxon math books coming home from school. I wouldn't use anything to home school my kids that is that horribly written.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: horribly written
tries to skip to many steps.
Doesn't show children how to work problems within the chapters well enough.
I can teach my kid math better using a college text book than saxon math books of any level.

Ron Jacobs
Review left May 15, 2010
Level: Saxon Advanced Math
Time: 4 years

We are homeschooling our twelve year old

We are just finishing up the year with this text. We have a dozen lessons and tests to go. We have used Saxon in our son's homeschool with great success. And starting last year with Algebra II, we added Dr. Shormann's DIVE CD. Dr. Shormann goes through each lesson like our very own tutor. He explains each concept exceedingly well, and sets up our son for going through the 30 practice problems for each. From time-to-time, Dr. Shormann deviates a bit from the method shown in the Saxon text, but we have all had teachers who believe they have a better way! No problem.

Our only comments might be as follows. 1) The solutions manual is rather poorly bound and has come apart such that we have used packing tape to "mend it". Not too cool. The second comment, is that we have found probably a dozen problems (out of hundreds) where the answers shown in the solution manual are actually incorrect! Our son objects when we check him wrong and in fact the book is wrong! We probably should have documented the errors and sent them to Saxon, but oh well.

Saxon Advanced Math is daunting, make no mistake, but it is important to put in the time for the results. Next year... on to Calculus!

Peter Scheldt
Review left April 27, 2010
Time: in our 3rd year

My daughter has been struggling since she started this poor program in 2nd grade. My son does great with it.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: Like that there is FINALLY a book in 4th grade. Needed one for 2nd and 3rd. This math program does not fit all sizes--only those gifted in math. Not enough repetition on a daily basis for those nongifted children.

Any other helpful hints:
DO NOT GET THIS! There are much better math sources out there!

Review left April 21, 2010
Time: 3 years

Your situation:
Home school two children now ages 12 and 14 who 3 years ago attended private school.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: These books are great. They are very complete and the repetition allows for the recall of skills. When we started with Saxon my son was in 6th grade and while he received straight A's in traditional school, with Saxon I became aware of areas that his skills were weak. Saxon helped to strengthen those areas. My daughter on the other hand, started in fourth grade with 5/4 and that has given her a strong math skills and loads of confidence. It is organized very well and makes teaching math very easy. This was a great choice for us as my children weren't challenged at all with other methods.

Any other helpful hints:
Use the tests to determine where your child should be. My children score at the very top of ITBS and are very confident in their skills and will be well prepared for college.

Ellen C
Review left April 13, 2010
Time: 4 years

Your situation:
We started homeschooling 6 weeks into my son's 1st grade. The only curriculum we buy in total is math. We started using the Saxon program with the 1st grade workbook and have continued up to 7/6 (we skipped 6/5 as it was all repetition).

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: There is A LOT of repetition in Saxon Math. We didn't mind this so much since you can skip ahead if your child has grasped the concept. We like that concepts are brought back later on for review. Again, if the child doesn't need the review, skip it. We skipped 6/5 after 4/5 because it looked to be a review of 4/5. Our son is now using 7/6 and is having no problems.

Any other helpful hints:
Because there is a lot of repetition the parent needs to be aware of what the child is doing. They need to review the lessons and know what the child needs work on. This program does not replace the parent for mentorship.

Janet Chase
Review left February 15, 2010
Time: 3 years

Your situation:
daughter started with K5 Saxon and has picked up quickly

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: We like the repetition because it's one of the best ways to teach and learn. The constant review & repetition allows us to possibly skip some parts of lessons.... if she has shown the ability to understand and properly process the information. Format of lessons are easy to understand.

Any other helpful hints:
like other curriculum, some parts of lessons can be passed over if students have adequately learned.

John and Leasa
Review left January 31, 2010
Time: 3 years
Your situation:
Homeschooling mom of 5 children ages 8 years to 10 months. We started out using Saxon.

I have heard Saxon highly recommended, but for my oldest it was horrible. It teaches a new skill every lesson for 10 to 12 lessons, then comes back to the first lesson topic again. For some children that works, but my oldest needs to focus on one topic until she has mastered it before moving to a new topic. It also uses a lot of manipulatives, including teddy bear counters and more. My dd got distracted by the "fun toys" and wanted to play with them. They were distracting. We switched from Saxon to Math U See and it is wonderful! The manipulatives make sense and are not like little toys that get her creative mind off of math and on to imaginative play.

If your child is math minded and "gets" math concepts quickly Saxon may work fine. If you really want them to understand why they do what they do, go with Math U See.

Review left January 4, 2010
Level: Algebra 1 and Advanced Math
Time: 3 years

I tutor students from a school that uses Saxon math exclusively. Most of my tutoring students struggle with this curriculum because of the choppy, inelegant, illogical structure of these texts. I have taught math for over 25 years to students at every level-from honors to remedial, and while the honors students would find this easy because they catch on quickly, the repetition is boring. Middle level and below students are frustrated by the amount of sheer rote work that does not build comprehension. Memorization is NOT comprehension. I have heard some say that this is the way Asian students are taught math, and that is why they are so far ahead of US students. Having taught Korean and Chinese students for many years, i can safely say NOT TRUE.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: Lesson concepts are explained pretty well. Most definitely not enough concept practice problems. Illogical sequencing. Students come away with a poor grasp of geometry because instruction is so scattered. Problem solving strategies are not emphasized, so students can only apply rote learning strategies which are not effective.

Any other helpful hints:
Unless your student enjoys rote learning and mindless repetition, don't bother. Concepts necessary for comprehending real world applications are not presented in a way that will allow college students to effectively use what they have memorized.

Margarete G-M
Review left December 27, 2009
Level: Algebra II and Advanced Math

I am a high school teacher that has been forced into teaching from the Saxon math textbooks due to lack of funding for new books. I've had about 4 years of exposure to the Saxon method from when I was home schooled. I disliked the book as a student, and I absolutely detest this method as a teacher.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: None of the Saxon books, Algebra I and up, follow any sort of order. Math is meant to build, especially in topics like geometry and trig, and Saxon doesn't build anything. The book hops from geometry to word problems, to trig, and back to geometry even within one lesson.

To give you an example, I'll relate what one chapter from Advanced Mathematics contains. Lesson 5: Exponents and Radicals, Complex Numbers, Areas of Similar Geometric Figures, and Diagonals of Rectangular Solids. That's ONE chapter with 4 completely unrelated topics.

Mathematics is about the process. It isn't about the technique. Why else do teachers want to see student's work? The Saxon method encourages linear thinking, waters down math to simple memorization, and doesn't teach mathematical thinking which is so necessary at the college level.

To top it all off, I will quote Mr. John Saxon himself:
"Teachers who use this book must remember that it is designed to teacher by letting the students do, and that understanding a concept comes after the concept has been used for a long time. Therefore, the long, involved explanations that have been necessary in the past will not be necessary because only one increments of the a concept is being presented. The teacher's presentations should be succinct. Understanding will come in time with practice"

What is the point of repeating something that you don't understand? Understanding a concept does not simply come with time. Repetition will make a student adept at taking that concept and applying it to a mathematical problem. However, without a prior understanding of the concept, all the student will learn to do is how to solve that ONE type of problem. If that student gets a problem that doesn't follow Saxon's pattern, then they won't know what to do.

Any other helpful hints:
If you are required to use these book while home schooling a high school student, don't do the lessons in order. Try to string topics like geometry or trig across the lessons. You are doing your student a disservice if you use this book in high school.

Nicholas Reid
Review left August 16, 2009
Time used: 9 years

I have been using this program for as long as I can remember. My mother started out teaching it to me when I was five. I used it for a year, then stopped. This was due to the fact that I went to public school. Then my parents put me into private school in 3rd grade, where I started it up again. I've been using ever since.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: The book is very repetitive, which does get annoying at times, however, I am forced to believe that it is one of the best ways to learn. I have found that getting information pounded into my head over and over really gets it deep into my mathematical knowledge. I haven't struggled with my homework because I had done most of the problems in previous homework.

Any other helpful hints:
Don't get frustrated with the repetitive problems. That's the only thing that seems to bug people, so I'm warning you now. I hope you accept Saxon math as your portal to stress-free math concepts.

Review left July 27, 2009
Grade level: 2
Time used: 1 year

I am a 10 year veteran teacher in the public schools. I now home school my 8 and 6 year olds.

I did NOT like this curriculum!!! The "spiral method" is confusing and the lessons include too many concepts to actually allow them to gain knowledge of the program. This is NOT how I was taught to teach math. The most unbelievable part was how it would introduce a new concept (the title of the lesson), but would have nothing on the worksheets for reinforcing THAT concept!!! Math is a process of order, and there appears to be no real order.

Sometimes educators think that they should/need to come up with some new method of teaching that just turns out to be bad (ie whole language). Just stick with the basics like Math U See.

Christine Alexander
Review left July 6, 2009
Grade level: Algebra I
Time used: 4 years; 2 kids

Our situation:
homeschooled K-2 with oldest. Didn't use Saxon.
Very small private school 1-3 with younger and 3-5 with older. Using Saxon.
Homeschool during the summer - use Saxon

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: I love it. Wish I had used it when homeschooling my oldest. My youngest is a whiz... she "gets" math concepts in the real world based on what she learned in class. During the summer she beats her brother at the simple arithmetic... but the older one is very advanced with different concepts.

Any other helpful hints:
Give this time to see how it works... a few months to a year is not enough.

We have a friend who has done this curriculum from 3rd- algebra... he is number 1 in the state at math competitions for 2 years in a row now.

We use at least 1 year beyond their age level and practice problems can be skipped... but be careful which ones you skip since concepts are building. Some kids may be able to do 2 or 3 lessons per day, some 1/2 a lesson. Also if you school year round, skip first 30 lessons as they are review.

Review left June 11, 2009
Grade level: Algebra I
Time used: 1 year

I used the new algebra I and algebra II from Saxon this year. Did anyone else try these new editions? I would like to discuss them. The new editions had more real-world problems and introduced probability and statistics which I liked, but it seemed like the texts jumped around even more than the old Saxon.

Review left May 19, 2009
Time used: 6 months

Your situation:
Homeschooling 5th grader and 1st grader.

We switched from BJU math to Saxon math. We love the switch. BJU for us was too simple and the Saxon provided a challenge. I like not having to put to much thought into the lessons and just diving in. They are both learning a lot more than they had been using the other curriculum. The one thing I don't like and don't do it is the meeting book. This is too much repetition. I am all for a certain amount but every day for the whole of the lessons is too much. So I don't do the whole meeting book. I do the clock work and skip counting.

Any other helpful hints:
The teachers manual refers to using linking cubes, I don't have them. I use things like grapes, raisins or skittles and when the lesson is done he can eat them! If your child wants lost of pictures and colors this isn't for them then. The format is simple un uncluttered.

Oh and the price listed at the top isn't for the homeschool materials, there are two different types and one (I beleive) is for classrooms and then there is a separate homeschool side. 1st grade kit brand new is $96.50 (that is Retail you can get it for less). The 5th grade kit is &75.50 (again that is retail). Check out rainbow resource, that is where I get them!

Rachel Sarafin
Review left May 17, 2009
Grade level: Algebra 1
Time used: Almost a year

Reading the different takes on Saxon is so interesting. I am homeschooling my child for the 8th grade and for the lion's share of the year he worked with a tutor. He was proud of his work in math with Saxon Algebra I while with his tutor. However, when I discovered the Robinson method and turned my son loose on math every morning, he was lit on fire. For him, Saxon is brilliant for independent study and his math self confidence has soared!

Last year, his math teacher was pretty much coming between him and math rather than teaching him. His scores were drifting down, but more importantly he was starting to buy into her low opinion of his abilities. No more! He is heading back to traditional school for high school and he has tested into not just the honors level, but the higher of the two levels within honors math! Bravo for him!

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: Well, sometimes a book / curriculum is just the thing that works and other times, not. I appreciate the down to earth, traditional presentation of the material. Something about its presentation and rigor reminds me of math books from the dim, ancient days of my childhood. The book is low key, there is a short lesson presenting new material or a new level of a known operation. This is followed by the 30 problems which cover material cumulatively over the year. Each problem has a tiny little number in parenthesis to steer the student back to the lesson in which this concept was introduced. As I said above, this is a brilliant strategy to introduce some intellectual independence to a student who is ready - in the mode of the Robinson method.

I appreciate, also, the lack of distractions within the text book. The text was clean and neat, the work was dependably predictable to the student thus enhancing his sense of his own abilities. Illustrations are few, no distractions in the form of side bars, photos with captions - I never see a reason for them in any text book as, for me, they would shatter the flow of the work. Now, this straight forward presentation that I appreciate and that is so powerful for my son's learning seems to actually be the problem in some of the other reviews, so you must figure out how it'll work with your student.

So, finally, the main thing that I appreciated about this book IS the repetitive work. This year I have seen my son's math skills spiral up in a steady flow as he masters concepts and operations and does them over and over again mixed in with the other concepts and operations. It is like a wonderful kitchen where there are various pots on the stove that need stirring in turn, and then the cook must turn to begin preparing something new, but he must always remember to come back and stir the pots that have already been set to boil on the stove.

Any other helpful hints:
My helpful hint is to take advantage of Saxon Algebra I if you have any indication that your student is ready to work independently. My son spends the first two hours of his day working problems, we correct them together and keep a running list during the week of problems he has gotten wrong. After math he goes for a run then comes home ready to work feeling 'on his game' for having mastered so much math. On Friday, he works again those problems that he missed during the week and takes the test (test is has about ten fewer problems than the 30 in each lesson.)

He is having wild success with Saxon Algebra I and I can't say enough that it is a good thing!

Review left May 6, 2009
Time used: 6 years

We've used Saxon Math for middle school and high school. We started in the elementary grades with Math-U-See and transitioned to Saxon ( https://www.everygoodpath.net/Math-U-See-to-Saxon ) around the middle of 5th grade. The oldest is now in Advanced Math with trigonometry, complex numbers, logarithms, and so on. Our kids have done well with it.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: Saxon does have a lot of repetition, but homeschoolers should adapt the workload to the student. We never do the whole lesson - usually only the odd problems, sometimes every 3rd problem (10 out of 30).
I like how Saxon is basically self-taught, as the books explain the concept well. Yet, it is not spoon-fed, as some video curriculums seems to be. This builds good study habits useful for all of life.

Any other helpful hints:
If a new lesson teaches a very simple concept, I often have the kids do 2 lessons in a day. Here's how we double up without overwhelming the student: http://www.everygoodpath.net/6th-grade-math.
Make sure and get the solutions manual - especially for Algebra 1 and up.

Mark Einkauf
Review left March 21, 2009
Time used: 9 years

I think Saxon is a good choice for grades K-6 but the model is less than preferable for grades 7-12. The constant review is great at lower grades, but at the higher grades, there is already review incorporated in a natural way in any traditional curriculum. For example, factoring is used from elementary algebra up through Calculus II, as are signed numbers. And Saxon's fragmenting of topics just doesn't serve higher mathematics well. I have written my own extensive review of Saxon, along with our own family's experiences.

I liked it for grades K-6 because its constant review and emphasis on skills. I disliked it at grades 7-12 because of its lack of logical structure.

Michael Sakowski
Review left March 10, 2009
Time used: 3 years

I have been homeschooling my children for seven years. I have taught every subject in every grade from kindergarten through sixth grade. I currently teach a sixth grader, a fourth grader, a first grader and a pre-schooler.

I found the Saxon lower grades to be overkill. My kids learn math quickly and relatively easily and many of the most basic concepts (such as addition) come intuitively to my children. So, the highly scripted, tediously long Saxon math lessons for K-3 levels were not appropriate.

The Saxon middle levels (5/4, 6/5, and 7/6) have been perfect for my children, however. They are appropriately challenging and the reiteration of previously learned material with each new lesson is highly effective. Most of the lessons are perfect for an auto-didactic student. And, the few times my children have come to me for help I've found the lesson sufficiently explained to me, as the parent, what concepts were being introduced and taught.

Any other helpful hints:
I would consider something very quick and intuitive such as the Evan-Moor math workbooks for grades 1-3. Beyond that Saxon math is very good (thus far - middle grades).

Reading previous reviews of Saxon math curriculum it appears to me that the middle levels are most appropriate for students who do not have difficulties in math. They would work well for gifted students especially. It may be that students who have developmental or learning delays would do best with a different program. Keep that in mind when considering this particular resource.

Homeschool Mom
Review left February 3, 2009
Time used: 3 years

I am a homeschooling parent to a single child, who is just finishing 2nd grade.

We have used Saxon since Kindergarten. The K lessons are so quick, easy, and fun that we finished the whole book in about 4 months, sometimes doing as many as three lessons in a day.

In first grade it takes a little longer for each lesson but, as with K, the use of manipulatives adds a lot of variety. It's true that one concept isn't worked on for long stretches at a time, but this also keeps it from getting boring. Each child is individual and I think this worked so well for us because my daughter picks up on a concept pretty quickly. It's also encouraging for her that, with so much review and with new concepts being delivered in short, digestable chunks, she very rarely gets a problem wrong on her worksheets.

Second grade works the same as first grade. The lesson starts with a meeting where you add to a calendar, add to a weather graph, fill out a pattern, count out money, work on skip counting, etc. That's my only real beef with this grade...the meeting adds a LOT of time to the lesson and I don't think some of the stuff convered in the meeting needs to be done every single day.

In all I'd say it's a very good program. I like that most of the addition and subtraction is taught using money rather than bars or other counters. It gives her something "real" to work with and it makes math seem more like something applicable to and useful in real life.

One problem I have is that she doesn't seem to be memorizing the addition and subtraction facts and has to count out the answers to many of them. I don't know if this is a shortcoming in the program or if it's just a problem she has herself.

Any other helpful hints:
One suggestion I have for doing first grade is to look at the way they handle the flash cards. For some reason they have you create your own flashcards on 3x5 cards that are duplicates of the flashcards included in the program. I did a set or two of these before realizing that they are completely unnessecary. Just use the ones included.

For second grade they work a lot on graphs that require asking 10-20 people to help you fill it in. There are a few instances like this where they really didn't seem to put much effort into adapting the program for home use rather than classroom use. If you, like me, don't have a ready supply of 20 people you can contact, just have the child interview stuffed animals for answers to fill in the graphs.

Review left January 26, 2009
Time used: More than 20 years

I taught Saxon mathematice in a rural high school for more than a dozen years. Raised ACT scores at the school from 13.4 to 22.2 in three years and went from 30% of the seniors taking math above algebra one to more than 90%. I then became the curriculum advisor for Saxon Publishers and became aware that some of the schools and homeschool educators as well were not correctly using the books - logically, the books were being blamed for the shortcomings. So I wrote a book specifically detailing what to and not to do, to assist them in the correct use of John Saxon's math books.

I am no longer affiliated with Saxon Publishers, but Saxon math books remain the best math curriculum on the market. As John wouls say "If the object is to teach the person how to drive a car, don't explain the workings of the combustion engine to them, have them get in and drive around the block."

Go to www.homeschoolwithsaxon.com for some free tips and advice on what books to buy and how to use the books successfully.

Art Reed
Review left October 23, 2008
Time used: 1-2 years

I am home-schooled, and have used Saxon math, once in 7th grade, where I hated it, and now in 12th.

Personally, Saxon Math is the worst math curriculum I have ever used. I originally used it in 7th grade, where I developed a keen dislike for mathematics. Now as a senior, I am taking calculus with Saxon because that is the only book they use at my home-school co-op.

I began to enjoy math once I got away from Saxon where I used a different program. It was a math program with a video instructor.

Now, with Saxon, I utterly despise math once again. The author has a "this is the way you do it, so don't try anything else mentality". The book doesn't show other ways to solve the problems. I constantly find myself on the internet or in my old math books looking for different ways to solve problems.

Saxon is unnecessarily repetitive, and I find myself becoming bored with solving the same concept over and over. I don't feel I am learning "how" to do math, just "what" to do with a bunch of numbers.

I think a lot of people use this math program because it is easy to teach. That may seem like a plus, but in the end, it really isn't.

Please carefully consider your child's learning style before buying any of the Saxon math books.

Any other helpful hints:
Use a more open minded math curriculum.

Review left September 19, 2008
My mother made me use this curriculum when I was homeschooled.

This is a terrible curriculum. It teaches mathematical procedures in a rote manner, and does not convey why the concepts are important. The basic idea of the curriculum is constant review; each problem set contains only a few problems about what was taught that day, and the rest of it is drills on things that may have been taught months or years before. Many of the problems require long tedious calculations which have nothing to do with how well a student understands the concepts.

I hated math with a passion when I did these books, and I got consistently low grades because I would make a careless arithmetic error somewhere in the long string of calculations and thus get the entire problem wrong.

When I went to public school in tenth grade, I had a radical change of heart, and started to *love* math. And I aced just about every problem set and test from then until I graduated (this is not hyperbole; I actually maintained a 100 average). What was the difference? I could use a calculator, there was very little drill on irrelevant things, and the book actually presented the material in a way that showed the authors knew what the concepts *meant*.

People who enjoy memorization, review, and repetition, and who don't have any desire to grasp the elegance and the meaning of mathematics, may like this series. But they certainly won't learn what math really is from it.

To most gifted students, especially, it's torture.

Review left September 12, 2008
Time used: 3 years

Since Saxon is somewhat the standard homeschool math curriculum, we chose it for it's universal appeal. It also came highly recommended by nearly every homeschooling family we know.

After 3 years using Saxon we're looking for a new approach. My biggest frustration with Saxon is the amount of repetition and drilling, much of which seems rather disconnected from actual math application. For example, my 7-year old daughter can count by 4s, but she has no idea why that's important because 4x multiplication tables aren't introduced until Saxon 3. And there's so much of these repetitive exercises that it's impossible for us to get through a lesson in a timely manner.

At first I liked Saxon's scripted Teacher's Manual, but I realized this year that I used it mainly for examples. I seldom needed it to tell me how to present the information (although sometimes it was helpful). I think I needed the scripting in the beginning because I was nervous about homeschooling in general. It was sort of a safety net. But now that I've homeschooled for 3 years I feel confident enough not to need scripting for primary grade math.

My 7-year old daughter excels in some areas of math (geometry, fractions, graphs), but is struggling terribly with other things (money, time, adding and subtracting ten). All of the repetition this past year didn't seem to help. She needs a different approach than Saxon provides in the areas where she's weak.

I still recommed this curriculum for new homeschoolers who are uncertain of their teaching abilities. It is a very solid curriculum, and a good foundation if you need to change later.

Megan Lindsay
Review left July 22, 2008
Grade levels used: series for homeschooling
Time used: 1

I have a 9 yo, 7yo, and 4yo, that I have always homeschooled.

We love this series for homeschoolers. We have used other programs in the past that jumped around and by the end of the summer would have forgotten quite a bit. The kids work through the mental math (which is an awesome tool)first, then I introduce the new concept, and they are off and running. We have had no problems with this text and would highly recommend it. The kids are almost a year ahead in math because of it. We are planning on using it again next year!

Go through the new concept lesson with the child the way it is written and definitely do not skip the mental math part. It all took longer as we began but after a while they are able to breeze through it, all because of the practice.

Review left June 12, 2008
Grade levels used: 76, Algebra 1/2, 1, 2, and Advanced Math
Time used: 1+ years

I teach math at a small private school where the students are homeschooled 2-3 days a week and attend the school the other days.

Most of the students in grades 6-8 had a difficult time with Saxon. The spiral is too broad and too fast. The students are unable to assimilate the material because there isn't enough time spent practicing each day's concept. As a result, the mixed practice takes most of them far too much tome to complete. Math becomes a daily torture session.

The older students (9-12) did somewhat better with Saxon than the younger ones.

In my opinion, Saxon is suited for only about the top third of math students. We are looking at switching out of Saxon and going to something that doesn't use the spiral approach.

Southern Yankee
Review left May 23, 2008
Grade levels used: Saxon 65
Time used: 3 years

Your situation:
5th grader using saxon 65. We have been using Saxon since third grade. It takes my daughter sometimes over 2 hours to complete a math assignment. It is a struggle and frustrating for both of us and I am dreading next year. On the other hand she is retaining the concepts and scoring well. What to do? There aren't many to choose from.

We like the clear lesson concept, she can mostly learn the new concept on her own. Her skills are very good as a result of this program but we are miserable.

The lesson practice takes here well over an hour.

Review left May 19, 2008
Time used: 8 years

I began to homeschool our first daughter after 3 grades being completed in public school. My youngest daughter has been homeschooled from kindergarten until now, 8th grade. Also, this year we're helping a neighbor homeschool their granddaughter who was failing in the public school. She is now a straight "A" student!!

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: My oldest daughter was in public school until 3rd grade. In 4th grade we pulled her out to home school. I hated the looks of Saxon 5/4 as it appeared so "boring" especially compared to the "hyper colorful" public school text books she and I were use to. I tried other programs but I, myself, am not very literate in math. We struggled for years until, low and behold, we got into SAXON MATH!! However, coming from the hodge-pode math textbooks that we used, I would say that she struggled when we got into the Alg. 1/2 book as there were certain "gaps", but we did it!! Now, my younger daughter began home schooling from kindergarten and has been a Saxon math girl since!! She LOVES math, though this could be learning styles playing out as well. The neighbor girl that we help went from a failing grade in public school to now loving math, passing with an "A' and truly "getting it!" A transformation in her is exciting to watch!

Any other helpful hints:
Think there are not enough repeat problems of the new concept? Be patient! Take the time to go through a whole year of a certain textbook with Saxon and just watch how much your child will retain. You'll see just how much is repeated in this program. With this approach - spiral? - you will not even realize how much you'll be retaining in math skills. I now even do a daily lesson and it is great to be able to learn right along side my daughter and truly "get it!" Be patient, there is repetition.

Older used books/mix-match sets: Don't bother getting an older book that has no lesson # in the paranthesis to direct you back to where the actual problem concept was originally taught. This is a most excellent tool in the newer editions of Saxon math up to 8/7 I believe -brilliant!! I made the mistake with my first daughter to go cheap and purchased mix and match books + answers!! Don't do it!! Save yourself the time and tears!! Get the current Textbook.

Solutions Manual: Get this, you won't regret it!! It is different from the answers booklet, so don't be confused. It breaks the problems down step by step.

D.I.V.E. : We also use D.I.V.E. CD Rom to teach the lesson, which is extremely helpful if your child is coming from a public school enviroment where they are used to someone teaching them the concept. However, I've watched our neighbor read through the new lesson concept on her own now, and truly "get it!"

Another helpful hint; I do not allow my daughter or neighbor to ask me for help if they haven't first gone back to the original lesson (lesson # in paranthesis) where they taught the concept in question. I am teaching them to be self-learners and do not want them to rely on someone all the time to hand over the how-to's. I am not their "google" answer girl. Sounds tough, I know. But this is where real life skills are learned -tackling it on your own. They know this, and 99% of the time they never ask me because they have dug into the text themselves to learn it on their own. They also help the other one if the other one doesn't "get it" after reviewing the lesson concept in question. To teach it to someone else only drives home the concept further. Saxon gives all the tools for students to do math on their own. I thoroughly believe in this math program. It has transformed our math mindedness, but it isn't always easy. This program seems to be above -in scope and sequence -all the all other math programs out there. If you have a child who will pursue college for anything that needs math skills, they will kiss you for life for staying with this program! Hope this helps!!

Christy Fiegener
Review left April 30, 2008
Grades: Grades 4 through 12

My mom used the original Saxon Math curriculum for me and all of my siblings (13 total) starting us around 2nd to 6th grade levels (different grades for different ones of us) all the way through high school level. I am now a medical doctor as well as five of my other siblings, and doing well - I attribute much of my success to the Saxon Math curriculum.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: I always found the incremental approach to be highly valuable, and found that lessons did indeed build on prior lessons. The constant review of material was in no way boring, but actually was the part of the question set that I looked forward to the most each day, because I constantly got better at those subjects. Also, as the student, the highly reviewed material was the fastest portion to complete. I found that the word questions were quite relevant to daily situations (though sometimes a bit imaginary). The repetitive drills certainly did build the ability to remember various types of math and approaches even long after finishing high school.

Any other helpful hints:
Changes have been made in the texts since the curriculum was sold to a different publisher ca. 2004. I have not had time to thoroughly compare the new texts, but would recommend the original texts as an excellent home school math source.

P. Spencer
Review left April 28, 2008
Grade: ?
Time: 3 years

Your situation:
Homeschooling 4th and 6th graders. Were in private school since pre-school using Saxon. Then 4th grader switched over to Houghton Mifflin Math at beginning of 4th grade before I took them out of school. I continued using Saxon with 6th grader and Houghton Mifflin with 4th grader. I've always been happy with Saxon until I started homeschooling my children. My 4th grader (Houghton Mifflin) is learning concepts my 6th grader (Saxon) hasn't learned. I've actually had my 4th grader to help my 6th grader with a concept. That says it all. This shouldn't be. My 6th grader was always good at math. He's behind now. I'm definitely switching him from Saxon for 7th grade.

I don't like the fact that they don't give enough practice problems for the new concepts. The chapters don't build upon each other. There aren't enough word problems.

Just know that using this curriculum is not the best choice for those who are interested in their children learning how to apply their math to life situations. Yes, you can supplement by using other programs alongside Saxon, but why do that when you can use a curriculum that has it all set up for you.

Review left April 6, 2008
Grade: 5/4
Time: varies

Your situation: Homeschool

This book is BORING. My daughter LOVED doing her schoolwork until we started using this book. Now she DREADs math.

I myself LOVED math and this curriculum put me to sleep. I couldn't imagine being a child and having to go through this day after day.

The assignments are WAY too long. She was sitting at the table for 2+ hours doing all the work. I started to notice the book uses the same problems over and over and over again. While I understand they want to ensure comprehension it gets really really old. I started to go through the problems myself and pick and choose the ones I felt my child needed to work on. This becomes ridiculous after a while.

It would be nice if the new concept had MORE problems and review had less. Instead the curriculum gives you maybe 4-5 concept problems if that. Then gives you random concepts from lessons previously.

There is also NO LOGICAL sequencing. We did the division with remainder, but then it's interrupted by geometry. Huh?? Multiplication concepts are interrupted over and over with other concepts. Huh?? In my opinion you should teach single digit multiplication, then double digit, etc. Stick with one topic until it's mastered and then move on. In public school (when I was kid) we always had units. We didn't learn multiplication in the middle of Geometry.

Review left April 2, 2008
Grade: ??
Time: varies

I am a homeschooling mom of 5, ranging from PK to 8th grade.

I do not like the Saxon books. The material is presented in a choppy manner. Not enough practice is given on the new material introduced in each lesson (about 5 problems at most). I have come to the point where I am supplementing each lesson with materials from other sources (Math Mammoth, Geoboards, and Math Resource Studio). I will definitely not be purchasing any more Saxon Math.

I chose Saxon Math because "it was a favorite among homeschoolers" and I was new to homeschooling. As someone with a very strong math background I feel the spiral approach taken by Saxon does not lead to a mastery of mathematics. I would urge others to do more research on other math curriculums currently available. I am now in the process of researching Miquon, MathUSee, Foerster's and MCP.

Review left March 31, 2008
Grade: Saxon 5/4
Time: 7 months

OK, I really wanted to love this curriculum- I really did. We tried Horizons for our son, as he had come from public school and was in the gifted program there. It wasn't a great fit for him as it didn't have enough instructions and examples. So on to Saxon we went after numerous RAVES about the program.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: First, what I liked: I really like the explanations of the new material and the examples, as well as the mental math section.

What we don't like: My son officially now HATES math. He cries over his assignments, even if I cut it to evens or odds. He says there just aren't enough practice problems before they move on to the next topic. I would have to agree. The introduction of new topics doesn't seem to follow any logical progression. The lesson from yesterday bares no relevance to today's geometry lesson. It skips all over. We'll finish the year with this somehow, but it'll require some creativity to keep my son from dreading math everyday.

Any other helpful hints:
My advice- Be careful with this program. It's much higher than what my son was doing in public school (don't get me started on that!), but that also means almost everything this year was brand new to him. If your child is above grade level in math and grasps new concepts quickly, this might work.

Jennie Snith
Review left March 6, 2008
Grade: Math 87
Time: 6 months

We homeschooled for several years but now have two sons in a top-notch Christian school. Our youngest went from the Abeka curriculum to the Saxon this year. I reviewed the book over the summer to assist him in the transition.

My first thought in examining the table of contents was that the approach was convoluted and non-sensical. Nothing seemed to build on earlier concepts and the structure was incoherent. The book's presentation is pedantic and cumbersome. When I saw the introduction of "types" of word problems, I knew this would be trouble. This became yet another way for a teacher to mark a correct answer as incorrect, something that takes place all too often in this school. The concept is confusing and unnecessary. We had used Saxon in homeschooling and thought it a good curriculum, but I don't remember seeing the Math 87 book before. This is not an improvement over Abeka. It looks like someone had to come up with a new idea for a Master's thesis or Doctoral dissertation. Place this one alongside the numerous educational "improvements" whereby highly-educated morons continue to try to fix something that was not broken in the first place.

Any other helpful hints:
If you really WANT to use this, at least focus on what's important:
1) Make sure learning is an enjoyable experience
2) Teach concepts and not just procedures
3) Eliminate unnecessary steps if they aren't helpful to your student

Scott Arnold
Time: 6 years

I have homeschooled my son for years with his math being mainly in Saxon. I thought it may be his ticket to doing well in college math, but that has not been the case at all. He is taking College Algebra this year & it has absolutely not taught him to think about how concepts are to be applied at all. It is very disappointing & what a waste of time and effort. He does get extra help at the college so he is able to get through it only because of that. He also had Jacob's Geometry in high school which he said was a great help to him now.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: I will not use any Saxon Math with my younger children at all. I am currently searching for a different program that will teach them the concepts AND be able to apply what they learn in real world situations and other subjects. Just because your child can pass a test (and mine did) does not mean they can apply what they learned at all.

Lisa Vann
Time: 5 years

I began using saxon math with my sons when they were in preschool.
Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: Saxon's incremental approach is wonderful. Each concept is mastered through excellent explanations, and continuous repetition. Each lesson covers a new concept or two, and includes a mixed practice -- where the entire book is reviewed.

Any other helpful hints:
I found that we brrezed through K-3rd. Even in the higher levels, I have found that my sons are better challenged when we combine two or three lesson's "new concepts" and do one full "mixed practice" each day.

I know my sons are very bright, but I also give recognition to Saxon, and how well they have laid out their program. My sons find themselves capable of handling any math problem easily because of Saxon's awesome incremental approach.

They have been given the vital building blocks, have been gently drilled with concepts until they are second nature to them, and their confidence in math is ever blossoming.

Math is a favorite subject in our home, thanks greatly to Saxon!

Amanda D
Grade levels used: Saxon 54, 65, 76 & Algebra I
Time: 4 years

Your situation:
I have homeschooled my 12 year old son for 3 years and my then 14 yr old nephew in Algebra for a year.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: We use the Robinson Curriculum and the approach that lessons are to be self-taught. When we first started my son had a hard time grasping the concept that HE was responsible and capable of reading and thinking about the problems himself. After he realized that I would not help him (despite quite a few temper tantrums) and would only calmly make him reread the introduction, he finally grasped it. Sometimes, to this day he'll tell me "I can't do this problem" and it's always, always, always because he "skipped" the opening. His test scores are usually 80 and above and he "gets it"

Any other helpful hints:
We have found that the best review of tests problems missed is a rework of that problem area and rework of the problem missed for partial credit. Also, I have heard the criticism of "boredom" many times. I have the cure and it's easy and sometimes amusing for the parents. If a child starts really flying through his work, just double or triple the daily assignments. I used this method as an incentive for my child and he breezed through 5 & 6th grade in one year in all subjects. Now he is on level with children his age and ability and not "bored" anymore but challenged.

Michele Smith
Time: 1-2 months

Your situation:
I have homeschooled my kids from birth. My oldest is 8.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: I don't like Saxon and would not recommend it to anyone with younger kids. There is WAY too much unnecessary information. Even those who recommended it to me told me to only use certain books (if you purchase the entire set for one year plus any manipulatives it would be very expensive). I didn't like the way the lessons were formatted like reading a two page script that repeated itself every day with little variation. It ended up being more work to weed out the unnecessary information than it was to actually teach the concept! The kids got bored and I got frustrated with it to the point that we decided to just wing it for the rest of the year.

Any other helpful hints:
KEEP LOOKING...I've heard some really good things about "Right Start" if you have younger kids.

Laura Winkler
Grade: Saxon K, 1
Time: 2 years

I have homeschooled for 2 years, and will be starting my 5 year old also this fall. I used the Saxon, but didn't have time for the VERY tedious teacher explanation for each day. The program is set up where the student cannot do a lesson on his own. I babysit my niece full time, so I have limited time for reading a lot of "teacher prep" for each lesson. I am looking into different math programs for this year, but am not sure which I will choose. I am considering "A beka books -abeka" and Math-U-See

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: I don't like the lengthy teacher prep readings for each lesson. I don't like that the lesson is not self explanatory at all. BUT I did like that the math was very thorough and complete.

Grade: Saxon 54
Time: 8 months

My 1st grade son has always been very good at math. He goes to 2nd grade for math, but even that is too easy for him. After going round and round with the school about getting him appropriate instruction in math I finally decided I would supplement his instruction myself. We chose Saxon math because my wife was familiar with it from teaching special education. I chose Saxon 54 because that seemed (by my review) to be on a level that my son could understand, but would still be challenging.

The 2 things I like most about Saxon math are:

1) concepts are presented incrementally (in small, easily digested chunks).
2) the lessons are set up so there is constant review of all previously learned material. This way the math is really learned and internalized.

My son loves the program - he does about one lesson a day (on average). He works mostly independently. About half the time I need to help him with the new concept and after he completes the practice questions and problem set I look over his work and help as needed.

My son likes that the program is challenging for him, but I will also say that he finds a certain "comfort" in the fact that most of the problems are review. He, like most of us, enjoys being successful and the review problems foster that successful feeling at the same time that they cement his knowledge.

I will say that I know he would be bored with the Saxon 1 or 2 (or even 3) books that are in line with his age. I noticed that an earlier commenter noted that there was a lot of repitition in successive math books (54 to 65 to 76). Looking ahead to further books, I noticed the same thing. Therefore, I am thinking that I will skip the 65 book and go to 76.

I also supplement the Saxon math with kind of ad hoc enquiries (I'm kind of a math nerd, so I enjoy that kind of thing).

Any other helpful hints:
Make sure to choose an appropriately challenging level for your child. It helps very much to be comfortable with the math yourself so that you can explain it in various ways to your child, if the book's explanations are not getting through. Supplement the material with interesting math applications, puzzles, etc.

x Eric VanArsdall
Run from this curriculum. This is no less than a return to blab school. THere is no attempt to get an understanding of the basic concepts, and transfer them to other problems. It is not at all engaging. In one short year, my daughter has gone from math enthusiast to math hater...

There is not enough concept teaching. This is a drill book for teachers, teaching out of their core competency. Poorly designed for both interest and content.

Stephen Keyser
Grade: Saxon 7/6 and Algebra I
Time: 1 year

I am homeschooling my two children this year for the first time and love it! We chose Saxon simply on the word of two friends who had homeschooled before.

We do not like the Saxon Math. There are not enough problems for each new concept. I appreciate the review but more problems covering the new concept introduced are needed. Some of the lessons in the 7/6 book do have extra practice in the back of the book but not all of them. The Algebra I book has no extra work anywhere in the book. I have also found that my solutions manuals don't have all the steps in the answers laid out. Many of the answers are simply that - answers. We often times need to see it step by step to see where we went wrong. My kids are very smart and actually have tested out higher in math than their actual grade level but we are struggling through this cirriculum. My kids no longer like math. I will be changing curriculum next term.

Any other helpful hints:
Make sure that your kids don't need more than 5 -8 problems to get a new concept because that is all you are going to get per lesson. Don't go just on the word of others - look at it and throughly go through it yourself before purchasing it. Kids learn differently. Be sensitive to your child's learning style.

Nikki Bracewell
Grade: math 76/87/Algebra1/2/Trig
Time: since 5th gr til graduation

I'm a product of Saxon math books. I started with math 76 and finished with the green trig book.

First, in answer to the post claiming that the solutions manual does not have the steps but just the answers: that is incorrect! Whoever posted that comment was using the study packet that yes, has just answers. The real solutions manuals all do go through the steps. Make sure you know which one you are buying/using. I LOVE Saxon math books. They teach in steps that are very hard to forget by the time you graduate. I have always done excellent in math since I started the program. It is set up so that each lesson is partly reviewed in the consecutive lessons- thus a constant review and the most effective way to learn. It may be difficult for someone who has learned in bulk previous but I wouldn't let that get in the way of someone starting with Saxon. Better late than never. By learning in bulk I mean that one kind of problem is discussed in each lesson in other books. Those problems are rarely ever seen again in other books which makes the student prone to forgetting how to do those specific problems if confronted by them again in later stages of learning. I swear by Saxon and you would too if you felt as confident about your math knowledge and have recieved as much complements about your math performance from professors as I have.

Any other helpful hints:
If homeschooling, I suggest that if giving test A, give test B as a practice test to be worked out by the student. (or vice-versa) It helps solidify the knowledge and increase the students confidence, plus motivates the student to study for the test. If you are using saxon in school and the class is going too slow for you, I suggest occupying yourself in class with the next lessons work. Go as fast as you please- don't let the class hold you back.

Time: Since 2003 (through Jan 2007)

I have used this curriculum for the past few years and have found it to work well for our family.

I like that it teaches new things, and keeps up that skill throughout the book, instead of learning, using, and forgetting.

I have my boys do a drill daily, and a lesson daily. Though I don't make them do all the questions in the daily lesson. I just focus on the parts that need some extra practice, review, etc. Of about 25 - 30 of the daily lesson questions, I have them do about 15 - 20 of them (give or take).

Grade: Algebra 1
Time: 4 years / 2 kids

Your situation:
I homeschooled for 6 years, then sent my kids to Christian School.

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: My son used Abeka math until he entered 4th grade at the Christian school. When he tested as a 3rd-grade homeschooler, he scored 10th grade in math (at 8 years old!!). When I looked over his Saxon math that the school used, it was like his first grade Abeka book--his still-homeschooled sister was doin the same things and had actually moved past what he was "learning". When my daughter was homeschooled, she zoomed through Abeka first and second grade books. When she got to school and had to use Saxon in 4th grade, she stopped. She is now failing math and hates it. I find the books too confusing to even help her with her homework, and my now 7th-grade son says it is too easy. I do not understand all these unnecessary patterns and the changing of names for things. Why can't it just be "this plus this equals this"? Why do they call it "some-some more pattern"? I have a college degree and graduated Magna Cum Laude, but I have a hard time helping my 4th grader with her math. I really hate the book, and have talked to the principal, but they are totally for it. How can I explain my once awesome math student that is now failing math? Next year, I am probably going to homeschool her again just because of the math curriculum. And when my other brilliant daughter gets into 4th grade, I may just have to pull her out of school to so that she will continue to be brilliant in math and not start failing it.

Any other helpful hints:
Don't do it. There are so many other better curriculum out there. Don't bring this aggravation into your lives.

Christine Davis
Grade: Algebra 1
Time: 1 year

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: Examples left steps out. Saxon was published for public schools so assumes the teacher has a math degree.More practice problems at back of book would be nice. The solutions book doesn't have the steps for each answer, only the answers.

Saxon vs. Jacobs
Time: 4 years

I used Saxon with my two older girls who are now struggling and terrified of college math; despite high test scores on entry. On the other hand, my fourth grade daughter is DEVOURING math using Mathematics; a Human Endeavor

Saxon did what is was supposed to do. Make sure my girls stayed abreast of other schoolers and pass tests, but when it came to knowing why or when to use the knowledge it is a complete mystery. I recently discovered and sent my college students Harold Jacobs books, and my eldest is seriously considering adding another two years to her degree! She had quit because she had four more classes of math to go through and froze.

Saxon has it's place. I use it when I want my daughter to use some time on her own. Drill, drill, drill - but it's not at the core of our math curriculum. This may be the last year I use it at all.

Tess Petigru
Time: 2 years

My son is in 4th grade at a very small school that switched to Saxon math two years ago. The class is very bright -- many have been homeschooled thru the years. The kids are hungry for more interesting math.

The at the beginning of the 4th grade text are very tedious for my son -- he used to love math and now he hates it because he finds it very boring to go over problems that are similar to what he did in 2nd grade. He also makes some careless errors (ie. 7+8=16) because he is not at all interested.

I find the beginning way too elementary and repetitive. When my son is challenged, he's excited to learn, works carefully, and can't get enough. When he has to repeat over and over things he already knows, he becomes careless and lethargic.

I reviewed the text and it doesn't get to basic multiplication until over 1/2 way thru the book.

I would hope there was some way to challenge the kids while still using the Saxon program.

Caterina Petrucco
Grade: Algebra 1
Time: 6 months

I'm helping a family with high school level math. The mother had pieced together math up until she asked for help with Algebra. They didn't have the best foundation, but Saxon proved to be overwhelming even for me (and I've done college Calculus).

Why you liked or didn't like the curriculum: Saxon Algebra does not practice enough. I understand the point of putting cumulative review in every lesson, but the kids had no way to practice the new concepts to gain understanding. There were very few problems dealing with the new lesson. Unless a student is very bright and loves the challenge of 20 or more various problems just for the sake of working them, there's no way he'd remotely like this book. I had three otherwise bright students and their outlook on math soured greatly by trying to drudge through sometimes only 1 lesson in a week. We switched to Bob Jones and after a month, they were performing much better and they even looked forward to math class. Saxon put new concepts in the middle of complex problems that they didn't understand because the previous lesson only gave them a small handful of problems to practice. It was just drudgery.

Any other helpful hints:
If the child does not really enjoy the challenge of a complex problem, do not even try to get them to enjoy Saxon's approach. For students who don't care much about learning math, it will frustrate them to no end. Most would probably shove the book away and proclaim, "it's just too hard." It really can be presented more clearly for students who don't have a real confidence about their skills yet.

Jessica H.
I received the K book today and find that it seems very basic as other reviewers have mentioned. It seems to be written at a 3.5-4 year old level-I agree with the other reviewers that it is too simple for my 5.5 year old. I probably will do some of the lessons--but I may use Grade 1 as I noticed many concepts in the K are repeated in Grade 1 and Grade 2.

I liked the way the book was laid out but the concepts in both K and Grade 2 seemed too easy and repeated too much.

i think I would move at a faster pace, or start a child who is 5.5 and older at the grade 1 book as it seems to be comparable to K programs in other popular curriculums. My Grade 2 student will move faster and start the saxon 3 in mid year as she has already learned many math facts/ drills at a private school.

Time: 9 years

I am a fourth grade teacher and have used the Saxon math program for about 9 years. The first year I used the 54 book and then went to the manipulative program.

I found the 54 book somewhat dull and difficult for students who need to handle, count, move, etc. The manipulative program works well. You can get your own tools but you need the worksheets that go with the program. I also supplement with plenty of problem solving which is somewhat lacking in the program.

K. Halloran
Grade levels used:1st grade, Algebra 1/2-Advanced
Time: 4 years

I have a daughter currently in 3rd grade and tutor High School math for homeschoolers.

I love the HS Saxons, because concepts are broken up into bite size chunks that are easily digestable by kids on their own at home. Scheduling is also easy because the kids do 4 lessons and one test a week. No curriculum is going to be perfect for everyone, but I've seen in the past 3 years of tutoring this program that kids who do the homework and stay motivated do have an excellent math education. Having said that, I tried Saxon 1st grade with my daughter (knowing that I am going to use the HS books with her) and it was miserable. There was way too much bouncing around to various concepts and the manipulatives were impossible to drag out and put back everday - no two days used the same ones. Also, I think it moves to slowly. We switched to Horizons math. The books are in color, there are built in "games", and it moves quicker. There also will be a seamless switch from Horizons 6 to either Saxon Algebra 1/2 or Algebra 1, depending on how "math smart" the child is. So to sum it up, High School Saxon - highly recommend and Elementary Saxon - don't.

Grade levels used:7th
Time: only 2 weeks

We were floundering in math and the concepts of Math. Language arts is our strong suit but my son was beginning to feel he could never do math.

We have used Math U see which was really effective when he was younger but was tooooo slow paced as he became older. Then we switched to Swithced on School house Math which was not detailed enough in the directions and very fast paced with very little repetition to seal a concept. This past year we picked out a math by Walch publishers called "Middle School Math you really need to know" along side a fractions math book. Both are great work books but neither started from the ground to build the foundation of understanding.

The First Lesson... a light bulb went off in my son's head and he had an understanding from the first concept. He told me yesterday that he is finally feeling smart in Math. I told him... he was all along... the issue was not his intelligence the issue was the presentation which I was failing at miserably. Thanks to Saxon Math, my son is feeling more Math accomplished with fuller understanding of the operations of arithmatic.

If you have a hard time speaking math to your child, Saxon Math has the solution. It explains in simple form and very concrete each new concept. It is repetative and anyone who has children know that they learn through repetition. We highly recommend this series to those who know how to do the math but have a hard time speaking math language...

The other curriculums would have probably been great for someone who had more math language ability, which is not me. So... I am excited to have a math that is easy to comprehend and a math that speaks in a way that my son can understand. A math that will build in a way that makes my son feel better about math.

Patti Parnell
Grade levels used:3rd
Time: 1 year

I used Saxon 3 with my son who was having major problems remembering his math facts. He had serious learning problems in reading as well.

Saxon 3 was perfect for my son, because it did so much review, although, this might be boring for the average child. I like the meeting book where he recorded the date and temperature and reviewed skip counting and time.

To cover everything each day, we would have needed an hour and a half, at least, because my son was so slow. It takes lots of teacher involvement, if used correctly. This would not be good for independent learning.

Dorie Nealon
Grade levels used:8th
Edition: Algebra 1/2

This book is great, I have used it, and boy is it great. I was taught things that I never would have known without this book. At first, in school I struggled, but when I got this book, evething became clear. This book makes everthing easy to understand for an Eighth Grader and it really work. I recommend that all homeschoolers should use it. It really works.

Kevin Van Hooser
Grade levels used:2nd, 4th, 5th
Edition: Saxon 2, 54, and 65

This first time I looked at Saxon Math I felt so discouraged that I thought I would never be able to teach math. My first impression is that it jumped around too much and looked so boring! So I stuck with Abeka because that is what my daughter had done in school. Half-way thru the 1st semester we were both ready to tear our hair out. I borrowed a Saxon book and this time I really read through it. I felt like a moron. I had misjudged this curriculum. Math is not my strong point and with Saxon I was finally understanding why certain concepts worked. I have had no problem teaching Saxon and My children like it so much better than Abeka
My oldest daughter's test score went from Average on her SATs to Above Average.

Grade levels used: 5
Edition: 6/5
Time: 2005-2006

I love! I've always loved math but know i like it even more because it really explains the problem and tells you things so that you can remember the things better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Grade levels used: 1st
Time: Aug-Nov

I am a first grade teacher in the public school system. However, I was interested to see what others thought about Saxon math. It is my district's adopted math program, but I have found that it is not effective in keeping student interest. The students are unable to do any independent work because they cannot read all of the instructions themselves, therefore they become frustrated and slowed down. The worksheets are boring and the activities are unrealistic to prepare daily for 20+ students. Although the material covered is excellent, I have resorted to making many of my own skill sheets and my own methods of instruction because my students are REALLY bored with this math program. I do not want my first graders to already dislike math! So, I am desperate to find other methods that they will enjoy, while still covering the same order of topics that Saxon covers.

Grade levels used: 5th
Time: 1 year

For my daughter it was just too much! We went from workbook to text book and talk about a drudgery! We even just did half of the problems on the pages. Maybe I'm too much of a softy...but I would really like her to enjoy math.?

Grade levels used: 1-4
Grade levels used: Algebra 1

I loved this book!! Growing up I've always done Saxon math, and math has always been my favorite subject. way to go Saxon!!

Josh Thomas
Grade levels used: 4th
Edition: 5/4
Time: 1 year

We are finishing up Saxon 5/4 this summer, and although I enjoy the structure of this program, my 10 yo seems to like more colorful workbooks we have around the house. He also like math games on the computer. Maybe it's a learning style vs. my teaching style. I would love to continue with 6/5 because it seems that many students have achieved success with this program. My step-son just seems to need more visual and "hands-on" opportunities than Saxon offers. I may use Saxon as a base and supplement with lots of practical games (by taking him to our music store and exploring real-life math use). Overall, I think it's a very structured, methodical text that would prove beneficial to the organized student.

D. Heath
Grade levels used: Algebra
Grade levels used: 5/4
Time: about 2 years

My daughter started using Saxon 54 when she was 11, after struggling with maths for years. she was good at rote learning of tables, but didn't really understand 'how' maths worked. For example, she knew that 8 x 5 = 40, but if you said there were 8 cars with 5 people in each, she couldn't work out the answer. Saxon maths showed her how to understand a problem and translate it to numbers and therefore answers. It took her a while to get used to the different style (we were using ACE) but she is now powering through Saxon 65. The beauty of Saxon is that it teaches concepts in words, not just figures, uses everyday language, and doesn't let concepts get old and forgotten.

Grade levels used: 10th, 11th, 12th
Time: 6 months

I teach Saxon Algebra 2. My students had another teacher last year in Algebra 2. Some completed through Lesson 60. At the beginning of this year, they could not answer one question from Lesson 2 on. I started again with Lesson 1. They still do not understand most lessons. Some lessons will give only 1 practice problem for that lesson, the next lesson might have 4 practice problems from that lesson. I spent many extra hours making up practice problems for them. Most of the students have expressed that they are happy to have finally learned the problems. I have tried following Saxon's way of teaching. They have yet to pass a test! My students tried the lesson a day thing for three years..Math 87, Algebra 1, and half of Algebra 2. The first six weeks of school we reviewed Math 87... What a waste!

Teacher in Texas
Grade levels used: 4-5

Our school district tracks students into 4 levels of math, level 1 being the 'lowest' and level 4 being the most challenging.

My son has been in level 3 since 3rd grade. Although he has no learning problems and scores well on state-wide assessments, he failed the last two of six Unit Tests in 4th grade.

When I tried to teach him the material he didn't understand over the summer, using the school textbook (SRA MATHEMATICS) I found I couldn't do it. The material didn't make sense to me, either.

At that point I researched math curricula and quickly discovered Saxon Math. Six months later we are 15 lessons shy of completing all 135 lessons in Saxon 6/5, he is earning straight A's in 5th grade math, and he has just been bumped up to Level 4. (We are midway through the school year.)

We owe all of this to Saxon Math. It is a terrific curriculum, and does an excellent job of teaching math conceptually as well as procedurally. The only topic that 'failed' for us at the conceptual level is dividing fractions by fractions, a topic that seems to 'fail' for most students and teachers conceptually. Saxon provides an algebraic demonstration of why it is you multiply by the reciprocal, but it's too short, and simply too abstract and demanding to absorb. (I've now read Liping Ma's book, and am working my way through Parker and Baldridge's textbook for teaching SINGAPORE MATH. As I increase my own understanding of fraction division I'll reteach the subject to my son.)

We're also a bit weak on the multiplication of fractions. I'm not sure either my son or I could give a solid answer as to why the procedure for multiplying fractions is to multiply numerators and denominators.

However, Saxon did an excellent job of explaining to us at a conceptual level why the answer to 1/2 x 1/2 is 1/4. (What we don't understand is why, exactly, the algorithm is set up as it is.)

Saxon Math is almost teacher-proof. It's incredible.

I have become fascinated with the subject of elementary math and have worked hard to gain conceptual understanding myself, and to share it with my son. So I've done some supplementing of the text.

However, I didn't have to do it. These texts stand on their own.

Catherine J.
Grade levels used: 4-5

I recommend this curriculum for the bright child that is also a quick learner. It introduces new topic everyday and give plenty of extra practice on the old topics. This is helpful so the child does not forget what they learned early in the year. However I would no recommend it for a child who is struggling, at least not the books at grade level. Abeka seems to be ahead of the game in most cases. One of my daughters did well in Abeka 4, while my other daughter didn't. I switch to Saxson, which work just great because they seem to take it slower and its just what my second daughter need. I worked so well for her that I thought about switching my first daughter to Saxon aswell, but when I started reviewing the material for the Saxon 65, I realized that it was everything she has already don in the Abeka 4. Well needless to say, one of them is doing Abeka while the other one is doing Saxon,
I hope this helps.
Grade levels used: Saxon Math 7/6
Time: 2 months

This book is great, but the answer key is expencive. my son lost the answer key, and i dont want to buy a new one. is there a website that will have them. if you find any please e-mail me at ([email protected]) and newdick is my last name. Thanks Austin Newdick.
Grade levels used: 6 - Saxon Math 76
Time: all year

Saxon math is sometimes hard to understand. I have had troubles with many problems. sometimes the going back to the lesson doesen't help with the certain problem.


Grade levels used: Elementary/Middle - Saxon Math 76
Time: many years

My son switched to Saxon math in 6th grade and is now in Algebra I in 8th grade. He has done very well and my husband (who teaches this subject) and my son very much enjoy the way it is taught.

My daughter is having trouble in Saxon 76. She switched from Abeka this year. She is like me and doesn't 'think math' like the guys in our family do. I'm wondering if it depends on an individual's way of thinking.

Some friends have said that Saxon lacks the critical thinking math part. We supplement with Critical thinking math books. Overall we like Saxon.

Diane S.

Grade levels used: 4 - Math 54
Time: 7 yrs.

I have been teaching for over 25 years in a public school. I have been teaching Saxon 54 since 1997. Our school scores are over 840, and we are in the top 90% of schools in California. Our students love the program. I do add to each lesson giving my personal touch...which all good teachers do. In Fourth Grade, our top students go into Book 54 and Book 65, while our average and below average students are in Book 54 only. In Fifth Grade, the top students go into book 76, while the average and below stay in Book 65.

Mike Smart
Grade levels used: 5th - 11th, Saxon 56; Saxon 65, Algebra 1/2
Time: 6+ yrs.

I found all the Saxon math books challenging and easy to follow! I homeschooled two sons who eventually re-entered the traditional schools. They placed in the top 5% when testing into math classes! They both attribute their success to the Saxon math. I am again homeschooling two daughters (ages 6 and 7) and will again use the Saxon program! This program allows you to tailor the math work according the needs of your child!

Carol Gulick

Grade levels used: Math 65 - Algebra 2
Time: 6+ yrs.

I became familiar with Saxon Math at Hawkins ISD, in Hawkins TX. Some of the teachers I respected most as truly gifted teachers were instrumental in getting the Saxon Math program implemented. A few years later I ended up home-schooling my children. I am grateful for the first hand knowledge of Saxon Math. The program is put together in such a way that it is possible to give your student a math program tailor made for them. Saxon and *Teaching Tape Technology, produce an abundance of resources including: student text books, answer key, test booklets, teacher editions, solution manuals, as well as CD ROMs and *video lessons. With all of this valuable, helpful material available it is within everyone's ability to receive an excellent math education. I continue to highly recommend Saxon Math! 

Heidi Newcomb 
Grade levels used: 4th
Time: 4 months

Dull, mind numbing math work. The work can put anyone to sleep. Facts are introduced one at a time and used very little in the chapter in which they are introduced. There is very little in the way of showing a child how all these number fact can be used in the real work. I love math but this book would definintely end that love.
The busy work and repetition can quickly kill any hope of learning. This is definitely a school book.

Grade levels used: Saxon Math 65, 7th grade
Time: 8 months

Great book for kids who need extra help. Goes step to step.

Cody Adams

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