11 February 2017
Day 28 / 106 - Saxon Algebra I
This year, my son is learning and mastering higher-level mathematics. Some days, I help him learn. Some days, he teaches me.
If you know me, you know that my advice to homeschoolers of young children has always been -- Do math. Play outside. Read books. That's the entire school day. As we journey through the high school years, my advice remains quite similar -- Do even more math. Play outside. Read more books [including quality Literature as well as Science and History books]. I'm learning how to write transcripts and navigate the college admission process. I feel that we are becoming well-versed in the collegiate standardized test process. With all this new information, I still believe one subject needs to be emphasized more than the others. Math.
If you have followed me on this homeschool journey, you know I firmly believe in not using a Math curriculum until children are older [middle school age]. Someday, when I have spare time, I'm going to combine all my math posts into one linkable page and present a nice resource of the variety of non-textbook math activities I've completed with my children throughout the years. However, as children age and more advanced concepts are required from them, a textbook is needed. For our high school math journey, we've settled on Saxon. [As of today, February 11th, my son has completed 64 of the 120 lessons in Algebra I. Again, if you know me, this is cause for celebration.]
Saxon is difficult. Yet, I'm encouraged to press on with the curriculum because of a few recent discoveries.
First, because it is a full curriculum, after finishing Saxon Algebra I and Algebra II, students have mastered concepts in Algebra, Advanced Algebra, Analytical Geometry, and Basic Trigonometry. If you are familiar with the transcript process, I just listed four math courses from two books. There is great freedom here. Because math comes easy for my son, he will probably journey well-beyond Saxon Algebra II. But, for my daughter, I am confident in allowing her four years to complete two math textbooks which will rightfully earn her four high school math credits.
I have a new friend who was once a higher-level math teacher at a local elite private school before deciding to homeschool her children. She reassures me that the Saxon curriculum is rich, and the material is more advanced than what is taught in high school today. If students master the concepts presented in the Saxon tests, they are well on their way to math success.
Second, we have entered the world of collegiate standardized testing. Our son has begun to prep for the PSAT, SAT, and ACT. [My husband and I have actually gained quite a bit of knowledge of these tests over the past several months.] What I am discovering is that the lessons from Saxon Algebra are more than preparing him for the math sections of these tests. In fact, there are several concepts he has already learned in Algebra I that are beyond the math knowledge needed for any of these tests. This is reassuring to us. A recent conversation with a new colleague confirmed this truth. This homeschooling mother shared with me that she never went beyond Saxon Algebra I with either of her children. However, during their high school years, she made it a priority to complete every single problem in the Algebra I text. Both her children scored over a 650 on the Math section of their SAT. They were accepted into their colleges of choice with scholarship money.