View Full Version : Math Question

02-25-2006, 06:08 PM
I am thinking of switching my dd, who is almost 9 and in 4th grade, to Math-U-See next year, but not sure if that would work. We have never used it. She and my 7th grade ds have been using the LifePac Math, but we're all ready for a change.

Anybody know some good math (not Saxon, been there, done that, it doesn't really suit us) to switch to for next year? My ds will be in 8th grade and my dd will be in 5th grade next year.

Thanks for any thoughts/ideas on this!

02-25-2006, 08:12 PM
Hummmm not there yet...never used it but....gut shouts....try Saxon again at 7th grade level. Most ps high school programs use Saxon because it goes through all the stuff, pre-algrebra, algrebra, etc....

What I know of Math U See is lot's of repetition and staying on the same thing for a while before moving on. For us....that shouts RUN because my son would get bored with it.

We use Calvert math and yes it is pricey but...I truly love it and it works so...I fork out the bucks. :wink:

You could look into Macmillian math for your 4th grader http://www.mhschool.com/math/2003/student/level2.php?isbn=0021040052&level1=10

02-25-2006, 08:13 PM

Is LifePac on grade level or advanced? We are using Scott Foresman and I feel the work is somewhat advanced compared to traditional grade level. I like it. We used Horizons Math for first and second grade, but I felt something was lacking. It didn't have enough examples or explanations in the workbooks. Scott Foresman does. There is no need, in my opinion, to purchase a teacher's manual when you purchase from them. There is plenty of practice, but not too much. If a child doesn't get something then there are "reteaching" pages. There are review pages frequently and chapter and unit tests. Anyway, we are happy with SF. You may want to check them out.

Ohio Mom
02-25-2006, 09:11 PM
Deena, I was also looking for a new math curriculum. A friend of mine uses Math-U-See. She recommended it. She gave me a DVD and the books to check it out. I watched a couple of the classes and I thought it looked very good. He explains the concepts very well. My gs will be in 6th grade and as far as algebra goes, I only had Pre-Algebra and it's been a long time. I need a curriculum that explains it very well because I will not be able to. Anyone else use Math-U-See?

02-25-2006, 10:03 PM
I've been told my HS'ing friends that you DON'T want Saxon when it comes to the higher maths. I'm using Merrill's pre-algebra with Rachael this year, and it's going very well. It's one DH had from when he taught math. I don't know WHAT I'm going next year...the Algebra book he has I can't work with AT ALL!

02-26-2006, 06:12 AM
Whenever I hear negative comments about Saxon Math, I'm baffled. I guess kids come in such a variety of learning styles that what is immensely successful for one will be a disaster for another.

We use Saxon Math starting at about 4th or 5th grade. After seeing how my kids have progressed, I can't imagine our family using any other math curriculum.

My oldest has done Math 76, Algebra 1/2, Algebra 1, and Algebra 2. She is doing half of the Advanced Math book this year. She'll do the second half in her senior year. She works independently, checks her own work, and reworks any problems with errors. I administer the tests and grade those. She does very well, mostly A's, some B's. Occasionally, I have to refer to the solutions manual when she's stuck, but those occasions are rare. The Saxon book is so thorough in its explanations that she rarely needs outside help. In Advanced Math, she is covering concepts I've never even seen before. But the program is so well-done that I don't need to know anything. She can work it out herself.

Because of the continual review process in Saxon, when it comes time for semester exams, my daughter doesn't really need to study. She doesn't forget how to do things because she does them often.

My second child (7th grade) does not think mathematically. She has always struggled with math. She started Saxon Math with Math 54 in 5th grade. It was hard for her at first, but she kept at it. Now, in her third year of Saxon Math (Math 76), she's starting to breeze along. She's working on her own most of the time. She's doing well. I have every intention of keeping her in Saxon Math for the rest of her school years.

I think the key to success with Saxon Math is doing it every day, every problem. It's a discipline and concentration thing. A child who can work through the daily lesson and all the problems each day is learning to stick with a task and master it.

So . . . it works well for some!

02-26-2006, 08:03 AM
You're right in that what works well for one doesn't for another. I start my kids with Horizons, then switched to Saxon. Rachael went from the 3rd grade Horizons book to Saxon 65. She did very well in Saxon, too. I plan on putting Faythe in Saxon 54 next year. I was interested in Algebra 1/2 for Rachael this year, until DH told me to use the other (free) book. When it didn't work, we bought a TM for the Merrill pre-Algebra, and it's done very well. Rachael is also one who works very well independently. Faythe, I think, will freak out at first that it's not a workbook, but hoepfully will get use to it.

My negative comments came from a friend who had two kids in Saxon Algebra, both with lots of difficulty. When the second one was evaluated, her evaluator (with a math background) said that almost all the students she's done that has used Saxon for Algebra had trouble with it. You are the first I've heard that has liked it for that level.

02-26-2006, 08:10 AM

When you say that Faythe will freak out because it's not a workbook are you saying the book is kind of a hardbound text? When we switched to Scott Foresman this year Avery went from workbooks to a textbook. She didn't like it at all. It takes more time to do the work in general since it is not in a workbook format. But, there are good things to that. She has to write out problems sometimes, and I think that helps reinforce the concepts.

I, too, have heard some negative comments about Saxon. I think we'll try sticking with Scott Foresman for a little while longer.

02-26-2006, 12:48 PM
Generally speaking, there's a BIG ADJUSTMENT from 3rd grade to 4th in the schools. Through 3rd, they're considered "primary", and teachers don't push quite as hard. In 4th, they are expected to read more, write more, and be a lot more independent. That means a lot of books change from being workbook format to hardback, textbook books. I do agree that writing out the problems has an advantage. I know Faythe will adjust, but she's one who doesn't care too much for change. She's actually 4th this year, but we're still in a 3rd math book, plus there's LOTS about her that are still 3rd.

02-26-2006, 01:19 PM
Yep, Avery doesn't like change either. She still says she hates the SF book because it's so big. She also says it's harder...but I think that just means "more work".

02-26-2006, 05:49 PM
I'm surprised to hear negative comments about Saxon Algebra; we didn't like Saxon for lower grades, but for 4th grade onward we thought it was great. I took Saxon algebra and got 100s on my tests when I took college algebra my senior year of high school; I thought Saxon did a great job preparing me. Though I will say we did not like Saxon for geometry at all; my mom still hasn't found a textbook she/my younger brothers really like for that. And I probably would have been okay with some other curriculum since I love math anyway. I thought Saxon did a better job than any other at explaining things and giving review so you don't forget concepts, but one thing we did in high school was to work all the "practice problems," but only every other "problem set" problem -- review is great, but sometimes Saxon can get a little tedious if you already remember how to do a problem and don't need much review. So we just did every other and cut down the time spent.

I would highly recommend higher grade Saxon because it worked great for me, but everyone is different. :)

02-27-2006, 12:19 AM
Wow, this is so hard to know what to do! The Saxon Math we had trouble with was 87 with my oldest. He hates repetition though, maybe my middle ds wouldn't mind?? I hate spending that much though if it wouldn't be right for him! I think both my kids would freak out going from teh smaller workbook style to the hardback larger book!

Those that do use Saxon, do you use all the extra books and stuff? And what if I don't have a self-motivated child, and I don't understand the concepts the way it's taught these days (it's been a long time since I took math, and I never was that good at it)? Are they explained really well in the child's book? Are tests included or an extra? Do you all use the tests? I do want something that explains things well and has some repetition, but not too much. I would do the the placement tests, but what grade level did you put your child in which book?

Where do you get the Scott Foresman? I'll have to go to my local Teacher Educator store and see what they have available there and the prices, then probably try on-line. I like to look at them before buying if at all possible!

Missy, LifePacs are probably average. That's probably why my kids are getting bored with them. They did great with them for a couple of years though.

Sheila, tell me more about Calvert. Why did you recommend Saxon and not Calvert? How high does Calvert go---all the way through highschool? Do you have a website I can look at?

Ohio Grandma, Are you going with MUS for sure? What do you think about starting it at the 6th grade level? I heard it's a different way of thinking and working problems, and that if you start with it it's great, but not so good going into it when they're older.

Jackie, What grade is Rachael in? Did you just do one year of Saxon math with Rachael? Do you think you'll continue it with Faythe if all goes well next year?

Thankyou so much everyone for your ideas, thoughts and suggestions! Though now I'm thoroughly confused! :) Please keep talking this through, it's helping me a lot (despite the confusion)!

02-27-2006, 07:18 AM
I usually order my Scott Foresman from either their website or from Academic Book Services. You can sometimes get them cheaper at ABS. I like SF because it's all included in the textbook....tests, reviews, extra practice pages, reteaching activities and good examples.


I go to SF and make a list of what I want with the ISBN numbers and then go to the ABS website and see if they have any in stock for less.

02-27-2006, 07:37 AM
Rachael is currently is 6th grade. She did both Saxon 65 and 76. Then Saxon says to put them into Math 87 OR Algebra 1/2. Carl looked at the Algebra 1/2, and felt that she knew most of it already, so I gave her the placement test. She placed out of Algebra 1/2. That's why we considered putting her directly in Algebra, but the book we had was too hard. There was SO MUCH they presumed she had already. Carl looked at the Saxon Algebra book, but didn't care for it. He's a math person, so feels strongly and "pushes" it more than I care for! It took him quite a while to accept that she's in a "pre" algebra book!

Ohio Mom
02-27-2006, 09:10 AM
Deena, I know what you mean by being confused!!! I am too. I am looking into changing all the subjects for next year and need help with not only Math, but, Language, Reading, History, Science, Spelling, etc. Any suggestions will help :) I was wondered about starting him in MUS in 6th grade. After viewing the tapes, I think he will be ok. He is very smart. He watched the DVD with me and seemed very interested. My concern is that he is higher than the 6th grade level, although with Abeka, they have not even touched on geometry yet. I think I need to stay with the 6th grade. I also think the minipulatives will help him. I feel the same way you do, I need someone to teach him - I haven't had a Math class for 30 years and it's really scary for me to even think about teaching Math. When Elijah was in K, I made the comment that "I would NEVER homeschool". .Here I am for 6 years I have been hsing I guess, I should never say I can't teach this :) One way or the other he will get an education, whether I teach him or he gets it from a DVD. Elijah's birth mother is dating a Math professor and planning on getting married, I asked him (and showed him) about this program and he seemed to like it. He was really impressed with the minipulatives and said these are a must. It can't do any harm, I will just change if I have to.

02-27-2006, 09:18 AM
Does MUS have a placement test?

Ohio Mom
02-27-2006, 09:21 AM
Jackie, I will have to check on that. I was wondering the same thing. Withing the next 2 weeks we are going to be working on a little of the geometry and I am hoping if there is a placement test, what he will be learning shortly will be enough to get him on to the next level.

Ohio Mom
02-27-2006, 09:24 AM
Jackie, Yes, there is a placement test online he can take. We will do that today just to make sure what level to place him in. Thanks for the reminder to do that :)

02-27-2006, 12:33 PM
Calvert math only goes to 8th grade.


At 4th grade level they move to a hard textbook.
At 6th-8th grade level the "teacher" manual is written to the student.

02-27-2006, 03:50 PM
I use Math U See for my 11year old DD. She was really having a hard time with PS math so i started her at the Epsilon level (fractions). She totally understands math for the first time and she loves it. The lessons are explained really well and with only about 5 minutes of instruction on the DVD.
The only drawback I can think of is that the way the program is structured, one subject per level, I couldn't switch to something else at grade level. She has not been introduced to decimals yet. That is explained in the next book. It looks like it catched up at pre algebra.
However for a child that needs to see math and understand they why of math, this program can't be beat in my opinion.

02-27-2006, 04:02 PM
I did buy this program for dd last year and I have to say that she thought it was soooooo boring. I didn't. I thought overall it was a good program. I bought it thinking she would enjoy the change, using manipulatives and video. I gave up after about two weeks. We went back to Scott Foresman after that.

Ohio Mom
02-27-2006, 04:21 PM
Maureen, I gave my dgs the Competency Exam for Epsilon and he was able to master that level, I then gave him the Zeta level and he was able to get about 80% of that level. Do you think I should teach him these math concepts now and then test him later after he learns the other part of the test and then go into Algebra? I would hate for him to get bored halfway through the year. Also, when you say one subject per level, how long does it take to do a level? One year, 2 levels in one year?

02-27-2006, 05:11 PM
Hmmm, so much to contemplate! I will look up info. on Calvert (Thanks Sheila!), SF (Thanks Missy!) and MUC (Thanks Gma!). And, despite what I thought, I will be looking more into Saxon (thanks to all of you who wrote pros and cons about it!). I do have a friend that does MUC, and she said I could look at their stuff. She has used it for all their school years I believe, but isn't overly sold on it. She doesn't want to change cuz that will mess them up, she feels. I'm not sure I like the idea of one subject at a time though. That's sort of what LifePacs does, and we need a change, and with a little more review of all the subjects, I think they'll remember it better.

Sheila, what do you like about Calvert? I will be going to the website right after this.

I went to our Educator's store today. They had some Saxon math there. It seems pretty pricey, but doable if it was the best thing for the kids! I may not want to start Calvert with my ds since he'll be in 8th grade, then we'll have to switch again to another program the next year, since Calvert only goes to 8th grade. But I could start it with my dd cuz she could have 3 good years with it....

02-27-2006, 05:48 PM
One more thing I have to say about Saxon (not trying to convince anyone that it's the best thing out there for them, because I don't know that, but just sharing what we experienced). My older brother took Saxon in high school, including Saxon calculus -- he is now majoring in electrical engineering at UT Arlington. He decided to take college Cal 1 and Cal 2 despite thinking he could probably test out of them because he thought it would good to make sure he got a firm grounding in math for his major. He has said that, with the exception of going a little deeper in certain areas, he pretty much knew all of the material covered in those two semesters from having taken high school Saxon calculus. We are both very happy with how we have been prepared for college math.

Edit: My mom got our Saxon books from here: http://www.childrens-books.us

That has been some time ago now (she only had to buy two of each for the twins -- they have been passed down from oldest to youngest), but this was the least expensive place she could find to get them at the time.

02-27-2006, 05:54 PM
I suppose the real proof will be in the pudding.

My daughter is taking the ACT in April. After five years of Saxon Math, I'm predicting she's going to do very well on the test. She's had no trouble at all with the ACT preparation book she's worked through.

In our five years of homeschooling, we've switched curriculums here and there for various subjects. One exception: we've never abandoned Saxon Math. It works for us.

02-27-2006, 06:21 PM
Homeschool classifieds always has a good number of Saxon books. I think Saxon 54 was running about $20-$40, depending on condition, etc.

Deena, I think the difference with Life Pac is that you're doing more than one thing PER YEAR. From what I see of MUS, you're doing a whole year of addition or division or fractions. That doesn't make much sense to me.

02-27-2006, 06:40 PM
Oooohhh, if that's a whole YEAR of one thing, then I don't want to do that! Is that what it seems to be Ohio Gma?

I will go to the Homeschool Classifieds site later to see what all they have available. First I'll go to the math sites, and see what they're all about, to help narrow down the choices.

What does anyone think about Singapore Math? How high does it go? Are my kids too old for it?

Ohio Mom
02-27-2006, 07:01 PM
Deena, I printed the Competency Exam off today and my dgs took the test. Three were 17 fraction problems, 1 measurement problem and 7 fraction story problems. I then went to the next level test and it was adding, subtracting and multiplying decimal numbers, changing fractions to decimal and then percents, dividing to the thousandths place, plus rounding and then 7 story problems about money, kilometers, meal cost and the tip, and percents. I have the Student Text here (borrowed from a friend) and it's called Epsilon, Focus: Fractions. Although most of it is fractions, they do Quick Reviews, finding the perimeter of a rectangle, finding the perimeter of a square, finding a perimeter of a triangle, multiplication, rounding, division, finding volumn, Roman numerals, ruler, estimating. There does seem to be a variety, but the book has 30 lessons in it and is about 2 inches thick. I think it is very repetitous. I'm still confused.

Ohio Mom
02-27-2006, 07:04 PM
Deena, not sure how long this book would take to do, but it is $65.00 to buy the DVD, student book, test booklet and teacher book. How many levels can a student go through in 1 year. It could get pricey.

02-27-2006, 07:09 PM
I like Calvert math because it's real gentle and explains things in small pieces. They give kids the visual of what they are doing before the "math" - if that makes any sense. It's not real repetitive and if you need more practice you use the practice book. The younger grades are colorful (not sure about the 4th grade textbook...it's on it's way so...I'll let you know in a day or two).

Besides if you buy from Calvert...they are a phone call away if you need help or the kiddo needs help. It's pricey...no doubt about that but...sometimes...you pay for what you get and others...you just over pay. :wink:

Singapore math http://www.singaporemath.com/ I do use it and like it but...there is more I don't like than do like. :wink:

General points....
Bad - The don't give much room for writing for the younger kids.
Good - They push on forward in teaching concepts.
Good - The wording gives a variation so the child can figure out different problems.
AWESOME - It's cheap!

It's very much a mastery do it and move on type math. Plan to take the placement test that you can find online. Usually to make sure you get all the concepts covered you drop down have a level so...if the kid is 4th grade you might drop to 3B and then pick up 4A. Not always just depends.

I wouldn't recommend using as my spine but...supplemental I love it. I think My Father's World curriculum uses it for their math. I will throw in Singapore when it's different than our Calvert so...if we are zooming through with money then I'll grab Singapore and do addition 1-2 days a week. If he's doing the addition/subtraction with Calvert and needs a mental "rest" then I'll throw in time/measurement type stuff from Singapore. It works real nice that way because it's sort of this nice mixture.

Have you checked on ebay for Saxon prices??? Ole' Tina has turned me into an ebay junkie. ROFL :laugh:

I also buy things from www.abebooks.com and www.academicbooks.com
I'll just shop around to see who has it and for the best price. Didn't verify my typing on websites...sooooo let me know if they aren't right.

02-27-2006, 08:17 PM
But with Calvert, don't you have to buy the whole curriculum, and not just pick the subjects? I was interested in other Calvert stuff, but didn't want the whole thing.

02-27-2006, 09:46 PM
This is all so helpful, but things are still clear as mud! But it's clearer mud than it used to be! :lol:

If I have to use the whole Calvert curriculum then I wouldn't be able to do Calvert Math either. Which would actually make one less thing to research! :D I'll see what Sheila says.

Gma, I think based on what I've heard and seen that I'm leaning away from MUS. Not for sure, that's just my general feeling at the moment. I still need to go see my friend's books and manipulatives so I have a picture of what we're talking about!

Jackie, are you going to go with Saxon next year for Rachael, or will your husband not let you use that? I think I'll go ahead and go to the Saxon site and give them the test and see where they would be. The 65 was $69.99 at our local ed. store. The Algebra was more than that! That's a chunk! What if it doesn't work?! I'd have to find it on ebay or somewhere else for cheaper, at least I hope I could find it cheaper!

Ohio Mom
02-27-2006, 10:12 PM
Deena, I'm so thankful for this forum. I have researched this all day. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet either. I talked to my friend tonight and she said that she does one book a year with MUS. I checked out our homeschool group. About 90% use Saxon Math. I am going to keep reading this forum, talk with my hs group and then make a decision before August. I also need to look into other subjects anyone have some advice on that, let me know. Thanks.

02-27-2006, 11:00 PM
The Saxon 65 was Over $75 on the Saxon site! Hopefully I can get it cheaper, but you know, if you find something that helps them have a concrete base and do well later because of it, then the price is well worth it! I printed off the test, it'll be the same one for both of them, but my dd won't go very far in it probably. I'll be giving it to them tomorrow (Feb. 28).

02-27-2006, 11:40 PM
Oh yeah, I was going to ask a question: Those of you who use or have used Saxon, do you use the DIVE cd's? Are they good? What do they do? Are they worth the cost?

Choc. Bunny, I went to the website you posted, and they do have lower prices! They don't have descriptions of what's included in the books or the grade levels for say, advanced math, or Apologia Advanced Biology, etc. though, so I'll have to figure that stuff out before I go back. Thanks for the site!

Missy, I went to the sites you posted, and I couldn't find much info. on how that math works. They didn't have sample pages or anything. Wish I could see some of the pages. Our local ed. store didn't have any Scott Foresman, so I can't see it in person either. Do you have any other sites that have better info.? Or did I not head the right direction once on their site? I found the 5th grade mathbook, but not a description more than a general statement.

Sheila, I wenet to the Singapore Math site. It looks much more advanced than what we were using, and it seems that the ones using it are learning the concepts well to be able to be that advanced. Is that true, in your opinion, that it IS more advanced? My 4th grade dd has always done well in math, and is nearing completion of the LifePac 4th grade math, but it looks like she'd need to start in 3B. Are the books huge? It sounds like it--the one my ds would get has over 400 pages.

I'd love my kids to have a good base, we just got sort of sidetracked for a couple of years I guess. The LifePac math just isn't cutting it!

02-28-2006, 12:28 AM
Ohio Grandma,
When I started MUS my daughter was just coming out of PS. She was about half way through the Epsilon level on the tests but I chose to start her at the beginning of Epsilon. I wanted her to get used to the MUS program with concepts she already knew. This has been a blessing because although she knew adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions, she never really understood the WHY of it. Now she had a strong base on which to build as we move into unknown territory for her.
As to how fast you progress...that is up to you. When your grandchild understands the concept you move on. For us that ranges from one day to one week depending on the concept.
This book has 28 or so lessons. We are on Lesson 12 and we started in December. Up till now I have moved more slowly then I probablu needed to. I just wanted to give her some time to enjoy understanding math and feeling successful for the first time EVER!
You may be better off starting him a bit behind to give him time to get used to the program and the manipulatives.
I will tell you that this program has been easy for us to do. I am terrible with math so I sit with my daughter and learn the lessons right along with her.
Good Luck!!

02-28-2006, 05:49 AM
I just ordered some curriculum from a lady on ebay she is a McGraw hill distributer, also carries Saxon. I should be getting my books in any day now. I have ordered from her in the past, but this order was 22 items and cost about $130 shipping and all.

things4kings is the store name.

02-28-2006, 06:08 AM
Deena, I promised Carl we would give his Algebra book a try again next year. I'm hoping Rachael will understand it better now that she's had Pre-Algebra. But he has promised that if I absolutely hate it again, I can get "whatever I think best". So for now, it's out of my hands as far as Rachael goes. If I need to, I know my one friend finished Saxon Algebra last summer, and may have the book still. I borrowed it last year to have Carl look at, but her son was still using it at the time and I could only have it for the weekend, so we really didn't get to look at it very well.

Faythe is the one I'm not sure with, but will probably go with Saxon 54 with her. I like MUS, but am not excited about covering just one concept. She can divide with remainders, but she can't multiply two double digit numbers together yet. I'm afraid if I put her in the multiplication book, I'd need to give her additional work to keep her up with what division she can already do. Plus it's pricey.

Phillip will start Horizons First Grade. I will probably buy it at our conference from Rainbow Resources and get free shipping.

Ohio Mom
02-28-2006, 06:22 AM
Maureen, thanks for the info. That has helped me alot. I think I need to start, like you said, with Epsilon so he gets the Why down and then continue on. I'm not very good in math, and I will be learning right along with him. He seems to get in a hurry when doing math and makes alot of errors. We will be working on that the rest of the year. I have a bid on e-bay for the epsilon books. If I win and depending on when it arrives, I will probably start him on that right away. I was very confused last night and prayed about it and reading your post this a.m. has helped me alot. I will be going with MUS for now and then later review my options. I am a type of person that needs to know the why and not just how. Again, thanks everyone for all your input.

02-28-2006, 07:18 AM

I think you're right about not really getting some good samples from the SF website. I think in the beginning I went on instinct that they were a good company (I thought so because of what I had seen previewing curriculum when I taught ps). I ordered one or two books and just took a chance on them being good. I really liked them. If you order something SF from www.academicbookservices.com then you can return them. Check out their return policy. I have never returned anything to them though.

02-28-2006, 07:44 AM
Another thing to keep in mind, whether you go with Saxon or SF.... They are designed for classrooms first. That means there's LOTS of review in the beginning. Rachael complained about that. "I ALREADY KNOW THIS!!!" So I gave her the first chapter test. She got 95%. I gave her the second chapter test, and again she had over 90%. I kept giving her the chapter tests until suddenly her grade dropped to 70%. That was where we started the book. We were able to cut out almost a third of the book that way, and with the constant review built into Saxon, it didn't matter.

02-28-2006, 08:09 AM
Scott Foresman reviews in every chapter review and test. That was a good idea Jackie. I just force Avery to do it. I guess I though the review of skills would be good for her. She is one that needs that constant review of previously learned skills or she forgets. Oh, I also like the average of the perfect scores in with the other tests that she doesn't do quite as well on, lol.

I want to think more like you Jackie. I hate feeling so rigid and by the book. I hardly ever skip problems or lessons myself. I'll try to be better.

02-28-2006, 08:59 AM
Calvert math is sold separately. You can't just buy Calvert LA which I know a lot of people would LOVE but...the do sell several things separately now. My guess is that if you are looking to not spend more than $75 then don't consider Calvert. It will cost you $115 plus shipping of about $8 I picked up the 4th grade math off ebay. The textbook is hardback and the practice pages are a workbook. Some of the workbook pages were used but...got both of them and shipping for $37. I didn't get the teacher manual, test or that stuff but....not a big deal to me. So...like I said Tina has turned me into an ebay junkie. ROFL

Singapore is ahead. That's why I like it!!! :lol: Most math programs don't start introducing multiplication until late second/third grade and Singapore throws it in there in the 2A book (they have A & B levels so...A is first then B and the number is the "grade"). So...like I said I like Singapore because it's cheap and adds variety but...can't say I'd use it as my spine. I think each book level is only around $7 so...figure you'd use two textbooks and two practice books a year...that's only $28 plus shipping. CHEAP!!!!

02-28-2006, 09:37 AM
Missy, I have been told that "real" teachers have the most difficult time HS'ing because they have trouble "unlearning" all they learned at Teacher School. They tend to do more "school at home" rather than "homeschool", if you know what I mean! I know I have that problem sometimes! But my background was Special Ed, so I was "trained" how NOT to use the textbooks (since very few met the needs of my students!). Even so, I'm still trying to learn to put my "training" aside and just enjoy being MOM!!!

Sheila, thanks for setting me straight about Calvert. I was basing my comments on not being able to get the LA stuff!

02-28-2006, 05:39 PM
Sheila, Sorry to keep buggin' you, but I'm trying to figure all this out.... Why would you not have Sing. Math as your spine? What is it that doesn't work for you with it? How fast can you work through it? Would you do both A and B in one year, and really not more than that?

I think you're right about the Calvert math. I'm homeschooling three, including one in highschool, so I can't get too high price-wise on one curriculum!

Jackie, I did my dd's 1st grade Saxon math that way, otherwise she (at 5 years old!) claimed that "This is boring! I already know this stuff!" So we skipped a lot of pages. She had great retention of what she learned, so didn't miss out on anything by skipping the repetitive sections. It just helped her not get frustrated with it. I kind of hate paying that much for a program, then not using 1/3 of the book because it has so much review though! But, there is not one "perfect" math program, obviously, cuz what's perfect for one, isn't for another, so I'll have to find what ever works best... Oh, and Saxon has a homeschool Kit for each grade, don't they? Wouldn't that make it less classroom oriented? Or did you mean the way the book is written in general?

Missy, Don't they have ANYWHERE I can review some pages? Seems like they're doing themselves a disservice not to let people preview it! I forget if you've said, but where is it in the scale of easy - average - advanced for each grade?

02-28-2006, 05:57 PM
No, homeschool kit does NOT mean it's written with less review. With a school, the teacher has a big, fat Teacher's Manual with all kids of "extra" stuff that we as homeschoolers don't really need or use. Have you used Horizons? They are like that. Saxon's HS kit, at least with the middle school, contains pretty much the text book and an answers book, and basically that's it. Oh, and a test booklet with answers! This way, you don't have to buy a TM. I just don't see the need to spend time doing what they already know. Even with Rachael and Pre-algebra this year, we skipped a few chapters in the beginning I felt she had a good understanding on. I'll do that next year, too.

02-28-2006, 07:33 PM
My dd and ds took the Saxon Placement tests today. My ds, who will be in 8th grade, tested for Algebra 1/2, and my dd (who is still 8 yo for a few more days), who will be in 5th grade, tested for 76! Is Algebra 1/2 usually for 7th grade or 8th grade?

I hear that many people go from 76 to Alg. 1/2 or from 87 to Algebra 1. Is that true that people do that? Do any of you know the usual route, or does it depend on the child?

02-28-2006, 08:14 PM
Yes, that's true. My understanding is that you go from 76 to EITHER 87 or 1/2. Rachael did 76 last year. She was 5th grade then. And she's done very well in Pre-Algebra, WITHOUT 87.

Deena, I think this is one of the times when you need to stop thinking "grade". It will vary from one kid to the next.

02-28-2006, 08:32 PM
Okay, if I do go with Saxon I wanted to know that. Why is it that they skip 87, is it just more of a review?

02-28-2006, 09:02 PM

Singapore tends to cut to the chase and whip through things. They don't give much space for work but, yet early on they expect the kids to be able to do horizontal math. I think if they offered more space for writing in the workbooks then it would be TONS better. But...to scribble down the side to figure you answer....I just don't like that for 8 problems on 1 page that are intermixed with several other problems that maybe don't need as much writing room.

As far as content.... it's zippy and moves at a quick pace. If the child is not strong in math...I'd look right over it. They teach multiplication and simple division in the 2A book. Yes, that is the first *semester* of 2nd grade.

I haven't picked up our next set yet. Trying to decide if I wait until bookfair time in May or just order it and pay shipping. I do like the simple color pictures they offer in the lower grades but...I don't know about he upper grades.

There isn't much review and all and I just feel like it's not a solid math base. Math is a pyramid skill. If you don't have that solid bottom then....the top will only crumble. I know people do use Singapore as their only math but....to have horizontal math equations (oh yeh sometimes they don't use the equal sign) and not give you a place to write your answer...that's just wrong. :wink:

My ds1 is the human calculator so....throwing in Singapore is a good thing for him. A child that isn't strong in math might just frustrated.

My two cents worth.

I guess my logic is that Saxon would be better if the child is planning to head to college. There is nothing that says if they are ahead that they can't take a college course of Calculus for their junior or senior year of high school. :lol: BUT....most schools are use Saxon and...oh boy to have that jump start and be on the same playing field but...only at the next level. :lol:

Math...you just keep on truckin' there isn't really anything to slow you down once you get the concept. Unlike soft vs. hard g's and c's and cursive and i before e except after c and in Sheila. :wink: That is one thing that the Calvert advisors told me...let them run on math and hold up on the reading stuff because of the writing skills that have to develop. (sigh).

I know that didn't help much since there are soooo many choices but...you have to consider what you and your children find to be a fit. Maybe, your kids are terrible at math and do not planning on going to college or if they do...not majoring in anything that requires math. I've heard Math-U-See if real good for those that take a little longer to "get" math concepts.

Keep us posted!!!

02-28-2006, 11:04 PM
Thanks She, that was a lot of help. I wish I was more like you and Tina and knew when and how to supplement! I just get overwhelmed and plow through the one thing per subject that we have. Well, that's for Science and math. For history I can run with that one! I love it! My ds used to be a whiz at math, but is struggling a bit more now. My dd seems to really go with math. She gets frustrated a little when she doesn't understand something, digs in and learns it, then gets bored if she has to do too much of it. However, I want her to keep understanding and remembering each concept so she can build on that for the higher math!

Her B-day is Friday, but we had some mom-'n-me time today, and I bought her a watch that she's been wanting. On the way home in the car she read the directions, set the watch time and knows all about it and how each thing works now! That's like her dad.....HALLELUJAH! :D During each pregnancy I prayed that this child would take after their dad intellectually, and it seems my prayers have been answered! I'm so happy about that I can't even put it to words, but I feel pretty dumb sometimes! :lol: That's okay, my children have more opportunities than I did, and that's what I always wanted! Anyway, I digress..........

I want to give her the opportunity to do well in math, she's certainly capable! And I was starting to see that the LifePacs were making her lazy about it. Also, I'm thinking that if I find something that has some more repetition with all the facts, not just mostly one at a time, that my ds would get it better and be able to move on better. He's VERY intelligent also, just kind of lazy/sloppy about it.

Anyway, thanks again Sheila-with-an-i after-the-e-which-goes-against-the-normal-English-rules! :lol: (How do you like that for a name?!) My name goes against something rather, cuz I have two e's in a row--normally it would be an ea or ie! So I'm right there with ya! :D

03-01-2006, 08:52 AM

I wouldn't say that supplementing comes naturally. Tina has been a BIG help for me! Some of it is just finding the right fit and stepping outside of the "public school mentality" box.

In the beginning I felt like I had this and that was that but....it was choking me and my son so...I branched out and started adding in things. Then I thought oh no! I know I want to add this in but...where does this puzzle piece fit and how do I give this work on top of the other easy stuff we "have" to do. Well...you don't do what they know or you cut it in half or do it one day and the tougher stuff another day.

It's just trying to find balance and it does find balance, eventually. ROFL We use a bunch of different sources around here and I've learned to put our Criticial thinking on two days of the week and Vocab connections on a different 2 days, Phonics thrown in 3-4 times a week, spelling is 4 out of 5 days, grammar is 4-5 days a week, reading & comprehension gets worked in throughout the week, math is every day, piano practice is everyday, science is twice a week, history twice a week, arts & crafts are dependent on what the history & science is for the week.

Left to add in....journal writing, paragraph writing, spanish. I just put us on this plan in January and it works REALLY well. But...trying to determine how many pages to assign of each thing...takes some getting use to. You don't want them to have their little fingers fall off from too much writing in one day. HA! So...while it sounds like a lot...Phonics might mean one worksheet for the day. It's fun and I love it!

oops gotta run....

03-01-2006, 05:53 PM
You know She, I sometimes have flashes of clarity where I can see that this thing would enhance the learning of that thing, etc., but then after I buy it and get it home, I forget about it, and it sits on a shelf somewhere until I'm past where I need it. THEN I find it again! :lol: ROFL I'm thankful my kids are doing well, despite me!!! :D

Jackie, I did post stuff about grades, just to clarify, but you're right, I want to meet each child where they're at and where it will do the most good, despite what grade level they or the thing being learned are! My two main surprises with the Saxon tests is that my ds tested a bit lower than I thought, and my dd tested higher than I thought. She's still only 8, so I was surprised she tested for 76. But I'm glad I had them take the tests, cuz it helped me see them more clearly.

Okay, I'm surprised I'm saying this, cuz I was opposed to using it after our last encounter with it, but I'm leaning toward trying Saxon! I found the most information about it and know more about what it's about than I could find about any of the others.

Does anyone know about the DIVE cd's?

03-02-2006, 11:07 PM
Anymore comments or suggestions or answers???

03-03-2006, 07:51 AM

Yep, have to add my .02 cents:p I just haven't had the time to post...

Anyway, my reading and talking to homeschoolers all tell me the same thing about Saxon..that it does not prepare them well for highschool..

But there is always good and bad on both sides of anything,kwim?

WTM says Saxon will work fine through highschool.

But for people who don't need tons of reviews, or Saxons *pieces to whole* incremental approach it can be very frusterating. My oldest doesn't need it, he can *swallow* the whole process and wants to at one time--but my middle guy needs all the breaking down he can get..

I wish I could put my finger on where I read the exact specifics of how it was not as good for high school..I'll keep looking-but right now everything is lost in this house...

Soooooo, what this Planning Paula LOL has been doing for the past 2 months or so is researching all the high schools on line. I checked into University of Texas and Keystone both. Keystone is the one that, well Calvert can't come right out and say they recommend it, but they say *its the one most of their students go to*. Calvert said they have high academic standards..

Anyway, Keystone uses Glencoe Macgraw Hill..Here is a cut/paste from one of my research pages. LOL I'm still trying to figure out the publisher of the one for Texas Tech when I get some time...

Book used by Texas Tech...
ISBN: 0-02-825326-4).. I need to research this to see who is this publisher..

Used Book - Geometry: Explorations and Applications (ISBN: 0-395-72285-3)

Books used by Keystone


Algebra 1 (iSchool) by Berchie Holliday, 2003, Glencoe McGraw-Hill.

Algebra 1: Applications and Connections (correspondence) by Alan G. Foster, et al., 1995, Glencoe McGraw-Hill.

I'm still putting together my research.

Another couple of options that I really liked is that I have heard wonderful feedback from both Chalkdust Math and Classmate Math...I think their websites are www.chalkdustmath.com (http://www.chalkdustmath.com) and www.classmatemath.com (http://www.classmatemath.com) It just so happens both of these companies are in my backyard, here in Houston.

Both of these use CDS which I like, like Saxon Dives...and for the math phobic mom, but are good on instruction, but yet the student is able to move ahead if he has it, if not ---play the DVD again,kwim?

Another one I have heard rave reviews about too is Textbook Math.. I still need to look into the pros/cons of this one also.

In addition, math u see has wonderful feeback too. But MUS is not really for one who is planning to need a degree in anything other than basic math.

But MUS is considered a wonderful program and it what is considered the *norm* with just high schoool graduation, but not really for students wanting to advance in math.

I too keep getting feedback from sources like Merrill and Houghton Mifflin that a lot of home schoolers are using in highschool and they seem to prepare them well for the basics of college..

One thing I am figuring out is that if you want him to take the math test , oh what is it called PSAT like in the 11th grade, then he needs to have had some pretty strong math, like pre, or even algebra 1 and advanced mathematics by the 10th grade since it is taken in the spring of his junior year......

Then as I understand it, it would be Algebra 1 starting in 8th grade instead of 9th. This leaves room for taking calculus in 12th grade. Again this is for someone who wishes to qualify for scholarships and/or wants/needs this advanced math for college,etc....

If not, then a nice pace would Algebra 1 in 9th grade, Algebra II, then Geometry and an elective maybe in 12th...I think this is how MUS does it too..

Oh well, that is my .02 cents for now....Off to pack some more boxes..

Grrrrr..I'll be glad when we're moved! About another 2 weeks or so...and I don't want to see ANOTHER box for a long time....

Hope that helps!

03-03-2006, 10:34 AM
Tina, Thanks for your comments! Now I'm even more confused! :D It's been stated in this thread that MUS only does one subject per year, or per book. Wouldn't it be better to have reviews of more concepts? I can't imagine spending a whole year on one thing, then all the other concepts would fall by the wayside, it seems! We also had a person on this thread say that Saxon really helped them learn math well and they excelled through highschool and are doing well in college because of it. Another mom that wouldn't use anything but Saxon because her kids are doing so well with it. Both talked about how well it prepares for higher math. So I'd love to hear what is wrong with it, aside from the repitition!

I will look at Chalkdust and Classmate maths and see what they look like. Thanks for the site addresses and idea!

03-06-2006, 11:39 AM

I couldn't get to a site with the chalkdust math address you posted. It just went to the white "This page cannot be displayed" page.

The classmate math looked kind of interesting, but they won't let you know the prices unless you fill out a form with address etc., and I don't know that I want to do that. Then you start getting all this junk mail from the company. I just want to know how much it costs per year.

Are both chalkdust and classmate math on dvd's only? I think we're not wanting too much on dvd's, especially if they are in charge of when things are due, etc. If I could run it at my son's own pace, then it'd be okay, though.

Thanks for your help!

03-06-2006, 12:54 PM


That is weird about the classmate not giving a price until you put in info - what's up with that? Did you notice the * by the miniumum of 20 students? ROFL :lol: Something you want to tell us? :lol:

I know a lot of homeschoolers either use the chalkdust or dive.


03-06-2006, 03:57 PM

No NOTHING I have to tell you!!! :D I didn't notice that. So, guess that one is out!

I'll try your link to chalkdust. Thanks!

03-06-2006, 06:48 PM
I don't think I want that one either.

Sheila, I went to the Calvert site. Do they have a placement test so you know what level of math to get? I couldn't find any mention of it, but wouldn't know exactly what level to get without one.

03-06-2006, 08:47 PM
Here's the direct link to the math testing

If the link doesn't work for any reason...
click the Services tab at the top
scroll down to almost the bottom and it says download center

The math alone program is $115 + 7% shipping That's why I am tinkled pink that I got third & fourth grade off ebay..slightly used. :lol:

Did you check into http://www.macmillanmh.com/math/2003/student/index.html ?

Oh really cool thing....I googled macmillan math and...our thread is the 3rd listing down. HA!

Anything that Barnes and Noble can order they will with a special order AND you are under no obligation to actually buy it, if you don't like it. If you don't have B&N maybe your local one does the same thing. All you need is the ISBN

The thing I know you realize but...I feel obligated to point out is that all math programs go at their pace and introduce concepts when they want SO...don't play the hopscotch math program game because you will miss some concepts along the way.

Here are links for math u see and horizons. I've looked at Horizon in lower grades and...not bad but...seemed tight for writing space. Sonlight uses it as their math.

03-07-2006, 12:21 AM

No, I hadn't looked at Macmillan math. They certainly have a bright website that's easy to navigate! I couldn't find sample pages on there, but showing the titles of the chapters and subjects they cover was great! Do THEY have a placement test? I wasn't finding it in my short time there.

Calvert has a placement test only if you are definitely enrolling for at least the math, it looks like. What if I just want to see what their books look like and how she does with their test, then with the results, check out (take a look at) the book of the level they say she is at? (Did that make sense?)

Oh my, that's interesting, I'll have to Google it and see!

03-07-2006, 12:34 AM
Nope, I didn't see it at all when I googled it. Oh well........

04-28-2006, 02:49 PM
I suppose the real proof will be in the pudding.

My daughter is taking the ACT in April. After five years of Saxon Math, I'm predicting she's going to do very well on the test. She's had no trouble at all with the ACT preparation book she's worked through.

In our five years of homeschooling, we've switched curriculums here and there for various subjects. One exception: we've never abandoned Saxon Math. It works for us.

And the proof is in . . .

My daughter scored a 28 on the math portion of the ACT. That is way above the national average. Saxon definitely works for us!

Ava Rose
04-28-2006, 04:18 PM
Has anyone thought about Singapore? I know this was a discussion before, but I wondered if anyone made any final decisions on it. I was using ABEKA and I don't care for the math. I didn't care for Saxon. I kinda liked Singapore but I am still not sure what to do. I just got a Math U See sample dvd in the mail. I will take a look at that and see. My kids are so close in math I may just buy two different curriculums and see which suits us best. Like, one Singapore and one math u see??? Who knows.

04-28-2006, 06:09 PM
I'm using Singapore with Sami now. (1A) I really like it. I see how people more used to drill would feel it wasn't enough, but Sami really gets the Quanity and understands WHY the answers are what they are. I've never seen so many variations on how to add in my life! The first week we used it she announced one day that she didn't want to do math that day because she didn't feel like Thinking. LOL

I know there are placement tests for knowing where to start in Singapore too. I gave Sami one of them before I ordered it.

04-29-2006, 09:36 AM
I did end up going with Saxon for both of my younger two (ages 9 and 12). I have received them, but haven't had a chance to look through them much yet. What I DID see when I glanced through, was that the books start on a level my children are at, so I feel I made the right choice (after they took the placement tests) for where to start them. Now we'll just see how it fits with them. I hope it works well!

Jackie, the DIVE cd came with dd's math, but I haven't checked it out yet. I'll try to remember to let you know what I think after we start using it!

04-29-2006, 09:39 AM
Deena, We got our ds14's Saxon math text book online as well, through EBAY! It was 12 dollars after shipping and handling! Check there first!
He had to replace it when his back pack was stollen out of my car at the grocery store.
My thoughts on Saxon is that its just like any other math book, lol. I heard so much about it but it looks the same to me as the text books we used back when I was a kid. So I am not impressed--yet--- to get that for dd's math 8th grade.
I do have a couple questions to add to the pot....
When you order it as a teacher do they have a teacher edition? If I were to teach my dd with this would it mean my having to study ahead to know what she is learning each day?
I too have done LIfe Paks +SOS science, for ever. It is easy for me at this level because it's self explanitory and I am more apt to read over the work with her and then let her go at it. My younger child has needed more attention, as did my older one , dd has always been a self taught kind of kid and so this will be the first year I am doing things different with her. Being as she is 8th/9th this year (fall).
What exactly is Math U See, I read the thing about watching the DVD? is it like teh Abeka Dvds with a teacher instructing you?
Saxon looked to me like it would be do able but I am only thinking on it as a back idea lately because when she does go out to school chances are her Christian school will use it.
( see my middle school/ high school in my area if you wonder why I said Christian School for highschool on the post about that subject)

Second question for the lady who asked this threads first question; how do you teach your kids? Do you do like I do and read ahead in ther book, use the AO ideas or what? You are the first person I have met who has done Life Paks all the way through like me! Nice to meet you!

04-29-2006, 09:49 AM
Ok Ladies I have a question. What about Abeka math and dvd does anyone know about that, is it good or not.

Also teachermom I have been looking at the lifpacs are they good for middle school and high school or do the kids get bored?


04-29-2006, 10:10 AM
Teachermom, Rachael has done Saxon 65 and 76. After this, they suggest the child either take 87 OR Algebra 1/2. You can take the placement test to determine which one. Saxon's Home Study Packet does NOT come with a TM, at least not at that level. It does come with a test manual, and an answer book. These are little paperback books, more like pamphlets, which I have trouble keeping track of. I've found it easier to have holes punched in them at Kinko's, and then put them in a three-ring notebook.

I am NOT a "math/science" person. I stopped my high school math after Algebra and Geometry. But even so, I have found that I do NOT prepare before hand. I sit down with Rachael and we go over the lesson together. I've yet to come across anything too difficult for me yet. This year, I took the same approach using PreAlgebra (not Saxon), and there was once or twice where I wasn't sure, or I felt she wasn't getting it right. Then we'd just let it go, and I would discuss it with her dad (who is certified to teach math) when he got home. Sometimes he'd make suggestions as to what I should do, and sometimes he would sit down and go over it with her. I'm afraid he'll be doing more and more of that as time goes on!

04-29-2006, 10:33 AM
Okay, Thanks for both of your answeres.
Re:Life Paks- for Jr High, middle school. It turns into a Self Paced self taught lesson at this level. My kids do the work I check over their work, and it is challengeing enough.
My dd, who is advanced remember, finds it challenging enough to keep her attentiong, she hates math though. ( grin)
I went as far as first semester Advanced Geometry myself in school,I was schooled between Jr High in Vancouver BC, and Seattle Wa for Sr Highschool. So I have a variety of ideas on how to teach them. The Amazing thing is I can actually remember my teachers talking to me about 8th grade math. I had to come in an hour early once a week and MR RIGHT, my math teacher would reteach me the work.
The same things I had a problem with as a kid, I see my kids doing, not showing work.
They figure it in thier heads, on thier own, I have to make them walk me through it.
The colors are great with Life Paks... they throw in a scripture here and there, too if you like that sort of thing.
As JR High math is concerned, I think it works fine. My Ds in Highschool as I mentioned did well in Saxon, and whatver the printed packets they are now using there too in Advanced Algerbra1 level class... whatever that means?
HE got a B in Math this term too!
So far my dd is not enjoying math at all that is why I am switching her, to SOS. Hoping same curric.. though it seems to jump one level near the end to review stuff.
The rest of the subjects, Lang Arts works, Science I went to SOS for because of the experiments, there were a lot with three kids in Science! So, now its there listed if I miss one it wont let her go on untill I have checked it out as done.
Keeps me regulated, I am hoping I will have same results iN Math.?
Did I answer your questions?

04-29-2006, 02:23 PM
NOT SHOWING WORK!!! Um, well, yes.... I seem to be on Rachael a lot for THAT one, too! I think it's a kid thing, lol!