The Principles Involved In Saxon Math: What You Should Know Before Deciding
Article by Lance Thorington
Saxon Math is a teaching method developed by John Saxon during the 1970s. It has since gained a lot of popularity among the home schooling community. It is a very well researched and comprehensive approach. With more than 30 years of experience behind them, the program has been fine-tuned to work perfectly for the majority of home teachers and students.
The system rests on a couple of pillars: cumulative assessment, continuous practice and review and incremental development. We will briefly look at each of these to get a better understanding of the methodology involved.
The principle of cumulative assessment involves that students are tested throughout the year through the use of worksheets. These worksheets are designed in such a way that they don’t just test what the student has learned during the current session, but also make sure that he or she understands the work covered during previous sessions and how this is connected to the knowledge gained during the current session.
Continuous practice and review means that the system has been developed in such a way that students get the opportunity to practice and review concepts covered during previous sessions on a constant basis. They don’t therefore just learn new work on a daily basis and then spend all their time being tested on and practicing the new concepts. Everything they learned during previous parts of the year are being constantly reviewed and practiced during the rest of the year. This ensures that when the student gets to the end of the year, all the concepts that he learned during the year are still fresh in his memory.
The incremental approach involves that a new mathematical concept is learned every day. The first part of the day’s lesson would therefore typically be spent on teaching the students a new concept in geometry or algebra. The students will then get the opportunity to practice this new concept to make sure they understand it. The last part of the lesson would then be spent on reviewing work done during previous lessons and being tested on whether students understand how this tie in with the work covered during the current lesson.
Earlier versions of the program were often criticized that it allowed students too little time to get familiar with new concepts before jumping back to reviews of earlier work. This has been addressed in later versions of the program and sufficient time is now allocated to both practicing new concepts and reviewing work covered previously.
Saxon math is popular among many home teachers, because the system makes it very easy for these teachers to do their work. There are ready-made tests and solution keys available for all the work covered in the curriculum.
The approach has also been adopted by a number of public and private schools as an alternative to reform mathematics. Unlike reform mathematics (which has caused a lot of disillusionment among teachers), Saxon math uses familiar algorithms and terminology which don’t require both teachers and students to become familiar with a whole new world of terminology.
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Saxon math is considered one of the most popular, well researched and comprehensive mathematical systems in the world. More info now on http://www.child-central.com/saxon-math-homeschool.html
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