Rebekah finished all of her kindergarten-level math early this week. When I told her we would take a short break from math now, she was really sad! She said math was her favorite. That makes me happy, since math was my favorite subject too. The list of math topics she should know for kindergarten (using Lesson Pathways -see my blog "New Vocabulary") was the shortest of all the lists I made, since she already knew most of it. Her preschool helped out a lot with that, since she knew her numbers up to 100 before she even started kindergarten.
But now we're done with kindergarten math, so I've decided we'll jump right in and start Saxon Math 1 next Monday. In choosing a curriculum, math was the easiest subject for me. There are a lot of math programs out there, and many have good reviews and strong adherents. But whenever I looked at Saxon math, it just seemed the best fit to me. Many of the favorable reviews were written by people who excelled in math and had math-related jobs. Many different nearly-complete curriculums suggested using Saxon math to round out their programs, and many stated that Saxon can be done independently by older students.
One of my pickiest criteria was choosing a curriculum that went all the way through calculus (not just pre-calculus, but real calculus). I am again assuming that my children might be similar to me, and since math was my favorite subject in school, I ended up being ready for calculus when I was a junior in high school. I was very fortunate in the high school I attended for 9th and 10th grade (an American school in Germany), in that they let me do math as an independent study. I sat in the back of a math classroom, they gave me textbooks, and I just worked my way through them by myself. I made it all the way through trigonometry by the end of my sophomore year.
We moved before my junior year, and my next high school (in Oklahoma) was not as great. They did not even offer calculus, but sent seniors who wanted to take the class off to a neighboring high school for one period. Unfortunately, they did not allow juniors to leave campus, so I ended up not taking any math at all in 11th grade. We moved again before my senior year, and that school (in Issaquah, Washington) was better. I sat in a regular calculus class, but the teacher knew I could go faster, so he let me and one or two others sit at the back of the class and proceed at our own pace, playing extra math games among ourselves when we got too bored.
So, I am hoping that my children will love math as much as I did. I am hoping that they will be able to learn math independently, but if they have problems, I am sure I'll be able to help them.
I have read in a few reviews of Saxon that, even though the program ends up being advanced, it starts out rather slowly. I read that level K is more like preschool math, and that level 1 is more like kindergarten math. So it should be a good fit to go ahead and start level 1 with Rebekah now. We'll probably finish it by November or December of this year, and then start level 2 then. I'm planning on starting my next child, Reanna, on level K this fall, which will be her preschool year.
Looking over the material (I already have levels K, 1, and 2 - buying the first 2 levels at www.christianbook.com, and buying level 2 used from a lady in my homeschool group), it does look like a good fit for both of them, and it looks like a lot of fun too - lots of hands-on activities and manipulatives, even if it is short on colorful workbook pages. I like that it is scripted for these lower levels too (I think all the way through level 3). I may be good at math, but I think it might be difficult for me to know how much (or little) to teach at this level, and the Saxon books pace everything out very well, telling the teacher exactly what to say to get the point across to these lower grades. By the time the kids get to level 5/4, it is more independent.
So we are excited to be starting with Saxon on Monday!