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Saxon Math Curriculum Basics and Reviews

Michele Meleen
Girl doing homework at table

If you're looking for a homeschool math curriculum, don't be afraid to look to a traditional school curriculum. Learn the basics of the Saxon Math curriculum so you can make the best choice of a program for your child.

Saxon Math Approach

The overall Saxon learning method is to use incremental instruction to build on prior learning. This approach was developed by John Saxon, but the current authors of the curricula are a small group of experienced math educators. In Saxon Math, students are introduced to new concepts in small increments, and then do a daily review of all concepts learned to that point. While not specifically designed for the homeschool, Saxon math is easy to use in the homeschool as well as the conventional classroom.

Overview of Saxon Math Curriculum

Saxon offers homeschool math programs for grades pre-K-12. Each book in the curriculum builds on the book before it. There is some teacher preparation and participation required, especially in the early grades. Saxon Math is not a program that can be handed to a child to work completely independently. It is, like many traditional text books, geared toward the visual learner. Each curriculum doesn't have to match up with your child's grade level, but they should be done in grade level order.

General Skills Covered by Saxon Math

The curriculum for each grade level focuses on standard math skills for that age group. The curricula all align with Common Core Standards.

  • Pre-K and Kindergarten: Number recognition, counting, analyzing patterns
  • K-5: Numerical reasoning, operational skills, problem solving
  • 6-12: Proportional relationships, algebra, geometry

Saxon Math Lower Elementary Curricula

The first four grades of Saxon Math are available in homeschool kits, created to help the homeschooling parent get the most from the curriculum. A manipulatives kit is available for these grades and is a great accessory to use with a hands-on learner.

Saxon Math Kindergarten

For just under $100 you can get the complete Kindergarten Math homeschool kit. Lessons in the teacher's guide are scripted, giving the teacher a complete dialogue to help with introducing the foundational concepts in math. This program is divided into two sections every week. Three times a week students will do the meeting portion, where they will review material in a variety of ways. The other two days they will do the lesson portion, having new concepts introduced and explained.

Skills covered include:

  • Oral counting
  • Sequencing numbers
  • Acting out addition and subtraction stories
  • Identifying and counting basic coins
  • Telling time to the hour
  • Using a calendar.

Saxon Math 1

The first grade curriculum uses the same format as the Kindergarten curriculum and builds on the skills learned there. For about $150 you can get the complete kit. Students will learn:

  • Ordinal position to tenths
  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Measurement
  • Introduction to fractions
  • Graphs
  • Geometric shapes

Saxon Math 2

Students build on what they have learned in previous grades and add to that in the $150 Saxon Math kit for grade two. Skills covered are:

  • Working with larger numbers
  • Venn diagrams
  • Fractions
  • Multi-step problems

Saxon Math 3

This is the last year that the lesson/meeting approach is used. Science and social studies are connected t o math at this point to begin making the student aware of the way that subjects inter-relate. Saxon Math 3 also costs $150 for the complete kit and uses games of various sorts to show concepts and give the student practice.

Students will learn:

  • Skip counting
  • Ordinal numbers
  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Positive and negative numbers
  • Fractions
  • Mass
  • Function rules
  • Angles
  • Symmetry

Saxon Math Upper Elementary and Middle School Curricula

Each homeschool curriculum kit for grades four through eight comes with:

  • Student textbook with 120 lessons
  • Test and worksheet book
  • Solutions manual for tests and worksheets

Saxon Math 5/4

Saxon Math 5/4 begins a more intensive approach to mathematics and is aimed at grade four. At this stage there are not a lot of new concepts; the student continues to master what has already been learned. This kit costs about $120.

Saxon Math 6/5

More word problems are introduced and students learn to apply mathematical techniques to everyday life. Saxon Math 6/5 is meant for fifth graders and costs about $120 for a complete kit. Advanced concepts are introduced, including:

  • Integers
  • Prime and composite numbers
  • Powers
  • Roots
  • Probability
  • Statistics
  • Patterns
  • Sequence
  • Ratio

Saxon Math 7/6

Saxon Math 7/6 gently introduces the foundational concepts of advanced math to sixth graders and costs about $135. The skills the student will need to understand Algebra, Geometry, and other high school courses are introduced and practiced, including:

  • Compound interest
  • Coordinate graphs
  • Integers
  • Exponents
  • Prime factorization
  • Ratio
  • Radius
  • Pi

Saxon Math 8/7

Saxon Math 8/7 was created for students in grades seven and eight who need more practice with basic concepts before moving on to Algebra and the higher maths. It reviews all the concepts learned before and gives the student one more year to master the skills needed to excel in high school mathematics. The kit costs about $135.

Saxon Math High School Curricula

The Saxon Math Curriculum prepares the advanced student for college with materials for math classes from Algebra to Calculus. Kits for grades 9-12 cost anywhere from $100 to about $150 each.

Algebra 1/2

Saxon math offers Algebra 1/2 as their homeschool pre-Algebra course for high school students. The curriculum includes 123 lessons, a test booklet, and answer keys. Students will cover:

  • Geometry
  • Discrete math
  • All pre-Algebra topics

Algebra 1

The Saxon Math Algebra 1 homeschool kit includes a student textbook with 120 lessons, 30 test forms, and answers to all math problems covered. Topics taught and reviewed include:

  • Signed numbers
  • Exponents and roots
  • Equations and inequalities
  • Scientific notations
  • Quadratic equations
  • Statistics
  • Probability

Algebra 2

Topics typically covered in second-year Algebra classes are presented in the Algebra 2 curriculum. The homeschool kit includes lessons with worksheets, tests, and answers. Students will learn:

  • Informal geometry
  • Geometric functions
  • Angles
  • Proportional segments
  • Negative exponents
  • Metric conversions
  • Logarithms
  • Advanced factoring

Saxon Geometry

Saxon Math's Geometry kit includes 120 lessons, 15 labs, 12 investigations, test forms, and answer keys. This high school geometry course covers:

  • Triangle congruence
  • Postulates and theorems
  • Surface area and volume
  • Two-column proofs
  • Vector addition
  • Slopes and equations of lines

Advanced Math

High school students can cover calculus, chemistry, physics, and social sciences in the Advanced Math curriculum kit. Students who have completed Algebra 2 are ready for this course. Topics covered include:

  • Analytical geometry
  • Matrices
  • Graphing calculator
  • Trigonometry

Saxon Calculus

Advanced high school math students can work on the Saxon Math Calculus program. Through 148 lessons and some tests, students will cover topics like:

  • Limits
  • Functions
  • Differentiation and integration of variables

Pros of the Saxon Math Curriculum

Saxon Math is an excellent curriculum for those that want the security of a traditional math program in a homeschool setting. A review of the curricula and reviews from real users can help you see the benefits of using Saxon Math programs.

  • You can buy kits geared toward homeschool students that include all the materials you need for learning and assessment.
  • The bloggers behind Homegrown Learners share that they love Saxon Math because "It's so much more than math, it is a way of approaching life." because it asks students to draw out the lessons with comparisons.
  • Reviewer Cathy Duffy shares, "The program does a good job of developing mathematical thinking."
  • The script included in the K-3 curricula helps parents feel confident they are covering the material well.
  • Frequent assessments help you see where your child's understanding is at.

Cons of the Saxon Math Curriculum

As with any curriculum, there are some points of concern with using the Saxon Math programs. Actual users can also help you identify the weak points through online reviews.

  • Students who are hands-on learners or students that learn best by hearing and listening may have difficulty with this program without intensive intervention on the part of the teacher.
  • A couple different reviewers on The Homeschool Mom warn that sometimes the problems in the books seem to skip steps. Amy says, "We feel that they skip 'simple' steps that they take for granted."
  • Most of the curricula are meant to either be taught like a traditional classroom lesson or learned with complete independence, which won't work for all families.
  • Many of the elementary lessons require the use of manipulatives, which can be cost-prohibitive.

Where to Buy Saxon Math

Be aware that if you are buying a used curriculum, it could be out of date. This may make it difficult to find test forms, answer keys, and teacher's guides if they don't actually come with the book that you buy. The publisher of Saxon Math, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt sells homeschool materials and kits for the curricula as well as the traditional school versions. Most Saxon Math books are also available from Christianbook.

Math Skills With Saxon

If you're looking for a step-by-step math curriculum you can teach your child, Saxon Math is a good option. This homeschool math program helps students of all ages learn the math skills they need to succeed. If you love Saxon Math, you might want to check out other Saxon curricula like the Saxon Spelling and Phonics program.

Saxon Math Curriculum Basics and Reviews