Still following rabbit-trails. Found this, by Art Reed, who used to work for Saxon Publishers. Click on Newsletters. http://www.homeschoolwithsaxon.com/index.php He makes tons of very good points. He also says don't bother with the NEW-Saxon Fourth Edition Algebra 1 and 2 because they have stripped out all the Geometry to make their new Geometry book -- because you make more money selling 3 books instead of 2. He highly recommends using the Third Editions (hardbacks) while you can still get them. He says the 2nd (HB) or 3rd (SC) Editions of Math 54 are almost exactly the same, problem for problem. Use either. Same with Math 65. For Math 76, he recommends the 3rd (HB) or 4th (SC), which again are almost identical. He says the 1st and 2nd editions are outdated and not up to the 3rd ed in concepts, so a student using them might have some difficulty in going from that to the 3rd ed of 87. Students who score eighty-five or better on the last five tests in this level book indicate they are ready to move to Algebra ½, 3rd edition. Student’s who encounter difficulty in the last part of Math 76, reflected by lower test scores, can easily make up their shortcomings by proceeding to Math 87 rather than Algebra ½. Math 87's 2nd (HB) and 3rd (SC) are also nearly identical. He also said this: Students who successfully complete the entire textbook and score eighty-five or better on their last five or six tests can skip the Algebra ½ textbook and proceed directly to the Algebra 1, 3rd edition textbook. Both Math 87 and algebra ½ get the student ready for Algebra 1; however, the Math 87 textbooks start off a bit slower with a bit more review of earlier concepts than does the Algebra ½ book. This enables students who encountered difficulty in Math 76 to review earlier concepts they had difficulty with and to successful later in the textbook. Students who encounter difficulty in the last part of this book will find that going into Algebra ½ before they move to the Algebra 1 course will strengthen their knowledge and ability of the basics necessary to be successful in the Algebra 1 course. Algebra 1/2 Use the 3rd edition textbook rather than the older 2nd edition as the 3rd edition contains the lesson concept reference numbers which refer the student back to the lesson that introduced the concept of the numbered problem they’re having trouble with. From here through Calculus, all books are hard-backed. Algebra 1 Use the academically stronger 3rd edition. Algebra 2 Use either the 2nd or 3rd edition. The solutions manual for the 3rd edition has solutions for the daily practice problems that the 2nd ed solutions manual doesn't have. Advanced Math Use the 2nd edition. Calculus The 1st edition is still a really good book for calculus. A student finishing all these last 4 books successfully will have two algebra, one geometry, one semester of trig and one semester of pre-calculus.

If you're even thinking about using Saxon, you need to read Art Reed's newsletters. He's also made a set of videos in which he teaches each lesson. He says both the DIVE and Teacher cd's are advertised as videos, but they aren't really, they're computer cds of whiteboard lessons, and only play on the computer. The content of the Teacher ones are exactly the same as the content of the Solutions Manual which is a lot cheaper. His dvds and one other (I didn't know there were so many choices!) are actually dvds that will play on the tv or on the computer.

Thanks for posting Lindina. Dd will be doing 76 next year and I thought we would move on to 87 but now I am not sure. I guess I will have to wait and see how she does this year.

Ok - don't laugh too hard... my first thought in reference to the title..... "fire starter" and yes I have 5/4, algebra I & algebra II in my house

If you begin upper level Saxon then plan to stay with it. Saxon's scope and sequence jumps around so much that you need to do the entire series to get enough practice with each concept. Just my opinion, I don't mean to "start the fire". LOL , Pam

Saxon math is what I intend to use when my children get older. The Saxon Teacher DVDs have the answers to every single problem in the entire book. Can't beat that. Plus the spiral method seems to be a no-brainer. The biggest objection people make to Saxon math is that it is boring. Oh well. Math, just like many of the most valuable skills we gain in life, is learned by lots of tedious repetition. Might as well get used to it.

I won't use Saxon because it's spiral. I don't like using a spiral approach, and in general, I don't like the T.M. either. ... and boredom figures into my reasoning, too. Sure, some things in life are boring, but life is short, and I'd like for the important things not to be so boring. If there's a way to teach something so that it holds a kids' attention, of course I'll trade in something boring. These days, you can even play Angry Birds while sitting on the toilet. LOL! I'll save boredom for standing in line or "now what can I do?" after school work is done.

I could never work out what grade levels Saxon materials were, or what you actually need for the full course! Is 5/4 fifth grade?

They did the courses like that so they would not be pinpointed for specific grades. The 54 course is for 4th or 5th grade depending on the student. That is why if one is just starting Saxon in 4th grade or above they say you really need to do the placement test. We started last year and I thought dd would be in 54 but it turned out she placed in 65 so that is where we started.

Back when John Saxon wrote them, he wasn't into grade levels, so he just wrote them for "levels". USED TO BE, 54 was for "advanced 4th or regular 5th", and at one point they had set up first edition 54 as a remedial or special-ed book, with newer editions for "regular students". NOWADAYS, 54 is just considered 4th. Same for each one with that kind of number. The Old-Saxon company used to suggest that if you did well with 76 you could skip 87 and go on to Alg 1/2, but New-Saxon just puts them out there for all of them to be done, and 87 would be 7th grade. Harcourt sells more books that way. For homeschool, though, just do the placement test and go with whatever.

Okay...am I reading this correctly? If we do 3rd Edition Alg I and Alg II, then you give a credit in those AND geometry?

I believe it's 2 algebras and one semester of geometry, or a half credit. You get the other half if you also do Advanced Math. There's a more detailed breakdown in one or more of his newsletters on his site.

Art Reed says this: FAST MATH TRACK: Math 76 - Algebra 1/2 - Algebra 1 - Algebra 2 - Geometry with Advanced Algebra - Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus - Calculus. NOTE: The Saxon Advanced Mathematics textbook was used over a two year period allowing the above underlined two full math credits after completing Saxon Algebra 2. (TOTAL High School Math Credits: 5) AVERAGE MATH TRACK: Math 76 - Math 87 - Algebra 1/2 - Algebra 1 - Algebra 2 - Geometry with Advanced Algebra - Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus. (TOTAL High School Math Credits: 4) SLOWER MATH TRACK: Math 76 - Math 87 - Algebra 1/2 - Algebra 1 - Introduction to Algebra 2 - Algebra 2 - Geometry with Advanced Algebra. (TOTAL High School Math Credits: 4) In another article he explained that you can get 4 credits for doing only Algebra 1 and 2. Some students did not get an adequate grade (like a D or F) the first time through Algebra 1, so the school recorded that year as "Introduction to Algebra 1", and they did the whole book again the second year, getting a better grade and "Algebra 1" was recorded on the transcript. The same thing for the Algebra 2 book in the following two years. Here in our public schools, students can get 2 math credits by doing Algebra 1 (Part A) and Algebra 1 (Part B). Sounds the same to me. I have no qualms about giving a Part A and a Part B grade to a student who only finished half the book one year and the second half the second year (hasn't happened yet, but it might). And this: WHEN RECORDING COURSE TITLES ON TRANSCRIPTS, USE THE FOLLOWING TITLES: Math 76: Record "Sixth Grade Math." Math 87: Record "Pre-Algebra."(If student must also take Algebra 1/2, then use "Seventh Grade Math") Algebra 1/2: Record "Pre-Algebra." Algebra 1 & Algebra 2: Self explanatory. Advanced Mathematics: Record "Geometry with Advanced Algebra" (1 credit) if they only complete the first 60 - 70 lessons of that textbook. Record "Trigonometry and Pre-calculus" (1 credit) if they have completed the entirety of the Advanced mathematics textbook. Under no circumstances should you record the title "Advanced Mathematics" on the student's transcript as the colleges and universities will not know what math this course contains, and they will ask you for a syllabus for the course. Calculus: Self explanatory.

Thanks! As you were posting, I was also reading.....very interesting! Thanks so much for the link! I was just about to buy the new geometry, but I think we'll be starting Alg II instead!

I agree to a point. I too would trade in a boring piece of work for a more engaging piece any day of the week. But I find that the discipline of doing a boring piece of work every day is an essential part of character training. I mean seriously....how many of us don't have parts of our job that are just plain tedium? I think it is essential that kids learn the discipline of pushing thru a tedious task with their eye upon the reward. learning a language, musical instrument, new dance steps, sports, etc. they all can't be had by anyone who isn't willing to trade off lots of boring repetition for the ultimate reward of gaining the new skill. This idea that everything in school needs to be exciting and gamey (not saying this is your approach) is calculated to make the child a disaster at life. at any rate, just my thots...

Here is the Saxon Homeschool FAQ: What are my options for upper level math? http://saxonhomeschool.hmhco.com/en/homeschool_faq.htm#concepts

Art Reed says that he wouldn't be surprised if Harcourt stopped printing the SAXON 3rd Editions, forcing homeschoolers as well as public/private schools to buy the NEW-Saxon stripped-of-geometry Algebra 1 and 2 4th editions and the new Geometry, because that way they'll sell more books, but that's not the way John Saxon (nor most of the rest of the world) envisioned it, and it's not (in the opinion of most of the rest of the world) the best way to learn high school math. How's that for a run-on sentence?? LOL

luckily I have all most of the high school books from sd. The rest I can pick up at used curriculum sales if they stop printing before I need it