Included in this letter is an article on dating mentioned in an earlier letter. While not directly on the subject of home schooling, it is an important topic for parents training their children to walk in God's ways. The most difficult in writing the article was in keeping from writing a book! There are so many topics which deserve 10 pages of their own, such as each of the Biblical examples, proper attitudes towards money in a marriage, God's purpose in the marriage bed and on and on. We have tried to stay to the topic at hand - God's methods for Christians to be matched to their husbands or wives.
Since we have the space to write here, we will discuss the Saxon math program. Earl had searched for a better math program to use for our eldest son (after completing the highest level of Ray's arithmetics appropriate for modern use). Earl was unhappy with Bob Jones' math at the 7th/8th grade level (too easy), with A Beka's algebra I (very disorganzied!!) and prayed for a solution. We had heard about Saxon math but had never seen the book. Then in November, we heard Mr. Saxon on a Christian radio program. He explained two things, the results in schools using his books and the theory of his program.
The results have been good in two ways. First of all, students using Saxon math have scored well on achievement tests. But perhaps of more interest was that schools using Saxon math find that a very large percentage of students complete high school math (including trigonomotry and algebra II). He cited cases where, when his program has been introduced in schools, most students in the "dumb" math ended up completing advanced high school math!
The theory of the program is that there are a small number of very important concepts which need to be built upon and which need to be learned very, very well. Saxon math differs from other programs in that each day's problems contain only a few problems of the ONE new concept taught that day. These problems are usually VERY easy. The other problems each day require constant practice in key concepts learned earlier. Saxon says that in most programs, a student may learn percentage in October and never see it again! And then we wonder why he can't do a percentage problem in June.
We looked at Saxon books for grades 5-9 (books belonging to a friend) and purchased the books for his level. We do not have the lower level books which start at grade 3 level. Earl has been using the books with him for several months now. Our experience was that the daily work took him a long time at first (1-3 hours). However, as he gained skill by practicing the important concepts, the time required has constantly decreased. He has found the going quite easy while continuing to learn new concepts. Earl is happy with the program. We hope that it continues to be a fruitful addition to our home schooling program.
Saxon publishes what they call a "Home Schooling Package". At upper levels this means the teacher's edition (answers in back). At lower levels, it includes the text, plus separate answers. The address to write for information Thompson School Book Depository, Inc., PO Box 60160, Oklahoma City,OK 73146, USA.
Earl & Diane Rodd