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    Rod & Staff math vs Saxon

    Has anyone used both Rod and Staff Mathematics and Saxon Math and can compare them?

    We have used Saxon for years. My seventh grade daughter is in Saxon Algebra 1 and doing fine.

    My third grade son is in Saxon 5/4 and doing okay with the concepts when we do them together but the lengthy practice problems wear him out and he seems to have real gaps in his math facts that are not going away with flash cards. He also seems to have trouble doing math independently. I printed out the placement test for R&S math to see where he falls and am wondering about going a different route with him, even for a short time. It’s not that he doesn’t like Saxon, but I don’t want to keep using it and then realizing we should have done something else years ago.
    2020-2021 Eighth year homeschooling, first year using MP cores!
    DD - grade 7
    DS - grade 3
    Five born to Heaven, between 2009 and 2014
    DH is a bivocational pastor
    Celebrating 18 years of marriage this year.

    #2
    I loved Saxon as a kid and planned to use it with my own kids, but my boys stalled out in 5/4. Word problems were a disaster for one of them, the steps in a problem were an issue for both of them, and there wasn't enough practice of the new concept for them to begin internalizing it before starting the next lesson. I didn't remember Rod & Staff at the time so we switched to Developmental Mathematics. It was okay.

    I later switched/started my younger guys in R&S, and I can't tell you how many times I've said to myself, "If only my oldest had had this!"

    If Saxon isn't working for your son, I would definitely give R&S a shot. Just be sure to use the Teacher Manual lessons -- it doesn't take long and that's where all the meat is. The book is just for practice.

    ETA: if he has gaps, don't hesitate to go down level(s). Many of us have had to do that when switching to R&S.
    Last edited by jen1134; 01-26-2021, 05:24 PM.
    Jennifer
    Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

    2021-2022
    DS18: Almost done!
    DS17: MP, MPOA
    DS15: MP, MPOA
    DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
    DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
    DD9: SC3
    DD6: MPK

    Comment


      #3
      We started out in Saxon with my oldest. She did get through 5/4, but not without bi-weekly frustration. By the time we got 6 weeks into 6/5, the tears were so common. And she had always done great in math - before Saxon. I started researching, found out the difference between spiral and mastery-based math, ordered Rod and Staff, and our problems evaporated overnight. She IS good at math; but Saxon’s spiral approach did not let her fully grasp a concept with enough practice before it moved on to something new. It is a very, very common issue with Saxon.

      And agreed...do not worry at all about putting a child where he or she needs to be in Rod and Staff. I love the books so much I would not hesitate taking a child who is coming from another program straight into the 4th grade book so that he or she has the value of the explanations for all the new concepts that are introduced. You can always go faster if a child shows mastery of the concept, but it’s really hard to find the gaps in understanding that you do not know are there.

      AMDG,
      Sarah
      2020-2021
      16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
      DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
      DS, 17
      DD, 15
      DD, 13
      DD, 11
      DD, 9
      DD, 7
      +DS+
      DS, 2

      Comment


        #4
        I gave him part of the placement test tonight beginning with grade 1. Grade 1 was fine, but as soon as he saw the grade 2 items, I could see him panicking. We will try it tomorrow when he is fresh, but I’m beginning to think dropping back to second grade math would not be a bad thing, so we can drive home the math facts from a different angle. Would you recommend we start from the beginning of that, or skip things that he seems to have a handle on?
        2020-2021 Eighth year homeschooling, first year using MP cores!
        DD - grade 7
        DS - grade 3
        Five born to Heaven, between 2009 and 2014
        DH is a bivocational pastor
        Celebrating 18 years of marriage this year.

        Comment


          #5
          The rule of thumb is to accelerate, not skip.
          DS12- Simply Classical mash-up of SC Spelling 1, intensive reading remediation, and MPOA 4th grade math.
          DD10- Classic Core 4th Grade w/ 5th grade literature
          DD8- Classic Core 2nd Grade

          We've completed:
          Classic Core Jr. kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade
          Simply Classical levels B, C, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5/6

          Comment


            #6
            I think starting fresh at the beginning would be a great thing to try. Second grade is going to really emphasize the addition and subtraction fact families, so there is a lot of repetition on those. Whatever seems to be overkill you can move faster on, either by doing half the problems on a page or by doing every other lesson in some places. Saxon has a very scripted TM, so you will be used to the idea of actually using the R&S TM It is essential to teaching second, but the lessons are not nearly as long as Saxon’s lessons were. But anything new will be presented in the TM several lessons before it appears in the work pages.

            Good luck to you!
            AMDG,
            Sarah
            2020-2021
            16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
            DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
            DS, 17
            DD, 15
            DD, 13
            DD, 11
            DD, 9
            DD, 7
            +DS+
            DS, 2

            Comment


              #7
              My older 2 kids used Rod and Staff through fourth grade. My younger 2 are currently using Rod and Staff. We switched to Saxon in fifth grade. So this year I have one in 6/5 and one in 8/7. For what it's worth, both kids who have made the switch greatly prefer Saxon, and I'm pleased with their math ability. For my oldest son who dislikes math, the 30 problems per lesson seem more manageable than the many in Rod and Staff. He also benefits from the "incremental" approach. I've seen lots of complaints that Saxon doesn't provide enough review, but my experience has been that every concept continues to be used throughout the year so students are never allowed to forget, since they are continually required to use those concepts. We also use the timed facts practice sheets daily with Saxon, so the kids stay sharp on their basic facts. These practice sheets start with +-÷× and advance to fractions, measurements, geometry concepts, etc. in higher levels.

              I appreciate that Rod and Staff did a great job getting them solid on all the basic operations by the end of fourth grade, so if your child is struggling at that level, Rod and Staff could be a great fit. As I said, we didn't use Saxon until 5th grade, so I'm not sure how those lower levels compare. I also notice that you said your son is in 3rd grade but doing Saxon 5/4. Is it possible that he has been moving fast but not achieving mastery, since it appears he is ahead of a "normal" 3rd grader?
              Amy

              DS 13 MP8
              DD 11 MP6
              DS 9 MP4
              DD 6 MP1
              DS 4 R&S Pre-k books
              DS 1

              Comment


                #8
                My eldest came from almost 3 years of Montessori math, so I was rather puffed up that by the end of preschool she could add and subtract 4-digit numbers with borrowing across 3 zeros or carrying across 3 place values. What I was not prepared for was her not being able to figure out 10-3 without golden beads (like, at all). When we came to MP in the summer before second grade, I found that there was no way she could start with R&S Arithmetic 2, although we had blasted through our own year-long math curriculum PLUS Saxon Math 2 (which also ended in tears because we thought the teacher's manual and worksheets were enough to "acquire" the math facts). I bought the materials for R&S Arithmetic 1, went through everything at a pace she could handle over the summer (the money, fractions and place value were mastered, so we skipped this in favor of straight memorization of facts). Then, we began R&S 2 in the fall. It was the best thing we did. No more tears! My eldest does complain now if she doesn't have mastery of a concept and will ask for more problems or practice because she knows she hates the feeling of being so bogged down by the mechanics of a problem that she cannot answer easily. The mental math, skip-counting and drilling of rules and equivalent measures have really helped.

                Additionally, as we've moved up through R&S Arithmetic 1, 2, 3 and 4, we've begun to do the recommended 200-fact warm-up before our math lesson each day this year. It has been wonderful at speeding my child through her math lesson with confidence. My girl is not mathy, yet she always gets A's on her tests and quizzes. I owe that to the approach of R&S combined with MP's great suggestions.
                Mama to 2

                Spring start MP1
                Summer start 5A

                Completed MPK, MP1 Math & Enrichment, MP2, 3A, 4A, SC B, SC C,
                SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by enbateau View Post
                  My eldest came from almost 3 years of Montessori math, so I was rather puffed up that by the end of preschool she could add and subtract 4-digit numbers with borrowing across 3 zeros or carrying across 3 place values. What I was not prepared for was her not being able to figure out 10-3 without golden beads (like, at all). When we came to MP in the summer before second grade, I found that there was no way she could start with R&S Arithmetic 2, although we had blasted through our own year-long math curriculum PLUS Saxon Math 2 (which also ended in tears because we thought the teacher's manual and worksheets were enough to "acquire" the math facts). I bought the materials for R&S Arithmetic 1, went through everything at a pace she could handle over the summer (the money, fractions and place value were mastered, so we skipped this in favor of straight memorization of facts). Then, we began R&S 2 in the fall. It was the best thing we did. No more tears! My eldest does complain now if she doesn't have mastery of a concept and will ask for more problems or practice because she knows she hates the feeling of being so bogged down by the mechanics of a problem that she cannot answer easily. The mental math, skip-counting and drilling of rules and equivalent measures have really helped.

                  Additionally, as we've moved up through R&S Arithmetic 1, 2, 3 and 4, we've begun to do the recommended 200-fact warm-up before our math lesson each day this year. It has been wonderful at speeding my child through her math lesson with confidence. My girl is not mathy, yet she always gets A's on her tests and quizzes. I owe that to the approach of R&S combined with MP's great suggestions.
                  Where do you find the 200 fact warm ups?
                  Emily…a hunter who prefers coffee to chocolate and dreams of the mountains

                  Beech Tree Boarding School, 2021-2022
                  DD (age 10): MP 5
                  DD (age 8): MP 2
                  DS (age 5): MP K
                  "Maybe stalking the woods is as vital to the human condition as making music or putting words to paper. Maybe hunting has as much of a claim on our civilized selves as anything else.” Steven Rinella

                  Comment


                    #10
                    We've used Saxon, and I much prefer Rod and Staff. I thought I would hate it, but it is honestly the first math program that I have sincerely enjoyed teaching. My fourth grader is thriving with it. My first grader hates it, but she feels that way about a lot of school, and at this point, her "loving math" is secondary to her need for ironclad consistency, so, she's doing it, too! I can't wait to start the Kindergarten plans of it for my little guy in the fall, and use it all the way through as MP lines it up. I think R&S gives them an incredible confidence to know that they KNOW math. My daughter was convinced that she was terrible at math when we used Singapore/Dimensions; now she will say "I am good at math" and she thinks all the tricks that Common Core uses for math are just for people who haven't memorized their math facts. R&S isn't advanced, and I've got a friend who thinks that Art of Problem Solving and Beast Academy are the only math programs even worth thinking about using, but we are making real yet solid progress with R&S.
                    Emily…a hunter who prefers coffee to chocolate and dreams of the mountains

                    Beech Tree Boarding School, 2021-2022
                    DD (age 10): MP 5
                    DD (age 8): MP 2
                    DS (age 5): MP K
                    "Maybe stalking the woods is as vital to the human condition as making music or putting words to paper. Maybe hunting has as much of a claim on our civilized selves as anything else.” Steven Rinella

                    Comment


                      #11
                      MP is moving toward their own Morning Math plan, but in the meantime, they've talked about their success with just using two 100-fact speed drill sheets from the R&S Arithmetic 3 or 4 blacklines (I print mine front and back to save paper). In the beginning of the year, I used ones from MP3 as they are segregated by certain facts like just 7's multiplication or 6's division. As we've hit midyear, I've moved into the MP4 Blacklines that have all 4 operations mixed, and our goal has been to get under 3 min per side of 100. Today, she got 2:38 and only had 1 mistake, so I'm super pleased with the results. It has completely replaced speed drills in the little booklet.
                      Mama to 2

                      Spring start MP1
                      Summer start 5A

                      Completed MPK, MP1 Math & Enrichment, MP2, 3A, 4A, SC B, SC C,
                      SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1

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