Can someone with experience with both possibly compare these two for me? I have Saxon 87 already, but have never used it. I'm happy to purchase COTR if that is a better program, but I'd like to hear how the two are different. We will be coming from Rod and Staff 6, and have absolutely loved and thrived with R&S! That makes me think that if COTR is more similar (mastery based, incremental, thorough instructions, lots of review), we'd probably prefer it. I know Saxon has a spiral approach, and that is my main concern. However, I do like that Saxon has the answers to all the problems and not only the odds.
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College of Redwoods vs. Saxon PreAlgebra
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Re: College of Redwoods vs. Saxon PreAlgebra
Originally posted by Angela View PostCan someone with experience with both possibly compare these two for me? I have Saxon 87 already, but have never used it. I'm happy to purchase COTR if that is a better program, but I'd like to hear how the two are different. We will be coming from Rod and Staff 6, and have absolutely loved and thrived with R&S! That makes me think that if COTR is more similar (mastery based, incremental, thorough instructions, lots of review), we'd probably prefer it. I know Saxon has a spiral approach, and that is my main concern. However, I do like that Saxon has the answers to all the problems and not only the odds.
I asked a friend who used both Saxon 87 (years ago) and COTR (recently) and she mentioned the COTR approach has several advantages over Saxon.
Here is a typical COTR sequence for instruction:
1) introduce a concept to remind the student of previously learned skill (say fraction arithmetic)
2) use fractions to solve equations (apply)
3) go on to the next concept (say decimal arithmetic)
4) use decimals to solve equations (apply)
This repeated sequence of reviewing a previously learned skill, followed by new application builds mastery in a way Saxon did not.
With regard to answer key, COTR has so many problems, that having answers to odds gives plenty to choose from. So if a Saxon lesson has 30 problems, the COTR lesson may have 81 problems (41 odd answers), which provides plenty of practice to mastery.
Please remember that your student may need more than one day for a given COTR lesson. Make sure it is mastered before moving on. Compare to Saxon, where it marches on, one lesson per day, to the end.
I hope this comparison helps.Cindy Davis
Science and Math teacher at Highlands Latin School  Indianapolis
ds25 college graduate: independent young adult
ds24 college graduate: 2nd year med school
dd22 college senior: Nursing

Re: College of Redwoods vs. Saxon PreAlgebra
Hi Angela,
No experience yet but we are at the same point with Math. My daughter has used Saxon Levels 3  7/6. I believe Saxon 8/7 is used for students needing an extra year of basic math prior to Prealgebra. Most people I know begin prealgebra after 7/6. I planned to have DD continue on with Saxon Algebra 1/2 (prealgebra) next year. But..... we are both realizing she would benefit from a mastery approach rather than incremental/spiral. I think CotR will be a better fit so we plan to switch next year. Just something to think about.
NatalieNatalie
DD, age 13: CC 7M, with a few swaps
DD, age 10: CC 5M
Third year using full MP CC, Forth year homeschooling
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Re: College of Redwoods vs. Saxon PreAlgebra
I just saw this thread ... Angela, I don't know if you have seen this, but COTR has made the book available free online: it is here, along with the solutions manual.
Even if you wish to have a physical textbook, you could figure out whether or not it is a good fit before buying.
Hope this is helpful to somebody!Ana, mama to
ds A, 14 yo
ds N, 9 yo
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Originally posted by Cindy in Indy View PostRe: College of Redwoods vs. Saxon PreAlgebra
Hi Angela,
I asked a friend who used both Saxon 87 (years ago) and COTR (recently) and she mentioned the COTR approach has several advantages over Saxon.
Here is a typical COTR sequence for instruction:
1) introduce a concept to remind the student of previously learned skill (say fraction arithmetic)
2) use fractions to solve equations (apply)
3) go on to the next concept (say decimal arithmetic)
4) use decimals to solve equations (apply)
This repeated sequence of reviewing a previously learned skill, followed by new application builds mastery in a way Saxon did not.
With regard to answer key, COTR has so many problems, that having answers to odds gives plenty to choose from. So if a Saxon lesson has 30 problems, the COTR lesson may have 81 problems (41 odd answers), which provides plenty of practice to mastery.
Please remember that your student may need more than one day for a given COTR lesson. Make sure it is mastered before moving on. Compare to Saxon, where it marches on, one lesson per day, to the end.
I hope this comparison helps.
Do you think it would be incredibly boring for a student to take COTR PreAlgebra after completing Saxon 8/7? I am glad to hear they are very different, but when looking at the text online COTR seems very basic. My child is ahead in Math and will be completing Saxon 8/7 (which they consider prealgebra) as a 6th grader. I can’t imagine her taking Algebra as a 7th grader. It just seems early to me even though she does well in Math. I am thinking about having her repeat PreAlgebra rather than advancing her so quickly.
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Hi Kari,
I don't think COTR PreAlgebra would be boring after completing Saxon 8/7. You can think of COTR as "advanced prealgebra". COTR introduces a number of elementary algebra skills, so it serves as a great bridge from arithmetic and Saxon 8/7 to future algebra courses. I find that students do well with additional practice (overlearning) of these fundamental skills. When she advances to algebra in 8th grade, your daughter will be extremely wellprepared for success.Cindy Davis
Science and Math teacher at Highlands Latin School  Indianapolis
ds25 college graduate: independent young adult
ds24 college graduate: 2nd year med school
dd22 college senior: Nursing
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Originally posted by KariE View Post
Hi Cindy,
Do you think it would be incredibly boring for a student to take COTR PreAlgebra after completing Saxon 8/7? I am glad to hear they are very different, but when looking at the text online COTR seems very basic. My child is ahead in Math and will be completing Saxon 8/7 (which they consider prealgebra) as a 6th grader. I can’t imagine her taking Algebra as a 7th grader. It just seems early to me even though she does well in Math. I am thinking about having her repeat PreAlgebra rather than advancing her so quickly.
I am going to jump in here too, but not to disagree with the excellent advice from Cindy, because she is amazingly knowledgable and so helpful with these questions about sequence and pace. I would trust her guidance without worry.
But I did want to add two small thoughts.
1. You are right to hesitate at moving your daughter too quickly because there is a maturity issue to contend with when it comes to the transition to the more abstract concepts of advanced math courses. All math is abstract to an extent, but there is definitely a mental shift when kids encounter prealgebra for the first time. For my kids, they experience angst for the first six weeks or so, and then settle down once that "shift" finishes. The younger a child is, the stronger that angst may be simply because of their maturity level. So, that's another bit of support for taking your time.
BUT...
2. With that being said, if your daughter is not struggling, there is also no need to take your time. If you keep my first point in mind, and pay attention to her ability to handle the material, then she might surprise you by her ability to keep moving forward. You could easily get COTR and let her go at her pace. She could move quickly through lessons she already knows, and then slow down a bit more for those things that are new. That is one way you can make sure she is definitely ready for algebra. And if she gets to Algebra early, it's not really a huge deal. Math is wonderful in that it proceeds logically. Concepts build on each other. And as long as your materials are good, and respect that logical progression, she should be able to simply keep moving ahead. There is always more math. She's not going to "run out" just because she is ahead of schedule. You're probably just going to have to be ready to outsource at some point!
AMDG,
Sarah20192020  9th Year with MP
DD, 19, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
DS, 16
DD, 14
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