Choosing a math curriculum for your classrooms can be a challenge for any charter school and it should not be chosen lightly. Following the latest education fad can feel like gambling with the future of the students entrusted to you, especially when these programs usually have little to no proof of any measurable growth of student knowledge. Saxon Math has been used by the charter and homeschooling communities for decades and has only grown in its popularity, due in large part to its success. Instead of force-feeding larger concepts, such as critical thinking skills, Saxon Math is meant to teach students how to discover these concepts through their own learning process. The key to success in Saxon Math is to provide each student with the support they need to not only master the drills, but to learn how to use that mastery to analyze and solve real world problems. Although this support is necessary, it may also be difficult for educators to provide to every student one-on-one.
Art Reed has more than twelve years classroom experience teaching John Saxon’s math books from Algebra ½ through Calculus. In addition to his classroom teaching, Mr. Reed became known as an experienced curriculum advisor for Saxon Math and a sought-after advisor to homeschooling families and traditional schools alike. After several decades of experience, Mr. Reed has developed a library of online video courses, each one perfectly supplementing the Saxon Math book series: Math 76 (4th Ed), Math 87 (2nd or 3rd Ed), Algebra ½ (3rd Ed), Algebra 1 (3rd Ed), Algebra 2 (2nd or 3rd Ed), Advanced Mathematics: Geometry with Advanced Algebra, Advanced Mathematics: Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus. Although these courses are designed to accompany the editions specified, they can be used to support virtually any math curricula available. However, please note the Saxon math editions noted next to each course. Recent changes to the traditional Saxon Math books have meant that Geometry is now being sold as an independent course. Mr. Reed goes into great detail regarding why he does not support many of these changes, including the unnecessary separation of the Geometry content, and why he has chosen not to support these new editions. Charter schools that choose to use the new Saxon Math editions can still easily use Mr. Reed’s online video courses with some minor adjustments. Charter schools can purchase a 2 year subscription to each course for the bargain price of $59.95. And this technology is hassle-free: the videos will work on any device that has access to wifi.
Mr. Reed is both kind and encouraging throughout the videos, while keeping a great sense of humor. These videos are the perfect supplement to the Saxon Math books because of Mr. Reed’s patient and clear teaching style, but also because they help to “fill in the gap” that some kids fall in while using Saxon Math. Saxon Math has been extremely popular in the charter school community for a number of reasons. Ready-to-use learning resources (such as solution keys and ready to print tests), widely available copies of the texts (Saxon Math is so popular that most local libraries have at least one book), and a strong track record of success are only a few of those reasons. Even some public school districts have taken notice – implementing Saxon Math as an alternative to the “reform math” programs that had been unsuccessful in raising student math scores on standardized tests. And although most of these schools have seen an increase in test scores, some have run into an issue familiar with those who implement Saxon Math in their classrooms.
Unlike many “reform math” programs that emphasize critical thinking and higher-level analysis, Saxon Math focuses on an incremental approach, in which students learn complex math concepts in smaller, “bite-sized” increments. A new increment is presented each day, along with a few practice problems on the new material, and then the majority of the homework reviews concepts covered in previous lessons. Unfortunately, this is where some kids get lost or overwhelmed in the “gap” formed when the curriculum moves on to cumulative review before the student has internalized the new content. This emphasis on cumulative review in Saxon Math can sacrifice those students who need some additional explanation and/or practice with the new material before being challenged to recall the material learned from the previous day(s). And this is especially true for those students without an educator experienced in teaching Saxon Math, or an educator that is unable to provide the one-on-one support some students will need. Art Reed’s video courses bridge that “gap” while challenging students to apply what they learn.
Throughout all of the online courses, Mr. Reed’s lessons are user-friendly and allow students control over their own learning by reviewing the steps of a specific problem or a particularly challenging concept at their own pace. Not only do students receive the additional practice and examples for new content, but it is being delivered by a professional educator with more than a dozen years of extensive classroom experience with this material. These online videos are more than a solution for the “gap” kids that need extra support, Mr. Reed shows kids how the new lessons are connected to the larger picture, including how to apply their knowledge in the real world. They are perfect for all charter schools using Saxon Math – ensuring each and every student walks away with the most valuable lesson from the series: to learn how to learn. The courses are priced to fit into the tight budget of a charter school and are a bargain when compared to the expense of private tutoring. Also, Mr. Reed is available through email for those families that need some free advice or assistance with their Saxon Math teaching. For more information, including pricing and free lessons from each video course, please visit the website at https://teachingsaxon.com.