Math-tastrophe

Well, sometimes no matter how well I plan and prepare, no matter how much I rework and retry, things just don’t work out.  Such was the case with math for my oldest.

We started Saxon 1 way back in kindergarten.  It was a good match for him.  Sometimes it seemed like a bit too much repetitive work, but we got through it.  First grade and second grade saw us continuing the program with equal success.  Grades were good, and comprehension was great.

When third grade rolled around, Saxon 5/4 was next on the roster.  I got a copy and off we went.  However, for us, all was not well.  My son struggled.  The early content was mostly review, so he wasn’t drowning at first, but as the weeks passed, he started to struggle.

First off, there was just so. much. work!  A full page of 100 problems, a warm-up, a lesson, lesson practice, then 30 or so review questions.  My poor son was overwhelmed.  So, I cut it back.  I reduced the workload by a half.  I tried to change the teaching style.  He was still skipping vital steps, rushing, not showing work, and being sloppy.  Making him redo the work just caused tears and trauma.

Maybe the new format was just too much for my son to cope with with his ADHD.  Maybe the past troubles had caused bad associations.  Maybe the program was just a little more mature than he was.  Maybe it was a combination of all of the above.  Whatever the problem was, my attempts to troubleshoot failed miserably.

In the end, I was forced to do the unthinkable.  I ditched the Saxon.  I was very opposed to ‘giving up’.  I was opposed to switching math programs and risking gaps.  I was also very unhappy about finding room in the budget for a new program.  I liked Saxon; we had a few great years.

I ended up biting the bullet and getting a new program.  We’re two weeks in, and it’s way to soon to call, but things are so much better so far.  Now, this could be due to the fact that we’re backing up a bit to restore confidence and get used to the new program, but I have my fingers crossed that it will hold.

It was a difficult choice to make.  I really just wanted to ride the Saxon train to the end of the line, but sometimes things just don’t work out as planned.  When we homeschool, sometimes we just have to stay a little more flexible than we want.

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