Quicker HS Math?

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  • beth

    Hi- I need quicker math for my 7th and 9th grader. They both take about 1.5-2 hrs every day, which leaves them little energy for much else. The program is working very well; they have both increased in understanding, so I’m VERY hesitant to change. But something has to give! We can’t keep going at this rate.

    We use Saxon, which is well-known for taking a long time. But we skip the warm up and only do half the problems. They watch Nicole the Math Lady videos, which are awesome, and only about 10-15 min.

    What else can we do? My 9th grader really needs to start Algebra I this year, but he’s halfway through 8/7. Acing every test! But moving slowly.

    My 7th grader had SO much trouble with Singapore, but is soaring with Saxon! Her confidence is so improved! So again, I hesitate to change. She’s halfway through 5/4, but I’d also like her to be in Algebra I by 9th…if that’s even possible.


    Hi Beth,

    Have you considered using a math tutor once a week for an hour?  That’s what we did, and it really works to get them moving more quickly and with a new level of confidence.  I can recommend an excellent tutor, if you want to go that route.  Let me know!

    Kind regards,


    Tamara Bell

    Hi Beth.

    We (SCM) like to recommend Math-U-See.  It has worked extremely well for my non-math minded kiddo (and my math minded kiddos) and the lessons take less time than many standard programs.


    I hesitate to change what works for a kid in math!

    BUT, we like Math U See because it is a lot more to the point than Saxon, fewer daily math problems to do.


    I switched everyone to Life of Fred last year and Math is no longer a nighmare! And if we weren’t doing LoF, we would probably be doing Math U See.  There are a lot of better options than Saxon!


    If you have been doing Saxon a long time and it works for them and you and your kids like it, then I would stick with it.

    The truth is 8/7 is a lot of review. Elementary math can usually be finished by 6th grade. Your younger child could skip one grade and probably do fine in the next book if it is in the middle school years. Many kids need to review the wide variety of topics though so it is repeated with a little more depth for 7th and 8th.

    Typically, I would have my kids test out of chapters of a new program and only cover what they need. The tiny step spiral of Saxon makes that harder which is why I never use it.

    That also means I don’t have a way to look at the book right now either and am trying to remember the last time I saw one years ago. Isn’t the first problems in a set the new info?  Can you just have him do the new ones and do multiple sections a day and skip all the review until it appears he needs it?  If he starts needing it again you can just add it in then.  Even if you feel he needs some review, you can circle just the problems he is struggling with or have him do every other odd number so he is only doing a quarter of them rather than half. As long as he keeps acing the tests that is. He may even be able to test out of the book all together. I just struggle separating out specific topics in Saxon books which honestly frustrates me but I hate dropping things that are working for you.



    We have always used and love Math-U-See.


    It does sound like Saxon continues to add new pieces through middle school so skipping doesn’t work but it does have a lot of review at the beginning of the book and  when I was in school we never completed the books to the end.

    I would contact the publisher or someone who teaches with Saxon and see if you can skip the end or begining of a book and which is better.

    If you really want to switch it up though, Teaching Textbooks is more like Saxon than MUS. I am a fan of Forester myself but it isn’t anything like Saxon.

    Look into Learnmathfast.com



    I switched my older children to Saxon math 2 1/2 years ago.  Saxon math is a great fit for them, but the lessons are not quick.  My two oldest, who will be in 9th and 8th grades this fall, are currently working through Saxon Math 8/7 and Saxon Math 7/8.  When they began those particular books, I looked through them and noticed that that the first 39-40 lessons were review.  I had my children take all the tests up to that point in the material and they did well, so we skipped the review lessons and started with the new material.

    My children do every question on every lesson from warm up through mixed practice.  This takes about an hour every day. However, if my children did every other problem in the mixed practice or maybe only the problems they really need to review, I think they would be fine.  You might go that route with your children.  You could look through the mixed practice and have them do only the problems that you know that they really need to review.

    Math takes time.  Kids have lots of time.  In 7th-12th grades, they can do math for an hour each day.  They can do 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening if that works best. I would not allow them to work endlessly just to finish a lesson.  Just my 2 cents, but I hope that helps.


    My 6th grader is using Saxon, as well.  Like your kids, he does half the practice problems each day.  I will say that, if it’s working, maybe stick with it?  You could further reduce the mixed practice.  Also, I find that there are lessons my son feels he can skip periodically and always at the start of the next book.  You might see if this is the case for your kids as well–have them skip a lesson they’re well-versed in.  Mine’s partway through 7/6, and I feel that each time we go up a book, he skips at least the first 20 lessons.  I may have him take another Saxon placement test to see if we might be able to skip 8/7 and move into Algebra.


    <p style=”text-align: left;”>My kids are using VideoText. The lessons are not too long. They also like Life of Fred.</p>

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