Thursday, June 21, 2012


This year we've been using Saxon middle grade math books. One of the smaller reasons I moved the kids away from Teaching Textbooks was so they were messing with the numbers & other mathematical stuff themselves. This was really important to me, especially for Jayden. Thus far we've enjoyed our time with the Saxon math books, but unfortunately in the middle grades you don't get the nifty worksheets like you do in the younger grades.

At the middle grade levels {5/4 - 8/7} the student needs to copy the problems down elsewhere & work them out. For this I've given the boys graph paper notebooks where we've broken down one sheet of graph paper into many graphed rectangles where they have space to copy the problem down & workout the answer.

A few weeks ago, though, I noticed that both boys would copy down numbers & do the math, but often make simple mistakes due to copying down problems wrong. Or, worse yet, they'd copy half a problem down, stop to ask if they'd done something correctly then turn back & circle the number presuming they were done because they'd forgotten what they were doing.

Needless to say, this wasn't encouraging for anyone. While I understand that they will need to learn to do this, it doesn't have to be now. So I started thinking about how it would be so much nicer if Saxon had worksheets or workbooks for these grade levels. Turns out I wasn't the only parent who felt this way, which was comforting but not helpful!

After a disastrous day of the wrong numbers being circled in someone's math notebook I decided to make the worksheets myself. I use to make the kids worksheets to slip in their math journals or I'd leave them problems in their math journals, copying down the premade problems was going to be even easier!

I did it via Pages, which is the Mac equivalent to Word.. only better as Mr S would say. {Except he's never been able to work out either programme & usually calls out for help. You have no idea how much it makes me laugh that I have to assist him with any computer programme, because this guy is computer programmer extraordinaire, but I digress..} It took me about a half hour to make up a weeks worth of worksheets for both kids, & will save us hours of drama. In fact, after our first day of using them I heard a lot of, "Oh, this isn't hard, why did I always think this was so hard?" Both concepts the boys had been working on for some time seemed to click with them, & best of all no silly mistakes.

It'd be fantastic to make the years worksheets up in advanced, but for us it would also be pointless. I don't have my kids do all the problems in their Saxon books. In fact, half the time they don't even do half the problems! I have them do many problems orally with me, like finding the factors of specific numbers, telling me which angle is which, or explaining to me how to check their division work. Sometimes, just to prove they can do it I'll make them solve long strands of number equations too.

Then I choose from whatever is left over. Sometimes they do all of what's left & sometimes they don't. I often pick many problems that would be considered "trick or trouble" problems. Meaning, the ones the need the most work with until they've conquered the concept. I usually give them all word problems to workout too.

Their needs will change as they progress through the book so unless I want to make worksheets with every single problem on them, I think it would be pretty impossible to make up the worksheets for the entire year at one go. I haven't shared any of the worksheets here because I'm pretty sure it would be a violation of Saxon's copyright, after all I am copying the problems directly out of their books.

I made the pages look a little more official by sticking a footer on the page that states which math book the problems came from. It will also help me when filing papers if they take a nose dive out of someone's notebook. We meet with a person from the state every two years, & need to show a little of the kids work at those meetings. I generally hold on to papers for a couple of years to be sure they've been seen & then we tend to empty the file boxes.


Pre Algebra Worksheets said...

Worksheets are really helpful in teaching students.Daily worksheets clears the queries of their mind when they solve them.And in math by solving different type of questions they can understand the topic.

Claire said...

Hi, Saxon do a workbook for children to go with each of the middle age grades. I think it's called saxon adaptation. My son was doing saxon 54 at 8, and whilst he was finding the maths easy, he was still really struggling with any type of writing. Whilst these books (I believe) were developed to allow less able students to complete the course, they were a Godsend for my son at the time. He is now 10 and finishing up 65 and has been writing his own sums for the last year. The adaptation workbook allowed him to work at his level with maths but without the corresponding hand writing which (and I quote) 'just about killed' him! The books are expensive here in England but the filled a very real need at the time.