My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II

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Ode to Saxon Math

Ode to Saxon math!

What I remember most about my eighth grade graduation was the special awards given at the end of the ceremony. I had hoped to win the English award because I loved literature and writing so much, but that went to one of my good friends. I held out hope for the Science award because I had been part of an independent science group that year and had really poured a lot of energy into studying the material on my own and writing many essays on the various scientific topics. I had aced all of the tests too. Alas, that went to another girl in our group. To my surprise, my name was called for, of all things, the math award!!!

Math had stopped being easy for me somewhere around the fourth grade. Coincidentally that is the same time my nervous stomach symptoms appeared as well. I swear there was a connection! My poor saintly grandmother would spend hours upon hours with me going over long division, borrowing, fractions…AAAUUUGGGG!! I probably shortened her lifespan by 10 years with my inability to grasp this stuff without an unusual amount of concentrated effort. (Lest I confuse the reader, yes Patrick the mathematical genius of Orthonormal Basis is my nephew, but fortunately for him it is through marriage. He had no chance of inheriting any of my puny mathematical genetics and that is a good thing!)

By eighth grade I had the basics. I understood adding, subtracting, multiplying and I even was starting to enjoy a nice complicated long division problem. I understood percents and fractions. However, by Jr. High, they were starting to introduce pre-algebraic concepts and I was stumped once again. I spent a lot of my free time after school sitting with the math teacher, going over problems, redoing tests, doing extra credit. They always gave me a good grade, but it was a lot like losing weight – lots and lots of hard work for the thrill of a 5 ounce loss for the week!! I wondered if it was really worth the time I was putting into it.

Flash forward to high school where I took the required math courses, again with much agonizing effort.

When we started homeschooling, I really wanted my children to enjoy and understand math better than I had in school. I didn’t want it to be as big of a burden. It was at my first homeschool convention that I learned about Saxon Math and I was intrigued.

First of all, it took concepts in small bite sized chunks making it easier for the student to build on each concept. It also reviewed, reviewed and reviewed again, which I think was part of my problem in school. I had a hard time retaining the difficulty concept I learned six weeks ago for the final exam I was going to have next week! Saxon math makes that so easy because they go over it all of the time.

I also enjoy the easy references to past lessons that are noted in the older books. If you cannot remember where you learned a concept, the book will tell you what lesson covered it. What a time saver!

My oldest son only stayed with Saxon until 8th grade when he started going to the public charter school, but I am convinced that his strong start in math through Saxon has served him well through the past three years. My 7th grader, who also struggles with math, is getting consistently good marks with each lesson around 90% or better. Next year we go into uncharted waters with pre-Algebra, but I’m not worried about it.

A nice side benefit of using Saxon math with my children, is that it has helped me to cement some of the concepts that were still kind of foggy in my mind even after all of these years. If I had had this series when I was in school, my experience with math could have been a lot more positive!

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