Why Saxon Math Works for Us!

We are nearing the end of our second year using Saxon math as part of our homeschooling curriculum. I know many families are making plans for next school year, so I wanted to share my thoughts in case anyone was interested.

Please note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links to products we have purchased and enjoy. 

A is currently 6.5 years old and in the first grade. We chose Saxon last year for Kindergarten because a veteran homeschool mama gifted us with the Teacher’s Manual, and I wanted to give the program a try. I had heard from other families that the early years of Saxon math is “easy”–that was true for us last year. Personally, I liked the short (and easily-combined) lessons, the repetition of important concepts, and the fact that we didn’t have to do written work–a plus for a child with fine-motor delays. Since we were just starting homeschooling and adjusting to the rigorous rhythym of Classical Conversations, I was content with “easy” for our first year of math. I wanted to be sure that we built a strong mathematical foundation.

Why Saxon Math Works for Us | Lone Star Signers

Fast forward a year–we are just past lesson 85 of Saxon Math 1, and I am loving it! I’m planning on ordering next year’s materials shortly (plus a Kindergarten meeting book for our preschooler). Here’s why Saxon Math works for us:

  • I see it working! Our precious first grader does a practice page in each lesson, filled with consistent review. I don’t worry that she’s going to forget how to tell time or make tally marks because I’m not teaching it directly this month.
  • Saxon’s scripted lessons give me confidence. While I personally *love* math, I want to be sure that I’m not missing any foundational concepts or using incorrect vocabulary when I teach.
  • Saxon “gets” homeschoolers–I have the freedom to skip, combine, or repeat lessons as it benefits my student. Do I follow the specific meeting script every lesson? No! Is it there if I need it? Yes!
  • Saxon is timeless. I LOVE that I can use the same curriculum with multiple children and not have to worry about it being out of date! Do I supplement with a few ten-frames activities from Teachers Pay Teachers? Sure, I want to be know that our daughter is meeting the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills–but I don’t need to throw out the baby with the bathwater to get there.
  • Most of all, I love that my girls can learn math in a real-life, hands-on manner TOGETHER. My three-year-old has absorbed a lot of math this school year, simply from sorting pennies and dimes or unifix cubes next to me while I teach her big sister.

I know that Saxon math is NOT for everyone, but it works for us in this stage of life!

What about you? I’d love to hear how you teach (or re-teach) math with your children.

Read Aloud Resources

If I had a whole day with absolutely nothing to do (ha, ha!), how would I spend my time? Reading, of course!

Read Aloud Resources from Lone Star SignersI’ve mentioned before that I love children’s books; our home is filled with them. We make trips to the library *almost* every day and frequently walk to the Half Price Books on the corner. It shouldn’t have shocked me when my older daughter started reading at a young age, but I think she loves books even more than I do. (She was trying to read in the dark in the car the other night…by the light of the headlights behind us.)

I’ll be honest with you: I’ve been shirking a bit when it comes to actually reading aloud to the girls. Yes, we have lots of books all over the place and Addie loves to read to her little sister, but I haven’t been so great about sitting down on the couch and reading together every day.

My good friend Veronica of Seven Lovely Things told me about the Read Aloud Revival podcast from Sarah Mackenzie, and I’m so thankful she did! I’m eagerly devouring each episode after lunch while I soak up some sunshine and the girls run around outside.

My favorite episode is still the first one, with special guest Andrew Pudewa. His points about reading aloud to older children was both inspiring and convicting.

“It’s actually the age that children start to read aloud on their own that they most need to be read to–at a level above their decoding skills.”

–Andrew Pudewa

He goes on to talk about how children (and all of us, if we’re truthful) tend to read faster silently, skipping words and idioms that they don’t know in order to get more of the plot/action. When we read aloud, we must take the time to read slowly, savoring longer passages of descriptions and beautiful language.

Now that we’re more than halfway through the school year, I’m taking some time to re-prioritize our afternoon routines, including more outside time and then a delicious time of reading aloud together on the couch before we retreat to separate corners for rest.

Read Aloud Resources for children of all ages from Lone Star Signers. What's your favorite book to read out loud?

I’m purposely choosing chapter books I haven’t read before so we can discover new stories together. Each guest on Sarah’s podcast shares some of his/her favorite books, and I’ve been adding books to our “must read” list on Goodreads. Kate usually picks a short story off of her bookshelf that we read first (lately, it’s been a Caillou book from Chick-fil-A), and then I follow-up with a richer picture book before reading a chapter out of Addie’s book.

We’ve had such a lovely time together that both girls are eager to go inside after outside time because they know that I’m going to read to them before bed. I’m excited about the natural discussions that Addie and I are having about vocabulary and culture, and I absolutely love that she picks up our finished books for her own independent reading time.

We’re building our family’s culture around books (the tagline for the Read Aloud Revival podcast), and I’d love to have your family join in the fun. I’m adding my favorite resources to this Pinterest board–let me know if you stumble across any other “can’t miss” blog posts, books, or podcasts!

Before you go, I’d love to hear your favorite book for reading aloud–won’t you leave a comment?

Tot Trays: Outside

It’s July in Texas, which means we aren’t leaving the air-conditioned house for any location other than the pool…and even then we wait until after 6:00 p.m. when the entire pool is shaded. We’re spending a lot of time inside, so I’m pulling out all the tricks to keep everyone happy and entertained.
Lone Star Signers: Toy Rotation, Week 11

Week 11

Signing class theme: Outside

Signing Time videos: The Great Outdoors, Baby Signing Time: A New Day

Main book: Summer Days and Nights by Wong Herbert Yee

(affiliate links used for your convenience)

Toys with unlimited access:

* Green & yellow Duplos
* Discovery Toys tree puzzle
* Green & yellow pegs
* Rainbow blocks (Sparkbox Toys)
* Green & yellow treasure basket
* Color-matching muffin game
* Green & yellow nuts & bolts

Tot School: Outside | Nature Treasure Basket from Lone Star Signers

We also have a nature sensory bin with pinecones, sea shells, tree bark, and more.

Here’s my Tot School: Outside Pinterest board–

Outside Tot School Pinterest Board (Lone Star Signers)

 Follow Melissa @ Lone Star Signers’s board Tot School: Outside on Pinterest.

Tot School: Outside | Tot Trays from Lone Star Signers

Tot Trays:

1. B is for Bugs playdough mat (perfect for rolling out snakes)
2. Flower count & clip cards (Kate is showing an interest in writing, so we’ll use a dry-erase marker with this activity.)
3. Very Hungry Caterpillar color matching (Sometimes we use pom poms and tongs to make this a fine motor activity.)
4. Ladybug clipping activity with mini-clothespins
5. Activity page from a Target Dollar Spot workbook
6. “L is for leaf” lacing card

Printables from 1+1+1=1 (leaf and bug) and 3 Dinosaurs. (I haven’t found the file with the ladybugs on my computer yet. I’ll update this post when I do.)

What are your kiddos playing with this week?

Tot Trays: Transportation

We are on week 2 of potty-training, so we’re sticking close to home as much as possible. The girls are really into writing/drawing/putting stickers on paper right now, so that takes up at least an hour of the day! Here are the other activities we’re doing:

Lone Star Signers: Rotating Toys, Week 10

 

Week 10

Great transportation book--We All Go Traveling By!Signing class theme: Things That Go!

Signing Time videos: Baby Signing Time:Here I Go 

Main book: We All Go Traveling By by Sheena Roberts

(affiliate links used for your convenience)

Toys with unlimited access:

* Bristle blocks (similar)
* Color tub: RED & BLUE with sorting handkerchiefs
* ABC train puzzle (similar)
* Assorted vehicles

We also have a red, white, and blue sensory bin–filled with rice, buttons, and pom poms. The girls are having a blast exploring the materials (with supervision!) , and I plan on adding shiny stars to the mix in the next few days.

Here’s my Tot School: Transportation Pinterest board:

Tot School Things that Go! on Pinterest

Follow Melissa @ Lone Star Signers’s board Tot School: Things that Go! on Pinterest.

Tot Trays: Transportation | Lone Star Signers

Tot Trays (I have LOTS of materials for this topic):

1. Pom pom transportation cards
2. Car lacing card
3. Pattern-block templates
4. Transportation puzzle (similar, but mine is cardboard)
5. Count and clip cards
6. Pattern block sorting (red, white, and blue)
7. Gem stones and tongs

Printables from Busy Little Bugs, The Measured Mom, Homeschool Creations, and PreKinders.

What are your kiddos playing with this week?