Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lucia Saxon Math restock [updated]

It's that time of year again.

My flu is over-ish. It's school holidays and my husband and I are spending the time clearing the back section together. I come in from the outside and cough my lungs out in the warmth of the kitchen.

But, it's also the time of year that the government acknowledges the amount of money that I am saving the country by homeschooling our two boys, by giving me biannual cheque for nearly $700. Some people choose not to take the money, out of a misguided sense of pride I suppose, but I'm happy to have it. It's a drop in the bucket when it comes to the taxes we pay the government, and when compared to the amount that is spent on educating each child in NZ, it's a bit of a joke really. But it's appreciated nonetheless, because that money is always set aside for the materials we need for homeschooling. It allows me to go Amazon shopping without guilt.
This time around I am concentrating all of the money into buying Saxon Math to last my children into their highschool years. I'm doing this so that I know I've got the material, just in case.

I recently came across a website of a man called Art Reed who appears to have incredible indepth knowledge of how Saxon Math works, and also why it fails. He's said that if you want to be sure that you have the effective Saxon Math course in the future, get all the textbooks now. Because the company that has bought out the original writer's children is rewriting the textbooks, separating out the algebra from the geometry, thus destroying the product.

Right now the homeschooling math hasn't been touched, as the company is only releasing the new math to highschools in the US, but there's no telling how long the original textbooks that keep algebra and geometry together will last.

From his March 2009 newsletter, Art Reed says of the separation of geometry from algebra:
I am in possession of a 105 year old mathematics textbook written by several math professors at the University of Chicago. They wrote the book as an algebra supplement to the geometry textbook being used in the high schools at that time. In the preface of the book, they lamented the fact that educators were making a mistake inserting a geometry textbook in between basic algebra (algebra 1) and the more challenging algebra 2.

The two math professors basically said what the rest of the industrialized world at that time already knew, that students going from algebra 1 to geometry and then on to algebra 2, encountered difficulty in algebra 2 because the students (after a fifteen month absence) had forgotten most of the basic algebra concepts necessary to be successful in the more challenging algebra 2 course. John Saxon (without ever having had the opportunity to read their book) followed the rest of the industrialized nations of the world and incorporated geometry with the algebra and trigonometry in his high school math books, a decision most mathematicians, as do I, agree with.

Then apparently aware of this situation, and knowing John Saxon's position on the subject, why did HMH Supplemental Publishers, Inc. publish their new Saxon algebra 1, algebra 2, and separate geometry textbooks? I do not know, but I do know that three textbooks will make more money for a publisher than two textbooks will. I do also know this: the new books are displayed only on the school website and not on the homeschool website - and - I have already answered email and telephone calls from homeschool educators who were somewhat confused by this.

My reply to them was not to buy anything from the school web site. The homeschool community is blessed by the fact that the new series of books are not needed in the homeschool environment. If you stick with the editions of John Saxon's math books that I listed at the end of my September 2008 Newsletter, you will have the best math books on the market today and for several more decades to come.
If you scroll down the newsletter, Art Reed gives the safe editions of each level of Saxon Math to buy. Based on this list, and going through a couple of other websites that specify what is in the editions they are selling, I've been going through the Amazon website trying to figure out which items in their catalogue are the full homeschool packets. Getting the right items is somewhat important when the exchange rate is so bad and delivery on a box of three items packaged together is much cheaper to get sent to NZ than three individual items.

Of course you can buy Saxon Math from a number of other places where it's obvious what you are buying, except that the delivery charges for most of these sites is exorbitant. Seriously, it's that bad.

So, once I get a few more items, I'll do another post linking to the specific Saxon Math items on Amazon for anyone who is interested in buying this fantastic math course.


The following Math courses are the important ones to buy. There is a possibility Algebra 1/2 will be discontinued in the future, while Algebra 1 & 2 may be replaced with new book that have the geometry component separated out. For the month of July, all the items listed below are cheaper at Christian Books, even with their horrendous delivery prices because of a 35% discount on all Saxon Math courses.

The Solutions Manual, if you feel you need one (I do) I've included as well, because it's not included in the homeschool kits. The kits at this level only have an answer key, which is inadequate if you need to know all the steps required to getting an answer.

Algebra 1/2 (3rd Edition) Homeschool Kit, Algebra 1/2 (3rd Edition) Solutions Manual
Algebra 1 (3rd Edition) Home Study Kit, Solutions Manual only available through 3rd parties
Algebra 2 (3rd Edition) Homeschool Kit, Algebra 2 (3rd Edition) Solution Manual

Related Link: How to use Saxon Math Newsletter

6 comment(s):

docjok said...

We have been using christianbook.com for the past 5 years for Saxon maths and other HS resources. They have everything, their prices are good, and their postage is reasonable. Their service have been top shelf. I would recommend that you have a look. For example: http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/easy_find?Dn=5401&&N=5401&nav_search=1&event=ESRCN&Ne=201400+10000+5300+5200+200900+1000000&Ntt=saxon%20maths&D=saxon%20maths&action=Search&Nu=product.endeca_rollup&Ntk=keywords&view=covers&Nao=0

Madeleine said...

That is really helpful. We never bought the higher end Saxon texts as Sheridan was not mathematically minded so we agreed that she wouldn't have to do the top levels, just get to basic proficiency at the lower levels - which was enough to get her through the numeracy section of her diagnostic test for entry to Auckland Uni.

However, our other kids are mathematically minded but are not up to the higher levels yet so I wasn't planning on buying them anytime soon... until I read your post.

Thanks :-)

Lucia Maria said...



I've just spent a bit of time doing a price comparison by doing mock orders, and delivery on Amazon is definitely cheaper on the sets.

For instance, I just ordered Math 7/6 from Amazon. It cost me US$65.74, with the delivery component being $9.98 (I ordered it by itself). The same product on Christian books is approx the same price with the current 35% discount, however the delivery component is $19.23.

But, another product I'd like to buy is Math 3 for my younger child. It is cheaper on Christian books even with the $22 delivery charge because of that 35% discount for July.

docjok said...


We have found that if you are ordering 3 or 4 items from Christianbook - say around USD $150/$180 then their postage becomes more cost effective. We have (naturally) chosen the cheapest international shipping, and have found on average the order is here in 3 weeks. Amazon have just changed how they are handling international shipping, which is now making them more competitive. Another option is http://www.koorong.com.au/ in Australia. Finally - are you aware that there are a couple of NZ businesses that sell Saxon within the HE community?

Lucia Maria said...

Hi DocJok,

I just another mock order, with 5 times totalling $251.58 and the delivery came to $88.05. I also went through individually with each item and found that the delivery matched what was totalled for the 5 items.

ie Product cost / delivery

Math 3 $64.69 / $22.69
Algebra 1 $43.55 / $15.24
Algebra 2 $43.55 / $15.24
Advanced $46.80 / $16.38
Physics $52.99 / $18.55

Totals $251.58 / $88.05

While as the same order at Amazon is product cost of $325.13, but a delivery cost of $45.94

The major difference is that Amazon has a flat rate (unless the product is much bulkier/heavier) for all items, while as most other online stores seem to calculate the cost of delivery as a percentage of the price. So, small items on Amazon end up with the same delivery charge as a large book - but it all seems to even out in the end. It's been like that for a number of years (at least the last several that I've been ordering from them).

So, I'll go and do my comparison of everything put links up to each item for ease of ordering.

And no, I wasn't aware that I could buy Saxon Math here. But, I doubt that anyone in NZ could source it and sell it to me cheaper that I can get it myself.

Lucia Maria said...


You're welcome. Read the newsletter as well - he's got lots of info in there on how to use Saxon properly and what Saxon Math courses to take if a child isn't strong on math. For instance, mastery of Math 7/6 is vital before moving on to Algebra 1/2, but you can tell if mastery has been achieved by the test scores - not the mixed practise. If there's a less than 75% average on test scores, he recommends doing Math 8/7 - same material but presented differently. If mastery of that material isn't achieved, he predicts frustration for the child.

He's also got a section on the newsletter on common problems with Saxon math created from not using the course properly. It was very interesting to me, because I have a friend whose children did Saxon Math, but didn't do all the problems (just odd or even problem, didn't do the testing) and this friend confessed to me that even though both kids had finished their respective books, she didn't think they really understood it.

Anyway, I'll stop blabbing now.

I find math really cool, so it's easy for me to get really enthused by it.

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