Homeschool Curriculum Review – Saxon Phonics 1

We started using the Saxon phonics program this year for our first grader. It has been different from what we are used to for first grade (ABEKA). However, there are alot of good things I can say about it.

Pros – First of all it is a VERY comprehensive style of curriculum. The teachers spiral bound edition is about 3 inches thick. LOL! Each day’s work is spelled out for the teacher. It even includes verbal cues (what to say). So, for the beginning homeschooler it would be perfect to get your feet wet. It introduces letters to the first grader gradually. Each day it reviews the letters that were introduced previously and then builds on those concepts. Using the phonetic approach students are introduced to letters and learn to read all at the same time. This is definitely a new approach for me. I am used to introducing all of the alphabet one at a time – building on their sounds – and then building on consonant blends until you have words. My daughter was struggling at first, it seemed a bit too much. However, now she seems to be doing fine. I would suggest purchasing the Teaching Tools to accompany the worktext. There is a ton of great resources in this little box, and it allows us to play games and make the phonics time more interesting. She especially loves to make words out of the little letter cards that are included.

Cons – The curriculum is quite comprehensive as I mentioned before. It takes quite a while each day to cover everything that is included in the teacher’s manual. It takes us about an hour. With that in mind, there are many days that my first grader gets frustrated and tired. I usually try to break up the monotony with a “game” using the letter cards. There are alot of games that are listed in the teacher’s manual which does make it easier. The resources tools have a ton of flashcards, books, and game pieces that have to be separated and put together. This is quite time consuming.

All in all I would have to rate this curriculum very high. Though I think that ABEKA does have the reading process a little more streamlined. This curriculum if followed completely will give your beginning reader a VERY solid foundation in phonics. I believe this curriculum is great and will definitely not be a negative in our learning experience. However, with 5 other children being homeschooled – it isn’t easy to spend an entire hour on one subject. If you have plenty of time and no rush… this curriculum is perfect!

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1 Comment

  1. Daniel Warren says: Reply

    Thanks for the thumbs up about ABEKA, it sounds a bit to intense for my gran kids. I am home schooling them both, and I must say its a terrific experience way better for everyone then the education schooling system. Not only are my days spent in a great fun productive manner, but the children themselves are progressing amazingly. Jody 4 can now read books my own children struggled with at 7, and Tommy at 3 is well on his way sounding out letters as he tries to whup grandads butt in our competitions. I bought a Phonics program online at very impressive, but I think it comes down a lot more to how much time “FUN AND INTEGRATED” the teacher/parent puts into it. I listen to a play group I take the kids to and for all intents and purposes the parents simply want baby sitters, it seems to be the key to many wasted lives when I think back on it, It all starts and finishes with the parent, if you don’t have the interest in your child’s future success, well they simply will not be successful in life either!

    Daniel Warren

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