Lesson-by-Lesson Comparison of Saxon 5/4 and MathUSee

First things first before we get to the lesson-by-lesson comparison of Saxon 5/4 and Math-U-See:  I love Math-U-See.  I’ve talked about it many times over the past three plus years.  Just check out the reviews.  I believe it is one of the best programs for introducing mathematics to a young child.

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That being said, I never planned on using Math-U-See (MUS) past an elementary level.  Many reviews state that the program is not rigorous above the elementary level and may be best suited for students that only need a passing, high-school level mathematics education or remedial assistance.  The question became, when will I switch programs and what program will we use after MUS.

Completely unrelated to math, we began using the Mother of Divine Grace (MODG) syllabus this year for third grade.  MODG uses Saxon math, specifically Saxon 5/4 in the fourth grade.  I happened to stumble upon used copies of Saxon 5/4 and 6/5, 2nd editions for a good price and decided to see what all the fuss was about.  I had heard through the internet buzz that Saxon is a rigorous, spiral program that will have students college ready.  As with most math programs, some people love it and others hate it.  I also read many reports saying that the Saxon levels K-3 are quite a bit different from level 5/4 on up.

Given all that above data and my preview of the Saxon texts, I concluded that we would switch to Saxon 5/4 as outlined in the MODG 4th grade syllabus next year.  My next hurdle was how to make the MUS to Saxon transition.  They are very different programs, MUS being mastery based and Saxon being spiral.  After many hours of pouring over the lesson plans and books, I have compiled the following detailed comparison of Saxon 5/4, 2nd edition and the first four required levels of Math-U-See (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta).

If you find yourself considering this switch, download the document above and take a look at how the two programs match up.  It is my humble opinion that switching after the student has finished MUS Delta will be the best time to make the move to Saxon 5/4.  Along with reviewing and solidifying material from MUS, there will be 46 lessons in Saxon 5/4 that I consider “new” concepts or applications for the MUS student.  This timing should make for a gentle move allowing the student to continue to build on previous skills while learning the layout and jargon of the new program.

Saxon Math U See CompareI hope you find this to be a useful tool for your curriculum planning and feel free to share this post.  I will be sure to write next year about how the transition actually goes!


Linked up to Trivium Tuesdays and the Hip Homeschool Hop.

100 Saints and Feasts to Celebrate The Year


Advent is a natural time for spiritual renewal.  As we prepare our hearts and homes for the coming of the Lord, I have also been preparing a way for my family to develop our family’s Catholic culture.  Many of you have been enjoying the monthly saints calendar cards.  It was always my intent for these cards to be a jumping off point for further study in our homeschool.  The next step begins with this awesome list of 100 saints and feasts to celebrate during the new year (or two). … Keep reading…

The One With The Homemade Jesse Tree


I hope everyone had a wonderful recovery from Thanksgiving weekend.  In case you were gone last Friday, I went ahead and wrote a wrap-up post that includes a peek at the Bible story book that Mother of Divine Grace has 3rd and 4th graders complete.  This week began our third quarter of school.  We mostly stuck inside the house and plugged away at assignments and toddler rearing. … Keep reading…

The One Where I Keep It Real About Homeschooling With Toddlers


Well, folks.  Here I am a whole semester later with a weekly wrap-up!  I realize that this series is supposed to be, you know, weekly. I’ve been asking myself why I haven’t been able to keep up with it.  The reason that I have come to is that I feel like I never have anything schoolish to post.  I don’t want all you professional homeschoolers to think that I don’t teach Alex anything.  How could I go on with all of those judgmental judgments coming through the internet and staring me in the face! … Keep reading…

5 Tips for Not Wasting Food When Feeding Kids

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I have done so many, many things in the past five years to save money on groceries.  I’ve shopped sales, planned menus, cooked ahead, clipped coupons, and used cash.  You name it; I tried it.   One of the most disheartening things I experience every week is spending so much time on grocery shopping only to throw out the precious food that I bought and prepared.  So I have doubled my efforts to value the resources that I already have.  Here are a few of the lesser known strategies that I employ in my kitchen, specifically in regards to children, for not wasting food. … Keep reading…