As a former public schoolteacher, I say THIS program has been WONDERFUL (and we have tried 2 others just in the 2 years we've homeschooled!). I LOVE that the concepts build upon each other, that there are daily story problems, and that my son is learning the "whys" behind the math, not just a bunch of rules. My only "negative" is that this grade starts out VERY easy and workbooks are not visually exciting/colorful.... however, that being said- I DID choose to use this level when he had honestly "tested" (w/the Saxon placement test) at the 2nd grade level, so this is probably my own fault! Highly recommend this product! I feel comfortable using it, and can easily adapt the scripts/recommended "lessons" to meet my son's needs. I will honestly be using this 1st grade program w/my Kinder next year, but I do think it is 1st grade appropriate when compared to public school.
This is our first time trying out Saxon. I purchased our HS Saxon kit from this site b/c they have a great price, and I appreciate how they show you samples of materials so you get somewhat of an idea of what you are purchasing, vs. making a blind purchase and hoping it is what you thought it would be. Previously we have used Singapore and MUS. First let me say I think all these programs are awesome, it just depends on your child's needs, the way they learn best, etc. To make a long story short, I found we needed something with a little more predictability and spiral approach, at least for now. With this program you get lessons that follow the same pattern each day, starting with the meeting book which involves writing the date, identifying shapes patterns, writing a number sequence, and counting coins. then you move on to the lesson teaching portion (the new material) followed by the worksheet with side A to be completed immediately and side B, later in the day. (we do ours at the end or near end of our school assignments each day). The child gets a ton of practice writing number sequences, counting coins, learning their math facts, and practice on both new material and review of previous material so it doesn't get forgotten. If you have a child that needs a lot of repetition and review to make math stick, then give this program a try. I will say that one big difference I note from Saxon 1 vs. the same levels of Singapore and MUS, is it is less mental math, and more repetition of the basics, adding in time, money, drill of math facts and basics of geometry, shapes, patterns, etc. I foresee having to supplement with some word problems/mental math later on, but then I don't have experience w/ any other Saxon levels yet, maybe that gets added in with level 2?
I am a long time user of Saxon math. It is very thorough in setting up the progression needed to master a principle. I especially like the way it reviews what was learned previously before a new idea is taught. The text begins slowly and may be a bit boring to the student at first - due to the review concept. But then when new terms are taught, it does an efficient and complete job at helping the student grow to a level of mastery. I suggest that. before purchasing, you examine your child's mathematical level because they may be ready for the next grade level more rapidly than you anticipated.