The Saxon Math program for junior high and up is one of my Top Picks. Since the Saxon program has been so popular, a few publishers have tried to create supplemental teaching helps, but without the authorization of Saxon.
Finally, Saxon has developed their own CD-ROM teaching programs that will run on either Windows or Mac systems. Their Saxon Math Teacher supplements are available for Math 54 through Advanced Math, but with the exception of Algebra 1/2.
I reviewed the Saxon Teacher for Algebra 1, a set of six CD-ROMs. On five discs, an experienced teacher walks students through each lesson, first introducing the new concept, then working through some examples which might occasionally differ from those in the text. Students should follow along in the text through the introduction and examples. Students should then try to work the practice problems on their own. They might then watch the teacher's presentation of the practice problems to see if they fully understood how to work them. Next, students should work through the set of problems. The CD presents the complete solution of each problem individually, so students can easily access only those problems which are troublesome. Students should not watch solutions to the problems before trying to solve them on their own.
One feature that I particularly appreciate in Saxon Teacher is that it does not stick exactly to the textbook. The teacher will sometimes use alternate methods of problem solving or examples, and she will occasionally add clarifying or helpful information.
The sixth disc has complete solutions for all test problems, again presented step-by-step by the teacher.
As far as the method of presentation, the teacher talks through each lesson or problem using a "whiteboard"as in the illustration at the top right of this review. Students never see the teacher, but they only hear her voice. She writes on the board as she teaches, just as in a classroom. This approach means that lessons sometimes move a bit slowly as she writes, but generally the pace is suitable for most students. Each presentation can be controlled to pause, skip ahead within the presentation, or review.
Navigation through the CDs is very easy. Programs are not loaded onto your computer but remain resident on the CDs. That means it takes a bit longer to access lessons, but it also simplifies things in that the Saxon Teacher is completely portable and might be used on any computer by any number of students. Students are not entering any information into the computer, so there is no student tracking. Students complete the exercises and tests in the traditional manner with paper and pencil. Teachers/parents still need to grade student work.
The Saxon Teacher is not a substitute for other elements of the Saxon course. You should still purchase the homeschool set for whichever course you are using.
Saxon Teacher makes it possible for students to complete Saxon courses independently, a huge benefit when parents are not able to assist their students with upper level math.