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Posts posted by Clpretzel

  1. I think you're smart to switch away from Henle.  My daughter switched to PS, and her vocabulary was significantly behind because Henle teaches about 25% of the quantity of vocabulary that it should.   In addition, the layout is crowded and not the easy on the eyes.   

  2. On 3/18/2018 at 1:59 PM, seaben said:

    Here's an old getting started with a Math Club post I put together: http://mymathclub.blogspot.com/p/how-to-get-started.html.  I think when starting its important to clarify your goals. There is an interesting quiz I linked to from natural math that was good that way. Once decided upon then yes advertise based on your vision.


    Beyond that its also good to know your potential target audience. Third grade is still pretty young for anything intense and you're less likely to find others who want to go that way.  Also after working with a lot of 4th and 5th graders, I'm going to throw it out there that on average they don't have long attention spans for challenging work. There are outliers but I'd plan on no more than 20-30 minutes of focus from a group as a whole at the earliest ages and its equally important to think about making it fun at the same time so kids keep coming back.


    [Also one other thing to keep in mind about AMC10 or any other contest is that there is a large processing speed component to them. There is very limited time to do the questions and you have to either think quickly or quickly recognize the problem structure to even finish at all. This doesn't mirror mathematics in the real world.  Its often useful to separate whether given  unlimited time you can solve the problems from the practice tests (and learn from them) vs. can you solve them in 75 minutes etc.  While practice can improve performance, you may find it plateaus out just due to that processing speed constraint.  Its usually good to be clear eyed about  this and focus on goals that serve you long term if you're not lucky enough to be "super fast".]


    My math club prep is taking shape, and I am revisiting your blog.  It's amazing!!!!   I am blown away by the wealth of knowledge you have shared.  

    • Like 1
  3. Definitely switch.  There are much better curricula out there to challenge a gifted math student.  Beast Academy is the curriculum you will hear the most about.   It’s not for the faint of heart though.  My kids have thrived with BA, but there was a good deal of hand holding in the beginning.  Also the meat of BA is entirely in the practice books.  The guides are fun, but the advanced learning happens when you tackle the starred practice problems.  

    • Like 1
  4. Haha. That would be a definite yes!!


    At the age of 12. I did a massive push with him in 7th grade (see x-post below) to prepare him for the camp-selection problems (like the USAMTS). That year he got into the the IMO camp and that was the last year that I helped him in any way at all. I am a math tutor up to calculus, but as I said in my earlier post, the content is easy; its the problem solving that I can't help him with.


    We had him start taking AoPS classes, so when he was stumped, he asked the other kids or the instructors for hints. Some of the kids organized a online study time so they could work together to solve the challengers. I looked for a math mentor, and found none. There was no club in my city.


    He did. But I required him to stop if there were tears. Back then he was scarily focused on math. And over the years, he would have spent way more on math if I had allowed it. As I remember, he did it all in one block, but I was not in the room so not sure. It was his choice to do that much. I would never have required more than 45 minutes in primary/middle school, and an hour a day in high school.



    He was determined. Teaching was cheating in his eyes. I never would have forced him to work on crazy hard problem solving if he had not wanted to. But there have been a lot of discussions on this board on how to teach, guide, facilitate AoPS so that problem solving can be enjoyable for kids who find it tough to learn on their own. Maybe someone can link you to these threads.


    There was no PreA when ds went through AoPS. The first 5 chapters of Intro Algebra acted like his preA and took him a full year to complete. Now, most people say that if you have done PreA, the first 5 chapters are crazy easy. The general feeling on the board has been that to do it well, PreA+IntroA will take 3 years in total. My ds just did 3 years of introA.





    This post from 5 years ago discusses how I taught him in the last year that I could help. Notice that I was not a teacher of content. In fact, I was co-learning, not actually teaching, as I did not have the problem solving knowledge. We were using the Art and Craft of Problem Solving (NOT an AoPS book).


    X-Post from 2013!

    Yes, that is the book. My son is 12. We are currently able to understand only 30% of it. It is a University math majors textbook. The author states that you should read each chapter until you don't understand, then move to the next chapter. When you finish the first pass of the book, you start again. This approach allows you to work at your personal level in each topic, and allows your ability in all topics and problem solving to be increased concurrently.


    There is NO way that my son could work with this book independently. We work on each problem together and then read through the proofs together. If the problem is easier, we each separately investigate it and write up a formal proof and then compare. My goal is to find ideas in each problem that will be generalizable to other problems. We keep a list, and I quiz him every day about the different generalizable skills we have learned. For example, what kinds of problems are would likely be helped by the extreme principal? or what kind of problems suggest a proof by induction? How can you recognize parity in geometry problems? These types of questions are not directly answered in the text -- they are more of a way for us to really internalize what we are reading and categorize all the ideas. Plus, it helps us review esoteric ideas by recalling specific problems that reflect them. We've decided that if there are 20 different tactics that are possible, and we can recognize that 4 are good candidates for a certain problem, we can try those four. If one works, great, if none work, then at least we have gotten our hands dirty and have a much better understanding of the problem and can go from there.


    To help in proof writing, I drill him on specific phrases like "This specific case is generalizable because the only special feature of 11 that we used is that it is odd." (yes, I am memorizing all this too, so that just popped out of my brain). This drill has really helped him not only with the language of math, but also helped him realize different approaches he could use to prove a conjecture. For example, the above case showed us that you can use an example as your proof in many cases of parity. This is very important to know, because most proofs do not allow this. Our overall goal is to get as many tools in our tool box as we can, and then remember what tools we have in there!


    All this is really working. I cannot believe how far we have come in 2 months.


    I told someone last week that I could only go through this process once because what I am giving my son is not a knowledgeable tutor, but rather a skilled learner who is at his exact level in math. If I ever go through this material again with a student, I would be much much more knowledgeable and I would loose the confusion that has been so critical in helping him battle through this material. What I am finding is that because I don't know the answers and I cannot teach him how to do it, I am instead teaching him how to learn problem solving -- what questions to ask, what answer to hunt for, how to compare problems, how to really interact with this material. No tutor who knows the material well could do this as well as I can, because once you have the knowledge, it would be virtually impossible to relive the confusion.


    But then I realized that because my memory is so shaky, I could probably do it one more time. :001_smile:

    I could read this post over and over again from 2013. For me this is the essence of homeschooling. I want it to be a sticky.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    • Like 1
  5. I'm linking here to a talk given by Richard Rucszyk a few years ago. Don't worry, the talk is very long (over an hour!) but the link will take you to one particular slide (only a minute or two) and an anecdote that RR tells.


    “Yeah what’s up?!? You didn’t prepare me for this!â€

    The link was for the whole talk for me. Do you have a guess of roughly where the slide is?



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. My son hates tests like the AMC. There are a couple of them here - the Auckland Maths Competition is one of them. And my ds won't take them. He does proof-based exams only.


    Seems to me that you could do math camps, AoPS crowd research, USAMTS, dual enrollment, etc. Maths in real life is not about speed, it is about complexity of thinking.


    I would suggest you PM Kathy in Richmond and ask her to join this conversation as she is very knowledgeable in this area.


    Ruth in NZ

    I tried to pm Kathy, but the computer gave me an error :-/



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. Hmmmm... processing speed. This is excellent and new information for me. We do not have fast processing speeds in our family, though we love challenging math. Should I abandon the pursuit of competition success?


    My 9th grade daughter loves math and enjoys hard problem solving problems, but left a significant portion of the AMC10 blank because of time constraints. Granted she was going in blind; however, with focused effort how much can she improve with a slower than average processing speed? She hopes to major in math at a “mathy†school. From reading literature of some test prep centers, I was under the impression that a good AMC score is all but required to get into MIT and the likes. She was planning on dedicating serious time this summer to test prep, but I’m wondering if there might be more worthwhile goals to make her (with her slower than average processing speed) an attractive candidate for a competitive math college.


    How can you demonstrate excellence in math in high school with a slowish processing speed?

    • Like 1
  8. Ruth and daijobu, thank you so much for “biting.†This is super, super helpful.

    I’m trying to figure out how to start a math team, but once homeschooling expands beyond the instruction in my home, I get intimidated.


    Ruth, I have a couple of questions. Has your son surpassed your math abilities? If so, when did that happen? When he is stumped, to whom does he turn? Also did he embrace the two hours a day of work even at the youngest age? Did you split the time up within the day or work a solid block? Was he determined to finish the problems on his own or did you just force the point? Also did you do pre-algebra with AOPS?


    Thanks for all your help, moms!

  9. The test prep books from AOPS say to wait until after algebra. We are purposely trying to go slow with subject advancement because I fell into the calculus trap with my oldest, but I don’t want to hold off test prep at all. Have any of you tried to AOPS test prep earlier?


    Pretty much I want someone to spell out a sequence from 4th-12th grade that tells me where to put all of the non traditional math and the test prep. Any takers? I currently have a 9th header in honors precalc (with the highest grade in her class), with great SAT scores, but an abysmal AMC 10 score. I’m realizing that I didn’t go about it correctly with her (not enough test prep and discreet math) and I don’t want to make the same mistakes twice. So does anyone have a long term plan, you’d recommend for the 3rd grader?

    • Like 1
  10. My son is in grade 3. I think he will enjoy math competitions. So far we’ve done MK. We don’t live closer to any test prep centers. I’d love to incorporate a small amount of test prep into our week in the hopes of keeping him on track to do well on the AMC test in the future. I need a plan.


    My daughter is in 9th grade and took the AMC 10 for the first time. She didn’t do well. While I’m not surprised because so much prep often goes into these tests, I’m hoping not to make the same mistakes with my younger son.


    So if you don’t live in a major metro, how do you prepare to do well nationally on these math tests?

  11. I’m trying to read print more and look at my phone less. I like The Atlantic and The New York Times for online content. I just recently subscribed to The Atlantic print. Now I need to find a newspaper for home delivery. I’m in Pennsylvania. I have sticker shock. Any suggestions for a well written, quality print newspaper subscription that isn’t going to cost me $500 a year? I really wanted to do NYT, but it’s out of my budget.

  12. We are currently working through BA 3 with my 8 year old and loving it!!!


    My older children don't love AOPS, but I'd like to have them experience some of the best chapters of BA even though they are in higher math. I think there would be value in learning some of the unique BA approach. So far I'm planning on having them complete the squares chapter in 3b.


    For those who are farther along in BA, what pages/chapters do you think would benefit older students even if they don't do the whole program or are in a much higher level of math?

    • Like 1
  13. Talk to me about using Teaching Textbooks or Saxon Math (instead of Aops or some other mathy curricula) if you have mathy kids.  I was about to buy Aops algebra and realized that some people stick to curricula like TT and Saxon for their very capable math students.  Why?  What do you like about it?  

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