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ereks mom

MUS high school 'Honors' math supplements... and Dolciani & Foerster

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Last week, I asked about how MUS's rigor compares to that of BJU, and the consensus is that BJU is more rigorous. Question: If the MUS Honors supplements are added, would they be as rigorous as BJU -- and how would MUS + Honors compare to Dolciani and Foerster?

 

FWIW, EK is planning to go into a science-related field (animal assisted therapy), and will likely have a lot of science & math in college. (She's only 13, however, and her plans could change! At this age, ER wanted to be a robotics engineer, but when he started college in the fall, he will be a music major!)

 

EK has used BJU math since kindergarten, and we have had wonderful results, BUT I have been greatly dissatisfied with BJU's high school math courses. We are probably going to switch from BJU after EK completes Pre-Algebra (she's doing it now). I had decided on MUS, but after reading the "reviews" here last week, I started researching Dolciani and Foerster instead. I like the looks of both of those, but I keep being drawn back to MUS!

 

Please help me determine once and for all whether I want EK to use MUS!

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I have NO experience with Math-U-See byond seeing it at a homeschool conference about 12 years ago, so I cannot compare it with anything.

 

I am writing in just to encourage you to look at Dolciani. I love the way her books teach the material. I love the problems. I love the review and self-test exercises. I love the rigor. I love the cumulative review sections. I love the way the TM provides different tracks for different kids -- average, enriched, accelerated. etc. I love the way that for the most part the books are logically enough presented so as to be self-teaching. And I love the way Dociani has prepared my kids to do well on all the standardized tests they have ever encountered.

 

If you can, do look at Dolciani. It isn't for everyone, but if your kids are at all mathematically inclined you should consider it!

 

(No, I do not own stock in Houghton Mifflin nor am I related to Dolciani in any way! :D)

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Okay, WHICH Dolciani Algebra 1 book should I be looking for? Got an ISBN for the student text & the TE? Year of publication?

 

I think I read that the 1960s books are too "new math-y"??? But that the 1990s books are too dumbed down??? So should I be looking for something published in the 1970s or 1980s?

 

I'm thinking that the "Modern Algebra" book that I had in junior high school was by Dolciani -- and I HATED it! BUT I was very math-phobic then and have outgrown most of that! LOL!

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(No, I do not own stock in Houghton Mifflin nor am I related to Dolciani in any way! :D)

 

Well I feel that I am a child of Dolciani or at least a disciple. Under Dolciani's tutelage (via her text books) I became a math major. They worked for me and they are apparently working for my son.

 

Jane

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I had decided on MUS, but after reading the "reviews" here last week, I started researching Dolciani and Foerster instead. I like the looks of both of those, but I keep being drawn back to MUS!

 

Please help me determine once and for all whether I want EK to use MUS!

 

I think that you really need to trust your instincts too. You know your daughter and you know what works for her. I absolutely love Foerster and am very glad we went that way, but I will also say that we were very happy with MUS up to the point when we switched. I did not switch because I was dissatisfied, but rather because I was concerned about rigor and really concerned about having to change horses in mid stream because MUS didn't go far enough for our plans.

 

However, I really think the most important thing is do YOU think your child will benefit from the program?

 

You're a very smart lady...you will know which is right for your dd.

:)

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We use the Dolciani Algebra 1 textbook that is just called Algebra 1, published in 1986, 1989, and 1992, by Dolciani, Swanson, and Graham. It may be dumbed down - - but we like it! (I hadn't heard of the Structure and Methods book when I bought this, and, obeying the "If it ain't bruk don't fix it" principle, we just continue to use it!)

 

I actually do second the last post -- you know your own kids best, so stick with what feels right / works well to/for you and your kids.

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No, the current Dolciani texts aren't dumbed down in the least. The older texts were clearer, but contained less material. In the newer texts I sense an overlay of later editing adding to and in some cases obfuscating her very elegant explanations. I used the newer texts because they contained more terminology and separated out the concepts into more sections. The older texts moved more quickly and in many were easier to understand, but I had trouble finding teacher support for them. I think the difficulty level of the problems topped out at mid-B on the older texts (say, pre 1980's or so). In the newer texts, there are more problems included to choose from in each section and they top out at a higher difficulty level. I own a 1969 version of Stucture and Method I as well as the current (2000?) version with the solutions manual. The older editions were easy to find on the used market pretty cheaply (try ABEbooks...I think I picked mine up for 5-6 bucks shipped). I liked having the old one to refer to in the newer one got too bogged down.

 

Barb

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For you Dolciani fans- one of my first ebay purchases probably 8 years ago was the Structure and Method Algebra 1. The seller (a woman from the south) told me over the phone that her husband was an actuary and said that she wrote the "very best math books" and was the only math book written by a woman, and added that she was no longer alive. I didn't end up using them because my d1 used Indiana U. and she used the old Prentice hall Algebra (kind of similar) Later I just kept collecting them as I could find the teacher's editions. Along the way I was able to do a little reading about her. She was the only child of Italian immigrants who highly valued education and encouraged her when others didn't. She got her PhD in math and was the only woman in her area. She embraced the teaching of math and wrote the books. I think she died when she was still working (not sure of age) and never married nor had children. Her former collegues have started a foundation in her name dedicated to math education, so that her name would live on in the math world. Somewhere I read her bio but I don't know if it is still on the web. I always thought her life probably would have been a good story. Sad that there aren't any direct descendants to enjoy all the accolades. I am wondering how long it will be until her name is taken off the new books. Maybe we should make offerings in appreciation to the Mary Dolciani fund!!!

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Last week, I asked about how MUS's rigor compares to that of BJU, and the consensus is that BJU is more rigorous. Question: If the MUS Honors supplements are added, would they be as rigorous as BJU -- and how would MUS + Honors compare to Dolciani and Foerster?

 

!

 

I have never seen the honors book, but have taught MUS alg/geo 4 times now followed by Foerster alg 1. I simply cannot see how adding another workbook to the MUS program would make it the equivalent. Everything in the student MUS texts is so incredibly simplified compared to Foerster. My kids fly through the MUS text making almost perfect scores on homework and tests. When they hit Foersters, they have to really buckle down and THINK. The MUS problems are spoonfeeders. Foerster expects them to really understand what they are doing. If they haven't mastered the concept (not the simple math), they won't be able to do the work. MUS is more about doing the math.

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I've now used both the pre-algebra and the algebra MUS honors books. They are good additions to the program but I would consider them "standard" rather than "honors."

 

DS used MUS Algebra I with the honors book, then moved on to Jacobs' Geometry and is now doing Foerester's Algebra and Trig. I don't feel we did any damage by not switching streams earlier, and I don't feel she has unduly struggled. We switched because I wanted to do a proof-intensive geometry class and because I thought the dryness of MUS didn't suit her personality.

 

I think you have to consider what is going to work for you and your kid. MUS is very easy to use, and I think some (but not all) of it's explanations are brilliant. I have found that both Jacobs and Foerster's take more work on my part. I think some kids will do better with the sparse layout of MUS. Because I'm confident about teaching math and have "wordy" kids, we'll continue with Jacobs and Foerster. I have a friend who uses MUS at home for the basics and then sends her daughter to a math class with a tutor who emphasizes problem solving. This also seems like a reasonable approach.

 

Even with the honors book, I think MUS is weak on applications and the more complicated word problems. I think MUS Geometry is weak on proofs--but you may not care about that if you are doing lots of logic in some other way. Other books contain more material--although I suspect many classroom teachers don't cover all of that material.

 

BTW--another poster mentioned the MUS Algebra/Geometry book. This is an old version. I have used the old versions of MUS too, and found the revisions much improved. If you go with MUS, I would definitely use the newer books.

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As the previous writer has said the honors books really are just good supplements and I would never count them as "honors" My dd is finishing MUS Pre-Calculus. She made average scores on the SAT and does well with MUS but we have noticed that starting with Alg 2 the explanations become less clear and my dd is left to figure some complicated things out for herself. She's good with math so it hasn't been a problem. I also have a ds and we have switched math programs with him. He was struggling with MUS Alg 1 and I felt he needed something clearer for upper levels. We switched to TT. I have my qualms about that program as well. He's making hundreds on everything as is going through the program very well, almost too well. I'll stick with TT for Alg 2 but will switch to something else for Pre-Calculus, just don't know what yet. Never having seen the other programs you're asking about I can't make an informed consent but after having used MUS I would say almost any other math program would be rigorous. (this is from a die hard MUS fan but not an upper level MUS fan)

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