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Susan Wise Bauer

A math question for you all...

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I'm really curious to learn what math strategies you're all pursuing with your high school students. What program are you using? Or did you go the tutorial route? Or the co-op route...or community college...or online course?

 

Let me know what's working.

 

SWB

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Let me know what's working.

SWB

 

What has worked for us (because I am Algebra-phobic and math-inept!) is Videotext Interactive. As the name implies, it's a video/DVD course. The lessons are short - usually less than 15 minutes, but the instructors make things extremely clear. In fact, until this month when I missed the first four or five lessons in conic sections and got totally lost, I've been able to follow and understand everything. (If you really get lost on a lesson, there's even an 800 number to ask for help!.)

 

My husband, an aerospace engineer, has been very satisfied with the scope/sequence of it, so as far as I'm concerned, it passes the 'rigor' test. It is formatted somewhat differently, however. Instead of the more typical Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, Trig/Precalc progression, it has a 2 year Algebra course covering Alg. 1&2, followed by a 2 year Geometry course, covering Geometry, Trig. and Pre-calc.

 

It has been a huge blessing for our family.

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For dd's #1 and #2, I used Singapore PM and NEM up through the end of the freshman year, and then I switched to Foerster's Algebra and Trig for sophomore year. That is the end of my math comfort zone, so I farm them out for pre-calculus. Dd #1 took pre-calc (junior) and calc (senior) at the local ps. It has worked well--she has earned A's and has done fine on her college admissions math sections.

 

I'm currently looking for classroom options for dd #2. We will be living in a city next school year, so we will have a few more options. Our first choice is to find a classroom setting (public or private or co-op) where she can take high school level pre-calc followed by calc. Dd is good at math, but it's not her passion. Due to the pace, college level courses, even CC, will require more hours of work than she wants to invest at this point. We want dd to have the mental space to pursue other interests without the pressure of college math as a young student. Online courses would be our second choice.

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Well, I'm not done yet so I can't say for sure it has worked, but here is what we are doing/have done.

 

For my mathy son, I used Lial's Algebra and Chalkdust Geometry. He didn't particularly like the Lial's, but I did. I didn't go beyond that with him as he went to ps.

 

For my non-mathy daughter, who has changed and now seems to love math(!!) I used Math Relief (Keyboard Enterprises) for Algebra I and now Algebra 2. She has really seemed to "get it" with this approach and looks forward to math. What amazes me is how she likes to wrestle with a problem and try to figure it out before watching the videotape. Next year we will probably use Chalkdust Geometry since I have it. My dd seems to hate watching videotapes though, so I may have to go another route. I was just thinking on that this morning.

 

So far I haven't used outside classes for math, but if dd wants to go beyond pre-calc, she will have to do that at cc. I do have a friend who has tutored my dc when needed.

 

Veronica

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As head proselytizer for the old Dolciani texts (not a family member who is in the royalty loop, but a believer, mind you), I will again argue the case for these books which were published in the '60's and '70's. They are solid in their development of the subject material. Many students who have parents participating in these boards use them independently (unless they have an enthusiastic mother peering over their shoulder who is compelled to point out something quite interesting in the material). The books introduce students to proofs. This is critical because many texts treat mathematics as algorithm after algorithm, without explaining the whys or connecting any dots along the way.

 

A student who works his way through Algebra I and Algebra II/Trig will see most of the material in a modern precalculus text. My son would not learn anything new if he were to enroll in a precalculus course at a CC next year. Instead he will use the Dolciani Modern Introductory Analysis book, an excellent foundation for an honors Calculus course or one geared to math majors. (I do not think that he will follow that path, but I believe in keeping all options open. This is a boy who loves physics.)

 

Disadvantage: solutions manuals and teacher's books for these old editions are hard to find, albeit not impossible.

 

Jane

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I am one of Jane In NC's converts. I plan to use these in a year or so. Can't say how it's worked yet, but I believe!

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I used VideoText for Algebra I and II. I would have continued with their geometry if my son had not gone back to private school, where he's taking geometry this year.

 

I had NEM all ready to go, but found quickly that I could not implement it, myself. I also had Saxon as a backup, just in case.... (Can we all see that Mom was *scared* about math?)

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for ds18, the probable future engineer --

 

1) 7th - Lial's Intro Alg

2) 8th & 9th - Larson et al for Geometry (Lial's Geometry was not yet out) We spread out a "year" of honors geometry due to intensive daily remedial work for dyslexia.

3) 10th Lial's Intermed Alg

 

first three years tutorial-style daily with me

 

4) 11th - BJU Homesat Precalc (a disaster: poor teacher; horrible textbook). We changed about halfway through the year to Thinkwell lectures combined with Lial's Precalc textbook. On his own, but had the BJU been good, it should not have mattered that I was no longer involved.

 

5) 12th - PreCalc at UTA

 

He tested directly into Calculus I at UTA, but we decided to have him do their PreCalc his senior year, to make sure he was thoroughly grounded/prepared. The first semester was rough with advanced algrebra beyond what he had had, made worse by really crummy, error-riddled, online software to input and grade the problems sets, costing him many hours of wasted time; the trig this semester is not as difficult.) Grades: B, A.

 

In our case, I felt that, aside from the year of Precalc at home that was such a frustration, all the Lial's books have worked very well. I am using it for dd15 who is not not the math-head that ds is, and she too is doing well with it. I will most likely outsource her senior year PreCalc to CC or to UTA, as she is anxious to move into more formal classroom situations.

 

I am starting Lial's BCM with ds13 (7th) who is benefitting from the review before he moves into Algebra. He is nowhere near ready for abstract thinking, so I'm using BCM for the next few months to solidify his concepts and placehold while his brain matures. Maybe by fall he'll be ready for a slow introduction to algebra.

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Algebra, and for Geometry we've used Chalkdust. I've found it necessary to listen to the DVT's (for Lial's) and the DVD's (for Chalkdust) so I can help both older girls. That helps me tremendously, as my information on math is 25+ years old!

 

I may become one of Jane's converts to Dolciani's texts, as sometimes the word problems in Lial's are a bit too complex for some high school students.

 

If I could do it over, I'd try to find a tutor to come over daily, or at least three times a week, as early in the morning as possible for the tutor, and help them with math.

 

Our plan for next year includes community college for the oldest, and possibly the h.s. for the middle child. Since my husband developed heart problems in the fall, we both feel it's time for me to go back to school, and I'm not sure if I would do so well homeschooling and getting a master's degree. :(

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We used videotext for algebra. Both dc did well with it and we liked it. VT didn't have their geometry program published when we finished algebra, so we had to switch.

 

We then began using Chalkdust. We've used them for geometry, precalculus, and calculus. We love Chalkdust! Although we liked VT, if I had to do it all over, I would use Chalkdust for algebra too. Personally, I like VT's idea of doing Algebra I and II in sequence and then going on to geometry. I would have pursued this sequence with Chalkdust too.

 

I really like the Larson texts that CD uses and love Mr. Mosley's video lectures. Overall, they are longer than VT lectures which some people don't like. I've also heard some say they find the CD lectures boing. However, neither of our dc have ever complained about them, and IMHO, I think they're great. What I find is that both VT and CD stress the importance of learning concepts and not memorizing processes or shortcuts - a plus for both programs.

 

With CD, you can contact Mr. Mosley by email or phone for help. The response time has always been quick and extremely helpful. This has been a huge benefit for us!

 

One strategy I've used is having dc keep what I call a "formula notebook." We use a sprial bound 4 x 6 card book. For each lesson, the write done formulas or concepts in the book. They use this for quick reference instead of having to page through the text book. We don't memorize these - that just seems to come with continued practice. Dc use the book as a reference.

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My oldest, dd, has used Saxon for Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, and Algebra II, but has asked to use something different next year for Precalculus. After much perusing of books (Forester, Lial, Larson, Dolciani), she chose Larson's Precalculus with Limits: A Graphing Approach with the accompanying DVDs (which I bought from the publisher- not Chalkdust -much, much cheaper).

 

For Geometry, we started out with Jacob's. Dd did not like the explanations on the DVDs (askdrcallahan DVDs) and needed more in-depth explanations. Again, after much perusing she chose Teaching Textbooks for Geometry, which I was happy to let her do as she was still doing Algebra 2 with Saxon, which also covered some geometry. (She did Alg. 2 simultaneously with Geometry.) Just a side note, even though dd had the DIVE cds for Saxon's Algebra 2, she preferred the explanations given by TT's DVDs and watched those clips for her Saxon geometry problems. I have no idea what we'll do for Calclulus yet (online, CC, DVDs at home?)

 

Now for ds. He completed Saxon's Pre-Algebra (I know, it's called Algebra 1/2, just trying to keep is simple) and hated it. He's my visual person and needs a visual "pop" to keep his interest in a textbook. Saxon in black/white didn't do it for him. (Even though he likes math and is good at it, math became like pulling teeth in my house, he really didn't like Saxon). I went to Dolciani's Algebra Structure & Method, Book 1, which he is finishing up this year. I LOVE this book and would continue with Book 2 for Algebra 2, but I really want the DVDs to help teach the subject. He ended up choosing Lial's Intermediate Algebra, 10E with the DVTs for his Algebra 2 program (the choices were Lial's or Larson's). I'm hoping he'll be able to use Larson's Precalculus next year so I don't have to buy yet another math curriculum. He'll use his sister's TT for Geometry (yahoo!) concurrently with Algebra 2.

 

Tune in next year for the continuing saga that is math at my house.:001_smile:

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We used Foerster's Algebra I and Jacob's geometry in 9th grade (he supposedly had Algebra in 8th at school, but...), Foerster's Algebra II and Trig (older edition) in 10th. I'm planning calculus for next year.

 

He does is mostly on his own ,as he doesn't "like" mom teaching him unless he can't figure it out himself.

 

I anticipate next year being a bit harder on mom.

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Probably will go all the way through Foerster's calculus at home, then there will still be another year for some kind of university math class. DD likes to interact, so we're involved in helping.

 

We have now used Aleks for 2 1-month periods for review--I anticipate that we'll continue to do that.

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We're using Videotext Algebra with my 8th-grade ds...I've noticed that he has some problems with word problems (motion problems, for example), and I've augmented with additional worksheets that "build" examples for him so that he develops mastery of the concept (I make them up)...

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As head proselytizer for the old Dolciani texts (not a family member who is in the royalty loop, but a believer, mind you), I will again argue the case for these books which were published in the '60's and '70's. They are solid in their development of the subject material. Many students who have parents participating in these boards use them independently (unless they have an enthusiastic mother peering over their shoulder who is compelled to point out something quite interesting in the material). The books introduce students to proofs. This is critical because many texts treat mathematics as algorithm after algorithm, without explaining the whys or connecting any dots along the way.

 

A student who works his way through Algebra I and Algebra II/Trig will see most of the material in a modern precalculus text. My son would not learn anything new if he were to enroll in a precalculus course at a CC next year. Instead he will use the Dolciani Modern Introductory Analysis book, an excellent foundation for an honors Calculus course or one geared to math majors. (I do not think that he will follow that path, but I believe in keeping all options open. This is a boy who loves physics.)

 

Disadvantage: solutions manuals and teacher's books for these old editions are hard to find, albeit not impossible.

 

Jane

 

 

I'll also second Jane's post. However, I use Frank Allen instead of Dolciani and will end with a book by Allendoerfer and Oakley rather than the Dolciani, Beckenbach, Wooton, etc book. But, mine are even more scarce than hers, so even less recommendable to someone else since you probably cannot get your hands on the texts themselves, let alone such things as solutions manuals or teachers manuals.

 

I would also say that in my (albeit vastly minority) opinion, physics majors need it more than math majors. A math major gets to just live in a fairly contrived world of whatever the math department is doing. And, they will eventually get to the rigor. A physics major (and the physics department) is constrained by the needs of the physical problems they encounter. The world doesn't care if you don't have the math to handle this now or not -- it just is what it is. And furthermore, once they struggle through something enough to ostensibly "get it" (e.g. convincingly BS their way through it, say), they have very little incentive to go back and "do it right". So, there is no reason at all they will get the rigor eventually. And so, a mathematically rigorous understanding calculus, for instance, is something that they could really benefit from that most of them probably never get.

 

Nevertheless, I do realize that no body does it that way, so who am I to buck the system....

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I would gladly have used the Dolciani texts. They were the books my schools used when I was a high school freshman at one of the top ten public schools in California. I still have the algebra and geometry texts. But I was put off by the idea of having to track down the teacher’s/solution manual. While I can still solve most of the problems in the book, I can’t explain them well enough to teach my dc. I really need to have a complete solutions manual.

 

So we use Saxon with the DIVE CDs. In each lesson, the teacher explains all the new material and works the practice problems. My children follow along, working the same problems on their white boards. (It seems to be much less painful with a white board and colorful marker than with pencil and paper.) No matter how many times the dc ask the same question (push the play button for the lesson), the teacher still patiently and kindly explains the material! He’s a saint!

 

Having the dc use the DIVE saves me a lot of time. Up until about lesson 40 in the Algebra 2 book, ds15 was able to work through all the problems very well on his own. Since reaching lesson 40, he has needed to use the solutions manual every once in a while, but still continues to work through the material very well.

 

Ds #1 (now in college) worked through about lesson 85 of the Algebra 2 book. He scored a 32 on the ACT and 680 on the SAT (math sections only) with no test prep whatsoever. He loathed math and had no intention of ever going into a math or science field, so we called him done with those scores. The plan is to have ds15 continue with Saxon through calculus at home. If we find the local college to be good (we just moved across the country), and if gas prices fall enough to afford the commute, he may consider taking calculus at the college.

 

Jennifer

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So far NEM 1,2,3A then various failed attempts at Geometry and then Foersters AlgII/Trig. This child is now taking a break from Alg II to get the Geometry we really never finished. We are using Birkhoff's Basic Geometry(along with a 5 min daily Alg II review from the Foerster book). Then he will finish Alg II portion of Foerster's book and move to Foerster Trig/Precalc .

 

Child number 2 is doing NEM 1 and NEM 2 and Maybe part of NEM 3A(but skipping the geometry). Then he will do the Birkhoff Geometry, then the Foerster books.

 

If I could find an Allen or Dolciani with answers I would try those;I would like the proof in the Algebra though I wonder if the problems would be as challenging as NEM.

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This year my dd has used Foerster for Algebra and next year she will use Jacobs for Geometry. I have been so pleased with the Foerster book. The explanations in the book are very clear. I had a dismal math education in high school and was apprenhensive about teaching this course, but she has done a fabulous job. She has about 3 weeks of work left and then she will be finished with the book.

 

Hoping that Geometry will be just as successful.

 

Yvonne in NE

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So far NEM 1,2,3A then various failed attempts at Geometry and then Foersters AlgII/Trig. This child is now taking a break from Alg II to get the Geometry we really never finished. We are using Birkhoff's Basic Geometry(along with a 5 min daily Alg II review from the Foerster book). Then he will finish Alg II portion of Foerster's book and move to Foerster Trig/Precalc .

 

Child number 2 is doing NEM 1 and NEM 2 and Maybe part of NEM 3A(but skipping the geometry). Then he will do the Birkhoff Geometry, then the Foerster books.

 

If I could find an Allen or Dolciani with answers I would try those;I would like the proof in the Algebra though I wonder if the problems would be as challenging as NEM.

 

 

I kind of doubt it. It's not like I have gone through NEM with a fine toothed comb or anything, but I think what makes Allen challenging is more in the way of the axiomatic method you use all along the way. (But, I wouldn't characterize the problems as easy either.) So, there is some value-added in that regard to doing Singapore. In fact, I suspect that our kids will not do as well on the SAT being trained on Allen as opposed to NEM, for that matter.

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Ds17 is using TT Geometry and Lial Alg. Ds15 is using Basic College Math.

 

They like them and are doing well.

 

Mary

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Ds. has used Lial's BCM, Foerster's Algebra 1, and Number Theory from the Art of Problem Solving Company. In the fall we are thinking of using Geometry by Jurgensen or Chalkdust Geometry along with the Counting and Probability texts from Art of Problem Solving. We plan on Foerster's Algebra II and Trig. and Calculus for the future.

 

Nissi

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DS #1 (currently 10th grade)- MUS Alg1, Geometry, Alg2

 

DS #1 does not like math and does not consider himself good at it. He started Kumon Math last month and will continue with this next year- his junior year. I am seriously considering adding Jacobs Mathematics: A Human Endeavor to build his confidence. His senior year he will go to the local community college at whatever level he qualifies.

 

DS #2 (currently 9th grade)- MUS Alg1, Geometry, Alg2

 

DS #2 does like math and does consider himself good at it. However, this ds is careless and does not test well. Next year he will also be doing Kumon Math and maybe Life of Fred. I would like to move him forward next year, but the main goal is proficiency. His junior year he will go to the local community college at whatever level he qualifies.

 

Mandy

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First, Thank you, Susan, for creating this place for us and your wonderful books! I'm on here pretty much daily, sometimes multiple times! (Some days too much I confess!)

 

We've used Jacobs for Al I and Geometry then switched to Foerster for Al II and then moved on to his Precalculus with Trig course. I really compared Foerster's Al I and Jacobs before going with Jacobs. They are extremely similar. Foerster goes a bit deeper in AL I than Jacobs, but I feel that Jacobs is a bit more approachable for the student, especially with his humor and old comics. Jacobs doesn't have a real solutions manual, but, even as math phobic as I was at that point (dismal high school math background), I didn't have any trouble figuring out where my son went wrong when he had a problem. The examples and explanations were very clear. I feel that both Jacobs and Foerster do an outstanding job of showing the WHYs of math.

 

I used the third ed. of Jacobs next for Geometry. In this case, the lack of a "solutions manual" is really a moot point because with the answer key for a proof naturally shows the whole proof. I also liked the fact that you could use geometers sketchpad if you had the time....personally, we never seem to manage to have the time to fit that kind of activity in.

 

Then we switched over to AL II with Trig by Foerster. I actually had an email conversation with Paul Foerster before deciding how to proceed. He recommended that I only use the AL II portion of this text for a one year AL II course. He felt that the fact that this older text did not teach a student how to effectively use modern graphing calculators was a real disadvantage for students hoping to take the AP Calculus tests. He recommended using his Precalculus with Trigonometry text for that. We are most of the way through this text now and will finish it up in late May or the first week of June. It really does require the student to learn how to use that grapher, which I think is a really good thing. It has been challenging at times because the text does assume you have a teacher who already knows how to use it, but we have managed to find helps online to perform the more challenging functions. (And one time called a friend who is taking AP statistics to see if he could help....he did). I also like the on-line Keymath dynamic presentations that you can use to illustrate concepts....they are a pretty nice asset.

 

Because this year has really shown me that I'm at the end of myself for math, we will be farming out Calculus next year....at least that is our hope. DS will have to take the placement test at the CC and if he passes, he will take Calculus there in the fall. I'd be shocked, given our prep, if he did not place into their Calculus. If he doesn't make it in, we'll probably switch to Chalkdust, because I'm afraid we'll need more support than I can provide on my own. If we don't go with Chalkdust, I'll probably hire a tutor and use Foerster.

 

I hope this is helpful. Thanks again!

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We started hsing in the middle - 7th grade. Ds didn't know his math facts and was counting on his fingers. He is now finishing his sophomore year in college.

 

7th - Saxon Alg. 1/2

8th - Jacob's Algebra

9th - Jacob's Geometry

10th - Foerster's Alg. II/Trig (all but 2 chapters)

11th - Pre-Calc at the local high school

12th - AP Calc at the local high school

College - One semester of calculus is required but his 4 on the AP exam met the requirement.

 

Hope this helps.

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It's too soon for me to declare what we're doing a success yet, but...

Thinkwell is what we're using for our 3 high school-aged sons.

Here are the features I like about it:

*Video lessons by a teacher we think is a "hoot". The kids watch more closely because the professor is often very funny.

*The problem sets are done via the Internet and the kids receive immediate feedback about how to do the problem if they've missed it.

*If the kids score low on the exercises, you can click the button and get another problem set with all new problems. You can pretty much do the lesson (with new problems each time) as many times as you need to, and take as much time/practice as you need to succeed.

*There are printable notes for most (if not all) lessons. My kids find it helpful to print the notes and refer to them as needed. They are very concise, and really provide just what you need to remember.

*The checklist feature makes it easy for me to tell at a glance how far my kids have progressed through the course.

*I don't have to think about testing, because it's included.

*The courses are (I think) marketed more to colleges, and seem to be very rigorous, though I'm really not a great judge about that.

*I don't have to worry about the series not being released/ready when we need them, because Thinkwell is already established beyond what my dc will probably need before just going on to math at the community college.

~Julie~

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We tried Saxon last year, but it didn't go over well at all! This year we're using TT Pre-Algebra for dd10, and TT Algebra 1 for ds14. They like the dvd presentations and actually are enjoying math, compared to the huge distaste last year!

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We use:

 

Pre-Algebra: An Accelerated Course (Dolciani)

Algebra 1 (Dolciani, Swanson, & Graham)

Geometry (Jurgensen, Brown, and Jurgensen)

Advanced Mathematics (Brown)

 

Calculus 1 at William & Mary

Calculus 2 at William & Mary

 

The texts we use for math seem to do a great job preparing the kids for the calculus classes. Both have gotten compliments on how well prepared they are for calculus.

 

The kids mostly self-teach the math. They come to me with any questions. I correct the assignments and I go over the work that needs redoing with them.

 

My kids joke that calculus 2 is a graduation requirement for our homeschool. We have two more kids to go, but I think that all will have calculus 2, and one will probably do multi-variable calculus as well.

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I am using Teaching Textbooks along with Aleks. My method could best be described as the "get'er done" method of high school math.

 

If one of the younger kids ends up being mathy I will have no choice but to hire a tutor. Or I could send them to a tutorial, even though I would rather gouge my eyes out then have my life dictated by someone else's scheduling. But that is probably more information than you wanted.

 

Before TT we employed private math tutors for our middle school and high school age children. Can you say "Honey, I think we need to take out a second mortgage for this?"

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My strategy has been to do whatever it takes to get a passing score on the California High School Exit Exam, because he has to pass it in order to get a diploma from the charter school in which he is enrolled. Algebra II is not in his future.

 

What worked for Algebra:

 

MUS because of the uncluttered workbook pages. Until it came to graphing equations, where for some inexplicable reason MUS has multiple problems on one grid.

 

Lots of cheap workbooks found at Barnes and Noble:

Algebra Success in 20 minutes a day

Princeton Review workbook on the CA High School Exit Exam

Algebra for Dummies

 

A math tutor who is also a homeschool mom has been a lifesaver.

 

And, I wholeheartedly agree with the user friendliness of wipe-off boards with colorful dry-erase markers! Different steps in problems can be in different colors, and it makes the work just a little more fun.

 

This year, he is really enjoying Jacob's Geometry, because there aren't all those algebra problems that require lots attention to detail.

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We began homeschooling when my daughter was in 7th grade. That year we used a mishmash of library resources for Pre-Algebra. (I'd chose Lial's BCM now if doing it again with monetary resources!)

 

In 8th grade, she used Lial's Beginning Algebra under my direction.

 

In 9th grade, she started the year at a resource center using Jacobs' Geometry, 3rd edition. We pulled her out midyear as she was not learning as much as we would have liked. (Disorganized teacher.) My husband (who tutors math) then oversaw the rest of the year. She chose Jacobs' 2nd edition as the text having found the 3rd edition to be more distracting.

 

In 10th grade, she did Lial's Intermediate Algebra (under my husband's supervision).

 

This year, she placed into College Algebra at the community college and followed that with Trig. Both classes used Sullivan's Pre-Calculus.

 

She also used Chalkdust's SAT Math review DVDs before taking the SAT last month. She found them useful.

 

Next year, her senior year, will probably be Calculus (for non-Science majors) or Discrete Math at the community college. The decider will probably be what fits best into her schedule.

 

It's been interesting to see the various paths that others have chosen. It's great (though it can be daunting too) that there are so many good options available for our children!

 

Thanks for providing these boards, Ms. Bauer! I enjoy them very much.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Well, Susan, I am the opposite of you so my strategy might not work for you. ;) I am a math teacher by training and inclination so teaching my kids math is my favorite thing. I use plain ol' math texts like Foerster and Jacobs for Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II and Trig. My kids may do Calculus at the community college just because they want to do dual enrollment their last year or two of high school. I hire a tutor for writing. :001_smile:

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Starting in 7th grade: Saxon Algebra 1/2 through the first half of Saxon Advanced Math, with the DIVE DVD's for Algebra II and Advanced Math. Then, I ship them off to the cc to continue.

 

We have found the Chalkdust Math SAT prep DVD's very useful.

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19 yo did some saxon then finished with Teaching Texbooks and had to take remedial math her freshman year of college.

 

18 yo did saxon through Alg 2, then pre-cal at a charter school for 11th, but I can't remember what publisher is was. Then he took calc/trig at the community college his senior year and recieved an A. He enters college in the fall as a freshman and is majoring in engineering.

 

16 yo has used Teaching Textbooks so far and is taking college algebra next year as a senior at the comunnity college.

 

15 yo is using Saxon, which he likes and we plan to stick with for him.

 

For the remaining children we plan to use BJU all the way through. These plans can change, of course :D

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My eldest did Saxon through Algebra II at home and precalc at a really first rate community college (where she'll do three terms of calculus and then stop).

 

We were going to go through Calculus here at home with Saxon, but since she'll be doing calculus based physics at the college, it made sense for her to stagger that with the three calc courses... and she didn't want to leap into it with Calculus, she wanted to get her feet wet first and see how they did things there... and get used to doing things in a more compressed time frame.

 

 

One of the most fascinating things about hsing long-term is seeing which of my firm plans end up happening and which evolve into something else!

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We're a Dolciani family as well for the reasons Jane laid out, but I find the newer texts just build on the older ones. I own both, and in direct comparison believe that while the older ones were 'from the horse's mouth' or Dolciani's direct words, the newer ones are laid out the same and add more challenging material (C level problems rather than just A and B level). The drawback is, others have gotten a hold of the books and in trying to make them more modern and update the language, they've muddied up her elegant language a bit. Still, the newer texts won out for me because Teacher's guides and Solutions Manuals are readily available.

 

We supplement with ALEKS for review and breaks in routine. We use Thinkwell lectures (but not the problem sets) to clarify rough spots. They are available on HotMath for only $20 a year.

 

Good luck!

 

Barb

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I have one finishing this year and I liked what we did with him. I will continue this plan with the 2nd son, but my 3rd son may be different. We've used NEM 1-4 as well as Primary Math continuing with Lial's & ChalkDust.

 

We finished through Alg. 2 (Alg. 1, geometry, Alg. 2) by the end of 10th grade. This allowed us to enroll concurrently at our local university (branch of state school) for College Algebra, then Trig, then Calculus 1. So, by graduation from high school my sons have completed through Calc. 1 at the college level. And the bonus is that I didn't have to teach it (although I could have because I've had through Calc. 2 in college) and could focus on other subjects.

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I will probably have them transition to Community College for calculus - but I plan to be looking over their shoulder even then to make sure that they learn how to "function" ;) in a math class. Learning how to learn in a math/science class requires a different set of skills than a humanities class.

 

As a result, we have had to tweak our acceleration a bit. They were all scheduled to reach calculus before 12th grade. I've changed that.

 

It seems to me that a co-op would be a difficult way to handle math. Most kids need solid math instruction every day. Every, every day. :001_smile: At least mine do. Our sessions remind me of the spiral review that you find in the TE of the Rod & Staff Grammar books. We start out with a bit of review of yesterday's lesson and a bit of review of something that they learned last week and/or last month/year. And then we launch into the new lesson. I teach the concept and follow by guided practice - they watch me do a problem, we do a problem together, and then I watch them do one. Then they do a couple on their own while I bounce over to the piano to turn on the metronome for the little brother who is racing downhill with his scales. I come back and check the math work. Then we move on to a tougher concept together. Rinse. This can last for a VERY fast-paced 30-40 minutes. Then they go off to work on their own. I check their work during the next session.

 

I really find that this is the best way for my kids to learn math. We have used Thinkwell before though. I really like Ed Burger, and he really helped us during those times when I just needed to use my teacher/student face-time on something other than math.

 

So what if you can't teach upper level math? I would suggest a video tutor, but you would have to MONITOR the process and teach them how to learn from a teacher. A student has to practice working the problems themselves - otherwise they are not going to learn. Ed Burger makes everything look easy. No problem, right? Until they try to work the problems on their own at the end of the lesson and find out that they can't really remember what to do. After Ed teaches a concept he does a few practice problems which naturally become more and more difficult as the lesson proceeds. I had to TRAIN my kids to pause the DVD and try the problem on their own - BEFORE Ed shows them the solution. (They needed to be REQUIRED to do this or they wouldn't do it. Mom's a crank. DEAL! :nopity:) AFTER they are finished or stuck, they resumed the DVD. Now Ed's solution means something. :001_smile: The process helped them learn. They will have the foundation that they need to do the next practice problem that Ed offers.

 

I think Chalkdust recommends a similar method. The child is encouraged to INTERACT with the DVD instruction, not just watch it in a couch-potato kind of way.

 

Even then, a video can't replace a person. I think that every student should occasionally have access to a tutor in order to ask questions or have their thinking evaluated. Once every two weeks would be fine if the student isn't having trouble with the material. Once a month would be better than nothing.

 

It honestly reminds me of humanities instruction. So many programs indicate that they are self-teaching. Yes, a student can certainly read the Cliff-Notes on Paradise Lost and then read the poem and write an essay. But I suspect that the student will enjoy the whole process a lot more if a PERSON discusses the book with them, connects it to other books that they have read, and then READS their essay and provides feedback. :D

 

I think that most students would find more beauty in mathematics if it was a shared experience - even if the bulk of the work is done on their own.

 

Peace,

Janice in NJ

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

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Ds18 is not mathy, and neither am I. What finally worked for us was to have Dad take over math. He can speed up or (mostly!) slow down whenever ds needs him to.

We tried Jacobs Algebra, but stopped around the Spring and did Algebra in 20 Minutes. Then we tried TT for Geometry, but there were way too many proofs. This year, we are using a book I picked up at a garage sale called Intermediate Algebra, for Algebra 2, and, as I said, Dad's teaching it.

Next year? We are trying to graduate Ds in one semester, so I'm thinking of having him just work thru a fairly simple trig book this summer and into next fall with Dad.

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With our eldest, who is now studying engineering, we started out with Horizons math in the elementary grades, then went, for brief period of time, to Saxon, but quickly changed to BJUP 6th grade math, skipped the 7th and went directly into the pre-algebra book in 6th grade. Part way through Alg 1 I found out I was pregnant, and we started using BJ LINC classes with him since I knew I wouldn't be able to hang with him in math once he got to geometry in 8th grade. We finished the rotation of BJ LINC classes available in 10th grade with pre-calculus. In 11th he took AP B/C calculus through The Potter's School--really stretched him--excellent prep for his college calculus classes which he is sailing through. Even though he had taken AP calc and could have taken the AP exam, he passed (his decision) on this as he wanted to take calc at the school he is attending because they are tough on their calc students--allowing no calculator use during exams/quizzes. For 12th grade he did what we called an independent study of calculus working his way through the Saxon calculus text using the DIVE cds. At the same time he worked through an applied calculus book using Excel. I don't have the book handy--I think he took it to school with him--so I can't give the title. For this student the LINC classes were a great fit. Not so with my current 10th grade dd.

 

She went through much the same progression as her brother--just a year behind. We skipped Saxon with her. Once she hit Alg 1 with the LINC classes, it was like she hit a stone wall. We've since switched to Teaching Textbooks for Alg 1, and she is almost finished the TT Alg 2 text and doing very well. I think we'll stay on that course for her.

 

My first two have really driven home how different each kid is. My 5yo is just about finished with the 4 workbooks of Singapore Earlybird K. He'll be doing 1A/B in the fall.

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Where does one get the new Dolciani books? I have to start investigating this, for my mathy and future engineer boy.

Thankfully, both parents here are engineers, so algebra doesn't scare us at all.

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Where does one get the new Dolciani books? I have to start investigating this, for my mathy and future engineer boy.

Thankfully, both parents here are engineers, so algebra doesn't scare us at all.

 

Here are the ISBNS: http://www.mcdougallittell.com/store/ProductCatalogController?cmd=Browse&subcmd=LoadDetail&ID=1005500000030772&frontOrBack=F&division=M01&sortProductsBy=SEQ_TITLE&sortEntriesBy=SEQ_NAME

 

But try half.com, Abebooks or Follett first. You can usually pick them up at a good price. Better still, get a newer edition and a copy of the 1960's or 70's edition for like 3-5 bucks and decide for yourself which sticks with you.

 

Barb

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How friendly is this for younger students?

My son is dying to start algebra, and he's finishing the local curriculum for grade 6, but he's only 10yo. To make matters worse, English is his second language, and he's studied math mainly in French so far.

He's done MUS pre-algebra in less than 2 months (and only because I slowed him down!) He devoured it!

I'm not satisfied with MUS though, my son is capable of much more, and will need a solid math background. (I'm not dissing MUS - it's perfect for my daughter)

How difficult is the language and how dense is the text?

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Let me know what's working.

 

Mostly I have just a plan for high school right now. DS is doing geometry using both NEM and Life of Fred. We use LOF as the spine and splice in the appropriate NEM chapters. This has worked really well for us. For 9th grade, we'll continue the same approach for Algebra II, and for Trig/Pre-Calc in 10th grade. Once he's 16 and ready for Calculus, it will be off to the local (2nd tier) university so someone other than mommy can herd him through it. Worst case, I will teach him Calculus, but I really think he'll benefit from being accountable to someone else :)

 

Karen

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Eldest ds is using Thinkwell calculus w/Dr. Burger. He just said today it's the favorite homeschool course he's ever done. He loves it. Prior to this year he's used Saxon. He's an engineering mind who really wants to know the why of everything and Saxon didn't answer that for him. But he can do the math. :) He'll be taking the calc bc exam next year--started Thinkwell in Feb. and will finish it over 9 months, with time left over to go deeper, do lots of prep work, etc. So we'll see how he does!

 

Younger ds is using Saxon quite happily. Pluggin' and chuggin'. I'm not so happy about that, but pretty scared about venturing out of the math box. However, as dd gets into high school I'll have to. I don't think Saxon will work for her at all. So I'm reading this whole thread with interest.

 

Julie, I'd really like to hear more about your Thinkwell. What courses are you using? I'd been wondering about using some of the lower levels, but thought MaryM had given some mixed reviews. Further comments?

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