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X-post from K-8: Help with my dd's 8th grade math

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DD turned 13 this summer, so will be a "young" 8th grader. She is good at getting the concepts of math, but struggles with the memory parts of it (like times tables). She is just finishing Singapore 5A, and I would like her to hit Algebra 1 in 9th grade. Lastly, I don't have any $$ to spend, so I need to make something work with what I have on hand.


Option 1:

Lial's BCM--I she will balk at the huge problem sets, even doing only the odds, but I think the drill would be good for her.


Option 2:

Singapore 5B & 6A (and possibly 6B, if we have time)--she really likes Singapore, and any time I've had her do a different curriculum, we end up coming back to it. It works for her, just not on the "normal" time table, hence she is doing 5A at the end of 7th grade.


Option 3:

Singapore 5B and Keys To Algebra



Thank you for any thoughts you might have. If you can think of any other combo with what I have on hand, let me know. Or if there's anything spectacular out there that's cheap, let me know that, too.

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Many of the Lial's books have enormous problem sets. I had my daughter do a sampling of problems as opposed to all or half of the problems. Working every fourth problem is also a possibility you might consider. For every problem that my daughter missed, I asked her to correct it and then do an additional similar problem.




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Why not stick with Singapore?


I would encourage you to keep working at her pace rather than try to have her Algebra ready in a year. The nice thing about Singapore is that it does give a really good foundation and that does help in the long run. In addition, it apparently works for her.


Do you let her use a calculator? That's how most people do math now days. Also, it would free her from that struggle so she can focus on understanding. If you want to work with her more on memory work such as times tables, etc, you could still do it separately from her regular math work.

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No curriculum advise as I'm not familiar with Singapore, but why would you want to switch especially since you have the next books in the series? From what I've heard here, it's a good program. Judging from where she's at, it may not be realistic for her to be ready for algebra in a year. She should be fluent in all the pre-algebra topics first - fractions, decimals, unit conversions, etc.. And all of those need solid math facts to be automatic - in my opinion. I know they can use a calculator, but do you really want her graduating high school and not knowing her times table? Relying on a calculator will probably help her to even forget what she's learned so far - what you don't use, you lose.


I would suggest working on the times table two or three times a day. Just take a number and keep quizzing her on the multiples throughout the day. With enough repetition, she should get it. You can also have her write it down on a white board or whatever at the same time, so she's involving more in the memory process. You can still have her do her regular math at the same time, so she's still moving forward.

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The Lial texts were designed for BLOCK scheduling--so each lesson contains 2 days of homework (with the odds traditionally assigned). This comes out to 20-30 problems each day... a very workable (normal) amount considering most problems are 1-2 steps.


The homework sets are also marked so it is possible to split the lesson itself into 2 days... just work through/teach half of the examples then do the odd problem in the homework that correlate to them. Most of my students have found it easy to work through the whole lesson then spend 2 days on the homework. My students average 2 complete lessons per week.


PLEASE do not rush into Algebra.. sometimes our students just are not ready when WE want them to be. Multiplication/Division is essential to understanding Algebra.


My oldest worked BCM in 8th and part of 9th grade. She did not have her multiplication facts memorized (though we tried and tried) but she COULD figure out the correct answer quickly--so I let her move on. By the time she started College she FINALLY had them down!

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