Jump to content


Math advice

Recommended Posts

First let me say that I am not willing to changes our math curriculum. We are using Saxon Alg 2. We went through a lot of math curriculum last year and ended up using our whole summer to complete math. We are NOT willing to do that again.


I need advice as to what I can add/supplement to my ds math(Saxon Alg 2) to help him understand it better. He has repeated the last 5 lessons this week. I went over the lessons with him and he got it..did the test today, for the second time, and flunked it AGAIN!

He is getting it when he does the lesson, but when he gets to the test he is asking me a thousand questions. I don't want him to repeat the lessons for a third time, so I am needing something to supplement...I am not one to make up questions, especially in Alg 2.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

By 'unique' I mean they put their own slant/twist on how they teach AND how they ask questions (problem format). Because of this you may not be able to supplement easily. For extra problems I suggest getting an inexpensive text such as Lial's Intermediate Algebra--use this as a 'reference' text when you need more problems AND when you need to see the lesson approached in a different manner--sometimes Saxon students benefit from seeing more of the concept taught at one time.


What types of problems is your son having difficulty with?... I used to teach from Saxon exclusively, though it has been a few years, I may be able to figure out where your son is making errors in his logic--other Math Moms on the board may be able to help too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it is more of the geometry that is tied into the program that is throwing him for a loop. A few things are simple mistakes that he is making(ex.--forgetting to finish"finding a certain number of consecutives) and I don't know how to make him see that he needs to really focus on reading and writing out the problem correctly.


Also it takes him FOREVER to complete a chapter. I don't know how long it should normally take, but I think that 2hrs is an awful long time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My suggestions in order of probably most helpful:


1. a local person as your DS's personal math tutor

2. take the Algebra 2 as a class with a live interactive teacher

3. Khan Academy (FREE online video tutorials) = http://www.khanacademy.org/

4. John Saxon's Way DVD Teaching series = http://www.pennywiselearning.com/Mastering-Algebra-2-John-Saxons-Way.html

5. Saxon DIVE CD (video tutorials run on the computer)

6. ALEKS = http://www.aleks.com/

7. FREE online helps:

*Online Math Learning = http://www.onlinemathlearning.com/index.html

*Algebra (also Geometry helps) = http://www.algebra.com/

*Algebra Help = http://www.algebrahelp.com/



If DS is a bit young (only 14-15yo) and doing Algebra 2, it might also help to either set aside Algebra 2 this year and do some sort of other math program (maybe even a Consumer Math to keep up foundational skills while learning great, practical, real life math application he'll use all his life such as budgeting, interest rates, loans/mortgages, car payments, etc.). Or skip math entirely (gasp!), and let the abstract math portions of DS's brain mature into it -- OR -- plan on spreading the Algebra 2 over 1-1/2 or even 2 years, to allow more time and a slower pace to be able to *absorb* the difficult concepts. You may be amazed how much quicker the math goes by waiting until his brain has matured into being able to handle those abstract concepts! :)


BEST of luck and success in your Algebra 2 journey! Warmest regards, Lori D.




PS -- Yikes! I just saw your second post, in which you mention it takes 2 hours a day to do math; coupled with having pushed all summer to complete Algebra 1. Humbly, and JMO, this seems like it has real potential for turning into a math disaster -- turning DS to hating math (since it took up all summer, and takes so long each day, AND he's failing tests even when repeating lessons) -- and by extension, beginning to hate school or any math-related career.


I also just noticed in your signature that your DS is only 9th grade. With all gentleness and respect, and truly just wanting to understand your situation: why the math push and rush? Your DS is way ahead both credit-wise and also in the usual progression for math when a child is headed toward a math/science field. Most advanced students do Algebra 2 in 10th grade, and most not until 11th or even 12th grade.


I truly would like to be of help, but feel I am missing something important. Wishing you the very best! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
added info
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm going for it because I've been there.....


He is too young. We went through the same thing. My son (in college now) is in the math hater group.....


When he was in 11th grade, we did Algebra 2 (Chalkdust). He really tried. But it was just too much. So, mid-year, I switched to BJU (borrowed from a friend). Much better text for him, but he still couldn't do it. HIT THE WALL. And, he is a good student and works hard, so it wasn't laziness. I called BJU and talked to one of the authors of the Algebra 2 text. She asked me how old he was. He is an August birthday, so he was very young in his grade. So, he was a year ahead of what he could do. We were in the spring, so it was suggested to put the math away for the rest of the year, then do Algebra 2 the next year. It was the start of our decision to back his grades up and make that current year 10th, and do a new 11th grade year. I'm not suggesting you do something that drastic, only realize that upper level subjects need to be taken when kids are mentally capable of doing them. Anyway, that next year was his best year ever. He said for the first time in his homeschooling career, his subjects fit. Things that gave the clue we were above level:


1)When he took tests in both texts, he got the A he needed, but he was cramming the information into his memory but not understanding the concepts. Then he had nothing to take into the next chapter where he needed those concepts to do the next thing.

2) It took FOREVER to do each subject, in fact, he could only handle four classes a school year. He worked and worked, and we ran out of day.

3) High level of frustration


I hope this helps!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with the others. If he's having that much trouble, he might be better off having a little vacation from math. Or pick up something else that's mathy but not so advanced. Maybe some game type things would be nice? You could do some statistics -- although not the heavy duty type that leads to the AP test. Or study something like genetics or chemistry or electronics or drafting instead (you could call it applied math). Or just spend some time learning how to use a graphing calculator. Just seeing the functions graphed out might be enlightening.


I've seen this too -- kids will be going along great and look like they're going to finish the whole math sequence way early, and then they just crash. We took some time off, regrouped, ignored math for a semester or so, and came back just fine. (My daughter is now a physics major, with 3 semesters of calc and a year of college physics before she ever started as a freshman, but there was a year or two there where not much happened in math.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did he use Saxon for Algebra I? If he did, how did he do? If he didn't, you may want to put down the Algebra II for a while and let him take the tests on Algebra I from the beginning of the text. When he gets less than 90 percent right, or so, then have him start doing the lessons. Let him work through as quickly as he wants as long as he's getting good results on the tests. Then when he's completed that text, move onto the Algebra II.


This is just my suggestion. We've only used Saxon, but from what I understand, most other programs don't incorporate geometry into the algebra courses the way Saxon does. By going back, he'll be able to pick up what he hasn't learned yet, and the building on those concepts will be much easier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've seen this too -- kids will be going along great and look like they're going to finish the whole math sequence way early, and then they just crash. We took some time off, regrouped, ignored math for a semester or so, and came back just fine.


:iagree:One of the advantages of being "ahead" is that you can slow down when you need to.


Also, 2 hours a day is probably too much. IME, Most kids can do an hour at a time before "brain freeze" sets in. Pushing past brain freeze is a waste of time. If you *must* do this much in a day, break it up into smaller time slots.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the Geometry you may wish to supplement it with something affordable like Life of Fred. It's readable, explains things well (but you do have to do some learning doing the Your Turn to Play questions and some of the learning comes in reading the answers in the text) and you don't have to do a million problems (but there are extra ones in the Home Companion). My mathy dd loved it and used it as her main text, but I had her supplement with two more traditional books since it's new and I wanted her to see some paragraph proofs (she didn't end up writing any, but that was my initial goal).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...