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Algebra for middle son


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I wanted to ask if you thought this was a good plan for my son who is in 8th grade and 13. He isn't a math whiz, but has improved greatly the last couple of years. I had he and my oldest using Larson's Elementary and Intermediate Algebra: A combined course this year thinking my oldest would finish it to count for Alg. II and we might get through half the book for him to count for Alg. I. My oldest is on chapter 9 and looking to finish the book by Feb..

 

For my 13yo, the beginning parts of the chapter are fine, but he struggles with the end ones especially chapter 4 that we have hit now. To be honest, I don't remember doing some of the things Chalksdust covers, but my memory may just be poor. So, I got out the TT Alg I book I used with oldest. My 13yo says he has already covered most of what is in there with the Pre-Algebra or the current book. But he can miss things because of careless errors. So I am having him watch each lecture and do the 4 practice problems for each lesson and then take the chapter test. He got 90's on the first two tests, but then a 70 on the 3rd one ( really careless errors). He told me he tried to do the problems in his head instead of writing them down, so he realizes that he can't do that now. My oldest could, but he has to write down every step so he doesn't reverse a negative sign or add instead of multiply or something stupid like that. I know he knows the material as the Chaldust problems were tons harder. But does that sound like a good plan. We will just keep doing this until we get to the point in this book where he encounters something unfamiliar. If he finishes early, we'll go on to the TT Alg II book that I have. I must say that he is quite happy at seeing only 25 problems a lesson when he does have to do them compared to 150 or more!!!

 

Christine

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Ok, 58 of you have read this and have no comments. I'm wondering if everyone is afraid to make comments saying "You have too low expectations for this child!!" I guess that is my wondering as I read the low expectation thread. So every child needs to take through Calculus?? Should I keep him with Chalkdust Elementary and Combined Algebra. But here in Texas we need 4 years of math. I'm just not sure he could handle calculus. He LOVES history and literature. He may major in history or maybe become a youth minister and have some other job where he works with children. I don't have a clue right now. I want math to be challenging, but not impossible. He makes B's and C's with Chalkdust.

 

Christine

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I really don't think you have too low expectations. I also don't think every child needs to get through Calculus. Some time ago, someone linked Harvard's suggestions regarding high school curriculum, and I specifically remember something about how important it is to have the basics down instead of rushing through the math to get to Calculus. Also, the new edition of WTM lists TT as one of the recommended math programs. So, I say, if it works and he likes it, why not use it? You can always add in something more/different later or do enrichment in the summer.

 

From your post, you say you are going quickly through TT Alg 1 and intend to move onto Alg 2. I think that's a fine way to go. I think your plan to move forward until he hits something unfamiliar is a good one. As far as what I would specifically do with regard to him getting a 70 on the Chapter 3 test, I would choose some problems (same amount as on the test) from the lessons for him to do, trying to find ones similar to what he missed just to give him more practice. If he scores above whatever cut-off you choose for him to be able to move on, great, and if not, I'd probably go back and reinforce the material covered in that chapter by having him to the lessons. Best wishes!

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We use TT all the way for my boys and I don't have a single complaint. The oldest has handled Calc just fine. My middle son will do it next year as he's taking a break to do Stats this year. I did buy the Lial College Alg book for him to look at. He didn't have problems with anything in it that he worked on before I told him not to worry about it any longer.

 

I LIKE that TT concentrates on the basics and drives them in well at a slower pace. I think most kids get a better understanding that way... then, if they want to, or need to, do something more in depth.

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Ok, 58 of you have read this and have no comments.

Honestly, I find your post confusing. I read and I wonder: did both your boys start the Larson text this year? How old is the older son that keeps popping up in the post? Why is the older son starting over with Larson if he's used TT already for Algebra 1?

 

Who is the him this pronoun refers to? I imagine it's the younger, but the older is the last person referred to.

I had he and my oldest using Larson's Elementary and Intermediate Algebra: A combined course this year thinking my oldest would finish it to count for Alg. II and we might get through half the book for him to count for Alg. I.

:confused:

 

I gather that your 8th grade 13yo is struggling with the Larson text. I have no experience with Chalkdust or TT. I gather that they are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Is it possible to consider something in the middle of the spectrum? I personally would not use TT, but then I've got a degree in math and ds does well in math. Given a choice of curriculum, ds would choose the easiest path 100% of the time if I allowed it.

 

As to low expectation, I read part of the thread. I tend to agree with Janice:

What we do works GREAT for our family. I'm not worried about what other people are doing.

I know that I have seen Jann in TX recommend that Algebra not be started until 9th grade. I agree with that for the average math student. I see no need for an average math student to complete Calculus in high school.

 

My 2c. Good luck finding what works best for your family. I'm sorry if this post sounds a bit crabby. Blame it on my sore throat...

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I don't actually care for Larson's. I've only used it at the precalculus level. I didn't think the explanations were very good.

 

I like Kinetic Books and/or Jacobs for Algebra I. I like Kinetic Books for Algebra II.

 

I'm thinking of using Algebra I A Fresh Approach for my youngest for Algebra I because she doesn't want to do math on the computer and does best with black print on white paper with plenty of white space.

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Sorry Sue,

My oldest did TT Alg I and most of Alg. II his 8th grade year. He switched to Chalkdust Geometry in 9th grade. This year I was uncomfortable skipping Chalkdust Alg II and going straight to PreCalculus since he used TT.

 

My 13yo did TT7 in 6th grade and his math scores came up dramaticaly that year. Last year I found a great deal for Chalkdust Pre-Algebra ( 75 dollars for the whole set) and he LOVED Dana Moseley. He completed almost all of Chalkdust PreAlgebra last year in 7th grade- we got completely bogged down on the really complicated word problems in the last two chapters.

 

So.. I thought why buy Chalkdust Alg I AND Chalkdust Alg. II. I can just buy the Elementary and Advanced Text that is supposedly both years together and use it for both. My oldest has found it really easy. He will complete chapter 9 this week. My younger boy has taken it MUCH slower as I only wanted to get halfway through and he needs 2 to 3 days on a lesson compared to 1 for my oldest. We are in chapter 4 and finding it slow going. He is barely understanding. But he is finding TT REALLY easy...

 

Does that help?

 

Christine

 

Honestly, I find your post confusing. I read and I wonder: did both your boys start the Larson text this year? How old is the older son that keeps popping up in the post? Why is the older son starting over with Larson if he's used TT already for Algebra 1?

 

Who is the him this pronoun refers to? I imagine it's the younger, but the older is the last person referred to.

 

:confused:

 

I gather that your 8th grade 13yo is struggling with the Larson text. I have no experience with Chalkdust or TT. I gather that they are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Is it possible to consider something in the middle of the spectrum? I personally would not use TT, but then I've got a degree in math and ds does well in math. Given a choice of curriculum, ds would choose the easiest path 100% of the time if I allowed it.

 

As to low expectation, I read part of the thread. I tend to agree with Janice:

 

I know that I have seen Jann in TX recommend that Algebra not be started until 9th grade. I agree with that for the average math student. I see no need for an average math student to complete Calculus in high school.

 

My 2c. Good luck finding what works best for your family. I'm sorry if this post sounds a bit crabby. Blame it on my sore throat...

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I wonder if the problem isn't the book that your younger son is using. Often books that combine Algebra I and II are better suited for students who have already had Algebra I and need only a simple review. The depth of explanation can be lacking for a student who is only beginning Algebra.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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For my 13yo, the beginning parts of the chapter are fine, but he struggles with the end ones especially chapter 4 that we have hit now. To be honest, I don't remember doing some of the things Chalksdust covers, but my memory may just be poor. So, I got out the TT Alg I book I used with oldest. My 13yo says he has already covered most of what is in there with the Pre-Algebra or the current book.

I believe that Ch. 4 is about where Larson's stand-alone Alg II book starts. I don't remember the exact chapters, but I did compare the Combined Course text with the two separate texts, and it seemed like the first 3 chapters or so covered what was covered in the first 5-6 chapters in Larson's Alg I book, and the last 3-4 chapters covered topics that were only in the Alg II book, and the chapters in the middle were almost identical in both books.

 

Keep in mind that most students do Geometry between Alg I & II, so there is a LOT of review built into Alg II anyway, plus TT Alg I is pretty light, so the first three chapters of Larson may well have covered a large chunk of TT Alg I already. Ch. 4 in Larson may be covering topics that wouldn't come up until towards end of TT Alg I, and the topics you get to at the end of the combined text may be things that you wouldn't cover in TT until Precalc.

 

I think your plan of having your DS skim through TT Alg I until he hits new material is a good one. If you still wanted to use the Chalkdust program at some point, you could have him do TT Alg I & II and call that Alg I on his transcript, then do Geometry, then have him go through the Larson text again (skipping the first 3 chapters) and call it Alg II. At that point he should be pretty well prepared for any Precalc program. If he stays with TT, just be aware that you'd want to complete the whole program, because part of what's normally considered Alg II gets bumped to Precalc in TT.

 

Jackie

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