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Chalkdust Precalc going badly

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I'm not sure if it is the kid or the course. But they are not meshing. She is watching the lectures, taking notes, going over all the practice problems and still not getting it. She is very bright and wants to be pre-vet, she knows she NEEDS the math. I don't have enough hours in the day to follow along as closely as I should - I watch the lectures and take notes and help them with specific problems by looking at the answer key - but I know I am not up to speed enough to explain everything thoroughly enough.


Her math progression was:

Singapore Math 1-6 plus Miquon

Jacobs Algebra

Jacobs Geometry (which did not go well)

Chalkdust Algebra II


Everything was fine except the Geometry (maybe because we used the third ed?)


Where can we go from here? We started in Sep and are only finishing up Ch3 - and I really don't think she should continue.

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Take a look at Lial's Intermediate Algebra. After a semi-disaster with Foerster's Algebra II, Lial's teacher/student supports, like excellent solution manuals are allowing us to move forward again.


:iagree: I never understood algebra before, especially when I used SOS algebra 1. Then I went to TT algebra 1, but it was not enough for me. Although the explanations were good, I knew I needed more especially when I was considering a math related field at the time, now I am considering a biology/music field. I hear that CD can be very hard and they don't always have the best explantions, so that is why I love Lial's.


I would PM Jann in TX with more info or search for threads like this. Also, Lial's is inexpensive and has a lot of nice features.

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We tried Chalkdust for Pre-Calc but after the second chapter dd BEGGED for something different.


We switched to Lial's Pre-Calc (3rd edition ours is hardback) and dd is back to learning again.


The layout and COMPLETE lesson in the student text is great-- there are also video lessons available that MATCH up to the text 100%... The text includes problems to be worked both manually and (optional) with a graphing calculator.


ISBN: 032122762x student text


0321227700 student solutions manual


0321237331 Digital Video Tutor (video lessons)


We use a dvd program for the TI-84 from http://www.mathtutordvd.com instead of a graphing calculator manual-- it is WONDERFUL! about $30

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If she actually understands the material through chapter 3, she's making ok progress. I looked at the list of topics for Chalkdust precalc -- honestly, a lot of schools would probably skip many of the topics in the later chapters. And a lot of schools might put the trig chapters in Alg 2, or even a separate class. This would mean that the precalc course you're looking at might reasonably take a year and a half, if you did all the topics, and that only getting through 3 chapters in a semester is just fine.


If she hates Chalkdust and you can find something better, that's another matter. Or if she's not even understanding the material as she's doing it. But I wouldn't worry too much if she just seems to be going slowly. As long as she eventually gets the concepts, the speed is not the issue. As precalc covers a lot of material that's fundamental for moving on to calculus, I wouldn't be in a big hurry.


Both my kids took a year and a half to get through all the precalc topics -- although we didn't use Chalkdust. I also found that my kids always forgot just about everything from the last chapter just as soon as they moved onto the next. This seems perfectly normal -- they haven't really forgotten it. They just can't dredge it up out of their memory. But each time they relearned the topic they picked it up faster.


Another advantage of dragging it out is that it gives the brain a little more time to mature.


And my daughter who took "forever" at precalc is now doing very well in college as a physics major. Taking a lot of time on the basics does pay off. (And she did have to relearn every single precalc topic when she did calculus -- as did many of her fellow students.)

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My two oldest went through CD Precalculus. They skipped chapter P (review of Algebra II) and Chapter 12 (the first chapter in Calculus).


Chalkdust Precalculus is hard. My two found it very time consuming, and took them each about 1 1/2 years to complete the book. Ds worked on it from August of his junior year through December of his senior year (taking most of the between summer off). Dd worked from October of her junior year through October of her senior year, taking the summer off, but she spent hours double-timing on it each day in September and October of her senior year. I spent a lot of time checking all of their work with the SM and going over what they missed with them.


They both thought that in the end it was worth the work and time, and felt that Calculus was straightforward after it. Both did well on their respective Calculus APs. Ds is now a math major in college; dd is a biochemistry major.


I'm sure there are plenty of precalculus or advanced algebra/trig programs out there that will do the job. The trick will be to figure out if it is a good fit for your dd.


Best wishes,


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The local Christian High School uses the same book as Chalkdust PreCalc and so I ended up hiring the wonderful Calc/PreCalc teacher to tutor in addition to the CD DVDs we were using. Our pace was pretty slow though as I was too busy to help daughter move it along. But daughter's comprehension and enjoyment quadrupled with the weekly tutoring meetings (4 months).



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I'm assuming that you got Chalkdust because you can't really teach precalc. (That's why I got it!) If she's struggling with it, I'd get an experienced tutor for a few sessions at least so that you can get an idea of what is holding dd up. You may just need to keep the tutor, also.


Unless you *can* teach precalc but just didn't want to, I wouldn't assume that simply switching to another program will help. Sometimes with the higher math kids just need a human teacher to interact with.

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Mooooom: Were you able to find the dvt digital lessons?


Jann in TX: Is Lial's as long as CD (where you need three semesters to do it?). And Jann, do you think BJU Algebra 2 would move nicely into Lial's Precalc, or do we need Lial's Alg. 2 inbetween?



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We are using the Foerster pre-calc book. I got the instructor's manual with the cd that has the test bank, solns., extra problems and tips on how to learn/teach the lesson. My dd is going through the whole book by herself and is doing v. well. His syllabus is great, nice timing considerations so dd will finish on time for the SAT II.

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