Only me Posted May 6, 2008 Share Posted May 6, 2008 I normally don't worry about my kids being "behind" or "ahead" because they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. Recently though I'm becoming concerned that they will be behind in math because they will be going to a private school for high school. When my dd went to the public school last year as a freshman she was in algebra along with about 75% of the freshman class. At the end of her 7th grade year at home I called a counselor at the high school to discuss algebra. She advised me that my dd would have to take a test to test out of algebra. She would have to score a very high grade (I believe it was something like 98%) to pass out of it. Of course this doesn't seem fair because there are kids who get D's and are able to move on to geometry. Anyway, she advised me to just wait to have my dd take algebra in high school since most of the students her age would be anyway. Even though my dd was ready for algebra I didn't want to do algebra in 8th grade only to have her repeat it in 9th grade so we spent the year reviewing and doing consumer math. At the time it didn't seem to be a big deal but now that my dd goes to a private school she is "behind". Most of the sophomores are taking algebra 2 or stats/trig. Now it seems that the public school is also changing their ways. All of a sudden they seem to have the bright 7th graders skip a year of math and go right into algebra. A friend of my dd's was always average in math and in fact seem to struggle a bit. She was in the average math class through 6th grade and then they put her in algebra this year. She will take geometry next year and then have algebra 2 her freshman year. She told us that she is a little ahead of some of her classmates but that it is the norm now. It seems strange that the school would change their policy so quickly but I think they are realizing that at most schools kids aren't waiting to take algebra until 8th grade. Of course it makes me think that many kids aren't really ready for algebra in 7th grade but they are just pushing them. Unfortunately there isn't anything that I can do about my dd who is already in high school. She plans to take 4 years of math so I'm sure she will be ok, although unfortunately it may affect her ACT scores next year. I'm wondering what to do with my 2 kids at home (currently 4th and 7th grade). We use BJU math and have always been a year ahead. My son is using the 5th grade book and my dd is using a combination of pre-algebra and BCM. It seems that most homeschool books have the students start pre-algebra in 8th grade. Next year I will have by dd do algebra so she will be have geometry in high school. I don't think there is anything I can do in a year so that she will be ready for algebra 2 in high school. As far as my son is concerned I was planning on having him do BJU 6th grade math next year and then BCM for 6th and 7th grade. He would then do algebra for 8th grade. For those of you who have kids starting algebra in 7th grade how do you fit it all in? Do you skip some of the math books? My son is strong in math but I'm not sure what sequence we could follow to get him on track to take algebra 2 freshman year. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Myrtle Posted May 6, 2008 Share Posted May 6, 2008 Is your child behind because he isn't taking algebra in the 7th grade? Maybe on paper it might look that way to you but the real question is what math class will your child be prepared to take in college and what are the average SAT scores of this school? If the school can't back up their program by demonstrating superior SAT scores, passes in AP calculus, dual enrollment in community college math classes, or statistics on number of students who place out of "college" algebra later, then as far as I'm concerned their 7th grade algebra is for show. In other words, it doesn't matter if they push algebra down to the 3rd grade if the kid has to repeat it as a college freshman because he didn't learn enough to place out of it. In the United States at least 80% of students entering college are NOT ready for Calculus. Calculus is a college course. Algebra is not, that is why you don't see "AP college algebra." Even more shocking is to hear about kids who took three years of high school math (algebra II) and still end up back in elementary algebra in college. What did these kids do for four years of high school to only end up right back where a well prepared 8th grader would end up? (someone with a solid 8th grade arithmetic education would place into college algebra as well) I'd rather have my kid take a rigorous algebra class in the tenth and eleventh grades (in other words late) and place out of that in college than have them take a course labeled algebra in the 7th grade and then retake it again in college. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Only me Posted May 6, 2008 Author Share Posted May 6, 2008 My original plan with my 2 younger kids was for them to complete BJU math through the 6th grade book. Then in 6th and 7th grade they would complete Lial's BCM. It seems that this is a great review book and that this way they will really have their pre-algebra skills down before they go on to algebra. It really surprises me that some of the kids we know are in algebra in 7th grade when they weren't ahead in 5th or 6th grade. It seems like they would be missing some key topics. So it's not like they were ahead K-5th and were simply working a year or two ahead. To me it's the same as if I had my kids complete BJU 6th grade book and then had them head straight to algebra. I am a little concerned though about the ACT test will my dd have enough math before she attempts it. She has always been an A student in math but it doesn't come easy. If she takes the ACT next year as a junior she will only be half way through Algebra 2. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

NicksMama-Zack's Mama Too Posted May 6, 2008 Share Posted May 6, 2008 Is your child behind because he isn't taking algebra in the 7th grade? Maybe on paper it might look that way to you but the real question is what math class will your child be prepared to take in college and what are the average SAT scores of this school? If the school can't back up their program by demonstrating superior SAT scores, passes in AP calculus, dual enrollment in community college math classes, or statistics on number of students who place out of "college" algebra later, then as far as I'm concerned their 7th grade algebra is for show. In other words, it doesn't matter if they push algebra down to the 3rd grade if the kid has to repeat it as a college freshman because he didn't learn enough to place out of it. In the United States at least 80% of students entering college are NOT ready for Calculus. Calculus is a college course. Algebra is not, that is why you don't see "AP college algebra." Even more shocking is to hear about kids who took three years of high school math (algebra II) and still end up back in elementary algebra in college. What did these kids do for four years of high school to only end up right back where a well prepared 8th grader would end up? (someone with a solid 8th grade arithmetic education would place into college algebra as well) I'd rather have my kid take a rigorous algebra class in the tenth and eleventh grades (in other words late) and place out of that in college than have them take a course entitled algebra in the 7th grade and then retake it again in college. :iagree: My best friend's son (7th grade, ps) placed into Accelerated Math/Pre-Algebra in 6th grade. Passed it with a low C. Continued with Accelerated Math/Algebra 1 in 7th grade and might pass with another low C (Fails EVERY test, but hands in homework and extra credit). Clearly this child is not ready for REAL Algebra and has wasted two years of math instruction. Sad. He was in the "gifted" math program in elementary school, now his mom's worried about him making it through high school. She is pushing to have him in regular math for 8th grade and is actually hoping he gets a D or F so he will be forced to take regular math (pride issue with ds). K Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Jane in NC Posted May 6, 2008 Share Posted May 6, 2008 I would like to echo Myrtle's comments and add a further comment on course content. There is often great disparity between texts and between the material actually covered in the class. School systems may call these courses what they wish, but, as Myrtle said, the proof is in the pudding: what have the students really learned? The statistics on the number of students who place into remedial math courses at the college level are abysmal when one considers that many of these students supposedly had a precalculus or even a calculus course in high school. More frightening to me is that fact that many students never even learn how to prove something, how to create a logical argument, in their math classes. They only learn algorithm after algorithm which they reguritate then forget. No wonder why these kids do not score well on SAT, ACT or placement exams! While many homeschoolers embrace Lial, these are not my text books of choice. (I have used these books when teaching remedial mathematics at the community college level. That was their intended market.) There is a great leap between BCM and Algebra I--particularly around chapter 5 in the latter, I believe. Many students are hard pressed to make the jump. Lial takes a workbook approach: concept, lots of problems, next concept, lots more problems. There are few if any proofs. The word problems are often not accessible to younger students--again, consider the intended audience. But if you like them, by all means, carry on... I think that the point is to give our students solid foundations. Mathematics should challenge them beyond their comfort zone because thinking can be hard work. Students in an algebra course should be prepared to think in abstract terms. This cannot be forced upon them, but can be cultivated by providing challenging word problems and interesting questions concerning geometry, sequences, etc. Students who learn to write up mathematics properly at a young age (using symbols correctly) will have an advantage. Jane Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Only me Posted May 6, 2008 Author Share Posted May 6, 2008 While many homeschoolers embrace Lial, these are not my text books of choice. (I have used these books when teaching remedial mathematics at the community college level. That was their intended market.) There is a great leap between BCM and Algebra I--particularly around chapter 5 in the latter, I believe. Many students are hard pressed to make the jump. Lial takes a workbook approach: concept, lots of problems, next concept, lots more problems. There are few if any proofs. The word problems are often not accessible to younger students--again, consider the intended audience. But if you like them, by all means, carry on. I'm curious about what you see lacking in Lial's? I was planning on using Lial's BCM and then moving on to Lial's algebra 1. Is there something that is lacking in Lial's BCM that you see covered by another publisher? Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Jane in NC Posted May 6, 2008 Share Posted May 6, 2008 I'm curious about what you see lacking in Lial's? I was planning on using Lial's BCM and then moving on to Lial's algebra 1. Is there something that is lacking in Lial's BCM that you see covered by another publisher? My general feeling towards Lials is that the text does a fine job for what it was intended: remedial education for adults. I fear, however, that the books are less than inspiring for those who may wish to delve further into mathematics. If I had used Lials in high school, I don't know if I would have become a math major. The material is presented in a straight forward manner but I don't think that any axioms or proofs are included in the algebra texts. Granted, few algebra texts offer proofs; I prefer to see them. As I also mentioned, if you as a parent are happy with Lials, then you should use the books. They are highly accessible. Many have used them successfully. But if you search through old posts, you will also see that some students hit a wall in Lials Algebra I around chapter 5. You may want to investigate to see what that is all about. Others have complained about the word problems. There is no one size fits all text book. I usually just shrug my shoulders at Lials. Jane Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Jackie in AR Posted May 6, 2008 Share Posted May 6, 2008 Is your child behind because he isn't taking algebra in the 7th grade? Maybe on paper it might look that way to you but the real question is what math class will your child be prepared to take in college and what are the average SAT scores of this school? If the school can't back up their program by demonstrating superior SAT scores, passes in AP calculus, dual enrollment in community college math classes, or statistics on number of students who place out of "college" algebra later, then as far as I'm concerned their 7th grade algebra is for show. In other words, it doesn't matter if they push algebra down to the 3rd grade if the kid has to repeat it as a college freshman because he didn't learn enough to place out of it. In the United States at least 80% of students entering college are NOT ready for Calculus. Calculus is a college course. Algebra is not, that is why you don't see "AP college algebra." Even more shocking is to hear about kids who took three years of high school math (algebra II) and still end up back in elementary algebra in college. What did these kids do for four years of high school to only end up right back where a well prepared 8th grader would end up? (someone with a solid 8th grade arithmetic education would place into college algebra as well) I'd rather have my kid take a rigorous algebra class in the tenth and eleventh grades (in other words late) and place out of that in college than have them take a course labeled algebra in the 7th grade and then retake it again in college. :iagree: Dh and I recently had dinner with a friend of ours who is a university math professor. He stated that there are many, many kids who show up for college math courses who need remediation. He sees many students who took Algebra I in 7th or 8th grade and then proceeded up the high school math chain from there, managing to make passing grades all the way through. But, they didn't "get it." As an example, he noted that in his Business Calculus course, the first month or so is spent in introducing actual Calculus topics; the remainder of the semester is spent in reviewing Algebra because the majority of the class doesn't remember any of it. This isn't an anomaly for him; it happens semester after semester. Dh and I spent quite a bit of time earlier this year discussing the high school math path for our boys (our oldest dc). They worked through most of NEM 1 this year as 7th graders, and math seems to come easily for them. Completion of NEM 2 is considered to be completion of both Algebra 1 and Geometry. However, we've decided to slow down their math progression so that they won't be required to take university or CC math courses to have 4 credits of math in high school. They are going to do Algebra I in 8th grade next year, followed by Geometry in 9th grade. Yes, parts of the next two years will be review of some of the topics they've covered this year in NEM 1, but so what? They'll have time to go through the material a second time and really digest it. And we hope they'll be really ready for college math when the time comes. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Carol in Cal. Posted May 6, 2008 Share Posted May 6, 2008 When I was in high school, I took algebra in ninth grade. I was considered to be on the early side of the normal range. Lots of kids took it in 10th grade, and that was not considered remedial. Now, the state standards have been changed so that the normal year to take algebra 1 is 8th grade, and accelerated students finish it in 7th grade. I'm not sure how this is working out. We also now have an exit exam for high school that requires algebra 1 knowlege (I think it may also require geometry; am not sure about that.) Lots of children are taking that test over and over before they pass the algebra portion. I think that if you had a doover with your DD that went to the private high school this year, maybe you would use an 'easy' algebra program like Teaching Textbooks, and then put her into the algebra class with a leg up, so to speak. It does seem as if you have gotten some contridictory information if they told you that Algebra 1 in 9th is normal, but then it turns out that it is not. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

8filltheheart Posted May 6, 2008 Share Posted May 6, 2008 For those of you who have kids starting algebra in 7th grade how do you fit it all in? Do you skip some of the math books? My son is strong in math but I'm not sure what sequence we could follow to get him on track to take algebra 2 freshman year. I haven't had the opportunity to read all of the other replies, but I do not believe the majority of children possess the mental logic or abstract thinking skills required for algebra as a 7th grader. All of my kids have taken MUS alg/geo in 7th grade or younger. HOWEVER.....and this is the key, MUS's alg/geo are very "arithmetic" based. There is very little in application and basically no abstract application. I have followed this program with Foerster's algebra. Even though they have all aced MUS without much effort, they have all had to work hard in Foerster. My current 6th grader is doing Foerster this yr and is managing it only b/c he is exceptionally gifted in math. It is stretching his abstract skills. Many times I will see him sketch the info in a visual format to help him decide how to go about forming a solution. How much math they have by when is not as important as having a solid understanding of how to solve real problems. Simply plugging and chugging through replicated sample problems does not provide any real skill. Being able to take a situation, pull out the needed skills from a myriad of mathematical possibilities and find the correct approach for the solution......that is the desired outcome. FWIW.....I think alg in 8th grade is the "ideal" for strong math students. I wouldn't encourage it for most students. My 6th grader wouldn't be doing it if it weren't for the fact that he is so gifted that his love of math would have quelched by staying with simpler math. I am not going to simply continue a normal high school math progression with him. I am not racing to some "complete calculus" by some grade. My goal is to keep him challenged and exploring math concepts. HTH Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

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