# Jacobs algebra question

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Are the answers in the back? (odds?) Do you need anything besides the book itself?

I might change things up a bit for ds9. He's at the end of ch 2 of AoPS Prealgebra, and he's unhappy. I think it's a bit too deep for him right now - he can do the math, but the problem solving angle is a bit much, requiring more leading than I'd like to give him (tweaking vs diminishing returns). I suppose there's a bit of a chicken vs. egg thing going on with the problem solving - what comes first, the stamina or the desire? Ds9 loves logic puzzle books and whatnot, and he's definitely a big-picture thinker with major math talent so he seems to me to be perfect for AoPS, but I'm afraid it's a little too early, that he's not quite ready for AoPS problem solving - or does he simply need to develop the patience to struggle, via baby steps?

Next question - if we use Jacobs, when? He finished MM5 last year. I'm thinking I should have him accelerate through MM6 (some of the chapters he can definitely test out of; MM is on the table because that is what his school is using, so the logistics are not an issue the way they would be with a multiple-book program like SM; some of MM6 would be too easy and I would have him skip those parts - his teacher gives me a lot of leeway). That should probably take him through December at least. Then, start Jacobs algebra, and then after that, in a year or two, take a whack at AoPS Intro to Algebra to once again dig in with the problem solving. Or, I could have him start Jacobs right now - looking at those first chapters that are prealgebra, that is definitely within his range - he could run through those chapters pretty easily now that he's already had a lot on exponents from AoPS.

I'm searching for that just-right level of challenge. It's hard for me to set aside a book I love as much as AoPS Prealg, but I'm trying to remind myself that it's not forever. And yet, eventually in life, he will be well-served to do some struggling with problem solving, IYKWIM, even if he has to be made to do it. I'm so torn because I wonder if his 9 y.o. brain is melting (into a Minecraft server). Anyone want to convince me to stick with it? Or should he switch? From dd, I recall that chapters 2 and 5 of AoPS Prealg were the most difficult. If he wasn't unhappy, I wouldn't be asking this question...

I might have to erase this later, after I come back and read it over and then see that the right path was obvious all along :tongue_smilie:

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I really, really love Jacobs for kids who are ready for algebra at a young age. Both of mine went through his algebra and geometry texts before moving into AoPS and other stuff. It really wasn't an option for us, since AoPS started out offering only their higher level courses. When their intro courses came out, my kids were past that point. My son started AoPS work at 14 (when AoPS opened) and my daughter at 12 (perfect age for her; would have been frustrating any earlier).

Jacobs algebra has selected answers in the back (not odds or evens, just random). We got by without anything but the text, but everyone's mileage will vary.

I sympathize with you! Personally I found that fourth grade was about the most difficult year for us wrt math. I ended up cobbling together a lot of different resources (Singapore 5/6 & CWP, Hands on Eqns, Geometer's sketchpad, beginning MathCounts practice with the family, challenging homemade word problems, math literature, some old CTY prealgebra materials, Calculadders - she still needed them, too!! etc) since no one single thing was a fit for dd.

It was also the age where I worked with dd on concepts a lot. For ex, after teaching division of fractions in earlier years, that was the year that I had her teach *me* why division by a/b was the same as multiplication by b/a. We talked a lot about *why* the fraction a/b is the same as "a divided by b"....that sort of thing.

Ds was in a public school gifted program at that age, and they had him and three other kids work out of a sixth grade text. The next year they bussed the four kids to the middle school for honors pre-algebra. None of it was a perfect, but it was OK in the long run.

ETA: My kids did Jacobs algebra at ages 10 & 11. It was pretty easy at that point.

Edited by Kathy in Richmond
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Thanks for the encouragement, Kathy!! It helps. I'm waiting for the teacher to call me back to discuss this - I hope she doesn't mind a change of plan. I'm trying not to draw attention to the fact that ds's materials and sequence are not in line with any of the other students in the entire school, though she let me use aops so I don't know why I worry. Now I need to order a couple copies of Jacobs, one for school and one for home, because apparently I still don't own enough math books... :)

Eta, he did get a lot out of what he's done so far in AoPS with regard to concepts. So, it's not as though he's wasted even a moment so far this school year.

Edited by wapiti
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There is a solution manual. I managed to snag both together, used.

I can't remember what was in the back (I thought a whole section?), but I can look tomorrow when there isn't a sleeping DH in the same room as the text. :D

Jacobs is my backup option if DS isn't ready for AoPS next year. I think it will be a good fit.

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I have a copy of Jacobs Elementary Algebra. It has set 2 answers in the back.

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I have a copy of Jacobs Elementary Algebra. It has set 2 answers in the back.

You're right! I was looking at Jacob's geometry text instead, oops! :)

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Thanks all! I ordered a used TM last night, just to have the answers to the other parts (lazy!). Then after that, I saw that there's a newer "solution manual." I hope I don't need that, but at least it's easily available.

I anticipate that ds will finish what I want him to do in MM6 within a month or so, and then we'll start Jacobs. I'm not sure when, but I also want him to do most of the second half of the AoPS Prealgebra book at some point (all that yummy introductory geometry and C&P, etc.), maybe in a year.

Ds is so smart but so lazy if he isn't motivated (gee I wonder where he gets it :D). I'm hoping this will help light his math fire again, or at least get him through to a time when he can appreciate the wonders of AoPS.

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The Teacher's Guide is what I have. It has some brief notes to the teacher, then an answer key for sections I and III in the back (since answers to section II are in the student text). I misrepresented it, calling it a solutions manual. It's an answer key. No full solutions. The guide is pretty small compared to the student text. When I got it, I was like, "That's it?!?" :lol: I think it will be plenty for what I need though. I can figure out an algebra problem. :)

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I used Jacobs when my older son was 10yo. He had just finished MUS Zeta. It worked wonderfully, though we took two years to get through the book. I also used parts of Jacobs with the younger one this past summer. He loved it and I was sorry to hand his math education off the the school this fall.

Anyway, this is all to say that Jacobs is a great choice for young mathematically inclined kids. It is easier than AoPS Prealgebra but it will move a kid who has mastered regular prealgebra forward. If that makes any sense at all...

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I used Jacobs when my older son was 10yo. He had just finished MUS Zeta. It worked wonderfully, though we took two years to get through the book. I also used parts of Jacobs with the younger one this past summer. He loved it and I was sorry to hand his math education off the the school this fall.

Anyway, this is all to say that Jacobs is a great choice for young mathematically inclined kids. It is easier than AoPS Prealgebra but it will move a kid who has mastered regular prealgebra forward. If that makes any sense at all...

Yes that makes sense, thanks! That's my goal, to move him forward until he's ready for deeper problem solving with AoPS (which I do plan to go back to eventually, both for problems on all the topics and instruction on some of the topics).

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as a mathematician i want to mention the suggestion that answers in the back are harmful. (ducking from all the thrown objects.) i.e. at some point one needs to learn how to tell if ones answers are correct or not, without being told. there was a standing joke at the high school class i taught: "why is that true?" "because roy said so!" this was a joke because it is a cop out from understanding the reasoning.

math is not just about getting the right answer, at its more important level it is about understanding why the answer is correct. i.e. math is about learning to reason, not just to calculate. At this level, I am afraid I believe Saxon is essentially worthless as to my knowledge it does not even address this more important point.

Edited by mathwonk

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