# Math Help

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My ds is in PS right now but will start homeschooling after winter break. My main dilemma is math. She is in 5th grade doing 6th grade math and her teacher is supplementing the 7th grade math to keep her challenged. I cannot even figure out where to begin. Do I start with pre-algebra to make sure there are no gaps in her knowledge or plunge into algebra and see how it goes. What would be the best curriculum to use for her age and her knowledge base.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Jen

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What is she actually doing? "6th grade" math has a broad range. Does she know scientific notation? operations on integers? how to calculate compound interest? Pythagorean theorem?

One possibility would be a prealgebra that reviews all basic math to make sure there are no gaps. Another would be taking several online placement tests for various curricula to see where she places. Or something like

AOPS prealgebra which is supposed to be especially challenging. Or, as you say, move into algebra.

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I was a little confusing, wasn't I?

She knows scientific notation, integers, factor trees, LCM, GCF, and all the basic math facts. She understands fractions, decimals, and negative numbers. She is lacking in proportions, ratios, and percentages. Her favorite free time activity is to do algebra word problems.

Such as: One day, outside of school, the bike racks were full. There was a colorful combination of red, blue, and yellow bikes. Together there was a total of 39 red and yellow bikes. There was a combined total of 40 blue and red bikes, and 41 yellow and blue bikes. How many blue bikes, how many red bikes, and how many yellow bikes were in the bike rack that day?

I am leaning towards pre-algebra just so she is not too young when it comes time to do geometry or the other harder maths.

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I would opt for pre-algebra just for a quick revision of topics covered and also doing the proportions, ratios and percentages.

You might want to read this long Pre-Algebra Fence Straddlers Master Thread since choosing the correct curriculum can be really trial and error.

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I would speak with her math teacher and request the Table of Contents from any books she's working in.

Have her bring the math book home and thoroughly look through it,even making notes on where she'll stop.

I wish I would have done those two things when we brought our dd home a few yrs ago. :)

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I was a little confusing, wasn't I?

She knows scientific notation, integers, factor trees, LCM, GCF, and all the basic math facts. She understands fractions, decimals, and negative numbers. She is lacking in proportions, ratios, and percentages. Her favorite free time activity is to do algebra word problems.

Such as: One day, outside of school, the bike racks were full. There was a colorful combination of red, blue, and yellow bikes. Together there was a total of 39 red and yellow bikes. There was a combined total of 40 blue and red bikes, and 41 yellow and blue bikes. How many blue bikes, how many red bikes, and how many yellow bikes were in the bike rack that day?

I am leaning towards pre-algebra just so she is not too young when it comes time to do geometry or the other harder maths.

I would either use or supplement with Life of Fred: Decimals and Percents (the LoF: Fractions book comes first, but you said she was solid in fractions). After that you can continue in the LoF series or try AoPS pre-algebra, or give one of the standard algebra or pre-algebra programs a shot (pre-algebra is generally not strictly necessary; it is a review of early arithmetic and a preview of early algebra concepts, but if you are not sure whether there could be gaps to fill, it is not a terrible idea). But since you mentioned percentages and ratios as an area to fill in, LoF D&P would be a great book that will review past concepts well and fill that gap nicely, without taking too much time, and it will set up future concepts as well.

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i also recommend LOF, but singaporemath.com also has placement tests. their books are more traditional textbooks, but also a solid program . . .just not as much fun and challenging as LOF and AoPS

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I personally like Saxon for Math. It has a spiral approach and there is constant practice on previously taught concepts so the students do not forget them and they can build upon them. The high school courses are very good and prepare kids for college level math. I did the high school books with sd up through calculus and was very pleased. (just as an fyi I went to school to be a Math teacher so I am somewhat familiar with the curriculum available for ps and what is needed for college).

Dd is a very Math minded student and is currently doing Saxon 76 (she is technically in the 4th grade). She can read the lesson over and pretty much do the work herself. Saxon does have a placement test which I highly recommend. Last year I was planning on doing 54 with her (we were switching from Horizons) but after doing the placement test I realized she would be better off in 65.

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Saxon is a very solid program but it is frustrating for kids who learn concepts quickly.

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I would either use or supplement with Life of Fred: Decimals and Percents (the LoF: Fractions book comes first, but you said she was solid in fractions). After that you can continue in the LoF series or try AoPS pre-algebra, or give one of the standard algebra or pre-algebra programs a shot (pre-algebra is generally not strictly necessary; it is a review of early arithmetic and a preview of early algebra concepts, but if you are not sure whether there could be gaps to fill, it is not a terrible idea). But since you mentioned percentages and ratios as an area to fill in, LoF D&P would be a great book that will review past concepts well and fill that gap nicely, without taking too much time, and it will set up future concepts as well.

:iagree: This is what I would do.

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I was a little confusing, wasn't I?

She knows scientific notation, integers, factor trees, LCM, GCF, and all the basic math facts. She understands fractions, decimals, and negative numbers. She is lacking in proportions, ratios, and percentages. Her favorite free time activity is to do algebra word problems.

Such as: One day, outside of school, the bike racks were full. There was a colorful combination of red, blue, and yellow bikes. Together there was a total of 39 red and yellow bikes. There was a combined total of 40 blue and red bikes, and 41 yellow and blue bikes. How many blue bikes, how many red bikes, and how many yellow bikes were in the bike rack that day?

I am leaning towards pre-algebra just so she is not too young when it comes time to do geometry or the other harder maths.

I personally would not worry about the "too young" issue. If you get to where things are hard, you can just slow down. But I do think the ratio, percentage and proportion gaps need to be filled one way or another before going on to or along with starting algebra.

I was unhappy with Saxon (lower levels), but know some love it. In addition to other ideas you've gotten, Math Mammoth 6, or Steck Vaughn middle school level workbooks could be fairly inexpensive ways to fill in the missing areas before moving on to Algebra.

Liking the type of puzzle math you described makes me think maybe she would like AOPS--I decided it would not be a good fit for my son, because he does not so much like math puzzles and likes to feel 100% mastery, which I didn't think would be possible with AOPS.

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She knows scientific notation, integers, factor trees, LCM, GCF, and all the basic math facts. She understands fractions, decimals, and negative numbers. She is lacking in proportions, ratios, and percentages. Her favorite free time activity is to do algebra word problems.

Such as: One day, outside of school, the bike racks were full. There was a colorful combination of red, blue, and yellow bikes. Together there was a total of 39 red and yellow bikes. There was a combined total of 40 blue and red bikes, and 41 yellow and blue bikes. How many blue bikes, how many red bikes, and how many yellow bikes were in the bike rack that day?

I am leaning towards pre-algebra just so she is not too young when it comes time to do geometry or the other harder maths.

Some options might include a couple of MM blue topic books on ratios, proportions and percents. Or, you could run through a prealgebra text, skipping or just reviewing quickly the chapters on the topics that she already knows well.

If you choose a particular algebra program, that may help determine what to do now. For example, if you're considering AoPS, I'd start with AoPS Prealgebra. If you're considering Jacobs Algebra, you could start right in (because it's gentle with some prealgebra up front). If you're considering Foerster's Algebra 1, I'd want to run through a prealgebra text first.

I would not worry at all about being too young for advanced courses like geometry down the road. With an accelerated student, there's more time to spend in algebra and on alternative topics. You could even do a year of an easier algebra and then a year with a more difficult one. AoPS isn't a good fit for every student, but it's definitely worth looking into if your student is math-inclined and likes solving word problems - there's nothing quite like it (also, free on-line videos for each lesson and free on-line problem-solving program - she could even get started with that now!).

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Thank you for all the replies. I really really appreciate all the help. I need it. I am going to look into LOF for filling in the gaps and then look at AoPS for the actually algebra. I am going to look at the pretest you mentioned, too.

Thanks so much.

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