dereksurfs Posted November 28, 2012 Share Posted November 28, 2012 Hi All, Â Its been almost a year since Halcyon started our very interesting and informative Pre-Algebra Fence Straddlers Thread. So for those of us who like to plan ahead or are right in the thick of things I thought it was time for us to consider Algebra 1. Â In keeping with tradition and the spirit of the forum I would like to restate that there is no one best program for every family/child. Yet listening to various member's experiences, ideas and plans has proven very beneficial to me as well as others here I know. Â I'll start out with my own plan for next school year or possibly earlier as Pre-A progresses. Since this is early on it is still somewhat open to change. Â First and foremost I want my ds11 to really master Algebra as I think it is the foundation of all upper level math and much of science as well. As such I plan to have him spend extended time in it, most likely 7th and 8th grade. Right now he is taking TabletClass Pre-Algebra which is proving to be both challenging and good preparation for Algebra 1. So if things continue to go well the initial plan is: Â First year spine: Tablet Class Algbera First year supplimental: Zaccaro's Real World Algebra Â Second year I'm not so sure. I'm torn between using Foerster, Dolciani or AoPS Â While I don't think AoPS's discovery approach is best for ds11 since he likes clear explanations first, after a year or so of another program it may prove both fun and challenging. Â With regards to Foerster and Dolciani I've heard great things about both styles of instruction though they vary quite a bit. And they are both very affordable used. So I'll most likely pick up copies to have as references at the vary least. Â I look forward to hearing your thoughts as we begin preparing to teach Algebra 1 to a variety of young students. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Mrs Twain Posted November 28, 2012 Share Posted November 28, 2012 Thank for starting this thread! I will be mainly listening to this conversation as we are not in prealgebra or algebra yet. Â A couple of questions, though-- Â Which edition of Foerster's Algebra 1 is good? Are they all the same? I was looking on Amazon and saw different dates, including one version that says "Classics Edition". Â I was researching my local public middle school and found out that they use McDougal Algebra 1. I have never heard anyone on this forum ever mention that algebra couse, so I imagine it may not even be a contender. Anyone want to tell me about it (so I can find one more reason to homeschool middle school)? Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

dereksurfs Posted November 28, 2012 Author Share Posted November 28, 2012 Glad to kick things off. I was thinking it was just about time anyway. Â I can answer your first question about Foerster since I have researched it and recently purchased a copy which is on the way. Here is a good quote summerizing it from Math without Borders' website: Â "You will need to separately purchase a copy of FoersterĂ¢â‚¬â„¢s Algebra I: Expressions, Equations, and Applications. ISBN10: 0131657089 / ISBN13: 978013165708 The lessons are based on the Prentice Hall Classics version, but there are only minor differences between this and earlier versions. Homeschool parents can order solution manuals for the current version from Pearson-Prentice Hall through their Ă¢â‚¬Å“OasisĂ¢â‚¬ program." -- http://mathwithoutbo....com/?page_id=4 Â I was also considering using Math without Borders lectures to suppliment the Foerster's Algebra 1 book as they come highly recommended. Â Anyway I picked up a 1999 copy with ISBN: 9780201324587 for ~ $4 +shipping. Â Next I'll get Dociani. However folks are a little bit more religious about those really early editions (1960s) being the best. I'm not so sure I'll go that crazy with my search as she wrote math books up into the 80s before she died. Here's a thread I started on just that topic: http://forums.welltr...ebra-rationale/ Â The McDougal series seems to be what a number of schools are using. There are quite a few editions of these. Here is one review which seems so/so: http://www.amazon.co...ougal Algebra 1. From what I have seen in looking at these book samples they appear very long winded and busy. For my ds11 I think there are better options available. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Woodland Mist Academy Posted November 28, 2012 Share Posted November 28, 2012 Our plan for now is to continue with AoPS. That is, if we survive prealgebra. ;) So far, so good. I still have time, but at some point I need to decide which AoPS to use once we finish prealgebra. Â I'm not sure about supplements yet. Now that we are using AoPS we're not using nearly as many supplements. On the weekends we mainly review mental math strageties and do some quick review in topics she hasn't encountered for quite some time. Â We will probably continue having a math book of some sort for shared reading. I haven't planned that far ahead for those yet either. Â ETA: I posted on the thread out of habit. I was so accustomed to being a prealgebra fence straddler, that I presumed I would be an algebra one as well. Right now I'm pretty sure we are going with AoPS. I'll stay on the thread just in case that changes. One never knows! Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Mrs Twain Posted November 28, 2012 Share Posted November 28, 2012 Glad to kick things off. I was thinking it was just about time anyway. Â I can answer your first question about Foerster since I have researched it and recently purchased a copy which is on the way. Here is a good quote summerizing it from Math without Border's website: Â "You will need to separately purchase a copy of FoersterĂ¢â‚¬â„¢s Algebra I: Expressions, Equations, and Applications. ISBN10: 0131657089 / ISBN13: 978013165708 The lessons are based on the Prentice Hall Classics version, but there are only minor differences between this and earlier versions. Homeschool parents can order solution manuals for the current version from Pearson-Prentice Hall through their Ă¢â‚¬Å“OasisĂ¢â‚¬ program." -- http://mathwithoutbo....com/?page_id=4 Â I was also considering using Math without Borders lectures to suppliment the Foerster's Algebra 1 book as they come highly recommended. Â Anyway I picked up a 1999 copy with ISBN: 9780201324587 for ~ $4 +shipping. Â Next I'll get Dociani. However folks are a little bit more religious about those really early editions (1960s) being the best. I'm not so sure I'll go that crazy with my search as she wrote math books up into the 80s before she died. Here's a thread I started on just that topic: http://forums.welltr...ebra-rationale/ Â The McDougal series seems to be what a number of schools are using. There are quite a few editions of these. Here is one review which seems so/so: http://www.amazon.co...ougal Algebra 1. From what I have seen in looking at these book samples they appear very long winded and busy. For my ds11 I think there are better options available. Â Thank you for the info. I found a good number of used 1999 Foerster Algebra 1 editions online. Did you order a TE or a Solutions Manual? Those seem like the more difficult things to find. Or do you think they are not necessary? Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

regentrude Posted November 28, 2012 Share Posted November 28, 2012 I ma not a fence straddler, but would like to share our experience with algebra 1 with two strong math students with very different personalities. Both have used AoPS Intro to Algebra successfully, after Saxon 8/7 for prealgebra (the AoPS prealgebra was not available then), but in very different ways: Â DD worked through the entire book in 7th grade and finished over the summer. She spent 220 hours on math that year. Â DS started Intro to Algebra in 6th grade and completed chapters 1-12 during that school year (this part of the book corresponds to the material taught in a traditional algebra 1 course, through quadratics). For the first semester of 7th grade, he continued with chapters 13 through 15. After that, we decided to take a break from algebra before the more abstract material and spent one semester on Counting and Probability. Now in 8th grade, he has resumed Intro to Algebra, and will be finishing the book in January. Â Just wanted to share this for parents of younger children starting algebra. The Intro to Algebra book is the thickest of the AoPS textbooks and covers a lot more than a traditional algebra course - so taking two years to cover the entire text will be a good solution for most students. Completing the entire book in one year requires a very ambitious and motivated student and should not be a general expectation. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

wapiti Posted November 28, 2012 Share Posted November 28, 2012 More algebra 1 options: Â Jacobs - a good option for a younger student; starts off gently with some prealgebra; very good on concepts; my understanding is that it's lighter on application than Foerster (I've only used a few chapters from Jacobs so far) Â Dolciani (1975 Impression, copyright 1970, 1973) ISBN 0395145074. Answers to odds are included in the student text. Well look at that - it gives the ISBN for the TE too, right there in the book! 0395143705 Â Thank you for the info. I found a good number of used 1999 Foerster Algebra 1 editions online. Did you order a TE or a Solutions Manual? Those seem like the more difficult things to find. Or do you think they are not necessary? Â I believe this would be the TE for the 1999 Foerster Alg 1: http://www.fes.folle...pSale=N&pr=0= (I frequently use the follet site to find ISBNs for TEs - do a search on your student text ISBN, and the page for that book includes "related titles," which are sometimes TEs - click on them to see - then google the ISBN for the TE to see whether it's available cheaper elsewhere). I believe answers to odds are included in the back of the student text. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

dereksurfs Posted November 28, 2012 Author Share Posted November 28, 2012 Thank you for the info. I found a good number of used 1999 Foerster Algebra 1 editions online. Did you order a TE or a Solutions Manual? Those seem like the more difficult things to find. Or do you think they are not necessary? Â No, I just ordered the book for now. I want to see if there are solutions in the back first to every odd problem. That may be enough for us if we only use it as a reference or supplimental. However if we use Foerster as the spine I'll probably pick up the solutions manual possibly through the publisher as David Chandler mentions above. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

MyLittleWonders Posted November 28, 2012 Share Posted November 28, 2012 I'm replying mostly to subscribe; I'm happy to finally have the second half of 6th grade figured out (ds11 is almost done with SM S/E 5B; we'll do 6A/B in the spring while dh reviews 5A/B in the evenings to shore up weak spots). After reading the incredible pre-algebra fence straddlers thread, I'm leaning towards 2 years of algebra with ds11 instead of one year of pre-algebra and one year of algebra (after reading, in think on the SM board, that SM 6A/B does a good job preparing kids for going straight to algebra). If that is the case, we might do MUS Algebra as a pre-algebra/algebra bridge in 7th and then a standard algebra program (probably Dolciani - added benefit is dh has a copy of his own in his classroom). I'll have a better idea this summer based on how ds does this spring. But, two years of algebra (for much of the same reason you stated Derek - we feel strongly that a solid foundation in algebra is very important even given that I'm highly doubtful ds11 will go into any STEM field) is where we are leaning now. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Mrs Twain Posted November 29, 2012 Share Posted November 29, 2012 No, I just ordered the book for now. I want to see if there are solutions in the back first to every odd problem. That may be enough for us if we only use it as a reference or supplimental. However if we use Foerster as the spine I'll probably pick up the solutions manual possibly through the publisher as David Chandler mentions above. Â Â That makes sense. Â I would be interested to hear which year of Dolciani Algebra you decide on. I got a 1988 Dolciani Pre-Algebra which was receommended by people on this forum (which seems fine based on my dh skimming through it). I would guess that the 1980's Algebra editions are also good...? Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Mrs Twain Posted November 29, 2012 Share Posted November 29, 2012 More algebra 1 options: Â Jacobs - a good option for a younger student; starts off gently with some prealgebra; very good on concepts; my understanding is that it's lighter on application than Foerster (I've only used a few chapters from Jacobs so far) Â Dolciani (1975 Impression, copyright 1970, 1973) ISBN 0395145074. Answers to odds are included in the student text. Well look at that - it gives the ISBN for the TE too, right there in the book! 0395143705 Â Â Â I believe this would be the TE for the 1999 Foerster Alg 1: http://www.fes.folle......pSale=N&pr=0= (I frequently use the follet site to find ISBNs for TEs - do a search on your student text ISBN, and the page for that book includes "related titles," which are sometimes TEs - click on them to see - then google the ISBN for the TE to see whether it's available cheaper elsewhere). I believe answers to odds are included in the back of the student text. Â Â Thank you for this. The ISBN's come in VERY handy. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

dereksurfs Posted November 29, 2012 Author Share Posted November 29, 2012 That makes sense. Â I would be interested to hear which year of Dolciani Algebra you decide on. I got a 1988 Dolciani Pre-Algebra which was receommended by people on this forum (which seems fine based on my dh skimming through it). I would guess that the 1980's Algebra editions are also good...? Â Â Ok, I just found an awesome resource I want to share with the group! The state of California has started an online library with 1000s of books and growing called Open Library. I just checked and they have many Dolciani Math books which have been digitized including the hard to find 1960s/1970s editions. This is great to compare and contrast the versions. Take a look here: http://openlibrary.o...arch?q=dolciani Â Because of this resource it now takes the guessing out of what these books look inside like before buying. It also answers the questions regarding the differences in editions which for some of us isn't as big of an issue. In reviewing these I actually think I like the 1980s, 1990s version just fine. However now I can at least see what folks are talking about regarding their differences. :D Â I also discovered that the 1970s Dolciani was my algebra book. ;) Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Halcyon Posted November 29, 2012 Share Posted November 29, 2012 What a great find, Derek. And thank you for starting this thread! Â Like others, I am mostly responding to see others responses and to subscribe. We are using Dolciani Pre-Algebra, An Accelerated Course along with occasional AOPS and CWP for challenge right now. We began with AoPS Pre-A, but it seems my son prefers a more straightforward approach, so Dolciani it is. Â I haven't looked at Dolciani Algebra yet, but I would imagine it is similar in format to the PreA book (I am going to look at your links as soon as I am done typing this, Derek.) Part of me thinks DS would be interested in AoPS after finishing Dolciani and solidifying his Pre A concepts, but part of me thinks it's my ego talking ("AoPS is "the hardest" so that's what he should be doing") and I need to figure that out LOL. I am quite sure I will be ordering many Algebra books as I did with Pre-A (I own Jacobs, Lials, Dolciani and AoPS) especially if they are cheap. Â Can't wait to hear how others are doing, and I do appreciate all those who have BTDT chiming in. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

bethben Posted November 29, 2012 Share Posted November 29, 2012 I know Saxon is not that popular, but I have a 12 year old doing Saxon (after completing Saxon 1/2). He just needs the constant review to keep things fresh otherwise he forgets. I've tossed around the idea of doing a second year of Algebra with a different book. We've been doing the Alcumus problems from the art of problem solving without much difficulty (although he does need to think about it a bit usually) so it shows that he does continue to have some decent problem solving abilities. He's currently working in the Algebra 1 first level section. So, I guess I'm wondering if doing Algebra again would be worth it. He really is understanding what he is doing. Â Beth Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

dereksurfs Posted November 29, 2012 Author Share Posted November 29, 2012 I know Saxon is not that popular, but I have a 12 year old doing Saxon (after completing Saxon 1/2). He just needs the constant review to keep things fresh otherwise he forgets. I've tossed around the idea of doing a second year of Algebra with a different book. We've been doing the Alcumus problems from the art of problem solving without much difficulty (although he does need to think about it a bit usually) so it shows that he does continue to have some decent problem solving abilities. He's currently working in the Algebra 1 first level section. So, I guess I'm wondering if doing Algebra again would be worth it. He really is understanding what he is doing. Â Beth Â Â Beth, congrats. It sounds like your son is thriving with Saxon. And that's all that really matters. So who cares if its popular?! :thumbup1: Â With regards to doing a second year of Algebra or not in this case I think it really depends on how strong you feel your ds is by the end of the year. The other question is if not Algebra then what to follow? There are many ways to go at this point. For example you could dovetail in the harder chapters of the first half of AoPS Introduction to Algebra which is considered rigorous Algebra 1. Then roll right into the second half of the book and complete Algebra 2 when he seems ready as Regentrude did with her kids. Or you could branch out and start Geometry either as a spine or a gentle introduction as you really solidify Algebra. Â Now that folks are starting secondary math the question of sequence always arises. I'm still not sure if we will follow Algebra 1 with Geometry or continue with Algebra 2. I have heard some interesting reasons for doing one over the other. For me at least right now being strong in Algebra 1 is really more important than order afterwards. That's why I am not wanting to rush things at this stage but rather let his brain become fully immersed in Algebra. However I'm not saying everyone child should do this. For some moving on to whatever is next may be best. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

wapiti Posted November 29, 2012 Share Posted November 29, 2012 Another interesting option for those who like vintage Dolciani: the SMSG PDFs for Algebra 1 and Geometry are located here http://static.cemsep...ra_Geometry_ST/ Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Mrs Twain Posted November 29, 2012 Share Posted November 29, 2012 The other question is if not Algebra then what to follow? There are many ways to go at this point. For example you could dovetail in the harder chapters of the first half of AoPS Introduction to Algebra which is considered rigorous Algebra 1. Then roll right into the second half of the book and complete Algebra 2 when he seems ready as Regentrude did with her kids. Or you could branch out and start Geometry either as a spine or a gentle introduction as you really solidify Algebra. Â Now that folks are starting secondary math the question of sequence always arises. I'm still not sure if we will follow Algebra 1 with Geometry or continue with Algebra 2. I have heard some interesting reasons for doing one over the other. For me at least right now being strong in Algebra 1 is really more important than order afterwards. That's why I am not wanting to rush things at this stage but rather let his brain become fully immersed in Algebra. However I'm not saying everyone child should do this. For some moving on to whatever is next may be best. Â Â One of the most difficult issues to figure out for dh and me is when to finish Algebra 1. We really don't see the need to complete Algebra before 8th grade. If we do Algebra in 7th & 8th, or maybe just 8th, our kids will be on track to complete Calculus BC in 12th grade. We don't understand the need or current practice of trying to rush kids into Algebra 1 in 7th grade, which is the norm in our school district/region. I think our kids would do fine in Algebra 1 in 7th grade, but maybe it would be better to stretch it out longer or wait until 8th when their brains are more mature for abstract learning. Â I can understand that some kids may elect to take various courses after Calculus BC (Multivariable Calculus, etc.), but it doesn't seem like it would be necessary. Many universities won't even accept these kinds of course for engineering students. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

dereksurfs Posted November 29, 2012 Author Share Posted November 29, 2012 One of the most difficult issues to figure out for dh and me is when to finish Algebra 1. We really don't see the need to complete Algebra before 8th grade. If we do Algebra in 7th & 8th, or maybe just 8th, our kids will be on track to complete Calculus BC in 12th grade. We don't understand the need or current practice of trying to rush kids into Algebra 1 in 7th grade, which is the norm in our school district/region. I think our kids would do fine in Algebra 1 in 7th grade, but maybe it would be better to stretch it out longer or wait until 8th when their brains are more mature for abstract learning. Â I can understand that some kids may elect to take various courses after Calculus BC (Multivariable Calculus, etc.), but it doesn't seem like it would be necessary. Many universities won't even accept these kinds of course for engineering students. Â Â Yes, these are some of the reasons I'm in no hurry to rush through Algebra. My son just happens to be ahead for his age. So I think its ok to spend more time here to really soak in the abstract reasoning and this whole different way of looking at numbers. There is no need for us to rush into geometry. Â Now for our younger daughters I'm not so sure it will work out the same. They aren't quite as ahead as our son. So we'll see with them. I know for kids with whom math is not their favorite or strongest subject two years of Algebra may put them somewhat behind their grade level or certain academic goals. But as long as they have adequate time available I'd like to devote extra time covering Algebra. Many college professors indicate that this is one area incoming freshman are the weakest. And this impacts their science courses as well. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

regentrude Posted November 29, 2012 Share Posted November 29, 2012 One of the most difficult issues to figure out for dh and me is when to finish Algebra 1. We really don't see the need to complete Algebra before 8th grade. If we do Algebra in 7th & 8th, or maybe just 8th, our kids will be on track to complete Calculus BC in 12th grade. We don't understand the need or current practice of trying to rush kids into Algebra 1 in 7th grade, which is the norm in our school district/region. I think our kids would do fine in Algebra 1 in 7th grade, but maybe it would be better to stretch it out longer or wait until 8th when their brains are more mature for abstract learning. I can understand that some kids may elect to take various courses after Calculus BC (Multivariable Calculus, etc.), but it doesn't seem like it would be necessary. Many universities won't even accept these kinds of course for engineering students. Â Â It is absolutely not necessary to complete more math in high school, but there may be valid reasons to take calculus before senior year - for example if a student wishes to take a calculus based physics course with calculus as a prerequisite (not just co-requisite). Also, some students will choose to take the higher math courses at the university and earn transferable credit. This said: I can not stress it enough how important a thorough mastery of algebra 1 is. As a physics instructor at a university, I see many students with insufficient math preparation who struggle in their science courses. The obstacle is not a lack of calculus, but a lack of rock-solid pre-algebra and algebra 1 skills. So I would urge everybody to spend as much time on algebra 1 as necessary for thorough mastery, and to let this mastery be the signal for moving on, and not some arbitrary time table. A student who did not take calculus in high school can still succeed in a STEM major in college- but a student with weak algebra skills does not stand a chance. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

dereksurfs Posted November 29, 2012 Author Share Posted November 29, 2012 ...This said: I can not stress it enough how important a thorough mastery of algebra 1 is. As a physics instructor at a university, I see many students with insufficient math preparation who struggle in their science courses. The obstacle is not a lack of calculus, but a lack of rock-solid pre-algebra and algebra 1 skills. So I would urge everybody to spend as much time on algebra 1 as necessary for thorough mastery, and to let this mastery be the signal for moving on, and not some arbitrary time table. Â A student who did not take calculus in high school can still succeed in a STEM major in college- but a student with weak algebra skills does not stand a chance. Â Â This is awesome input from a university professor. Thanks Regentrude! This just reaffirms my goals for our kiddos. Even though I'm old now I still vividly remember how much Algebra was required of me my freshman year of college in classes like Chemistry and Physics. Its funny how certain things like that make a real impression on us. Â This also reminds me of the movie 'A Race to Nowhere.' If all we do is rush our kids to complete calculus in HS as a sort of means to an end something can get lost along the way. This is especially true for kids not fully grasping Algebra. And it truly is a struggle for many HS students. But to move ahead in a mad dash towards higher level courses seems like fools gold when not rock solid in Algebra first. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Crimson Wife Posted November 29, 2012 Share Posted November 29, 2012 DD isn't likely to finish Singapore DM 1B & Horizons Pre-Algebra until fall semester next year so I've got a bit of time to decide on algebra 1. But right now I'm leaning towards keeping the DM/Horizons combo. I haven't gotten a chance to look through the full Horizons algebra 1 book as it wasn't yet published the last time I was up at the HS bookstore. However, the samples look good. Â I also have to clarify with our charter school exactly how much of a state-approved algebra 1 textbook DD will be required to do. I'm hoping I can just get away with having DD do the end-of-chapter tests because I wasn't particularly impressed by the options the last time I looked them over at the school's lending library. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

jennynd Posted November 29, 2012 Share Posted November 29, 2012 It is absolutely not necessary to complete more math in high school, but there may be valid reasons to take calculus before senior year - for example if a student wishes to take a calculus based physics course with calculus as a prerequisite (not just co-requisite). Also, some students will choose to take the higher math courses at the university and earn transferable credit. This said: I can not stress it enough how important a thorough mastery of algebra 1 is. As a physics instructor at a university, I see many students with insufficient math preparation who struggle in their science courses. The obstacle is not a lack of calculus, but a lack of rock-solid pre-algebra and algebra 1 skills. So I would urge everybody to spend as much time on algebra 1 as necessary for thorough mastery, and to let this mastery be the signal for moving on, and not some arbitrary time table. A student who did not take calculus in high school can still succeed in a STEM major in college- but a student with weak algebra skills does not stand a chance. Â Â That is a great input. We are 1/3 way through AOPS Algebra (thanks to the long trip, we didn't make any progress for a month :ack2: ), we only plan to go though 1/2 this school year. It looks like we will finish the 1st half around late Feb, early March. and the plan is to go through Singapore NEM 2, the rest of the school year. Even I was told again and again AOPS is sufficient, somehow, I just feel he is not "matery" it by my standard. I myself is a engineer and I have to agree with you that alegbra is very important, I use it everyday for work, but i don't use calculus everyday at my work Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Luckymama Posted November 29, 2012 Share Posted November 29, 2012 I should also caution to take cues from your child if he/she is ready to move on. Some may need additional time, some may move faster than you think. Â My dd12 is one who was harmed by being forced to proceed at a slower pace. We pulled her from her (otherwise excellent) school in fifth grade because of math instruction. I spent fifth grade using a schooly prealgebra text. Last year for sixth grade I had her use the AoPS Prealgebra text because (1) I wanted her to get used to the AoPS "way" and (2) I knew AoPS would offer sufficient challenge even if she had been exposed to topics already. In sixth grade she completed the prealgebra text and the first four chapters of AoPS Intro to Algebra. Â She should finish the "algebra 1" portion of the text, through chapter 13 (the second quadratics chapter) by the end of January. I actually slowed her progress through the book by having her work concurrently through the AoPS Intro to Counting and Probability book! Â Dd will continue with the "algebra 2" portion of the book this year. We will add AoPS Geometry to the mix so that she studies both texts with 2 or 3 days devoted to each per week. This is dd's idea :) She'll complete the books whenever she does and we'll just move on to more AoPS books. Â She is considering a career in a math-heavy field-----------as much as a 12 year old can consider a career :lol: She absolutely LOVES math and would study it all day long if I would let her! Â My rambling point is to make sure you (the general you) are paying attention to your student. You may plan on taking two years to really solidify basic algebra 1 skills...and your child may surprise you by absolutely "getting it" right away. Conversely, you may assume one year of a really good algebra 1 program will be more than sufficient, based on past math output, but your child flounders with manipulating equations and needs extra time. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

dereksurfs Posted November 29, 2012 Author Share Posted November 29, 2012 I should also caution to take cues from your child if he/she is ready to move on. Some may need additional time, some may move faster than you think. Â My dd12 is one who was harmed by being forced to proceed at a slower pace. We pulled her from her (otherwise excellent) school in fifth grade because of math instruction. I spent fifth grade using a schooly prealgebra text. Last year for sixth grade I had her use the AoPS Prealgebra text because (1) I wanted her to get used to the AoPS "way" and (2) I knew AoPS would offer sufficient challenge even if she had been exposed to topics already. In sixth grade she completed the prealgebra text and the first four chapters of AoPS Intro to Algebra. Â She should finish the "algebra 1" portion of the text, through chapter 13 (the second quadratics chapter) by the end of January. I actually slowed her progress through the book by having her work concurrently through the AoPS Intro to Counting and Probability book! Â Dd will continue with the "algebra 2" portion of the book this year. We will add AoPS Geometry to the mix so that she studies both texts with 2 or 3 days devoted to each per week. This is dd's idea :) She'll complete the books whenever she does and we'll just move on to more AoPS books. Â She is considering a career in a math-heavy field-----------as much as a 12 year old can consider a career :lol: She absolutely LOVES math and would study it all day long if I would let her! Â My rambling point is to make sure you (the general you) are paying attention to your student. You may plan on taking two years to really solidify basic algebra 1 skills...and your child may surprise you by absolutely "getting it" right away. Conversely, you may assume one year of a really good algebra 1 program will be more than sufficient, based on past math output, but your child flounders with manipulating equations and needs extra time. Â Yes, I think this is wise advice Luckymama. We can make our general educational plans. But obviously things can turn out quite differently as we go along. Just look at how things changed for us Pre-Algebra fence staddlers. I think listening to our child is probably the most important element in the equation. Having that just right challenge is integral to the whole approach. That of course is one of the beauties of homeschooling in that we can tailor things as the child develops. Â I think what you did with your daughter was great allowing her to move along when ready. She is obviously an exceptional math student. How many kids would say they would do math all day if you let them? :tongue_smilie: Â In our ds11's case if he get's 'bored' during his second year of Algebra 1 going through AoPS for example, I can always speed things up. What I envision is actually similar to what you did for your daughter. I like the idea of rolling into the second half of the book after I feel he has a 'solid mastery' of Algebra 1 and/or introducing Geometry a couple days a week. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Beth in SW WA Posted November 29, 2012 Share Posted November 29, 2012 Fun thread, Derek. :) Â Dd9 is doing algebra with a variety of resources... Â TT Alg 1 & 2 Rachna/Cybershala private online lessons (3x/week) Ben Rogers/Crewton Ramone private online lessons (1x/week) Â She is extremely sick this week but still wants to do her alg class w/ Ben today. Dd8 does beginning algebra with Ben also each week. He's fabulous. Â We do basic math and algebra as separate subjects these days. Â :lurk5: Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

AngieW in Texas Posted November 29, 2012 Share Posted November 29, 2012 I've used several different algebra I programs. Â For kids who struggle, MUS is a good choice. That's what I used for my youngest. It doesn't go as deep as most other programs, but it did enough and for her enough is as far as she's going to get. Â Jacobs Algebra is a solid program. I used it with my oldest and with the student I tutor. My middle dd didn't care for it much. I really like that this program has two sets of problems that are nearly identical (just have different numbers) so you can use one for examples and the other for homework. I also like that set 1 is mixed review. Â Kinetic Books Algebra I is my favorite algebra program. It is computer-based and gives immediate feedback for most problems. KB is the favorite math program for both of my older girls (oldest used it for Algebra II). It is a rigorous program and goes deeper than most other Algebra I programs do. Â I have also used Key to Algebra briefly. It actually goes deeper than MUS Algebra I, but the format doesn't work for my youngest. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

AimeeM Posted November 29, 2012 Share Posted November 29, 2012 I'm a straddler. Lol. DD11 decided she wants to stay home again next year. We will finish our second round of pre-algebra (a la Math Mammoth 6 and Calvert math) this year. I'm not comfortable holding her back in math another year, but do worry about the wordiness of some texts (she will be in 7th next year, but working consistently a year behind in everything BUT math and science, including reading). I'm torn between the ease of a program like Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 (but understanding that she would probably be able to skip portions of it because Dad supplements with some algebra on the weekends, so we would likely need to purchase TT Algebra 2 in the same year) and a "better" program like Jacob's (aops is out of the question for her). She is very good at math, but does NOT love it (her love is science; she sees math as a means to an end). I'll be watching this thread. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Mukmuk Posted November 29, 2012 Share Posted November 29, 2012 I missed a lot of this thread but wanted to comment on your year one plans, Derek. Â DS used Ed Zacarro's Real World Algebra, and I would consider that prealgrebra-ish. But it was a great prep for AOPS Intro to Algebra because the style is similar. There are some explanatory pages, written in a friendly way, and then 3 successively difficult levels of exercises. I'd go through the text with DS, and he'd set upon the questions himself. Every question was different, so DS, who is allergic to any repetition was very happy with them. They required a lot of flexible thinking. DS would move from level 1 to Einstein level (level 3) consecutively before moving to the next chapter. Sometimes, because the Einstein level got difficult very quickly, we'd stop, whereupon I'd look for alternate resources to show him before continuing. If your son already has pre-algebra learning under his belt, he may not face this. But the very different individual questions, the zigzag way of introducing more difficult questions (eg, #1 could be easier than #4, but #4 was manageably more difficult), was a good prep for AOPS. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

dereksurfs Posted November 30, 2012 Author Share Posted November 30, 2012 I missed a lot of this thread but wanted to comment on your year one plans, Derek. Â DS used Ed Zacarro's Real World Algebra, and I would consider that prealgrebra-ish. But it was a great prep for AOPS Intro to Algebra because the style is similar. There are some explanatory pages, written in a friendly way, and then 3 successively difficult levels of exercises. I'd go through the text with DS, and he'd set upon the questions himself. Every question was different, so DS, who is allergic to any repetition was very happy with them. They required a lot of flexible thinking. DS would move from level 1 to Einstein level (level 3) consecutively before moving to the next chapter. Sometimes, because the Einstein level got difficult very quickly, we'd stop, whereupon I'd look for alternate resources to show him before continuing. If your son already has pre-algebra learning under his belt, he may not face this. But the very different individual questions, the zigzag way of introducing more difficult questions (eg, #1 could be easier than #4, but #4 was manageably more difficult), was a good prep for AOPS. Â Thanks for sharing this experience with Zacarro. I may need to introduce it a bit earlier, possibly toward the end of Pre-A . That's interesting that it helped prepare for AoPS type problem solving. I may go ahead and order it now, just to have it on hand. Ok, you convinced me. I just order it. :p Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Mrs Twain Posted November 30, 2012 Share Posted November 30, 2012 It is absolutely not necessary to complete more math in high school, but there may be valid reasons to take calculus before senior year - for example if a student wishes to take a calculus based physics course with calculus as a prerequisite (not just co-requisite). Also, some students will choose to take the higher math courses at the university and earn transferable credit. This said: I can not stress it enough how important a thorough mastery of algebra 1 is. As a physics instructor at a university, I see many students with insufficient math preparation who struggle in their science courses. The obstacle is not a lack of calculus, but a lack of rock-solid pre-algebra and algebra 1 skills. So I would urge everybody to spend as much time on algebra 1 as necessary for thorough mastery, and to let this mastery be the signal for moving on, and not some arbitrary time table. A student who did not take calculus in high school can still succeed in a STEM major in college- but a student with weak algebra skills does not stand a chance. Â Thank you for the feedback on the sequence. Those are good perspectives to keep in mind. Â Here is the sequence that seems common in our area for students who take Algebra 1 in 7th grade: 7th--Algebra 1 8th--Geometry 9th--Algebra 2/Trig 10th--Precalculus 11th--Calculus AB 12th--Calculus BC Â Our preference might be this way: 7th-Algebra 1 8th--Algebra 1 (more challenging material) +/- start Geometry 9th--Geometry 10th--Algebra 2/Trig 11th--Precalculus 12th--Calculus BC Â It seems to us preferable to do two years of Algebra 1 over 7th and 8th rather than two years of calculus over 11th and 12th. However, I guess we will see how our kids are doing when the time comes and decide as we go! Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

boscopup Posted November 30, 2012 Share Posted November 30, 2012 It seems to us preferable to do two years of Algebra 1 over 7th and 8th rather than two years of calculus over 11th and 12th. However, I guess we will see how our kids are doing when the time comes and decide as we go! Â Or if your child masters algebra in 7th, you can add in other non-traditional math into the sequence. AoPS has a Counting & Probability book and also a Number Theory book. Both of those can be thrown in to help pad the sequence. They also have extra Algebra and Geometry courses beyond what is traditionally taught in public schools. There are other books out there from other publishers that could pad it as well. My oldest will be doing algebra in 5th grade, most likely, but I have laid out a possible path (which of course can change) that would still have him doing calculus in 12th grade or 11th at the earliest (taking Calc3 and Diff. Eq. at the local university in 12th, which is the option he'd have at the public schools). AoPS has an article about the Calculus Trap. Â Like you though, if I spend 2 years on a topic, it will probably be Algebra 1. We'll see how it goes. I'm still in the prealgebra fence straddling mode (we'll likely start mid-spring), and that's up in the air only based on how my son does with the materials I try. He may take to AoPS Prealgebra and just continue in that sequence, or he may not be ready for AoPS and need to do something like Dolciani or maybe Jacobs at a slower pace (I think Jacobs would be a good fit for him, actually - it's funny, has plenty of problems but without being 50 of the same type of problem, etc.). So I'll tackle the Algebra straddling question after I see how Prealgebra goes. If we use Jacobs for Algebra, I'll probably do AoPS Algebra also, as that would reinforce the algebra but also let him learn it from a different angle, so it's not just a repeat of stuff he knows. Â As far as algebra choices... I have in my hand Foerster and Jacobs. Both look great. I think Jacobs would be more up my son's alley, mostly because of the humor (Foerster has humor, but it'd be over his head... like the word problem that starts out, "Olivia, Newt, and John..." - made me laugh, but DS wouldn't even notice it). I don't have AoPS Algebra yet. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

dereksurfs Posted November 30, 2012 Author Share Posted November 30, 2012 Â Or if your child masters algebra in 7th, you can add in other non-traditional math into the sequence. AoPS has a Counting & Probability book and also a Number Theory book. Both of those can be thrown in to help pad the sequence. They also have extra Algebra and Geometry courses beyond what is traditionally taught in public schools. There are other books out there from other publishers that could pad it as well. My oldest will be doing algebra in 5th grade, most likely, but I have laid out a possible path (which of course can change) that would still have him doing calculus in 12th grade or 11th at the earliest (taking Calc3 and Diff. Eq. at the local university in 12th, which is the option he'd have at the public schools). AoPS has an article about the Calculus Trap. Â Like you though, if I spend 2 years on a topic, it will probably be Algebra 1.... Â That is a very interesting article on the Calculus Trap. I want to think about it a bit more. The 'Trap' he is describing makes sense in terms of rushing through and just taking the next course. That is why especially with Algebra I want to spend a bit more time to go deeper and more challenging rather than rushing right through it. Â I'm not so sure about the Math competitions for any of our kids. Though I can see the value in what he describes in terms of peer stimilation/motivation. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Mrs Twain Posted December 4, 2012 Share Posted December 4, 2012 Ok, I just found an awesome resource I want to share with the group! The state of California has started an online library with 1000s of books and growing called Open Library. I just checked and they have many Dolciani Math books which have been digitized including the hard to find 1960s/1970s editions. This is great to compare and contrast the versions. Take a look here: http://openlibrary.o...arch?q=dolciani Â Because of this resource it now takes the guessing out of what these books look inside like before buying. It also answers the questions regarding the differences in editions which for some of us isn't as big of an issue. In reviewing these I actually think I like the 1980s, 1990s version just fine. However now I can at least see what folks are talking about regarding their differences. :D Â I also discovered that the 1970s Dolciani was my algebra book. ;) Â Thank you, Derek, for posting the link to the open library. That is a great resource. Â Dumb questions-- For the Dolciani Albegra 1 textbook, is "Algebra Structure and Method Book One" the right one to get? Â Does "book one" correspond to Algebra 1? Â I am looking at buying a 1980's copy. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Mrs Twain Posted December 5, 2012 Share Posted December 5, 2012 That is a very interesting article on the Calculus Trap. I want to think about it a bit more. The 'Trap' he is describing makes sense in terms of rushing through and just taking the next course. That is why especially with Algebra I want to spend a bit more time to go deeper and more challenging rather than rushing right through it. Â I'm not so sure about the Math competitions for any of our kids. Though I can see the value in what he describes in terms of peer stimilation/motivation. Â Blah! We are back to the plan of doing Algebra 1 in 7th and Geometry in 8th (rather than stretching out Alegbra 1 into 8th). The main reason is that our kids will likely apply to a magnet high school in our area. All of the advanced students around here are taking Algebra in 7th (or sometimes in 6th). Taking Algebra in 8th doesn't look as good in comparison. Â Of course we will make sure our kids obtain a thorough understanding of the material before we move on past Algebra 1, though. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Zoo Keeper Posted December 5, 2012 Share Posted December 5, 2012 Another interesting option for those who like vintage Dolciani: the SMSG PDFs for Algebra 1 and Geometry are located here http://static.cemsep...ra_Geometry_ST/ Â Â Can you (or anyone else) explain what makes these good? Speak slowly, and use simple words--I took Algebra I twice, and don't remember any of it. Â I'm in research mode for algebra; one of my boys seems to get algebra concepts easily, and I am looking ahead to materials for him (he loves the challenge of MEP, but I don't know if integrated math in high school is the path I'll take). Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

thowell Posted December 5, 2012 Share Posted December 5, 2012 I have not had time to read all the replies but here is our plan for now. This year dd12 is using Lial's pre-algebra and doing great with it! I can't believe after all the programs we have tried that just a regular textbook is working. However, i do love the way Lial's is set up and so does she. She is also using Kiss My Math after she completed Math Doesn't suck the beginning of the year. So, for next year I plan to stick with Lial's and use Zaccaro's Real world Algebra to supplement. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Tasia Posted December 5, 2012 Share Posted December 5, 2012 I was an algebra fence straddler this summer (Ds13 tried out Lial's and switched to Jacobs), but I'm about 90% sure that Ds11 will be sticking with AoPS. He'll be going to a private high school, so I'll have to talk to the math department to decide whether it would be better to spend 7th and 8th on algebra and take geometry in 9th, or to move on to geometry in 8th. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

dereksurfs Posted December 5, 2012 Author Share Posted December 5, 2012 Thank you, Derek, for posting the link to the open library. That is a great resource. Â Dumb questions-- For the Dolciani Albegra 1 textbook, is "Algebra Structure and Method Book One" the right one to get? Â Does "book one" correspond to Algebra 1? Â I am looking at buying a 1980's copy. Â Not a dumb question at all since Dolciani wrote so many different Algebra publications. I actually looked at a lot of them before deciding on which one to purchase. I was so torn I almost bought two and still might for nastalgic purposes mainly. I'd like to have the one I used as well (1970s editon). Â Anyway I really liked the 1992 version I checked out from Open Library. So I bought that one for ~ $6 used entitled: Algebra 1 ISBN 13: 9780395535899, 9780395535905 Â Earlier editions had different names but basically covered the same subject level - Algebra 1. The first and probably most famous before ISBNs were used was the 1960s edition: Modern algebra: structure and method, book one Â Next was my Algebra book which was the Algebra standard of its day published in the 1970s: Modern algebra: structure and method ISBN 13: 9780395142554 Â For the 1980s it looks like there were two - one which was entitled Algebra 1 and another entitled Algebra Structure and Method Book One. Since I couldn't look inside these I am not really sure of the differences. I wanted to stick with those I had a chance to review myself. Maybe someone else can comment who owns one. The good news with most of these is that you can find some serious bargains. That's why I may pick up the 70s edition as well if/when I see it for a few bucks just for fun. Â BTW, I also purchased Foerster Algebra 1, 1999 edition. It just came in the mail today and looks really good so far. I may even like it a bit more than Dolciani. But I have to spend more time reviewing them. I am also strongly considering picking up AoPS as well. My son's eyes got really big when he saw three algebra books come in the mail today! :blink: Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

wapiti Posted December 5, 2012 Share Posted December 5, 2012 Not a dumb question at all since Dolciani wrote so many different Algebra publications. I actually looked at a lot of them before deciding on which one to purchase. I was so torn I almost bought two and still might for nastalgic purposes mainly. I'd like to have the one I used as well (1970s editon). Â It does get confusing. There are a number of series, including a set of middle school books (Modern School Mathematics, Structure and Method ) and elementary grade levels as well (Modern School Mathematics, Structure and Use). Â Dolciani passed away in 1985, so after that point, the texts would have less of her influence. I'm no expert on her textbooks, but I'd guess that set theory would have been taken out of the algebra texts by the 80s, as is the case with the prealgebra (I prefer the 1985/88 Prealgebra, An Accelerated Course for format, but it does not have the set theory that begins the 1970/73 Modern School Mathematics Pre-Algebra and is woven throughout; I also have the 1977 Pre-Algebra New Edition but I forgot what's in it :tongue_smilie: ). I have the 1970/73/75 Modern Algebra Structure and Method Book 1 (Dolciani, Wooton) - it was inexpensive. I've seen a newer Brown algebra from the 2000s (the Brown, Dolciani series eventually dropped her name) and it's not something I'd choose, as the format is visually horrible and IIRC, the amazon reviews are not so great. Â (ETA book titles) Â ETA again, to confuse matters further, I have a book titled Modern Mathematics, Book 1, 2nd ed. (1964, 1966, 1971) that appears to be a prealgebra. However, it is *not* a Doliciani. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

Mrs Twain Posted December 5, 2012 Share Posted December 5, 2012 It does get confusing. There are a number of series, including a set of middle school books (Modern School Mathematics, Structure and Method ) and elementary grade levels as well (Modern School Mathematics, Structure and Use). Â Dolciani passed away in 1985, so after that point, the texts would have less of her influence. I'm no expert on her textbooks, but I'd guess that set theory would have been taken out of the algebra texts by the 80s, as is the case with the prealgebra (I prefer the 1985/88 Prealgebra, An Accelerated Course for format, but it does not have the set theory that begins the 1970/73 Modern School Mathematics Pre-Algebra and is woven throughout; I also have the 1977 Pre-Algebra New Edition but I forgot what's in it :tongue_smilie: ). I have the 1970/73/75 Modern Algebra Structure and Method Book 1 (Dolciani, Wooton) - it was inexpensive. I've seen a newer Brown algebra from the 2000s (the Brown, Dolciani series eventually dropped her name) and it's not something I'd choose, as the format is visually horrible and IIRC, the amazon reviews are not so great. Â (ETA book titles) Â ETA again, to confuse matters further, I have a book titled Modern Mathematics, Book 1, 2nd ed. (1964, 1966, 1971) that appears to be a prealgebra. However, it is *not* a Doliciani. Â Thanks for the info. Â At this point, we are leaning toward using the Dolciani Pre-Algebra: An Accelerated Course (1988) which I have a copy of, and which looks good. Â After reading through old Dolciani threads, I am starting to think that I may not be a 1960's New Math type of girl. All of the set theory and proofs may be a little too "in the clouds" (as one poster remarked) for me. Therefore, I am leaning against the 1960's and 1970's Dolciani Algebra books. Â I just ordered a Dolciani (1981) Algebra Structure and Method Book 1 Teacher's Edition for $6 plus shipping. If I like it, I'll get the student textbook for $0.99 plus shipping to go with it. Â My thought is that the 1981 Algebra 1 book above may go well with the 1988 Pre-Algebra book...????? I have no idea, though, as I may be completely confused about all of this. Â Any comments welcome. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

dereksurfs Posted December 5, 2012 Author Share Posted December 5, 2012 It does get confusing. There are a number of series, including a set of middle school books (Modern School Mathematics, Structure and Method ) and elementary grade levels as well (Modern School Mathematics, Structure and Use). Â Dolciani passed away in 1985, so after that point, the texts would have less of her influence. I'm no expert on her textbooks, but I'd guess that set theory would have been taken out of the algebra texts by the 80s, as is the case with the prealgebra (I prefer the 1985/88 Prealgebra, An Accelerated Course for format, but it does not have the set theory that begins the 1970/73 Modern School Mathematics Pre-Algebra and is woven throughout; I also have the 1977 Pre-Algebra New Edition but I forgot what's in it :tongue_smilie: ). I have the 1970/73/75 Modern Algebra Structure and Method Book 1 (Dolciani, Wooton) - it was inexpensive. I've seen a newer Brown algebra from the 2000s (the Brown, Dolciani series eventually dropped her name) and it's not something I'd choose, as the format is visually horrible and IIRC, the amazon reviews are not so great. Â Thanks Wapiti, I perferred the layout of the 1991 version over the earlier ones (60s, 70s). I was looking at this more from a student's perspective. But yes, I'm sure its missing some of the earlier theory. And that is why I was considering purchasing the 1970/73 book. However after receiving Foerster last night and really liking it I'm not sure, especially since I also plan to purchase AoPS Intro to Algebra. :D Honestly even if there is more set theory in the earlier Dolciani editions they are both still very similar. And there is not that much to begin with in the way of lesson descriptions anyway. These are smaller math books with mostly problems. They are designed to suppliment formal lectures. Â AoPS is a very different textbook by contrast from these others based on what I have seen of their samples. I am not just talking about their discovery approach. Rather the layout and instruction is much more all inclusive. AoPS contains lessons right inside the book and for our family that's a big plus since my wife does not plan on lecturing our dc during the day. I answer their math Qs at night, but we like things which also include instruction. However they are still good resources as supplimentals. And of course Foerster has the Math without Borders lecture series which can be used to accompany the text. I also think Derek Owens Algebra 1 is based on Dolciani. So these are additional options. Regardless we woudln't teach from the book only ourselves. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

wapiti Posted December 5, 2012 Share Posted December 5, 2012 AoPS is a very different textbook by contrast from these others based on what I have seen of their samples. I am not just talking about their discovery approach. Rather the layout and instruction is much more all inclusive. AoPS contains lessons right inside the book and for our family that's a big plus since my wife does not plan on lecturing our dc during the day. This is an interesting point, about the potential need for something in a TM to be communicated to a student, whereas with AoPS, you know it's all there. That may vary by text, on some sort of continuum. While I haven't used Foerster, it looks like the explanations and examples are quite thorough. Â In our house, while I'm sure Foerster will come in handy at some point (maybe as my dc get older and need review/application problems or particular explanations), when ds starts algebra next year, it will probably be with some combination of AoPS and Jacobs. I'm much more of a big-picture person, as my kids seem to be. AoPS presents concepts in the most efficient manner for my own brain; I might say "easier" even when it's harder because it's less tedious than other texts. A step-by-step text is more taxing on my attention, focusing powers... or something. My brain works more efficiently "backwards" from many texts - a VSL thing, I believe. Â FWIW, even though Jacobs looks nothing like AoPS, there is a big-picture/discovery element in the order of the exercises that I really appreciate (also, FWIW, I have the TM for Jacobs, and I can't imagine ever needing something in it other than the answers). Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

dereksurfs Posted December 5, 2012 Author Share Posted December 5, 2012 This is an interesting point, about the potential need for something in a TM to be communicated to a student, whereas with AoPS, you know it's all there. That may vary by text, on some sort of continuum. While I haven't used Foerster, it looks like the explanations and examples are quite thorough. Â In our house, while I'm sure Foerster will come in handy at some point (maybe as my dc get older and need review/application problems or particular explanations), when ds starts algebra next year, it will probably be with some combination of AoPS and Jacobs. I'm much more of a big-picture person, as my kids seem to be. AoPS presents concepts in the most efficient manner for my own brain; I might say "easier" even when it's harder because it's less tedious than other texts. A step-by-step text is more taxing on my attention, focusing powers... or something. My brain works more efficiently "backwards" from many texts - a VSL thing, I believe. Â FWIW, even though Jacobs looks nothing like AoPS, there is a big-picture/discovery element in the order of the exercises that I really appreciate (also, FWIW, I have the TM for Jacobs, and I can't imagine ever needing something in it other than the answers). Â So are you saying you have Dolciani, Foerster, Jacobs and AoPS Algebra texts? :D If so you may be more of a curriculum junky than I am. :p Â My justification is that we have three very different children. As such I want to be able to individually tailor Algebra programs toward their unique learning styles. Of course having many great resources available never hurts either. Â AoPS seems to the biggest wildcard for me right now. I am somewhat skeptical about embracing the whole approach including the notion that it is only for 'bright students' who love spending hours upon hours doing math, for fun. Yet I really like what I have seen of the textbook from the samples so far. I think the textbook can stand alone as a great work when compared to these other excellent books. However I may end up using it differently than most do. I've read somewhere that although the Discovery Approach is really how the program is designed, a student can take another approach. For example the child could listen to the lesson videos first if Discovery does not work for them. Also many who use it attending public schools already have other instruction or Algebra backgrounds to begin with. So if I used it as a second year Algebra option for example, Discovery at that point may prove to be more fun/interesting vs. frustrating. Because of all these unanswered questions I may just end up purchasing the book and trying it out with each child as we go. Even some big AoPS fans here have said it hasn't necessarily worked with each of their children. Â BTW, I find your comments on the way your brain works in terms of Visual Spatial Learning an important consideration as well. When you take a VSL student and put them in a step-by-step program it seems like trying to cram a round peg in a square hole. They may still learn, but not optimally. I'm a real hands-on learner who learns best by facing problems 'first' then figuring out how to solve them. That's what happens for me daily with software engineering work. Technology changes so fast that sitting through countless hours of instruction on a miriad of topics just won't work. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

wapiti Posted December 5, 2012 Share Posted December 5, 2012 Because of all these unanswered questions I may just end up purchasing the book and trying it out with each child as we go. Â At some point, too much tweaking may render aops less efficient than learning from a direct-instruction text. But, I don't know where that point is - I think it'll depend entirely on the student (age, ability, learning style, etc.). To further complicate matters, how much I tweak differs among lessons (I am using the prealgebra with a younger very accelerated kiddo at the moment). For some lessons, he has no trouble whatsoever using it as written, but for others we have briefly switched over to other texts that break things down into smaller bites with more straightforward practice (the 80s Dolciani prealgebra and Jacobs). Â Like any other resource, the more you get to know it through use, the more fun it becomes. Stay flexible :). And, don't forget about Alcumus! Ds is at the half-way point in the prealgebra, so I'm having him work through the first half topics in Alcumus as review before we move forward. He definitely prefers Alcumus to the book. As you know, you can use Alcumus no matter what text you're using (in particular, the 80s Dolciani prealgebra lines up well with AoPS Prealgebra topics - not exactly, but nicely). Â For lurkers, Alcumus includes Algebra and Geometry topics as well - an easy supplement. Â When you take a VSL student and put them in a step-by-step program it seems like trying to cram a round peg in a square hole. They may still learn, but not optimally. Â This is what I've had a hard time finding the words to say - this is the reason it's worthwhile for me to tweak as necessary for my ds - in his case, I believe it results in more efficient/optimal learning than would occur with another type of text. It has something to do with the presentation of ideas, aside from the discovery. Â On the other hand, a more traditional (sequential) learner might find another text much more efficient. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

texasmama Posted December 5, 2012 Share Posted December 5, 2012 I'm replying mostly to subscribe; I'm happy to finally have the second half of 6th grade figured out (ds11 is almost done with SM S/E 5B; we'll do 6A/B in the spring while dh reviews 5A/B in the evenings to shore up weak spots). After reading the incredible pre-algebra fence straddlers thread, I'm leaning towards 2 years of algebra with ds11 instead of one year of pre-algebra and one year of algebra (after reading, in think on the SM board, that SM 6A/B does a good job preparing kids for going straight to algebra). If that is the case, we might do MUS Algebra as a pre-algebra/algebra bridge in 7th and then a standard algebra program (probably Dolciani - added benefit is dh has a copy of his own in his classroom). I'll have a better idea this summer based on how ds does this spring. But, two years of algebra (for much of the same reason you stated Derek - we feel strongly that a solid foundation in algebra is very important even given that I'm highly doubtful ds11 will go into any STEM field) is where we are leaning now. We are also considering MUS after my oldest finishes up SM 6B. I am undecided, but it is nice to find someone else on a similar path. :) This entire thread is incredibly helpful for me at this juncture, so thank you to those who have given such thorough information and explanations of the different options. This non-mathy person appreciates it. :) Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

texasmama Posted December 5, 2012 Share Posted December 5, 2012 I would be very interested in feedback regarding my 12 year old son, who will finish up SM 6B in the late spring. SM has been very effective for him, and he is resistant to change so I am curious about feedback regarding the next step. Thank you in advance. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

dereksurfs Posted December 5, 2012 Author Share Posted December 5, 2012 I would be very interested in feedback regarding my 12 year old son, who will finish up SM 6B in the late spring. SM has been very effective for him, and he is resistant to change so I am curious about feedback regarding the next step. Thank you in advance. Â There are many ways to transition into Algebra. Some use a formal Pre-Algebra program such as AoPS, Dolciani, Horizons, BJU, etc... While others go right into Algbera using a bridge course such as MUS Algebra which is somewhat easier yet covers the primary topics in very student friendly ways. I think Jacobs is another one known to offer good review of Pre-Algebra topics before starting with Algebra. Since we didn't use SM I'm not sure of the scope of 6B. But I do recall hearing others comment on it preparing their dc well for secondary math. Â We used MUS all the way through Pre-Algebra and definately need a Pre-Algebra course before jumping into Algebra. This is primarily based on the scope and sequence of the MUS program itself. We have now moved to TabletClass Pre-A for added rigor above and beyond MUS Pre-A. This is working great and I think ds11 will be well prepared for Algebra 1 next year. We also have used HOE as a supplimental and now Khan Academy for differing perspectives at times. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

texasmama Posted December 5, 2012 Share Posted December 5, 2012 There are many ways to transition into Algebra. Some use a formal Pre-Algebra program such as AoPS, Dolciani, Horizons, BJU, etc... While others go right into Algbera using a bridge course such as MUS Algebra which is somewhat easier yet covers the primary topics in very student friendly ways. I think Jacobs is another one known to offer good review of Pre-Algebra topics before starting with Algebra. Since we didn't use SM I'm not sure of the scope of 6B. But I do recall hearing others comment on it preparing their dc well for secondary math. Â We used MUS all the way through Pre-Algebra and definately need a Pre-Algebra course before jumping into Algebra. This is primarily based on the scope and sequence of the MUS program itself. We have now moved to TabletClass Pre-A for added rigor above and beyond MUS Pre-A. This is working great and I think ds11 will be well prepared for Algebra 1 next year. We also have used HOE as a supplimental and now Khan Academy for differing perspectives at times. Thank you for this feedback. SM has been a very thorough program which has worked well and "painlessly" for my kids. I do believe they are well-prepared for the next step. Your description of MUS as a student-friendly overview rings true as an approach that would appeal to my change-resistant son. I would like to plan a year of gentle algebra introduction either in the form of MUS Algebra or one of the Pre Algebra programs. I am also hoping for a program which will transition more to a student-taught approach. SM is written to be a teacher-taught textbook followed by workbook exercises done independently by the student, which worked well with my younger students. My primary strengths lie in language arts rather than math, which is part of my push towards a more student-taught program. Math is a solid strength for my olders (can't tell quite yet with my youngest) so I expect them to do well with a solid, clear student-led program with me to provide support as needed. Thank you again. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

dereksurfs Posted December 5, 2012 Author Share Posted December 5, 2012 Thank you for this feedback. SM has been a very thorough program which has worked well and "painlessly" for my kids. I do believe they are well-prepared for the next step. Your description of MUS as a student-friendly overview rings true as an approach that would appeal to my change-resistant son. I would like to plan a year of gentle algebra introduction either in the form of MUS Algebra or one of the Pre Algebra programs. I am also hoping for a program which will transition more to a student-taught approach. SM is written to be a teacher-taught textbook followed by workbook exercises done independently by the student, which worked well with my younger students. My primary strengths lie in language arts rather than math, which is part of my push towards a more student-taught program. Math is a solid strength for my olders (can't tell quite yet with my youngest) so I expect them to do well with a solid, clear student-led program with me to provide support as needed. Thank you again. Â MUS is great program for more independant learning. The lectures are short and to the point which really work well with the textbook. Our ds was 95% independant in MUS. We even had him grade his own work and correct his mistakes. If however something needed more explanation we would help. But the majority of time he was able to figure things out using the provided curriculum. At this stage you can skips the manipulatives as well. Â The only thing I would do If I were you would be to evaluate SM 6A/6B scope and compare with MUS Algebra Pre-A S&S. For example how much abstract math has been *introduced*? Have you or will you go over negative numbers? Then fill the gaps using Khan Academy or another supplimental. Just as an FYI here are the things covered in MUS Pre-A which you can compare with SM 6A/6B. We have this book as well: Â LESSON 1 Negative Numbers, Addition LESSON 2 Negative Numbers, Subtraction LESSON 3 Negative Numbers, Multiplication LESSON 4 Negative Numbers, Division LESSON 5 Exponents LESSON 6 Place Value LESSON 7 Negative Numbers with Exponents LESSON 8 Roots and Radicals LESSON 9 Solve for an Unknown LESSON 10 Pythagorean Theorem LESSON 11 Associative and Commutative Property LESSON 12 Distributive Property LESSON 13 Solve for an Unknown LESSON 14 Solve for an Unknown LESSON 15 Surface Area of Solids LESSON 16 Transform Celsius to Fahrenheit LESSON 17 Transform Fahrenheit to Celsius LESSON 18 Absolute Value LESSON 19 Ratio and Proportion LESSON 20 Similar Polygons LESSON 21 Least Common Multiple LESSON 22 Greatest Common Factor LESSON 23 Polynomials, Addition LESSON 24 Volume of a Cylinder LESSON 25 Polynomials, Multiplication LESSON 26 Adding and Subtracting Time LESSON 27 Volume of a Pyramid and a Cone LESSON 28 Military Time, Addition and Subtraction LESSON 29 Measurement, Addition and Subtraction LESSON 30 Irrational Numbers Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

texasmama Posted December 5, 2012 Share Posted December 5, 2012 Thank you! I will pull out SM 6B (which we have not started yet...finishing up 6A now) and make the scope comparisons. This is very helpful. :) Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...

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