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cindylee

high school leve work done in 8th grade on transcript??

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Fwiw, I just did a search for act scores for math placement, and a 28-29+ seems fairly close to avg consensus for placing into cal 1, so my guess was fairly accurate.

 

 

I find math placement based on SAT/ACT scores alone a bad idea, because those tests do not adequately test precalculus. They can tell me whether a student has aptitude for math, but not whether he had enough actual preparation - this is something I can only assume. Our university gives a placement test for all students, even those who have AP calc test scores; if the students score lower than their ACT math score would have suggested, there will be a discussion between student and advisor.

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She will also be taking geometry with outside validation as a middle schooler. I do worry about her reaching her math ceiling before she graduates and how we'll get the 4 requisite math credits in for college.

 

 

 

What do you consider a "math ceiling"? There is plenty of math, and you won't "run out". After calculus, you can have multivariable calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, statistics, number theory, probability theory.....

 

What will be important is not to stop math at four credits when the kid has started in middle school - THAT looks bad. Colleges will expect your student to take math every year through high school.

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I find math placement based on SAT/ACT scores alone a bad idea, because those tests do not adequately test precalculus. They can tell me whether a student has aptitude for math, but not whether he had enough actual preparation - this is something I can only assume. Our university gives a placement test for all students, even those who have AP calc test scores; if the students score lower than their ACT math score would have suggested, there will be a discussion between student and advisor.

 

Goodness......I am not advocating placement by just standardized test scores! I actually don't think standardized test scores prove much of anything beyond how students can solve simple problems that need approx.60-90 secs for solution. ( not much evidence of higher levels of critically mathematical thinking,)

 

My pt, which is obviously lost bc I was trying to be polite vs posting the blunt response in my head, ;) is that for most high school students to take cal up courses, they would have already had to prove themselves via test scores AND placement tests at the local university in order to take the upper courses to begin with. Then the college level grades are the only thing an admission officer will have for verification of those courses since standardized test don't test to those levels.

 

And......all of this pertains only to admissions. Placement comes after acceptance. :). So...the only question that I see directly related to this thread is do admission officers disregard success in college level courses as then simply being too good to be true. ????

 

Not directing this part to you, Regentrude, but I really wonder if the posts focusing on test scores (which I think is NOT a great indicator of much of anything) have actually had students taking multiple semesters of upper level math and are really aware of just what is involved in getting permission for high school students to take the courses. Our experience has not been a simple one. It has required admission into the university based on early acceptance criteria, test scores, referrals, etc.

 

So, again, my question would be why would advanced courses taken at a university be dismissed by admissions officers as too good to be true? (That is my only pt in even responding to the post that I did. B/c based on our experience with multiple universities, test scores and successful placement would have already have been needed to even enroll to begin with.)

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My pt, which is obviously lost bc I was trying to be polite vs posting the blunt response in my head, ;) is that for most high school students to take cal up courses, they would have already had to prove themselves via test scores AND placement tests at the local university in order to take the upper courses to begin with. Then the college level grades are the only thing an admission officer will have for verification of those courses since standardized test don't test to those levels.

 

I agree that this would be true if the calculus course was taken at a college. If the high school itself offers "AP calculus" to look good, all bets are off: frequently, in order to have enough students to run the course, unprepared students are pushed into these courses who will have no chance of passing the AP exam. Our math profs see this all the time in incoming students.

 

Not directing this part to you, Regentrude, but I really wonder if the posts focusing on test scores (which I think is NOT a great indicator of much of anything) have actually had students taking multiple semesters of upper level math and are really aware of just what is involved in getting permission for high school students to take the courses. Our experience has not been a simple one. It has required admission into the university based on early acceptance criteria, test scores, referrals, etc.

 

Again: this is for students who take the upper level math at an institution that has these requirements in place. You can homeschool anything you want, and public schools have lower barriers for these courses.

 

So, again, my question would be why would advanced courses taken at a university be dismissed by admissions officers as too good to be true?

 

Honestly: I can't imagine they would. I expect the admissions officials to recognize that a student who gets into, and is successful in, upper level courses at university must obviously be an excellent student. I can not envision a scenario where this would be seen as "too good to be true" since they get validation in form of grades from a recognized university.

 

I would imagine the "too good to be true" comments to refer to homeschool-only coursework. There I can see how an admissions official might be skeptical when he sees six home based upper level math credits without any outside validation to back up "mommy says so".

 

 

 

ETA:

I actually don't think standardized test scores prove much of anything beyond how students can solve simple problems that need approx.60-90 secs for solution. ( not much evidence of higher levels of critically mathematical thinking,)

 

Actually, I think you can't really have "false positives". The student can't "fake" a perfect on the math subject test. Of course a student with an excellent grasp of the material may score significantly below his actual ability because of the format - so I'd expect plenty of "false negatives".

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This isn't for college admissions but for state requirements...I thought that in PA, you had to have taken things like PA history and maybe some other course and so you could take those courses before high school and count them towards your diploma even if done in 7th or 8th grade?

 

Joan

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I agree that this would be true if the calculus course was taken at a college. If the high school itself offers "AP calculus" to look good, all bets are off: frequently, in order to have enough students to run the course, unprepared students are pushed into these courses who will have no chance of passing the AP exam. Our math profs see this all the time in incoming students.

 

 

 

Again: this is for students who take the upper level math at an institution that has these requirements in place. You can homeschool anything you want, and public schools have lower barriers for these courses.

 

 

 

Honestly: I can't imagine they would. I expect the admissions officials to recognize that a student who gets into, and is successful in, upper level courses at university must obviously be an excellent student. I can not envision a scenario where this would be seen as "too good to be true" since they get validation in form of grades from a recognized university.

 

I would imagine the "too good to be true" comments to refer to homeschool-only coursework. There I can see how an admissions official might be skeptical when he sees six home based upper level math credits without any outside validation to back up "mommy says so".

 

 

 

ETA:

 

Actually, I think you can't really have "false positives". The student can't "fake" a perfect on the math subject test. Of course a student with an excellent grasp of the material may score significantly below his actual ability because of the format - so I'd expect plenty of "false negatives".

 

The post I directed my original question to was in response to the one stating students would be taking the courses at a college and/or AP test scores. It was why the post made me go :confused1: in the first place. There were already outside sources of validation being offered in the post that the poster of "validation by ACT/SAT test scores needed" responded to. Yeah, I cannot imagine including upper level math credits that mean anything if taken at home unless you are someone like Kathy with a phD in math. :)

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The post I directed my original question to was in response to the one stating students would be taking the courses at a college and/or AP test scores. It was why the post made me go :confused1: in the first place. There were already outside sources of validation being offered in the post that the poster of "validation by ACT/SAT test scores needed" responded to.

 

Completely agree

 

Yeah, I cannot imagine including upper level math credits that mean anything if taken at home unless you are someone like Kathy with a phD in math. :)

 

Actually, our upper level math courses are taught at home ;-)

We have used AoPS for single variable calculus. Now DH is teaching DD multivariable calculus and ordinary differential equations; we have not found a book that we really like, and he can do a better job if he does it by himself, instead of having her work through a text.

We expect the fact that she has been gotten As in calculus based physics courses at the university that had prerequisites of up to three semesters of calc to be a validation that she must obviously have learned some calculus. We are including our educational background in our school profile; hopefully, the admissions people will believe that physics professors might be able to teach calculus ;-)

But we are not aiming at her placing out of calculus; we specifically want her to re-take the sequence beginning with calc 1.

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The post I directed my original question to was in response to the one stating students would be taking the courses at a college and/or AP test scores. It was why the post made me go :confused1: in the first place. There were already outside sources of validation being offered in the post that the poster of "validation by ACT/SAT test scores needed" responded to. Yeah, I cannot imagine including upper level math credits that mean anything if taken at home unless you are someone like Kathy with a phD in math. :)

 

I do agree with this. My own comments about test scores weren't to buttress classes from an accredited source but rather work done at home.

 

I do get ps schooled applying to USNA who are in pre calculus but have SAT scores in the 400s. I can't help but think they would have been better served by more dwell time in algebra.

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This isn't for college admissions but for state requirements...I thought that in PA, you had to have taken things like PA history and maybe some other course and so you could take those courses before high school and count them towards your diploma even if done in 7th or 8th grade?

 

Joan

 

In my school district this would not work. For our state? I don't know. Oh wait, you are talking about PA history alone? That is a middle school course - not a high school course. Even ps students take it in 6th grade. PA has some requirements, but they aren't all high school requirements...

 

With regards to "too good to be true," I would only see that when there is a mismatch between scores and "college" grades. If an ACT or SAT matched the grades - no problem. When the scores are low and the grades are high, one should be wondering. When our kids in calc took the AP (AB) Calc test it was rare that anyone scored a 2 or better. Few even took the test. I can only think of two 5s in the years I saw scores and those students did a ton outside of class. There were a handful of 3s over the years. Now it's the same course... but no AP test. Instead, kids get college credit at the teacher's discretion. They get their As now, but their knowledge sure isn't there. A "very high" ACT composite at our school is a 28 or so. A 600 on an SAT section is considered "smoking hot" by a (very good) student I overheard this spring. Many of our graduates don't really know the Calc or the College Alg/Trig that comes before it, but they can have their As in both courses though our College Alg teacher/prof is rather good, so kids have better knowledge coming out of her class - As are not easy there. One student told me her Math SAT score went up 200 points after taking the College Alg class... (which shows how much our regular Alg stinks IMO - do NOT use CPM Math...) Calc is totally different. English works a bit like Calc.

 

It is difficult to believe and I'm still astounded by it, but it happens every single year. And our school is not super low. We are average. Many colleges have opted not to offer credit for DE due to graduates like ours...

 

College admissions folks need to look at transcripts and should be able to see the whole picture of a student. If they merely see DE without other back up, it could raise red flags (unless they know the college the courses came from). If they see 5s on AP tests or high 700s on SAT I or II, they have some back up - or if only that - some solid footing to compare potential.

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I do get ps schooled applying to USNA who are in pre calculus but have SAT scores in the 400s. I can't help but think they would have been better served by more dwell time in algebra.

 

SATs in the 400s are normal for many of our Pre-Calc students. Our SAT math average hovers about 500 and only top kids heading to 4 year schools take the test. These kids have all had (or are in) Pre-Calc.

 

And again, the school I work at is average for our state... out of 500 districts, we are generally close to 250 in the rankings when I see them. PA tends to be rather average for the nation too...

 

On here we tend to be more focused on education (which is why I enjoy the place!). But the scores kids get on here (or cc) are not average generally IME.

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SATs in the 400s are normal for many of our Pre-Calc students. Our SAT math average hovers about 500 and only top kids heading to 4 year schools take the test. These kids have all had (or are in) Pre-Calc.

 

And again, the school I work at is average for our state... out of 500 districts, we are generally close to 250 in the rankings when I see them. PA tends to be rather average for the nation too...

 

On here we tend to be more focused on education (which is why I enjoy the place!). But the scores kids get on here (or cc) are not average generally IME.

 

I checked the CB percentile for 400s and they seem to be around 20-43%. I would label that low average to low. My point being that I would expect a student in pre calc to have mastered algebra not just have scraped by.

 

(And I also expect students applying to a math and engineering heavy school to realize that their C's in math and science and low SAT scores don't set them up for success.

Your school sounds so frustrating. I don't think it has to be this way. And I don't think your kids are dumber than others. It just sounds like they are trapped in the system.

 

ETA: Please don't read any of my comments today as grumpy or judgemental towards you. That's not my intent. It is one of the frustrations of my role as an admissions liaison for USNA to have to tell students that getting a C in chemistry and a D in pre-calculus with a 450 in the math SAT does not set them up to be a successful candidate or a successful midshipman. And I often feel like I am the bad guy for having to tell them this. I really don't know if they just haven't researched the institution or if they think that the military is shorthanded and looking to bring in anyone who is willing or if they have an inflated idea of their own abilities. I can't tell if it's because they are in the midst of their peers or because counselors and parents and teachers have told them that they can be anything they want to be. It's such a frustration to be the bearer of bad news. And it feels like often it could have been avoidable. Everyone isn't going to be in the 90%. But I think many could do better than they are. [Working on my own three starfish on this grey, dreary, drizzly day.]

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I checked the CB percentile for 400s and they seem to be around 20-43%. I would label that low average to low. My point being that I would expect a student in pre calc to have mastered algebra not just have scraped by.

 

(And I also expect students applying to a math and engineering heavy school to realize that their C's in math and science and low SAT scores don't set them up for success.

 

But remember, our kids tend to have As and Bs - not Cs with their 400s. They think they are doing well. They know they are doing well if they get 500s and they are doing super well if they even approach 600 (say, 580 from one I heard this spring). It's not any different with Calc than with Pre-Calc.

 

Your school sounds so frustrating. I don't think it has to be this way. And I don't think your kids are dumber than others. It just sounds like they are trapped in the system.

 

And this is my continual frustration. I've seen the difference in my own life experiences, but there are VERY few who share it at school, so nothing changes. NCLB has helped though. It is not a perfect system, but it is raising the bar a bit for us and forcing us to cover more in classes than we covered before.

 

The kids are those being shortchanged. I do feel sorry for them. They are equally capable as any other region.

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But remember, our kids tend to have As and Bs - not Cs with their 400s. They think they are doing well. They know they are doing well if they get 500s and they are doing super well if they even approach 600 (say, 580 from one I heard this spring). It's not any different with Calc than with Pre-Calc.

 

 

 

So to what do they attribute the difference between their grades and their SAT scores? Their SAT score report shows them what their percentile is. Is it just that they don't know of anyone local who gets higher percentiles, so it doesn't seem relevant?

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But remember, our kids tend to have As and Bs - not Cs with their 400s. They think they are doing well. They know they are doing well if they get 500s and they are doing super well if they even approach 600 (say, 580 from one I heard this spring).

 

I am curious about the same thing as Sebastian: how can they not know that a 500 in math is the 45th percentile and thus below average over all test takers? Don't they look at an interpretation of the scores?

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I am curious about the same thing as Sebastian: how can they not know that a 500 in math is the 45th percentile and thus below average over all test takers? Don't they look at an interpretation of the scores?

 

We have the exact same situation in my district. I have posted before about the pathetic AP Calc scores the students receive while getting A's in the AP class. The SAT scores are also in the low 500's.

 

The parents around me simply claim that their kids are "bad test takers" or the format of the test "posed questions in a way that was confusing". I am not sure if these parents have even considered the reality that the material taught in the classes is not rigorous enough to prepare their kids for the standardized tests.

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Advanced math kids start Alg 1 in 7th (pending year, 60 - 90 kids out of a class of 300+). Average math kids (150 - 180) start Alg 1 in 8th. Lower level math kids start Alg 1 in 9th or later (60 - 90). The latter are not likely to go on to a 4 year school of any sort (a few go to cc, many of those who graduate go to technical schools). Kids from the first two often head to 4 year schools or cc.

SATs in the 400s are normal for many of our Pre-Calc students. Our SAT math average hovers about 500 and only top kids heading to 4 year schools take the test. These kids have all had (or are in) Pre-Calc.

And again, the school I work at is average for our state... out of 500 districts, we are generally close to 250 in the rankings when I see them. PA tends to be rather average for the nation too...

On here we tend to be more focused on education (which is why I enjoy the place!). But the scores kids get on here (or cc) are not average generally IME.

 

These 2 posts together reveal a bigger picture. It sounds to me like the system is pushing kids they think are good in math ahead of where their actual skills/abilities are. Since over 2/3 of your system's students are supposedly on target for higher levels of math (w/ more than 1/4 beyond the "reg" norm of strong students taking alg in 8th which should have those 7th graders taking cal in 11th w/ multivariable and diffEQ in 12th),it sounds like the system is flawed from the middle grades and not just in high school. I'd be curious as to how those 7th and 8th graders score on the ACT/SAT tests in terms of talent search.

 

ETA: It should also reassure moms who have kids taking alg in 8th and 9th that earlier is not better unless students are extremely strong math students.

 

 

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So to what do they attribute the difference between their grades and their SAT scores? Their SAT score report shows them what their percentile is. Is it just that they don't know of anyone local who gets higher percentiles, so it doesn't seem relevant?

 

I am curious about the same thing as Sebastian: how can they not know that a 500 in math is the 45th percentile and thus below average over all test takers? Don't they look at an interpretation of the scores?

 

 

They do look at the percentiles, but consider average (or close to it) as "good." Getting toward the 80th percentile is "great." Only geniuses make it to the top 1% (we do get those once in a while - they almost always do a lot outside of school). Last year we had two NMF. The year before we had one. (This year none.) Most years we have one who gets commended. It can happen - they just don't realize that we should (statistically) be having 3 - 4 per year making the top 1% and more than that on the upper part of the bell curve down.

 

School officials look at the fact that we get ANY and say the school is doing their part - neglecting the fact that these kids tend to do a lot outside of school (academics, not just extra curriculars). One of our NMF told me she pretty much taught herself everything on the SAT II for math as when she opened the book she felt like she hadn't seen ANY of it. Parents listen to the school officials and just assume that their kid is living up to their potential and our schools are "good." When test scores come back (state) and we tend to be on the failing side of those, they say that "test scores are not everything." Granted, that statement is true, but... in this situation, our school doesn't cover much of the material on the tests. How can kids know it (without doing more outside of school)?

 

Top kids literally never have homework - they don't need to. What little is expected of them is memorized in class or quickly done in the few minutes before or after class. Papers are written in class. Books are read in class. Math is done in groups, so as long as one kid in the group sort of knows what is going on, the rest copy and the group muddles through. Homework is graded for completion, not correctness, so many kids write pretty much anything down and get credit. Doing homework is often enough to pass the class regardless of test scores. Some tests are team tests. Many group projects happen. My 8th grade son only missed two questions on the World History 10th grade final at our school. We had not done World History yet. The questions were simply that simple. (Who led Germany in WWII?)

 

The bar is set low. The foundation is incredibly weak.

 

We were fortunate enough to get a grant for a college counselor for the last three years (sort of a Teach for America) thing. The guy who was here last year was fantastic - a Gettysburg Physics grad from a great high school. It took him less than a month to have his jaw drop at what he was seeing... he and I often conversed. He took our gifted kids and did a couple of seminars with them showing them just how many kids get into that top 1 - 5% of students - it's a huge number across America - and started to help them comprehend "real" life as it pertains to college. He started some SAT prep classes, but got stymied when the kids said they knew the math, but couldn't DO the math... he was expecting to teach the tricks, etc, of the SAT, but ended up helping with math (I assisted him sometimes after school with this). He had a good thing started. So what happened? The grant ended and we'd have to come up with 50% of his pay from our budget. No deal according to our superintendent. Something like that is just not important enough in a tight budget. They turned to the community to provide the $$. They got about 10% of what is needed. The community doesn't support it either. After all, our school is fine.

 

I am not sure if these parents have even considered the reality that the material taught in the classes is not rigorous enough to prepare their kids for the standardized tests.

 

 

Our parents (and teachers) do not realize this. Trying to talk with them about it is pointless.

 

These 2 posts together reveal a bigger picture. It sounds to me like the system is pushing kids they think are good in math ahead of where their actual skills/abilities are. Since over 2/3 of your system's students are supposedly on target for higher levels of math (w/ more than 1/4 beyond the "reg" norm of strong students taking alg in 8th which should have those 7th graders taking cal in 11th w/ multivariable and diffEQ in 12th),it sounds like the system is flawed from the middle grades and not just in high school. I'd be curious as to how those 7th and 8th graders score on the ACT/SAT tests in terms of talent search.

 

 

I originally thought this too. But I have done some days in the middle school and our middle school meets state standards. Our education up through Alg is just fine (really - testing and all - just fine - normal bell curve). Kids who take the SAT for TIP and such things score well.

 

But then they hit our Alg books (CPM Math) and the group teaching system and it all goes downhill. SAT scores between 7th and 11th graders (same kids) usually don't budge. English is no better (actually, it's worse). The books they choose for reading are only now starting to improve. They used to choose middle school books for high school... because not everyone could understand the high school books. NCLB is starting to have a positive impact for both math and English - and soon Bio. Departments have had to have hours of meetings looking over the new (core) standards and figuring out how to meet them. A big part of it is COVERING THE MATERIAL. This may mean homework... Another part is holding kids accountable for material - even material that is deemed "more difficult." Remedial classes have already started for math and English where kids concentrate on the basics for one hour 3 days per week (in addition to regular classes). Kids who do not test proficient in Alg 1 no longer auto move to Pre-Calc just because they passed the previous classes. They are making progress, but it's just slow.

 

Ditching the math book would help... but the head of the dept sells the book, so that's not going to happen.

 

BUT, now we are starting to use CPM down to the elementary school, so our math issues may get worse. They've already gotten worse. Kids in the high school now know far less than they did back when I started teaching - only the remedial classes (using other materials) help bring the scores up, so unless one is in the classes seeing the issues, they wouldn't see it. Last year was the first year of CPM all the way through (and Everyday Math in elementary). The College Alg teacher also mentioned it was the worst group she's seen for basic math skills... but she can't put two and two together to see that it might be the curriculum... Some other teachers have correctly done that math, but other math teachers love the program (VERY little work for the lazy "ish" teacher - they sit at their desk and let the groups "work").

 

Ahh, I could go on and on and on. I used to try to change things. I still try with individuals, but after 14 years of continually coming home with incredible stories I'm just ready to move on after youngest graduates.

 

In short, yes, kids are ready for Alg 1 (perhaps not as many as they put there), but our particular Alg 1 has its issues that are causing the bulk of the problem thereafter. Even in the book, hard problems are skipped... and I use "hard" very loosely. If they don't cover the material using appropriate curriculum, it will be difficult to do much budging and near impossible to get the # of high scoring kids we should have as few realize there is a problem AND have the gumption to do more outside of class. That last part is where my guy "fits." He's done all the school has asked (> 4.0GPA), but won't do more outside of it, so he has the predictable 80+ percentile scores that have everyone wondering WHY mean ole ma made him take them again since his scores were SUPER (low 600s). (sigh)

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Wow, and if your school is still average in the state, then that means there are schools that are below that too?

 

I'm feeling more confused about the transcripts now too, because what if your child is doing well and progresses through more rapidly? Like if they do AoPS math and work through more than what would be officially one class per semester.? Because I also was feeling like this was the beauty of homeschooling, that we can work through at our own pace, whether that means it's accelerated or spread out.

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Wow, and if your school is still average in the state, then that means there are schools that are below that too?

 

Yes, this is what scares me... I like to hang out on here and college confidential to see that there are still schools (homeschools count) that are above the average. I went to a great high school. I know they exist. Don't get me wrong, that high school still had the whole bell curve where some didn't even graduate, but the top kids had what they needed to succeed at good schools (kids below me in ranking went to MIT and equivalent schools). At the school where I work, top kids (those the groupwork kids copy off of) do all that is expected and it's just way too shallow and sometimes non-existent. (Once I mentioned to a math teacher that it seemed like the Pre-Calc kids had never done circles at all. I was told they didn't have time to cover them in Geometry so skipped them... so it's no surprise when they get those wrong on the SAT.) Even when things are covered, top kids are never challenged. They'll freely admit this to me.

 

And yes, roughly 50% of the schools out there are similar or worse...

 

With regards to the circles... they are covered now. I think the combo of my jaw hitting the floor (and a comment about the SAT) in front of an influential teacher and the need to conform to core standards changed the "need" for circles to be included in Geometry, so positive things are happening. It's just slow.

 

I'm feeling more confused about the transcripts now too, because what if your child is doing well and progresses through more rapidly? Like if they do AoPS math and work through more than what would be officially one class per semester.? Because I also was feeling like this was the beauty of homeschooling, that we can work through at our own pace, whether that means it's accelerated or spread out.

 

By all means, press on at your student's pace. That IS the beauty of homeschooling. Put courses on the transcript however it seems to work out for you and be ready with an explanation in the counselor's section of the application. It's not tough to do (though it can take time to get the wording you like). If your student has scores of some sort to match what their transcript shows, they'll be fine. MANY colleges are starting to realize homeschooled kids are superb candidates as long as they can back up their transcript. I was flat out told that by the Dean of middle son's school (my guy got a Dean's scholarship there and I thanked him for considering a homeschooler...).

 

You do NOT need to look like a ps student. You just need to substantiate what has been done with explanations and scores of some sort.

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Wow, and if your school is still average in the state, then that means there are schools that are below that too?

 

I'm feeling more confused about the transcripts now too, because what if your child is doing well and progresses through more rapidly? Like if they do AoPS math and work through more than what would be officially one class per semester.? Because I also was feeling like this was the beauty of homeschooling, that we can work through at our own pace, whether that means it's accelerated or spread out.

 

If the courses are meant to be yr long courses and they are completed in less time, I would still give them 1 credit on their transcript. Some of AoPS courses are not meant to yr long courses, though. I only give .5 credit for Counting and Probability and computer programming. FWIW, I have completely ignored the comments toward "too many credits to be true" for my ds. While we haven't used his transcripts to apply to college, yet, we have used them for multiple other things (a program w/NASA and competitive summer camps) and he has been accepted into the programs with them. I count credits that he earned prior to 9th grade and w/o including his planned courses for 12th grade, he has well over 30 credits.

 

Do I think his transcripts are "too good to be believable?" No. Every course he has taken was full high school credit worthy and then some. All of his coursework has been followed by subsequently higher level work. I give a full high school credit for his dual enrolled courses (some of them have been 5 hr college courses (on a full semester system)). Since his university transcripts will be included and he has a 4.0 gpa in 200-300 level courses, I doubt very seriously than any ad com will reject his transcripts as not being valid.

 

HTH

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I'm feeling more confused about the transcripts now too, because what if your child is doing well and progresses through more rapidly? Like if they do AoPS math and work through more than what would be officially one class per semester.?

 

In that case, you have several options:

1. you can, for example, call the entire AoPS Intro to Algebra text "algebra 1" and give one credit, knowing full well that the kid has covered a lot more than a traditional algebra 1 course with it and explain the rigor of the curriculum in the course descriptions

2. You can have them earn more than one math credit a year. My DD worked overlapping on algebra 2 and geometry and has credits for both in 9th grade. It would not be the first time the admissions people see a student who doubled up on math.

As always, I would see problems if the test scores are weak; that might raise questions about the quality of those accelerated courses. But with outside validation of some kind (AoPS online class or standardized testing), I don't see an issue.

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In my school district this would not work. For our state? I don't know. Oh wait, you are talking about PA history alone? That is a middle school course - not a high school course. Even ps students take it in 6th grade. PA has some requirements, but they aren't all high school requirements...

 

Thanks for the answer...I was confusing state requirements with what is required for a high school diploma...I had been looking at some umbrella schools there and there was the requirement of having studied PA History and I thought some other subject somewhere along the line. So if you hadn't done it in Jr Hi, then you had to do it in high school and if you had done it in Jr Hi then you didn't in high school. But I guess you didn't get credits for it in Jr. Hi...I might have something confused here as it's been a few years...

 

Joan

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What do you consider a "math ceiling"? There is plenty of math, and you won't "run out". After calculus, you can have multivariable calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, statistics, number theory, probability theory.....

 

What will be important is not to stop math at four credits when the kid has started in middle school - THAT looks bad. Colleges will expect your student to take math every year through high school.

 

I'm not worried about running out; I'm more worried about her topping out at her skill level. She's advanced, but I have no idea if she's 'mathy.' My inkling is that she's not. Theoretically, she'd take Alg. II as a freshman. She is doing geometry with Jann in TX next year for 8th grade. For 9th grade, I plan on sending her to the local high school for math and science. She wants to play sports, and I really don't want to be responsible for those two subjects. If she takes Alg. II as a freshman, she will be in either stats or Calc. BC as a senior (which is only offered at the uni). I don't see her being that advanced. Ideally, I could use a subject transcript and put 4 maths down and be done. And it's unfair b/c that's exactly what one of her ps friends will be doing. Around here they give credit for both Alg. I and geometry taken in middle school, so it gets my goat that my dd will be penalized for being a homeschooler. I suspect my dd's ACT scores (we should get them soon) will eventually back up her math situation by demonstrating that she is good at it.

 

I'm trying to figure out my options right now, and one of them will be for her to repeat geometry (advanced) at the high school her freshman year. I suspect Jann's class will be more advanced than the high school's, and it will be a 'waste' of a credit for dd. Esp. since she's not a fan of geometry. She much prefers Alg. I had her try AoPS' Number Theory class, and she didn't like it. If I had her do math at home, I could be more creative I think, as we have access to tutors, but I have no idea what that would look like. Her goal is to go to the USNA, which requires a decent stem background, but I think Calc AB would be enough. I'm just started to feel the squeeze of needing a math plan in place ASAP.

 

BTW, I was one of those kids who tested well on the ACT (high enough to skip math as a humanities major), but went to a school like Creekland's, so my math teaching skills are pretty tragic.

 

Laura

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Perhaps as options... if Alg 1 and Geo are middle school courses:

 

Alg 2

Pre-Calc,

College Alg (College Level course that is sometimes credit and sometimes not depending upon college & major)

Stats (ditto)

Calc AB (ditto)

 

These are all options kids at our school use to get 4 credits of math in high school. Stats is an extremely useful course for all IMO. Since many majors require basic Calc and/or Stats it is always helpful for students to get at least an introduction to these topics in high school rather than seeing them for the first time in college with all the "other" stuff that comes along with college.

 

Your friend is not getting any advantage by getting middle school math credits. The same colleges that do not want to see them from homeschoolers also do not want to see them from public schoolers (and vv is they don't mind them).

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I'm not worried about running out; I'm more worried about her topping out at her skill level. She's advanced, but I have no idea if she's 'mathy.' My inkling is that she's not. Theoretically, she'd take Alg. II as a freshman. She is doing geometry with Jann in TX next year for 8th grade. For 9th grade, I plan on sending her to the local high school for math and science. She wants to play sports, and I really don't want to be responsible for those two subjects. If she takes Alg. II as a freshman, she will be in either stats or Calc. BC as a senior (which is only offered at the uni). I don't see her being that advanced. Ideally, I could use a subject transcript and put 4 maths down and be done. And it's unfair b/c that's exactly what one of her ps friends will be doing. Around here they give credit for both Alg. I and geometry taken in middle school, so it gets my goat that my dd will be penalized for being a homeschooler. I suspect my dd's ACT scores (we should get them soon) will eventually back up her math situation by demonstrating that she is good at it.

 

I'm trying to figure out my options right now, and one of them will be for her to repeat geometry (advanced) at the high school her freshman year. I suspect Jann's class will be more advanced than the high school's, and it will be a 'waste' of a credit for dd. Esp. since she's not a fan of geometry. She much prefers Alg. I had her try AoPS' Number Theory class, and she didn't like it. If I had her do math at home, I could be more creative I think, as we have access to tutors, but I have no idea what that would look like. Her goal is to go to the USNA, which requires a decent stem background, but I think Calc AB would be enough. I'm just started to feel the squeeze of needing a math plan in place ASAP.

 

BTW, I was one of those kids who tested well on the ACT (high enough to skip math as a humanities major), but went to a school like Creekland's, so my math teaching skills are pretty tragic.

 

Laura

Depending on your area, if her goal is USNA, then she will want to a) take math all four years of high school, even if she took courses in middle school that could meet high school credit, and B) work to master the concepts in algebra and pre-calculus so that she is prepared for calculus at USNA. In my area, which is highly competitive and blessed with a school district that offers a lot of opportunities for courses, aiming for AP Calc as a senior would definitely be the game plan. You might consider spinning off a new thread about math progressions for service academies and post what you have here.

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Perhaps as options... if Alg 1 and Geo are middle school courses:

 

Alg 2

Pre-Calc,

College Alg (College Level course that is sometimes credit and sometimes not depending upon college & major)

Stats (ditto)

Calc AB (ditto)

 

These are all options kids at our school use to get 4 credits of math in high school. Stats is an extremely useful course for all IMO. Since many majors require basic Calc and/or Stats it is always helpful for students to get at least an introduction to these topics in high school rather than seeing them for the first time in college with all the "other" stuff that comes along with college.

 

Your friend is not getting any advantage by getting middle school math credits. The same colleges that do not want to see them from homeschoolers also do not want to see them from public schoolers (and vv is they don't mind them).

:iagree: Especially for service academy applications. The vast majority of candidates I see and definitely those who have successful applications are those who started on algebra before high school. It's not like there are candidates who get only four math credits, counting two from middle school and then are good candidates for USNA (not with it's focus on math, science and engineering courses - even for humanities majors).

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:iagree: Especially for service academy applications. The vast majority of candidates I see and definitely those who have successful applications are those who started on algebra before high school. It's not like there are candidates who get only four math credits, counting two from middle school and then are good candidates for USNA (not with it's focus on math, science and engineering courses - even for humanities majors).

 

 

 

Thanks for replying. I'm not sleeping b/c of this issue! I knew I couldn't leave two years of math off of her transcript. I'm just trying to figure out how to fill in the last year, esp. if it turns out she can't handle stats or AP Calc. Honestly, is this something you can tell in a newly minted 8th grader? It's difficult for me to plan for her later years not knowing what her strengths are.

 

I know that even for some math types, stats is even more difficult.

 

Last night I started wondering if I had her spend 8th grade solidifying her algebra and possibly revisiting number theory, that I could postpone geometry til freshman year and then follow a typical sequence. Do you think this would be enough to make her competitive for more elite programs? I'm also concerned that I'm wrong about her mathiness and that if I slow her down, I will also be doing her a disservice. I guess this is part of my frustration of why we can't put high school level work done in 8th grade on their transcripts.

 

Thanks for all of your help.

Laura

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Laura,

 

What makes you think she won't do well in AP cal? What did you use for elementary math and alg? Perhaps if you share more about her math progression, people will be able to offer more insight.

 

FWIW, I hope you are not basing your fears on the small comment you made about AoPS.

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Laura,

 

How did she do in Alg 1? If she did well, allow her to keep going. If she struggled, then try a different Alg 1 (perhaps deeper) to solidify skills. Either are options that will allow success later - use what fits her.

 

There's no real reason to think she wouldn't be able to do well in Calc or Stats later as an 8th grader now. For almost every college major she'll need one or the other to get a degree. A few degrees top out at College Alg, so there's still that possibility, but I wouldn't be aiming that way as much as having it as a backup if that's what she ends up liking.

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I'm not sleeping b/c of this issue! I knew I couldn't leave two years of math off of her transcript. I'm just trying to figure out how to fill in the last year, esp. if it turns out she can't handle stats or AP Calc. Honestly, is this something you can tell in a newly minted 8th grader? It's difficult for me to plan for her later years not knowing what her strengths are.

 

I know that even for some math types, stats is even more difficult.

 

Last night I started wondering if I had her spend 8th grade solidifying her algebra and possibly revisiting number theory, that I could postpone geometry til freshman year and then follow a typical sequence. Do you think this would be enough to make her competitive for more elite programs? I'm also concerned that I'm wrong about her mathiness and that if I slow her down, I will also be doing her a disservice. I guess this is part of my frustration of why we can't put high school level work done in 8th grade on their transcripts.

 

 

If your student is doing well in algebra now, I see no need to slow her down. If she has difficulties, then yes, spending an extra semester will be beneficial. What does she want? Does she want to spend a year on deeper algebra 1 and discrete math? If that is so, go for it. If she does not want that, let her proceed with geometry.

 

Why do you think she won't do well in statistics? Obviously, she is doing well in math right now - otherwise she would not have finished algebra 1 as a 7th grader. I would, at this point, not worry about how she may do in 5 years! The development during those years is amazing, and you have no way of predicting what will happen.Take it one year at a time.

If she does not want to do stats, she might do two years of calculus, or not do *AP* calculus but regular, or spend a year on discrete math then - or take a math course as dual enrollment. She does no have to be limited to what your public school offers, if she is not actually a full time enrolled student there.

But I would not, in anticipation of the slight possibility of problems five years (!) down the road hold her back in math.

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If she does not want to do stats, she might do two years of calculus, or not do *AP* calculus but regular, or spend a year on discrete math then - or take a math course as dual enrollment. She does no have to be limited to what your public school offers, if she is not actually a full time enrolled student there.

But I would not, in anticipation of the slight possibility of problems five years (!) down the road hold her back in math.

 

 

I agree that I would not hold your daughter back in math. However, if your daughter studies calculus during high school, I would make sure you have her take the AP Calculus (either AB or BC) Exam to validate that she has learned calculus. Other students applying to the USNA who have studied calculus in high school will have an AP score.

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Thanks for replying. I'm not sleeping b/c of this issue! I knew I couldn't leave two years of math off of her transcript. I'm just trying to figure out how to fill in the last year, esp. if it turns out she can't handle stats or AP Calc. Honestly, is this something you can tell in a newly minted 8th grader? It's difficult for me to plan for her later years not knowing what her strengths are.

 

I know that even for some math types, stats is even more difficult.

 

Last night I started wondering if I had her spend 8th grade solidifying her algebra and possibly revisiting number theory, that I could postpone geometry til freshman year and then follow a typical sequence. Do you think this would be enough to make her competitive for more elite programs? I'm also concerned that I'm wrong about her mathiness and that if I slow her down, I will also be doing her a disservice. I guess this is part of my frustration of why we can't put high school level work done in 8th grade on their transcripts.

 

Thanks for all of your help.

Laura

 

I would plan to have her continue to progress at a course a year. If she has been doing ok with algebra, then I wouldn't have her retake the course. If she struggled with concepts, then it might be worth revisiting. On the other hand, some kids do well with the break for geometry and coming back to algebra 2 a year later. IF you get down the road a few years and she isn't able to handle stats or calc, then you figure out what to do at that point. I wouldn't borrow trouble. I might make sure that SHE understands the type of course load she might take as a midshipman. The assumed freshman level math course is college calculus. Calculus is then used in upperclass science courses (especially for engineering majors). A student who had strong math SAT scores and a solid understanding of pre-calculus could be ok. A student who has poor math SAT scores and struggled with pre-calculus in high school isn't a strong candidate for USNA. I only partially buy into the idea that a student is mathy or not. I do think there are people with strong intuitive senses of what is expressed mathematically. But I think there are many, many students who could do pretty well in upper level math if they are persistent and consistent. Just because they don't understand something the first time, or the way it's explained in one book doesn't mean (imho) that they can never understand and ought shift away from math to other subjects. (But that is my own little soapbox.)

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Thanks everyone. It's hard for me not 'to borrow trouble.' It seems to be my nature for homeschooling. All of the 'what ifs.' If she takes geometry as a freshman instead of Alg. II, she'll still make it to calculus. I just have no idea what's involved in Calc BC (or AP Calc). Nor do I know what my dd's math potential is. I don't even know what discrete math is. Fortunately we do have access to great tutors and a decent university.

 

I wish there were a test that could judge high school level math aptitude rather than math achievement. She's taken the ACT (we should get our results back next week) and the WJIII, which indicated high math scores, but that was more on what she knew.

 

I just checked the College Conf. bd, and the typical math sequence there is w/Alg. I in 7th grade. I know those kids aren't typical, but they are typical for the top tier schools. Around here, you're doing great if you start high school with geometry.

 

http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/mathematics-computer-science/754825-what-accelerated-math-course-sequence-your-high-school.html

 

Thanks again everyone.

 

Laura

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I just have no idea what's involved in Calc BC (or AP Calc). Nor do I know what my dd's math potential is.

 

I do not believe in such a thing as "math potential" or "math ceiling" if that is supposed to mean that a student who is initially good at math will reach a point in which she is incapable of progressing further. And to be honest: there really is not that much to calculus - she will be taught in a systematic manner and go through all the classes that lead there, and she will be fine.

Those of my college students who struggle with math all have troubles with prealgebra and algebra, not with the calculus part. If she mastered algebra at her age without great difficulty, I am confident that she'll have the intrinsic ability to learn calculus.

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:blushing: I would never have thought to include them in a transcript. Ds did that work in muddle school, not high school. I always thought that the intelligent life form on the receiving end of my paperwork would figure out that if ds's math credits showed that he took Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus, that he had taken Algebra I prior to high school.

 

OP, I truly mean no disrespect and am curious as to the reasoning. I would love to include ds's impressive 8th grade reading list, but well, that was middle school.

 

You are assuming far too much! Lol. Just kidding.

 

Seriously, our state law requires you to have certain specific courses, so you need to indicate that you covered THOSE courses, and not assume that the person will know that you actually must have done a prior required course if you have done a subsequent one.

 

I will show both, that my child accomplished high school level required courses in 8th grade and that he took subsequent math and science all four years. (The English has to be a certain mix as well).

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You are assuming far too much! Lol. Just kidding.

 

Seriously, our state law requires you to have certain specific courses, so you need to indicate that you covered THOSE courses, and not assume that the person will know that you actually must have done a prior required course if you have done a subsequent one.

 

I will show both, that my child accomplished high school level required courses in 8th grade and that he took subsequent math and science all four years. (The English has to be a certain mix as well).

 

You know it's not just with high schoolers applying to college. I have a BS in English. I'd have to pull out my transcript, but it was something like 12 English credits per year after freshman year. BUT I validated the first semester freshman year. When I went to do my MS Ed and complete the requirements for a high school English endorsement, the powers that be couldn't get past the fact that only one course on my transcript specified that it had taught me rhetoric and writing skills. No matter that I had some 36 credits applying the writing skills. No matter that the course I had validated specified it included rhetoric & writing skills. I actually had to take a course to fill that "missing" English credit.

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I do not believe in such a thing as "math potential" or "math ceiling" if that is supposed to mean that a student who is initially good at math will reach a point in which she is incapable of progressing further. And to be honest: there really is not that much to calculus - she will be taught in a systematic manner and go through all the classes that lead there, and she will be fine.

Those of my college students who struggle with math all have troubles with prealgebra and algebra, not with the calculus part. If she mastered algebra at her age without great difficulty, I am confident that she'll have the intrinsic ability to learn calculus.

 

I never really understood what calculus was describing until I started thumbing a copy of Calculus Made Easy by Silvanus Thompson that my dh had in storage. And I really love this from the prologue:

Considering how many fools can calculate, it is surprising that it

 

 

should be thought either a difficult or a tedious task for any other fool

 

 

to learn how to master the same tricks.

 

Some calculus-tricks are quite easy. Some are enormously difficult.

 

The fools who write the textbooks of advanced mathematics and they

 

are mostly clever fools who seldom take the trouble to show you how easy

 

the easy calculations are. On the contrary, they seem to desire to

 

impress you with their tremendous cleverness by going about it in the

 

most difficult way.

 

Being myself a remarkably stupid fellow, I have had to unteach

 

myself the difficulties, and now beg to present to my fellow fools the

 

parts that are not hard. Master these thoroughly, and the rest will

 

follow. What one fool can do, another can.

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You know it's not just with high schoolers applying to college. I have a BS in English. I'd have to pull out my transcript, but it was something like 12 English credits per year after freshman year. BUT I validated the first semester freshman year. When I went to do my MS Ed and complete the requirements for a high school English endorsement, the powers that be couldn't get past the fact that only one course on my transcript specified that it had taught me rhetoric and writing skills. No matter that I had some 36 credits applying the writing skills. No matter that the course I had validated specified it included rhetoric & writing skills. I actually had to take a course to fill that "missing" English credit.

 

That's crazy...but yeah. You've got to dot "t"'s and cross "i"'s in this racket.

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I do not believe in such a thing as "math potential" or "math ceiling" if that is supposed to mean that a student who is initially good at math will reach a point in which she is incapable of progressing further. And to be honest: there really is not that much to calculus - she will be taught in a systematic manner and go through all the classes that lead there, and she will be fine.

Those of my college students who struggle with math all have troubles with prealgebra and algebra, not with the calculus part. If she mastered algebra at her age without great difficulty, I am confident that she'll have the intrinsic ability to learn calculus.

 

 

Regentrude, thanks so much. This is the sort of validation I have been looking for. It seems like the kids that I know who are this advanced in math tend to reside in a different world than my dd (she's great in Latin/English/logic/history). Her passion lies with sports, not activities like the Math Olympiad.

 

Given the lack of advanced math in my background, it's difficult for me to judge what will be required of her and whether or not she will be able to meet it. You've really put my mind at rest. We will keep on keeping on....

 

 

Laura

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Actually, I think you can't really have "false positives". The student can't "fake" a perfect on the math subject test. Of course a student with an excellent grasp of the material may score significantly below his actual ability because of the format - so I'd expect plenty of "false negatives".

 

I don't know about this. I know a girl who got a perfect score on the SAT math test -- but she really isn't all that stellar in math. It was a bit weird. I suspect she may have been really good at gaming the test? (I would have agreed with you until I heard about this case.)

 

I don't know how common this might be, but I'm not convinced that a really high score necessarily means the student is all that good at math. They may be good at memorizing the tricks that these tests employ, but may not be so good at actually thinking through a novel math problem.

 

And under the false negative category are a lot of kids whose math brains are actually too good for the SAT. If a student thinks deeply and profoundly about math, they likely move too slow to finish in the time limit. But these are the very kids who will do well in math/science classes. They aren't so quick to just memorize. They have to understand the material.

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Regentrude, thanks so much. This is the sort of validation I have been looking for. It seems like the kids that I know who are this advanced in math tend to reside in a different world than my dd (she's great in Latin/English/logic/history). Her passion lies with sports, not activities like the Math Olympiad.

 

 

 

I know a number of kids who are whizzes at math -- but could care less about turning it into a competitive sport like the Math Olympiad. Many people just don't see math that way. Just like there are a lot of excellent birders who just don't see the point of comparing their life list with anyone else's.

 

I kind of wonder if Math Olympiad and things of that ilk actually turn some kids off to math.

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Thanks everyone. It's hard for me not 'to borrow trouble.' It seems to be my nature for homeschooling. All of the 'what ifs.' If she takes geometry as a freshman instead of Alg. II, she'll still make it to calculus. I just have no idea what's involved in Calc BC (or AP Calc). Nor do I know what my dd's math potential is. I don't even know what discrete math is. Fortunately we do have access to great tutors and a decent university.

 

 

And you know, it's really not a big deal if she doesn't do calculus until college. The more important issue is taking it from someone who can really explain it well.

 

Once kids get to college, things sort themselves out. All the worrying over who took what at an early age just disappears. A solid background in the math they have covered is what matters, not getting through a certain course by college.

 

We've got kids in our physics dept who got through multivariable calc in high school -- and kids who only managed to get through Algebra 2. They're all still managing to get through the physics program. The "slow" kids just have a few more math classes they have to take. (It is true that more math seems to be a marker for kids who just do well at math, but it doesn't have to be.)

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