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How long should I plan on AOPS algebra taking at a single session?


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Last year I tried to keep AOPS pre-algebra to about 1 hour at a time, and it ended up averaging right around 90 minutes to work through a section by mid-year, once DD had caught her stride and gotten used to AOPS. She really, really doesn't like stopping at something that's not a natural stopping point (that is, she can handle stopping before starting the exercises, but dislikes stopping mid-way through a problem set, and really, really dislikes letting a problem go). I'm wondering if I need to block out more time on the schedule for AOPS this year? It feels like all her subjects are ramping up as far as output at once, and I don't want to overload the kid!

 

 

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I have not used the pre-algebra book, but all the others.

I found it not feasible to require my student to complete an entire section of an AoPS text in one sitting because the difficulty varies greatly and often an hour is only enough to do two or three problems (and occasionally a single problem takes 2+ hours).

I require an hour of math from my DS, because that is how long he can concentrate and work in a focused way; if he spends more time on math, the rate of stupid mistakes increases. He works until time is up (unless he is in the middle of a problem or determined to solve a complicated problem and stay with it until it is done), and it takes however long it takes to get through the book.

 

You need to see how much quality work you can get from your DD. We gradually increased the time; two years ago, the point when quality degraded for DS was 45 minutes. It was not worth pushing beyond that.

My DD OTOH was able to work in longer math binges and sometimes did 2+ hours of math in one day and none in others. It really depends on the kid.

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Dd hates to stop halfway through an AoPS section. I can count on one hand the number of times she's stopped after the problems/before the exercises in the past two years. Usually it's because the section is really long or complicated (lots of proofs), but sometimes it's because she gets frustrated and I force her to stop.

 

She generally works 45-75 minutes a day on math. She worked 75-90 min per day on geometry last year, but that's because she took the online class and did all the book problems as well (her choice).

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  • 3 weeks later...

My daughter is a little older but she does about 3-5 hours of math daily including Mathletics. We use AoPS book as primary and supplement with Russian math and Mathletics. We schedule math as problem assigned, so she stops when she is done. Sometimes I break a chapter in  smaller portions and assign additional outsourced problems as a reinforcement. I want to be sure she understands what she is studying before she start working on AoPS problems. It makes a process smoother and she makes less mistakes.

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We're only in chapter 5.  We work in roughly 45-minute chunks (or work time -- we space it out sometimes) and we are at 2 sessions per section on the short end and about 7 on the long end. 

 

ETA: I find that there are options for natural stopping points DURING many problems, because they are multi-step and the steps can be quite discrete.  So right now for systems of linear equations, we often 1. write & organize the equations; 2. set up for substitution of a variable; 3. find the value of that variable; 4. find the value of the remaining variable.  At any or all of these points we can step away, and I'm teaching him to set up his work in a standard and (relatively) clear manner so he can pick up again.   I know this won't work for many children, but perhaps you'll find a way to successfully chunk it ...

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I totally hear you. My ds did not like to stop in the middle either. He took around 1.5 hours to get through the problems and 1.5 for the exercises. So typically 2 days per section. However, I found that it was important for me to look ahead and give him warning if the section was either short or long. Setting expectations was key.

Obviously, 1 day meant problems and exercises;
2 day meant 1 day problems and 1 days exercises;
a 3 day section was more difficult for him to accept, but he would do either 2 days problems, 1 day exercises or vice versa.

For review and challengers, he worked for 1.5 hours and would stop when that last problem was done. Reviews were typically 2 or 3 days; challengers about 5 or more days (he loved challengers!)

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My eldest usually breaks up each section - doing the problems one day and the exercises the next.  I save Alcumus for their own days.  There have been reviews sections that I've broken up, though I can't remember at what point we did this but it's not every one.  Usually, it was 2 days.  And challenge problems also got their own day.  My eldest is advanced and does very well with AoPS, but he is also a kid who likes to have maximum time for play.  So, having the problems/exercising/Alcumus on different days really helped this.  I also found he was more willing to struggle through any particularly difficult problems if I broke it up.  In the first 13/14 chapters, I had him do every single challenge problem in Intro to Alg.  We switched that up for the second half - I would tell him to pick 6-8 problems from the challenge section to do.  I found that caused him to focus much better.   And since he was doing every single problem in the other section, it wasn't a big deal.

When he did the Intro to Alg book, I just looked ahead of time to see how to break it up, since not all sections are going to take the same amount of time.   I think it took 30-90 minutes, with 45 minutes being the most common.   He's done 6 chapters of Intro to Geometry so far and I think I must be breaking that up almost too much - as most seem to take him less than 30 minutes.  But I've heard the Geometry can be trickier for students and he's younger than the norm for Geometry so I want to make sure he takes his time.

 

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My daughter is a little older but she does about 3-5 hours of math daily including Mathletics. We use AoPS book as primary and supplement with Russian math and Mathletics. We schedule math as problem assigned, so she stops when she is done. Sometimes I break a chapter in smaller portions and assign additional outsourced problems as a reinforcement. I want to be sure she understands what she is studying before she start working on AoPS problems. It makes a process smoother and she makes less mistakes.

That is a lot of maths - I assume she has plans that involve maths.

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That is a lot of maths - I assume she has plans that involve maths.

 

Yes, she wants to be a robotics engineer, so I really want her to be ready for a private college when she goes there. It is a very challenging school which runs on trimesters ( my husband graduated from it).

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My youngest (6th grade) is finishing the AoPS Algebra book. He did the pre-Alg book last year so he's had a lot of AoPS practice. The first year each lesson took more time.

-  He normally does all the exercises including star problems for a lesson in one sitting. That takes 1-2 hours.

-  Certain topics really challenge him so he breaks up the exercises for those over two days. The first day is two hours, but the second day always goes fast. I think they learn while they're sleeping sometimes!

-  The following day we work through any missed exercises. He has a difficult time knowing how to show his work on the problems for which he visualizes the answer. For those I have him verbally explain to me what he did. That helps him identify the steps he took so that he can write them down.

-  The next day he does the problems for the following lesson in the morning which takes about 30 minutes. In the afternoon we discuss the explanations from the book which takes about an hour. It would be easier to just have him read the solutions, but that is totally ineffective for some reason.

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I also want to gently remind everyone (this is not aimed at anyone in particular and might actually be based on a different thread I was reading), that AoPS books are not designed to be completed in a standard year.  Sometimes it just takes as long as it takes. And given that we are posting on the accelerated board, we all have time to let our students take longer if that is what is required.

 

I have said it before, but my older took almost 3 full years (40+ weeks each year) to finish AoPS Intro Algebra. 4th, 5th, and 6th.  He just needed it, and this very luxurious pace has paid off in spades.

 

Ruth in NZ

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