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Tablet Class prealgebra... Halcyon, Derek, anyone else familiar...

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Okay, so though I'm still not 100% sure we'll be at home again next year, I've started trying to narrow down prealgebra options. 


I waded through the prealgebra "fence straddlers" thread.  :svengo:


I've been looking at mainly the following:  Saxon, Tablet Class, AoPS.  Yes, I know they're all quite different from one another! 


Saxon appeals because it's tried and true, and my son LOVES Hake Grammar so he would enjoy the "get 'er done" style but I know it would be thorough.  We'd supplement with LOF and Khan/Aops videos, I'm sure.


AoPS is obviously appealing for many reasons... we loved the videos by RR, and it would certainly challenge him.... however, I really don't know that he will want to wrestle through the whole curriculum and the "discovery" process.  (See "get 'er done" comment above, LOL.)


Tablet Class looks intriguing, and it's been getting rave reviews around here.  It looks thorough, and the price is right.  However... DS was not crazy about it, and I have concerns/questions.


The TC videos seem to move at a pretty slow pace.  They're thorough, but DS is impatient with them.  He says the guy "drones" on about the topic.  (Of course, I made the mistake of showing him the AoPS videos with RR right after, LOL.  Those he loved!)


And, from the samples in the demo, it doesn't appear to go very deep.  However, from comments here on the boards, I know some people whose opinions I highly respect seem to think otherwise.  :)


So, are the TC prealgebra samples representative?  Are those the early lessons?  Does it go a lot deeper?  Am I missing something?  And, DS wants to know if the videos get more entertaining... :coolgleamA:


Thoughts appreciated!!


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Hi Cris, 


It's easy to get bogged down in all the options at this stage, hence the fence straddlers.  In addition what works great for others may or may not be a good fit for your ds.  However it doesn't have to be all or nothing proposition when considering these programs.  In fact we used a combination of TC, AoPS and Khan for Pre-A which worked out great with TC as the spine on our case.  


With regards to lectures, no one will be more exciting/entertaining than RR IMO.  He is very enjoyable to listen to.  So use those lectures, especially if they inspire your ds.  The text is a different story from the lectures though.  It may or may not suit your son based upon what you've stated.  For some it's wonderful while for others it's a total bust.  AoPS as a spine is not a good fit for the majority of students. IMO, this is especially true during this transitional stage moving from concrete operations to abstract reasoning.  But we liked it as a supplement.


TC is definitely challenging for Pre-A.  In fact I don't recommend it for a child who is unprepared to really dig into abstract algebraic reasoning.  Take a look at the S&S and compare it to other Pre-A programs.  You'll notice it has a lot more algebraic content.  For those who need more review of primary math this is not the best choice.  Make sure he has been exposed to variables, equations, negative numbers and graphing.  Similarly AoPS will expect more than most programs in addition to the discovery approach and challenge problems which can take an hour+ to wrestle with.  So chose your spine a bit more carefully. Even if you buy the AoPS text and it doesn't work out you could always use it as supplemental for challenge problems.  And I would imagine resale would be pretty good if you decide not to keep it.


BTW, did you know the full TC lectures are available to listen to here: http://homeschoolmathonline.com/homeschool-pre-algebra/


For $50 for an entire year its really hard to beat IMO.  It wouldn't hurt at all to have more than one resource to pull from as we've discovered.  We liked TC so much I am going to use it again for Algebra 1 'after' AoPS Intro to Algebra for an Algebra 1 review this Summer. 

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Derek, thanks for the thoughts.  It's good to hear how challenging you find TC.  DS is definitely ready for that kind of reasoning... in fact, he could do most of the sample problems without any trouble, so I was hoping it went much further beyond that!


Okay, just went and dug up the S&S... thanks to you posting it in another thread, LOL.  It does look very complete!  I think you're right that he just might not enjoy the text for AoPS, but I could definitely see using the videos along with a program like TC.  For TC, did your son watch every video?  Is that video lesson the only place instruction is given?  I may need to play with the demo a bit more, because I feel like I'm missing part of how it works!!


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Yes, it is video instruction unlike AoPS which is both video and full text instruction.  But there were times when ds12 (11 at the time) knew the material from previous study and so I allowed him to go right to the problems and test.  As long as the student understands the concepts and can work the problems I don't require the videos.  That said in most cases he did watch the lessons.  In addition when he had problems or questions on new concepts like linear equations I also brought in AoPS and Khan for a variety of perspectives.  Our approach was to basically speed up where we could which then allowed us plenty of time to slow down and really 'ponder' the more difficult stuff.  So I did not try to cover the same amount of material per day but instead opted for this more tailored pacing approach.  I think that may have to vary based on a child's learning style as well.


If you want more depth or problems than TC you can easily get that from other supplementals.  We also own Dolciani Pre-A.  I just never felt the need to include it with the materials we used.

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We used TC Pre-A for most of this past school year. And it really wasn't a perfect solution for us. But i am not sure there is any such thing. 


My biggest concern was that it didn't spend enough time on Pre-Algebra and then just jumped straight into Algebra. My son is running a couple years ahead and i had NO intention of jumping another year ahead. I wanted to spend all year doing Pre-A. It seemed silly that we were doing higher level Algebra when we had never even had a chapter on exponents. For us, TC did not really do enough with some basics like negative number manipulation and equation solving at the beginning. We had no problem supplementing with Khan Academy and other things though. He really knows it now! :)


I had the AOPS book so we switched over to using that and we like it. It isn't easy and we struggle, but i like having better explanations for WHY the exponent rules work rather than just "here are the rules, use them." We do use supplementation for AOPS too when we need extra practice, sometimes we come back to TC for that.


Yes the TC videos are a bit dry, but they are very thorough. I think TC would be great for someone advanced who wants a quick transition to Algebra. 


This is just how it worked for our situation...


I still have access to TC Pre-A, so let me know if you have any specific questions that I could look up for you.


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