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AoPS online classes-- how much parent involvement?


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With dd's first class (she was your son's age), I sat next to her for the first class session in case she had a technical problem. I stayed in the same room for the next few class sessions.

 

After that, I just made sure she did the reading/problems ahead of class, did the assigned Alcumus and problem sets, and submitted the proofs on time.

 

She's taken three classes.

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I sat with my son during the first class just so he knew what was going on technically. If there's ever a question of what was covered in class, a full transcript of the class is posted soon after the class is over. I would make sure he got on okay the next few times and then I just left him on his own.

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I did sit with DD during the first 5 lessons or so. It was one of her first online classes, and I was nervous about technical stuff and whether she could type fast enough to be noticed (she likes being acknowledged for her answers). As long as I made sure she read and did the problems before class, I didn't have to be there each time.

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Are you taking classes with different providers? I'm tempted to do that for next year, but I'm a little nervous to keep all their calendars, login/passwords, procedures, etc straight. How do you manage it?

Yes, all different! And let me tell you, there's no consolidation in the online education market. Canvass, quia, web ex, propriatory platforms, argh!! We seem to mostly manage though.
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My ds had just turned 10 when he started the AoPS pre-algebra class. Despite being an accelerated math student, he was a struggling reader and didn't have any typing experience, so the chat based AoPs class format was a challenge. The scrolling classroom chat text was often VERY fast moving, and in the beginning, I'd sit with him to read it to him. He'd also get frustrated because he couldn't type his answers quickly enough on his own. He'd shout them out right away, then get upset because he couldn't find it quickly enough on the keyboard. He was very competitive and that bothered him a lot.

 

He didn't need me for any other aspect of the class apart from the actual class sessions. Everything else he could manage independently on his own. We eventually stopped taking AoPS classes and just continued on our own with the books because the class format was so frustrating for him. He'd be fine with it now, but he prefers using the books on his own so we have no need for the class anymore. If they'd offered a video class option, then he likely would have been almost completely independent.

 

If your child is a proficient reader and a good typer, or doesn't mind if other people get their answers in first, then you shouldn't really need to sit in on the classes.

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My experience with pre-A was similar to what SkateLeft said. Ds had trouble at first typing quickly enough etc...but he did figure it out and he become MUCH less frustrated over about three weeks.

 

DH sat in on all the classes because he was ds1's 'math buddy'.  DH is the person who provides help if ds1 got stuck. DH personally felt that he should sit in on class (it was not a hardship for him to do so) in case ds1 got stuck etc. He wanted to make sure he could refer back to the examples in class and use the same language etc. DH is also a huge AoPS fan and sometimes I think he was just having fun, lol.

 

One thing, before AoPS pre-A, ds1 had never used a calculator for math. It became obvious that there were a number of students who were using one, they were posting their answers just so, so quickly. DH did give permission for ds1 to use a scientific calculator during the class just so he could keep up with the pace. He didn't use one for his homework though.

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My experience with pre-A was similar to what SkateLeft said. Ds had trouble at first typing quickly enough etc...but he did figure it out and he become MUCH less frustrated over about three weeks.

 

DH sat in on all the classes because he was ds1's 'math buddy'. DH is the person who provides help if ds1 got stuck. DH personally felt that he should sit in on class (it was not a hardship for him to do so) in case ds1 got stuck etc. He wanted to make sure he could refer back to the examples in class and use the same language etc. DH is also a huge AoPS fan and sometimes I think he was just having fun, lol.

 

One thing, before AoPS pre-A, ds1 had never used a calculator for math. It became obvious that there were a number of students who were using one, they were posting their answers just so, so quickly. DH did give permission for ds1 to use a scientific calculator during the class just so he could keep up with the pace. He didn't use one for his homework though.

I wish DH would take this over, sigh. This is very useful info re calculators. May I ask, why a scientific one? I'm pretty calculator-illiterate. I don't want DS using one at all, and he hasn't thus far. He has a test in 7th grade that doesn't allow calculators. But I also like the balance of maybe using one in class but not on homework. I don't want him to be completely defeated and already have reservations about AOPS classes.
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Don't worry about the Pre-A class and the use of calculators. I'll be fine. I had no idea kids were using calculators, but we never did, not that I own a scientific calculator. It's a fun class overall. After class, kids chat about various things, and that is when I supervise as there is no moderator. As I mentioned in other threads, I would pay just to get feedback from their tutors. Every week kids write a paragraph or two on a problem and the tutors provide detailed feedback with a score.

 

I have an easy-going kid who can get rather excited in typing up an answer during class. It's natural to be disappointed for a slow typist and wants to shine in class. She had to learn to deal with this, and after a couple of classes, you recognize some of the kids, and you may even have chatted with them after class, and you adjust your reaction, learn to type better during the week, and show up early so that you can chat with them. It was an intense few weeks but worth the time and struggle.

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Well, I think he was just using the calculator on his itouch. All ds1 had to do was turn his itouch sideways and it turned into a scientific calculator. That means it can do more functions like cosigns and tangents. He used it in pre-A for exponents (I just asked him, lol)

 

We had to get him a scientific calculator for Algebra anyway (not on his itouch) so we just got him one used on Amazon. He had to take a state Algebra exam at the local high school and it was expected he would have and use a scientific calculator.

 

It was during the after class time that ds asked about how kids were posting so quickly and he was told they were using calculators. DH had suspected that was the case but didn't say anything, but then it was confirmed. But, it wasn't necessary. And he didn't use it during homework.

 

He's right here and he says you didn't need a calculator at all during AoPS pre-A except to keep up with the online class. He got really frustrated trying to keep up on paper. He says it didn't cause him any problems doing the work on paper for homework.

 

He also says he loved the pre-A class and highly recommends it. He loved the word problems and says he always felt so proud when he would get full points on those. 

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Middle schoolers, for sure, just from the way they chatted and what they actually said about themselves. DD was 8. I'm sure there were younger kids like DD's age but they weren't vocal about it. The more prolific chatters were older.

 

It's a fun class, so there is no need to get nervous or to regret signing up for the class (although you can withdraw before the 2nd or 3rd class). It's probably one of the best ways to get started in terms of outsourcing and learning via online.

 

Personalities really come out during chat sessions. One kid was very eager to get the class started and wanted everyone to stop it so that the teacher could teach. The teacher is in fact in control of what shows up in the chat box during class. You certainly don't want to read 30 answers.

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I wish DH would take this over, sigh. This is very useful info re calculators. May I ask, why a scientific one? I'm pretty calculator-illiterate. I don't want DS using one at all, and he hasn't thus far. He has a test in 7th grade that doesn't allow calculators. But I also like the balance of maybe using one in class but not on homework. I don't want him to be completely defeated and already have reservations about AOPS classes.

Wow!  I'm surprised to hear about the calculators.  Richard Rusczyk taught back when my daughter started with AoPS Prealgebra and they weren't allowed to use calculators.  They had a discussion about how you should never need a calculator in AoPS, and that if you need one you are doing the problem wrong.  

 

I have a hard time with the thought that they are using calculators in class.  What is the point?  It's so anti-AoPS.  I have two DC's that use AoPS, they are both among the first few to answer many an occasion, and they aren't using calculators.  The idea that the class population could have devolved to that is really a sad thought.  :confused:  

 

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My son never used a calculator. It didn't even occur to us that other kids might be using one. Knowing that would have made my son feel better about being a slow typer! He would get the answers quickly, but just couldn't type them in fast enough.

 

When my ds took the class a few years ago, it seemed like most of the kids were 10 or so. That was our impression from reading the intros. There were a few older and a few younger, but that age range seemed to be the majority of the class demographic.

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My son is independent on his AoPS classes. He's taken Algebra 1, Counting and Probability, Number Theory, Algebra 2 and will be starting Geometry.  He has never used a calculator for them unless specifically instructed too. Our understanding was that calculators were not allowed.

 

 

 

I did stay nearby the first few classes in case there were technical difficulties.

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My kids generally don't use calculators on AoPS homework, and never used them for online classes.  But sometimes (rarely) there are crazy factorials and exponents that I think is a waste of time to figure out by hand.  

 

I think becoming proficient in RPN is a pretty nice skill to have, though probably anachronistic at this point.  

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I'm bumping my own thread with a couple more questions:

 

1. How much did you help with the math from a scale of 1 "completely indipendent/I left the room/house when kid did any math work" to 5 "we worked through every problem together, and sometimes I had to work the problem and show the kid how I solved it before submitting it?"

 

2. Did you supplement with anything else during the course of the class? Not for difficulty (LOL) but more to see things from a different perspective? I'm looking at some MEP pages for example.

 

Thank you all.

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1. I didn't help with the math. I did do the geometry problems across the table from dd. That way I could anticipate any hints I could give her (similar to the "hints" in the books---by AoPS Geometry I was a master at the well-placed hint ;)) She was able to see me struggle and conquer the really hard problems.

 

2. No supplementation for the classes she took nor for the books on their own.

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We're starting a class at the end of the month too (ds' 4th) - Geometry. :001_smile:

 

#1: How much did I help?

In the earlier classes, probably a 3. The most recent class, it would be a 2 (not my help, but a tutor's). I helped out when ds was a lot younger. I put a "3" because, while he probably could have done with more help, he wasn't keen to receive it. I know that's good and all, but this guy was prone to big tantrums, eww. Anyways!! The most recent class at 11yo (ds just turned 12 btw), I hired a tutor for an hour a week to discuss and help with questions he couldn't crack. The teacher of course knows more of the material, but AOPS is such that they both had to work together, and ds had"the insight" many times ahead of the teacher, simply because he's growing up with the material. Ds loves the discussions and sizzles with energy when the tutor comes.

 

#2: Supplement?

No.

 

And reading upthread - no calculator. Ds' answers gets picked a lot although he's not a particularly fast typist. I think it's because he does what I'm about to write in the next para that allows him to answer.

 

The most effective way for ds to tackle the classes is to do the teaching problems in the text book (he's tried just reading the solutions - not good enough). Next, actively follow the class and attempt every question that the teacher sets. This provides feedback as to whether ds has understood the material or not. Usually after this step, ds is able to answer most of the questions in the homework problem set. Otherwise, he can go back to read the transcript, post questions on the forum pages, or go back to the textbook. I don't help in this learning cycle as I'm out of touch. The tutor is a good sounding board for everything else, or for honing in what ds has already solved but needs more reinforcement.

 

It took ds a while to evolve his methodology, and there will be more evolution yet. It may make sense to think of the Pre-a class as part of a long stream of classes - I wasn't smart enough to think of it this way, but as it turns out, it's been great for work ethic/character development.

 

Good luck to all the families embarking on this journey! :hurray: :hurray: :hurray:

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2.5, lol.

 

Most of it was totally independent. He had his assignment and he did it. But he would usually have at least one problem, maybe 2 that he wanted his dad around for. Mostly dh just sat with him and listened while ds1 talked himself through the problem. DH would also offer a well timed hint or a reminder of what had happened in the online class, but dh tried very hard to just be there for support.

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  • 3 weeks later...

my son is taking counting and probability now, and DH sits next to him for the class and sits with him with the homework--mostly because this is their special time together (DH loves the class). DH feels our son needs a bit of adjustment time before he's ready to go solo with the class, mostly because of how fast the class moves and how much hard work is expected. 

 

DH leaves on a business trip next week so it will be interesting to see what happens. I am not nearly as mathy as DH, although I am happy to provide emotional support LOL.

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Yes Halycon, down to the DH helping and me panicking over a business trip :) I think DS has mastered and unmastered non integer square roots a few times now. I think this will happen with every single topic once we move to the next one. I had to have a chat with Dh; I'm not enjoying this at all.

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