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Can we talk Math Options for NON Math students


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I am curious to know for those of you with non math students what are your plans.

 

We are currently working through Algebra 1 and honestly I think it will we will get through it but its a struggle (not sure how much she is going to remember)  and I don't think Algebra 2 is a realistic  option . Its not the curriculum we are using, she is just NOT a math person!  She does not want to go to college as of right now.

 

My question is .. isn't there a basic math option for these students. I think a math where she would learning basics for life like managing her finances, banking, credit cards, understanding taxes, mortgages and all the stuff you really use .. would be helpful.

 

I honestly do not understand the push for Algebra , I understand colleges want that. But I am finishing my degree now for a Bachelors in Psychology and I was able to take a basic math course because I didn't have algebra.

 

It just seems that our children are being pushed to take these classes , that for the most part are things that they will never use, yet they are not taught how to manage their finances?

 

Anyway.. can you share any Math courses that would be an option for this? I was thinking a business math , or accounting? 

 

Thanks!

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With my oldest, we used Abeka consumer math. It was very basic and very good. We also used Lial's Basic College math. I got an old copy off Amazon. My youngest, dd16, is currently going through Algebra 1, and I doubt she will go any farther. We will just do the consumer math and call it good.

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Have you looked up dyscalculia?

 

What are the requirements for High School diplomas for homeschoolers in your state?  In case she changes her mind about college have you actually looked at specific colleges that might provide degrees in areas of interest to her that might not require higher level maths?  What about apprenticeships in an area she has interest?  Could you check in to those and see what the math requirements are?

 

I agree that the push for all students to go to higher level maths seems unhealthy and short sighted.  We all have different strengths and weaknesses.  No one expects every single High Schooler to graduate painting like MIchelangelo.  Nor are they expected to play like Mozart.   Or even an apprentice studying under a master.  

 

Math is just as much a creative process at the higher levels as music and art.  It is just a different creative process.  Some have a gift for that type of creative process.  Some are able to do well or at least make it through with some understanding and success even without a true gift in this area.  And some may limp along and finally get to the end but will never be truly good at it or retain much afterwards.  Still, they make it through.  And others will still be doing the equivalent of stick figures and will be considered failures because they could not achieve that higher level of creativity.  

 

Why should they be considered failures?  That is how humans are.  We are not robots all manufactured to do the same thing the same way at the same level.   We are not tires being manufactured in a plant.  You put it all together in an assembly line and we all come out the same.  We aren't like that.  We just aren't. And it is ridiculous and demoralizing to give kids the impression they are failures when they can't.  And shortsighted.  Many kids who have gifts in other areas, gifts that we need, are going to think they are failures or be discouraged from trying for a higher education (whether that be college or whatever) in a field they might be really good at simply because they have an area that that they are not as strong in.

 

And 100% I agree that ALL students should be taught how to manage their finances.  There are a heck of a lot of people out there that do great with math classes that cannot make sound decisions with their own finances.  Life skills are usually no longer emphasized in ps and our nation is swimming in debt.  Its stupid.  I absolutely intend to teach my kids about personal financial management.

 

 

Edited to add: I think kids should be given the opportunity to go as far in math as they are able to successfully and I do see the benefits of some Algebra for the outside world.  I do not think it is a useful endeavor to push a child that is not understanding higher math to just "get through and get a grade" if that grade does not represent any actual understanding and retention of the material.  Unfortunately, without that meaningless grade the child may be prevented from going on to find their strengths in areas they could do really well in.

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... I think kids should be given the opportunity to go as far in math as they are able to successfully and I do see the benefits of some Algebra for the outside world.  I do not think it is a useful endeavor to push a child that is not understanding higher math to just "get through and get a grade" if that grade does not represent any actual understanding and retention of the material.  Unfortunately, without that meaningless grade the child may be prevented from going on to find their strengths in areas they could do really well in.

 

Totally agree here.

 

Students struggle in Math for many many different reasons.  Some have dyscalculia-- a true learning disablity (disconnect in brain processing).  Some still need practice with basic (concrete) math (late bloomers).  Some have pure disinterest.  Some just need instruction that matches their learning style...

 

I believe that we (as homeschooling parents) should encourage our students to learn to THEIR potential so they have the skills/options for a future as a productive adult.  For some their 'potential' is Pre-Calc or Calc-- but for others their potential is Basic College Math.

 

As a Math teacher I have several former students who BARELY completed Algebra 1 in high school (as in grade of low C) who have attened or are attending college on full or partial scholarship!---sure they are NOT majoring in a math heavy field--but they are on their way to become wonderful productive adults.

 

My father graduated from college in 1977 and went on to get a Master's degree.  He NEVER took Algebra (only basic math).

My brother graduated from high school in 1980-- he had basic (life-skills) math.

Both of these guys are wonderful productive men who can provide for their families. 

 

Students today are NOT any more intelligent than students 30 years ago.  While the push for MAXIMUM potential in Math has allowed more students to move into higher tech professions--it has also frustrated and demeaned students who are 'math strugglers' who would greatly benefit from a 'life skills' math program--but have instead been forced to 'conform' to STEM requirements or face being labeld as inadequate.

 

I have one former student who graduated from his homeschool with only Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 (barely passing them with LOTS of one on one tutoring).  This student went to college and THEN discovered that he could do math (true late bloomer)!  He went on to get a Master's and then a PHD in Math (I never saw that one coming!). 

 

My oldest daughter had only 2 math credits (Algebra 1 and 2) when she graduated from our homeschool--and getting her that far took lots of sweat and tears (on both our parts!).  She had very few other 'valid' credits-- my dd has Aspergers and we did what we could do.  When she expressed a desire to go to college DH and I thought it would be a waste of time and money.  We were shocked when she passed the entrance tests (barely).  We were amazed when she graduated with HONORS!  She only needed ONE math class for her degree-- and she aced it (a generic/life-skills College Math class that had a touch of Business Math and Statistics).

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Specifically, sounds like you are looking for a Consumer Math program ("managing her finances, banking, credit cards, understanding taxes, mortgages and all the stuff you really use"). And yes, I highly encourage doing that -- I had both DSs go through a Consumer Math for the sheer practicality of it.

 

Some Personal Finance programs also cover these topics, although usually not in an as much depth or with as much practice of basic math functions as a Consumer Math program does, go typically Personal Finance is considered an elective credit, while Consumer Math is considered a math credit.

 

BUT, like the previous posters, I also encourage you to keep plugging away with through the typical required maths if your student can at all do it; some students have very delayed development of the math portions of the brain, and are finally able to handle Alg. 1/Alg. 2 in grade 12 (age 17-18-19), when there was no way they could do it in grades 9-10 (age 13-16). If a student is a math-struggler, it is often better to solidify foundational math skills by doing (or re-doing) Pre-Algebra in 9th grade, which also allows for more time for the abstract math portions of the brain to develop.  And that allows time to get through Alg. 2 by 12th grade.

 

I encourage you to not make the decision to permanently shelve the math in the early years of high school, which can shut the door on future options, or at least make it more difficult to re-open the door to options that your student may really want to investigate at a later date. Especially when a little more time for brain maturing might make it quite possible to get through Alg. 1 and Alg. 2 by the end of 12th grade.

 

Unsolicited advice here ;): I note from your signature that your DD is 9th grade and you are using Saxon Alg. 1. Saxon is frequently NOT a good fit for a math-struggler, for a variety of reasons. In your specific situation, what about backing up now (you're only halfway through 9th, so you have lots of time) and starting the Alg. 1 over again by switching over to a math that is typically a much better fit for a non-mathy student (Lial's Basic College Math, Teaching Textbook, Kinetic Textbooks, or Math-U-See). See if a second round from a different type of teaching/learning style helps the Algebra click a bit better. (And, I am offering that suggestion out of seeing it work from our own personal experience. :))

 

Another idea: what about finding a good local math tutor who specializes in math strugglers? A tutor has experience in presenting material in a variety of ways and can often find a specific way of explaining that "clicks" for a non-mathy student.

 

 

Just as an encouragement about college/future:

While many colleges have an admission requirement for incoming freshman of 4 years of math that include: Alg. 1, Geom., Alg. 2, and a higher math with Alg. 2 as a pre-requisite, NOT ALL DO! :) There are a number of small liberal arts colleges (LAC) that only require up through Alg. 2, and a very few that only require Alg. 1 and Geom. AND, some universities are a bit flexible about those required credits for admission if the student (esp. if it is a student talented in another area) is not going into a STEM (science-tech-engineering-math) field. Also, many vocational-technical schools offer Associate (AAS) Degrees and 1-year Certificates that do NOT have a math requirement. And some of those AAS degrees can earn good money!

 

Your DD is only 9th grade; she will change a LOT in the next 3.5 years, and she very likely will have completely changed her mind about what she wants to do in her future several times by then. Keeping as many doors open now by working as much as possible towards a college-admission set of credits in high school will be all to DD's benefit. :)

 

 

Here was the high school math path of our DS with mild LDs (spelling, writing, and abstract math -- i.e., Algebra):

9th / 10th = Alg. 1

10th = Geometry

11th / 12th = Alg. 2

12th = Consumer Math

 

Both Algebras took 1.5 years to complete. Painfully repeating many lessons 2, 3, 4 times. Using the gentlest program out there (MUS). And even at the end, while DS could "get to the answer", he really didn't quite "click" with what the concepts. For the Algebra 1, we did it twice -- 9th grade was Jacobs Algebra, and first half of 10th was the entire MUS Algebra 1 -- so a complete Algebra 1 repeat. For Algebra 2, we used MUS, and repeated lessons multiple times.

 

DS is currently at the local Community College (CC), and I'm coaching him through the College Algebra textbook at home and he'll take the CLEP test (a passing score earns the credit, but without a grade) when we complete the textbook at his pace, rather than making him try to keep up with a classroom pace for College Algebra. We'll see how that ends up… We're currently in the introductory review section, and DS is actually clicking pretty well so far -- and he hasn't seen any algebra for 3.5 years! So that is a very good sign to me that he may have done some more brain maturing, and we may get through Algebra this time without it being SUCH a bumpy ride! :) 

 

In answer to your question about Math Options for NON Math students:

 

Curricula Options for Non-Mathy Students:

 

- Math-U-See

Pre-Algebra through Pre-Calculus + "Stewardship" Personal Finance

(also now offering online co-op classes)

 

Kinetic Books

Pre-Algebra through Algebra 2

digital traditional textbook with animations, interactive simulations, etc

 

- Teaching Textbooks

Pre-Algebra through Pre-Calculus

video for every problem; gentle pace — need to do the first part of Pre-Calc to complete Alg. 2 topics

 

Life of Fred

Pre-Algebra through Statistics

for out-of-the-box non-traditional math-thinkiers; story problems; real-life-based

 

- Videotext

Algebra through Pre-Calculus

video instruction for non-Algebra students

 

My Homeschool Math Class, Jann Perkins

Pre-Algebra through Algebra 2

online class instructor, with class interaction and extra teacher tutoring help (teacher is Jann in TX of the WTM Board!)

 

 

Supplements/Support

 

- Khan Academy

free video tutorials on topics in Pre-Algebra through Statistics

 

- Online Math Learning

free video tutorials/articles, Pre-Algebra through Statistics

 

- HippoCampus

free tutorials, Algebra through Statistics

 

- Math Relief

Algebra 1 and Algebra 2

for a fee; video tutorials

 

- Mastering Algebra DVDs by Art Reed

for a fee; video tutorials

 

Remedial Math High School Credits

(student is studying elementary math topics in grades 9-12)

- Math Foundations

- Topics in Math

 

Slower Pace Student High School Credits

(student working a year or two behind the average)

- Pre-Algebra

- Algebra 1A (suggested course title if student needs 2 years to complete 1 math)

- Algebra 1B (suggested course title if student needs 2 years to complete 1 math)

- Geometry

 

Speciality Maths or Math Electives for Non-Mathy Students

(suggested: complete math credits up thru Alg. 2, then choose something to fill out to 4 math credits)

- Integrated Math

- Consumer Math

- Business Math

- Finance

- Accounting

 

Sources for Speciality/Elective Maths

ALEKS (online, self-paced) -- Integrated Math, Business Math, Accounting

Switched On Schoolhouse (CD-based, self-paced) -- Consumer Math (under Electives), Accounting (under Business)

Abeka, Bob Jones, MUS -- Consumer Math

Landry Academy (online classes) -- Accounting, remedial: Solidifying Foundations in Algebra

 

 

Lots of ideas for Consumer Math and Personal Finance in this past thread: "Consumer Math".

 

 

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My DD is not a Math student.  She gets good grades, but she absolutely HATES it!  She will not be a STEM student.  She's amazingly average, and we love her for it!

 

We have been using Horizons since K because it's a spiral math and that's what she needed.  However, going into Pre-Algebra next year, we feel she's going to need a more conceptual approach to really grasp the meaning of the upper level Maths.  Therefore, we're going to try VideoText Algebra: A Complete Course. I want her to go the non-traditional route of learning and understanding all of Algebra before dipping her toes into Geometry.  I could never wrap my head around why PS breaks up Algebra the way they do in the first place.

 

Since we plan to purchase it by unit, if VT Algebra is too heavy for her, we do have Horizons Pre-Algebra waiting in the wings as a supplement or to replace it. That way we won't feel like we wasted a ton of money.  We'll just keep getting units until she either hits a wall or finishes it. Our goal is to push her as far as she can go, but not to overwhelm her.

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My non math daughter is going through Math and You by Ron Larson right now and it is a good text. I also had her go through The Cartoon Guide to Statistics and The Manga Guide to Statistics. She did do Algebra and Geometry. I personally feel statistics is much more valuable for a non stem minded student (actually I think they should take it as well) than higher math.

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My youngest really struggles with math. She is dyslexic and dysgraphic. Her LDs affect her math more than any other subject at this point.

 

She is in 11th grade and has worked through MUS Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II (current) over the past 2.5 years. She will actually be finishing Algebra II around spring break. I am trying to figure out what I'm going to have her do at that point.

 

She wants to be a business major. That involves Business Math (college algebra, but all problems related to finance), Business Calculus, and Accounting I and II. I'm hoping to have her take at least Business Math at the cc in the fall to help prepare her for Business Calculus. I would actually love to have her go through all four of these courses at the cc next schoolyear so she can take them with full support. Right now she is not allowed to take math at the cc because she hasn't placed into the lowest regular math class. I'm hoping that her latest SAT will have a math score high enough to allow her to take Business Math.

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Is there a book-based (not online or video based) Algebra I program for non-math students?

 

Life of Fred doesn't offer much in the way of explanation and sometimes makes math leaps that the author assumes the students will catch or rationalize on their own - my student does not. :)

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Wow! Thank you all so much!  Lori your post was really great! So helpful! I really appreciate all your advice!

 

 Its funny because as we work through the lessons in the Saxon algebra some of it she really gets and has no problem, then there will be another concept that is just like forget it there is no understanding.

I do like how they describe step by step. But I do feel in some of their explanations are overly wordy and rather confusing as we get deeper into the text.

 

 She always says its not the text , she likes it but I am going to check into the others that you suggested.

 

 How do you go about switching , do you mean we should start completely over with the new text or try and review and pick up where she is comfortable.?

 

I definitely will have her do a consumer math at some point and maybe a personal finance as an elective.

 

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  I was just looking at some of the options you suggested Lori  and I am trying to find something reasonable price. So difficult to tell without being able to look them over.

 

 I did find the MUS Algebra 1 2002 student text, test booklet , teacher manual on ebay for 9.99

. Does anyone know if this is a good edition or is everything that would be needed?

 

 

 

Also Saw the Teaching textbooks Algebra 1  textbook, answer key and test bank with no cds. on ebay but this program seems to be a bit pricey.

 

 Going to check amazon and see what they offer and also the local library.

 

 Also thank you for the idea of splitting it into two years :)  I hadn't thought of that. we may have to do that for Algebra 1. Especially if we switch programs.

Thanks!

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I second not shelving the higher math before trying other options.

 

My oldest struggled mightily with math. Saxon was a nightmare, and not a good fit at all for us. It took her two years to get through Algebra I. We went through a couple of programs over the years, and finished out with Teaching Textbooks. Anyway, she matured and learned enough to get a B in Statistics in college last semester.

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There are so many different curriculum options. I would get samples and have dd review them with you. I did this year's ago with my dd. it helped her a lot. She picked our main text and I gave supplements. In math I like to have the student see the same topic present in different ways. I'm a math/science person so I probably went overboard for my dc. For a non math person I'd get one main program and use Danica Mckellars books to supplement as well as youtube (lots and lots there).

 

I'd try to end high school Math with basic statistics and consumer math. Consumer math or personal finance is now a requirement of all students in many public schools. Most kids are taking it in addition to, not in place of typical math.

 

I think ninth grade is early to rule out college by not planning enough math. I would try a different route before shutting the door.

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  I was just looking at some of the options you suggested Lori  and I am trying to find something reasonable price. So difficult to tell without being able to look them over.

 

 I did find the MUS Algebra 1 2002 student text, test booklet , teacher manual on ebay for 9.99

. Does anyone know if this is a good edition or is everything that would be needed?

 

 

 

Also Saw the Teaching textbooks Algebra 1  textbook, answer key and test bank with no cds. on ebay but this program seems to be a bit pricey.

 

 Going to check amazon and see what they offer and also the local library.

 

 Also thank you for the idea of splitting it into two years :)  I hadn't thought of that. we may have to do that for Algebra 1. Especially if we switch programs.

Thanks!

 

If she likes the Saxon, but is having some trouble with some of the explanations, you might try the Virtual Homeschool Group's free at-your-own-pace course for Saxon Algebra 1 (scroll down a bit here):   http://www.virtualhomeschoolgroup.com/course/category.php?id=65

 

It includes recorded video lectures, online problem sets, and tests.  Since it is at your own pace, you could pick up where she started running into trouble.  I switched my ds 14 to this course when he got completely bogged down in the Dolciani text we were using.  So far, he is doing quite well with it, and math has ceased to be a hair pulling event (knock wood).

 

 

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If she likes the Saxon, but is having some trouble with some of the explanations, you might try the Virtual Homeschool Group's free at-your-own-pace course for Saxon Algebra 1 (scroll down a bit here):   http://www.virtualhomeschoolgroup.com/course/category.php?id=65

 

It includes recorded video lectures, online problem sets, and tests.  Since it is at your own pace, you could pick up where she started running into trouble.  I switched my ds 14 to this course when he got completely bogged down in the Dolciani text we were using.  So far, he is doing quite well with it, and math has ceased to be a hair pulling event (knock wood).

 

 

Oh thank you so much for this !!  Maybe it will make it slightly more exciting than staring at a textbook! ;)

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