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Algebra I - 8th or 9th grade?


MamaHappy
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When did your dc take Algebra I?  

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  1. 1. What year did (or will) your dc take Algebra I?



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I'm curious to know when homeschoolers have their dc take Algebra I.

 

I have an upcoming 7th grader and I'm not sure when to have him take it.  It seems like most public schools around here have kids take it in 8th.  I took it in 9th and did very well with it.  I'm inclined to have my dc take it in 9th as I did, but I don't want to disadvantage them in any way. 

 

When did (or will) your dc take it and why?

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Other and all of the above? 

 

Mine start alg 1 when they've completed a sturdy course of arithmetic and not at an arbitrary grade level.

 

Between my oldest three kids, including one who took two years to get through alg 1, I could vote for every grade option in the poll.

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IMHO, this needs to depend more on the child.  If they are solid on all the basic skills necessary for Algebra I, then move them forward.  If they are still shaky on key components, then working on those first seems  a better idea to me, at least for most kids.

 

FWIW, DD won't get to Algebra I until 10th grade.  She is dyscalculic and math is a HUGE challenge for her.  Rushing her through would be useless.  DS, on the other hand, seems to be hitting his stride even though he was behind for a while, too (my fault, I dragged him along with whatever DD was doing).  He may hit Algebra I in 8th.  But only if he seems solid in the necessary skills needed to move forward.

 

ETA, OP what is your child using for math and where are they in that program?  

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I voted other. My boys completed Math Mammoth 6B and then some. They have done most of the material in algebra 1 via Keys to Algebra--this year, we're are doing a survey of math, discrete mathematics and problem solving. We'll continue to do the same again next year probably and then we are going straight through Highschool mathematics. (I think...:unsure:)

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Students should take algebra 1 when they are ready.  They are ready when they have completed the prerequisites, whenever that turns out to be.

 

In most programs, the prerequisites will have been completed at the end of "prealgebra" or "8th grade math."  Of course, it is also possible to complete the prerequisites via a custom, cobbling-together of resources.  Different programs have differing amounts of introductory algebra included; it's most important that the basics be solid.

 

For students who are behind schedule, as in not on schedule for algebra 1 in 9th, I would recommend continuing math through summers and such to catch up if possible.  (Math prior to algebra 1 is not considered high school level though obviously there will be students in remedial courses in high school.)

 

For students who are ahead of schedule, algebra 1 in 8th allows for calculus in high school, which can be very helpful for students who end up interested in a number of fields, including engineering and such, and also for students interested in applying to very competitive colleges.

 

 

 

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Both my boys took algebra 1 early. They were ready and need it for their science interests.

If your son is ready in 8th, than do algebra 1 in 8th. Better a do over in 9th than to not have that option of a do over. It also depends on what he wants to do for science. If he is a physics loving kid, I'll do earlier if ready.

My school district offers algebra 1 in 7th and 8th grade.

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DD is taking it in 7th grade (this year), but will not finish it until a couple months into grade 8, probably.

When a child has mastered all arithmetic skills, and can handle the jump in logic for algebra, they can take algebra :)

You'll find children on this board taking it in high school, some in middle school, some in elementary school. Homeschool perk :)

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Depending on how you homeschool, you may have limits as to when you can officially list it. My DD cannot officially take algebra 1 until 8th grade. SO she's taking 5th grade math that just happens to use AOPS Introduction to Algebra as it's primary textbook :)

 

 

 

 

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One more thing to add.  I didn't take algebra until 9th grade (I moved at one point and missed the new-district's cut-off for placement in Alg in middle school).  I still went on to take advanced math and grad level statistics in college without problem.  The only time it becomes a big deal is if you don't get on track for high school maths required for college (generally this is lag 1, geometry, alg 2) or if you want to take a related class (physics for example) and don't have the math yet.  

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Shouldn't they take algebra when they finish arithmetic? If your child can add, subtract, multiply, divide and convert with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percentages and integers, then you should move into algebra, because they're done with arithmetic.

 

Yes and no.  Really, there is more abstract thinking that takes place in Algebra, and some kids' brains just aren't ready yet to really get it.  They need to move into a different cognitive stage than that required by arithmetic, usually about the same time they hit puberty.  Not always the case, but just because they can do arithmetic doesn't mean they are ready for Algebra.  Even if they can do DragonBox-style manipulations it is different because they are still doing it concretely.  Young kids can explore, and even grasp, some algebraic thinking, even calculus thinking.  In fact, they can be better at it than many adults.  Preserving that thinking will help them in the future when the other skills and abilities required for algebra/trig/calc/etc have also developed.  Better to spend time and go deep into mathematical thinking, problem solving, finding the beauty in math, than to jump into Algebra too early,  and find your student doesn't retain, gains a dislike because of the difficulty, or that you end up pulling them through the subject.

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When I was in school (the 80's) the kids in the smartest class took Alg 1 in 8th grade and the kids in the not as smart class took it in 9th.

 

I'm sure they weren't called "smartest class" and "not as smart class" but that's what it looked like to me when I was 12.

 

I was in the "not as smart class" because I was behind in math. I was eons ahead in all the other subjects, but because of math they held me back in everything else.

 

So--as to when you teach it to your children, it depends on whether or not they're ready. If they're ready, start it up earlier. If they're not, wait.

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mine have done well in math and hit algebra in 7th grade.  MY ds struggled this year with maturity in wanting to do the math.  But he tests with a high A every time.  So I know it's maturity, not ability.  In hindsight I wish we would have done an easier algebra this year and a harder one in 8th.  But you learn with each kid...so his sister can have a better plan than I did with him lol.  He is moving on to geometry in 8th grade but we plan to go slow and expect it to take over a year....

 

looking back I kinda wish I hadn't let them rush ahead in math.  it has had its issues being ahead....

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When they are ready.  For DD that was this year.  She would be in 8th grade public school, but is doing 9th grade work at home.  My older son will take per-algebra next year in 7th, which is algebra lite and will take algebra I the next year.  I have no idea how long it will take my youngest.  Right now he is on track to take it in 8th, but we'll see when he gets there.  I took Algebra i in 9th grade, it wasn't offered before then at my school.  The highest math offered in my high school was per-calculus which I took my senior year.

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I voted other because it depends on the kid. My oldest is registered as 5th grade this year and I considered moving him into it, but decided to spend one more year getting his fact recal a little sharper. He'll head into it in 6th grade. My dd will probably heading into it for 7th or 8th (8th is most likely) just because she likes to takes things in at a pretty slow and steady rate and math is not her favourite subject. My youngest, even if he didn't accelerate any more at all, would be in algebra easily by 5th grade.

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Students should take algebra 1 when they are ready.  They are ready when they have completed the prerequisites, whenever that turns out to be.

 

In most programs, the prerequisites will have been completed at the end of "prealgebra" or "8th grade math."  Of course, it is also possible to complete the prerequisites via a custom, cobbling-together of resources.  Different programs have differing amounts of introductory algebra included; it's most important that the basics be solid.

 

For students who are behind schedule, as in not on schedule for algebra 1 in 9th, I would recommend continuing math through summers and such to catch up if possible.  (Math prior to algebra 1 is not considered high school level though obviously there will be students in remedial courses in high school.)

 

For students who are ahead of schedule, algebra 1 in 8th allows for calculus in high school, which can be very helpful for students who end up interested in a number of fields, including engineering and such, and also for students interested in applying to very competitive colleges.

Not sure if my post triggered this or not, but I agree, working through summers makes lots of sense if a child is behind, not just to catch up but because working through the summers may keep the math concepts/computational skills from getting rusty and putting them further behind.  Even adding in some math Saturdays may help (but if the child really hates math, do something different, something fun with math, to help further their skills but still help them see that math doesn't have to be drudgery and pain).

 

FWIW, DD is actually doing just that, math through the summers (and some Saturdays).  That is the ONLY way she might reach Algebra I by 10th grade.  We had to start completely from scratch in 7th grade.  She was in a brick and mortar through 5th, had some abysmal instruction for 3 years, was dealing with undiagnosed learning challenges and came out of brick and mortar really severely weak in math.  We had a terrible 6th grade year in math as homeschoolers.  It was obvious key pieces of information were just never there in the first place (including basic subitization skills).  Starting over was the best possible thing we could have done.   Math is finally clicking.  Yay!!!  We are going at a much faster rate now but we can't just skip ahead or, like a house of cards, it all falls apart.  Steady pace, lots of review.  

 

I don't know how far she will get, but seeing math make sense to her and seeing her working through problems, despite her LDs, is a huge relief.  If she needs an extra year to get her math credits, so be it.  Actually LEARNING the math is far more important to me and to her than just getting credits on a transcript.  Before she was homeschooling, her math teacher for 3rd-5th had no idea how to help a struggling student.  She just kept passing her.  The math grades were essentially a lie and DD wasted 3 years not making much progress at all.  Makes me so mad.  I won't let that happen again.

 

Anyway, as I think I mentioned up thread, 8th grade seems a great time to get into Algebra I.  It gives the child more time to get through higher level maths if they are thinking of STEM careers.  

 

If they are mature enough and have the basic concepts down solid, and they could move into Algebra I sooner, sure,  just move them on into Algebra I before that.  

 

If they are not yet ready, it seems silly and potentially detrimental to push them forward. Give them more time solidifying the basic skills and time for their brains to mature.  

 

But unless they really aren't ready yet, I wouldn't wait to start Algebra I past 9th grade if a child is thinking of college/uni.  Too hard to get through the math requirements for most Universities in the time remaining.

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My son will do it in 9th. Now, he covered the four operations, fractions, decimals, and percents in 6th grade, but he wasn't ready to do algebra in 7th. He is doing "7th grade math" and doing well, but I don't believe he's ready for algebra next year in 8th either! There is a lot more included in prealgebra than just arithmetic. He is solving basic linear equations, factoring, doing lots of geometry, graphing, statistics, etc. By the time he does algebra in 9th grade, it will be a step, not a LEAP, up from what he was doing the year before. Sure, some kids are ready to leap, but don't think that all of "middle school math" is just a repeat of 5th grade math.

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Take algebra WHEN READY! - not just ready to do an easy algebra program, but ready to tackle tough problems and to think.

 

1st son - algebra in 6th grade (probably should have started sooner, but it never occurred to me) - math geek

2nd son - algebra in 7th -8th

3rd - daughter - probably in 8th, maybe into 9th

4th son - on track to start early like 6th or 7th

 

I would have no problem postponing until high school if needed. On the other hand, I wouldn't postpone, just because it was done that way in past.

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Dd13 is on track to start it about 1/2 way through 8th grade.  Benefit of homeschooling is being able to move to the next thing when ready instead of when you're "supposed to."  It is making my OCD a little nuts that she is starting and finishing books during the school year instead of at the beginning and end, but I suck it up and deal with it. lol  I'm not going to predict when dd10 and dd8 will start.

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Dd13 is on track to start it about 1/2 way through 8th grade.  Benefit of homeschooling is being able to move to the next thing when ready instead of when you're "supposed to."  It is making my OCD a little nuts that she is starting and finishing books during the school year instead of at the beginning and end, but I suck it up and deal with it. lol 

 

That's a good point. It takes this son a year to finish a math book, but there is no real need to spend a year on each book if we don't need to.

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We'll continue to do the same again next year probably and then we are going straight through Highschool mathematics. (I think...:unsure:)

Off Topic: Encouragement for you

"Meet the 10-year-old maths genius who's just enrolled at college"

http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/09/africa/esther-okade-maths-genius/

 

She and her younger brother take the GCSE (approx 10th grade) exam when six years old.

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DD will take Algebra 1 in 9th grade. She is a Distance Learner, but the same things that apply to Home Schoolers applied to our decision. Math is an easy subject for DD and I'm sure she would have received permission to skip "Pre Algebra" (which she is taking now) and take Algebra 1 in 8th grade. I wanted her to be more mature and to have a rock solid background with Arithmetic, before beginning Algebra 1.  

 

Notice that I wrote that Math is an easy subject for our DD. 2 or 3 weeks ago, she took the Final Exam for Math 8A.  A maximum of 3 hours are permitted. I believe she took about 2 1/2 hours. She received a 95 on the Final Exam, which brought her grade for the semester down to a 99. Then, she took a Final Exam for a Social Studies course. I believe she spent about 20 minutes on that examination.

 

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Ds started Algebra 1 half-way through 7th grade and we'll finish by the end of 8th (this June).  Here in NY, homeschooled 9th-12th graders must take a standardized test every year.  The 9th grade test lines up with Algebra 1.   Should I stretch Algebra 1 into fall of 9th grade so it's fresher in his mind by test time?  Advice?

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Of course when they are ready.  What I like about starting in 7th is that I don't feel rushed - we can spill it over into 8th grade, no sweat, and still be on track.  Which for me means enough math to do real science!  Math is more of a tool to do things we're passionate about, rather than a passion of its own, around here.  And psychologically, I find I'm a much better teacher when I'm not rushed/anxious about being "behind."  :tongue_smilie:

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My mathy kid took it in 8th and probably could easily have done it in 7th.

My less mathy kid will take it in 9th, mostly because she's in public school and for whatever reason, our school rarely puts kids in algebra as 8th graders.

(Consequently, the kids who DO take it in 8th think they're some kind of genius :rolleyes: )

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I have one who did it in 6th (#3), one who did it in 8th (#2) and another who did it in 9th (#1). All three of them have been successful in higher math and are STEM oriented kids. I don't think that when they take Algebra 1 matters, only that they're ready for it. My older two accelerated their math sequence through dual enrollment.

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Throughout all the grades we did basic solving for X and other elementary/intro to Algebra-based types of activities from the beginning (age 7 and up), including Miquon, Singapore Primary, Hands-On Equations, and other supplements.

 

For formal high school Algebra 1 textbooks, when they were ready:

- audio-sequential learner DS = age 13-14

- visual-spatial learner DS = age 14-15

 

 

While our local public and private schools have been trying to claim "rigor" by pushing students to take formal Algebra 1 in grade 8, and now, grade 7 (and some down to grade 6), the reality is that the majority of these students really aren't getting it, and end up re-taking Algebra 1 in grade 9.

 

There have always been, and continue to be, a small segment of the bell curve who are ready earlier than 8th/9th grade, the majority ready at 8th/9th grade, and a small segment not ready until 10th/11th grade. That is because the logic and abstract thinking portions of the brain (needed for Algebra) still tend to peak at about age 13-14 (grade 8-9); a small segment of youth mature earlier at age 11-12 (grade 6-7), and a small segment mature later at age 15-17 (gr. 10-11). And a few are just not wired that way and will always struggle.

 

JMO! :)

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One dd took it in 9th, the other in 8th.  Our big deciding factor was 'will she succeed in higher level math?'.  

 

The dd that took it in 9th was not a 'mathlete' - math did not come easy for her.  I'm glad we waited because she got an A and she felt ready for it.

 

The dd that took it in 8th will take more higher level math classes - it comes easy for her.  

 

We need to have 4 years of high school math, so we had to make sure there were appropriate classes to fulfill those 4 years.  

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With sd she did Algebra 1 in 9th grade (had been in ps).  With dd she is doing Algebra 1 this year in 6th grade.  Since we homeschooled her we started her with grade 1 in first grade (Horizons) and then when we switched to Saxon for 4th grade she placed in their 65 program not the 54  program.  So we are pretty much just moving at her pace.

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I plan on having my dd take prealgebra in 8th grade, algebra 1 in 9th, geometry in 10th grade, algebra 2 in 11th grade, and the Math u see stewardship in 12th grade. :)

 

Those are my exact plans for my oldest!  I'm glad to see others here waiting until 9th for Algebra.  My oldest has always struggled with math and I don't see her being ready any earlier than that.  DS may take it for 8th if he progresses faster.  

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Here in NY, homeschooled 9th-12th graders must take a standardized test every year.  The 9th grade test lines up with Algebra 1.   Should I stretch Algebra 1 into fall of 9th grade so it's fresher in his mind by test time?  Advice?

 

Hopefully he'd keep using the Algebra 1 skills as he continues through higher math. I wouldn't stretch out Algebra 1, but maybe throw in regular review questions to make sure he's not forgetting anything (important regardless of whether you have a state test or not - calculus is harder if you've forgotten half of algebra and trig, even if you had A's in those when you took them). Also, he's going to want to keep all his algebra skills handy for the SAT.

 

As far as my own kids are concerned, too young to say (oldest is 7.5yo, youngest 4yo), but I suspect before 7th grade. I went to school in The Netherlands, and we had algebra in 7th grade (but, all secondary school math is just called 'math'). I skipped 9th grade (which involved a lot of trig), and halfway during 10th grade they started calculus (my grades were well above average, but I really should have done more trig). My 10th grade math teacher was lamenting that back when *he* was in school, they started calculus at 12yo (7th grade, I suppose - never asked him... it felt like "back in the day everything was so much better", lol... not sure I believed him anyhow - I was 14yo in 10th grade (summer birthday + 1 grade skip), but my classmates were 15, often 16 by the time they started calc in spring). Then they continued calc and other math through 11th and 12th grade - like I said, it was all just called 'math', but we did things like geometry proofs etc as well, not just 2.5 years of calc. FWIW, they've changed it since then and now they start calculus in 11th grade. This was in the pre-university track of secondary school - the vocational track (which graduates at the end of 10th grade) never got any calculus in secondary school.

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We're aiming for 9th grade Algebra.  One advantage of doing it in 9th versus 8th (or earlier) is that it will count as a math credit on her high school transcript.  

 

In many districts, 8th graders can get high school math credit for Algebra. You may get to include it on your own transcript.

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