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Anyone else have kids this age (12) being so hard on themselves?  My dd is working through CLE600 for math and R&S grammar grade 6.  Over the last few months she has become increasingly distressed and conscious of being "behind".  I've never made any mention of what level books she was in, but she just now really seems to have been bothered by it.  I think it mostly stems from comparing herself to others her age at our homeschool group.  We don't do academics with the group, just park days and such.  All the kids she plays with most are very advanced and working a least a grade level ahead, if not quite a bit more.  By comparison, she feels like an idiot.   

 

The thing is, she's a bright girl and not really behind in my opinion.  The reason she is behind in math is because we switched curriculum this year and had to drop back a grade level because our last math book didn't teach geometry, metric measurement, and algebra.  She's behind in grammar simply because I failed to do it often enough to finish the book.  No amount of explaining this to her will get it through her head.  I tell her everyday that I don't expect her to know things I've never taught her, but everyday we do something new, she's upset that she's never heard of it before!  I try to explain that even though she's in 6th grade grammar, it's still more grammar than most public school kids learn by 12th grade (at least around here).  By the 9th grade, she'll be caught up in these subjects.

 

Is this just part of "teenage angst", or something I should be more worried about?  The teen years are a time when kids are comparing themselves and feeling self-conscious, I know.  Though, if teen years get moodier than this, I don't think I can cope.  But then, biologically, I suppose she really is a teen already.

 

I feel terrible that she ends up crying every single day because she thinks she's stupid.  She thinks I only deny her stupidity because I'm her mother.  I feel like she needs some outside validation that she is indeed smart.  But what?

 

Advice?  What I really want you to say is, "Don't worry, it's just a phase and will soon pass."

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The girls at the music center (city A) where my kids have theory lessons as well as the girls that go to the library afterschool at another city (city B) brags about being ahead in public school. A mom (city C) whose children attends public schools told me her homeschooling neighbors kids are a few grades ahead because the homeschoolers told her.

 

Comically I only hear computer games bragging in my own city among the girls. The guys would be bragging about sports and computer games.

 

City A & city B are next to each other. City C shares a boundary with my city.

 

I went to an all girls school from 1st to 10th grade. Teenage years can be an extra sensitive time for both boys and girls. Just that we see "girl drama" more often than boy drama. When I was a teen, a girl can wail but a boy would be told to shoot some hoops or run a few rounds.

 

My DS10 compares with DS11 from time to time. I have to keep reminding him that he is his own person and has his own strengths. Luckily DS11 has no interest in some things that DS10 likes so DS11 doesn't unintentionally overshadow DS10.

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This age is hard and she has to figure out how not to get her worth by comparing herself to others. There will always be areas that you think others are better at.

 

As far as math, it is incremental and you can't move on without the base being solid. Depending on the child, you don't necessarily need to repeat the whole year just to fill in some holes. It might be possible to speed up, but it's much more important to understand the math so you don't get bogged down later.

 

As far as grammar goes, I'd finish "6th grade" grammar and skip to "8th grade" grammar next year.

 

I  tend to be more free-spirited so my daughter isn't so surprised if I tell her that I picked this text or class which is rated at a younger grade just because I thought it was a better fit (or taught what I wanted her to cover this year).

 

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I've even pointed out to my dd that she does extremely well on the yearly standardized tests. She accused me of fixing her answers.

If it matters that much to her, let her do an online standardized tests. There is DORA (LA), Adam (math), Stanford 10 online version (LA & math). Since it is graded online, she can't say anyone alter her answers.

 

I agree it is possible to go from grammar 6th grade to 8th grade skipping the 7th grade book as grammar curriculum is spiral usually.

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Can you really skip a whole year of R&S grammar? As I already have R&S 7, maybe I can put her in that now and only be half a year behind in grammar?

Apparently you can safely skip the odd years according to this old thread

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/429968-rod-and-staff-english-is-mind-numbing/?do=findComment&comment=4374125

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I've even pointed out to my dd that she does extremely well on the yearly standardized tests.  She accused me of fixing her answers.

 

Wow, trust issues, too? That's going to be a separate thing to work on, but think about changing it up this year & doing one of the computer-based standardized tests, like the Stanford 10 Online. It is very clear that you can't change her answers & the results come back very quickly.

 

I have a 'behind' (in math) 12 yr old, too. Math has never been her thing. A long time ago, we had to restart the 3rd grade book completely for a variety of reasons. We didn't just move on without understanding, but she needs a lot of reinforcements, review, and supplementation to 'get' concepts in the long term. So, even though we work through math every summer, the number on her math book doesn't match her grade level.

 

In general, she knows she isn't "as smart" as some of her siblings. However, she's very gifted in other, non-academic ways. We talk a lot about strengths and also, desires - what does she want to do with her life. She knows she needs to continue on with math so that she can get into college & hopefully not have to take much math once she gets there.

 

I think this is the age (some see it younger, some older) where they compare themselves to others they know in real life or their perceived view of others, which may not be reality. For some, it is a body-issue thing. For others, it is academics. Sometimes, you battle both issues. Just like with body self-image, sometimes they don't have a realistic view of themselves or others. Nothing I say will change that for my girls, because they think I'm biased about how beautiful they are.  :001_smile:

Good luck!

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:grouphug:  I'm sorry; 12-14 is an emotional and rough time! 

 

 

Volunteering and community service might help her get the focus off of her, and the tendency to compare herself (negatively) with others, especially if volunteering with those who "have less" than she does -- physically or mentally disabled, the elderly, babies/toddlers, kids her age with long-term illnesses...

 

De-emphasize the age/grade/"smartness" connection she's fixating on with involvement with multi-age group involvement:

- community gardens (involves kids through senior citizens!)

- all-ages community Orienteering or hiking group

- youth community theater or choir or arts group (kids of many ages, and not just homeschoolers)

- history re-enactment group (all ages)

- animal shelter volunteering

 

Activities that can help her see she is "smart" and has lots to offer:

- help tutor younger siblings, or younger homeschool students

- tutor younger children through a library after-school program

- assist in a local English as a Second Language classes for those trying to learn English

- assist in the nursery or younger-aged child's Sunday School class at church

- have paid jobs from time to time of babysitting, dog-walking, cleaning, yard work, etc.

- be the primary care-giver/trainer of a puppy in training to be a guide dog

 

Perhaps broadening her contact to more children her age doing other types of schooling (public school) might help her have a more realistic picture about academics, age, and aptitude. How about getting involved with:

- a local public school after-school club, like robotics

- a club sports team

- martial arts with a studio -- which encourages GREAT self-image as well as respect for others

 

What about trying to change or "soften" the homeschool group dynamic, so it's not just park day and all the talk is on academics and grade levels. Can DD host a monthly or bi-weekly social time open to any of the age 11-14 homeschool girls who want to participate, and for their activities they could do things that focus on others. Or the focus is to learn a new skill all together (so no one is "ahead" or "behind"). Or try something new to all of them. Ideas: 

- movie night at home with popcorn, lots of pillows and blankets on the floor

- "book club" -- read/discuss a book that's new to all of them

- "food club" -- make a recipe all together that's new to all of them

- jewelry making

- make some movies together or do an animated movie

- create a comicstrip or comic book together

- take turns writing a story (at the same time, each girl writes one paragraph, then passes the story to the right; then adds a paragraph to the the new story that fits with the new story; keep passing around until everyone has added 2-3 paragraphs to each story; then read them out loud)

- learn to knit, crochet, sew

- make cards or non-sew fleecy blankets or little stuffed animals to take to sick kids in a hospital or elderly in a nursing home or send to overseas military personnel

- volunteer together as a group to clean an elderly person's home or make and serve a meal to a homeschool family with a new baby or with an ill parent

 

Maybe help her find an area of interest/passion to develop, other than "advanced academics" that will let her "shine" in an area that no one else is, and give her something to talk about at Park Day?? Ideas:

- creative writing (stories, poetry, or go for a novel with NaNoWriMon)

- horses and riding

- electronics

- art -- drawing, painting, watercolors, sculpture, stained glass or fused glass, jewelry-making/wire work...

- start her own business

- computer programming

- cake decorating

- photography or filmmaking

 

 

Coming at this from a very different angle --  that kind of self-focus, obsession, and crying every day could be symptoms of depression, and really, ANY issue could be the "trigger" -- it just happens to be "grade level" for DD at this time. I'd consider getting a check-up and some blood work to make sure everything is okay, but some things you can do:

 

- aerobic exercise that gets the heart rate up and keeps it up for 30-45 minutes straight, 4-5x/week (things like treadmill or stationary bike, or outdoor solo activities like running, swimming laps, biking, or sports activities like track team, basketball, soccer…) 

 

- cut out sugars, sodas, and processed foods from her diet

- consider cutting wheat or dairy or other food if you think something may be a hidden food intolerance, which can trigger mood swings

- yeast, cheese/dairy, grapes, and mushrooms can feed a candida yeast overgrowth, and depression and mood swings can be a symptom

 

- make sure she's getting enough good sleep at night :

- stop all screen time a full 2 hours before going to bed (TV, computer, kindle or e-reader, phone, hand-held devices, etc.), as the screen light triggers brain cells to fire for up to 2 hours even after the eye is no longer looking at a screen

- regular exercise helps tire the body, which helps cut restlessness at night

- use blackout curtains or other methods to really darken the room -- even dim light can keep the body from going into deep sleep

- melatonin can be a helpful supplement if having a hard time sleeping

 

 

BEST of luck in finding the best way over this hurdle! Hugs to you and DD, warmly, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Hmm, My dd is just turned 12 and they definitely have hormone issues that really affect their thinking.  Lack of sleep, low iron in the diet, not enough snacks, these things can all affect her mood.  

 

I have to say neither of my kids ever cared what grade level they were at until about age 12.  Then it suddenly dawned on them that high school was coming in two years, and they both, in their own way had to deal with understanding where they were at, what the goal is, and where they should be.  My kids have definitely never cried over it, but then again they are just not the type to do that anyway.

 

WHat I would do, is first of all explain to your dd that Rod and Staff grammar is WAY ahead...really see if you can drill it into her head that it is SUPER advanced and most people use it a year behind anyway.

 

Also, you can lay out a visual for her. Clearly, on a big piece of paper or several papers, show her the progression to and then through high school...

 

I would also consider

  • more outside activities (maybe she has too much time to brood),
  • an animal (maybe she needs to think outsider herself more),
  • some flowers and plants (humans were meant to tend living things),
  • fish oils, magnesium, and multivitamins and calcium (girls have a lot of imbalances that these particular vitamins will help balance)
  • More exercise (exercise and fresh air is vital!)
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I'm a math tutor and work with a huge variety of kids with mental illness, physical illness, ADD, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and every child/teen who comes to me come with the same feelings your dd has. It is fixable, and I fix it with every.single.student within 2 months (8 hours). However, I am the *tutor* not the *mom* so it will be more difficult for you to be sure.

 

First of all you need to accept her feelings.  She is behind. She knows it and doesn't like you trying to convince her otherwise.  Instead, what I would do as her tutor would be to come up with a plan to fix it.  She needs to know that you can fix it.  Have you ever been to a doctor who was wishy washy?  No.  They are all *very* confident and that helps to give you confidence in their skill. You can fix it and she needs to know it.

 

The first thing I do is list out all the things that a student is very good at.  Conceptual learning, organization, tidiness in math, time management, focus, multiplication tables, speed calculation, problem solving, thinking out of the box, whatever.  And then tell her that you will use her skills to shore up her weaknesses. So if she is a conceptual learner her word problem skills will be pretty good, and you can focus on that strength.  Then you tell her what she needs to hear.  'Yes, you do need to get your multiplication tables learned, but in the end the word problems are the end goal and it is much easier to memorize multiplication tables than learn problem solving skills. Yes it is a pain that you are 15 and don't know your times tables and so can't reduce algebraic fractions.  You are dyslexic and it is related to that. You pulled the short straw, but it is what it is. It is so much harder to learn how to deal with word problems.'  If, however, the multiplication skills are the strength and the problem solving is the problem, then you tell her what she needs to hear.  'It is so good that you know the multiplication tables because they will be so useful in calculations and algebra. We can attack your problem solving skills by just doing 1 word problem a day and by the end of the year you'll have them down.  You only have to learn the thinking, not the computation, which you are really fast at.'  So whatever the skill, you bend it to your advantage.  You don't lie, you just focus on how her skill will help her shore up her weakness.  You make the long slog in front of her doable.

 

She also needs to know that you have a timeline to get her caught up.  You need to make one to either compact the work or lengthen the time on task.  Ask her how she wants to take care of it.  How does she want to catch up.  She needs to be realistic.  My younger ds is dropping mandarin for 2 terms to spend more time on spelling.  You can and often should drop something if the goal is to catch up. She needs to believe in your ability to fix this.  She needs to own the work, but she needs you to make the plan.  Ask her how she wants to stay motivated.  She does not want or need a nag.  But she needs to tell you what she *does* want you to do, because at age 12 it is very easy to get it wrong.

 

And lastly, I think it was Nan in Mass who always said that your mantra at this age is 'kindness.' My younger is 12, so I keep repeating to myself, 'I will be kind.'  So even when she is frustrated and worried and embarrassed and driving you nuts, you must be kind.  I don't always get it right with my boy, but I do try.

 

Ruth in NZ 

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Ruth in NZ, I love your idea about setting up a plan to get back up to grade level.  For myself, I worked out how many lessons/week she needs to complete in order to be on track.  It didn't really occur to me to have her be a part of planning it out.  Maybe if she sees for herself that it is indeed doable, she will be more willing to work toward that goal.  She's not a self-motivated person, but recently she is beginning to see that if she wants to get to college to study psychology, she will have to do the work. 

 

I remember being in middle school and not caring one bit about school.  It never crossed my mind to study or do homework.  I just showed up at school and did so-so.  Then in 9th grade, by luck, I made honor roll. All the sudden, I thought, "you know what, I bet if I studied, I could do even better."  I made mostly A's ever after that.  I hope something like that suddenly "clicks" for her as well.  Maybe if she sees herself as being successful in some small way, it will encourage her.

   

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With CLE Math I've seen mentioned that a lot of people skip the 800 level and go directly to Algebra. So 600 is either 6th or 7th grade, 700 is either 7th grade or Pre-Alg (we're definitely thinking it's Pre-Alg for DD, we'll be doing Power Basics Alg. next year).  800 would only be used if DC is struggling..... I'm not 100% positive about this but I do remember reading several threads where posters were skipping 800 and moving on.  So you can spin it like that or CLE is IMO very easy to use as a way to "catch up" if she really feels that she's behind but I'd actually call it "getting ahead".  DS is doing 2 lessons in CLE Algebra and 1-2 lessons in Power Basics Geometry every day and it only take about an hourto hour and a half (he only does 1/2 the review questions).

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Yeeeees.

 

DD is 12.

She is in the last half of CLE 500s actually. We had a rough and unretained start with MUS until we found THE SPIRAL.

She was on grade in CLE LA until we dropped it ;). Way more grammar than I ever had in school.

 

Truth is, she's doing fine. She just started doing single step algebraic equations and I feel that's entirely respectable for 7th. Maybe I'm odd, but I'm not too worried for her. The high school option we have planned starts kids who a review of all the basics anyway, so I'm pretty confident she'll be fine. Your plans for high school may vary, of course!

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I'm torn about CLE 800. On one hand, I've read that it contains a lot of consumer math and also cements basic math and pre-algebra.  But on the other, skipping it would allow her to start algebra in 8th which seems to be the norm now.  I personally think algebra shouldn't be pushed down to younger and younger kids, but when it comes time to apply to colleges, I don't want her to appear slow in math.  She's only behind now because I didn't keep her on track enough.  When time was short, I just let math slide way too much. 

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I'm torn about CLE 800. On one hand, I've read that it contains a lot of consumer math and also cements basic math and pre-algebra.  But on the other, skipping it would allow her to start algebra in 8th which seems to be the norm now.  I personally think algebra shouldn't be pushed down to younger and younger kids, but when it comes time to apply to colleges, I don't want her to appear slow in math.  She's only behind now because I didn't keep her on track enough.  When time was short, I just let math slide way too much. 

 

Just want to encourage you to do the math at her pace. If she is really ready for Algebra 1 in 8th grade -- great! Go for it. But if she's a bit shaky, or could use a bit more solidifying of foundation skills, then do that and save starting Algebra 1 for halfway through 8th, or start of 9th grade.

 

The abstract/logic portions of the brain required for handling Algebra (abstract math topics) on average begin to mature starting about age 13-14, so it makes sense to schedule Algebra at the time the student's brain is able to process abstract concepts more readily. And, because all of the high school Maths require a solid foundation in Pre-Algebra skills and the courses build on one another, if you rush/push through those basic foundational skills, your student very potentially could end up increasingly struggling, and you find you have to go *back* and re-do Algebra -- losing all that time that you thought you were getting *ahead* in Math by doing Algebra in 8th grade. (And potentially causing more dislike of Math in the student due to struggling so much and now feeling like a "failure" for having to back up…) Plus, Algebra is just SO much easier for the student if you wait and do it when THEIR brain has matured a bit more. The workload really increases in high school, and, JMO, but I think it is a kindness to our students to not make it any harder on them than it already is going to be. ;)

 

Don't know about overall, but  in our area, MANY schools (public and private) are discovering that a lot of students who took Algebra in grade 8 do better if they re-take it in grade 9, so the schools often offer the option in 9th of re-taking or moving on -- which results in about half of all 9th graders taking Alg. 1, and about half taking Geometry. So, at least here, it is NOT at all "behind" for the average student to take Algebra in 9th grade.
 

Another thought: sometimes it is helpful to think about your end goal and work backwards through the high school years down to middle school to help you plan what is best to accomplish in 7th and 8th grades in order to be able to do the credits you want to in high school.
 

Starting Algebra 1 in 9th, as it gives your student a full 4 credits of higher math (Alg. 1, Geometry, Alg. 2, Pre-Calc.) for high school graduation requirements and college admission requirements. MANY colleges only require 3 credits of Math (Alg. 1, Geometry, Alg. 2) and some small liberal arts colleges only require 2 credits (Alg. 1, Geometry). And if you feel your student needs 5 credits of higher math, you can STILL accomplish that with the possibility of doing 2 years of math in 12th grade via dual enrollment, so the student could do Pre-Calc in the 1st semester, and either Calculus or Statistics, or other Advanced Math, in the second semester. That means if that is where you student is, you can plan on Pre-Algebra in 8th and be perfectly fine. :)

 

And a final thought: colleges are going to be more impressed with a student who does 4 math credits with good to high grades (so, all Bs and As in Alg. 1 through Pre-Calc), than a student who has 4 math credits with 1 credit "brought up" from 8th grade, and NO math in 12th grade -- or, a student who has 5 math credits (Alg. 1 in 8th, through Calculus in 12th) but with only average to good grades (so, all Cs and Bs and). Colleges also heavily rely on ACT and SAT scores for admissions and esp. for awarding scholarships, so if by waiting and starting Algebra 1 in 9th grade, your student is more likely to earn higher grades in all of the higher math credits and understand Math better for scoring higher on the ACT/SAT tests, then it's worth it.

 

BEST of luck, whatever you decide! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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I wish! Kidding. Sort of. My son, who is 12, really could care less. He has few academic goals. It stresses me out!! He's an extroverted baseball player who would rather be doing ANYTHING but school work. School just doesn't excite him, at all.

 

Send her over to hang out with my son, she'll feel like a genius! :)

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CLE math is very thorough, so I wouldn't call a 7th grader in 600 "behind."  And the grammar... those grade levels are so flexible, I would try to encourage her to not worry about it.

 

I tell my girls that everyone has different things that they're good at.  Lori D. has some great ideas - get her out there, trying different things until she finds something that clicks, that she can have pride in.

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I'm using CLE 800 right now with dd12. I'm a huge CLE fan. I've used half of CLE 800 before with another child. But I'm getting really bored with CLE 800. If dd wasn't sure she wanted to stay in pre-algebra for 8th grade, I think I would move on. I really do think you could go right into algebra after finishing CLE 700 as long as a child doesn't really need more practice.

 

So, no, not behind.

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I don't know if it would help, but Heart of Dakota only has the kids get through R&S 6 by the end of 8th grade.  The author feels R&S 7 and 8 are high school worthy, based on her teaching experience.  Maybe you could relay that to your dd.

 

Hope this helps,

Kathy

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Is she comparing apples to apples. I hear people brag on their kids advancements but when I ask what curricula they are using it makes more sense. For example my son went from Teaching Textbooks 7 to CLE 5 (we didn't get past the first 10 lessons before I knew TT wasn't going to work for us)

 

But most of it is the age too. All the sudden my kiddo who never paid attention to what other kids were doing, or have, has become a Stepford wife when it comes to being part of the crowd. It drives me nuts, but it doesn't last for too long.

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 The author feels R&S 7 and 8 are high school worthy, based on her teaching experience.   

 

I don't know if you meant to put R&S or CLE, but in either case I would disagree pretty strongly with this, if one accepts algebra in 9th grade as the general standard. 

 

That doesn't mean using something to cement the basics before moving on isn't the right choice for some high schoolers. It just means that they should be aware of what their goals are, and how curriculums match up to that. R&S teaches accounting in 9th grade, so it's not a typical sequence.

 

They don't teach what most people would consider typical high school math. You can see the table of contents for each level and some sample pages at Milestone Books. 

 

CLE has a more typical math sequence, with Algebra 1 in 9th grade, and Functions & Trigonometry in the 12th. I don't know if that's a full trig class or not, or how their program compares to others in general, but CLE has a detailed scope and sequence you can view online. 

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Katilac, I believe she is referring to R&S grammar, not math.  In my opinion, R&S grammar is very thorough, so I can see doing a level or more behind.  Most of R&S 6 is completely new to me.

 

My problem is that I'm also using R&S for the writing.  I don't really mind her being behind in the grammar portion of the text, but I do mind her being behind in the writing portion.  I've plotted out the lessons, and I have figured that if we do a lesson each school day, we should be back on track by 9th grade. 

 

By skipping quizzes and tests, we should also get caught back up in CLE math by 9th grade as well.  When we get to CLE 800, we'll decide whether or not she needs to complete that level, or perhaps do it in a condensed fashion to start algebra before 9th.

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Katilac, I believe she is referring to R&S grammar, not math.  In my opinion, R&S grammar is very thorough, so I can see doing a level or more behind.  Most of R&S 6 is completely new to me.

 

My problem is that I'm also using R&S for the writing.  I don't really mind her being behind in the grammar portion of the text, but I do mind her being behind in the writing portion.  I've plotted out the lessons, and I have figured that if we do a lesson each school day, we should be back on track by 9th grade. 

 

By skipping quizzes and tests, we should also get caught back up in CLE math by 9th grade as well.  When we get to CLE 800, we'll decide whether or not she needs to complete that level, or perhaps do it in a condensed fashion to start algebra before 9th.

 

Annnnd I fail reading comprehension for the day, lol! I don't know why I assumed math. 

 

fwiw, both of my kids are planning on college, and both took until the end of 9th grade to finish algebra. My oldest, who actually started in 8th but took forever and two days to finish, had a surge in understanding toward the end of geometry in 10th, and wound up powering through all of algebra 2 and precalc by the end of 11th.

 

She didn't take calc in 12th, bc it's daily at the university where she is DE, and that's not manageable for us. She's taking a discret math class at home instead, and the universities on her short list said that was fine and that taking calc as a college freshman is fine even if she majors in math (nicely ranked schools with strong STEM but not MIT or anything). 

 

My youngest is very unlikely to leap ahead in the same way, lol, but she will get through precalc and do fine on standardized testing. 

 

All of which is my long-winded way of saying not to let people panic you into thinking that algebra in 9th grade is a travesty. 

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I would see what I could skip over to move forward quicker. I decided to skip the next spelling book for my son. He gets enough right that I think we can. Plus, I am skipping the 6th grade English. It all just repeats itself, over and over again.

 

I do not think I would have redone an entire year worth of any subject just for a few topics. Maybe you skip around to get those topics done and move forward quicker.

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