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Greta

I need a reality check regarding high school math

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Background:

 

My daughter is 16, in 10th grade, planning to graduate a year early, doing Kolbe Academy for high school, some dual enrollment at the local CC.  After graduation, she'll continue at the CC for awhile before applying to a bachelor's degree program.  

 

She has always wanted to be an artist, since she was just little.  Her determination has increased with age.  She does have a lot of natural talent, and she also seems to have the determination to develop the skills.  She is not interested in STEM careers in the slightest.  

 

But my husband is a physicist.  He has bachelor's degrees in both physics and math, and a PhD in physics.  He has always equated "education" with "higher math".  He wants dd to go into a STEM field, but I just know that's not going to happen.  She has wanted to be an artist since she was 5 years old.  It's just who she is. 

 

 

Okay, now on to the question...

 

She has already taken Algebra I and Geometry, and will complete Algebra II this year.  That's all that is required for her diploma from Kolbe, and she despises math and doesn't want to take any more than she has to.  I've looked at BFA degree requirements for several universities, and it looks like there is a minimal math requirement, one class, usually something like "math for non-mathy people" or "geometry for the artist" or something along those lines.  So my feeling is, she's done with math for now.  She will do just fine in that kind of class when she needs it.

 

Right?

 

I haven't talked to my husband about this yet, because I know he is going to have a fit about her not taking calculus in high school.  He thinks calculus is something that *everyone* needs to know.  I disagree.  But be brutally honest with me:  am I missing something?  Is there a valid argument to be made that every high school student should take calculus?  Will I be putting her at a disadvantage later?  (My high school didn't even offer calculus!  So perhaps I'm unaware of how wonderful it is to take calculus in high school.  I did take in college, and it was fine.  I survived not having taken it in high school.)

 

I think his main argument will be that she NEEDS to study computer programming and therefore she needs the logic of math.  But she doesn't want to take computer programming.  She has less than zero interest in computer programming.  I think that it's hard for him to accept that she is just that different from us.

 

Or maybe it's just hard for me to push her to take classes she doesn't want.  Am I not seeing the bigger picture here?

 

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I can see an argument for pre-calc/trig.  If she is going on for higher ed, that does give her all the skills for say the ACT.  

 

Your husband sounds a bunch like my husband!  Freshman boy here might go STEM and has the math, but fat chance on my 11 year old daughter.  LOL.  And I will defend their right to chose their own major.  He talks big, but at the end of the day he won't force our kids to major in something they hate. 

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She doesn't need calculus. Some stem occupations don't need calculus. Computer programming doesn't need calculus.

 

If she ever need calculus later, she can always take it as an introductory course in CC or college.

 

The only people who should take calculus are those going into math, physics or engineering fields in very highly selective colleges unless they won't able to due to lack of time.

 

ETA:

Logic is needed in programming but Calculus is not essential for Logic. You can pass the high school Calculus exam and still be illogical :)

Edited by Arcadia
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There is always more than one path...

 

Artists and pure mathematicians are a lot alike.  Neither really wants to be a physicist.  Maybe dabble in discrete math?

 

While I agree that you can't force someone into a career they'll hate, you can encourage them to have options.  Math and art lead to design, which is a promising field, and a growing need in business and technology.  Calculus is not essential to that path, but some algorithmic thinking is.

 

Just a thought.  Ultimately, she will need to choose her own course.

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I'm not sure calculus is absolutely necessary in hs.  But I do think that pre-calculus or at least college algebra might be a good idea.  I don't know what colleges your dd is looking at, but I seem to recall that many want to see their students get to and pass college algebra at a minimum (which is part of pre-calculus.)  Even if she has to take college algebra again in college -- she will at least have seen it before and it will not be intimidating to her.

 

On the other hand, if your dd is certain right now of the colleges she will be applying to -- and they really don't require anything like college algebra -- then, that may change things.  I would just hate to close off her options right now, when there might be another college that pops on her radar that has different GE's required.

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The strong case for pre-calc is that the general requirements for admission are just that, general and the minimum. To be competitive for scholarships - if she is going to need some merit aid in order to make college affordable - means she needs a fourth math, and not one like personal finances or consumer math.  I see no need for her to have pre-calc due to computer programming if that is not an area of interest for her. Even schools that have a technology/computer class requirement for general education do not require programming at that level. Usually something like Python on an introductory level is all that is demanded, and that language only requires a decent background in basic algebra.

 

From a psychological/neurological perspective, higher math really helps develop the brain even if one is not good at it. Those that struggle but persevere usually experience a lot of growth in the neural connections between the two hemispheres of the brain. Now that said, studying music theory - an extension of mathematics - at a higher level also produces the same growth. Foreign language past two years of study to the level that one becomes pretty good a reading and communicating in the language, advanced proficiency on a musical instrument, are two others that also have the same effects. So there is a strong case to be made for encouraging students who hate subjects that teach logical reasoning to persevere. However, the other side of that is weighing the emotional fall out from trying to force students with specific subject apprehension and even anxiety to continue something they despise so much. Increasing stress can be counter productive to the educational process for sure!

 

If you have a short list of schools she is interested in attending for art, maybe you contact them about their scholarship requirements, and the general achievements and high school statistics of the art majors who are in their freshmen class. Maybe some conversations with both admissions, and departmental heads would be warranted. Since art, like music, is very unique in that there are entrance requirements for those majors not required of other majors, it is possible that when they look at the art students, the admissions' department as a little bit different criteria. Then again, possibly not. Way back in the mists of time - the 80's, LOL - when I applied to music schools, there was a wide variance. Some required algebra II the then go to last math for a lot of non-stem majors and to not have it meant to not be admitted, but then some did not require it of music majors but expected that there were four credits of performance and four credits of other fine arts courses on the high school transcript. Sometimes we music majors were hopping to meet both the admissions' requirements for the college and then also for the department. A bit crazy actually!

 

So I think that before any final decisions on math for next year are made, you simply need to gather more information first, outline her goals, and then look at the best path to get there.

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Ok, I want to add that if she's at all interested in digital art, it doesn't hurt to have a strong conceptual math back ground.  I actually taught a Blender 3D drawing/modeling class last year and some of the mathier teens in the class were the strongest with that tool.  With someone that age, I'm just all about keeping doors open. 

 

And to be transparent, I'm also a STEM person.  ;)  I agree, calc would be overkill and could be done later.  But if she has done reasonably well in math, I don't think the pre-calc/trig is a bad idea for one year and done.

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She doesn't need calculus. Some stem occupations don't need calculus. Computer programming doesn't need calculus.

 

If she ever need calculus later, she can always take it as an introductory course in CC or college.

 

The only people who should take calculus are those going into math, physics or engineering fields in very highly selective colleges unless they won't able to due to lack of time.

 

ETA:

Logic is needed in programming but Calculus is not essential for Logic. You can pass the high school Calculus exam and still be illogical :)

Actually, most of the better schools require calculus 1 and 2 for computer programming majors or software engineering. Just in my own state, U of MI, MSU, and Mich Tech all require calculus.

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Has she tried computer programming? She may enjoy it. And yes, back when I took that class I am pretty sure calculus was a pre-requisite. You know, before multivariable calculus I LIKED math. Yet I hated computer programming. I suppose the point is, you have to try it out first to decide if you like it or not. She is young enough that I would agree with your DH in that trig/pre-calculus in high school will at least open the doors for her to have the choice of trying other careers in the event that she changes her mind later.

 

If STEM is out, I would encourage statistics, some sort of financial based math?

 
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Actually, most of the better schools require calculus 1 and 2 for computer programming majors or software engineering. Just in my own state, U of MI, MSU, and Mich Tech all require calculus.

 

Oh that is definitely true at the U of MN too.  Not only that, they want ACT scores 30+. 

 

But there are smaller, less rigorous comp sci programs in lib ed schools that are not as fussy. 

 

Has she looked at the requirements for any bachelor degree programs she's interested in or thought about careers?  I can personally just see the STEM crossover with the rise of more digital art.   

 

I would also say, I was a very academic student  and didn't really solidify a math/comp sci major until I was like 20 years old.  So I am big on just keeping doors open as long as possible.

Edited by WoolySocks
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Actually, most of the better schools require calculus 1 and 2 for computer programming majors or software engineering. Just in my own state, U of MI, MSU, and Mich Tech all require calculus.

OP mentioned CC first before college so my answer was based on that. Also computer programming was what OP's husband proposed not the daughter.

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Another vote for precalc.  Many universities look for 4 years of high school math.  I also think it is important to keep doors open for a capable student, just in case she changes her mind later.

 

Ok, I want to add that if she's at all interested in digital art, it doesn't hurt to have a strong conceptual math back ground.  I actually taught a Blender 3D drawing/modeling class last year and some of the mathier teens in the class were the strongest with that tool.  With someone that age, I'm just all about keeping doors open.

 

Well that's interesting - I hadn't been thinking of Blender as an art tool as much as a computer/programming-ish tool but maybe I have it backwards?  My ds13 loves blender and has been doing assignments for his school computer class with blender - he's very mathy but not artistic, or so it always seemed because he has dreadful fine motor skills.

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My two dd's who only took math through Algebra II did well on the SAT/ACT, and were offered great merit scholarships at colleges.  They both leaned more toward the arts/humanities.  If they had changed their minds in college and switched paths, they could always have taken higher level math in college to catch up.  It was not a problem at all for them to only have math through Algebra II.

 

As is, the single most important thing for them regarding math was just to have a very solid understanding of Algebra.

 

The colleges they ended up going to were private liberal arts colleges/universities in our state.  

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The state colleges and universities in my state (MA) require 4 years of high school math (minimum Alg II) and in bold print it states "including math in the final year of high school." I believe this requirement is fairly new. So you may want to encourage precalc to keep her options open.

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I would want the 4th year of math, even if it's lateral, because it's really tough to get back to after a year or more off. And I do like to keep those doors open. She could take the math in DE, and it might transfer. 

 

Math and art are indeed closely related, so what about a class that plays on that? 

 

You can get some cool ideas here: http://www.math.nus.edu.sg/aslaksen/teaching/math-art-arch.html

 

I know that an art career is a long-term goal of hers, but she's still very young. She might change her mind, or she might find that certain types of math enhance her art. She might have multiple careers. 

 

My oldest took forever to get through algebra. When she was in 10th-grade, there were still quite a few tears over geometry. But then she got through algebra 2 and precalc in her junior year, she's doing an intro to discrete math this year, and is registered for an honors calculus class at college in the fall. You just never know. I won't be at all surprised if she veers away from math, she has many interests, but she has the option and she's trying it. 

 

 

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Thank you all so much for the replies!  A lot of food for thought here, especially the points about a fourth year of math being required by some colleges.  I'm going to look more closely at the schools she's interested in and find out for sure.  But I definitely don't want to close any doors for her, so this is probably something we should just go ahead and plan to do.  Man, she's going to be upset at having to do more math.   :sad:

 

I always thought we could do a short course on trig and pre-calc to get her ready for the ACT, but I'm not sure if that's the best strategy.  Actually, she's hoping to avoid having to rely heavily on ACT scores (and possibly avoid taking the ACT altogether) by getting enough credits at the CC that she can apply to uni as a transfer rather than a freshman.  She is that phobic about tests.  I think the CC is a good choice for her for other reasons, so I'm ok with that . . . IF it works.  Makes me a little nervous, though.  It's kind of funny, I got a full scholarship based on my ACT scores, and my daughter is planning her education around avoiding the ACT.  Amazing how different parents and kids can be!  She tests better than she gives herself credit for, but standardized tests have always been a big traumatic frustrating ordeal for her.  She gets so nervous and anxious that she makes mistakes that she wouldn't make under calmer circumstances.  So I really don't think, as bright and talented as she is, that she would get scholarships based on her ACT score.

 

 

Math and art are indeed closely related, so what about a class that plays on that? 

 

 

 

Yes, if she felt like there was a purpose to math that would help her with art, that would probably change her perspective considerably!  She wasn't really interested in biology until she realized that an anatomy class would help her draw the human figure more accurately, and now she's excited about it.  There is a "Geometry for Design" course that is a requirement for the Associate's of Fine Arts degree at our CC.  And if she did it this coming year then we could put it on her Kolbe diploma for high school credit as well.  Do you think that would work?

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However, the other side of that is weighing the emotional fall out from trying to force students with specific subject apprehension and even anxiety to continue something they despise so much. Increasing stress can be counter productive to the educational process for sure!

 

 

 

I do honestly worry about this.  Today's algebra lesson reduced her to tears, and she's going to have a heavier course load next year with more classes at the CC (she's only taking one class there right now).  She's quite sensitive, and she takes it hard when she feels like she's not on top of something.  

 

I cut out that snippet of your post to respond to it, but I appreciate everything you said!

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I'm a STEM type and even I don't think everyone needs calculus in high school.  Someone needs to have a heart to heart with dad and let him know STEM isn't happening for this particular DD and he should stop living vicariously through her before he damages their relationship.  She is who she is, and that is apparently an artist.  But let's say she gets hit with a brick on the head 5 years after high school and wakes up and decides she wants to be an engineer and needs calculus.  That's when she heads to community college and bangs out the calculus. 

 

ETA:  I do see the point about a fourth year of math in order to snag a scholarship.  But at what cost if Algebra sends her to tears, KWIM?

Background:

 

My daughter is 16, in 10th grade, planning to graduate a year early, doing Kolbe Academy for high school, some dual enrollment at the local CC.  After graduation, she'll continue at the CC for awhile before applying to a bachelor's degree program.  

 

She has always wanted to be an artist, since she was just little.  Her determination has increased with age.  She does have a lot of natural talent, and she also seems to have the determination to develop the skills.  She is not interested in STEM careers in the slightest.  

 

But my husband is a physicist.  He has bachelor's degrees in both physics and math, and a PhD in physics.  He has always equated "education" with "higher math".  He wants dd to go into a STEM field, but I just know that's not going to happen.  She has wanted to be an artist since she was 5 years old.  It's just who she is. 

 

 

Okay, now on to the question...

 

She has already taken Algebra I and Geometry, and will complete Algebra II this year.  That's all that is required for her diploma from Kolbe, and she despises math and doesn't want to take any more than she has to.  I've looked at BFA degree requirements for several universities, and it looks like there is a minimal math requirement, one class, usually something like "math for non-mathy people" or "geometry for the artist" or something along those lines.  So my feeling is, she's done with math for now.  She will do just fine in that kind of class when she needs it.

 

Right?

 

I haven't talked to my husband about this yet, because I know he is going to have a fit about her not taking calculus in high school.  He thinks calculus is something that *everyone* needs to know.  I disagree.  But be brutally honest with me:  am I missing something?  Is there a valid argument to be made that every high school student should take calculus?  Will I be putting her at a disadvantage later?  (My high school didn't even offer calculus!  So perhaps I'm unaware of how wonderful it is to take calculus in high school.  I did take in college, and it was fine.  I survived not having taken it in high school.)

 

I think his main argument will be that she NEEDS to study computer programming and therefore she needs the logic of math.  But she doesn't want to take computer programming.  She has less than zero interest in computer programming.  I think that it's hard for him to accept that she is just that different from us.

 

Or maybe it's just hard for me to push her to take classes she doesn't want.  Am I not seeing the bigger picture here?

 

Edited by reefgazer
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Thank you all so much for the replies! A lot of food for thought here, especially the points about a fourth year of math being required by some colleges. I'm going to look more closely at the schools she's interested in and find out for sure. But I definitely don't want to close any doors for her, so this is probably something we should just go ahead and plan to do. Man, she's going to be upset at having to do more math. :sad:

 

I always thought we could do a short course on trig and pre-calc to get her ready for the ACT, but I'm not sure if that's the best strategy. Actually, she's hoping to avoid having to rely heavily on ACT scores (and possibly avoid taking the ACT altogether) by getting enough credits at the CC that she can apply to uni as a transfer rather than a freshman. She is that phobic about tests. I think the CC is a good choice for her for other reasons, so I'm ok with that . . . IF it works. Makes me a little nervous, though. It's kind of funny, I got a full scholarship based on my ACT scores, and my daughter is planning her education around avoiding the ACT. Amazing how different parents and kids can be! She tests better than she gives herself credit for, but standardized tests have always been a big traumatic frustrating ordeal for her. She gets so nervous and anxious that she makes mistakes that she wouldn't make under calmer circumstances. So I really don't think, as bright and talented as she is, that she would get scholarships based on her ACT score.

 

 

Yes, if she felt like there was a purpose to math that would help her with art, that would probably change her perspective considerably! She wasn't really interested in biology until she realized that an anatomy class would help her draw the human figure more accurately, and now she's excited about it. There is a "Geometry for Design" course that is a requirement for the Associate's of Fine Arts degree at our CC. And if she did it this coming year then we could put it on her Kolbe diploma for high school credit as well. Do you think that would work?

If the description sounds good, I think it makes sense to me. Sounds like a fine possibility.

 

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

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OP said "...  She is not interested in STEM careers in the slightest.  

 

... She has already taken Algebra I and Geometry, and will complete Algebra II this year.  That's all that is required for her diploma from Kolbe, and she despises math and doesn't want to take any more than she has to. 

 

... about her not taking calculus in high school.  He thinks calculus is something that *everyone* needs to know.  I disagree.  But be brutally honest with me:  am I missing something?"

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

I would recommend statistics.  Starnes, et al. Practice of Statistics is an outstanding book for high school (the previous edition is perfectly fine and will be cheaper).  I do not think it's necessary for everyone to take calculus, and definitely not in high school.  One of my college majors was math, by the way.

 

Yes, statistics, is sort of math, but it's different and will be more useful in everyday life for a non-STEM career.  Statistics comes up all the time reading the newspaper, reading about evaluations of recommended medical treatments, etc.  It's a different kind of logic than geometry and calculus and complementary. 

Edited by Brad S
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I'm a STEM type and even I don't think everyone needs calculus in high school.  Someone needs to have a heart to heart with dad and let him know STEM isn't happening for this particular DD and he should stop living vicariously through her before he damages their relationship.  She is who she is, and that is apparently an artist.  But let's say she gets hit with a brick on the head 5 years after high school and wakes up and decides she wants to be an engineer and needs calculus.  That's when she heads to community college and bangs out the calculus. 

 

ETA:  I do see the point about a fourth year of math in order to snag a scholarship.  But at what cost if Algebra sends her to tears, KWIM?

 

This was my thinking as well.  If something completely unexpected happens and she does decide on a STEM career later, then she will probably be better equipped at *that* time to take higher math than she is right now.  A teen who cries over algebra just isn't ready for calculus.  But when she's a bit older, maybe her brain will be ready for calculus.

 

I think that by virtue of the fact that I've been the one homeschooling her all these years and I've seen first hand on a daily basis just how differently she thinks compared to how he or I think, it's been easier for me to accept that she's not going to follow in anyone's footsteps, but forge her own path.  He's been very supportive of her doing art, but I think he's always thought of it as a hobby, while she thinks of it as her life!  He's also very practical and grounded by nature, so he is worried about gainful employment with an art degree.  But she would be miserable in a STEM field.  If art doesn't work out, she has other options that don't involve STEM.  But I think she has a real shot at making some sort of career for herself in art, whatever form it might take.

 

I do think that he needs a reality check with regard to certain things.  By the time I was her age, I was choosing my own high school courses without input from my parents, and I sure as all heck would not have listened to anyone telling me what I "must" major in in college.  So, yeah, I need to have this talk with him, so that he doesn't inadvertently damage their relationship.  I know that's not his intention.  But it will be the result if he pushes this too hard.  He wants her to at least try one programming course at the CC to see if she likes it.  That's not unreasonable, and she said that would be fine, though she said it with the same enthusiasm she would have had if he'd said "go scrub the toilet".  :lol:

 

But I also appreciate everyone in this thread giving ME the reality check with regard to a fourth math in high school!

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I always thought we could do a short course on trig and pre-calc to get her ready for the ACT, but I'm not sure if that's the best strategy.  Actually, she's hoping to avoid having to rely heavily on ACT scores (and possibly avoid taking the ACT altogether) by getting enough credits at the CC that she can apply to uni as a transfer rather than a freshman.  She is that phobic about tests.

 

The new SAT has only a few geometry and trig questions (IIRC, 6 total across the two sections) and it might be slightly less time-pressured than the ACT, though the math questions may have more reading involved.

 

More random two cents:  I don't think calc is the issue here as much as a year of precalc.  I'd have a hard time graduating a college-bound kid, who is otherwise quite capable and is accelerated/has the time, without trig and precalc.  What program is she using that reduced her to tears?  Maybe something else would be a better fit!

 

FWIW, my dd15 is very into art and last fall was thinking about art school.  LOL, it keeps changing - now she wants to be a photographer and I think that's the bigger talent for her.  She's also very good at math but she has no idea about the possibilities with that and no idea what she wants to study in college (she knows she doesn't need to major in photography).  Right now, her understanding of what's out there for majors and careers is far too limited for making big decisions.  She asks me and then gets annoyed when I turn to google LOL.  I expect she'll start out undecided for major though the undecided factor really stresses her out.  I just want to keep doors open for her as long as I can because I suspect she'll want to use her considerable intellectual skills more later on.

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I would recommend statistics.  Starnes, et al. Practice of Statistics is an outstanding book for high school (the previous edition is perfectly fine and will be cheaper).  I do not think it's necessary for everyone to take calculus, and definitely not in high school.  One of my college majors was math, by the way.

 

Yes, statistics, is sort of math, but it's different and will be more useful in everyday life for a non-STEM career.  Statistics comes up all the time reading the newspaper, reading about evaluations of recommended medical treatments, etc.  It's a different kind of logic than geometry and calculus and complementary. 

 

 

I've talked to her in the past about how much I wish I had taken a statistics course, because I think it's so much more useful for the average person than trig or calculus (which I did take and never used).  So this is a great suggestion.

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I agree with your thinking Greta. 

 

I majored in psychology.  The math requirements were lower than college algebra.  I took a course called "number systems" and a statistic's course.  Both were numbered under algebra.  That would have been good enough to satisfy the requirement, but I ended up really enjoy stats so I took a higher numbered stat course.  That was it for math. 

 

I'm sure stuff has changed a bit since I went to school, but I doubt radically.  I took a stat course last semester and there were all kinds of majors in there.  One guy was majoring in culinary arts.  The math requirement for him were math courses numbered under algebra.  In fact he was in the wrong class.  He could have taken a stat class numbered below that one. 

 

And it's her life.  I don't think it's fair to make her major in something she doesn't want to major in.  Stuff like computer programming is hard even if you love it.  So going into that not wanting to...forget about it. 

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The new SAT has only a few geometry and trig questions (IIRC, 6 total across the two sections) and it might be slightly less time-pressured than the ACT, though the math questions may have more reading involved.

 

More random two cents:  I don't think calc is the issue here as much as a year of precalc.  I'd have a hard time graduating a college-bound kid, who is otherwise quite capable and is accelerated/has the time, without trig and precalc.  What program is she using that reduced her to tears?  Maybe something else would be a better fit!

 

FWIW, my dd15 is very into art and last fall was thinking about art school.  LOL, it keeps changing - now she wants to be a photographer and I think that's the bigger talent for her.  She's also very good at math but she has no idea about the possibilities with that and no idea what she wants to study in college (she knows she doesn't need to major in photography).  Right now, her understanding of what's out there for majors and careers is far too limited for making big decisions.  She asks me and then gets annoyed when I turn to google LOL.  I expect she'll start out undecided for major though the undecided factor really stresses her out.  I just want to keep doors open for her as long as I can because I suspect she'll want to use her considerable intellectual skills more later on.

 

We're using Foerster's Algebra and Trigonometry, but following the regular (non-honors) Kolbe guide we'll only be doing the Algebra part, not the trig.  It seems like a decent program to me, but I'm not that strong in math, so I'm not a good judge.

 

Thanks for this info!

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If the description sounds good, I think it makes sense to me. Sounds like a fine possibility.

 

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

 

The online course description isn't very detailed, but here it is:

 

Presents the mathematical basis of geometric practices used in structural and decorative design. Surveys the major historical approaches to geometric study: Euclidean, descriptive, transformational, combinatorial, and ornamental. Compares aesthetic and technological issues in cultural context.

 

The prerequisite is Math 1310 Intermediate Algebra or equivalent placement score.

 

ETA:  She isn't crazy about any math, but she enjoyed geometry a lot more than algebra, so I think she'd enjoy this course a LOT more than trig/pre-calc.

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Foerster has a good reputation for being very solid/rigorous.  Is she doing it by herself or does she have a teacher?  Could your dh help her?

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My personal experience may be completely outdated, but I can tell you I wish I had had access to a higher level math course my senior year.  As it was, I took pre-calc with a teacher who needed to grade on a ridiculous curve to get anyone to pass.  Cs were As.  My Fs remained Fs, though.  I dropped the class after the first marking period, since there weren't even any students who could tutor me!

 

I did, however, score well on my (old) SATs.  Because of that, my college would not allow me to take anything below Business Calculus.  I tried to get out of it, and I attempted one round of tutoring, but I could not meet the course level.

 

I don't know how many colleges, if any, still want to base placement on SAT scores, but it's something to think about and/or look into.

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Foerster has a good reputation for being very solid/rigorous.  Is she doing it by herself or does she have a teacher?  Could your dh help her?

 

 

She has me for a teacher, but I'm more like a fellow student.  I wasn't that strong in math to begin with, and it's been many years.  So we go through the lesson together, but it's really more like I'm (re)learning alongside her than teaching her.  Hubby helps if we get stuck, and he could help her on the weekends.  But he works pretty long hours during the week and just doesn't have the mental energy left in the evenings.

 

When she looks at a problem, if she doesn't instantly know how to do it, she gets frustrated and freezes up.  I've tried so hard to teach her to just play around with it, see what you can do with what you know, and maybe the way will become clear.  But she can't seem to do that.  She doesn't think that way.  When she cried yesterday it was while asking me, "HOW did you logic that out?"  She can't seem to see the steps between the problem and the final answer.  I don't always either, but I know how to start messing around with it and see what happens.  I can't seem to get her to do that, though I've really tried.

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She has me for a teacher, but I'm more like a fellow student.  I wasn't that strong in math to begin with, and it's been many years.  So we go through the lesson together, but it's really more like I'm (re)learning alongside her than teaching her.  Hubby helps if we get stuck, and he could help her on the weekends.  But he works pretty long hours during the week and just doesn't have the mental energy left in the evenings.

 

When she looks at a problem, if she doesn't instantly know how to do it, she gets frustrated and freezes up.  I've tried so hard to teach her to just play around with it, see what you can do with what you know, and maybe the way will become clear.  But she can't seem to do that.  She doesn't think that way.  When she cried yesterday it was while asking me, "HOW did you logic that out?"  She can't seem to see the steps between the problem and the final answer.  I don't always either, but I know how to start messing around with it and see what happens.  I can't seem to get her to do that, though I've really tried.

 

FWIW, my older kid who likes math isn't always the best at handling a problem he doesn't instantly know.  I do all the math he does.  I've got the patience to think about a math problem all day until I figure it out.  Him?  Forget it.  And I've shown him ways to tackle a difficult problem. 

 

And you know what is weird (and yeah probably I'm going way off topic here)?  I was reading study and school tips on the local CC's website.  They said something like if you don't understand something don't waste your time trying to figure it out, ask the instructor or a tutor for help.  Ok I know when you are in college time is limited.  So I get it, you can't spend a week trying to figure out each problem.  But really?  Just give up right then and there.  That is so not how I roll.

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The online course description isn't very detailed, but here it is:

 

Presents the mathematical basis of geometric practices used in structural and decorative design. Surveys the major historical approaches to geometric study: Euclidean, descriptive, transformational, combinatorial, and ornamental. Compares aesthetic and technological issues in cultural context.

 

The prerequisite is Math 1310 Intermediate Algebra or equivalent placement score.

 

ETA:  She isn't crazy about any math, but she enjoyed geometry a lot more than algebra, so I think she'd enjoy this course a LOT more than trig/pre-calc.

That sounds like a wonderful math for her!  

 

I agree with pp's.  If she's going to have to do math in college, keep doing math now.  Don't take time off from it, because if you don't use it, you'll lose it.

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I do see value in continuing to at least keep what she knows fresh.  Some colleges make their students take placement tests, and if you don't score high enough they often require you to do remedial courses and often those don't count towards the major.  Some probably do allow it to be counted towards the general stuff, but one still ends up taking more math (than they probably want to).  And many schools give no credit for those courses at all.

 

 

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Another vote for statistics.  It is so useful in all kinds of real-life situations - making medical decisions, being skeptical of news reports about surveys and polls and studies, etc.  The kids at local college-prep high schools who aren't STEM-bound but are academically-minded usually take AP Stats.  No need for AP for your dd, regular stats will do if it's enough for admission to the schools she's interested in.  You can always call a sampling of the schools and run it by them.

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I hated math when I was in school, but I loved statistics.  It's interesting because I've met math lovers who hate statistics.  It was the first time I saw some practical use for math. 

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Yes, if she felt like there was a purpose to math that would help her with art, that would probably change her perspective considerably!  She wasn't really interested in biology until she realized that an anatomy class would help her draw the human figure more accurately, and now she's excited about it.  There is a "Geometry for Design" course that is a requirement for the Associate's of Fine Arts degree at our CC.  And if she did it this coming year then we could put it on her Kolbe diploma for high school credit as well.  Do you think that would work?

 

Yes, I do! I read the description downthread; that's exactly the kind of thing I was talking about, anything to keep the skills fresh and possibly give new perspective. 

 

Would she possibly be open to some life skills coaching to deal with the test anxiety? I know some people on the board think I'm always quick to suggest therapy, but I know that it can take the form of coaching and learning specific techniques to address specific problems. It doesn't have to be, What childhood trauma led to test anxiety?  :laugh:

 

It seems like she's making big decisions based on avoiding tests, and that's something that might come up again more than once. Grad school for one, and there are some jobs that require a form of high stakes testing - at both my old job and dh's, you had to take and pass a timed test or you would not be hired, period. This was for any job, with obviously different tests and scoring depending on the job. 

 

Plus, it's just always a good feeling to conquer a fear! 

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ETA: She isn't crazy about any math, but she enjoyed geometry a lot more than algebra, so I think she'd enjoy this course a LOT more than trig/pre-calc.

The course description looks good.

 

I do agree that test anxiety needs to be work on, separate from the math issue.

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Yes, I do! I read the description downthread; that's exactly the kind of thing I was talking about, anything to keep the skills fresh and possibly give new perspective. 

 

Would she possibly be open to some life skills coaching to deal with the test anxiety? I know some people on the board think I'm always quick to suggest therapy, but I know that it can take the form of coaching and learning specific techniques to address specific problems. It doesn't have to be, What childhood trauma led to test anxiety?  :laugh:

 

It seems like she's making big decisions based on avoiding tests, and that's something that might come up again more than once. Grad school for one, and there are some jobs that require a form of high stakes testing - at both my old job and dh's, you had to take and pass a timed test or you would not be hired, period. This was for any job, with obviously different tests and scoring depending on the job. 

 

Plus, it's just always a good feeling to conquer a fear! 

 

 

Thank you!  I had no idea that there was such a thing as life skills coaching for things like test anxiety!  How would I go about finding that in my area?

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FWIW, my older kid who likes math isn't always the best at handling a problem he doesn't instantly know.  I do all the math he does.  I've got the patience to think about a math problem all day until I figure it out.  Him?  Forget it.  And I've shown him ways to tackle a difficult problem. 

 

And you know what is weird (and yeah probably I'm going way off topic here)?  I was reading study and school tips on the local CC's website.  They said something like if you don't understand something don't waste your time trying to figure it out, ask the instructor or a tutor for help.  Ok I know when you are in college time is limited.  So I get it, you can't spend a week trying to figure out each problem.  But really?  Just give up right then and there.  That is so not how I roll.

 

Yeah, I can see them not wanting a student to get further and further behind while not asking for help that they need.  But geez we do need to encourage some independent thinking, problem solving, and determination as well.  

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I had no idea that there was such a thing as life skills coaching for things like test anxiety! How would I go about finding that in my area?

There is two levels of test anxiety that I see in real life. One is anxiety from thinking they did not prep enough. Test taking skills class help. Boot camp for specific exams help. Those are easier to find by word of mouth.

 

The other is the kind my dad has which requires seeing a psychiatrist at times. It is the kind that regardless of prep work, the person is still likely to panic or freeze at the exam hall. My dad take short term sedatives medicine under doctor's supervision. During my college exam, someone had a nervous breakdown in the exam hall and an ambulance was called. She was hospitalised for a few days and then took a year off on medical leave. It is a lot harder to find a good fit psychiatrist.

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She doesn't need calculus. Some stem occupations don't need calculus. Computer programming doesn't need calculus.

 

If she ever need calculus later, she can always take it as an introductory course in CC or college.

 

The only people who should take calculus are those going into math, physics or engineering fields in very highly selective colleges unless they won't able to due to lack of time.

 

ETA:

Logic is needed in programming but Calculus is not essential for Logic. You can pass the high school Calculus exam and still be illogical :)

 

While I agree with what you are saying regarding the actual need for the profession, actually, in academic terms, calculus is also required for economics and it's a pre-requisite for linear algebra which is very important in computer programming, at least for databases.

 

I hadn't had calc for 17 years and let me tell you how fun linalg and water economics were... "limit, limit... hmmmm... I vaguely remember skipping class to go to the espresso stand that day..."

 

Edit: also, calculus is required for some statistics courses, which many master's programs require their students to take. Like at the University of Washington, you need calculus for statistics for an MEd.

 

OP... 

 

I know your daughter wants to be an artist, but she might change her mind. She is so young!

Edited by Tsuga
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While I agree with what you are saying regarding the actual need for the profession, actually, in academic terms, calculus is also required for economics and it's a pre-requisite for linear algebra which is very important in computer programming, at least for databases.

 

I hadn't had calc for 17 years and let me tell you how fun linalg and water economics were... "limit, limit... hmmmm... I vaguely remember skipping class to go to the espresso stand that day..."

 

Yeah true.  My husband has a degree in electrical engineering from Germany.  His least favorite part was some of the math he had to take.  Some of it was so hard that a large number of people couldn't make it past that point in the program.  On his third and final allowed attempt at one particular exam the instructor asked him why he thought so many students flunked it.  My husband flat out told him because the prior math classes didn't prepare them well enough for it and a lot of the concepts aren't used in that field anyway.  Something like that.  So maybe the prof was feeling merciful.  He gave him the lowest possible score that was still enough to pass. 

 

Fast forward to his actual real world life, he has never ever used the majority of the math.  So years and years of this crazy math for what?

 

I sometimes think some of the requirements have gotten needlessly stupid.  Like the guy in my stat class who was a culinary art's major.  When in hell is he going to use statistics as a cook?  Never.  I guarantee you....NEVER.  It's so freaking arbitrary of a requirement.  But possibly what is going on sometimes might be that although it might be more ideal to offer math classes that each focus on the specifics of a particular field, it's possibly not doable cost wise.  So they try to fit the various shaped pegs into the same round slot. 

 

I went to a culinary school (long after I graduated from college) just for the heck of it.  That's all they taught at that school.  So they did have specific instruction in the math that would be used in that field, but nothing more. 

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OP... 

 

I know your daughter wants to be an artist, but she might change her mind. She is so young!

 

She might!  It's hard for me to imagine her in a STEM field rather than some sort of creative field, but anything is possible.  By the time I was her age, I knew very well that my talents, meager though they are, were in science and not in anything creative.  My assessment of myself hasn't changed.  She's always been the opposite, always had such a strong need to create beautiful things, whether it was the stories and poems she used to write, or the art that has been a daily activity since she was itty bitty.

 

We have a family friend with grown children, and he had a daughter who also wanted to be an artist, and got a degree in FA and everything.  And then she became a nurse.  So you never know!

 

But I do hate to force more math on her than is necessary right now.  If she decides on a different career, then she will have a motivation to learn what she needs.  Right now she just considers it pointless torture.  

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There is two levels of test anxiety that I see in real life. One is anxiety from thinking they did not prep enough. Test taking skills class help. Boot camp for specific exams help. Those are easier to find by word of mouth.

 

The other is the kind my dad has which requires seeing a psychiatrist at times. It is the kind that regardless of prep work, the person is still likely to panic or freeze at the exam hall. My dad take short term sedatives medicine under doctor's supervision. During my college exam, someone had a nervous breakdown in the exam hall and an ambulance was called. She was hospitalised for a few days and then took a year off on medical leave. It is a lot harder to find a good fit psychiatrist.

 

I *think* hers is more of the first.  But I will try to delve into this some more with her and find out for sure.  Thank you again!

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The online course description isn't very detailed, but here it is:

 

Presents the mathematical basis of geometric practices used in structural and decorative design. Surveys the major historical approaches to geometric study: Euclidean, descriptive, transformational, combinatorial, and ornamental. Compares aesthetic and technological issues in cultural context.

 

The prerequisite is Math 1310 Intermediate Algebra or equivalent placement score.

 

ETA:  She isn't crazy about any math, but she enjoyed geometry a lot more than algebra, so I think she'd enjoy this course a LOT more than trig/pre-calc.

 

I think this sounds perfect for her.

 

The idea of forcing a student who is reduced to tears by algebra to slog through calculus in HS, on the remote chance that she might, at some point in the distant future, decide to do a complete 180 and go into a career she has never had the slightest interest in, makes no sense. If, on the off chance she ever decides to go into a field that requires higher math, she can take it then — when she has the motivation and maturity to make it work.

 

If she has any interest in graphic design as a possible career, another mathematically-related topic you might consider for a home-brewed course would be visual presentation of mathematical and statistical information. Some interesting books on the topic:

 

Edward Tufte's books are classics: Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence ad Narrative , Envisioning Information, and  Beautiful Evidence

 

Alberto Cairo, The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization

 

Stephen Few, Now You See It: Visualization Techniques for Quantitative Analysis

 

ETA: Another option could be combining 2 Great Courses that focus on the intersection of math and the visual world:  The Shape of Nature and Mathematics from the Visual World.  Those two courses = 60 half-hour lectures; add a 30 minute discussion or activity to each lecture and you have a half-credit course.

 

Edited by Corraleno
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While I agree with what you are saying regarding the actual need for the profession, actually, in academic terms, calculus is also required for economics and it's a pre-requisite for linear algebra which is very important in computer programming, at least for databases.

 

I think we have no argument with the need to keep more doors open. It is a matter of when. Having a reluctant child do calculus for 12th grade with the possibility of failing it, just because OP's husband think that is critical might not be appropriate use of time.

 

Doing calculus in CC or college when the child has a need for it might work out better.

 

For example one of mine has no interest in biology so even if he could possibly do AP bio, I am okay with just high school biology for high school. If he change his mind later, he can do higher level bio in college starting at a lower level course.

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My plans for my own future artist (costume design, theater) is Alg. 1 & 2, Geometry, followed by at least 1 semester of Statistics.  We'd go with Stats. because she's also interested in Psychology. The only reason we'd mess with the 4th year is that most of the Colleges around here require it. 

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Yeah I think by now she knows what type of general area of study she is interested in.  Or at least knows what area she is not interested in.  Even if she 100% has the ability, another important factor is does she have the desire and drive to pursue that? 

 

The big push and tada now is STEM.  Everyone wants their kid to go into STEM.  Even my kids have picked up on that even though I've never told them what they should go into. 

 

I wonder if everyone is going to go into STEM what the competition for jobs will be when everyone graduates in STEM.  Maybe that's a ridiculous exaggeration and not a real concern, but I don't know.  There are still plenty of other decent areas to go into that aren't STEM.

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I think this sounds perfect for her.

 

The idea of forcing a student who is reduced to tears by algebra to slog through calculus in HS, on the remote chance that she might, at some point in the distant future, decide to do a complete 180 and go into a career she has never had the slightest interest in, makes no sense.  

 

If she has any interest in graphic design as a possible career, another mathematically-related topic you might consider for a home-brewed course would be visual presentation of mathematical and statistical information. Some interesting books on the topic:

Edward Tufte's books are classics: Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence ad Narrative , Envisioning Information, and  Beautiful Evidence

 

Alberto Cairo, The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization

 

Stephen Few, Now You See It: Visualization Techniques for Quantitative Analysis

 

That's an interesting suggestion, and one I never would have thought of.  Thanks!

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I think we have no argument with the need to keep more doors open. It is a matter of when. Having a reluctant child do calculus for 12th grade with the possibility of failing it, just because OP's husband think that is critical might not be appropriate use of time.

 

Doing calculus in CC or college when the child has a need for it might work out better.

 

For example one of mine has no interest in biology so even if he could possibly do AP bio, I am okay with just high school biology for high school. If he change his mind later, he can do higher level bio in college starting at a lower level course.

 

As I understood it the question was not merely calc in 12th but the math leading up to that, but maybe I have my math order wrong. For us it went Alg, Alg II, Geometry, Trig/Pre-Calc. So OP's daughter would need one more course to keep options open.

 

If I'm mistaken forgive me.

 

And just to add... calc is not only for stem. Understanding statistics in order to use data in decision making is really important and that's why it's required for a lot of non-STEM master's degrees.

 

I do not think that only humanities majors need to take ethics and metaphysics, either.

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