# Horizons Pre-Alg went down in a handbasket....

## Recommended Posts

It seems to be going downhill so suddenly and so quickly....

I just don't know if my dd will make it through this.  She is on lesson 45 and they are teaching (doing a bad job of it) percentage differences..this is moving so fast that I am really starting to question what the point is if my student is going to be nearly lost the whole time.  We've had to ask my 9th grader for help several times and today, he was able to solve the problem correctly but could not figure out what the BOOK was doing, or, not coincidentally, what WE were doing to get the wrong answer.  I texted the problem to a friend who has a Masters in Math from Virginia Tech and she was able to show us our mistake, but agreed that the problem explanation was very unclear.

Obviously we are going to run into road blocks now and then, but I am just so frustrated with Horizons.  I really want my dd to finish up Middle School math with confidence, not struggling!

For example: There are 2 more lessons on percent increase and decrease, then lesson 53 is mark up, 54 is Simple interest, 55 is Commission, 56 is small percents, 57 is profits and royalties, 58 is Compound Interest, 59 is more percents, then there are several pretty easy lessons on graphs, range, mediian, mean and mode, then it gets into Probability, then Plane Geometry, including surface area of pyramids and pyramids with hexagon bases (what are they called?) (after that a lot of this Geometry that follows is stuff I didn't see till the beginning of 10th grade Honors Geometry), two variable equations including graphing them, (isn't that well into Alg 1?), by lesson 125 they are learning sine, cosin and tangent! by lesson 130 Polynomial Expressions, and even how to add and subtract and multiply and divide and also do all those between monomials and trinomials...

Is it me, or is this too much too fast?

I got a Prentice Hall pre-alg from the library... and she would place perfectly into Chapter 6, she could skip all of chapter 7 and then complete the entire book which has a much more sane pace.

I also bought Developmental Math Level 16 and if she likes it we could do that instead....

or should I keep trying with Horizons?

##### Share on other sites

Some of those topics are very surprising for a pre algebra book.

That does seem rather nuts.

##### Share on other sites

You know what I wish I could find right now?  You know how Critical Thinking Company had those semi-complete math books full of color, and huge illustrations and plenty of white space but all with logic and critical thinking built in?  Tha'ts what my dd needs to finish out this school year and get ready for Alg 1...and she only needs about 8 major topics.  Why does such a thing not exist ?

##### Share on other sites

profits and royalties...that's um..ok...compound interest....technically not difficult, but not at all a typical pre algebra topic

The percent stuff yes.  I suppose they are bringing some real world uses for this stuff.

For the stuck concepts you could try finding Kahn Academy videos to help her learn it.  I find those to be pretty good.

##### Share on other sites

I know...like we've been doing...but the problem is, when do you keep pushing and when do you decide to cut your losses and slow down for better confidence, enjoyment and most importantly, understanding?

##### Share on other sites

Yeah I think you are right.  That makes sense.

I'm doing pre-a with my kid now and technically I don't use a book.  I have been through all of this with my first kid so now I just cover the topics I know that need to be covered and pick from the various things I already have.

Edited by SparklyUnicorn
##### Share on other sites

maybe I should get brave and just do that...

##### Share on other sites

maybe I should get brave and just do that...

Make a list of what you want to cover.  You could ask here if it looks good.  Then do it.

##### Share on other sites

You know what I wish I could find right now? You know how Critical Thinking Company had those semi-complete math books full of color, and huge illustrations and plenty of white space but all with logic and critical thinking built in? Tha'ts what my dd needs to finish out this school year and get ready for Alg 1...and she only needs about 8 major topics. Why does such a thing not exist ?

I haven't seen it, but their Understanding Geometry is sort of a pre-geometry; maybe the algebra book is similar?

##### Share on other sites

I will take a look, thanks...

You know, I wonder if what I should do is get a Spectrum Pre-Alg book, to have on hand...but just use Zacarro's Challenge math as her main book.  She absolutely loves it and begs all the time to just do that instead of the many rote calculations required in Horizons.

To keep her arithmetic sharp I could grab a few Kumon books and make her go through them when I see she is rusty in for example long division or fractions or whatever....

##### Share on other sites

That Critical THinking Press book looks great, but it's more "puzzly" than Zacarro's which presents really real-world-like problems ....but I will keep looking at it.

##### Share on other sites

If the material is moving too quickly and the explanations are poor and you and your child are unhappy then I say switch if you need to. Absolutely. And I agree, you might consider trying to cover the material without a specific curriculum if you are comfortable. Make a list of pre-algebra skills she should cover then find resources for covering them.

Edited by Code Lyoko
##### Share on other sites

How about McKellar's Kiss My Math. Solutions guide are on her website and the libraries have her books. Barnes and Noble too if you want to browse.

http://www.kissmymath.com/book/#top

I just think McKellar being female may be a self esteem boost for your daughter. Besides she has an encouraging message on her webpage that I linked above.

##### Share on other sites

I just think McKellar being female may be a self esteem boost for your daughter

My mathy girl found McKellar's book horrible because there was too much boyfriend/ make-up/ kissy type content. Also, I seem to remember an emphasis on tricks rather than explanation. She wanted to like it, but absolutely didn'. It was a real turn off.

Crimson- it seems like this kid is really struggling to find a good fit for Pre-A. (I've followed since before your foray into Derek Owens.) I wish you luck, but think you might just have to cobble together to finish it out. Do you know what you want to move to for Algebra, because that is your next hurdle. . .

##### Share on other sites

OK I looked it up and Understanding Algebra looks like it is meant to be Algebra 1 not pre-algebra. But what about this book: http://www.criticalthinking.com/mathematical-reasoning-middle-school-supplement.html

Yes, that is the closest to Pre-A, I think. But it is a supplement, and while having the "facts" at the end of each section is interesting, I don't think that works for kids learning the material for the first time? The Algebra and Geometry books are set up to be direct teaching books. I think. I have all three books coming my way. So I'm just blabbing about my impressions from deciding whether or not to buy them. Maybe someone who has used it can chime in.

##### Share on other sites

I've only worked with CTC understanding Geometry and Mathematical Reasoning.

The Algebra book was not available then.

When we started grade 7 (begin of Middle School here) we used a standard math text from Flanders.

This didn't work well, as it was focused on 'getting the right answer' and not on the 'mathematical thinking proces'.

So I bought Mathematical Reasoning.

Dd liked the book, was doing well, but the standard math text lessons were going down hill.

we just did not understand what the textbook was teaching us (my fault: flemish textbooks are written to be taught, not for self study / home teaching, so the books don't 'teach')

We switched to AoPS for the Pre - Algebra and needed middle school geometry as we have 'Integrated Math' here, su we bought the Understanding Geometry too.

We used UG as first introduction to secundary geometry and that worked well to us.

I can see it might have not enough instruction / practice for others.

Mathematical Reasoning would considered 'enrichment' where I live, and UG a core course.

But I don't live in the USA.

##### Share on other sites

If you like the Prentice Hall, give that a shot.  Or your other plan, Zaccaro with other stuff alongside.  When my oldest was about that age we used the Horizon pre-alg.  We made it about half-way through.  The frustrating thing to us was that it didn't review some things often enough, but when it did review it reviewed too many of the same type of problem at once.  But, personally, I would not keep trying with Horizons.

##### Share on other sites

My mathy girl found McKellar's book horrible because there was too much boyfriend/ make-up/ kissy type content. Also, I seem to remember an emphasis on tricks rather than explanation. She wanted to like it, but absolutely didn'. It was a real turn off.

eww what the...that wouldn't appeal to me either!

That's rather insulting actually.

##### Share on other sites

Yeah unfortunately McKellar's book includes a ton of that stuff.  I looked at it in person at the library, and found it insulting as well.  My dd would be totally annoyed.

Yes, my plan is Derek Owens.  While I found Derek Owens rather frustrating and time consuming, I think for Algebra that would not be such a bad thing.  The consistent, quick grading feedback is also a huge plus.  And he does answer questions when necessary.....

##### Share on other sites

We've used Horizons from K through Pre-Algebra... which we also abandoned mid-year (last year). It was such a disappointment because Horizons had been such a good fit at our house in the past--and the graphic design of the book was great! The overall design of the content was not, however. We were continually relying on Khan Academy to actually explain these concepts to us. (Thank God for Khan Academy!) It was a painful end to our year.

After looking over my options and thinking long and hard about it all, I purchased about a dozen Life of Fred books, including the Pre-Algebra set. LoF is about as close as you can get to a "living" math textbook. LOL! We are loving it so far!

##### Share on other sites

Yeah unfortunately McKellar's book includes a ton of that stuff. I looked at it in person at the library, and found it insulting as well. My dd would be totally annoyed.

That is a downer. The Manga series also have lots of BGR mush.

Prentice Hall and Holt prealgebra textbooks are okay. Saxon is okay too. However for tutor support, Derek Owens would be better.

##### Share on other sites

Yeah, I am just going to put her in the second semester of DO, then she will be ready for Algebra next year - we can cut out some of the extra practice if necessary

##### Share on other sites

DO moves slowly but these new concepts are tough so I think more time is a good thing- :)

Thanks for all your thoughts and help everyone

##### Share on other sites

We were very happy with Horizons K-6, too, but, after looking at Horizons Pre-Algebra, I decided to go with Dolciani Pre-Algebra. It seemed like Horizons Pre-Algebra just presented a format to do the different problems and then gave a bunch of problems to plug into the given format. I didn't like it at all. Maybe future editions will be better.

Dolciani's Pre-Alg: An Accelerated Approach worked very well for all three of my children.

My boys used Derek Owens for Algebra I. We were all very happy with it. The one thing to be conscious of is that, because it is self-paced, it can be easy to let it slide. Sticking to the schedule he suggests helped keep us on track.

##### Share on other sites

Well today she started up again with DO and we both really enjoyed the lesson on the Pythagorean theorum.  As before, the movies do move a little slowly, but I started her on all new material, so it was more interesting.  We both enjoyed watching the videos together, and she enjoys having it clearly taught instead of me trying to struggle through Horizons' paltry explanations.

When we had tried DO before, a lot of the material was review, and she was also much younger (that 6 months makes a big difference at this age) so was much less patient with the timing, format and explanations.  Now she is at least mature enough to realize the helpfulness of the videos, and after struggling through me poorly teaching four or five major concepts this year I think she realizes being patient with a well taught, (if overly carefully taught) video, is way way better than being patient with a mom struggling through explaining something she learned 25 years ago and didn't like much then, either.   :laugh:

So, here's to Derek Owens.  I really feel hopeful long term!

##### Share on other sites

Well today she started up again with DO and we both really enjoyed the lesson on the Pythagorean theorum.  As before, the movies do move a little slowly, but I started her on all new material, so it was more interesting.  We both enjoyed watching the videos together, and she enjoys having it clearly taught instead of me trying to struggle through Horizons' paltry explanations.

When we had tried DO before, a lot of the material was review, and she was also much younger (that 6 months makes a big difference at this age) so was much less patient with the timing, format and explanations.  Now she is at least mature enough to realize the helpfulness of the videos, and after struggling through me poorly teaching four or five major concepts this year I think she realizes being patient with a well taught, (if overly carefully taught) video, is way way better than being patient with a mom struggling through explaining something she learned 25 years ago and didn't like much then, either.   :laugh:

So, here's to Derek Owens.  I really feel hopeful long term!

We also just switched to DO midyear. Did you have your daughter start at the very beginning or did you skip the first semester?

##### Share on other sites

Great!! We can commiserate!

She started with lesson 5.7

Then she will do the entire second semester

## Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

Only 75 emoji are allowed.