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soror

To Continue with AoPS or Not....

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I'm hoping those who have been through AoPS or started using it and didn't have it work out for various reasons might be able to help me figure out what direction to go with math for my ds7th.

 

My son is doing decently well with AoPS pre-A now, so it seems to be a no-brainner that we would continue with their Algebra but I have some major hesitations---

 

1- I worry that although pre-A is going fine it won't go so well when we hit material we are not at all familiar with, a large chunk of this work is review

 

2- I worry that going through AoPS sequence will take him too long and he won't have enough time to get through the math he needs to--- he is not a fast worker at all--he also is not a math lover and is not the type to spend hrs on math for fun--BUT traditional programs don't fit him in the slightest

 

3- I worry about my ability to understand it and teach him but financially I'm concerned about the cost of online classes- the only option that looks like it would work anyway is through WTM as there is no way he could handle the pace of an AoPS course

 

And I'm worried about making the wrong decision and costing us time and understanding. He is heading into 8th grade next year and will be half-way through AoPS pre-A by then, on track to finish half-way through next year. He is a mechanically minded kid who seems to be headed into some type of engineering field, so a thorough understanding of math is an absolute necessity. He is officially diagnosed with ADHD his biggest issues being memory and processing speed, which although not horrible are slower than average. His writing is a bit of an issue too, not bad enough for a diagnosis but it is a bit of a struggle. (He has had improvement in all these areas but he's still not "normal") We work together as that is what he needs as I said a traditional program would not work for him at all, he can't get through a million problems. My current back-up to AoPS plan is VideoText, it was rec. after we went through RS, which was a good fit for him and although video instruction is not his preference looking at the layout and presentation I think it would well otherwise. I've also thought about continuing with the Arbor School Math books as he did well with JA but I'm pretty certain it will not be enough practice for him and of course it only goes through Algebra. I've thought about Jacobs as well but I'm just not sure. Despite all these reservations I have just as many about going with anything else as we've hit a pretty good stride with AoPS, he doesn't love it but tolerates it pretty well. Although it looks to me like Video Text would be the next best thing for him I hate that it is video based, he absolutely works best working side by side by me, video and/or online learning is not his preference.

 

*his math history

Right Start B-E

Beast Academy 3, 4 and half of 5

Jousting Armadillos

MUS pre-A (half this year until I realized he wasn't learning anything)

Time Travel Math an Advanced Geometry Adventure(prufrock press)

Hands on Equations -- bits

A smattering of various other things

Edited by soror

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If he wants to go into engineering then a solid math background is essential. AoPS is great for this but certainly not the only way.

 

It sounds like you are doing well with AoPS right not. I'd be inclined to continue with their Intro to Algebra and Intro to Geometry books. If you hit a wall you can always change. I'd probably be hesitant to continue into their Intermediate books with him unless he's loving it. You could always start with precalculus with another program.

 

Another resource to look at if you want to move away from AoPS is Derek Owens - you can ask for his half price option and do the grading and support yourself - he supplies the videos, homework, tests, solutions.

Edited by Julie of KY
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Another resource to look at if you want to move away from AoPS is Derek Owens - you can ask for his half price option and do the grading and support yourself - he supplies the videos, homework, tests, solutions.

 

This.  Note that DO gives partial credit so you will need to feel comfortable doing that fairly in order to grade the work.

 

Also DO's background is in engineering and you can see it in how he thinks about and teaches math.  His courses are not AoPS, but they are solid.

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Great questions, and lots of useful background!

 

Each student faces different challenges in AoPS, but in general, the Intro to Algebra book is easier than the Pre-Algebra - if, and ONLY if the student has done the Pre-Algebra text first. That is because the Pre-Algebra book is so strong. Doing it as a review is an extra big plus.

 

AoPS works best for students with good working memory, so if that is a concern, you might need more time to complete the book. AoPS themselves split the course in two, which should provide insight into its breadth.

 

Having access to a tutor or mentor is very important with AoPS. However, your own efforts and perseverance will go a long way in support. You can do well with a co-learning style.

 

Courses like video text or khan definitely won't match up, but a classic beginning & intermediate algebra textbook would make a good fallback.

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My son did AOPS Pre-A in sixth grade. He works very slowly. He needed a lot of hand holding as well. But he liked it. So in 7th we went with AOPS Intro to Algebra. That went even slower. We made it through the first half of the book.... supplemented a little, and called it Algebra 1.

 

Then we had to make the decision of either sticking with AOPS or not. My son works slowly, needed help but understood the concepts very well, and is not a stem kid..... he is a history kid. Considering how long it would take, and that he wanted to get through calculus by senior year, we decided to switch programs. He ended up picking Teaching Textbooks. I know, complete opposite program. But, he loves it. He is successful. However, we do plan to revisit Review and challengers after he finishes Algebra 2. At this point it looks like he may be ready for calculus by junior year.

 

As a comparison, my DD in sixth is doing AOPS Algebra book very successfully, quickly, with almost no help. The program is perfect for her. If she rushes through she will get to calculus early. So we are going to start sidetracking with the intro to CP and NT books as well, by her request.

 

Anyway, that's just our experience....

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We quit AoPs half way through algebra and for all my ranting on here I can't recall the exact reason. It was a combination of the realization that this child would not go into any math-centric fields, that doing AoPs right (or frankly, doing it at all) would take up massive amounts of bandwidth here, and for a child that just does not lean that way at all, it was wasted.

Even if we had stuck with AOPS, I firmly believe it is not enough...it's like you master the most complicated version of...something, and proceed to move on to master something entirely different. All AoPs leaked out of my DS and we would have needed spiral review. We started algebra over.

We tried doing it on our own, AOPS class, and WTMA class (because we did pre-a, counting and probability, and first half of Algebra book). Of these,DS was very fond of the WTMA class, and in fact continued to audit it a while even as we switched curriculum.

Eta that we also found the Algebra book easier than the raking through the coals of PreA, but only for the first few chapters or so...

Edited by madteaparty
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We quit midway Intro to Algebra as we relied on the video's heavily, and after the middle of that book they are not longer available.

For the moment we use a Dutch Grade 9 integrated math text.

But after that it won't fit the bill either as the flemish math sequence is too different from other countries and our math textbooks are written to be used by professional math teachers, not by homeschoolers.

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Thank you all for your thoughts!

 

Julie and EKS ---I appreciate the rec. for DO I had thought a bit about his classes if we end up going a different route, the half price option would work well for our finances and likely be a better fit for his learning style.

 

I should say that ds does need scaffolding but it is due to the EF issues not necessarily the difficulty of the Math, he'd need the same unless we went with something so easy he already knew how to do it, even then like w MUS he does better with me there, although he does some work without me, particularly at the en of the chapter reviews or if we stretch a section over 2 days and we've already went over the teaching part.. Although not a quick worker he isn't doing too bad, he will finish pre-A within a school year at an easy pace. 

 

madteaparty--I DO worry about the need for review part of the reason we've done so many different things is that he needs to hit things from multiple angles. As it is now I've been saving end of the chapter review questions so at the end of each chapter he goes back to do problems from each previous chapter. I've wondered if doing a less intensive program like VT might give us the time to bring in other resources, which might cement concepts better than just AoPS alone for his particular learning style. 

 

looseje--We've not had to use the videos for any of the book so far but when I was reviewing pre-A before doing it with him i did find them helpful, I didn't realize they only went through half of Algebra :(

 

Mike in SA -- thank you for your vote of confidence and thoughts. I've been trying to work with him on writing things down to help with the memory and that is helping. 

 

I believe the goal is to get through pre-Calculus. I was thinking if we start Algebra half-way through 8 that gives him 1.5 yrs to complete it, then he could do Geometry, Algebra 2 and pre-Calculus and still be on track. I might also have to consider less summer break to give us more time.

 

Of course, this would be less of a stress if he wasn't interested in math-heavy fields but that has always been his interest, although he loves books. I expect that he will go to the local CC first and then transfer. He is bright but not a genius, hard-working and persistent but as I said with some challenges. He is also very laid back, considering his challenges and his laid back personality I don't see a super challenging/elite school being a good fit for him or our pocket book. 

 

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I've made many posts about our AoPS saga...love/hate relationship...

 

Short version: We switched part-way through Algebra after having had a good experience with Pre-A. 

I now regret all the time we lost using AoPS.  It's one of my biggest homeschooling regrets...

 

 

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One kid did algebra and geometry, then quit.

 

No regrets at all.

 

My kid loved the books and learned a ton, but they were just too time consuming. She insisted on doing everything so she wouldn't miss a good problem!

 

She placed into calculus at the community college with just those two books. Part of that is just grit: AOPS taught her to tough it out and figure out unfamiliar math, which will serve her well.

 

I did make her do a precalc book over the summer before she started at CC.

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On the other hand...AoPS teaches some students to look for tricks -- that there's always an easier way if you just look, look, look and look. For those students....Grit? Not so much...

 

For some, AoPS is a lesson in the best use of one's time and resources. Am I getting enough payback for the time and effort going into this? Could my time be spent more wisely?

 

Definitely a YMMV situation.

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I've made many posts about our AoPS saga...love/hate relationship...

 

Short version: We switched part-way through Algebra after having had a good experience with Pre-A. 

I now regret all the time we lost using AoPS.  It's one of my biggest homeschooling regrets...

Gah,  I sure don't want to end up feeling we've wasted time. 

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On the other hand...AoPS teaches some students to look for tricks -- that there's always an easier way if you just look, look, look and look.

I find those to be mutually exclusive outcomes. It's a curriculum built around deep conceptual understanding. There are no gimmicks allowed.

 

If ever you feel AoPS is teaching tricks, you really need to either find additional support or a new curriculum. This would be a perfect example of why it's not the best for every situation.

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On the other hand...AoPS teaches some students to look for tricks -- that there's always an easier way if you just look, look, look and look. For those students....Grit? Not so much...

 

Having used AoPS from Intro to Algebra all the way through calculus with two students, I have to completely disagree.

Nothing teaches grit like spending two hours on a tough geometry problem. Most other math programs I have seen did not pose the challenge that really required grit, they just required cranking out large amounts of similar problems without having to think deeply about a single question.

 

I also disagree that AoPS is about "tricks". I do not consider applying conceptual understanding to be a "trick". Applying the concepts to simplify a problem is far preferable to just crank out computations through brute force which does not teach math, just computation.

A student who thinks it is about looking for tricks would benefit from some guidance from a human teacher who can correct this misconception.

Edited by regentrude
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Rather than looking for "tricks," I would characterize AoPS as using an understanding of the concept to find a more elegant path than brute-force calculation.  Can this really vary by student?

 

ETA, what regentrude said :)

Edited by wapiti
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Rather than looking for "tricks, I would characterize AoPS as using an understanding of the concept to find a more elegant path than brute-force calculation.  Can this really vary by student?

 

 

Everything can vary by student. 

Edited by Woodland Mist Academy
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 And I'm worried about making the wrong decision and costing us time and understanding.

...

I hate that it is video based, he absolutely works best working side by side by me, video and/or online learning is not his preference.

If he works side by side by you, what would be the time constraints going forward with your younger three possibly needing more time? My younger boy is "passive" and distractible so I have to be constantly monitoring but not helping. Whenever we offered help in the past, he just waits for help so now we let him fail and he does a better job knowing that we would just make him do "summer credit recovery". He picked AoPS over the older Larson books that I have and his retention is not as strong as my oldest. He won't have the patience for Saxon so that was out. So my plan is just to pick a old bland math textbook for him to review and consolidate. The intermediate algebra book was the biggest time suck for both my kids so far out of the whole series, YMMV.

 

 Of course, this would be less of a stress if he wasn't interested in math-heavy fields but that has always been his interest, although he loves books.

 

I think it depends on which math heavy fields. However not being able to progress in math heavy interest due to aops math holding him back would be frustrating to a child. My oldest was asking about pentagonal bipyramid as with regards to chemistry (steric number 7) but that is also in geometry.

 

Regardless of which math curriculum you use, plan short term and just continue adjusting to suit your child. There is so much brain changes going on at our kids ages that it is really hard to even do a semester plan at this stage. I am planning summer camps now because it gives me a break from my kids and registration closes soon and some are full so my choices are diminishing.

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I've not seen my son using the techniques taught in AopS (or BA for that matter) as tricks for him they are in line with how he thinks and considering his challenges it is very helpful because it helps hm find more efficient ways to solve problems. Of course, that can change and I have no long term results yet, to know for certain one way or the other. I do know that BA required added review for him which I don't foresee that changing in the immediate future, it takes awhile for things to fully absorb into his mind.  He is not a perfectionist as some have mentioned, quite the opposite, he could stand to be a bit more particular if anything! 

 

AoPS is both the perfect fit and the worst fit!

Edited by soror
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I find those to be mutually exclusive outcomes. It's a curriculum built around deep conceptual understanding. There are no gimmicks allowed.

 

If ever you feel AoPS is teaching tricks, you really need to either find additional support or a new curriculum. This would be a perfect example of why it's not the best for every situation.

I actually think a certain amount of gimmickery is built in. Not to take away from the deep conceptual thinking and wonder.

But it's impossible to have a nuanced AoPs conversation, to wit. It's either " learn all the grit, spend 3 hrs on problem" or you're not doing it right, or you don't have an "AoPs kid". You have to take it to PM :)

Edited by madteaparty
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If he works side by side by you, what would be the time constraints going forward with your younger three possibly needing more time? My younger boy is "passive" and distractible so I have to be constantly monitoring but not helping. Whenever we offered help in the past, he just waits for help so now we let him fail and he does a better job knowing that we would just make him do "summer credit recovery". He picked AoPS over the older Larson books that I have and his retention is not as strong as my oldest. He won't have the patience for Saxon so that was out. So my plan is just to pick a old bland math textbook for him to review and consolidate. The intermediate algebra book was the biggest time suck for both my kids so far out of the whole series, YMMV.

 

I think it depends on which math heavy fields. However not being able to progress in math heavy interest due to aops math holding him back would be frustrating to a child. My oldest was asking about pentagonal bipyramid as with regards to chemistry (steric number 7) but that is also in geometry.

 

Regardless of which math curriculum you use, plan short term and just continue adjusting to suit your child. There is so much brain changes going on at our kids ages that it is really hard to even do a semester plan at this stage. I am planning summer camps now because it gives me a break from my kids and registration closes soon and some are full so my choices are diminishing.

My girls are actually fairly independent and have always have been, they prefer to do things on their own, their own way. So, they actually have always needed less time than ds, who thrives on working with me. 

 

I certainly don't want AopS to hold him back either and i don't want him held back by a traditional program that is more about EF & handwriting skills than math knowledge. 

 

I don't want to be a nut trying to plan it all out BUT I don't want to screw up and get him off track because of my own lack of thought and planning.

 

I have seen some huge strides with him, as you said, things can change rapidly. 

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You say your DS is in 7th grade and doing pre-algebra. So, you don't really have a time crunch at all. You can continue and see how things go. Taking algebra 1 in 8th grade is still ahead of the curve. And even spending two years on Intro to Algebra, as one of my kids did, still would leave time to complete geometry, algebra 2, precalculus. There are ways to streamline Intermediate Algebra and Precalculus to eliminate topics not typically studied in high school, if it becomes necessary to compress math to have time for calculus (we did that with DD).

 

As a physics professor, I can tell you that by far the most important math for students is prealgebra and algebra. Spend whatever time your student needs to be rock solid, and not just in procedural way, but conceptually. The students who struggle with math in college do so because they never really mastered algebra.

For their math success, it is completely irrelevant whether they had calculus in high school or not.

 

So, this could present you an even different way: continue AoPS for Intro to Algebra, which I consider their best text of the series, and switch to something else afterwards if you find it wakes too much time. You can always change course when you run into problems; I would not proactively abandon a program that works well for him.

 

ETA: One important thing many of my college students never learned: to think about a problem before throwing equations at it. Even students who are relatively proficient in manipulating equations and executing calculations have often not made it a habit to think. One of the great advantages of AoPS is that it teaches problem solving by thinking. Even if you just use two years worth of books, that can be beneficial. It is the one thing I find most conspicuously absent from most other math curricula I have seen.

Edited by regentrude
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It didn't work out for my kid as the main program.  We used some of the alcamus, as challenge problems from time to time from the books (pre a and a), and we worked through one of the slimmer books as an extra.  I had similar concerns.  It was fine.  My kid is doing more than fine with math.  I'm not worried about it at all anymore.

 

We used Saxon after.  I'm not mentioning that as a recommendations.  People either love it or hate it.  I liked it because it had support materials that made it easy for me to use, but I don't think it is more magical than other things that are out there.  It was "fine" and worked.

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Just curious...Did you use Pre-A? We liked it much better. 

 

No, when my kids were the age they would have needed it, Pre-Algebra was not out yet.

As I stated in an ealier post, we used Intro to A through calculus, i.e. geometry, Intermediate alg, precalc, calc. And Intro to C&P.

 

We loved the Intro to Algebra book. The highest praise was my DH, a theoretical physics prof, reading and exclaiming: "I would have explained it exactly like that!" LOL.

Edited by regentrude
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I certainly don't want AopS to hold him back either and i don't want him held back by a traditional program that is more about EF & handwriting skills than math knowledge.

 

I have seen some huge strides with him, as you said, things can change rapidly.

Another option is to pair a get it done math curriculum (whatever suits your child at that point in time) with the AoPS volume 1 & 2 for problem solving enrichment. It really is a play by ear situation.

https://www.artofproblemsolving.com/store/item/aops-vol1

https://www.artofproblemsolving.com/store/item/aops-vol2

 

My local libraries have the books and solutions manual so we just used those when we are in the mood. Both my kids also did AMC8/10/12 so they are kind of forced to think at least thrice a year.

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We used preA and had no problems. Intro to Algebra text is much harder than preA, minus the beginning of the book. Intro to geometry is even harder. These books really get harder. I don't understand how people can think preAlgebra is hard. That's the easiest text from that series that we have encountered other than Number Theory.

 

I think you need to decide if you want to sink in that much time into math. I would say that unless your kid wants to major in math or physics, you can successfully use a different program and achieve the proficiency you need. Foesters comes to mind.

 

And I think there are some people on this board who have successfully used AOPS and they often have profoundly or highly gifted kids (often but not always as in our case) and those parents are the most vocal. Those who have not found AOPS a good fit are not as vocal.

My DS uses AOPS successfully, but if tomorrow he were to decide his interest was in liberal arts, I would transition him to gain time for his passion instead of spending two hours a day on math.

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I had been avoiding AOPS with my dd that has thrived with BA.  I finally gave in and started it last month.  She was able to skip the first several chapters of Intro to Algebra and what we are doing now is still mostly review.  My dd doesn't love math and is not planning to go into a math or science field (her current plan is education, though she does love and excel in chemistry).  She just learns best with the BA/AOPS approach and balks at pretty much anything else.  I minored in math (as did dh) so I feel confident teaching her.  I'm still not sure if we'll continue through high school, but I have no idea what we could use instead, hence the reason we started AOPS in the first place.

 

ETA: So, I guess I'm not much help, just commiserating with you.

Edited by Lisa in the UP of MI
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And I think there are some people on this board who have successfully used AOPS and they often have profoundly or highly gifted kids (often but not always as in our case) and those parents are the most vocal. Those who have not found AOPS a good fit are not as vocal.

 

Agreed. And FWIW, not all profoundly or highly gifted kids find it to be a good fit or worth their time.

 

It's unfortunate that AoPS not being a good fit in some threads seems to equal bad at math or doomed or worse. No wonder few people post about bad experiences... 

 

I wonder what it is about the program that prompts such responses? I'm reminded of some of our experiences on the AoPS board...

 

There really and truly are people that understand math and have successful careers that didn't use AoPS. 

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I'm curious, for those of you that switched from AOPS, what did you use?  I'd like to have some ideas to fall back on if we need to.  And I don't think my other kids will need to use AOPS.

Foerster.

It's not exactly "drill and kill" or the magical unicorn whimsy of AOPS, no matter what threads on here would have you believe. There's a third, and forth and fifth way :)

Edited by madteaparty
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Just wanted to add two more thoughts:

1. AoPS can be valuable even if the student has no interest in a STEM career. My DS will be a professional athlete and then an athletic trainer. That does not mean he should not use a rigorous math program.

 

2. Using AoPS does not mean spending two hours daily on math. Other than his sister, DS does not have the attention span for more than an hour. AoPS can be used without spending more time on math than one would otherwise. You can tailor the program, can choose to include or omit challenge problems, can select. There are many different ways to use AoPS.

 

Edited by regentrude
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Just wanted to add two more thoughts:

1. AoPS can be valuable even if the student has no interest in a STEM career. My DS will be a professional athlete and then an athletic trainer. That does not mean he should not use a rigorous math program.

 

2. Using AoPS does not mean spending two hours daily on math. Other than his sister, DS does not have the attention span for more than an hour. AoPS can be used without spending more time on math than one would otherwise. You can tailor the program, can choose to include or omit challenge problems, can select. There are many different ways to use AoPS.

 

I don't know.  My feeling about cutting out too much (unless you don't use it as your main thing) is that it already doesn't have a ton of practice. 

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I don't know.  My feeling about cutting out too much (unless you don't use it as your main thing) is that it already doesn't have a ton of practice. 

 

Having used the books successfully with two students, I found that there is sufficient practice.

You still have sufficient practice without the harder challenge problems.

There are topics that can be consolidated/omitted without compromising the mastery of the remaining topics.

You can stretch the book so that math does not take more than an hour per day and you simply take more time than a school year to complete the text. The arbitrary compartmentalization of math into different packages with labels like "algebra" is a US idiosyncrasy and unnecessary.

 

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FWIW I think the challenge problems serve a purpose slightly different from practice. There were a couple of times in the Prealgebra when my kids could have used just a smitch more straightforward practice than aops offered.

 

I have a younger kiddo doing Alg 1 at school and while he's learning a lot because it's an advanced level for him, it feels like it's half the sandwich. I am planning to take him through parts of the Prealgebra text this summer. Hopefully we'll get to Intro to Alg eventually but regardless, I will nudge him toward math club in high school. Eta, if he were using a better text, e.g. foerster, that would be a lot closer to a whole sandwich, though the slow, deep thinking that comes with AMC types of problems is right up his alley and something he needs to develop more.

Edited by wapiti
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Having used the books successfully with two students, I found that there is sufficient practice.

You still have sufficient practice without the harder challenge problems.

There are topics that can be consolidated/omitted without compromising the mastery of the remaining topics.

You can stretch the book so that math does not take more than an hour per day and you simply take more time than a school year to complete the text. The arbitrary compartmentalization of math into different packages with labels like "algebra" is a US idiosyncrasy and unnecessary.

 

 

Yeah I don't really agree.  I don't think it was enough for all students.  Maybe not even most.  And you know these concepts so I imagine if there was any help needed you could easily provide it.  At the time I couldn't. 

 

I agree with the rest.  It doesn't have to mean spending 2 hours on it. 

 

I suspect the overall difficulty with some parents using this in their homeschool is their own weakness in math.  I 100% admit that was my problem with it.  Now I could whip that book open and feel WAY more confident helping my kid through.  I know it's a self teaching thing, but not all kids are great at self teaching.  Heck, many adults are not either. 

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Having used the books successfully with two students, I found that there is sufficient practice.

You still have sufficient practice without the harder challenge problems.

 

 

Two students is a rather small sample size, isn't it? Sufficient for those two? Sure. Absolutely! That doesn't mean it is sufficient for a different student. Or even for most.

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Two students is a rather small sample size, isn't it? Sufficient for those two? Sure. Absolutely! That doesn't mean it is sufficient for a different student. Or even for most.

 

Two students who have 2 parents who are physicists and teach math concepts for a living.

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Yeah I don't really agree. I don't think it was enough for all students. Maybe not even most. And you know these concepts so I imagine if there was any help needed you could easily provide it. At the time I couldn't.

 

I agree with the rest. It doesn't have to mean spending 2 hours on it.

 

I suspect the overall difficulty with some parents using this in their homeschool is their own weakness in math. I 100% admit that was my problem with it. Now I could whip that book open and feel WAY more confident helping my kid through. I know it's a self teaching thing, but not all kids are great at self teaching. Heck, many adults are not either.

I suspected my own issues, and let DH help with math a while (he does use math for a living) but it went so much worse than it had with me.

There are mathy people who don't like AOPS. True story.

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Taken as a whole there are a lot of problems especially in the sense some of them are more complex and take more thinking and take more steps.  But what I mean is there isn't much practice that builds up to those harder problems.  Yes, you can go and look for more of those sorts of problems.  IF you know what to look for. 

 

I think there are a lot of great and helpful things about it, but it is written with a certain assumption (seems to me).  That the person using it understands or easily adapts to math speak (essentially symbols that explain the concepts) and doesn't need much in the way of plain English explanations.  If you go from the presentation in say SM (which a lot of us have used) to AoPS, that's a jump.  Big jump.  I'm doing my best to explain what I mean, but yes I think it comes down to the presentation not being so great for everyone. 

 

 

Edited by SparklyUnicorn
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Agreed. And FWIW, not all profoundly or highly gifted kids find it to be a good fit or worth their time.

 

It's unfortunate that AoPS not being a good fit in some threads seems to equal bad at math or doomed or worse. No wonder few people post about bad experiences...

 

I wonder what it is about the program that prompts such responses? I'm reminded of some of our experiences on the AoPS board...

 

There really and truly are people that understand math and have successful careers that didn't use AoPS.

I think I all curriculum there will be kids that one will work for, and kids it won't. Most people teaching and writing AOPs did not use AOPS iykwim. Most mathematicians out there did not use it because it wasn't written then.

 

I think it is a fabulous curriculum and my older child that uses it is very solid in math. But my second who is not as strong may need a different curriculum. I don't know yet.

 

What we have also found using AOPS is that the challenging problems are so tough we can't use most supplements like khan academy, Patrick jmt etc to help. Their examples will be so simple compared to AOPS.

It is only now in calculus that we have been able to use MIT OCW to get good supplemental understanding.

 

 

Everyone's mileage varies so you have to do what is right for you and your DC.

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I had been avoiding AOPS with my dd that has thrived with BA.  I finally gave in and started it last month.  She was able to skip the first several chapters of Intro to Algebra and what we are doing now is still mostly review.  My dd doesn't love math and is not planning to go into a math or science field (her current plan is education, though she does love and excel in chemistry).  She just learns best with the BA/AOPS appro, ach and balks at pretty much anything else.  I minored in math (as did dh) so I feel confident teaching her.  I'm still not sure if we'll continue through high school, but I have no idea what we could use instead, hence the reason we started AOPS in the first place.

 

ETA: So, I guess I'm not much help, just commiserating with you.

Yes, I avoided AoPS as well, even though I had it here, I'm kicking myself that we wasted half a year on MUS. 

 

The bolded is exactly the case here.  I don't think ds has to do AoPS to succeed, I don't think that it is the only good program. I don't think it is the right program for every kid, I have no plans to try it at all with my oldest daughter although I do plan on trying out BA with my second daughter as I think it *might* be a great fit for her. My oldest daughter is using Saxon as that worked the best for her, there is just no way it would for my son. 

 

 Ds is just a hard to fit kid. I already own Foresters and Dolciani pre-Algebra, although I could be wrong I don't think either would work at all. As I said JA worked so I could see the Ann Arbor books working but they likely won't be enough for him. I think VT would fit him and maybe Jacobs (as AA series is based on it)

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Yes, I avoided AoPS as well, even though I had it here, I'm kicking myself that we wasted half a year on MUS. 

 

The bolded is exactly the case here.  I don't think ds has to do AoPS to succeed, I don't think that it is the only good program. I don't think it is the right program for every kid, I have no plans to try it at all with my oldest daughter although I do plan on trying out BA with my second daughter as I think it *might* be a great fit for her. My oldest daughter is using Saxon as that worked the best for her, there is just no way it would for my son. 

 

 Ds is just a hard to fit kid. I already own Foresters and Dolciani pre-Algebra, although I could be wrong I don't think either would work at all. As I said JA worked so I could see the Ann Arbor books working but they likely won't be enough for him. I think VT would fit him and maybe Jacobs (as AA series is based on it)

 

My second kid is giving me a run for my money on finding something that speaks to him.  Really at this point I have cobbled a bunch of stuff I already have together.  I could do most of it without a textbook.  Which I guess lucky me that my first kid learned so easily because at that point I was walking blind through this. I don't know how I pulled it off.  Brute force I guess.  LOL 

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My second kid is giving me a run for my money on finding something that speaks to him.  Really at this point I have cobbled a bunch of stuff I already have together.  I could do most of it without a textbook.  Which I guess lucky me that my first kid learned so easily because at that point I was walking blind through this. I don't know how I pulled it off.  Brute force I guess.  LOL 

My first was easy the first few years as Right Start was a great fit but then not so much in the upper grades, so we cobbled various things together for a few years, this is the first year in a long time we are not using multiple programs. My daughter is fairly easy, she just threw me for a loop because she is the exact opposite of him, every conceptual program I tried with her she ended up hating, finally I tried Saxon in desperation when she kept crying over math, yes, Saxon stopped the tears. She doesn't love it but it has been by far the best fit for her. My third is a mix of both of them. It is getting easier as well as I keep getting more experience under my belt, unfortunately, it has been a long while since I've taken advanced math classes, luckily ds learns well with us working together, it should be good prep for teaching the girls. (I foresee a summer of practicing algebra at my house- I went through pre-A on Alcumus before we dove into it and really found it to be a big help--)

Edited by soror
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This is what dd likes about the BA/AOPS approach: it does not have lots of practice problems, the problems are not too easy, and she dislikes the straight forward math approach (where a math concept is simply explained, then you do a bunch of problems).  Even Crocodiles and Coconuts had too much repetition in the problems sets for her. As far as I know, there are no other programs like that.  Has anyone found anything else?  

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My first was easy the first few years as Right Start was a great fit but then not so much in the upper grades, so we cobbled various things together for a few years, this is the first year in a long time we are not using multiple programs. My daughter is fairly easy, she just threw me for a loop because she is the exact opposite of him, every conceptual program I tried with her she ended up hating, finally I tried Saxon in desperation when she kept crying over math, yes, Saxon stopped the tears. She doesn't love it but it has been by far the best fit for her. My third is a mix of both of them. It is getting easier as well as I keep getting more experience under my belt, unfortunately, it has been a long while since I've taken advanced math classes, luckily ds learns well with us working together, it should be good prep for teaching the girls. (I foresee a summer of practicing algebra at my house- I went through pre-A on Alcumus before we dove into it and really found it to be a big help--)

 

Yeah my older kid liked Saxon too.  Go figure.

 

He never was into shiny math stuff though.  He hated manipulatives. 

I could not be more pleased with his progress though so obviously there is more than one way that works. 

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This is what dd likes about the BA/AOPS approach: it does not have lots of practice problems, the problems are not too easy, and she dislikes the straight forward math approach (where a math concept is simply explained, then you do a bunch of problems).  Even Crocodiles and Coconuts had too much repetition in the problems sets for her. As far as I know, there are no other programs like that.  Has anyone found anything else?  

 

It's always easy to cut down on the number of problems.  People say NOOO don't do that with Saxon.  I did that with Saxon.  And I'd do it again.

 

(This is not a recommendation.  But too many problems is not really a problem in my mind.)

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And I totally agree about this not being the one and only approach for strong math students.  I loved and excelled at math, but I would not have done well with this program.  And I *probably* won't be using it with my other kids.  It's just that this particular student needs something different.    I don't know of anything else that would work for her.

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