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soror

To Continue with AoPS or Not....

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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.)

The number and even the ease of problems is not the only issue, though.  I'll cut back on problems if I have to.  I'm comfortable with that and have done it with her and my other students when needed.  She also prefers the teaching portion of AOPS and BA.  She doesn't want to be just told what to do and then have to do it.  That is what I can't find anywhere else.  And it's harder for me to add in myself.

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The number and even the ease of problems is not the only issue, though.  I'll cut back on problems if I have to.  I'm comfortable with that and have done it with her and my other students when needed.  She also prefers the teaching portion of AOPS and BA.  She doesn't want to be just told what to do and then have to do it.  That is what I can't find anywhere else.  And it's harder for me to add in myself.

 

Yeah...hmmm..  I don't quite know . The only thing that comes to mind is something like ALEKS.  You basically test out of or move quickly past concepts you already know.  But it's always just about feeding you a problem and you do it.  If you need the explanation, you click on it.  If not, you do it.  There were a few instances (I used it for myself for pre calc) where the explanations were not clear enough to me so I looked for stuff on-line (usually Khan Academy).  It worked out beautifully for me and I loved the instant feedback.  Not a ton of repetition unless you wanted it or needed it.  Only thing is you'd want to make sure she was showing work.  Nobody was looking over my shoulder on that part, but I know it's important to be organized with steps and stuff like that.  There are additional practice worksheets if needed/wanted, but that's optional.  You work at your own pace. 

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Since you already own Foerster's and DO is asynchronous, you really don't have anything to lose by trying Foerster's and switching to DO if it isn't a good fit.

 

Both of those were going to be my recommendations after reading your first post. I have 2 equally strong math students who had completely different reactions to AoPS.

 

Ds loved AoPS and for him it offered everything he needed to not only master the concepts but to be able to take those concepts and apply the logical proof methodology to every math and physics course he has taken since. Absolutely did not leave him without enough review or even close to anything resembling relying on tricks. He understands math at a deep level that has served him well.

 

Dd, otoh, did not like AoPS at all. She prefers direct teaching. Foerster's was a much better fit. She switched to DO for precal and Thinkwell for cal. She tutors kids in math, and has helped them understand concepts they were struggling with, so her understanding is solid.

 

I don't think AoPS is a good choice for all kids. The ones who thrive on mastering the concepts via its methodology, thrive on it. The ones who just want to be taught in order to learn how to apply concepts are probably going to prefer a different approach. The most important point is that the content is not only learned as operations, but learned to be applied. There is more than one way to achieve that objective.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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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?  

Yes, it is not just the number of problems(although that is part of it) but the approach.

 

It is about finding a program that speaks the same language.

 

Cutting the problems would not work at all. I actually tried Dolciani for a week maybe, it was not good. I don't want a kid interested in a science field to hate math.

 

I would not have done well with AoPS or BA, I was a Saxon girl. Now, I am enjoying learning math on a different level with ds

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Another thing to think about for future years is how much one on one time do you think your son would need for other subjects in a day. At the moment math, science and programming is budgeted at an hour daily but my oldest spend his free time on academics. Also he was puking sick from Sunday evening to Tuesday so yesterday and today he is catching up on daily work.

 

If you consistently spend an hour a day for math, then that's nice for time management. My kids don't stick to the an hour a day plan for any core subject so we can't use that to plan/estimate.

 

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

College confidential is equally bad at intense/emotional responses.

My kids have no love for BA and didn't mind SM because it took them 10-20mins per day. I think homeschool moms own their choices too much, children aren't going to be doomed by "imperfect" curriculum choices.

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Yes, it is not just the number of problems(although that is part of it) but the approach.

 

It is about finding a program that speaks the same language.

 

Cutting the problems would not work at all. I actually tried Dolciani for a week maybe, it was not good. I don't want a kid interested in a science field to hate math.

 

I would not have done well with AoPS or BA, I was a Saxon girl. Now, I am enjoying learning math on a different level with ds

 

I'm not even sure what people see in Dolciani.  Dry....  Not that Saxon isn't dry. 

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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 :)

I'm not sure where this debate is turning?

 

How is "look, look, look, and look" not an example of grit?

 

And yes, when people are having a problem with any curriculum, let's call it FluffyMath, it usually is the case that either the family is not implementing FluffyMath correctly or FluffyMath is not a good fit for their situation.

 

The only thing is, people seem to take "your kid just isn't an AOPS kid" as an insult. Or, conversely, "my kid is an AOPS kid" as a special badge of honor.

 

Let go of the emotional hang ups! They're just math books!

 

Do what makes sense for your kid.

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I'm not sure where this debate is turning?

 

How is "look, look, look, and look" not an example of grit?

 

And yes, when people are having a problem with any curriculum, let's call it FluffyMath, it usually is the case that either the family is not implementing FluffyMath correctly or FluffyMath is not a good fit for their situation.

 

The only thing is, people seem to take "your kid just isn't an AOPS kid" as an insult. Or, conversely, "my kid is an AOPS kid" as a special badge of honor.

 

Let go of the emotional hang ups! They're just math books!

 

Do what makes sense for your kid.

I think your post sort of made my point.
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Ds is not even spending an hr a day on math now, tbh, it has been often around 30 min lately, although that will be increasing. We hit an hr plus a day at first (a lot due to getting in the groove of it more than anything), so I slowed the schedule down for this 5 wks but seeing how little time it is taking him I am picking up speed a bit for our next 5 wks. We'll have to see how that goes as of course he could struggle more with the next chapter. I generally write up plans for around 6 wks at a time so if something is taking more or less time than I had anticipated I tweak it for the next 6 wks or sooner if it is a real issue.

 

Writing this out and thinking more, my original plan(before Arbor became so popular) had been to do Jacobs, perhaps I need to revisit it. I saw that it was running a bit cheaper on Amazon than the last I checked so I ordered a copy. A copy of it plus the teacher's manual is cheaper than one of Arbor school Algebra books(which is only 1/2 of algebra) and a mere fraction of VT. I'm 95% certain Forrester would not work for this kid, I can see pulling some from it for practice but no more than that.

So, I'll add Jacob's to my preview pile.

Edited by soror
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 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 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.

  

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.

 

No curriculum was a good fit for my oldest. AoPS was just the best fit for a spine. The best thing for my this particular kid is literally a brain dump with pencil and paper. He would be probably learning more from someone who loves math and can patiently discuss math with a pre-teen then he would from any curriculum. I need a spine so that I don't let him learn everything under the sun and then forget to cover at least the state standards.

Since you and your husband minor in math, if AoPS doesn't work out, there is always the good old pencil and paper or whiteboard and marker.

There is the math sticky thread for curriculum suggestions since each child could end up being suited to a different curriculum http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/542418-homeschool-high-school-math/

 

Let go of the emotional hang ups! They're just math books!

When people keep suggesting AoPS if a child is math accelerated, it can make a parent feel like educational neglect to use Saxon or any other curriculum for their child. Then people tend to bring up The Calculus Trap.

 

So while I couldn't care less, I do get why some people might feel put down or criticized for their choices.

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I don't get it.  Some kids like AoPS, some don't. Why do people get upset on either side?  I have one AoPS kid and one non-AoPS kid.  They both scored the same number on the math component of an IQ test. The AoPS kid wants to be a mathematician.  He is willing to work long hours at math; and is willing to be frustrated over really annoying problems.  The other likes math just fine, but wants a get-it -done approach and wants to use math as a tool. An hour a day is enough, and direct teaching is preferred.  Yes, the AoPS kid will understand math better. So? He better know it better if he's going to be a mathematician! But if the non-AoPS kid wanted to understand math as deeply but without AoPS, it is absolutely possible, just look at Quark's son.  But my non-AoPS kid has other plans for his study time.  You simply can't do every single class at the highest level.  

 

Ruth in NZ

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The Calculus Trap has nothing to do with AoPS, other than the authors are the same. It merely advocates not rushing through the traditional sequence without allowing kid's who are ahead to experience various forms of math. It could be called the Physics Trap, because it is identical for science. We seem to allow for languages, history, religion studies, and literature to become this mushy mess where kids can really just explore all the overlap freely. Then in math there is a sequence. In science there is a sequence. Better not deviate. Better show how high your kid can go the fastest. Check those boxes. I find it kind of weird. Earth and ecological science are not lesser subjects. They can be so hard core, but then people have to call them biogeochemistry not Earth science. Earth science is ninth grade. Who decided this stuff anyway?

 

When I taught math, and now that I am going back, I always wanted to teach PreA through Geometry. The other teachers (mainly men) would scramble and bicker over who got AP Calc and Linear Algebra. It was a major competition as if parts of their anatomy were in question if they had to teach anything below PreCalc. They felt so much like these classes gave them some giant pat on the back.

 

I was a Saxon kid. Tons of problems. Number crunching. It was so soothing to me. Rigid structure. Now, I really like AoPS. I want to play with the math now. I want to get creative with it. My creative, dreamy, idealist loves AoPS. He is struggling with Derek Owens right now because the rigidity just causes him fits. The Calculus Trap is just asking people to be creative with math in the whole scheme of education. If your kid is struggling, The Calculus Trap is designed to be freeing. Let them explore. It is trying to break those false paradigms that say if your student is not doing Algebra in 8th, there is an issue and if they are doing PreCalc in 8th they are amazing.

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I don't get it.  Some kids like AoPS, some don't. Why do people get upset on either side?  I have one AoPS kid and one non-AoPS kid.  They both scored the same number on the math component of an IQ test. The AoPS kid wants to be a mathematician.  He is willing to work long hours at math; and is willing to be frustrated over really annoying problems.  The other likes math just fine, but wants a get-it -done approach and wants to use math as a tool. An hour a day is enough, and direct teaching is preferred.  Yes, the AoPS kid will understand math better. So? He better know it better if he's going to be a mathematician! But if the non-AoPS kid wanted to understand math as deeply but without AoPS, it is absolutely possible, just look at Quark's son.  But my non-AoPS kid has other plans for his study time.  You simply can't do every single class at the highest level.  

 

Ruth in NZ

 

I'm not upset.  BUT, the sentiment seems to be that AoPS is the cream of the crop and anything less is "meh".  That's my short sloppy explanation.  This might be in my head, but it's not just in MY head but obviously in the heads of others here. 

 

People here rely on recommendations and they especially appreciate them from the POV of people who really know math.  What some of the mathy people don't seem to be considering is how usable these books really are for all people. 

That's my opinion anyway.  Which, ya know continue on with that sentiment.  But then don't be confused by the fact some people don't like the sentiment.  If people are free to sing their praises, people are free to not like it.  So why get upset about the dissenters? 

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I'm not upset. I was merely explaining to OP that the best answers I've received on AOPS have been through PM, not on the message boards. For whatever reason that I think this thread continues to illustrate.

But thanks for all the soothing everyone. We will make it through this non-AoPs life.

Edited by madteaparty
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When I taught math, and now that I am going back, I always wanted to teach PreA through Geometry. The other teachers (mainly men) would scramble and bicker over who got AP Calc and Linear Algebra. It was a major competition as if parts of their anatomy were in question if they had to teach anything below PreCalc. They felt so much like these classes gave them some giant pat on the back.

 

Might this not also have something to do with the fact that these upper level maths classes are taken only by capable, interested students, whereas all students have to take pre-a through geo, irrespective of interest and aptitude? 

 

I am a college instructor and teach lower level required courses for non-majors. While I love teaching and find it rewarding, I am certainly a bit envious of the colleagues who get to teach the upper level courses that are taken only by students who are genuinely interested in the subject and have aptitude for it. Smaller class sizes, more fun, much easier to get good evaluations - no coaxing and prodding of people who don't really want to be there or who have not yet realized that they lack aptitude for their chosen path.

Edited by regentrude
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I'm not upset. I was merely explaining to OP that the best answers I've received on AOPS have been through PM, not on the message boards. For whatever reason that I think this thread continues to illustrate.

But thanks for all the soothing everyone. We will make it through this non-AoPs life.

 

I have a love hate thing with AoPS.  I used some of it myself and let me tell you...ugh.  The number one thing I learned from it was to keep trying even when it is hard.  Which is a valuable thing.  BUT otherwise, I found it to be pretty lousy at explaining stuff.  For me....  I do prefer a classroom situation for this stuff though.  Where the teacher can notice your deer in the headlight look and respond immediately.  LOL

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Fwiw I want to reiterate I'm not rushing my kid through math if anything the opposite, he is on his 3rd pre--Algebra(JA, half of MUS-worthless-, and now AoPS). I fully anticipate him taking more than a year for Algebra. 

 

I'm also not so smitten with AoPS I think it is the only way, if I were we would have long since tried it, it sat on my shelf a year before I dug it out, more as a last ditch effort to make sure everything was consolidated before finally moving on to Algebra then any excitement over using the "best" program.

 

However, there is a finite amount of time and I do want to use programs that best fit my son. If traditional programs worked it would be a no-brainer, but they don't, I've tried (in the smattering of other things we've used would be Horizons, MM, CLE, a bit of Dolciani, Lials, and probably other things I've forgotten). This is not the case of a picky kid either, he is actually rather laid back and rarely complains. He just has his own set of strengths and weaknesses. 

 

Moving past the math wars, putting this out here has helped me to think through this better. We will not be going straight to AoPS Intro. We will be going through something less "rigorous" for Algebra first, continuing to work in the way that has worked for him in the past, I plan to make more than pass through Algebra or use multiple sources at least. So, I'm going to continue to preview different programs this summer and when we finish pre-A, which should be sometime next year, we'll jump into Algebra. We can always go through AoPS after another program, just as we are doing with pre-A(if I decide it would be profitable) because as I said we are not rushing through Math!!!

Edited by soror
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I'm not upset.  

 

Although, did anyone here actually get upset about it?  I must have missed those posts.

 

I'm not upset.

 

I, for one, am upset.  :tongue_smilie:

 

Not really.  ;)   I did want to mention something that occurred to me last night and that I had planned to post this morning. It seems, however, that the OP has come to a decision, and I don't want to belabor the point. I might still post it, just in case someone comes across this thread at a later date and might find it useful in some way.

So sorry for all the derails, soror! 

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I, for one, am upset.  :tongue_smilie:

 

Not really.  ;)   I did want to mention something that occurred to me last night and that I had planned to post this morning. It seems, however, that the OP has come to a decision, and I don't want to belabor the point. I might still post it, just in case someone comes across this thread at a later date and might find it useful in some way.

So sorry for all the derails, soror! 

 

LOL

 

Yeah didn't intend for a derailment.  I guess I wanted to say look I didn't use it and bad things didn't happen.

 

"I" wanted someone to tell me that when I was asking about it years ago.

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LOL

 

Yeah didn't intend for a derailment.  I guess I wanted to say look I didn't use it and bad things didn't happen.

 

"I" wanted someone to tell me that when I was asking about it years ago.

 

This is sort of what I had planned on posting -- something I wish I would have understood during the AoPS angst years.

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I, for one, am upset.  :tongue_smilie:

 

Not really.  ;)   I did want to mention something that occurred to me last night and that I had planned to post this morning. It seems, however, that the OP has come to a decision, and I don't want to belabor the point. I might still post it, just in case someone comes across this thread at a later date and might find it useful in some way.

So sorry for all the derails, soror! 

Please do post!

 

I just wanted to get it off my chest with all this talk about people too scared to try something else OR trying to rush that neither were the case here. It seems that the default reaction to AoPS threads-- "it is wonderful" and "no it's not". I don't care to argue the merits of it, I think it is one of many good programs.

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Oh and that is how I felt about AoPS when I was 100% clueless.  I figured I didn't like it because I was too clueless and stupid to like it.  The problem was "me".  Now that I'm less clueless and more confident in my ability to assess a pre algebra or algebra book for my homeschool, I can honestly say I don't think AoPS is something I would not recommend to just anyone.  Maybe not even to most people.  And I don't feel bad and stupid about that anymore.

 

Someone said some posts up that if they got stuck they couldn't easily find a video on-line or an explanation on-line about a similar problem.  Well that's a HUGE problem if you aren't years beyond in terms of experience with math.  Period.  That's highly problematic. 

 

I know, you can ask people here or there.  But frankly, every time I ask specific math questions I end up just feeling stupid.  Not anyone's fault.  My problem.  Or worse...I'll get more than one explanation (with different answers). 

Edited by SparklyUnicorn
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AoPS is something I [would not]recommend to just anyone. Maybe not even to most people.

I agree. I am rather befuddled by a new CM curriculum provider being discussed on the K8 forum that seems to plan on AoPS for their high school math sequence. As much as I love what AoPS developed skill-wise in my ds, I cannot fathom recommending it to the general high school population as their core math program. Definitely not an approach suitable or even desirable for all students. (It honestly makes me question how familiar they are with the program across multiple students of differing abilities, interests, and goals.)

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I agree. I am rather befuddled by a new CM curriculum provider being discussed on the K8 forum that seems to plan on AoPS for their high school math sequence. As much as I love what AoPS developed skill-wise in my ds, I cannot fathom recommending it to the general high school population as their core math program. Definitely not an approach suitable or even desirable for all students. (It honestly makes me question how familiar they are with the program across multiple students of differing abilities, interests, and goals.)

 

oops...just noticed

 

I did mean "would not"

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oops...just noticed

 

I did mean "would not"

No, your post was just fine! My iPad has a hard time selecting text to cut and it cut the part where you said didn't think you would recommend and I was too lazy to try to capture the text again. I am sorry if I confused others. I figured that the meaning was pretty close. :)

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We will be going through something less "rigorous" for Algebra first, continuing to work in the way that has worked for him in the past, I plan to make more than pass through Algebra or use multiple sources at least.

This is for anyone reading.

 

My laid back, non picky most of the time younger did aops first and review with something easier. He need the harder exposure than the easier consolidation later for math, physics, chemistry, grammar. He is also my kid with a much slower processing speed than his brother, the contrast is stark. The book he find easiest was the intro to geometry where his brother does not have computational speed advantage. This kid could have done geometry before algebra. He did both concurrently because algebra alone bores him.

 

Some kids are just big picture, vsl, whatever you want to call it learners. Linear learning might work for most kids but the bell curve has two ends. So multiple ways to get to math proficiency.

 

My oldest favors math heavy physics and chemistry books so he hasn't needed extra practice yet. When he does, I'll supplement from the old math books I have. Some kids may not need more practice, I think even my oldest would benefit since he is still slower than me at problem solving.

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I can think of lots of things that teach grit more than spending two hours on a tough geometry problem. Obviously this will vary from student to student. For some, that may be the best "grit" builder there is. We have spent hours (days!) wrestling with AoPS problems. Still, I'm pretty sure it's not where my daughter has learned "grit" .... Far grittier situations come to mind...   For what it's worth, I have some reservations about the whole "grit" philosophy...

 

The only reason I mentioned "grit" was because you wrote " For those students....Grit? Not so much..."

 

I completely agree that there are different ways to achieve that - but I disagree that AoPS does not teach grit.

 

ETA: I do, however, consider it extremely important that students encounter the situation that a math problem is not solved in a few minutes. My college students have very unrealistic expectations what problem solving actually entails.

If another math program teaches students that sometimes you have to think an hour about a problem, that is wonderful.

If the program, however, just teaches that math is quick cranking out of large numbers of almost identical problems by repeating a memorized pattern, those students are not prepared for college.

Edited by regentrude
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The only reason I mentioned "grit" was because the poster to whom I responded was specifically of the opinion that AoPS was NOT developing grit.

I completely agree that there are different ways to achieve that - but it is ridiculous to claim that AoPS does not teach grit.

 

Why? I ask that sincerely. Why is it ridiculous to claim that AoPS doesn't teach grit to a particular student? Or to a particular type of student?

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Why? I ask that sincerely. Why is it ridiculous to claim that AoPS doesn't teach grit to a particular student? Or to a particular type of student?

 

I cannot imagine what that can possibly mean. If the student actually works the problems, he obviously must have "grit", because some of these problems are not solvable without persistence and perseverance (terms I much prefer to the word "grit".)

I don't see how one can be using AoPS without perseverance - one would not be able to do the work.

 

ETA: Or do you mean that the program flopped because the student did not muster the level of perseverance required? 

Edited by regentrude
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The only reason I mentioned "grit" was because you wrote " For those students....Grit? Not so much..."

 

I completely agree that there are different ways to achieve that - but I disagree that AoPS does not teach grit.

 

Note the for some students....part....

 

I didn't say AoPS doesn't or never teaches grit.

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I cannot imagine what that can possibly mean. If the student actually works the problems, he obviously must have "grit", because some of these problems are not solvable without persistence and perseverance (terms I much prefer to the word "grit".)

I don't see how one can be using AoPS without perseverance - one would not be able to do the work.

 

ETA: Or do you mean that the program flopped because the student did not muster the level of perseverance required? 

 

Seriously? 

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Note the for some students....part....

 

I didn't say AoPS doesn't or never teaches grit.

 

So would you please explain what you mean - I just don't understand. See my ETA question in previous post

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Why? I ask that sincerely. Why is it ridiculous to claim that AoPS doesn't teach grit to a particular student? Or to a particular type of student?

It may teach grit to some students. It may also teach despair, and resignation, and help reinforce a feeling of being totally lost, because where did we learn this, and being not-enough no matter what they do. In the latter instance, it's just not being implemented correctly, right? Edited by madteaparty
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It may teach grit to some students. It may also teach despair, and resignation, and help reinforce a feeling of being totally lost, because where did we learn this, and being not-enough no matter what they do. In the latter instance, it's just not being implemented correctly, right?

 

Yes to the bolded. The program obviously does not work for all students. If one absolutely wants to make it work instead of switching to something that is more suitable to this particular student, it would require a different implementation.

For the student you describe, I would consider it beneficial to add some direct instruction as opposed to discovery, more mentoring and support in the problem solving, more scaffolding, more support through a live teacher, as opposed to the largely independent study the book is originally intended for. Obviously if a student feels totally lost, the teacher must step in and change something, either implementation or curriculum, preferably before the student gets to this point!

 

Which begs the question whether this is worth doing (and even feasible for the parent !), or whether switching to a program that by its very concept is already designed to be more suitable to the student's learning style would not be a better way

Edited by regentrude
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It may teach grit to some students. It may also teach despair, and resignation, and help reinforce a feeling of being totally lost, because where did we learn this, and being not-enough no matter what they do. In the latter instance, it's just not being implemented correctly, right?

 

Not to mention let's circle back to the question of how long is reasonable to expect a student to spend on this.  If it takes a kid longer to "grit through" this, it might not be realistic.  Not every kid is motivated enough to spend 2-3 hours a day on this.  On top of all the other subjects.

 

My kid saw it as something that was pointlessly trying to trick him.  He wants to learn this stuff.  He enjoys it.  But he doesn't want to discover it as if he were a math pioneer.  He has intense interests in some things.  Math isn't really one of them.  He wants to use it as a tool while working through his interests.  I think that's fine.

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 Not every kid is motivated enough to spend 2-3 hours a day on this. 

 

Absolutely agree. And it's not just motivation - not every kid is capable of focusing on math for 2-3 hours in one stretch. My DS isn't, for example.

 

I just wanted to mention that it is still possible to have a student who does not possess the stamina for a three hour math session work out a complex, time consuming problem. My DS has been working on one single problem for the entire week: two math lessons with teacher(Dad) and two sessions of independent homework. And he learned a lot more than he would have learned from completing twenty easy problems in the same time.

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Years ago I ran a thread asking the honest question: why do parents try to use AoPS with non-math gifted kids?  My point was that the program is seriously hard, and I was concerned that there were AoPS lovers on this board trying to encourage parents with average or even above average math-kids to use the program.  As I saw it, we as a community were doing people a disservice by underselling AoPS's difficulty.  But there were so many responses from so many parents saying, no, we can adapt the program, it is worth the fight. And in the end I began to see their argument, and quit telling people to skip on AoPS unless their kid was either gifted or seriously motivated.  Fast forward three years, and it seems to some that there is a cult of AoPS is the *best* program, so if you want the *best* math education for you student, you should do it.  The whole psychology of the issue is quite fascinating to me.

 

I have seen AoPS used as it was meant to be used. It was a god-send to my older boy who was already doing all primary school math by the discovery method because he refused all help and he considered using the textbook to be cheating.  It was as if the program was written expressly for him.  I never had a doubt in my mind that every day he used it was a good day, even when there were tears.  But my older boy *is* who they wrote the program for - he is highly gifted in math and keen to spend the time puzzling over puzzles.

 

So my quandary was with my younger boy.  He has the aptitude but not the interest.  Should I push him? Would AoPS help him develop grit or as madteaparty suggested lead to despair and resignation?  What would be best for him?  But when answering these difficult questions, I come at this from a different point of view than many, I was a mathematical modeler of ecological systems in a previous life and I know that math can be used as a tool to answer questions without having crazy deep understanding of how it all fits together.  So I had no fear in saying AoPS was not for my younger son. He does not need the *best* program, because for him it would absolutely not be the best because it would turn him off from math. Without AoPS, he will not understand math with the same depth as my older son, and that is OK.  There are other great programs out there that teach math the way that I learned it as a kid, and it served me very well.  I know how to implement AoPS for this boy, I know that there are ways to make the program easier - directly teaching the material, co-learning, skipping the challengers, etc. I know that *I* am choosing a math path for him that will lead to a lesser understanding.  But again, that is OK, because not all people need the serious depth that AoPS can deliver for certain kids.  And I will reiterate, that clearly AoPS is not the only way to get there, just look at Quark's son who never liked AoPS but has found his own way to the depth of understanding AoPS delivers.  But I seriously don't think that most kids need that kind of depth.  It takes time to develop and that time could be spent studying other things.  There are only so many hours in the day.  So my answer is to walk away and never look back. If you want, you can re-evaluate your kid every year and see if either the math maturity or personal interest is greater, and then switch back to AoPS.  But you don't have to, and you don't have to feel badly.  Some kids gain insight by repetition, and this insight can be deep (this is me).  Some kids gain only computational skill by repetition (my younger), and if you have a kid like this you need to supplement with difficult word problems to make sure that true math skill develops.  There are many ways to teach math, and many different levels of proficiency that are appropriate.  Luckily for me, AoPS was fully developed for my older when he needed it. And luckily for me, I have no concern for ditching it with my younger.

 

Ruth in NZ

Edited by lewelma
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I think it's possible to spend a week on a problem, but realistically you can't do that very often if you stand any chance of getting through the book. No matter how you cut it, this program sucks up time, which for a kid not heading into math/physics could be spent learning other things. DS spent 3 hours today working through the section. He yelled every time I attempted to interrupt him, because heaven forbid, he was so close to finishing. He finished. Enjoyed it. Yet, he was supposed to take physics test today. Not done. WWS essay? Not done. That is typical in our house. He gets into it and hours run because he is always on a verge of solving and I am ordered to stay away. Well, compound those hours and all the books we could have read, the logic program, philosophy one, history.... all the things I wanted to accomplish but didn't this year. There is an opportunity cost to aops, especially for children headed to liberal arts fields. I let aops happen because it is his favorite part of homeschool and this kid isn't a liberal arts one. If it were up to me, I would want a more balanced approach.

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Absolutely agree. And it's not just motivation - not every kid is capable of focusing on math for 2-3 hours in one stretch. My DS isn't, for example.

 

I just wanted to mention that it is still possible to have a student who does not possess the stamina for a three hour math session work out a complex, time consuming problem. My DS has been working on one single problem for the entire week: two math lessons with teacher(Dad) and two sessions of independent homework. And he learned a lot more than he would have learned from completing twenty easy problems in the same time.

 

So he has a teacher.  He is not just using the book on his own.  That makes a difference.

 

 

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Jumping right past the ongoing conversation...

 


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

 

 

We were in the same boat - prealg was mostly review and I worried that new material would be a struggle. So far (half Intro to Alg/half Geo) it has not been a problem. We have supplemented with Foerster because my dd has sometimes needed more practice than AoPS provided. She likes hitting the material first in AoPS, though, because she prefers the AoPS explanations/teaching.

 

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

 

 

Yeah, I'm not sure what we'll do about this in the future. Comparing S&S and samples of other high school math programs has made me feel like any transition out of AoPS will be smooth. We are fine on time, so right now I'm just taking it one year at a time.

 

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...

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

 

Again, I have the same concerns. To the bolded, this is my dd's preference as well. With me working alongside, I have not yet had a problem teaching it. In fact, I wish I had been taught this way. I did pretty well in geometry but I struggled with algebra in high school. Now I feel like I finally understand algebra and I love, love, love the geometry book. 

 

We are not the typical "driven in math", "math gifted", etc. AoPS family. The time may come when I can't teach it or it is no longer working for my dd. But right now it's great. We don't work for hours - 45-50 min. is the max per day. Occasionally that entire time is spent on one problem but that isn't typical for us. I have had so many doubts about continuing since we don't fit the AoPS mold, but so far so good.

 

 

 

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So he has a teacher.  He is not just using the book on his own.  That makes a difference.

 

Only for this year. As I have written before in another thread, we find the calculus text to be of a very different tone and much more theoretical - so for both kids, we have changed the way we are doing math for calculus.

 

Up to calc, they used the books independently.

 

For calculus, we do direct teaching and do not directly follow the text. This has to do also with our math goals.

DD needed to get through calc quickly to further her physics goals ( taking calc based physics in 11th grade); she would take extensive math at college anyway.

DS is going into athletics, and this will be the only exposure to calculus; so we are including applications and teaching differential equations in physics, which he won't see at college.

Edited by regentrude
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So he has a teacher.  He is not just using the book on his own.  That makes a difference.

 

This makes a massive difference!  My older boy took almost 3 full years to get through the Intro Algebra book because he was completely self-teaching. And this is a kid who is profoundly gifted in math. As I see it, it was a year of learning algebra content, a year of learning how to read mathematical explanations and self teach, and a year of learning hard core problem solving skills. If you have a teacher, you remove 1/3 of the time component (self teaching piece); and if you give hints as a teacher or guide your students through the difficult problems, you remove another 1/3 of the material (the problem solving).  So depending on how you use the book, you can move faster or slower.  It really depends on the student's needs and the parents goals.

 

So for my younger, we use AoPS as an occasional supplement, specifically for the exercises because they are written in a different way than our standard book.  He does not self-teach, he does not problem solve.  I just want him to learn the algebra content, and it is always good to do problems written by a different author.  

 

So use the book how you want.  Think about what skills you want to develop (I see at least 4 - math content, self teaching/discovery, reading mathematical explanations, and problem solving), and use that piece of the book.  If you want to grab one challenger every month to supplement, then do that.  I have actually used AoPS at times with my younger to help him learn to read mathematical explanations by having him read the solutions guide slowly and carefully when I think that their answer was done in a better way than his.  I point with a pencil, and move line by line asking "do you understand this line?" I wait, and then the answer is yes or no, so I either explain or I move he pointer to the next line and ask "do you understand this line?"  The solutions manual is great for this, and it is a skill that is difficult to master for many students.

 

I think it is useful to see math as many skills to develop and not just content. Most kids can't do many difficult things all at once, which is why using AoPS *as written* requires a very very special student. So I isolate skills to work on.  

 

Ruth in NZ

Edited by lewelma
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There is an opportunity cost to aops, especially for children headed to liberal arts fields. I let aops happen because it is his favorite part of homeschool and this kid isn't a liberal arts one. If it were up to me, I would want a more balanced approach.

OT: My kid who spends so much time on math when the mood strikes him also spend so much time on programming. The AoPS Intermediate Programming with Python course took him a lot of time last summer because he was stuck indoors due to the heat (100dF) so he did more than required. Now he spend his Friday doing one week worth of Java homework :P

 

Maths is the last scheduled subject of his day for that time suck reason. Next academic year, the time suck might change to physics. For this kid I am ambivalent as to whether I want his intensity diverted to languages. I read Luckymama's posts about her daughter and I would be exhausted if my oldest do something similar.

 

My kids have read so many different math books by so many authors that the aops books aren't their first or last exposure to the topic/subject.

 

My husband finds both Saxon and AoPS hard for different reasons and prefer MEP maths which does go all the way to 12th grade :lol:

Edited by Arcadia

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OT: My kid who spends so much time on math when the mood strikes him also spend so much time on programming. The AoPS Intermediate Programming with Python course took him a lot of time last summer because he was stuck indoors due to the heat (100dF) so he did more than required. Now he spend his Friday doing one week worth of Java homework :P

 

Maths is the last scheduled subject of his day for that time suck reason. Next academic year, the time suck might change to physics. For this kid I am ambivalent as to whether I want his intensity diverted to languages. I read Luckymama's posts about her daughter and I would be exhausted if my oldest do something similar.

 

My kids have read so many different math books by so many authors that the aops books aren't their first or last exposure to the topic/subject.

 

My husband finds both Saxon and AoPS hard for different reasons and prefer MEP maths which does go all the way to 12th grade :lol:

Only for us, the second half of the day is sports and music. We are out by 3 PM, so either he manages to do something before 3, or it doesn't get done.

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I do have to randomly test retention for my younger but I would need to check his retention regardless of what math curriculum he use. Whatever he has no interest in leaks out his ears. He forgot how to do a simple probability question yesterday and had to really think about it. The last time he did probability was more than two years ago so I can't really blame him or the curriculum.

 

(ETA: older did a test prep sat math 2 and finished within the hour all questions. So retention wasn't too bad. He finished precalc in spring 2016)

Fast forward three years, and it seems to some that there is a cult of AoPS is the *best* program, so if you want the *best* math education for you student, you should do it. The whole psychology of the issue is quite fascinating to me.

 

I think the "aops is the best" intensify when Beast Academy books were announced. Then it became a BA books followed by AoPS books being the recommended combination mentality.

Stewart's calculus books are my backup plan for my younger boy because we were given some old editions free by friends. Old bland books work better for this kid of mine.

Only for us, the second half of the day is sports and music. We are out by 3 PM, so either he manages to do something before 3, or it doesn't get done.

My oldest tends to wake up in time for lunch. I get it about time crunch. Edited by Arcadia
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