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Could I have some help with Algebra 2...not happy with Foerster

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I am looking for some advice and or recommendations.  We are just finishing Chapter 1 with Foerster, using Math Without Borders videos.  My 15 year old son is very unhappy with the book so far.  I realize that lesson 1.7 with the proofs is unusual and will not continue throughout the book, so I am o.k with this.  But at least one time, the lecture didn't discuss an important topic for the assignment:  how to plot integers on the number line, so he got those wrong. I suppose if he had read the book AND listened to the lecture he would have picked up this while reading, but we just assumed that the video would cover everything needed for the assignment.  So he is a bit frustrated about this and wonders if this is going to be a typical issue the rest of the book/lectures.  


I am just wondering if we should continue plodding along and see if it gets better and he likes it better-or if we should jump ship before we get too far.  He is very bright and picks up new concepts extremely fast-and generally is o.k. with whatever I pick out for curriculum.  But this book really has him frustrated to the point of almost tears!  And we have only done 7 lessons!!!


Any other recommendations for Algebra 2?? We used Lial's Elementary Algebra for Algebra 1 and while neither of my boys enjoyed the book, there were no tears (LOL!) and they did well with the layout of the book.  Does Lial compare with Foerster in Algebra 2?  And what book would I use of Lial for Algebra 2?


Would love to hear from anyone would can give some input or advice!!!




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My impression is that the Foerster algebra 1 and 2 books tend toward the honors end of the spectrum of available choices if all sections are covered and many of the word problems are completed.


I think that if your student isn't clicking with the book and you are only in chapter one, it is wise to consider a switch. Our experience has been that most of the first four chapters were a review of what we covered in algebra one, or at least topics that had been introduced before at some level. We found the videos sometimes helpful starting about chapter six, but there were a couple of chapters where the book and videos were not clear enough for my teen.


*** (I want to say here for anyone else that the owner of MWB is in the process of redoing the videos. So for anyone looking for next year, they will be different than the ones I used this year). ***


By the way, there are more proof-type problems in the book. A section of the logarithm chapter comes to mind, though right now I can't remember if there are any other sections like that. There are other problems throughout the book where they are to use the properties they know to justify why something is, or is not, true, but I don't know if those would be the types of problems you are concerned about,

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What book did he use for Algebra 1? Does it have an Algebra 2? Plotting integers on the number line is in the Foerster Algebra 1 book.


I also like the "other" Prentice Hall classics book by Smith. Memoria Press uses it and has some support material, but you can get cheap copies on Amazon.


ETA- I see you used Lial's. Foerster does have something of nonstandard sequence and may assume some things were taught in Algebra 1. The Smith books are more standard in sequence. I know they are working on videos, but Algebra two isn't out yet.

Edited by elladarcy
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Chapter one was tough for my Dd#1 because her Alg 1 was not as thorough as Foerster assumed, so instead of review, some was brand new for her.

We are using a class, not the MWB videos, so I am no help there. The class teaching has not been enough for her and Dh or I end up teaching the material to her, doing some of the problems alongside her, and then providing spot-checking as she goes on. It has not been hands-off for us.

I do like the book, however.

You could use Lial's intermediate algebra, but at least one previous user stated that there are holes in its scope/sequence. (This might be what you are seeing with the review portions of Foerster Alg 2 - places where one program assumes you covered something that another program didn't actually cover.)

There are several old threads about Lial's and which book to use, if you want to go in that direction.

Edited to add links.

short thread comparing Lial to Foerster (both Alg 2)

Switching from Foerster to Lial's (Alg 2)

ISBNs for Lial's

Which Lial book to go to

Going from Lial's Alg 2 to Derek Owens Pre-Calc

Follow up from above post - Derek Owens Alg 2 vs. PreCalc

Edited by RootAnn
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Foerster is a higher level text and MWB does assign some of the more challenging problems. A student does need to learn how to read a math text IMHO.


If you decide to bail look here:

I think Holt Algebra 2   2007 is complete and fairly easy to follow.
Lots of problems.  Free Thinkwell type videos.

Edited by MarkT
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My older son used Foerster's Algebra II with the Math Without Borders videos.  We jumped ship around chapter 5 and went to Lial.  I *do not* recommend Lial's Intermediate Algebra for a standard Algebra II course (rather than a remedial Algebra I course where you don't want the kid to know that's what you're doing).  It is essentially a review of Algebra I with a few additional topics thrown in (and it is excellent if that is what you're looking for).  


What I wish we had done was Derek Owens Algebra II (and I did use it with my younger son *after* using Lial's Intermediate Algebra to shore up his Algebra I).  It is thorough and prepares a student well for precalculus.  And everything is in the videos.


For a comparison of Lial and Derek Owens, see post 8 in this thread.

Edited by EKS
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I linked to many of your threads on this in my post, above. I remembered your threads, although I didn't remember your name specifically. When I searched, I found several people jumped ship from Foersters' Alg 2. I thought the OP should see both the original 'jump ship' thread & the aftermath, as it would make for an informed decision.


Glad you saw the thread & posted.


What I wish we had done was Derek Owens Algebra II (and I did use it with my younger son *after* using Lial's Intermediate Algebra to shore up his Algebra I).  It is thorough and prepares a student well for precalculus.  And everything is in the videos.


For a comparison of Lial and Derek Owens, see post 8 in this thread.


I thought about mentioning this option, but perhaps it is more than the OP can spend, even with the half-price self-grading option.

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Once again I'll stand by Lial for Algebra 2.


I've taught from it since 2008 when I used it while homeschooling my own daughters (after jumping ship from Saxon). 


I'm also a certified high school Math teacher and I've since taught HUNDREDS of students from this (Lial) series and my former students have been able to go on to engineering and other math-heavy college majors just fine.  This year I have former students taking Pre-Calculus with DO and at Wilson Hill (even in the WH HONORS Pre-Calc).  They are all doing just fine (like making A's).


Just because DO (or any other program) adds additional topics does not mean his program is 'better' and the Lial program is 'worse' or 'incomplete'.  DO's additional topics are not typical Algebra 2 level topics-- they are typical Pre-Calc topics and are appropriately covered in the Lial Pre-Calc program (which BTW is NOT remedial).


Oh, and I happen to like DO and refer families to his program if they are looking for a pre-recorded video class that offers additional helps.

I also like Foerster's Algebra 2--but not as much as his Algebra 1 program.  (The word problem based format of the Foerster's Algebra 2 is best for advanced/honors students).


Algebra 2 will always be a 'remedial' college course.  Yes, the Lial texts were written for CC use (remedial AND not remedial levels) so they were written with block scheduling in mind.  This is an excellent text for what it teaches-- ALGEBRA 2 (Intermediate Algebra). 


Also note- the program itself is no guarantee of success for the student.  The student's ABILITY as well as their study habits are a very real part of the equation!


Years ago I taught from ABeka Algebra 2 (at a private school).  I had a student make a perfect score on the SAT in math.  This was NOT because he used ABeka for Algebra 2 or that he had had me for an instructor (it is a very weak text/program and I did have to supplement)-- he made a perfect score because he was a mathematically gifted student who was USING math in his everyday hobbies.






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