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jeandh

Major high school math mess up

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Hi All,

 

I am hoping for some pearls of wisdom here because I am really agonizing over a math decision. 

 

Here is the background.  My DS is a sophomore & completed MUS Algebra 1 in 9th grade.  He got a B in the class, he is not a strong math student & works hard for his grade.  He had done MUS since 6th grade.  Well last summer, after completing MUS algebra 1, DS decided he wants to be a nurse & get his BSN degree.  Well after research we realized he will need college algebra & stats as general ed requirements & no other higher level maths.  Thank goodness.  So I decided he would do Saxon Algebra 1 until Thanksgiving as a quick review to solidify his algebra skills.  Well long story short, he is now just finishing up Saxon Algebra 1 & it has been agony.  Lessons take DS 3 hours & many test scores are in low 70's.  We have talked to Art Reed on many occasions & he has been very helpful.  He is having DS back up 10 lessons now & then charge forward. 

 

So here are my problems:

  • Because I made DS repeat a class he already had on his transcript, he has no credit for math his sophomore year
  • In our state he needs Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 & an advanced math on his transcript to graduate
  • DS really does better to split the Saxon lesson & half but then the next book will take too long

Here are my questions:

 

  • In looking at MUS Algebra 2, I think DS could whip through it because it has much of the same content as Saxon Alg 1-then he could be done by the end of summer & I could put it on his transcript, should I do this?
  • If MUS in completed through Pre-Calculus is that enough for an low average math student to be prepared for College Algebra?
  • Should DS finish out Saxon Algebra 1 & start Saxon Algebra 2 immediately, knowing it will take 365 days of agony to complete? 
  • Would a student like this even be capable of completing the first 60 lessons of Saxon Advanced Math he would need in order to get his Geometry credit?  (It sounds like this course is difficult for a good math student)

At this point I'm not interested in any other math curricula.  Any guidance would be so greatly appreciated.  I can't wrap my head around what the appropriate thing to do is.

 

Jean

 

 

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Maybe for the geometry try a shorter easy course?

 

I had my Ds re do Alg 1 too after MUS Algebra. He did it at the same time as geometry, using TT for both.

(I think MUS geometry is supposed to be pretty quick to work through too? But I know there are others that are short courses)

 

I wouldn't stick with Saxon if it's causing agony- there's only so much one can push through, kwim?

 

Also, are you sure you need those 4 math classes to graduate him? I'd double check if that's your homeschool regs or public school regs, that's a lot.

 

I'd go for solid at this point, & not rush though. Work through the summer.

 

Hth.

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For the "advanced math" take the College Algebra course required for the degree if possible in your student's senior year spread it over the whole year.  If your CC does not allow that then do it at home with the same textbook and have him take the math placement test.

 

[Our local CC is quite flexible how they take College Algebra and they offer different variants such as one semester or parts 1 to 4 over two or more semesters (self-paced).]

Edited by MarkT

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  • In looking at MUS Algebra 2, I think DS could whip through it because it has much of the same content as Saxon Alg 1-then he could be done by the end of summer & I could put it on his transcript, should I do this?

As you already state, MUS Algebra 2 has much of the same content as Saxon Algebra 1. This is because it does not cover many of the traditional algebra 2 topics. 

  • If MUS in completed through Pre-Calculus is that enough for an low average math student to be prepared for College Algebra?
  • Should DS finish out Saxon Algebra 1 & start Saxon Algebra 2 immediately, knowing it will take 365 days of agony to complete? 
  • Would a student like this even be capable of completing the first 60 lessons of Saxon Advanced Math he would need in order to get his Geometry credit?  (It sounds like this course is difficult for a good math student)

At this point I'm not interested in any other math curricula.  Any guidance would be so greatly appreciated.  I can't wrap my head around what the appropriate thing to do is.

 

Jean

 

Some thoughts:

  • A solid understanding of algebra 1 is foundational to everything you do beyond this. If he's looking to go into nursing, then algebra is important.
  • A "weaker" geometry credit would be fine to be able to put it on the transcript. You need algebra 1 before starting geometry, but you can do geometry concurrently with algebra 2. Geometry skills are not as important for nursing or statistics, but will be needed for precalc.
  • A good precalc course will start after algebra 2. As you noted above, MUS doesn't cover nearly as much material so you really won't be as far as you think in math. Will MUS through precalc set you up for a good college algebra course - I don't know.
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My math resistant student is doing MUS geometry this year and it really is fast and light. He is taking college algebra as a de course right now as well but he still really needed to squeeze geometry in. We are using MUS to check the box.

 

We also need four math classes in our state.

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I would do a light geometry, too.  What about Teaching Textbooks for Algebra 2 and Pre-calc.  It has the review of Saxon, but the lessons don't take as long.  I would do geometry concurrent with Alg 2 (Or start geometry, go through the summer and add Alg 2 along with geometry in the fall)

 

However, it is a bit concerning that he is struggling in Algebra I.  Does he need fact practice?  Is he strong with fractions?

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Maybe Derek Owens Algebra 1 for quick review followed by Geometry online all at your own pace over the summer.

Edited by Jewels

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Probably the best thing would be to switch back to MUS since it seems do-able. Saxon Alg. 2 is much more difficult than Alg. 1 -- if he's in agony over Alg. 1 then Alg. 2 will be torture. In high school, I did Alg. 2 and geometry at the same time - one of my kids has also done this.

 

Perhaps: MUS Alg 2  + Key to Geometry OR MUS Geometry, followed by MUS (trig or pre-cal)?

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Yes, you would be OK going back to MUS as long as you finish through precalculus.

 

Do not use Saxon. No math is worth that much agony. Go back to what worked, or pick a third option.

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Some kids just don't do well with Saxon. 

 

At this point I'd go back to MUS. Yeah it doesn't teach as much as some. He'll learn more there than he will suffering through a different one. Plenty of people have done MUS and gone to college. And honestly, what it DOES teach the students seem to understand -- he's better off with a good understanding of a lighter curriculum than a weak understanding of a more rigorous curriculum. 

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Some kids just don't do well with Saxon. 

 

At this point I'd go back to MUS. Yeah it doesn't teach as much as some. He'll learn more there than he will suffering through a different one. Plenty of people have done MUS and gone to college. And honestly, what it DOES teach the students seem to understand -- he's better off with a good understanding of a lighter curriculum than a weak understanding of a more rigorous curriculum.

This is true and once you get into the place where the kid feels like they are bad at math, hate it, etc. it is a downward spiral. I personally think the maturity of a couple years can make math easier in college than in high school. I am all for pushing students toward the more rigorous courses but sometimes you have to assess where you are and take a less rigorous path. It doesn't mean they will never learn the math. He might do much better in college with a fresh start, new setting, and access to tutors and support services.

 

My kids are generally bright and my husband is a STEM guy and former high school math teacher so I thought we'd be okay for math. We really struggled with math in our homeschool but my older two did better in college than homeschool math. I learned I need to get out of the game and my next kid has all his math outsourced.

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Good job, Mom!  I hear you and feel compelled to reply because I was in the exact same situation with TWO kids at once.  Taking the exact same math more than once led my kids to not officially having math for one year.  For us it was pre-calculus.  Actually, they ended up taking it three times with three different programs.  They benefited because it made calculus a lot easier.  I also made them take calculus three times.  By 'three times,' I mean, that since we are homeschooling, we can go as fast or as slow as we want.  I used Thinkwell Calculus, the local public school calculus as well as an online high school calculus.  We also used the program Catchup math.  I bought or borrowed study guides, used Purple Math, Wolfram, and whatever else I could find.  Straight As.  No regrets.  The three precalcs we used helped with that.  I am not a math person at all but Math is very important and it gives kids way more options in terms of post-secondary programs.  My kids hated math until they started doing well in it. Each program offered a different spin or angle to problems.  So, my advice is to keep going in math, repeat as much as necessary.  I know kids who are math majors in Ivy league schools now who did have to retake the basics many times.  It really helps. Also look for Math Leagues or Math Circles for your kids to join.  Do not give up!  Good luck!

Edited by RachelGoorbarry
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Ok, what I'm hearing is to drop Saxon at this point & pick up a light/quick/easy geometry to get it done & then refocus on algebra 2 hopefully by fall.  I already own MUS algebra 2 so I was thinking I would start that now but it sounds like I should quick buy a geometry course.

 

It is a great idea to see about the college class spread out over a year but I think our CC does not allow that.

 

Regarding needing more time on algebra 1, my son got a B in MUS algebra 1, he is finishing the Saxon Algebra 1 & he will finish with  probably a low B or high C, so I am not making him remediate in algebra anymore.  This is as good as it is going to get for him.  One of the main problems with Saxon is the length of time it takes him to do the lesson, if he were younger I would just take 1 full year to do the Algebra 2 but I feel like we are getting into a real time crunch now.  He has got to start progressing forward & I don't know if he would ever be able to do the saxon advanced math book (it sounds very difficult) that he would need to do to get the geometry credit.

 

Since DS loves talking to Art Reed he feels like he is letting him down.  And he calls MUS "baby math" so trust me he doesn't want to switch but there needs to be some other subjects covered each day, we can't spend 3+ hours on math.  The reason I say MUS is because we have it & DS likes to DVD instruction.  He doesn't like TT, he finds the animation babyish & distracting.

 

Maybe I'll get MUS geometry but in the meantime have him start MUS algebra 2 & he can do it concurrently.  If that is the case he may be able to get through MUS prec-calc & half the MUS calc book surely that would be enough to pass a college algebra class.

 

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I think the key is to consider what actual math skills will he need to be well-prepared for his college-level courses, and for his career beyond that, and focus on that more so than stressing over credits, etc.  If that means he will need to do something remedial his first year of college, so be it.  However, you might also want to consider schooling in the summer to spread the work out a bit.

 

I have found that for most kids, about an hour at a sitting is their limit for taking in the material.  Once they get "brain freeze", as I call it, where they start struggling with stuff they knew cold ten minutes earlier, their brain is full and it's not productive to continue.  Given that, I usually suggest my students break their work into more, smaller sessions.  So the max is probably an hour in the morning or afternoon, then an hour in the afternoon or evening.  Using some weekend time can also make the weekday load more manageable.  

 

 

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I would say that starting MUS alg 2 because you have it and starting geometry when it gets there would be great. 

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MUS Geometry is very light, so you may want to have him work through it over the summer with an eye toward beginning Algebra 2 in the fall. I know summer work stinks, but it truly is a light and easy course that he should be able to complete successfully.

Edited by daveswife

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I say use whatever curriculum gets the job done! I'd seriously consider incorporating tutoring if you can afford it, to keep him moving on through during the summer.

 

I know you said you did not want to switch curricula, but I do think Teaching Textbooks would work well for him. If you like MUS though, and they have what you need, go for it.

 

Honestly, you may want to consider doing the geometry before going on to Alg 2. I faced that some issue with my oldest, who was not a strong math student (and actually has a disability in regards to math.) We went on to Alg 2, and in retrospect, doing geometry would have given her a break from the algebra trauma. She was just fine in geometry! She ultimately got through precalc and calc at a local college with very small classes and lots of tutoring.

 

 

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I was also thinking that some kids do not learn well from videos.  I switched my oldest to videos at geometry.  It worked fine for geometry, but not as well for Alg2-Calc.  Now, he's doing okay in the end but I think we wouldn't have run into as many lost moments and insecure, feeling stupid moments if I'd gone through the lessons and practice problems myself with him.  I don't know MUS, but if he reads/watches the lessons and there are practice problems before the lesson practices, it would probably be worth having him check those answers before he goes on so he doesn't practice doing things wrong.

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Somebody upthread suggested that you focus any extra practice on skills that he'll actually need, so I thought I'd chime in. When I taught biology at a CC, I taught the first class taken in the pre-nursing series. The main math skills that affected students were exponents and decimals. A lot of work is done with the metric system and dosage calculations. Basic graph reading and fractions are also used, but the biggest problem for students was usually the metric system/exponent issue.

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I ended up having ds do two years of algebra I in high school. I labeled them as algebra 1 A and algebra 1 B. He put in the hours for two credits, I wanted to make sure that was reflected on his transcript. He is now a math major in college. 

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I think the key is to consider what actual math skills will he need to be well-prepared for his college-level courses, and for his career beyond that, and focus on that more so than stressing over credits, etc.  If that means he will need to do something remedial his first year of college, so be it.  However, you might also want to consider schooling in the summer to spread the work out a bit.

...

 

This is really the most important paradigm shift in making this course correction. I know its hard to think more about preparedness when he now seems behind in terms of credits, but this is what really matters. MUS should be fine to for a quick Geometry in the short term. With it he should be able to double up in MUS Algebra 2 for now. However, I would think long and hard about his junior/senior years of math possibly moving beyond MUS. As he matures he realizes two things. First of all, math is hard especially using Saxon after MUS. In addition, MUS seems 'to him' like baby math. I wouldn't disregard his thoughts or feelings on this as it can lead to lower self-esteem. But with only these two choices he's stuck between a rock and hard place. We've also used MUS with all our kids and for them it eventually was not a good fit. It was too light and we did not like the non-standard S&S. So we adapted. Outsourcing was the best thing we could have done for our two oldest - one who has always struggled with math and the other who is a math whiz.  I really like MarkT's suggestion of a College Algebra course for advanced math. If he takes the course at a CC it will shore up his prior work in preparation for other college courses and give him college credit.

Edited by dereksurfs
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In our state DS needs a certain grade on ACT/SAT in math & english to DE.  As of right now he does not have the necessary math grade.  He needs a 18 on the ACT, he got a 16 this February.  So maybe it will be an option senior year but not for junior year.  So that still means I have from right now until next summer to complete 2 courses.

 

I too want him to be solid in his course work & just not passed ahead which is why he did algebra 1 for 2 years & has passed both classes.  I really "want" Saxon to work for him.  I don't expect it to be easy but nor do I expect it to take 3+ hours.  This DS was diagnosed with discalculia in 6th grade.  He works like a Trojan but it is definetly harder for him than your "average" math student.  He works doubly hard to stay on grade level in math.  We are also enrolled in Mother of Divine Grace & they are unwilling to put algebra 1a & algebra 1b after the fact.  His transcript already says algebra 1 for freshmen year, sophmore year is now blank.

 

DS does have a tutor, she will work with him in whatever book we choose. That is helping but as I said he needs to progress forward.  He doesn't have the luxury of 3-4 hours a day to dedicate to math. 

 

Perhaps I will have him look at TT again. 

 

Thanks for the ongoing help.

 

 

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I think the fact he had dyscalculia to be hugely important. He will likely need adaptations and special support. I'm not sure what that looks like at the high school level. I would consider retesting. That would also get him accommodations on the ACT and the support he may need in college.

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In our state DS needs a certain grade on ACT/SAT in math & english to DE.  As of right now he does not have the necessary math grade.  He needs a 18 on the ACT, he got a 16 this February.  So maybe it will be an option senior year but not for junior year.  So that still means I have from right now until next summer to complete 2 courses.

 

I too want him to be solid in his course work & just not passed ahead which is why he did algebra 1 for 2 years & has passed both classes.  I really "want" Saxon to work for him.  I don't expect it to be easy but nor do I expect it to take 3+ hours.  This DS was diagnosed with discalculia in 6th grade.  He works like a Trojan but it is definetly harder for him than your "average" math student.  He works doubly hard to stay on grade level in math.  We are also enrolled in Mother of Divine Grace & they are unwilling to put algebra 1a & algebra 1b after the fact.  His transcript already says algebra 1 for freshmen year, sophmore year is now blank.

 

DS does have a tutor, she will work with him in whatever book we choose. That is helping but as I said he needs to progress forward.  He doesn't have the luxury of 3-4 hours a day to dedicate to math. 

 

Perhaps I will have him look at TT again. 

 

Thanks for the ongoing help.

 

Jeandh,

 

This does help to have a fuller picture of your son's situation. If he cannot pass the math portion of the ACT/SAT to take DE currently and has been diagnosed with discalculia, I think tailoring things is even more important. One outsource suggestion I would make for your consideration is to speak with Jann in Texas. She is well known on these boards for her excellent math instruction and ability to help those who truly struggle. She also offers free tutoring sessions for her students. At the very least, I think she could provide you with some great advice in order to help your son more. She also frequents these boards.  

 

http://myhomeschoolmathclass.com/about-me.html

 

Lastly, I think you should consider other options beyond Saxon as well. I agree that it clearly takes too long for him at this stage. I think you could find a middle ground between MUS and Saxon for his last two years such as Jann's courses, perhaps. At this stage, I would definitely consider his input as well after laying out some tailored options for him.

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The math on the ACT is tough if you haven't had exposure to the advanced math topics. DD's score (on practice exams) went up quite a bit once she'd covered Alg 2 topics. If you do go with MUS for Alg 2 (and like several other recent posters, I'd suggest not going in that direction), I'd supplement with a small amount (15-30 min) of daily test prep concentrating on covering the math topics he needs for success on the ACT. On Monday, he could have one sample problem explained completely, then be walked through one more sample of the same type. The next two or three days, he works similar problems and finishes the week with a mixed review day. Once per month, he takes a sample ACT math section.

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Yes, MUS can get you there. My oldest did Alg 1, Geometry, and Alg 2 and easily scored high enough on the ACT test to test into college algebra. He also had no trouble in his college statistics class, despite 2 years off of math before doing it (and he's not one who likes math). 

 

My youngest wasn't even finished with Alg. 2 when she took the ACT, and she got the same ACT math score. Neither of them had taken Pre-calculus or did anything beyond a standard ACT prep course (went through the book with a wonderfully helpful friend of mine who met with them 4-5 times, and we did several sample tests at home. We did not add on extra math teaching.) 

 

MUS Algebra 2 will include review topics from Geometry, just so you know--you may have to skip those questions if you try to do it out of order. I'd probably ask MUS about that.

 

Maybe it doesn't cover everything that some courses cover, but it got the job done and made math understandable and even enjoyable. Pre-calc was not necessary to get above "college ready" ACT scores for my kids. Of course that doesn't mean every student would I suppose, but the teaching was certainly a high enough level that a student could. I'm a bit surprised your state requires Pre-calc--you might double-check whether you have to do that as a homeschooler. 

Edited by MerryAtHope
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Pre-calc was not necessary to get above "college ready" ACT scores for my kids. Of course that doesn't mean every student would I suppose, but the teaching was certainly a high enough level that a student could.

 

FWIW, ACT's "college ready" math score is a 22. I know you are only looking for an 18. I encourage ACT math-specific prep in order to more easily/quickly attain the needed score. 

 

There are some specific types of math problems that are easy to learn and can quickly cause a score boost. Off the top of my head, for example, the ones that involve circle equations are super easy to teach & practice.

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I have used MUS from K to Pre-Calc. I would not call it light. My oldest son graduates college in marketing this Spring. He took multiple college level math classes and did well in them and MUS helped him with his college math classes. I have two other sons who are very intelligent in math and all because of MUS.  I love MUS and so do my kids. I wouldn't use any other math program.

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FWIW, ACT's "college ready" math score is a 22. I know you are only looking for an 18. I encourage ACT math-specific prep in order to more easily/quickly attain the needed score. 

 

There are some specific types of math problems that are easy to learn and can quickly cause a score boost. Off the top of my head, for example, the ones that involve circle equations are super easy to teach & practice.

 

Who is looking for an 18, the OP? (Would an 18 get a kid into college algebra--I thought that's what she needed to do. 18 wouldn't cut it at our school.)

 

I'm not saying don't do math prep--just that to get the needed classes for a transcript that can also help one get decent scores, one absolutely can do MUS and get the job done (contrary to what some are saying), and may not need added work beyond that. Obviously if a student does need more help, do it. I took from the OP that she needs upper level math courses on the transcript AND to get the test scores.

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You might check what "College Algebra" means at your college or DE program. It means different things to different colleges, apparently. My oldest took College Algebra DE her junior or senior year. The highest math she had completed prior to that was Algebra 2, and College Algebra was like a continuation of that, or Algebra 3. I heard it compared to half of Pre-Calc. So in other words, a student would not need any pre-calc to be ready for College Algebra. Mine got an A, moved on to Stats, and had completed her college math requirements before high school graduation. This worked because she's a humanities major--she's been happy to be able to devote her college time to courses that are not math!

 

And I'm another one that says drop Saxon. My middle has processing and working memory issues, and though Saxon worked for us through middle school, we only slogged through about 1/3 of Saxon Algebra 1 before calling it quits, because who has 3 hours per day for math? Kudos to both you and your son for sticking it out, now move on to something else. MUS has been great for my son--we are about to finish Geometry and move on to Algebra 2.

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In our state DS needs a certain grade on ACT/SAT in math & english to DE. As of right now he does not have the necessary math grade. He needs a 18 on the ACT, he got a 16 this February. So maybe it will be an option senior year but not for junior year.

Yep, Merry, the OP said her ds needed at least a 18 to do DE.

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Thank you Elladarcy for the geometry link, I have never seen that & it looks very interesting. 

 

I have looked a lot at Jann in Texas posts.  She really likes the Lials books.  When my son & I look at them they seem very busy & there does not seem to be great video or computer instruction with them.  So I don't think Lials will work.

 

My son is documented with the discalculia & what it really means for him is extended time on tests, which as it turns out he has not actually needed.    As someone stated earlier, he hasn't been exposed to a lot of the math on the ACT so that does not help.

 

An interesting observation I did make, is that freshmen year in April while doing MUS algebra 1 DS took ACT cold & scored a 15 in the math.  This Febrary as a sophmore about 2/3 done with the Saxon Algebra 1 book, DS took the ACT cold again & scored a 16 on the math.  So I did not see the increase in score I had expected to see since we switched to Saxon.  On the PSAT fall of freshmen year again just started MUS algebra 1 DS scored 390 in math.  Fall of sophmore year having just started Saxon algebra 1 after completing MUS algebra 1 DS scored 380 in math,he actually went down.  So I don't know what all of that means other than I did not see the expected increase in math I had hoped/assumed would happen afer taking Saxon algebra 1. 

 

So I guess to reiterate, I don't want a "soft" program to just pass him along.  I want DS to be solid in his algebra skills but I'm not sure that is happening with Saxon.  We like the layout of MUS, it's clean pages & DVDs but have grave concerns about its depth.  Because of these concerns I was thinking if he got through MUS pre-calc maybe that would be the equivalent of other programs algebra 2 course.  So we are still in limbo.

 

Thank you all for your ongoing help.

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Thank you Elladarcy for the geometry link, I have never seen that & it looks very interesting. 

 

I have looked a lot at Jann in Texas posts.  She really likes the Lials books.  When my son & I look at them they seem very busy & there does not seem to be great video or computer instruction with them.  So I don't think Lials will work.

 

My son is documented with the discalculia & what it really means for him is extended time on tests, which as it turns out he has not actually needed.    As someone stated earlier, he hasn't been exposed to a lot of the math on the ACT so that does not help.

 

An interesting observation I did make, is that freshmen year in April while doing MUS algebra 1 DS took ACT cold & scored a 15 in the math.  This Febrary as a sophmore about 2/3 done with the Saxon Algebra 1 book, DS took the ACT cold again & scored a 16 on the math.  So I did not see the increase in score I had expected to see since we switched to Saxon.  On the PSAT fall of freshmen year again just started MUS algebra 1 DS scored 390 in math.  Fall of sophmore year having just started Saxon algebra 1 after completing MUS algebra 1 DS scored 380 in math,he actually went down.  So I don't know what all of that means other than I did not see the expected increase in math I had hoped/assumed would happen afer taking Saxon algebra 1. 

 

So I guess to reiterate, I don't want a "soft" program to just pass him along.  I want DS to be solid in his algebra skills but I'm not sure that is happening with Saxon.  We like the layout of MUS, it's clean pages & DVDs but have grave concerns about its depth.  Because of these concerns I was thinking if he got through MUS pre-calc maybe that would be the equivalent of other programs algebra 2 course.  So we are still in limbo.

 

Thank you all for your ongoing help.

 

Yes, Lials was one of my only concerns with Jann in Texas courses. However she does teach the material online. In other words, she elaborates and explains the concepts beyond the text itself. But I do get the critique since the busyness bothers us as well when compared with other math texts we've used.

 

That's very interesting about his performance on the tests before and after Saxon. It doesn't appear to be doing him any favors in that regard. Although, as you've mentioned, he's had the opportunity to really go over the material more during this second year. So hopefully that has helped in solidifying these concepts.

 

As you can clearly see, MUS has its fans just like Saxon, TT and every other program, really. In the end, it will be up to you to determine if it is truly the best option or not for the remainder of high school. Maybe using it and supplementing with ACT/SAT test prep material or online test prep courses could work for your son? Another online option to consider which we've used is TabletClass. The instruction is very clear and they provide fully worked out solutions. They also offer College Algebra. Its asynchronous which allows students to move through at their own pace.

Edited by dereksurfs
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This ended up really long.  I hope some part of it is helpful.  Instead of starting from the point of what do you put down for sophomore math, I tried starting from the other end.

 

So it looks like he needs to be able to take and pass College Algebra and Statistics at the college in order to meet the graduation requirements for the BSN program. 

 

·         Does the BSN program have competitive entry?  Will his acceptance require a high grade in the College Algebra course?

·         What does College Algebra mean at this school?  I've seen the College Algebra title used to refer to a one semester Pre-Calculus course that didn't include trigonometry and also used to refer to an algebra refresher course for college students.  Others report that at their school, College Algebra is something of a bridge course with advanced algebra topics beyond Algebra 2, but not quite Pre-Calculus topics.  I think you need to pin down what content he needs to be able to handle.

·         What math competency will he need in order to do well in the other nursing courses?  For example, will a strong ability in algebra mean that he is able to quickly do ratio problems to figure out dosages or that he can easily balance equations in his chemistry course?

 

You said that in your state he needs Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and one more advanced math to graduate.  Is this a requirement that applies to your homeschooling situation?  In my state, the public school graduation requirements are not binding on homeschoolers or private schools.  Your state law may differ, or if you use a charter school program you may have state graduation requirements.  Many states only require 3 math credits at algebra and above for a standard public school diploma.  It is worth verifying what requirements apply to your situation. 

Having said that, he may want to have as much math capability as possible, in order to get into the college nursing program and succeed in it.

You also mentioned that he needs a certain ACT math score in order to enroll in DE in your state.

 

You mention that he had Bs in MUS and that his ACT score is around 15-16.  You also mentioned that he has a diagnosis of dyscalculia from a couple years ago.  You said that you have a tutor for math. 

 

How does the dyscalculia present for him?  Does he struggle with spatial relationships? With keeping track of multi-step longer problems? With visualizing the relationship between numbers (for example that four 4's are 16 and so are two 8's, or that 4/8 and 1/2 are equivalent to each other)?  Other than using more time, what helps him work through a math problem?

Some parents have found that their kids struggle with algebra, because of an underlying difficulty in skills like fractions, order of operations, and fraction/decimal/percentage relationships.  For example, a student who doesn't understand that 2/3 and 8/12 are the same may have trouble finding a common denominator to add the fractions 2/3 and 5/12. 

 

I would agree with others that stepping away from algebra for a time might help.  Many schools do an algebra 1, geometry, algebra 2 sequence.  It puts algebra 2 right before pre-calculus, where is serves as an algebra review for the pre-calc course.  It also gives the students another year of maturity before diving back into algebra.  In your situation, it will also give him a solid break from what sounds like a frustrating year in math.  It will give you some time to figure out what he needs to use for algebra 2.

 

You may also find that the time with geometry will help him raise his ACT score.  The ACT score report breaks the mathematics score into three subscores.  Looking at the subscores and the percentile for each may help you find an area of study that would be most helpful for getting the score he needs for DE.  This may be something your tutor could help with.  Ask if they can help you assess where his lack of understanding is, both for topics that might be holding him back in algebra and in areas that he needs to understand for the ACT.

 

You might also ask the DE program if they have an alternative to the ACT, such as the Compass math placement test.  I don't know if the DE program you are looking at is one that teaches college courses as a full year course on a high school campus or one that allows high schoolers to enroll in regular community college courses.  If it is one that lets him enroll in regular CC classes, keep in mind that those classes often are semester courses.  He might be able to enroll as a DE student in the spring semester.  But again, you want him ready to be successful in the DE course, so don't skip figuring out where his lack of understanding is.  Remember that any college courses will stay in his college record and will have to be reported in his college applications. 

 

I don't have experience with MUS, so I don't want to weigh in too much on if it is enough or not.  I will say that looking at the scope and sequence for MUS Algebra 2, it seems that there would have been a big step up to the DE pre-calculus course my son took.  Which goes back to the question of what College Algebra in your  situation contains.

 

Finally, it might help to have your son read or watch explanations of the math topics before he tries to work through related problems.  My library has several text based explanations of math, including the Danica McKellar series (Math Doesn't Suck, etc), Algebra the Easy Way, Painless Algebra, even books intended to be fun like The I Hate Mathematics Book, Sir Cumference books by Cindy Neuschwander, and the Murderous Maths series (same style as Horrible Histories).  Video explanations done differently than your main curriculum might help too.  Khan Academy has many, and there are others on You Tube. There have been threads where board members have discussed having their kids create their own math notebooks where they write their own explanations of concepts they need to remember.  Digging into techniques used with and by students with dyscalculia will probably help you find even more ideas. 

 

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Here an 18 would get a DE student into Math for non-STEM folks (like the Math for elementary school teachers class, or pre-calculus, or college algebra), but not for the classes required for STEM. Statistics can either be for non-STEM folks (again, education, psychology, sociology) or for STEM-STEM folks require calculus first. I think the assumption is that a lot of DE kids are using the classes as high school, so they offer high school level classes, which also serve the purpose for people who really don't need post-high school math or who need to refresh high school math before moving on. By being college credit granting, they can be used for state scholarships and the DE grant, even though they are more high school level than college level.

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Sebastian thank you for all your input.

 

Here are answerd to some of your questions.  DS discalculia means that he loses his place in long multi step problems & that he just flat out works physically slower.  In regards to our requirments I've talked to everyone about state standards at BOE & college.  DS needs 4 high school maths.  Algebra 1, Geom, Alg 2 & advanced math, there is no work around.  Regarding the College Algebra course it is only offered at the semeter length & here is the coure description: This course provides an in-depth study of the properties of algebraic, exponential and logarithmic functions as needed for calculus. Emphasis is on using algebraic and graphical techniques for solving problems involving linear, quadratic, piece-wise defined, rational, polynomial, exponential, and logarithmic functions.

 

Ds hoping to apply to a competitive nursing school.  My understanding is that most of the nursing schools now are pretty darn competitive.  So DS will need to keep his score really no lower than a B, which I recognize is going to be a stretch.  His ACT math scores shows that he needs to work not just in geometry but also number & quantity, alebra & functions.  I am disappointed that Saxon did not bring up his algebra score.  So DS needs a solid curriculum to prepare him for the above college algebra class.  Thus my quandry.  Will MUS through pre-calc or cal prepare him appropriately?

 

The final slap in the face is DS started MUS algebra 2 because we have it.  He is really disliking how different the program presents questions compared to Saxon.  They are almost too simplified & it's throwing him.  I can't win.  :(

 

 

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The final slap in the face is DS started MUS algebra 2 because we have it.  He is really disliking how different the program presents questions compared to Saxon.  They are almost too simplified & it's throwing him.  I can't win.  :(

 

I got a strong sense of this problem from your son's comments in your earlier posts. Since math is already an uphill battle for him, finding a curriculum which better suits his learning style will help. I know you stated you would like to stay with MUS or Saxon. So I hesitated to suggest anything else. But sometimes the curriculum can really make a big difference when its a better overall fit for the student. This is especially true when combined with a gifted instructor. 

Edited by dereksurfs

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I would switch curriculums if I were you. Do a shorter easier course for geometry. Do it over the summer. Then use Foerster's Algebra 2 or DO next year for Algebra 2. Saxon can really drag on.

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Ds hoping to apply to a competitive nursing school.  My understanding is that most of the nursing schools now are pretty darn competitive.  So DS will need to keep his score really no lower than a B, which I recognize is going to be a stretch.  His ACT math scores shows that he needs to work not just in geometry but also number & quantity, alebra & functions.  I am disappointed that Saxon did not bring up his algebra score.  So DS needs a solid curriculum to prepare him for the above college algebra class.  Thus my quandry.  Will MUS through pre-calc or cal prepare him appropriately?

 

The final slap in the face is DS started MUS algebra 2 because we have it.  He is really disliking how different the program presents questions compared to Saxon.  They are almost too simplified & it's throwing him.  I can't win.  :(

 

FWIW, I'm not sure that doing the college algebra course in high school will make him any more competitive for nursing programs than simply doing that course in college. It might be better to do some sort of advanced math at home where you can control the pace and he is more likely to come out of it with a decent grade. (when I got my BSN, no math was required at all, lol.)

 

Perhaps his reaction to the MUS Alg 2 course is another good reason to do geometry first...give him a chance to reset his expectations.

 

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Sebastian thank you for all your input.

 

Here are answerd to some of your questions.  DS discalculia means that he loses his place in long multi step problems & that he just flat out works physically slower.  In regards to our requirments I've talked to everyone about state standards at BOE & college.  DS needs 4 high school maths.  Algebra 1, Geom, Alg 2 & advanced math, there is no work around.  Regarding the College Algebra course it is only offered at the semeter length & here is the coure description: This course provides an in-depth study of the properties of algebraic, exponential and logarithmic functions as needed for calculus. Emphasis is on using algebraic and graphical techniques for solving problems involving linear, quadratic, piece-wise defined, rational, polynomial, exponential, and logarithmic functions.

 

Ds hoping to apply to a competitive nursing school.  My understanding is that most of the nursing schools now are pretty darn competitive.  So DS will need to keep his score really no lower than a B, which I recognize is going to be a stretch.  His ACT math scores shows that he needs to work not just in geometry but also number & quantity, alebra & functions.  I am disappointed that Saxon did not bring up his algebra score.  So DS needs a solid curriculum to prepare him for the above college algebra class.  Thus my quandry.  Will MUS through pre-calc or cal prepare him appropriately?

 

The final slap in the face is DS started MUS algebra 2 because we have it.  He is really disliking how different the program presents questions compared to Saxon.  They are almost too simplified & it's throwing him.  I can't win.  :(

 

I really think I would shift to Geometry.  It is mid April.  If you shift now, you have 16-18 weeks over the summer.  I think that is enough time to get through Geometry if he isn't working on other subjects over the summer.  In our state it is quite common for high schoolers to take summer school, not because they failed and need to repeat, but in order to lighten their school year load and get ahead a course.  In other words, summer school is something that the savvy students are taking advantage of.  My DS will be doing biology as a concentrated at home subject over the summer, because Latin and Science Olympiad tends to take up a lot of his energy during the school year.  This will let him do Biology without distractions.  It would also give you a chance to catch up on the math credits and have him continue with Algebra 2 in the fall.

 

It is hard for me to tell if the course description is a College Algebra that is prep for Pre-Calculus or if it is taken in place of a course titled Pre-Calculus.  This might be something that your CC can help you with.  In our area, there are counselors who handle all of the early admission or dual admission students.  They can lay out what the sequence of math courses would be for students interested in different majors.  

 

It might work for your ds to take Algebra 2 and then Statistics as his advanced math and save College Algebra or Pre-Calculus as a course taken in college.  

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Hi all,

 

Thank you for your support!!  I have learned so much.  I have looked through the test prep book & realize you are all correct.  My DS really needs geometry in order to improve his scores.  And I think he could use the algebra break.  I have ordered the MUS geometry so he can take a super quick spin through geometry & start algebra 2 in the fall.  I am still not sure which algebra 2 course I will have him take but at least this will get him "caught up" and give him a break from algebra. 

 

This fall I will hunt again for an algebra 2 class, probably not MUS or Saxon, that quest will continue.

 

Thanks again.

 

Jean

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