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s/o disliking AoPS Pre-Alg - what else to do first?

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I expect to be in much the same boat as my 8 year old is finishing up SM5 and BA4 right now, but I don't particularly want to jump into Pre-Algebra right away. We do lots of enrichment already (cryptography, basic graph theory, some basic number theory, etc), and looking through a lot of other resources (Zacarro, Hard Maths, LoF, etc.) doesn't provide much that's new to him (we did all the LoF up through Jelly Beans, I think? But he did get bored with them so we quit. Same with Khan academy). I'd really like to spend some time with more fun topics (more number theory, combinatorics, graph theory, etc. I'd even consider gambling, voting methods, fair division, artsy stuff like tilings and tesselations, etc.) before moving on to Pre-Alg because I don't think he's ready for the level of attention to detail that he'd need for something like pre-Alg, even though he certainly gets the concepts (he's already finished the DragonBox Algebra 12 and Elements multiple times). 

 

So my question is this: while I could certainly create my own "kid-friendly" version of this sort of curriculum, I feel like that could be a black hole, and so am wondering what other options there might be. Are the AoPS combinatorics and NT books accessible to a kid who can "get" algebra concepts - but hasn't actually done a full algebra course? What about the EoM ones? Are there other options?

 

FWIW, we do still have fine motor issues over here, and while I'm not opposed to scribing for him some, I do have four kids (2-8) all vying for my time... 

Edited by 4kookiekids

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I have Art Benjamin’s Secrets of Mental Math on hand, from Great Courses. I haven’t used it yet with DD, but think it would fit well around that time. It’s largely a collection of methods to speed up arithmetic. He also has a couple of other Great Courses lectures, with more advanced topics. He also has a set called The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles that looks like it could fit well around pre-A time for a mathy kid.

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We love the Great Courses programs with both Art Benjamin and James Tanton. 

 

I think parts of the AoPS Combinatorics and NT books are very accessible to younger students. Some parts of them may not be however. For instance we got bogged down in the proofs of the hockey stick identity (2nd to last chapter) a while ago and are just getting back to it now. I feel like number theory is more accessible but requires some patience for tedious arithmetic (factoring, base conversion) so may depend on the personality of your child. There's no hurt in buying the books and trying as long as you're willing to put them away if necessary. 

 

Creating kid-friendly curricula for things like graph theory, taxi-cab geometry, etc. is one of my dreams when I have more time. I tutor a lot of gifted kids and explore these ideas with them in age appropriate ways but feel like there's a lack of comprehensive books and curricula. I would love to see kid-friendly versions of say the dover books with appealing art, problem sets, etc. for around $5. So many cool ideas to explore but feel like I have to read dozens of puzzle books to glean the best presentations. 

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Creating kid-friendly curricula for things like graph theory, taxi-cab geometry, etc. is one of my dreams when I have more time. I tutor a lot of gifted kids and explore these ideas with them in age appropriate ways but feel like there's a lack of comprehensive books and curricula. I would love to see kid-friendly versions of say the dover books with appealing art, problem sets, etc. for around $5. So many cool ideas to explore but feel like I have to read dozens of puzzle books to glean the best presentations. 

 

Oh, you are speaking my language here! lol. I put together a graph theory class for kids ages 6-10 at my local co-op, and I was so excited to teach it! Only to find out that most of the kids signed up were there because there parents felt they needed more math practice and so the poor kids came in "knowing" they hated math right off the bat. Despite the less-than-stellar start, I felt like it went really well - but I sure wished that I hadn't had to re-invent the wheel. While we didn't prove all of our results (for obvious reasons, ones like the four color theorem were conjectured by the children, confirmed by me, but left unproven...), I felt great doing a whole class where the parents and students alike were convinced that "this was interesting and cool, but definitely not math." 

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Your son could gain a lot by doing old MOEMS exams, maybe once or twice a week.  Each worksheet is only 5 problems, there's a lot of variety, and he'll get some good problem solving experience.  It isn't a curriulum, but he'll still gain a lot by using it.  

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My DS loves Elements of Mathematics and it's all on the computer so no writing :)

 

I really like that idea, but he's also currently not great with a computer. Perhaps just lack of opportunity since we're just not a super plugged-in family. Maybe that'll change in the next year, or maybe it's something I could teach him more intentionally. Thanks!

 

Your son could gain a lot by doing old MOEMS exams, maybe once or twice a week.  Each worksheet is only 5 problems, there's a lot of variety, and he'll get some good problem solving experience.  It isn't a curriulum, but he'll still gain a lot by using it.  

This is a great idea! And since  it'll take a while for me to get the books, I went ahead and just printed out some old MK sample problems and gave them to him to see how he'd respond. He loved them, and was super pumped to be doing them, and I think he enjoyed that they were fun and not super hard (at least up through level 6, because we stopped there for today).

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Patty Paper Geometry?

 

It's one of my all time faves.

You people are a bad influence. Edited by kiwik
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