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Kuovonne

Prealgebra in 6th grade for a non-stem kid

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I am trying to figure out what prealgebra to use with my 6th grade daughter.

 

She has used Horizons math exclusively since 2nd grade. So far Horizons has been a great fit because (1) spiral review, (2) right number of practice problems, (3) open-and-go with one book at a time, (4) self-teaching. However, I am tired of calculations scrawled in margins and messy scratch paper. I would like to transition her to a program where she has to write out every problems on a separate piece of paper. As she is about to finish Horizons 6 in about a month, prealgebra seems the right time to make a change.

 

DD is NOT a STEM kid. She does okay with math, but doesn't enjoy it and just wants to do the minimum. (Her interests and talents clearly lie elsewhere.) I want her to have a solid math sequence that will enable her to go to college, but she doesn't need to start algebra until 8th or 9th grade, so she has 1.5 to 2.5 years to spend on prealgebra. (I would also like to get her back on track with the traditional school year.)

 

I have Horizons Prealgebra, Saxon 8/7, and Dolciani Prealgebra. None of them feels exactly right the way Horizons currently does. I am also open to online options as long as they allow mid-year start and are asynchronous. I have heard of Derek Owens, but I can't tell if it has enough daily review and daily homework problems. It also seems spendy when I already own other options.

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My only reservation with a non-stem kid and acceleration is high school progression. My ds is math talented and did Dolciani after horizons in sixth grade. When we got to high school I wished I had gone slower bc he hit Calc in eleventh grade and struggled bc of maturity and interest from Alg 2 on. Then we had the question of where to go next. He is now doing Stats. K think he would have enjoyed math more if I'd waited until eighth grade to do Algebra.

 

I have used all your choices--but didn't last long in Horizons for pre-algebra. It was disjointed and didn't work like there elementary program had for us.

 

I love Saxon 87 for my middle two who need the spiral. I liked teaching Dolciani which is what I had used in the early 80s. It didn't have enough review for us though.

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If you like a spiral for her, CLE pre-algebra is the 700 and 800 level, so meant to take 2 years. If you skip some of the consumer math at the end of 8, you'd cut half a year out of the two years if needed. I love CLE's spiral at these levels.  However, kids don't have to write out the math on other paper--there is plenty of room in the booklet. You could still have her write it out if you want, though. 

 

 

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I do not have a suggestion on curriculum. BUT you can use any curriculum and have her write it on her own paper. I think learning the correct form is so important. 

I would suggest a year of pre-algebra and two years of algebra instead of two years of pre-algebra unless she is really shaky. Or 1 1/2 years of each might be the best. 

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If she needs review and spiral works for her then I agree that CLE might work best.  It usually allows space for writing the problems but if you want her to rewrite everything you can always make that a requirement.  Start her with a math notebook.  Have notebook paper for writing out each problem and leaving space for "scratch" work next to it.  Or simply have her create a "work" paper labeled with the page number and problem number, do her work on that paper then transfer the answer to the workbook.  That way if she is consistently missing something you can both go back and see where she might be hanging up.  Below are samples of the level 700 light units.

 

https://www.clp.org/store/by_course/51

 

Give her the placement test, though, since math programs tend to follow different scopes and sequences.  The first light unit of each level is a review of all prior concepts so if she does have a few gaps then moving her through the first light unit of whatever level she tests into would probably fill in everything really well.  If she tests into a level and seems solid then you might be able to just skip the first light unit.   Below is the student test for 5th grade through 8th grade and the teacher manual for grading it.

 

https://www.clp.org/product/math_500_800_diagnostic_test_1659

https://www.clp.org/product/math_500_800_diagnostic_teachers_guide_1663

 

Level 700 and 800 are Pre-Algebra for CLE.  They can easily be combined into a one year course or a one and a half year course.  There is a lot of review so crossing out some review problems is fine as long as your child is grasping the concepts.  They incorporate some very useful consumer math but if you don't want that you can cut those sections out.  If you choose to go with CLE and need help with how to cover these two levels in less than two years just start a separate post.  There are many people who have done it successfully and can help.  CLE 700/800 covers a lot of great material and is a good base for going into High School level Algebra.  You might, at some point, want to add in some word problems since that area is a bit weaker, but again start a separate post and many can advise you on great resources for supplementing.

 

(FWIW, just because a child is not good at elementary level math that does not mean they would not do well in a STEM field.  DH was terrible at elementary level math (pretty poor in a lot of subjects actually) but he is a very successful and highly respected engineer. )

 

The other option might be to go with CTC Math or something else like it.  It is usually on sale through Homeschool Buyer's Co-op.  You can track everything she is doing, assign specific math lessons, and create built in review.

https://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/ctc-math/

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My only reservation with a non-stem kid and acceleration is high school progression.

This is my concern as well, and the main reason I want to delay algebra until 8th or 9th grade. I want her to have math every year of high school without getting to math that is too hard or including math that might make her look like a weaker student. My older DD was forced into harder math due to a combination of factors, and I don't want my younger DD to have to do that as well.

 

I have used all your choices--but didn't last long in Horizons for pre-algebra. It was disjointed and didn't work like there elementary program had for us.

Thanks for the confirmation that Horizons prealgebra isn't like the elementary program.

 

I love Saxon 87 for my middle two who need the spiral. I liked teaching Dolciani which is what I had used in the early 80s. It didn't have enough review for us though.

I like Dolciani, but I agree about the lack of review. Saxon seems overly complicated to me, but it might work. I wish I didn't dread Saxon so much. What did your two who used Saxon 8/7 used before & after?

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FWIW, while Saxon is a great program for a lot of people and I am not dissing Saxon at all, it was a dismal failure for mine.  CLE seemed to take the strengths I found in Saxon and put them in a more pleasant and user friendly format.  Of the two, CLE worked a LOT better in my home, for both the kids and for me.

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I do not have a suggestion on curriculum. BUT you can use any curriculum and have her write it on her own paper. I think learning the correct form is so important.

I would suggest a year of pre-algebra and two years of algebra instead of two years of pre-algebra unless she is really shaky. Or 1 1/2 years of each might be the best.

It would currently be very difficult to switch to writing out problems without switching to a different program that requires writing out the problems, because DD is very resistant to writing out problems to begin with. Horizons does not have problem numbers and there is enough room to work most of the problems on the page. DD would throw a fit if I started making her write out problems when she knows it can be done on the page.

 

I don't want to take two years to do algebra, because I want her to have a high school transcript that shows one year for algebra 1 when applying for college. She is a capable math student, but not interested in math/science. If she were a stem kid, she could quickly cover prealgebra this spring and start Algebra 1 in 7th in the fall. But she is not a stem kid, so I would rather slow down.

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I would suggest doing what your child is capable of and not label her a non-STEM student in middle school. A lot can change regarding interests and strengths in middle school and high school.

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If you like a spiral for her, CLE pre-algebra is the 700 and 800 level, so meant to take 2 years.

If she needs review and spiral works for her then I agree that CLE might work best.

Of the two, CLE worked a LOT better in my home, for both the kids and for me.

I'm off to research CLE. Thank you OneStepAtATime for the detailed links. Edited by Kuovonne
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If Horizons is truly a great fit maybe do Horizons Prealgebra at the speed your dd is capable of and follow it up with Beast Academy 5. Or perhaps follow up the topics in the Horizons book with the same topic in the Beast Academy program. That will slow down the progression and ensure deep mastery.

 

As far as writing in the book, I wouldn't make it a hill to die on if you don't need the books clean for another child or resale. Eventually she will have to figure out copying onto another piece of paper because she will run out of room. If you feel you need to read each step instead of just the answer then just tell her she will have to rewrite what you can't read.

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I would suggest doing what your child is capable of and not label her a non-STEM student in middle school. A lot can change regarding interests and strengths in middle school and high school.

I know that my DD is currently a non-stem student because she has been very strongly drawn to other activities despite repeated exposure to stem opportunities over many years. Her interests might change, but I want to honor who she is now. She shouldn't have to do harder math just because she is capable of it. A slower math sequence will let her spend more of her day on her other interests. Aiming for Algebra 1 in 8th or 9th grade will still keep doors open if her interests change.

 

When most people ask about prealgebra for an accelerated 6th grader, it is usually for a student who likes math and leans toward stem fields. The responses usually list advanced programs and methods of adding depth to math. I described my DD as non-stem to make it clear that we are looking for something different.

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I would suggest a year of pre-algebra and two years of algebra instead of two years of pre-algebra unless she is really shaky. Or 1 1/2 years of each might be the best. 

 

:iagree:

 

Prealgebra doesn't really introduce many new topics at all.  It is mostly just a review of arithmetic.  I think stretching it out to two years is overkill.

 

Algebra, OTOH, is a whole new way of thinking and is the foundation of higher math.  I think students who have the time are very well served by going through twice using two different curricula.

 

Her high school transcript would not have to show two years of algebra.  If she works through a less-rigorous curriculum in 7th grade, and then a more rigorous one in 8th, you would just list her taking algebra in 8th. 

 

You could even call her 7th grade year (for your own purposes) "Algebra Prep" and use an algebra curriculum that will prep her to excel in a deeper algebra curriculum the next year.

 

Wendy

Edited by wendyroo
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I know that my DD is currently a non-stem student because she has been very strongly drawn to other activities despite repeated exposure to stem opportunities over many years. Her interests might change, but I want to honor who she is now. She shouldn't have to do harder math just because she is capable of it. A slower math sequence will let her spend more of her day on her other interests. Aiming for Algebra 1 in 8th or 9th grade will still keep doors open if her interests change.

 

When most people ask about prealgebra for an accelerated 6th grader, it is usually for a student who likes math and leans toward stem fields. The responses usually list advanced programs and methods of adding depth to math. I described my DD as non-stem to make it clear that we are looking for something different.

Ah, ok makes perfect sense. Then I even more strongly suggest looking into CLE or CTC or a combination.

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I want her to have a solid math sequence that will enable her to go to college, but she doesn't need to start algebra until 8th or 9th grade, so she has 1.5 to 2.5 years to spend on prealgebra.

  

I don't want to take two years to do algebra, because I want her to have a high school transcript that shows one year for algebra 1 when applying for college.

I would be more tempted to do 1 year of prealgebra, followed by 2 years of algebra 1 and then list algebra 1 as 8th or 9th grade only depending on when your daughter finish it. That way she has time for her ballet by having more time to finish algebra 1. It’s just easier to spend more time on algebra 1 than to spend more time on prealgebra.

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I'm in favor of doing pre-a in 6th or 7th, easy algebra in 7th or 8th, and regular algebra in 8th or 9th.  

 

For the easy algebra in 7th, I suggest also taking a look at Algebra: Themes, Tools, Concepts (Picciotto and Wah) in addition to the other's you're considering.  The entire student text, teacher edition, and teacher notes are free on Picciotto's website https://www.mathedpage.org/  I've been using it with my DS#1 and am pretty dang impressed with how fun and accessible it is.  It requires the Algebra Lab Gear blocks, which are available from Didax or on Amazon.  They're like Algeblocks, except a set for one student is like half the price, the variables are all one color, and the size difference between the x unit and y unit is more pronounced, which imo makes the blocks easier to differentiate (x^2*y and x*y^2 look very different).

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Please don’t worry. You have plenty of time. I promise.

 

As someone who has gone the distance, I would suggest that you solidify rather than accelerate or push.

 

The math-y parts of the brain are the last to develop.

People can live a normal life—and do well in college—without calculus. I am increasingly if the opinion the understanding statistics is more impt than calculus.

 

This is what I would do.

 

8th-Maybe pre algebra

9th algebra

10th algebra 2 or geometry

11th whatever didn’t get done in 10th

12th stats. Or pre-calc.

 

My experienced opinion.

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We did kind-of pre-a this year for dd's 6th grade. She did parts of Jousting Armadillos, Beast Academy 5, Russian Math 6, Life of Fred pre a, and Khan Academy.

I wanted her to take some time to just enjoy wrestling with maths before we went into Algebra.

 

For 7th grade (2018) I'll have her do Aops pre algebra as needed to cover gaps, then probably go to Aops Algebra mid 7th ish.

 

CLE sounds like a much simpler option lol.

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Maybe consider adding in Hands on Equations or Patty Paper Geometry to introduce algebra and geometry topics while you work through pre-algebra. I'm doing that right now with my kiddo instead of rushing through pre-A.

Edited by calbear

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We have spent two years on pre-algebra because my child needed more time on review. We have tried several things over the last two years. I am really enjoying the Lial pre-algebra textbook we are using for the second year. My child is having to write out the problems and is getting used to that step now. They also have a Lial Basic College Math you can use before the Pre Algebra which reviews all of elementary school math before algebra. I am going that route with my second child and plan to do both books before Algebra.

 

I can see how that much review would be boring for some kids but mine need the review and the time to mature before algebra.

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I am very math-oriented with some kids who are and some who aren't. I actually love Saxon and the simplicity of it all. It teaches theory very well (and I do the teaching, my kids aren't just reading it) and the spiral adds intensity and allows the steps of math to unfold as the kids practice things over and over again. My non-arithmetic kid is doing great with it. And it's solid. And my mathy kid does great with it as well (using it a grade ahead).

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I like Dolciani, but I agree about the lack of review. Saxon seems overly complicated to me, but it might work. I wish I didn't dread Saxon so much. What did your two who used Saxon 8/7 used before & after?

I haven't found Saxon complicated. I love the fact drills and daily mental math and problem solving.

 

All my kids use Horizons for elementary. My ds did Saxon 87, Saxon Algebra (4th edition bc I wanted the extra statistics) Teaching Textbooks Geometry (bc I had it) and will go back to Saxon next year. Ds 2 is doing 87 now and will follow his sister's progression.

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All of my kids, math-focused or not, have gone from Horizons 6 to MUS alg and geo (both in a single yr) and used those as pre-alg and pre-geo. MUS's format and presentation is very low key and not at all overwhelming after Horizons, It offers a good basic intro into the concepts and sets them up for more complex alg and geo courses. (We have used Foerster's for alg and Chalkdust's text for geo.)

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We did AOPS for prealgebra in 6th which was an unmitigated disaster, but like others here the way it worked out is that pre A took one year and algebra 2. I didn't plan it that way (I don't really plan), it's just the way it worked out.

We jumped around on curriculum after AOPS but ultimately, here, the choice of curriculum comes down to how much assistance you are willing/able to give. Forester Alg 1 I could do, geometry I am doing, AOPS I could not, and for Alg 2 I'm hiring a tutor. :)

Edited by madteaparty

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Thank you all for the suggestions.

 

I will give more thought to doing Algebra 1 twice, but only counting it for high school the second time. I was under the impression that after a child did Algebra 1, she would be bored doing it again. At least that was the advice I was given for my older DD in traditional school.

 

My younger DD is about to finish Horizon's elementary math, and she is quite ready to start prealgebra. I don't have the option of delaying the start of prealgebra until 7th or 8th grade. She has to continue doing math when she finishes her current book! She has already done Hands-On-Equations, and neither of us want to juggle multple resources.

 

I say DD is non-stem, not due to any struggles with math, but because her interests lie elsewhere. AOPS, Beast Academy, and similar enrichments would not be right for this kid because she isn't interested in math and has no patience for it. She begrudgingly spends 30 minutes to an hour on a lesson in Horizons.

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Thank you all for the suggestions.

 

I will give more thought to doing Algebra 1 twice, but only counting it for high school the second time. I was under the impression that after a child did Algebra 1, she would be bored doing it again. At least that was the advice I was given for my older DD in traditional school.

 

My younger DD is about to finish Horizon's elementary math, and she is quite ready to start prealgebra. I don't have the option of delaying the start of prealgebra until 7th or 8th grade. She has to continue doing math when she finishes her current book! She has already done Hands-On-Equations, and neither of us want to juggle multple resources.

 

I say DD is non-stem, not due to any struggles with math, but because her interests lie elsewhere. AOPS, Beast Academy, and similar enrichments would not be right for this kid because she isn't interested in math and has no patience for it. She begrudgingly spends 30 minutes to an hour on a lesson in Horizons.

Then CLE might work as a transition into Algebra.  Cross out review problems she doesn't need to shorten the lessons if they seem too long.  Explanations are in the light units but the TM has additional info if she needs your help.  If she does fine with math then she probably wouldn't need and would have no interest in doing Algebra I twice.  She could do CLE 700 then CLE 800 and be very well prepared for a standard Algebra I program plus it has Geometry so she would be prepared for Geometry as well.

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Thank you all for the suggestions.

 

I will give more thought to doing Algebra 1 twice, but only counting it for high school the second time. I was under the impression that after a child did Algebra 1, she would be bored doing it again. At least that was the advice I was given for my older DD in traditional school.

 

My younger DD is about to finish Horizon's elementary math, and she is quite ready to start prealgebra. I don't have the option of delaying the start of prealgebra until 7th or 8th grade. She has to continue doing math when she finishes her current book! She has already done Hands-On-Equations, and neither of us want to juggle multple resources.

 

I say DD is non-stem, not due to any struggles with math, but because her interests lie elsewhere. AOPS, Beast Academy, and similar enrichments would not be right for this kid because she isn't interested in math and has no patience for it. She begrudgingly spends 30 minutes to an hour on a lesson in Horizons.

There is alg, then there is alg, and then there is alg. The difference in the depth of coverage in MUS compared to Foerster's compared to AoPS is huge. Repeating alg from one to the other really won't bore most kids. My Dd who did all 3, yeah, she was most definitely bored the 3rd time round and refused to take another AoPS course ever again. ;) (she only did the AoPS book bc her brother pestered her to death to do it bc "she'd like it. " Not sure if it was her brother or the book that made her refuse to take another AoPS course. LOL!) But, the flip side is that her math skills are rock solid. :)

 

Completing Foerster's after MUS has absolutely not bored my kids. The challenge level of Foerster's builds well on the skills developed in MUS. Some of my kids have been on the young side when they started alg (10ish), so I have appreciated the white on the pages and the simplicity of the presentation bc they haven't been overwhelmed by text. It has made the move into a standard high school text the next yr easy.

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It is a year and a half later, and I thought I’d give an update in case anyone ends up with a kid in a similar situation and looks up this thread.

DD finished up Horizons 6 in the middle of 6th grade. I decided to start Saxon 8/7. It was a bust. So then I switched her to Dolciani Pre-algebra. It was also a bust. Finally, I switched to the last program I had, Horizons Pre-algebra, and it worked out. I had to give up on having her write out the problems. It just wasn’t going to happen with this particular kid at that particular time. Horizons Pre-algebra ended up being a good fit and she finished it at the end of 7th grade. So, she spent a year and a half doing pre-algebra and she is now well positioned to start Algebra in 8th grade. 

I also got her standardized test scores back and her math scores improved over last year, so Horizons Pre-algebra worked well for this kid.

There is a chance that she will go to school for 8th grade, so I am glad that she is ready to start a new math book at the beginning of the fall, like everyone else. There is also a chance that she will stay homeschooled and want to either graduate early or have a very light senior year, so starting Algebra 1 in the fall and doing only one year of Algebra 1 makes sense.

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On 12/15/2017 at 12:48 PM, Kuovonne said:

 

 

Thanks for the confirmation that Horizons prealgebra isn't like the elementary program.

 

 

This was our experience with Horizon's prealgebra. It was disjointed. It would give problems for a topic before introducing the topic.

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Unless she needs it, I would not spend a huge long time on prealgebra.  Frankly, I think that's a great way to make a kid dislike math, since prealgebra is not the most inspiring thing in the world.  Instead, I'd bank that time to use later on if she has trouble with high school math and needs to slow down for a bit.

I also think you need to be careful about categorizing a kid as either a STEM person or not a STEM person.  When I was in junior high and high school, all indications were that I was not a STEM person, and then in my junior year in college, I decided to major in biochemistry.  Not enjoying arithmetic is not a sign that a person will not enjoy or be good at real math later on.  

That said, I highly recommend Derek Owens for prealgebra and up, particularly if you're wanting her to work independently.

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13 hours ago, Janeway said:

 

This was our experience with Horizon's prealgebra. It was disjointed. It would give problems for a topic before introducing the topic.

 

This was not our experience with Horizons prealgebra. While DD struggled with a few things, I do not recall having problems for a topic before the topic was introduced. There were times that DD did not know how to do a problem; however, I was able flip back to previous lessons and show her where the topic had indeed been introduced. Eventually DD learned to flip back on her own to look up concepts. The lack of a table of contents made looking up concepts difficult, but it was doable.

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3 hours ago, EKS said:

Unless she needs it, I would not spend a huge long time on prealgebra.  Frankly, I think that's a great way to make a kid dislike math, since prealgebra is not the most inspiring thing in the world.  Instead, I'd bank that time to use later on if she has trouble with high school math and needs to slow down for a bit.

I also think you need to be careful about categorizing a kid as either a STEM person or not a STEM person.  When I was in junior high and high school, all indications were that I was not a STEM person, and then in my junior year in college, I decided to major in biochemistry.  Not enjoying arithmetic is not a sign that a person will not enjoy or be good at real math later on.  

That said, I highly recommend Derek Owens for prealgebra and up, particularly if you're wanting her to work independently.

 

Thanks. She ended up spending a year and a half on prealgebra. She would be happy sticking with prealgebra because she would rather have easy math and be done faster, but she is definitely ready for algebra in the fall.

I tried to explain earlier why I label this kid as non-stem. She has shown a very clear preference for a non-stem activity over the course of several years. I do not label her as non-stem simply due to how well she does in math or how much she (does not) enjoy math. Mostly, I say she is non-stem mostly due to how she chooses to spend the her time and attention in a non-stem field. She may change her interests in a few years, but for now she is not a stem person.

Thank you for the recommendation for Derek Owens, I will look into that program for Algebra.

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6 minutes ago, Kuovonne said:

Thanks. She ended up spending a year and a half on prealgebra.

Lol, sorry, I didn't realize that this thread was so old.

7 minutes ago, Kuovonne said:

She may change her interests in a few years, but for now she is not a stem person.

I guess what I object to (not specific to you, but our society in general) is the idea that being a "STEM person" is something you either are or are not.  For some, the interest in STEM stuff is there from the beginning, but for others it develops later on.  I always say something when I see folks characterizing their kids this way because I was a classic "non-STEM" person all the way up until I wasn't, and I'm pretty sure I missed out on important math and science training early on because my parents (who are, ironically, both scientists themselves) thought that it wasn't important for a "humanities type."

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6 hours ago, EKS said:

Lol, sorry, I didn't realize that this thread was so old.

I guess what I object to (not specific to you, but our society in general) is the idea that being a "STEM person" is something you either are or are not.  For some, the interest in STEM stuff is there from the beginning, but for others it develops later on.  I always say something when I see folks characterizing their kids this way because I was a classic "non-STEM" person all the way up until I wasn't, and I'm pretty sure I missed out on important math and science training early on because my parents (who are, ironically, both scientists themselves) thought that it wasn't important for a "humanities type."

First of all, I do not know the particulars of your situation and childhood so I want to acknowledge the fact that you feel that you missed out on opportunities because of the decisions your parents made.  I too have had a similar experience but in the opposite direction: I feel like I missed out on the humanities.

That said, I don't know if I agree with your conclusion.  You don't see most people pushing for a certain level of proficiency in drawing and painting on kids who are not "artsy" in case they have some latent interest/talent that will manifest at some point in the future.  Even with music the concensus seems to be that if a child is not interested to let them drop an instrument and provide alternative forms of music instruction.  And historically, at least girls were expected to be able to make all sorts of art and play an instrument with competence.  Today's society has just shifted gears and has all of a sudden decided that STEM is what's important for everyone.

I think there's a difference between a minimum that one should require because something is either worth knowing for its own sake or because it has a utilitarian value and encouraging the most "rigorous" path on a child who at present shows no inclination or interest towards it.  My eldest is not mathy and at the moment this is quite true.  She is compliant and hard working, she even enjoys some of our lessons these days, but given the choice she would never do math again.  She used to be really into music but lately has lost interest in her instrument.  I could make the decision to push her in both just in case she ends up turning into a mathematician or musician "some day" or to jump through hoops to make both so interesting for her that she simply can't resist; or I could just set a minimum bar because they are both worth pursuing now for their own sakes on some basic level and let her have plenty of time to pursue those things that interest her now and which contribute to her growth as the person she is now instead of hedging my bets on some potential future. 

The fact is that a motivated, interested "late-bloomer" has a lot more opportunities to pursue something in adulthood in modern day America than in any other country or time period in history.  Homeschoolers often talk about not "closing doors" but in my mind there are always doors closing and opening.  There is opportunity cost for every choice one makes for one's children and sometimes those choices are severely limited because of family circumstances/vision/knowledge.  I feel that those limits are just the realities of life: unfortunate as they may sometimes be.

OP, I love how you handled the situation with your DD!  Many good wishes for her success 🙂 

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1 hour ago, mms said:

First of all, I do not know the particulars of your situation and childhood so I want to acknowledge the fact that you feel that you missed out on opportunities because of the decisions your parents made.  I too have had a similar experience but in the opposite direction: I feel like I missed out on the humanities.

I missed out on education that was standard for high school students--I'm not talking about taking after school AoPS classes or whatever.

1 hour ago, mms said:

That said, I don't know if I agree with your conclusion.  You don't see most people pushing for a certain level of proficiency in drawing and painting on kids who are not "artsy" in case they have some latent interest/talent that will manifest at some point in the future.  Even with music the concensus seems to be that if a child is not interested to let them drop an instrument and provide alternative forms of music instruction.  And historically, at least girls were expected to be able to make all sorts of art and play an instrument with competence.  Today's society has just shifted gears and has all of a sudden decided that STEM is what's important for everyone.

I don't think that STEM is important--in the rigorous sense--for a great majority of the population since, frankly, I don't think most people are capable of it.  What I object to is categorizing a person as "non-STEM" (and OP--this is not at all directed at you) early on and then relegating them to the 9th grade algebra track for no other reason

1 hour ago, mms said:

I think there's a difference between a minimum that one should require because something is either worth knowing for its own sake or because it has a utilitarian value and encouraging the most "rigorous" path on a child who at present shows no inclination or interest towards it. 

If you'll notice, my prealgebra suggestion was for Derek Owens.  His courses are excellent, but I wouldn't characterize them as "most rigorous."

1 hour ago, mms said:

The fact is that a motivated, interested "late-bloomer" has a lot more opportunities to pursue something in adulthood in modern day America than in any other country or time period in history.  Homeschoolers often talk about not "closing doors" but in my mind there are always doors closing and opening.  

I disagree. Once a person launches into real adulthood, with a job and spouse and children, it becomes incredibly difficult to change course.  Moreover, as one gets older, it gets much more difficult to master math and science than it is humanities knowledge and understanding in such a way that it is completely internalized.  

1 hour ago, mms said:

There is opportunity cost for every choice one makes for one's children and sometimes those choices are severely limited because of family circumstances/vision/knowledge.  I feel that those limits are just the realities of life: unfortunate as they may sometimes be.

I absolutely agree with this.

My argument is not to force every student to do the most rigorous math program available.  It is instead, to do a math program that works for them in the present while, if at all possible, supporting their needs if they end up doing something crazy by going into STEM later on.  What this will look like will depend on the situation.  What I am against is saying it doesn't matter because the student is not a "STEM person" when they're 11.

FWIW, my older son was (and is) a STEM person.  Because of this, I intentionally went humanities heavy with him since I figured that our homeschool was going to be the only place he was going to get it.  And I was right.

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If the student is not gung-ho about Math, and the desire is to allow more brain development for tackling Algebra 1 when the student is a bit older, then, just me, but I'd probably "go wide" and explore for Math with a variety of resources in 6th grade that will be good prep for Pre-Algebra, and then go with a middle/high school Math progression along these lines:

7th = Pre-Algebra
8th = Algebra 1
9th = Geometry
10th = Algebra 2
11th = Pre-Calc
12th = be done with math --OR-- do Statistics --OR-- get a jump on college credits with dual enrollment College Algebra

or

7th/8th = Pre-Algebra
8th/9th = Algebra 1
9th/10th = Geometry
10th/11th = Algebra 2
11th/12th = Pre-Calc


For 6th grade, you could explore/prep for Pre-Algebra with things like:
- TOPS: Metric Measurement, and, Probability
- Hands On Equations
- Patty Paper Geometry
- Jousting Armadillos
- Zacarro Challenge Math
- Keys to Math series: Percents, Decimals, Fractions
- Life of Fred: Mineshaft
- Singapore Primary 5A/B and 6A/B
- Beast Academy 5


Just a thought! BEST of luck, whatever you decide. Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

ETA: AAARRRGGGHHHH! Disregard! Got caught by a zombie thread! 🧟‍♀️

Edited by Lori D.
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9 hours ago, EKS said:

I missed out on education that was standard for high school students--I'm not talking about taking after school AoPS classes or whatever.

I believe you!  Not denying your experience in the least. I must have worded my initial acknowledgement awkwardly.

I don't think that STEM is important--in the rigorous sense--for a great majority of the population since, frankly, I don't think most people are capable of it.  What I object to is categorizing a person as "non-STEM" (and OP--this is not at all directed at you) early on and then relegating them to the 9th grade algebra track for no other reason.

See, this is where I think we disagree.  Algebra I in this country (for better or for worse) is a high school level course and pre-calculus is a college level course (i.e. it is not a remedial, lower than 100 level class).  A student taking Algebra I in 9th grade is on a standard high school track and not in any sense of the word "behind" whether or not they are on a STEM track and whether or not some schools are pushing for algebra in 8th.  Many of the former and current teachers/tutors on this board have pointed out that offering or even requiring "Algebra I" in 8th grade does not mean that students are actually getting a solid foundation in algebra since those courses are often watered down.  Do I think the system needs to be reformed?  Sure.  I'd much rather see a simultaneous multi-stream approach that starts in 7th grade once the basics of arithmetic have been mastered (in most cases it does not take 8 years to master the basics of arithmetic if taught well) and drop all this pre-algebra/algebra I/geometry/algebra II nonsense.  But, that's not the standard in this country and holding American students up to the standards of other countries is not really helping them succeed.  On the other hand insisting that a solid foundation in pre-algebra is set before beginning algebra in 9th as per the standard track does seem to help.

We're also on a homeschooling board.  It is different in a homeschool because a parent who decides that their non-STEM track child doesn't need algebra I till ninth grade (even if it is for no other reason than that they are not on a STEM track and would rather spend more time on other subjects) and then the child begins to show an inclination later on can shift gears and structure their education to meet those needs.  Algebra and geometry can (and in my mind should!) be taken simultaneously, schooling can happen through the summer.  The point is that at this stage the child will be internally motivated and that counts for a lot!

I disagree. Once a person launches into real adulthood, with a job and spouse and children, it becomes incredibly difficult to change course.  Moreover, as one gets older, it gets much more difficult to master math and science than it is humanities knowledge and understanding in such a way that it is completely internalized.

 I am not sure what "real adulthood" is.  Adulthood starts at 18: that is how we as a society have chosen to define it.  Having to take pre-calculus in college at 18 is not being doomed to never being able to enter STEM if one's interests change. Yes, some people will end up marrying and having children right out of high school (or even before in these parts) but that is not the norm.  What I was comparing it to is the situation of "tracking" that happens in many places around the world where a student is fairly committed to whatever major they are admitted to.  The pre-requisites for Calc I at our state flagship are two semesters of college algebra (remedial) or a one semester college algebra/pre-calc combo (credit towards graduation).  A motivated student who discovers that their interests do lie in STEM after all and who had a solid algebra I/geometry/algebra II sequence (the minimum for graduation in most states) can do the combo course the summer semester after graduating and start Calc I in the fall as a STEM major.  I'm not saying that this is entirely convenient and it may put a kid to a slightly later path to graduation if they decide to go into engineering (since their calc classes are usually more intense/weeder type), but it is doable.

And note I did say "solid:"  it is far better for a non-mathy kid to start algebra I in 9th and even complete it over two years with a good (not AOPS, lol) textbook than start it in 8th with a watered down version of algebra and be under the impression that one is on a "STEM" track.  I've known many people who got a rude surprise on their placement tests in college even after completing calculus in 12th grade.  I'm actually more concerned about parents who will put their kids into Algebra in 7th or 8th using something like MUS or watered down public school textbook (which happens locally and maybe is an anomaly nation-wide) and give them the illusion of being ahead than with those who pursue the slow and steady march towards Algebra in 9th using even something like Saxon a year "behind."  And I'm not even a fan of Saxon, lol, but at the least a student who mastered Saxon Advanced Math in 12th is in actuality ready for a college level calc class.

That said, I've known adults who have gone back to college into more sciency fields even with families/jobs.  It is hard, there is sacrifice, but in the US it is doable.  It's not even an option in many places.

My argument is not to force every student to do the most rigorous math program available.  It is instead, to do a math program that works for them in the present while, if at all possible, supporting their needs if they end up doing something crazy by going into STEM later on.  What this will look like will depend on the situation.  What I am against is saying it doesn't matter because the student is not a "STEM person" when they're 11.

I probably used the word "rigorous" in a wrong way.  I was not saying it in the AOPS sense of the word but in opposition to what one would consider the "minimum" needed for a NT child.  That "minimum" is part of a basic education and should be studied at a level where the subject is actually mastered (as opposed to the easiest path possible to just check a box).  But again, in my mind that minimum is not algebra in 8th to be potentially ready for calculus in 12th but the graduation requirements for one's state or entrance requirements for the type of college the child might be interested in if they are college bound.

And please note, I'm not saying to keep a student behind who is ready to take algebra in 8th grade or even 7th grade or even earlier.  OP has determined that her daughter is ready for algebra and is not going to "keep her behind" for the sake of some "hair under armpits" standard - that's great!  But, she may find that her daughter is served best by doing algebra I over two years to lay the same solid foundation that she has with pre-algebra and that's fine too.

FWIW, my older son was (and is) a STEM person.  Because of this, I intentionally went humanities heavy with him since I figured that our homeschool was going to be the only place he was going to get it.  And I was right.

That's great!  Know your child!

Anyway, different strokes for different folks, but I will not let fears of an uncertain future and potential "closed doors" influence how I educate my children.  My responsibility as a parent is to prepare my children for being productive citizens, to comply with our state's education requirements and to teach the actual child in front of me (which probably means doing more than what our state requires).

To anyone reading this; warning: ZOMBIE thread.

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48 minutes ago, mms said:

Algebra I in this country (for better or for worse) is a high school level course and pre-calculus is a college level course (i.e. it is not a remedial, lower than 100 level class).

I was never arguing this. 

(In fact, I must believe that Algebra I is a high school course, as I've given both of my kids high school credit for it even though they took it prior to high school.)

1 hour ago, mms said:

But, she may find that her daughter is served best by doing algebra I over two years to lay the same solid foundation that she has with pre-algebra and that's fine too.

This was my original point--banking extra time gained during the arithmetic sequence (including prealgebra) can be really helpful once you get to the high school sequence.  

That said, I agree with much of what you said in your post above, but for me to respond to it in the way that it deserves will take more time than I have available at the moment.

 

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18 minutes ago, EKS said:

That said, I agree with much of what you said in your post above, but for me to respond to it in the way that it deserves will take more time than I have available at the moment.

LOL, totally understand. 👍

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