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Kari C in SC

Honors Algebra vs. Regular Algebra

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Parents that have had to make the decision between honors algebra vs. regular algebra... what’s the benefit? Obviously more knowledge, but is the extra time and energy worth it? Does it equate to higher SAT/ACT scores, etc? My dis is going into 9th next year. Sorta. His September birthday says he’s going into 8th. His skills say otherwise. His math teacher is saying he could easily go the honors route, but it’s not necessary. He’s college bound. With scholarship - straight to USC. Without scholarship, Midlands Tech and then transfer to USC. So, tell me your experiences. Thanks!

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For me, the goal of stronger math instruction is not achieving higher test scores or scholarships, but a better mastery of the material. Algebra 1 is THE most important math course any student will take; his success in higher math and in sciences is determined by his mastery of algebra. I am a physics professor, and the students who struggle in my courses almost always struggle because their algebra skills are lacking.

 

I would always opt for more rigorous instruction for a student who is capable. Needless to say, putting a student who is not capable of the higher level into the honors class would be pointless.

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If this is in a public school setting, I would say always go with honors classes when possible. My dh teaches both honors and regular classes, and the behavior issues in the regular classes alone would be enough to want my kids in the honors classes even if they struggled through. 

 

Algebra is something you can supplement at home through online programs or tutors if he needs it. 

Edited by mom31257
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If this is in a public school setting, I would say always go with honors classes when possible. My dh teaches both honors and regular classes, and the behavior issues in the regular classes alone would be enough to want my kids in the honors classes even if they struggled through.

 

Algebra is something you can supplement at home through online programs or tutors if he needs it.

He is homeschooled and taking online classes with High School Math Live. Sorry, I didn’t include that info.

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My son goes to private high school so this may not be relevant but I just wanted to throw it out there.  DS16 is in all honors classes, and the difference between traditional and honors math is the smallest of any of his core subjects (English has the largest traditional vs. honors differentiation of work).  In math, they use the same textbook and materials.  The honors class moves a tiny bit faster; at this point in the school year they are 6-10 lessons ahead of the traditional class.  The distinction between the two is really minimal.  Is there any way you can find out the actual distinction between the two tracks from your online provider?

 

The reason there is a huge push for honors in our area is that our flagship state univ has an average incoming freshman GPA of 4.3, thus making that extra .5 you get from honors classes necessary.  And math (at least here) requires the least amount of "extra work" to get that boost.

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He is homeschooled and taking online classes with High School Math Live. Sorry, I didn’t include that info.

 

Ahh, that would make a difference in the behavior issues. It may still affect how far the class gets and how deep they go in problem solving. 

 

I looked at it, and the classes use the same textbook. I am currently teaching a geometry class using a similar public school text, and I have options to assign easier, standard, or more challenging sections of the problems in each lesson. It may be this honors class would follow the more rigorous exercise assignments. 

 

Does you child currently have the same teacher as the one who will be doing the honors class? 

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Does you child currently have the same teacher as the one who will be doing the honors class?

Yes, she is his current teacher and that makes the decision difficult because she is a great teacher.

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Yes, she is his current teacher and that makes the decision difficult because she is a great teacher.

 

If it is the same teacher, I would be inclined to go with her recommendation since she knows him and his abilities.  

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Yes, she is his current teacher and that makes the decision difficult because she is a great teacher.

 

That would make the decision easier for me: she's a great teacher, she knows him, and she thinks that he can handle honors with no problem. Honors it is! 

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