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Very behind in math--need some advice on the best path forward


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To make a very long story short, my oldest (9th grade) is very behind in math (intense anxiety, depression, and ADHD, recently diagnosed and treatment started). Now that we're treating the underlying issues, she's starting to make real progress and is motivated to learn, but we are way behind. She's only about halfway through the old Dolciani Pre-Algebra (which we really like), but at the rate we're going...we're just not going to get enough in for high school, and she definitely won't be where she needs to be in time to start chemistry or be well-prepared for SAT/ACT etc. 

 

I just came across a comment on another group that mentioned that VideoText Algebra covers pre-A, Algebra 1, and Algebra 2. Is that true? And does it cover all three effectively and completely?! I've been fantasizing about something like that but never really thought it existed. I'm kind of  :blink: at the idea. DD is good at math in that she's not really a natural problem solver, but once she learns a concept, she doesn't forget it. Could VideoText be a real option for us? 

 

And if not, does anyone else have other recommendations for how to proceed? Other than working through the summers to gain ground (which we'll already be doing), are there ways to make up for some lost time here? 

 

Thank you!

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I would take a look a Lial's. If she is half way through pre-algebra, she might be able to jump right into algebra because it does a great job of starting from the beginning with each topic. It is designed for college students who are behind and trying to play catch up. 

 

Here is a link. Find a used copy that says it doesn't have writing in it. It will cost less than $10.

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What is taking her so long that you don't think she'll be able to catch up? Pre-A in 9th isn't THAT far behind if she gets concepts quickly and doesn't need the constant review.

 

I have friends that have used Video Text. For kids who don't need a lot of problems to get a concept and who don't need spiral review, I believe it is fine. I'm not sure it would be quicker, though.

 

If she's understanding and doing well with Dolciani, I would just keep going. You might find that she naturally makes up time since her brain is working better now that she's getting treatment. The kid you start high school with is not the kid you end high school with.

 

You should be able to double up on geometry and algebra 2 when you get there, assuming the foundation is good.

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Haste often makes waste with mathematics learning. If she does an accelerated algebra class and doesn't learn it and has to re-take it, she will be further behind than she is now. She just can't learn it faster than her brain is ready to grok it. 

 

I honestly don't think working in pre-algebra in 9th grade qualifies as "very behind". I would say someone working in a solid pre-algebra in 8th is "on level", even though it's the current fad to rush everyone through in 8th. 

 

I think it would be better to simply continue working through (including summers) until she finishes algebra 1. At that point, you and she can decide whether to try for algebra 2/geometry concurrently (works for many people, but you do need to allocate time for two classes) or move through.

 

If she completes one class per year, she would have 10th grade algebra, 11th grade geometry, 12th grade algebra 2. She would need to do a conceptual chemistry class or postpone it until senior year, and probably wouldn't be able to do anything but a conceptual physics. But if she *understood* what she learned, she'd be ready to move into college algebra and do well. My developmental classes are full of students who "completed" pre-calculus in high school and yet don't understand algebra 1.

 

If four credits starting with algebra 1 are absolutely required, she could double up in senior year with a non-ap statistics class (or a DE class in spring semester for either stats or math for liberal arts; she'll easily have the algebra for it then). If she's not heading for a STEM-heavy major, I would also have absolutely no qualms about using a rather light geometry (MUS springs to mind, but there are other options). 

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Videotext does cover through Algebra 2 but it also takes more than a year to get through. It can take anywhere from 1.5 to 3 depending on child.

 

It also puts you out of sequence because trig is usually attached to Algebra 2 and they never did the trig segment so you have to find someway to handle that but all those problems would be post SAT/ACT testing.

 

It is a good program but really there isn't a magic bullet (though I've been known to look for them :) ). You have to cover all the material which will take time.

 

You can take geometry during a later portion of your algebra sequence if you want to double up rather than move faster. You can also do reviews and tests while moving on to new material although this only works if you are sure they actually understood previous material or it could confuse them as math builds on itself.

 

I'd be inclined to give my child another year if they had health issues and anxiety so as not to stress them out. I obviously don't know anything about your individual circumstances but it might be something to consider.

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Thank you to everyone so far!

 

Haste often makes waste with mathematics learning. If she does an accelerated algebra class and doesn't learn it and has to re-take it, she will be further behind than she is now. She just can't learn it faster than her brain is ready to grok it. 

 

I honestly don't think working in pre-algebra in 9th grade qualifies as "very behind". I would say someone working in a solid pre-algebra in 8th is "on level", even though it's the current fad to rush everyone through in 8th. 

 

I think it would be better to simply continue working through (including summers) until she finishes algebra 1. At that point, you and she can decide whether to try for algebra 2/geometry concurrently (works for many people, but you do need to allocate time for two classes) or move through.

 

If she completes one class per year, she would have 10th grade algebra, 11th grade geometry, 12th grade algebra 2. She would need to do a conceptual chemistry class or postpone it until senior year, and probably wouldn't be able to do anything but a conceptual physics. But if she *understood* what she learned, she'd be ready to move into college algebra and do well. My developmental classes are full of students who "completed" pre-calculus in high school and yet don't understand algebra 1.

 

If four credits starting with algebra 1 are absolutely required, she could double up in senior year with a non-ap statistics class (or a DE class in spring semester for either stats or math for liberal arts; she'll easily have the algebra for it then). If she's not heading for a STEM-heavy major, I would also have absolutely no qualms about using a rather light geometry (MUS springs to mind, but there are other options). 

 

So, here's the thing. She decided, halfway through last year and after starting to go through all of this analysis and treatment, that she wants to be a psychiatrist  :svengo: She's now talking med school, and I believe she's serious. She's very motivated, and for this I am so grateful (and so angry at myself for not seeing what was going on much sooner--but that's a whole other series of laments). 

 

So she does in fact want to aim for STEM now, and that's part of my consideration. Even without that, though, if she doesn't plan to finish Alegbra 2 until end of senior year, how can she expect to do well on ACT/SAT? She has her heart set on our local state U, which is certainly not a sky-high goal, but it's a good school and she'll definitely need decent test scores to get in. 

 

Thank you all so much for helping me work through this. 

Edited by ILiveInFlipFlops
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I just came across a comment on another group that mentioned that VideoText Algebra covers pre-A, Algebra 1, and Algebra 2. Is that true? And does it cover all three effectively and completely?! I've been fantasizing about something like that but never really thought it existed. I'm kind of :blink: at the idea. DD is good at math in that she's not really a natural problem solver, but once she learns a concept, she doesn't forget it. Could VideoText be a real option for us?

 

 

Thank you!

So I realized there were two parts to your question. So yes it can take longer to get through but in reference to learning a concept and not forgetting it, then this program may work. It doesn't have a lot of problems nor a ton of review. It is based on understanding concepts versus just beating into your head the procedure and works great for kids who "get" math.

 

Though my son didn't get the trig that usually comes with Algebra 2 he jumped into pre-calc (hoping there would be plenty of trig in that) and is getting an A. I'm not comfortable using it with my next two who are less intuitive with math and they are doing a different program.

 

If she is the type to get things quickly and not need a hundred practice problems she may be able to get through it in less than 2 years.

 

It also makes a difference to know she is self motivated because she needs to judge that she actually really gets it or she might race ahead and then be lost. So maturity in making sure you actually mastered something comes into play too.

Edited by frogger
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So I realized there were two parts to your question. So yes it can take longer to get through but in reference to learning a concept and not forgetting it, then this program may work. It doesn't have a lot of problems nor a ton of review. It is based on understanding concepts versus just beating into your head the procedure and works great for kids who "get" math.

 

Though my son didn't get the trig that usually comes with Algebra 2 he jumped into pre-calc (hoping there would be plenty of trig in that) and is getting an A. I'm not comfortable using it with my next two who are less intuitive with math and they are doing a different program.

 

If she is the type to get things quickly and not need a hundred practice problems she may be able to get through it in less than 2 years.

 

It also makes a difference to know she is self motivated because she needs to judge that she actually really gets it or she might race ahead and then be lost. So maturity in making sure you actually mastered something comes into play too.

 

Thank you, this is really helpful because I'm kind of considering it anyway, even knowing it may not save us time. I wasn't quite sure where to go after Dolciani anyway, and while Dolciani has been great, and she's been teaching herself (because wow, did I forget way more than I realized!), I think she'll make way more progress if she has someone teaching her the concept first, even via video. I know I'd have to sit with her and discuss through the videos as well, but I'm OK with that as long as I'm not the primary teacher. I don't think I'm capable of truly teaching from scratch, but I can be the TA!

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Could this count as her 8th grade year? She might benefit from an extra year before heading off to college anyways. 

Just an idea...

 

We have already availed ourselves of that option. She has a September birthday, so I felt OK taking the extra year, but I don't think I could justify taking yet another. Thanks though! We've been fighting this battle for a long time now, and I always knew there was some anxiety, but it didn't really show in any other areas but school until a year or so ago. So I let everything slide, thinking she just needed to mature, and then just thinking we needed to deal with the depression. I'm really starting to think the ADHD was the key to the whole thing though. Many regrets :(

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I'd go ahead and start algebra now. None of my kids finished a pre-algebra program; they all went straight from Singapore 6 into Jacobs Algebra (well, with some detours trying to find a pre-algebra that we liked. But we never really managed to). If she can start algebra now and work through the summers, she should be on track to make it to pre-calc by senior year. 

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I would jump to an algebra 1 text that has pre-algebra review built in like Jacobs or Lial's. I would also try to work through geometry concurrently with the 2nd half of algebra 1 and algebra 2. Then I would call the math "Integrated Math 1, 2, 3".

 

My oldest DD did Singapore DM 7 & 8 then a sequence at the CC that integrated intermediate algebra with college-level statistics. So her transcript is going to read "Integrated Math 1, 2, 3" with a notation that those covered the topics of algebra 1, geometry, algebra 2, and college-level stats. She passed the geometry portion of the CA High School Proficiency Exam so I feel comfortable saying that the geometry in Singapore DM was equivalent to general ed geometry.

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For med school, her college record is going to matter a lot more than her high school record. Her high school record only matters as far as getting admitted to a decent college. So it is even more important that she be prepared to enter college and *excel*. There is more algebra 2 on those tests than there used to be, but not a huge amount. With this in mind -- I would not shortcut. Here's how I'd accelerate until algebra 1 is finished:

 

Work twice a day, for shorter periods of time. I would say 40 minutes twice a day. Splitting it up like that increases retention while your brain is fresh. 

Work on Saturdays, for math only. If two sessions don't fit on Saturday, squish in one. Every day that you're training helps. It's like practicing the piano. 

Work through breaks. If breaks get very busy, still try to fit in one session. 

 

Going for an algebra text like Jacobs isn't an unreasonable idea. If you go for that, I'd keep the pre-algebra text that you have on hand in case you need extra practice on a specific topic. 

 

After algebra 1, I think (assuming she's still on board) you could do geometry and algebra 2 concurrently, just treating each as one class. 

 

p.s. yes, untreated ADHD can absolutely lead to anxiety. There's a lot of "why am I so stupid/everyone else does this so easily/RrrRRRR why can't I just make myself work" and very justifiable concerns about "what am I forgetting/what am I missing/what did the instructor say while I was spacing out". 

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Haste often makes waste with mathematics learning. If she does an accelerated algebra class and doesn't learn it and has to re-take it, she will be further behind than she is now. She just can't learn it faster than her brain is ready to grok it. 

 

I honestly don't think working in pre-algebra in 9th grade qualifies as "very behind". I would say someone working in a solid pre-algebra in 8th is "on level", even though it's the current fad to rush everyone through in 8th. 

 

I think it would be better to simply continue working through (including summers) until she finishes algebra 1. At that point, you and she can decide whether to try for algebra 2/geometry concurrently (works for many people, but you do need to allocate time for two classes) or move through.

 

 

I agree with this.  Set the timing aside and carefully evaluate how likely you are to consistently teach her and correct her work and help her with problems and compare that to her ability to learn.  My non-mathy kiddo never hit a wall until Algebra.  There is a potential, for a 14/15yo who has never been pressed beyond pre-algebra to need additional work and an advanced math curriculum will only exacerbate the problem and discourage her.  I have no experience with VideoText so I am not speaking to this curriculum, only the idea that one can hurry through a couple levels because they want to catch up.

 

Let's play this out - is she at the beginning of pre-algebra or the end of it?

 

This past year we opted to have our 8th grader skip a grade and move into her 9th grade year.  She was absolutely ready in every area except math.  She is just about through Saxon 8/7 and beginning Algebra I.  It doesn't worry me at all.  She has been fairly naturally mathy in the past and she is good at being consistent and not shutting down if we hit a rough patch.  So I see working through Algebra I (in no hurry) through the summer and the first part of next year (her sophomore year) then finishing Algebra II by the end of her sophomore/junior summer.  

 

ACT/SAT prep for her junior year is only vital if you're looking at National Merit.  Someone correct me where I'm wrong.  It pretty much covers Algebra I and II and Geometry.  So, if by early in her senior year (Oct/Nov) time frame, she has covered all of this and knows the material well, she will do fine on the ACT/SAT so don't let that press you into faster.  More thorough and complete is always better than hurrying.  

 

I'm really not a math guru, but if this is your oldest, I would really focus on math curriculum you feel comfortable using and that has assistance for the hurdles or that you have a plan if you need outside help.  She is not so behind that you need to let fear be the deciding factor here.  I am hoping someone chimes in with Video Text expertise. ;)  I started this journey a Saxon girl and, apart from deviations, I'm back at using Saxon. ;)

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We have already availed ourselves of that option. She has a September birthday, so I felt OK taking the extra year, but I don't think I could justify taking yet another. Thanks though! We've been fighting this battle for a long time now, and I always knew there was some anxiety, but it didn't really show in any other areas but school until a year or so ago. So I let everything slide, thinking she just needed to mature, and then just thinking we needed to deal with the depression. I'm really starting to think the ADHD was the key to the whole thing though. Many regrets :(

 

((Hugs))  Me too.  But you know what?  You didn't know.  And it's hard to fix what you didn't know.  When you know better, you do better.  And you have so rest in that.  We're all just mamas.  If we were neuropsychs and we purposefully chose to ignore signs in our own kids and didn't help them consciously, that's something to regret.  Since that is not the case, I refuse to own that guilt a whole lot these days.  It isn't important where you were - it's only important where you go from here.  

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Two of my kids had finished only Algebra 1 by the start of their senior years. (We had a little... umm... "motivation issue" with them.)

 

How we resolved it:

 

During their senior years, they did dual enrollment: one semester of College Algebra (equivalent to Algebra 2) and one semester of Pre-Calculus. At home with me they did a separate geometry program.

 

Believe it or not, they were ready to start Calculus when they started college fulltime.

 

A couple caveats: I was a math major in college and was able to do extensive tutoring with them for their DE math classes. Also, they had to take a placement test to be able to place into College Algebra in the first place. And neither of these boys took the SAT until fall of their senior years.

Check with your local CC because at ours, College Algebra has Algebra 2 (or the CC’s remedial Intermediate Algebra) as a pre-req.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Two of my kids had finished only Algebra 1 by the start of their senior years. (We had a little... umm... "motivation issue" with them.)

 

How we resolved it:

 

During their senior years, they did dual enrollment: one semester of College Algebra (equivalent to Algebra 2) and one semester of Pre-Calculus. At home with me they did a separate geometry program.

 

Believe it or not, they were ready to start Calculus when they started college fulltime.

 

A couple caveats: I was a math major in college and was able to do extensive tutoring with them for their DE math classes. Also, they had to take a placement test to be able to place into College Algebra in the first place. And neither of these boys took the SAT until fall of their senior years.

 

This is definitely going to be unique to each CC.  Kinsa brings up a good point and that is that you might be able to "skip" some - maybe move into an Algebra I text.  If she's near the mid or end of Pre-Algebra and you feel confident in your Algebra I abilities - you don't necessarily need pre-algebra, imo.  The problem is the skipping around can waste time that you were better off just putting your head down and working.  Take a placement test for Algebra I in Saxon (or if VideoText has one) or whichever curriculum and see how she scores.

 

When we're talking  about CC options, it's important to remember that CC classes move faster than a regular high school class.  It's a perk if you have mathy kids that need to catch up, like in Kinsa's example.  It's a serious problem if they are non-mathy kids because it is their college transcripts.  Most CCs require a placement test to test into math classes when you come in, even as dual enrolled.  My oldest went straight to the U, but the next two did and/or are doing dual enroll CC classes and both were required to take placement tests.  They were not required to show completion of any particular class, but the placement tests were firm - no class that you didn't place into.  Here there is no pre-calc class.  College Algebra is considered an Algebra "3" of sorts - I was told.  

 

Let's talk a little more about taking the ACT/SAT "late."  I'll define late as in the senior year rather than junior.  The reason to take PSAT in junior year is if you think your kid is National Merit Semi-finalist material.  If not, then really the only reason to take the ACT/SAT in the junior year is to get a jump on scholarships and/or practice. Practice has significant value.  It lets you see any gaps, gives you time to close them, doesn't catch you off guard.  For people who just know that college is going to happen and it is going to come out of their pockets, it's not such a big deal because the scores can fall wherever they fall and it's of little consequence.

 

However, if you're hoping/planning merit scholarships, I honestly think you need to know in junior year where those scores are falling.  Many merit scholarships have a minimum ACT/SAT score.  What if that fall score is a point or two short?  Many colleges only allow a final test date of December of senior year.  Let's say you take a late September test date.  You get back scores in early October.  You may or may not have missed the deadline to get into the November test date and even then, what if you don't have scores back by scholarship deadlines?  Plus - direct and specific tutoring in weak areas can drastically change SAT/ACT scores and pull them up to where they need to be if you're close.  The difference between even a composite of 28 and a 30 can be thousands of dollars.

 

What I'm talking about is not scary, it's just knowing it's good to have a plan.  I don't think you're "very" behind in math.  I think you are a little behind the norrm but you're cognizant of it, and now you just need a plan to move forward in a steady and methodical way.  

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The basics of basics of both Geometry and Trig are very easy. You can start them concurrently now so that they will take less than a full year when you get to them.

 

I would also have her start working on her own in Kahn Academy math, help her set it up and then let her go to town on the easier levels of several different math areas.

 

I would also set up SAT practice on Kahn.

Edited by ElizabethB
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We have already availed ourselves of that option. She has a September birthday, so I felt OK taking the extra year, but I don't think I could justify taking yet another. Thanks though! We've been fighting this battle for a long time now, and I always knew there was some anxiety, but it didn't really show in any other areas but school until a year or so ago. So I let everything slide, thinking she just needed to mature, and then just thinking we needed to deal with the depression. I'm really starting to think the ADHD was the key to the whole thing though. Many regrets :(

 

Just to be clear, What age will she be her senior year?  I'm not certain, but a September birthday may not even be the cut off in some states.   She can take a gap year simply to catch up from medical issues.  If you are applying to competitive colleges with holistic admission (which I don't recommend for med school), then you can explain this honestly as having to catch up due to medical issues.  If you are applying to a state school that's has a by-the-numbers admissions criteria (recommended for a committed med school applicant), then you don't even need to worry about taking an extra year.

 

Also, you can also take another gap year after college (I did this) and take any extra premed classes at that time.  And then you can apply.  (It worked for me.)  

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I think it's best to keep doing what you are doing for now, until you're sure the anxiety and ADHD situation is stable. Adding a faster math pace into the mix right now could exacerbate anxiety or make it harder to tell if the ADHD meds are working.

 

If you wait to speed up in math, additional maturity will also help. A junior is a different creature than a freshman.

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My DD is math phobic and gets anxiety to the point where she leaves math for the last class of the day, then procrastinates.  She absolutely hates it.  She does okay with it as long as the math isn't abstract - she's a very literal thinker.  Therefore, Algebra threw her a serious curve ball.  We started it in 8th.  We got to a certain point using CLE, and then she just imploded.  We tried a tutor over the summer and while she progress a tad more, she just couldn't get it done. 

 

We decided DD would have to repeat Algebra and start fresh. Out of desperation, we went with Mr. D Math for 9th.  She's not complaining (a miracle) and maintaining an A average.  We are thrilled.  She says that Mr. D has been the best program for her, and she wants to continue with it.  We are extremely happy with the program.

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Not to beat a dead horse, but I wanted to add a comment that several of our WTM professor parents have said before.

 

Dd met with a member of the math department on a college visit yesterday. One of her questions was about what math she should take next year to be most successful if she goes there as a math major. He said he didn't care if she took Calc next year, but to please, please make sure her grasp of algebra was solid. He said whatever she takes, make sure she works to understand it well.

 

Math isn't a race. If you get the foundations placed solidly, it is so much easier to build strong structures on top.

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I would switch to CLE and do one or two of their pre algebra texts and then Algebra with CLE as well. You’d have to do something else after that, but hopefully by then she’d be ready to branch out.

 

I’m using it now with my DDs who were very behind in math and for whom Dolciani was moving too slowly and causing tears. They have anxiety too. They are doing so well with CLE. Dolciani is actually my preferred pre Algebra/ Algebra, but for these girls, it wasn’t a good fit.

Reasons:

CLE is super easy to accelerate. You can move quickly and focus on the areas she needs to review, learn, and solidify, and skip what she doesn’t.

 

IMO, CLE’s workbook format minimizes stress because you don’t have to copy out of the book as much. When you get to Algebra you will have to begin copying problems into a notebook, but like everything else CLE, it builds up gradually.

 

CLE takes things so slowly and has so much review that the student experiences success and confidence builds.

 

Despite being weak on word problems, it’s pretty thorough and not bad. I’d take it over TT.

 

Something intangible; all I know is that my kids learn with CLE and actually like it. It’s not my favorite and I tried many other programs but this works for them and they sound similar to your DD. For my other kids who have different personalities, I’d still try Dolciani or AOPS first.

Edited by Paige
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You've received some great recommendations on curriculum.

 

My youngest has these for high school math: pre-algebra, algebra I, geometry, and algebra II. She actually failed algebra II with me after algebra I, and I turned around and put her into geometry with a teacher.

 

I used Friendly Chemistry with the DIVE labs to make high school level class without a lot of algebra.

 

She's at the community college and is doing great. She got an "A" in her one math class for her liberal arts degree which was basically consumer math. Next year she will take "fun" physics with an online professor I know that works at the same school where I teach, and we'll get it done.

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Not to beat a dead horse, but I wanted to add a comment that several of our WTM professor parents have said before.

 

Dd met with a member of the math department on a college visit yesterday. One of her questions was about what math she should take next year to be most successful if she goes there as a math major. He said he didn't care if she took Calc next year, but to please, please make sure her grasp of algebra was solid. He said whatever she takes, make sure she works to understand it well.

 

Math isn't a race. If you get the foundations placed solidly, it is so much easier to build strong structures on top.

This. So much this.

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ACT/SAT prep for her junior year is only vital if you're looking at National Merit. Someone correct me where I'm wrong. It pretty much covers Algebra I and II and Geometry. So, if by early in her senior year (Oct/Nov) time frame, she has covered all of this and knows the material well, she will do fine on the ACT/SAT so don't let that press you into faster. More thorough and complete is always better than hurrying.

 

 

 

I would quibble with this a little. I agree that the PSAT isn't a hill to die on for kids who are not competitive for National Merit. The cut off score varies by state and shifts slightly from year to year.

 

However I think your fall senior year timeframe is late for students who want to apply early action or who want full consideration for institutional scholarships. Many of the early deadlines are Nov 1 or even Oct. Some scholarships require applications be complete early if order to compete for winter and spring scholarship weekends.

 

I would aim for spring of junior year for solid SAT scores with August and Oct as backup dates.

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Thank you so much, everyone!!! I'm sorry it took me so long to come back. We're hosting visiting family this week, and it has been a whirlwind of cleaning, prep, and hosting family gatherings. 

 

I really appreciate the detailed advice from all of you. I did buy the first module of VideoText just to see how we like it. DD really liked the video samples we watched, and I like what I saw of the method. We'll give it a try, and if we like it and she does well, we'll try the next unit and see what happens. 

 

She's not as far along in Dolciani as I thought--maybe 1/3 of the way *sigh*. I do think that part of what's dragging her down is the self-teaching. She really dreads each math lesson, and I think that's a big part of it. She can do the self-teaching if she has to, but I think we'll make better time and she'll be more confident in her abilities if she has someone to teach her the lesson so she can save that mental energy for the actual problems. If the VideoText method doesn't work, I'm going to have to suck it up and start learning each lesson so I can teach it to her myself. After that, maybe Mr. D for Algebra 1 if we can get the timing right--I have heard such rave reviews. I'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it, since we might not be quite ready whenever the next class starts.

 

So if anyone is still reading, let me just make sure I understand. I do agree that I'd like her to take the SAT/ACT in the spring of her junior year if possible. With her anxiety, I'd like her to have a shot at a couple of opportunities to re-take if necessary. So let's say we finish Pre-A in the freshman year time frame, Algebra 1 in sophomore, and then Geometry in junior year. We're looking at her taking her first SAT/ACT without Geometry being finished and with no Algebra 2 under her belt. Is that sufficient for her to get a decent score? I'm happy to shell out for a good prep program--will that be enough to fill in any gaps she may have? That's really one of my primary concerns here. I know she can catch up with college math or even take a class at the CC during the summer if she needs to. I just really want to make sure she has enough math to be solidly SAT-ready when the time comes.

 

Thank you thank you thank you! I'm really feeling so much better about all of this. 

Edited by ILiveInFlipFlops
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I'd go ahead and start algebra now. None of my kids finished a pre-algebra program 

 

Yes, this is definitely an option. Lots of students do this. 

 

If she does want to go through pre-algebra, you might consider ALEKS.com to finish up. Because it assessed the student and then lets them choose from topics they are ready to learn, it can move a lot more quickly than going through a text in order. 

 

My youngest also used it for Algebra 2, but she is not STEM bound. My oldest, who has a math minor, doesn't think it is thorough enough in teaching concepts, background info, and so on, but I do know several students who used nothing but ALEKS and then did fine in college calculus. 

 

We're looking at her taking her first SAT/ACT without Geometry being finished and with no Algebra 2 under her belt. Is that sufficient for her to get a decent score? I'm happy to shell out for a good prep program--will that be enough to fill in any gaps she may have?  

 

 The content breakdown for ACT math is Pre-Algebra (20-25%), Elementary Algebra (15-20%), Intermediate Algebra (15-20%), Coordinate Geometry (15-20%), Plane Geometry (20-25%), and Trigonometry (5-10%).

 

Details here: https://blog.prepscholar.com/whats-tested-on-act-math-concepts-subjects-and-skills

 

SAT is not broken down quite as neatly, but here's a description: https://blog.prepscholar.com/whats-actually-tested-on-sat-math-topics

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If she does want to go through pre-algebra, you might consider ALEKS.com to finish up. Because it assessed the student and then lets them choose from topics they are ready to learn, it can move a lot more quickly than going through a text in order. 

 

My youngest also used it for Algebra 2, but she is not STEM bound. My oldest, who has a math minor, doesn't think it is thorough enough in teaching concepts, background info, and so on, but I do know several students who used nothing but ALEKS and then did fine in college calculus. 

 

 

Using ALEKS is a good idea (although I think Khan Academy might do some assessment now, too?) We did this for a single topic in Geometry (Probability), but the assessment was nice because I had hard numbers that she had mastered Algebra 1 (dd was having confidence issues, long story).

 

That said, I would use the ALEKS placement test for Algebra not Prealgebra. I suspect the program never comes back with a "everything for this course is mastered" result, because it didn't even test dd on some later Geometry topics that I know she had already encountered. It would let you know what Prealgebra holes exist before she could do Algebra, though, if you just paid for a month. The free trial doesn't let you take the whole placement test anymore.

 

Another option is the Let's Go Learn PreAlgebra test: https://www.letsgolearn.com/lglsite/DOMA_Pre_Algebra/parents/

 

Either way you would know what gaps there were and could decide if you wanted to move forward with an Algebra 1 program that has built in review. I don't recommend Jacobs, though, for a kid that likes Dolciani. My Dolciani fan did not like either the Algebra or Geometry books, although we just used the Algebra book for more of a PreA review, We ended up switching out of Geometry 12 weeks into the school year.

 

Good Luck!

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What geometry did you use? We're using Derek Owens for algebra 1, based on Dolciani, but he uses Jacobs for geometry. I'm just not sure that will be a good fit here.

 

Sent from my SM-S320VL using Tapatalk

 

We ended up using Holt/ Burger. Videos

 

TBH if Derek Owens is working for you, I don't want to scare you off of it. He uses the third edition, and we were using the second.

 

I really like how easy it is to teach from the Holt textbooks once you find a routine. The problem sets are plentiful (especially with the teacher one stop, which isn't strictly necessary if you have solutions from elsewhere), but not exciting. I plan to use the Algebra 2 book next year as a supplement/ alternate explanation because it is super easy to locate a topic in the book, watch the video and work a couple of examples. I wish I'd discovered the series earlier.

Edited by MamaSprout
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