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Do an Algebra 2 course or do .........?


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My oldest is oh-so-very-much not STEM minded.  He has taken the past two years (9th and 10th grades) to get through a standard Algebra 1 with some level of understanding and retention--it has taken many, many hours of reteaching, review, and redoing of lessons from different books to find the angle that works for him.  He does not extrapolate *anything* in math, it all has to be explicitly taught and retaught and reviewed.  He is most certainly not a big picture thinker with math. ?

He is doing Geometry (older edition of Holt) this coming year.  He likes the layout and the straightforwardness of it. 

So that leaves his senior year to do Algebra 2....or maybe not. 

He plans on going to a local community college after high school, to do basic gen ed credits and dip his toes into college without going into big debt.  He does not have direction for a career path or possible major yet; he's a great kid, hard working, but not driven. 

Honestly, he feels very defeated about math.  There is zero enjoyment or sense of accomplishment, just a struggle that he has to get through.  He is worried about looking "stupid" if he doesn't do Alg 2, since EVERYONE else he knows is doing Algebra 2 or higher this coming school year, while he is "behind." 

The CC only requires Alg 1, and Accuplacer testing.  He could be accepted into CC without taking Alg 2 (but I do realize the potential of placing into a remedial math course--so does he, and he does not want that). 

Should I make him try an Algebra 2 course, or would something like a consumer math course be better?   He does NOT want a video or online based course; he needs feedback from a real live person talking to him to help him process. 

Is there such a thing a basic Algebra 2 course--that covers the needed topics, but with easier problem sets?

 

 

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I think if at all possible, I'd get him through Algebra 2. Doing a video course doesn't mean he can't have interaction with you, teaching and walking him through--and you can stop a video and talk through examples any time that you want (that's actually how I did MUS with my kids--I watched with them, we stopped and discussed when needed, we talked through problem sets and through the instruction in the manual--the video teaching just provided the baseline teaching, and I added/tweaked etc... as needed.) 

I think doing Alg. 2 makes things easier down the road because he will need math in college unless he plans on doing a trade instead (and some trades need that math base too). Even for an associate's degree, our local CC requires humanities majors to either take Statistics or College Algebra, or something of a similar level. 

I would also encourage a couple of things: 1, remedial math is not the end of the world. In fact, many students I've talked to have said the instructor made it fun or that math finally made sense to them. Not all--but sometimes it can be a very positive thing. 2, the brain keeps growing and developing. Sometimes kids who are not quite ready for math in high school find they can learn it in college--their brains are more ready for it then. My mom used to teach at an alternative high school, and they found that almost the same percentage of their kids went on to college as the main public school, but just at age 20 or 21 instead of right out of high school--again, some brain development and some maturity made a huge difference for them. 

Obviously no one knows the future and how it will go for your son--but it also might not be as bad as he envisions right now. 

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Can he try a sample accuplacer test to see how he does now and then decide if he needs algebra 2 for it?  

I would love a lighter approach to all the higher level maths for one of mine.  I feel like MUS might be it, except I don't know if its approach will work for this particular student.  It is really hard to find something lighter but still worth doing, imho.  I'm interested in what you decide.

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14 hours ago, BakersDozen said:

I would love to know which Holt edition he is using for Geometry as I have a kid just like your son and am in need of Geometry. I second EKS' suggestions of Lial's.

It's the 1991 version of Holt Geometry--student book ISBN 0030054079, and ATE (annotated teacher's edition) ISBN 0030054087.  The ATE is pretty complete; teaching suggestions, example problems, step by step answers to the proofs, and assignments for basic, average, and above average tracks for each lesson.  Jann in Tx has some posts about this particular edition, if you search.  I found the books very inexpensively on the used market--less than $15.00, shipped, for both hardback books, in very good condition. 

 

EKS,  he has done a crazy quilt of Algebra the past two years.

He finished up his Algebra odyssey last year using the 1992 edition of Holt Algebra--the layout of the student and teacher's books were very similar to my description for the geo books.  I had him work through the basic to average tracks for the lessons. 

He crashed and burned with Lials ( did about 1/3 of the book).  And Jacobs (only got through 5 chapters).  And BJU (only 6 chapters in). And Saxon (did 2/3 of the book before he waved the white flag).

He liked Keys to Algebra --he just didn't remember any of it when he was done. 

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On 7/3/2018 at 8:40 PM, Zoo Keeper said:

He plans on going to a local community college after high school, to do basic gen ed credits and dip his toes into college without going into big debt.  He does not have direction for a career path or possible major yet; he's a great kid, hard working, but not driven...


Depends on what he is thinking of pursuing at the Community College (CC). Some Certificates and Associate degrees do not require math (often College Algebra); some do. And as MerryAtHope said above, taking Alg. 2 in high school can really help pave the way for whatever math might be required at the CC.

You might consider starting some career exploration with DS -- looking for jobs that don't require higher maths that might be of interest, but also looking more closely at jobs that DS finds of high interest. Seeing the math requirement for a job of high interest can sometimes be the extra push some students need to keep at the math in order to reach their goal.
 

On 7/3/2018 at 8:40 PM, Zoo Keeper said:

Honestly, he feels very defeated about math.  There is zero enjoyment or sense of accomplishment, just a struggle that he has to get through.  He is worried about looking "stupid" if he doesn't do Alg 2, since EVERYONE else he knows is doing Algebra 2 or higher this coming school year, while he is "behind." 


So sorry to hear he's feeling defeated and stupid. : ( That's absolutely NOT the case, as I know you have probably discussed with him that everyone's brain is wired differently, so we all have different strengths and weaknesses. And looking at what "everyone else" is doing is deadly. Comparison really is a killer -- it kills joy, it kills motivation and our ability to persevere or move forward, and it kills our ability to see what strengths and interests we DO have so that we fail to act on those things. : (

What strengths and interests does your DS have? Can you schedule extra time to allow him to develop those areas? That can help him balance his thinking, seeing areas where he is having a lot of success and going deeper and stronger than his peers.
 

On 7/3/2018 at 8:40 PM, Zoo Keeper said:

...He does NOT want a video or online based course; he needs feedback from a real live person talking to him to help him process. 


I know you said no online, and that Lial's didn't work, but My Homeschool Math Classes are run by Jann in TX of these boards, and I hear fantastic things about her -- very patient and she takes extra time to tutor students through their rough spots. She has some boot camp courses (4 week pre-recorded sessions) that go over problem areas and review concepts, which would be helpful before taking the actual Algebra 2 (whatever you end up using).

Even better: hire a local tutor who specializes in students who struggle with math and need multiple viewpoints/types of explanations, to meet 2x/week with DS to walk him through Algebra 2 at DS's pace.
 

On 7/3/2018 at 8:40 PM, Zoo Keeper said:

...Is there such a thing a basic Algebra 2 course--that covers the needed topics, but with easier problem sets?


Unfortunately, Walch Power Basics (remedial high school textbooks) only goes up through Algebra 1 and Geometry. The only other thing I can think of is Math-U-See, which is about as easy/light as it gets. That's what we used with our math struggler. DS#2 struggled horribly with abstract math topics all through homeschooling. He did Algebra 1 twice -- first with Jacobs (we had to finally skip the unit on linear graphing), and then repeated the following year with MUS Algebra 1 to help solidify the ideas. He clicked with Geometry and flew through that. We used MUS for Algebra 2, and it took 1.5 years. We would do several lessons until he hit a wall, and then go back and re-do everything up to that point on that topic again. We re-did some sections 4-5 times. That is just what it took for him to get through it, because MANY students just do NOT click with the higher maths -- your DS is not the only one! : )

Hope you quickly find what is a good fit for your DS, and wishing you both the very BEST next year! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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Another vote for taking the Accuplacer. If he happens to place outside of remedial, that might be a big boost to his confidence. Even if he doesn't, you can see just where he stands and go from there. And of course he would take the Accuplacer again when graduating. 

Personally, I would do Algebra 2 at half-speed before I did consumer math. CM will not help him move forward with academic math, and it can be really tough to get back in the swing of things after a long break. Or I would consider something like discrete math, letting him focus on topics of high interest, with some algebra review thrown in. 

If he likes the Holt for geometry, maybe stick with that series. The 2007 geometry has daily spiral review for algebra; does your edition have that? If so, make sure he does those problems! It will be a tremendous help for retention. 

You might also consider something like ALEKS, an online program. It gives an assessment at the beginning, and the student works on items that have not been mastered, which saves time over working through a book. It will fill in holes and strengthen the math foundation. The student can choose what topics to work on each day, based on what the program deems they are ready to learn - my dd really liked that aspect. ALEKS is $20/month. 

I do not consider ALEKS to be the equivalent of a solid math text like Holt, but I do think it's "good enough" in many cases. Nothing was going to make my youngest care about the background of why certain things in math hold true, lol, so when her schedule became nuts in other ways, we went ahead and switched to ALEKS. 

My oldest also took two years and many tears to get through algebra 1, but got her groove back in 10th with geometry and got through precalc plus discrete math in high school, and even considered a math minor. She decided against that this year, because it conflicts with other things she wants to do, but she got through calc A, B, & C and linear algebra at a STEM university (with grades of B, C, B, B). So a horrific start in higher math doesn't mean they will always struggle. If he always did struggle, I'd probably use something like ALEKS to at least assess where problem areas are - if he is lacking fluency in a few basic skills, higher math is that much harder. 

So, I have one who shot past those initial hurdles in math, and one who wishes that math in college was not a thing, lol. They'll both be okay. I personally insist that they keep on truckin' with algebra through high school, because there is a really high chance that they will need it in their studies. A very slow pace is better than not moving forward, review is better than losing skills. 

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My youngest struggled with math due to dyslexia. I don't think we would have made it through Algebra II without Math-U-See. It is a bare bones Algebra II program, but it was enough. Afterwards, my youngest took Math for Business and Economics (pretty much a precalculus course) and Elementary Statistics at the community college. My youngest is now the one who has gone the farthest in math by completing Calculus I at university.

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On July 3, 2018 at 8:40 PM, Zoo Keeper said:

Is there such a thing a basic Algebra 2 course--that covers the needed topics, but with easier problem sets?

Math U See is perfect for this — it covers the basics at a simple level, reviews a lot of Algebra 1 (for example, it introduces the quadratic equation from scratch, because MUS doesn't cover it in Alg 1 like most programs), has short simple problems sets, and will still allow him to feel like he completed A2 . 

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