# Remedial Math For High School Student Working At Elementary level

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I am acquainted with a very bright 9th grader who is at an elementary math level (I haven't tested the student, but I have talked with said student and estimate he is at a 4th grade level - he knows addition and subtraction; he doesn't know multiplication/division facts, algebra principles, exponents, or much about fractions other than it represents division).  I see the student 2X per week and he knows he is behind and is eager to make progress so that his science education is not hung up permanently.  I would like to help him in the limited time I see him, and he is eager to learn and open to accepting help.  The obvious starting point for him would be multiplication facts, which will easy for him to learn.  Where can I direct this student to help him self-teach, and to help him get up to speed?  I am thinking some remedial resources for students who need to progress at a quicker than usual one-math-book-a-year pace.  I do not have much contact with him, but I am open to buying materials for his use, although web resources where he can learn on his own may be better for someone I only see 2x per week.

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Khan Academy has material for basic multiplication and division, etc.  He could get some instruction and practice there, and then he could use another site to generate extra problems, maybe something like ixl.com.  I think there may be a limit on how many you can do a day without a membership.

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Lial's Basic College Math can be a one year catch up math for that situation.

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20 minutes ago, ByGrace3 said:

Lial's Basic College Math can be a one year catch up math for that situation.

Can you tell me more about Lial's?  I have never used it.  Does it start off with the very basics?  This kid has had nearly zero exposure to mathe; I gather he has no knowledge of exponents, square roots, coordinate plane, factoring, nada....

Edited by Reefgazer
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1 minute ago, Reefgazer said:

Can you tell me more about Lial's?  I have never used it.  Does it start off with the very basics?  I gather he has no knowledge of exponents, square roots, coordinate plane, factoring, nada....

It starts with a chapter on addition, then one one subtraction, then multiplication, etc. It is the perfect book to start from the beginning, yet keep up moral for an older student because they see "college" on the cover instead of Grade 1. It covers all elementary math topics getting a student ready for prealgebra/algebra.

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1 hour ago, Plum Crazy said:

Amazon has a Look Inside for Lials. The editions aren't that different and the further back you go, the cheaper they can be. I really like Lials step-by-step lessons. I'd also suggest getting the Digital Video Tutor, Solutions guide and Additional Drill and Skill if you don't think there is enough practice in the main book.

I think I will order this for him.

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Lial's or another author's BCM would be my choice, too. I'd probably supplement with something online for practice.

But I'd also ask -- has he been instructed and simply not learned, or has he just not been instructed? Is there a chance of learning disabilities?

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2 hours ago, kiana said:

But I'd also ask -- has he been instructed and simply not learned, or has he just not been instructed? Is there a chance of learning disabilities?

Yes, I was wondering that too.

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7 hours ago, kiana said:

Lial's or another author's BCM would be my choice, too. I'd probably supplement with something online for practice.

But I'd also ask -- has he been instructed and simply not learned, or has he just not been instructed? Is there a chance of learning disabilities?

According to him, he has not had instruction, and what he has learned, he seems to have self-taught.  He knows he needs more, but is at the point where he does not know how to find what he needs amid the sea of math information out there.  He has been a student of mine in the past and has the potential to be top-notch - no evidence of learning disabilities.  Quite the contrary - I am amazed at what he has been able to do with little instruction.

Edited by Reefgazer
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So someone I know was in this situation. He was very bright and highly literate, but had not received instruction in math, and at 18 was at about the same level as your student. He had placed into "arithmetic" at the community college. He did not start with a college text; rather, he got the supplementary workbooks from the store (golden step-ahead, if you are familiar with those -- the yellow ones with the happy kids with backpacks on the front) -- he worked through the 2/3 book in a couple of days and the 4/5 book in a couple more, then read through/worked through life of fred: fractions. After that, he retook the CC placement test and placed into beginning algebra, which he took and received an A.

BCM is a good idea, but it tends to introduce a lot of stuff fast and can be visually kinda overwhelming for someone who has not used a math textbook before. I had a similar book from Bittinger, but it was such a big book he got intimidated. He just found the workbooks less threatening, and they were pretty cheap overall. I don't think they're still published in that brand specifically, but there are definitely loads of them at the dollar stores/bookstores. There was not a lot of instruction, but the very brief demonstration (one per page) was sufficient.

I mention this not because there's anything wrong with BCM, but because it may be a good alternate plan -- I would honestly present both as an idea and see which he likes. He may find the juvenile workbooks insulting, or he may find them amusing. Either way.

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I love Lial's BCM but I would not put this student at that level-- YET.

Lial actually has a text that goes BEFORE BCM that introduces the arithmetic your student still needs (basic multiplication and division and fractions).

The material will be presented in a slightly more mature manner than an elementary text (no cute little puppy pictures or Sally giving lollipops away...)

Link is for the slightly older edition on Amazon (same content just a LOT cheaper!)  Look for used text around \$10-20

This covers through long division-- and leads perfectly into BCM-- which if mastered can be considered 'Pre-Algebra'.

Edited by Jann in TX
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We were in a similar situation a few years ago. My nephew (16 at the time) moved in with us and due to lack of instruction knew less than my then 3rd grader. I started him in Lial's BCM and it took about a year. The next year he was able to start Teaching Textbooks prealgebra and continue with that series  . . . It worked for us.

Edited by ByGrace3
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Oh, I got reminded. Power basics also has a "basic math" book -- intended for 9th graders who are behind, goes through arithmetic. It *IS* intended for students with learning difficulties, and this is reflected in the instruction being short with simple sentences, but I do not think this is necessarily a bad thing.

I'm giving you the Rainbow Resource link to the student book because it includes the TOC: https://www.rainbowresource.com/viewpict?pid=033179

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I would probably go with something like Khan Academy or ALEKS, because it tends to be faster. With a book, you're kind of guessing when enough practice is enough. With an online program like above, the program decides for you.

ALEKS is about \$20/month, but I remember preferring it because the assessments and reports were better (they do a thorough assessment at the beginning and periodically). So you take the assessment at the beginning and it marks you completed for anything u have mastered. That's a positive for anyone who has had a scattershot education and saves time. It's been a few years since I've compared but I don't think Khan does a thorough assessment, it asks you what you want to learn.

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On 11/1/2018 at 12:08 PM, ByGrace3 said:

Lial's Basic College Math can be a one year catch up math for that situation.

This is what I would recommend, too.  (And we know a teen in this situation also.)  When I bought Lial's, there were tons of used copies on Amazon.  I paid maybe \$1 for the book + shipping.

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On 11/1/2018 at 10:34 PM, Reefgazer said:

According to him, he has not had instruction, and what he has learned, he seems to have self-taught.  He knows he needs more, but is at the point where he does not know how to find what he needs amid the sea of math information out there.  He has been a student of mine in the past and has the potential to be top-notch - no evidence of learning disabilities.  Quite the contrary - I am amazed at what he has been able to do with little instruction.

It sounds like he's very smart and will catch up quickly when he has access to good resources.

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