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Shormann Algebra Reviews?


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  • 5 months later...

My son has used it; I thought it was a decent math program. Similar to Saxon—incremental and lots of review, so if your student doesn’t learn that way it won’t work. The geometry part was a little weak IMO. We had to supplement with another geometry book. My son placed in College Algebra at a local college after using Shorman Algebra II. He is a strong math student and I was surprised he did not place higher. Shorman claims you can pass CLEP after Algebra II but I am not so sure. I am glad he took Algebra II at the college though; it was a good review for him and it filled in the gaps. 

For my next children, we have decided to go with Unlock Math. They just started Algebra I and love it! The set up of the program is wonderful and we love that it shows on the screen only one exercise/problem at a time. The videos are high quality, concise and very clear, speaking directly to the student, versus a computer screen in Shormann. They are also shorter than Shorman’s. If they struggle with a concept, the computer generates another set of problems and records the highest grade. If they still struggle, there is a chat button to ask directly a certified math teacher!!! My kids thought that was so cool. The teacher answered immediately! 

I have asked before here about the scope and sequence and someone replied that they thought it is comparable to any rigorous algebra program. ( you can search here, it was only about a week ago)

I know you did not ask about another math program, but we are so excited to have found it and I had to share! 

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Thanks so much for answering!  I did go ahead and buy the Shormann subscription and my son is two weeks into it.    I'm not so sure if it was the right choice or not, so only time will tell.  He really needs someone to hold his hand through math, but I'm not the one to do it and my husband is too busy, so this seemed like the next best thing after going through CLE math.  A friend of mine uses it with her son and has been very happy with the results, so I'm sure hoping for the best for my kid.

I will go ahead and look into Unlock Math, though.  I've never heard of that program.

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On 9/7/2019 at 10:56 AM, blessedmom3 said:

My son has used it; I thought it was a decent math program. Similar to Saxon—incremental and lots of review, so if your student doesn’t learn that way it won’t work. The geometry part was a little weak IMO. We had to supplement with another geometry book. My son placed in College Algebra at a local college after using Shorman Algebra II. He is a strong math student and I was surprised he did not place higher. Shorman claims you can pass CLEP after Algebra II but I am not so sure. I am glad he took Algebra II at the college though; it was a good review for him and it filled in the gaps. 

For my next children, we have decided to go with Unlock Math. They just started Algebra I and love it! The set up of the program is wonderful and we love that it shows on the screen only one exercise/problem at a time. The videos are high quality, concise and very clear, speaking directly to the student, versus a computer screen in Shormann. They are also shorter than Shorman’s. If they struggle with a concept, the computer generates another set of problems and records the highest grade. If they still struggle, there is a chat button to ask directly a certified math teacher!!! My kids thought that was so cool. The teacher answered immediately! 

I have asked before here about the scope and sequence and someone replied that they thought it is comparable to any rigorous algebra program. ( you can search here, it was only about a week ago)

I know you did not ask about another math program, but we are so excited to have found it and I had to share! 

 

I appreciate the recommendation. I purchased Algebra I last year and was looking forward to it. 

 

Concision is not his strong point. I have a Kathy daughter who feels frustrated. 

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On 9/7/2019 at 8:56 AM, blessedmom3 said:

My son has used it; I thought it was a decent math program. Similar to Saxon—incremental and lots of review, so if your student doesn’t learn that way it won’t work. The geometry part was a little weak IMO. We had to supplement with another geometry book. My son placed in College Algebra at a local college after using Shorman Algebra II. He is a strong math student and I was surprised he did not place higher. Shorman claims you can pass CLEP after Algebra II but I am not so sure. I am glad he took Algebra II at the college though; it was a good review for him and it filled in the gaps. 

For my next children, we have decided to go with Unlock Math. They just started Algebra I and love it! The set up of the program is wonderful and we love that it shows on the screen only one exercise/problem at a time. The videos are high quality, concise and very clear, speaking directly to the student, versus a computer screen in Shormann. They are also shorter than Shorman’s. If they struggle with a concept, the computer generates another set of problems and records the highest grade. If they still struggle, there is a chat button to ask directly a certified math teacher!!! My kids thought that was so cool. The teacher answered immediately! 

I have asked before here about the scope and sequence and someone replied that they thought it is comparable to any rigorous algebra program. ( you can search here, it was only about a week ago)

I know you did not ask about another math program, but we are so excited to have found it and I had to share! 

 

thank you so much!  And thanks to the OP for starting this thread.  

We used Jacob's with Dr Callahan in Algebra 1 - found it rigorous and good but a little too teacher (me) intensive for grading and reteaching things that weren't clear to my DD.  Used CTC for Geometry and found out after a school year that it was lacking (compared to another program my other dd was taking at the time).  And now are having a struggle finding a fit for Algebra 2.   We're looking at Unlock now, comparing it to Dive videos.  Thank you! 🙂

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7 hours ago, Pour in said:

 

thank you so much!  And thanks to the OP for starting this thread.  

We used Jacob's with Dr Callahan in Algebra 1 - found it rigorous and good but a little too teacher (me) intensive for grading and reteaching things that weren't clear to my DD.  Used CTC for Geometry and found out after a school year that it was lacking (compared to another program my other dd was taking at the time).  And now are having a struggle finding a fit for Algebra 2.   We're looking at Unlock now, comparing it to Dive videos.  Thank you! 🙂

I bought Jacob’s as well and thought it looked intensive for me. We still use & love Unlock Math! I am also pleasantly surprised that unlike other online math programs it incorporates higher order thinking skills and not just in the ‘challenge’ problems as they call them. They are mixed in the practice and stay sharp  sections among simpler, procedural,ones. For me it is easier to go in the kids’ accounts and check only what they did wrong and go over the mistakes to make sure they get it. The solutions are given to them right away  after they click submit, but I am afraid my kids (younger middle schoolers) will just skim through in a hurry without reading and trying to understand the solution. There are some minor issues that I hope they will fix in the future ( like if the student enters capital variable it is wrong— it has to be lowercase) but this is insignificant to the benefit of what it offers! Happy mom, happy kids finally, after I have a whole collections of Algebra textbooks 🙂 

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  • 1 year later...

I just wanted to jump in late, to help others researching this program. I would be very wary paying the additional for the LIVE class. He is extremely rigid and will make zero modifications for your child. If you ask to make any, they will bump you down the self paced course, despite having paid for the live support. Buyer beware! There are zero exceptions for any later work or to change anything. He also claims to incorporate theology, but it is sketchy at best. Today he told the class that they would be future "fraudulent voters" if they started their quiz a few minutes late. I believe the line of thinking was you are cheating by starting a few minutes late and therefore would be committing voter fraud as an adult . It is concerning, honestly - and shocking. 

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  • 3 months later...

I signed my 11th grader up for Shormann Algebra 2 this year.  She started the self-paced course.  It looked perfect on paper.  She had completed Saxon Algebra 2 3rd edition last year (10th grade).  She liked the algebra portion but is frankly clueless about geometry.  My daughter really liked Saxon.  However, we chose not to continue with Saxon for 11th grade because 1) it got to the point that she was taking almost 3 hours some days to complete her math; and 2) I had retaught geometry lessons to her.  She'd understand them.  Do well on the retested material.  Forget it all a few weeks later.  Aargh.  So I utterly refuse to slog through Advanced Math with her to complete the last half of her geometry (she gets 1/2 credit for Geometry in Saxon Algebra 2 3rd edition and would get the other 1/2 credit in Geometry in the first 60-90 lessons of Saxon Advanced Math).
.
Anyway, Shormann Algebra 2 seemed like a perfect answer.  Supposedly, she would be able to review her Algebra 2 as well as complete her Geometry credit without having to slog through advanced concepts.  And it seemed like the format would be similar to Saxon which she likes.  Well, she completed the first 15 lessons and HATES it.  She misses having a textbook.  She feels Dr. Shormann jsut works problems but doesn't teach the concepts well -- just assuming that the student should get the concept by seeing problems worked.  My DD also said that she could usually guess the answer electornically without working the problem so she could make "As" on the quizzes without learning the material.   
.
So we dropped it after having PAID for it sigh.  She is now doing the High School Geometry course using Khan Academy.  So far, she really likes it.  She's only 20% of the way through it though.  Fingers crossed.
.
But this is MY kid.  She scores low to mid 30s in her ACT for reading and English, but she scores in the low to mid 20s for math and science (not really her thing).  Maybe try a sample on their site?

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We also tried it and dropped it about 10 lessons in.  We were coming from Math Mammoth which is laid out completely differently (mastery based).  My kid is not independent enough to do math on his own.  I think one of the chapters introduced about 20 new vocabulary words and kids were told to memorize them.  It was just too fast moving for my son.  If there was a problem he didn't understand, he was supposed to watch the video again.  But, sometimes that wasn't enough.  There's only 20 problems to do and there's no extra problems to have your child work on if it's not clicking.  We switched to Foerster's with Math Without Borders videos.  

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  • 7 months later...

 

[to be read in a cheesy advertiser's voice:] Do you want to make your child LOATHE math? I mean, they probably already kinda hate it, but wouldn't you like to suck every bit of joy and wonder from it? If Saxon did not already do the trick, have I got a program for you!

Seriously, I tutor kids in math from elementary to Calculus and right now almost all of my students are homeschooled. Parents choose the curriculum, and I tutor the kid. I have recently decided that I will likely turn down business rather than help a child through any level of Shormann again. (My only absolutely hard no is Abeka Geometry - there is a special place in hell for that hot mess of a textbook, but that's an entirely different discussion.) I've used the Art of Problem Solving, Thinkwell, Jacobs, Foerster, Math-U-See, Horizons, UCSMP (I think I remembered all the letters in that acronym, but who knows?), Saxon, various generic public school textbooks, Abeka, Alpha Omega, CTC, and probably others.

Some of my objections Shormann:

I'm not a fan of not grouping like concepts with like concepts. Let's learn all about functions as one cohesive topic instead of interjecting 14 different concepts between each lesson on functions so the student had no hope of understanding the topic as a whole. The most profound statement I had a Calculus student make about this incremental approach was "I feel like I know a little bit about everything, but I don't know everything about anything."

In case you couldn't find the scope and sequence of Shormann cleverly hidden in their parent guide, derivatives (Calculus) are introduced in lesson 20 of Algebra 1. Why do this to a kid? Yes, it relates directly to slope of a line, but the concept is introduced as a "memorize this fact" rather than giving the student a full picture of what a derivative is. My style is to give a child all the necessary background info when teaching a new concept, so they can tie it to a concept they've already mastered. It stays in their memory longer if they have a logical hook in their brain on which to hang the information. I rarely say "just memorize this for now, it'll make sense later," but I find myself saying this a LOT as I have helped a student through two courses of Shormann, and I'm saying it with less and less conviction. The truth? I no longer believe it'll make sense later if he sticks with Shormann. 

As we work through Algebra 2, I keep wondering what on earth will be left to teach in precalculus and calculus? I took a sneak peak: it looks like he teaches calculus in precalculus and calculus 2 in calculus.

Shormann also has a weird devotion to Euler Word Problems: "Two persons owe conjointly a debt of 29 gold coins; they both have money, but neither enough to enable him, singly, to discharge this common debt: the first debtor says therefore to the second, 'If you give me 2/3 of your money, I can immediately pay the debt'; and the second answers, that he could discharge the debt if the other would give him 3/4 of his money. Required, how many gold coins each had?" That's one of many such questions - bad punctuation and all. I'm sure someone out there is thinking, "But it ties language and math together! Our children need to be able to parse through tough language to derive meaning! How will they be able to ready the classics if we don't challenge them?" Um - by reading the classics and parsing through tough language to derive meaning in a context where they are not also trying to keep afloat in an unnecessarily complicated math class? Don't get me wrong: I loved doing this problem! I am a hard-core math geek. But I don't love it for the student.

And don't get me started on Shormann's approach to geometric proof which again seems to resort to a "memorize these steps" to spit out the info. Not to mention that he rounds everything to one decimal point almost invariably even when the exact answer could be given in terms of pi or a radical, but that's probably an objection limited to math geeks.  So yeah. I've run out of steam.

Bottom line? Choose something else.

 

 

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I'm the OP and we dropped Shormann after a year and a half.  Algebra 1 went pretty well and my son got a low B, but Algebra 2 was a train wreck and I should have quit much sooner.  We switched to Math U See and he has done very well with it.  Shormann might be better suited to a motivated math student who doesn't mind tons of concepts being thrown at them. It is not for one who doesn't enjoy math, and as another poster pointed out, it will make them hate it even more.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/14/2021 at 8:29 AM, DanaG said:

 

[to be read in a cheesy advertiser's voice:] Do you want to make your child LOATHE math? I mean, they probably already kinda hate it, but wouldn't you like to suck every bit of joy and wonder from it? If Saxon did not already do the trick, have I got a program for you!

Seriously, I tutor kids in math from elementary to Calculus and right now almost all of my students are homeschooled. Parents choose the curriculum, and I tutor the kid. I have recently decided that I will likely turn down business rather than help a child through any level of Shormann again. (My only absolutely hard no is Abeka Geometry - there is a special place in hell for that hot mess of a textbook, but that's an entirely different discussion.) I've used the Art of Problem Solving, Thinkwell, Jacobs, Foerster, Math-U-See, Horizons, UCSMP (I think I remembered all the letters in that acronym, but who knows?), Saxon, various generic public school textbooks, Abeka, Alpha Omega, CTC, and probably others.

Some of my objections Shormann:

I'm not a fan of not grouping like concepts with like concepts. Let's learn all about functions as one cohesive topic instead of interjecting 14 different concepts between each lesson on functions so the student had no hope of understanding the topic as a whole. The most profound statement I had a Calculus student make about this incremental approach was "I feel like I know a little bit about everything, but I don't know everything about anything."

In case you couldn't find the scope and sequence of Shormann cleverly hidden in their parent guide, derivatives (Calculus) are introduced in lesson 20 of Algebra 1. Why do this to a kid? Yes, it relates directly to slope of a line, but the concept is introduced as a "memorize this fact" rather than giving the student a full picture of what a derivative is. My style is to give a child all the necessary background info when teaching a new concept, so they can tie it to a concept they've already mastered. It stays in their memory longer if they have a logical hook in their brain on which to hang the information. I rarely say "just memorize this for now, it'll make sense later," but I find myself saying this a LOT as I have helped a student through two courses of Shormann, and I'm saying it with less and less conviction. The truth? I no longer believe it'll make sense later if he sticks with Shormann. 

As we work through Algebra 2, I keep wondering what on earth will be left to teach in precalculus and calculus? I took a sneak peak: it looks like he teaches calculus in precalculus and calculus 2 in calculus.

Shormann also has a weird devotion to Euler Word Problems: "Two persons owe conjointly a debt of 29 gold coins; they both have money, but neither enough to enable him, singly, to discharge this common debt: the first debtor says therefore to the second, 'If you give me 2/3 of your money, I can immediately pay the debt'; and the second answers, that he could discharge the debt if the other would give him 3/4 of his money. Required, how many gold coins each had?" That's one of many such questions - bad punctuation and all. I'm sure someone out there is thinking, "But it ties language and math together! Our children need to be able to parse through tough language to derive meaning! How will they be able to ready the classics if we don't challenge them?" Um - by reading the classics and parsing through tough language to derive meaning in a context where they are not also trying to keep afloat in an unnecessarily complicated math class? Don't get me wrong: I loved doing this problem! I am a hard-core math geek. But I don't love it for the student.

And don't get me started on Shormann's approach to geometric proof which again seems to resort to a "memorize these steps" to spit out the info. Not to mention that he rounds everything to one decimal point almost invariably even when the exact answer could be given in terms of pi or a radical, but that's probably an objection limited to math geeks.  So yeah. I've run out of steam.

Bottom line? Choose something else.

 

 

DanaG:  Do you have a favorite Math Curriculum?  My oldest is in 6th grade and we've been using Math U See since the end of 1st grade. We really like it.  In first grade we tried Saxon, Singapore, and then switched to MUS.  The spiral approach drove me crazy as a teacher (Especially when needing lots of different manipulatives at the young levels.) 

My goal is to have my daughter take part in the running start program in WA state that allows her to take college classes her junior and senior years.  Those classes count as both her high school credits and can also earn her an AA degree at the same time. I want her prepared to begin college her junior year and I've heard that Math U See Algebra (and up) are not as complete as other programs.  I've been considering switching her out of MUS next year when she begins PreAlgebra in hopes of finding a program to get her ready for college by her junior year.  I was considering Saxon and Shormann's Dive because they combine geometry.  After reading reviews I'm second guessing this.  We also take some BJU classes and I was thinking about BJU math as well.  Maybe I should stick with MUS since it's been working for us?  Math is one of my favorite subjects and my daughter does well in it.  I'm fairly confident in our abilities to tackle most programs... I think 🙂

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