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School starts in two weeks and it's back to the drawing board on math...

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I just got an email that the precalc class dd was scheduled to take this year has been cancelled. Yay. 😒

So now I'm scrambling big-time to find an alternative. Until now, we have used Saxon at home, supplementing with the videos from Virtual Homeschool Group. DD is mostly independent, but we have always gone over the practice problems daily and I of course fill in the gaps when she doesn't understand something. She's maintained an A test average with no problem doing this. But about halfway through algebra 2, the material started to get harder for me to teach, especially on an ad hoc basis. So in the spring we brought in a tutor to make sure dd was staying on track (she was). 

I know that Saxon sparks some strong feelings, but for various reasons we want to stick with it for now. Next year dd will be able to dual-enroll and hopefully will test into calculus. The co-op where she was supposed to be enrolled this fall spreads Saxon Advanced Math out over three semesters, which I prefer because dd is only in 9th grade (just turned 14) and looking at a potential math-related major (current interest is applied statistics/actuarial science), so I really want her to be solid. I'd even be okay with taking two full school years on it because we've got the time to spare and, frankly, I just don't want to spend two hours a day on math.

Obviously at this late date options are limited, but here's what I've got so far:

  • Advanced Math 1 at Freedom Project Academy 
    Pros: Only online provider I've found that uses Saxon and breaks AM over three semesters. DD watched part of the sample class and thought the teacher seemed fine. Having a dedicated teacher with whom dd can interact/ask questions is a huge plus. Basically takes all the stress of teaching/grading off me.
    Cons: I know nothing about this school at all. Cost, while not out of line with similar providers, would put a strain on our budget. We'd be locked in to two years at FPA so that she could complete AM (the second half of AM is paired with Saxon Calculus for a second full year of credit). We don't love the way the school calendar is structured; a winter vacation that we planned around the co-op schedule (won't make that mistake again) might be in jeopardy.
  • Enroll at a different local co-op that teaches Saxon Advanced Math (I've found two possible options)
    Pros: Similar benefits re: dedicated teacher and less stress for me at a much reduced cost. Live class setting would be a better environment for dd than online.
    Cons: Both options are 2x/week and 30+ minutes away, which means a lot of wasted drive time during our day, and time at low productivity trying to school ds while we wait for dd. Both move at a faster pace that we'd prefer, completing the entire book in one year. Similar potential issues re: calendar and vacation. DD doesn't love the idea of giving up her morning twice a week and is concerned that the pace will be too fast.
  • Continue doing our own thing, potentially adding Art Reed's DVD's for instruction
    Pros: We can go at our own pace. More cost-effective, unless she needs a tutor.
    Cons: Very little support with questions or problems. No one to really make sure dd is reasoning through the material correctly (I am pretty much limited to checking answers at this point).
    Caveat: There is the option of continuing with our tutor, although that will quickly become cost-prohibitive at more than 1-2x/month. While we liked the tutor personally, she was a bit timid and I would prefer someone who will take the lead in planning assignments and ensuring that dd is on track. Alternatively, dh's aunt is a former high school math teacher (now dean at the local CC) who might be willing to take on the tutoring role, hopefully at a more affordable rate; not sure how I feel about combining business and family though.

Thanks for letting me think out loud; I'm someone who really needs to talk through a problem like this, and all my "in that case"s and "on the other hand"s send dh and dd running for the hills, lol! But any input or ideas are welcome.

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@PeachyDoodle I think you've done a good job thinking this through.

For me, this would come down to which kid I was dealing with. You know your kid best. For my eldest, I'd pick the first option because she needs the live class at her pace without a lot of excess time commitments. For my second kid, I'd go the last option - self-paced on our own.

If you have a bit of time to spare, you could try the last option. If it doesn't work, she might be ready for the faster option next year (thus only losing 1/2 year off the original pace) since she will have worked through at least some of the book herself. Plus, she might only need a few helps along the way & surprise both of you.

I tutored someone through some of that book & hated it with a fiery hot passion, but to each their own. Good luck with whatever you choose.

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(Not a full answer to your actual question—but when dd did Saxon alg 2 and ran into a topic that confused her and I couldn’t help with at that time, we had great success putting her on khan academy for that topic, then returning to Saxon.)

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We have done the same thing- me teaching through Saxon AL 2, then switched to Art Reed DVDs for Advanced Math.  I am having my DD do half the book for 1 credit (15 problems per day- so one lesson takes 2 day), and taking 2 years to go through it ( we had the time, so no need to hurry through, and the book has a LOT of stuff in it).  The good news to that is that after just half of the book, she scored a 29 on her ACT and placed in Calc 1 at the college!  I am still making her finish the book, but she plans to start the DE class in the spring, taking Calc 1  (if the in person class works with her schedule!).   If Art Reed isn't enough, then she gets on Khan Academy.  


With my not as mathy DD, I'll only have her do the first half of the book, then take College ALgebra and be done 😉  

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Thanks everybody! After talking it over with dh and dd (much easier since I had worked through my thoughts already), I think we are going to go with option 3, working through the book at our own pace. DD much prefers this option. She was overwhelmed at the thought of trying to complete the book in one year and likes Art Reed's approach of 1/2 lesson per day. So do I -- we do not need to rush here, and as y'all pointed out, there is always time to go with a different option later if this one doesn't work and she needs a repeat on the material.

DH is going to have a conversation with his aunt to see if we might be able to work something out regarding occasional tutoring. 99% of the time, dd is just fine working through the text on her own. The tutor is for my peace of mind as much as anything. I made good grades in math all the way through calculus, but truthfully I was floundering and didn't ever really understand what I was doing. I'm afraid that I am not providing the support she needs, even though she doesn't seem to be struggling. If we just have someone to review her tests and be on call if she has questions, I will feel better. I think dd thinks I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, although she's too polite to say so! She's probably right, but... I am so not a math person.

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