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CHSgirl

Pre algebra curriculum for a 6th grader

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Hi. I posted last week about DD (age 11) who will be in sixth grade. We’ve been doing Singapore standards and just finished grade 5. I initially started to look for another curriculum because Singapore standards doesn’t have an HIG. And we then started to consider pre algebra. Now that DD has heard my husband and I talk about the possibility of doing pre algebra, she really want to try it. 

I had her take the AOPS readiness test, which says you should get 22/26 to be ready. She scored 21/26 ... one of those incorrect answers was a silly multiplication mistake (she knows her mult facts) and the other 4 were adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing integers, which we just haven’t covered yet. I would say she has been a solid B student in Singapore math. 

I have spent hours reading through threads about prealgebra and I’m admittedly overwhelmed. I am also not a super mom like some of you who can teach from multiple books and curricula! 

AOPS is so interesting to me. Could a B math student thrive with that curriculum?  Video text was also recommended by someone at rainbow resource, but I can’t find much info about it. Math Mammoth was recommended here, as well... 

Recommendations and opinions are so appreciated!

 

 

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If you really like Singapore, you might want to consider Singapore's Dimensions math series. DM 6-8 would take you through from PA to Algebra in 3 years. AOPS isn't something I would suggest unless your daughter really likes math and would be okay with very wordy text with no pictures. Keep in mind it is written to target and challenge the top math students. It is also discovery approach which means you are supposed to make connections rather than be explicitly taught the material. It's thick book. More than 600 full size pages. Why don't you take a look at the samples in their online book version here: https://artofproblemsolving.com/store/item/prealgebra-ebook?gtmlist=Bookstore_OnlineBooks_Center

And Dimensions math does come with HIGs and can be found here to look at samples. https://www.singaporemath.com/Dimensions_Math_s/339.htm

 

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6 hours ago, calbear said:

If you really like Singapore, you might want to consider Singapore's Dimensions math series. DM 6-8 would take you through from PA to Algebra in 3 years. AOPS isn't something I would suggest unless your daughter really likes math and would be okay with very wordy text with no pictures. Keep in mind it is written to target and challenge the top math students. It is also discovery approach which means you are supposed to make connections rather than be explicitly taught the material. It's thick book. More than 600 full size pages. Why don't you take a look at the samples in their online book version here: https://artofproblemsolving.com/store/item/prealgebra-ebook?gtmlist=Bookstore_OnlineBooks_Center

And Dimensions math does come with HIGs and can be found here to look at samples. https://www.singaporemath.com/Dimensions_Math_s/339.htm

 

Thank you, calbear. I'm not necessarily looking to continue Singapore, but I will look at DM. I've heard that its more common core aligned.... not sure how I feel about that. Been looking at AOPS website on an off all afternoon. It's difficult, because I know it's something that I would like! I'm still on the fence about my daughter. She absolutely loves reading, so she might actually like it. Do you have any experience with VideoText or Math Mammoth? 

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I would first ask yourself what sort of approach you want to use for alg up. I would not use AoPS prealg unless you plan on staying with AoPS for alg and beyond.

Personally, I would not use AoPS with a B student. Of my children, only my theoretical cosmology grad student was a good match for AoP's approach.  I have had other equally strong math students who could have completed AoPS texts, but the amt of time that it requires and the teaching style were not good fits.  They have preferred more traditional teaching methods.

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2 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I would first ask yourself what sort of approach you want to use for alg up. I would not use AoPS prealg unless you plan on staying with AoPS for alg and beyond.

Personally, I would not use AoPS with a B student. Of my children, only my theoretical cosmology grad student was a good match for AoP's approach.  I have had other equally strong math students who could have completed AoPS texts, but the amt of time that it requires and the teaching style were not good fits.  They have preferred more traditional teaching methods.

 

Thank you so much for your reply. Can I ask what curriculum you used for your other children? 

What’s the best way to compare and research the different approaches for algebra and up? I think I have a huge gap here and I’m not sure how to get the info I need without purchasing and looking at all of the different options. 

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AoPS's approach is very different from traditional methodology.  Traditional texts directly teach concepts and have students work through problem sets replicating the process and then applying the concept.  AoPS approach is more theory based and focuses on understanding how equations are derived/discovering the methods for solving problems.  For some students, this is a fabulous approach.  For kids who are less enamored with spending hours on math and just want to be taught the concepts directly, AoPS is not a good fit.

How to evaluate different programs is a different beast.  My kids are all strong math students.  I looked for a math program that was strong in both teaching and applying concepts to complex word problems as well as ensuring that all topics are covered thoroughly.  Multiple programs fit that description, not just 1 or 2.

My 6th student is a 12th grader and my 7th student will be taking alg 1 this yr.  My core sequence with all of the has been

  1. MUS alg and geo used as pre-alg/pre-geo (complete both texts in a single yr)
  2. Foerster's alg 1
  3. Chalkdust geometry (Alexander text)
  4. Foerster's alg 2
  5. pre-cal has been varied.....Sullivan, Larson, dual enrollment, Foerster, AoPS, (My last 2 high schoolers used Derek Owen's precal videos alongside the Sullivan text (I am pretty sure that is the right text)
  6. cal--DE, Thinkwell, AoPS

 

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8FillTheHeart I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to respond and sharing your expertise. Thank you! 

I have a lot of research to do. I cannot lie - I’ve been reading through the AoPS excerpts online and loving them. At this point I’m leaning towards continuing with Primary Mathematics 6 stds or using MM 6 then starting pre-algebra in 7th. 

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I would say the AOPS placements are a *minimum* for success in the program.  However, if you haven’t covered four arithmetic functions with integers (I’m assuming you haven’t covered negative integers) then cover it and take the placement again.

If you want a good idea of how your student will do in AOPS then work in Alcumus for a while and see how it goes.

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Another option is Arbor Algebra (3 books) for PA through Algebra if you like the discovery approach but don't want the firehouse that AOPS can be. My son thrives on AOPS and self-taught himself through PA. We took a pause to do Jacobs MHE and will likely do Jacobs prior to AOPS algebra as I have been won over by 8's idea of two passes through algebra experience. My son did Arbor's Jousting Armadillos and it was useful for the purpose I was using it for which was to transition away from BA and SM to reading a textbook and writing out solutions in a near and organized manner. It was easy compared to AOPS, but it focused on this key skill for us. We are doing MHE as part of this plan to not rush ahead, but we are taking time to explore math not normally coverd in the traditional sequence.  

 

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I have a 6th grader (DS11) who is just beginning Math Mammoth 7A & B which is a pre-algebra curriculum. I've used MM 1-6 with all three kids and had great success with it. After this year my plan is to use Foersters Algebra alongside Mathwithoutborders. 

Edited by SaDonna
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Another option would be to do Beast Academy 5 and if that is successful, go into AoPS PA in 7th. Yes, it is labeled for 5th, but it would give her an introduction to the AOPS style, and I can almost guarantee that it would have material she has not had. There is a lot of PA in BA 5. She would still get to Algebra in 8th, which gives enough time to finish through calculus in high school. 

My DD did Life of Fred PA followed by AoPS PA. I am very glad we took 2 years for it, because she ended up very, very solid on those skills and ready for AoPS. 

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I've been pouring over this same decision lately! It's my fifth kid and you'd think I'd have a handle on this by now; she's just wired so differently than her older siblings. She's finishing Horizons 6 and SM 6 (no supermom scheduling; just doing what comes next!) and playing on Beast 5 online. Beast is just because her little brother does it already and she thought it looked fun. She's a strong math student, rarely makes mistakes, prone to a bad attitude, and really does enjoy the "think smarter not harder" math when she gets over her own attitude. We ran two books because one would get too easy, too stupid, too something, and the attitude issue was preventing her from learning. So we'd switch cold turkey to the other one until it was too something too.  It kept her moving forward steadily (and me from pulling out too much hair). I'm not convinced she's mature enough to leave this method behind yet, but 6 will be done and she has to go somewhere. 🤷‍♀️

I already have AoPS prealg and keep looking at it sideways. Maybe? Because she's the fifth kid the school closet has several options. I can already hear the groans over the boring hard first appearances over most of them. I don't think the Horizons prealg has quite enough practice for her on its own; it's pretty different from the elementary books. Then I shrug and work on her history instead. Oops.

To actually contribute to your conundrum, you might search the word "straddler" in the logic stage section and look for a large thread titled something like the prealg fence straddler thread for more options than you probably knew existed. That thread is also full of stories so you can get a feel for which ones might work best for certain types of families and students. There's also a large thread "stuck" in the high school forum with algebra+ options. 

Edited by SilverMoon
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@SilverMoon I laughed out loud when ai read the description of your daughter. Oh my. I have one just like her. She is our #6 and is now a sr in high school. Still as stubborn as a mule. Horizons combined with MiF was my approach with her back in the day for the exact same reasons. 

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Gosh I love this community. Thank you for all of the suggestions. SilverMoon I looked through that thread previously and it just made me more confused about what to do! 😂 

8FillTheHeart I’m laughing. I love that we have the same daughter!  

I’ve pretty much decided that we’re not going to start prealgebra until 7th. I think she could use another year of math before starting. But now I need to decide what to do this year....

i ordered MAth Mammoth 6 and Singapore 6 standards to compare... honestly, I’m intrigued by MM 6. It seems to cover a bit more and have more practice... am I wrong?  And dmmetler your suggestion to do Beast is interesting, too. I do worry that the idea of doing a level 5 math would hurt her confidence. I also know nothing about Beast... 

any thoughts between MM 6, Beast 5, and Singapore?! 

 

 

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6 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

@SilverMoon I laughed out loud when ai read the description of your daughter. Oh my. I have one just like her. She is our #6 and is now a sr in high school. Still as stubborn as a mule. Horizons combined with MiF was my approach with her back in the day for the exact same reasons. 

I'm pretty sure yours is why mine has two math books! 😂  

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OP, your initial comparison of SM and MM seem accurate to me. You can order some of the supplements for SM if you need extra practice though. I'm a big fan of not fixing something that isn't broken so I'd lean SM if it's still working well.

I've used plenty of the MM subject books over the years. We were so -done- with it by the end of one of those that i never tried a whole grade. It really is clear and efficient and it works wonderfully for some families. 🤷‍♀️ (I only ever used the fractions books with the 6th grader mentioned above when she needed some extra practice.)

You can do Beast online for $15 a month and cancel anytime if you want to give her a feel for it. It's a think smarter not work harder type of math, so it can be challenging even if they've already covered the concepts. My youngest is near the end of SM 4a and finding BA 3 online plenty challenging. 

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