Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

blue daisy

need advice - math past calculus for advanced HS student

Recommended Posts

I'm at a loss as to what to do for my 9th grader this year.  In middle school, he was fortunate enough to take part in a program specifically for advanced math middle schoolers - Algebra 1 and 2, geometry and pre-calc in 6th and 7th grade.  He did great and was challenged for the first time.  In 8th grade, he took calculus 1.  The program continues for 2 more years with calc 2 and 3 in 9th and 10th grade and he is currently enrolled.  BUT, it got REALLY hard last year in calculus.  He got a good grade, but he really did not understand everything, especially the last half of the year.  He would spend hours working on the homework with little results. He basically had no free time last year (and part of the reason we homeschool is to give our kids more free time!)  He managed to score well on all the tests but he really did not feel confident about the material at all.  He just started a summer review assignment and is not getting it at all.  And the thing is - he's 14 - he has plenty of time for these classes, but I'm worried if he takes a break, he'll feel even more behind if he tries to re-enroll in a couple of years.  His mental health did suffer last year (I don't know if it was math or just a combination of things) but has improved with a more relaxed summer.

The program he's involved in is through our state university.  It's a great program - he's with kids his own age, there is a lot of support, and a friend of his who graduated the program already is available this year to help tutor him.  If he goes to our state university, the credits automatically transfer, so he already has the credits from calc 1.

Some ideas I have:

*stay in the current program, his friend will tutor him.  I worry that he will still struggle.

* skip this year and review calculus with other programs, take calc 2 next year through through the program we started with.  I'm worried he will lose more and struggle to catch up.

* be done with this program, take some time off from calculus and explore other math options.  He likes AOPS and there are some courses he has not done there.  Statistics is another option.  Take Calc 2 if needed with dual enrollment in 11th or 12th grade.

He does want to go into a science/engineering field.  I don't know why this feels like such a hard decision.  (For the record, my second child is mathy as well, and we're sticking to a traditional, slightly accelerated pace so we don't run into this problem!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I'd be inclined to go with your third option.

My daughter considered the AP Statistics class she took through Pennsylvania Homeschoolers to be one of her two most valuable high school classes. The prerequisite is Algebra 2, so your son would be well qualified though he would need to get permission from the instructor because of his grade. (There was a twelve year old in the class when my daughter was enrolled.)

Regards,

Kareni

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would lean towards the retaking calc 1 option to make sure it’s solid .An extended year review with special focus on the sections that gave him trouble.  Could the tutor help with that? Can he retake it in the same program ? would that feel too defeating to him? What is his preference? If the work load is just overwhelming thinking about it, take a break.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t think I would move on to Calc 2 if  Calc 1 is not solid. For most students, the first semester of calculus is easier than the second, since most find differentiation easier than integration. I’d go with either your second or third option. Personally, I found precalc more difficult than any of my Calc classes, but it also prepared me very well for Calc. It’s pretty amazing they got through four years of math in sixth and seventh grades. I’d be a bit concerned that the pace might have left some gaps that caused the difficulty in Calc 1. I’d make sure his Algebra and precalc skills are solid before trying Calc again. You could probably do targeted review of any weak areas and then Calc 1 while also doing Statistics or some AoPS. As long as his Algebra skills are solid, I’m guessing he would find Statistics pretty easy and he could handle reviewing other areas at the same time.

Edited by Frances
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would do option 2.  Do another year of Calc 1 with a different curriculum.  Then when he's solid, take Calc 2.  I would not take years off from Calculus if he will need to get back into it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it possible for him to do another year of Calc 1 with the same program before moving on to Calc 2?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would go with option 2 and decide if he wants to go back to the program at the end of the year.

Both of my kids were young when they did their first calculus text.......Life of Fred......which I knew from boardies did not make the whole course for the AP but was an enjoyable start.  With Dd we spent another year exploring the basic topics using a Uni text I bought used which I no longer have and my notes on those years are in storage......other words sorry can’t spot it on Amazon but believe Applications was in the title.   It delved into each topic deeper and on a practical basis showing how calculus is used in economics, engineering, chemistry.......Dd especially loved that book because it showed her exactly what she could do with her math abilities.  They did several mathy mooc’s  At the same time and were more than ready to move on at the end of the year.

A firm foundation in Calculus is really important for many career paths.  We recently have seen a friend of the dc’s hit a major stumbling block because the basic Calc 1 wasn’t strong enough for the later coursework.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for your input! I really appreciate all the replies! You've given me a lot to think about, and even some new ideas I hadn't considered.  We're going to talk to his professors to see if they have any insight before making a decision.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, blue daisy said:

Thanks everyone for your input! I really appreciate all the replies! You've given me a lot to think about, and even some new ideas I hadn't considered.  We're going to talk to his professors to see if they have any insight before making a decision.

 

My son is not quite as advanced as yours, but is in a similar speeded-up math program (Not as fast. They are doing Algebra I and some Algebra II in 7th grade, then will finish Algebra II in 8th and maybe geometry?  I'm not sure) and there are topics he's not entirely getting because they go through the math SO fast there is not enough practice.  It took a lot of help at home for him to really understand Area and Volume. And We've spent this summer going as many examples of the slope intercept form of equations as I can find worksheets to practice with, for another.  I'm keeping an eagle eye this year. I'd rather him go through math at a less challenging pace and really understand all the math than miss a concept and then stumble through the rest, continuing to come up against the thing he doesn't really understand.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He's got time. I'd take a break, do statistics, then redo calc 1. I firmly believe statistics is more useful for the average person than calculus anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the idea of exploring other options that might be more fun and less stressful, such as the AOPS courses, then review Calc 1 the next year before going on to Calc 2. Being a teenager is hard enough without a stressful school experience, too. 

You definitely have time. I know some homeschooled siblings who only did through algebra 2 at home, went to a local college and did all the pre-calc and calc there. They were able to transfer to Georgia Tech. Both have masters degrees in engineering. 

Edited by mom31257
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...