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So middle kiddo (13, Gr.8) has done BJU for grades 1-5 and then grades 6-7 she did Teaching Textbooks.  This year she is working through the Alg 1 TT program (using text & videos).  She's on lesson 43 and it's just becoming a constant struggle.  She isn't understanding and is becoming very frustrated. Math has never been her favorite subject, but she's always done quite well up until now. We've tried to supplement, but we're ready to throw in the towel and try something else.

she likes clear, to-the-point instruction
she kind of hates video lessons, but will tolerate them if they are helpful
she doesn't tend to need much review (Saxon makes her squirm)

Suggestions, please! 🙂

 

Edited by Jess4879
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Sorry I don't have any curricula suggestions.

Is she confused with lesson #43 (what is the topic covered?) or has she been progressively getting more confused as she has moved through the curriculum? It could be that she lacks enough practice or that she is progressing too fast. Art Of Problem Solving has videos for every chapter of algebra in their curriculum. She could watch them for more clarity ...

https://artofproblemsolving.com/videos/algebra1

Actually, there are AOPS videos for prealgebra and she could benefit watching them to start with if you think that she has gaps in her basic algebra skills. Good luck.

Edited by mathnerd
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We like Video Text for Algebra. It is video based but they are short and very helpful videos. It's a strongly conceptual program with just the right amount of practice not to get repetitive and my 3 oldest all understand the why behind the math, not just how to do the problems. It starts with prealgebra for one module (I would start there regardless of their previous math experience) and eventually covers both Algebra 1 and 2. If you watch the short videos with her (15 min approx each day) you should have no trouble figuring out where her misunderstandings are.

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2 hours ago, square_25 said:

Do you know what she’s confused about?

 

2 hours ago, mathnerd said:

Sorry I don't have any curricula suggestions.

Is she confused with lesson #43 (what is the topic covered?) or has she been progressively getting more confused as she has moved through the curriculum? It could be that she lacks enough practice or that she is progressing too fast. Art Of Problem Solving has videos for every chapter of algebra in their curriculum. She could watch them for more clarity ...

https://artofproblemsolving.com/videos/algebra1

Actually, there are AOPS videos for prealgebra and she could benefit watching them to start with if you think that she has gaps in her basic algebra skills. Good luck.

She says she finds the Alg 1 lectures to be extremely confusing.  She didn't have trouble in past TT books, but has definitely struggled with the Alg 1 book since very early on.  

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1 hour ago, Momto6inIN said:

We like Video Text for Algebra. It is video based but they are short and very helpful videos. It's a strongly conceptual program with just the right amount of practice not to get repetitive and my 3 oldest all understand the why behind the math, not just how to do the problems. It starts with prealgebra for one module (I would start there regardless of their previous math experience) and eventually covers both Algebra 1 and 2. If you watch the short videos with her (15 min approx each day) you should have no trouble figuring out where her misunderstandings are.

Will check it out. Thank you! 🙂

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A couple thoughts:

My boys sometimes found the lectures confusing as well. It seems that TT breaks things down so far that they sort of get lost in all the details. Sometimes I had to come in and show my boys the shortcuts, and then it would make sense to them. My current 8th grader is having this issue a little bit in pre-algebra right now.

I would maybe consider having her back up to the point where she isn't confused and redo the lessons starting there. Sometimes the second time around things make much more sense.

Or, you could try Math U See. The video is only once a week. The lessons and worksheets are short and to the point. There is quite a bit of review, but if she masters the concepts, she can also just move on. I own it, but haven't used it (I have one using MUS geometry right now), but it looks to be a step easier than TT.

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Did TT 7 cover pre-Algebra?  Is she ready for abstract math at age 13?

One thing you could do is have her take the Algebra readiness test from the IOWA.  It is short and Bob Jones sells it.  You can score it and have the results instantly.  I thought it was a good test for showing mental preparedness needed for Algebra.

She may, or may not, be ready for the type of thinking needed for Algebra.

I find Algebra goes well if they are solidly ready for abstract thinking, and if they are quick at basic math, percents, ratios, integers, etc.

My oldest liked Saxon for Algebra.  My others like BJU.  I have found them both to be great for mathematics.

 

 

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On 12/16/2019 at 5:22 PM, square_25 said:

I mean, what concept specifically is she struggling with? Do you know? 

There isn't one specific concept.  She's struggling with a lot of the lessons and understanding them and it's taking her longer and longer to work it out on her own.  In the past she could watch the lecture, work the practice problems and have a pretty good handle on it, now she said she finds a lot of the lectures to be longer and wordier and she's having to watch the see how to do it's over and over to try to sort out the process.  As a result, it's not really sticking because she's basically trying to memorize the "how's" without knowing the "why's."  

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On 12/17/2019 at 4:43 PM, HomeschooledSince2007 said:

Did TT 7 cover pre-Algebra?  Is she ready for abstract math at age 13?

One thing you could do is have her take the Algebra readiness test from the IOWA.  It is short and Bob Jones sells it.  You can score it and have the results instantly.  I thought it was a good test for showing mental preparedness needed for Algebra.

She may, or may not, be ready for the type of thinking needed for Algebra.

I find Algebra goes well if they are solidly ready for abstract thinking, and if they are quick at basic math, percents, ratios, integers, etc.

My oldest liked Saxon for Algebra.  My others like BJU.  I have found them both to be great for mathematics.

 

 

She completed the TT Pre-Alg book last year.  I am going to look in to that test, thank you!  I've really been wondering if it's a case of readiness, as these struggles are not typical for her at all.  

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53 minutes ago, square_25 said:

There are practically always conceptual issues behind math struggles, I find. Could you give me an example of something she doesn't understand? 

Currently she's working on solving for x when there are variables on both sides of the equation.  It's lesson 44 of the Alg 1 book.  It isn't the concept itself that she seems to struggle with, it's the lecture, as I said.  For past books (she's done TT 6, 7 & pre-alg, she's been able to watch and understand the lecture) with Alg 1 she is watching the lecture and working the practice problems and is immediately frustrated because she isn't understanding the lesson itself.  So then we go over it and watch the see how to do it's and sort it out. I'd like to find something else that is clearer for her to understand. 

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Solving for x on both side of the equation - this is a typical moment to realize that your student doesn't really get Algebra yet. A lot of students really need a teacher for Algebra, too. If you wanted to teach her yourself, I would recommend Foerster Algebra 1, chapter 4 for this particular concept. Actually, at this point I would probably drop TT and the video lecture format, and switch to Foerster, going back to the beginning. 

Foerster's is SO good at the why. Not only is the "why" very thoroughly explained in the student book, but the teacher's manual also includes a lot of help for you, to get the concepts across. And then after you teach the lesson, you would work through examples together on the blackboard. The exercises clearly link back to the lesson - she will know why she's attacking each problem in a particular way. 

If she completed TT Pre-Alg, I would guess that she is ready for Foerster's Alg 1, if you would work with her every single day. 

One of my students needed a do-over on Algebra 1. He's thriving with Foerster's. If you are up for giving it a try, you can always ask for help here! We used to do a lot more of that, on these forums - helping each other understand how to *teach* a concept or skill. 🙂

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CLE is pretty straight forward and cheap, and you can always cross out some problems if it's too much drill. Maybe she's not connecting to the teacher's style. 

I think it's normal to need a bit of slow down during Algebra, however- especially for a younger student. There's a mental leap required where in lower grades the calculations themselves require the most effort, to Algebra and higher where the thinking before and around the calculations take the most effort. 

 

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44 minutes ago, square_25 said:

The key things in algebra are that a variable is just a stand-in for a number, any number, that an equals sign means two things are the same, and that therefore you can do ANY operation to both sides of an equation and it stays correct. 

As some really basic troubleshooting, would she be able to fill in the blanks in . _ + _ = _ + _ with the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 so that it's correct? 

Yes, she could do that without any trouble.  

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I find Dana Mosely's videos (Chalkdust uses them) to be very straightforward and clear. And the videos are divided into topics, so they're pretty easy to use as a supplement or for clarification. I bought mine super-cheap from Amazon (not the chalkdust version but the version sold with the textbook, I believe). 

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2 hours ago, square_25 said:

Excellent. Can she guess and check a solution to something like x + 7 = 2x + 5? 

I am not sure what you mean by guess, but yes she can solve this type of equation and she knows how to put the answer in to check.

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I think Square25 is asking you good questions to get to the root of it... but in the end, I suspect from what you're describing that the problem is so open ended that she actually has a number of conceptual weaknesses. I suspect she needs someone to really teach this subject. TT works for some kids... but not all. I think you need to ditch the online program, get a textbook, and teach it. Or you need to find her a tutor. Or you need to find her a class with a teacher.

If I'm way off and it really is just a couple of concepts she needs help on, then Key to Algebra is always my go to for kids who are struggling with something really basic and need a bunch of easy peasy practice problems to try and get it.

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15 hours ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

Solving for x on both side of the equation - this is a typical moment to realize that your student doesn't really get Algebra yet. A lot of students really need a teacher for Algebra, too. If you wanted to teach her yourself, I would recommend Foerster Algebra 1, chapter 4 for this particular concept. Actually, at this point I would probably drop TT and the video lecture format, and switch to Foerster, going back to the beginning. 

Foerster's is SO good at the why. Not only is the "why" very thoroughly explained in the student book, but the teacher's manual also includes a lot of help for you, to get the concepts across. And then after you teach the lesson, you would work through examples together on the blackboard. The exercises clearly link back to the lesson - she will know why she's attacking each problem in a particular way. 

If she completed TT Pre-Alg, I would guess that she is ready for Foerster's Alg 1, if you would work with her every single day. 

One of my students needed a do-over on Algebra 1. He's thriving with Foerster's. If you are up for giving it a try, you can always ask for help here! We used to do a lot more of that, on these forums - helping each other understand how to *teach* a concept or skill. 🙂

Is the Solutions manual the teacher's guide as well?  I have only been able to find the Student text & the solutions manual (Rainbow Resources).  It is the Classics edition...

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3 hours ago, Jess4879 said:

Is the Solutions manual the teacher's guide as well?  I have only been able to find the Student text & the solutions manual (Rainbow Resources).  It is the Classics edition...

I don't have the solutions manual, but my 1994 Prentice Hall and Addison Wesley versions both have answers and helps in the teacher's edition. (One of those is the Classics version, so I know what you're talking about.) There will be solutions models for examples and some of the problems, but there are answers for every problem in the teacher's edition. 

I wouldn't say NOT to get the solutions manual, if you can! But I'm getting along without it; the teacher's edition is enough for me. Actually, for the Alg 1, I am creating my own solutions manual as I go.

This is what the teacher's edition is: https://www.amazon.com/Algebra-Expressions-Equations-Applications-Teachers/dp/0201324598/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=foerster+algebra+1+teacher+edition&qid=1576870769&sr=8-2

Edit: Well, now I feel like I've recommended something unhelpful, because I cannot find this for a decent price anywhere. 😕

Edited by Lang Syne Boardie
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  • 2 weeks later...

I don’t know if you’re open to online classes, but we really like Jann in TX (myhomeschoolmathclass) for Algebra. (She uses Lial’s) This might be an option if you’re wanting live instruction. Also, we didn’t use it, but I think BJU is supposed to be excellent for the 8th grade book on review of ALL previous concepts and getting the student ready for Algebra. (We used BJU thru 6th, then moved to Jann in TX or I would’ve used it)

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