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TheAttachedMama

Math Advice Needed (Switching from AOPS?)

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Hi Everyone,

I could use some math advice for my son....or at least a friendly person to "talk" to about math and our future homeschool "path" in general. ūüėČ. Forgive me if this post rambles a bit...but I am thinking towards the future and could use some direction.¬†

My son is just about to complete the AOPS Intro to Algebra course online.   He is currently getting a "blue" for the course---but just barely.  (For those that don't know, AOPS online rates students on a color code system.   Blue= Mastered the material, Green = Pass, Orange = keep working, and Red = something worse than keep working...I forget the name. haha).  

HOWEVER--the class has sort of taken over his life this school year.   I worry that it is causing him too much stress.   He is a bright kid, but the class moves VERY fast.  I would say that the only reason he is doing well is through sheer hard work and determination.   He works several hours per day on the class, both Saturday and Sunday; he worked all Thanksgiving break in order to catch up on homework; he worked ALL Christmas break (almost all day long!) in order to catch up on homework (except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), and even now he is scrambling to finish everything before the course ends.    If he wouldn't have had those extra weeks to catch up, I am not sure if he would be doing well.

Another thing that makes it tough for him is that I haven't been able to give him much help.   He has surpassed me in math (which is REALLY sad, I know.).  I have learned this math before --but I haven't used it in a long time.   It takes me so long to refresh my memory---and the problems are so challenging---that I haven't been able to help him much these past few weeks.  There *are* online forums where you can post for help, but those haven't been very useful for my son.   It takes awhile to get a response back to your question, and most of the time the responses are sort of vague and cryptic.    Occasionally, my son has called my mom who is a retired physicist for help over the phone.   However, she isn't available reliably or on a consistent basis to help.  

Another thing that adds to the problem is that his other courses take a fair amount of work/time too.   We have used Memoria Press cores for several years, which I love.  (The only thing I don't love about them is their math and science are a little weak IMHO.).  The problem is that the high school cores are VERY heavy in literature and humanities.   It is hard to spend so much time on math and science and also maintain such a heavy humanities load.   

My son loves math and science, but he is also very much interested in Latin and history and philosophy.   So it makes it hard to find balance, you know?

I am trying to consider my options as we move forward.   

What other math options should I be looking at as an alternative to AOPS?

 

 

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I would look at Bluetent courses online or Derek Owen. 
 

If you stay with AoPS expect a massive increase in rigor as you move into the intermediate series. 

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Although the Aops online courses have varied for my son in the amount of time each one has taken, the Intro to Alg A and B were probably 1.5 hours a day, the Intro to Geometry was about 2, Intermediate Algebra about 1.5 until near the end, and now Precalc has been relatively smooth sailing with maybe an hour a day average (though sometimes it's 2 one day and none another!).   This is all with him getting in the blue every week, and getting an A+ in most of the classes.

If he was spending that long and barely scraping by with lots of green weeks, I would first ask him how much he loved AOPS.  If he loved it above all else, we would just keep chugging away at it. If he loved many things, I would maybe consider trying WTMA's Aops course first.  It may be a little less like drinking from a firehouse.

Eta -- my son is very much math oriented, and while I love that he thrives with Aops, I would love it if he loved Latin or history! And philsophy! So grass is always greener....

Edited by SanDiegoMom in VA
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51 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

If you stay with AoPS expect a massive increase in rigor as you move into the intermediate series. 

 

Yes, that is one of my concerns.   Things aren't going to get easier.    I'm very torn:  on one hand, I don't want him to run away from a challenge.  On the other hand, I want him to have a reasonable schedule

 

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1 minute ago, TheAttachedMama said:

 

Yes, that is one of my concerns.   Things aren't going to get easier.    I'm very torn:  on one hand, I don't want him to run away from a challenge.  On the other hand, I want him to have a reasonable schedule

 


AoPS is great but potentially a big time suck for anybody who isn’t planning on a career as a mathematician or a physicist.

I know I hear those miracle kids who can get it done so quickly, but just to work the textbook without even getting to homework problems or proofs is close to two hours here. And getting through the textbook at a pace of the class would be much worse,  but I don’t have a genius at home.

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47 minutes ago, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

Although the Aops online courses have varied for my son in the amount of time each one has taken, the Intro to Alg A and B were probably 1.5 hours a day, the Intro to Geometry was about 2, Intermediate Algebra about 1.5 until near the end, and now Precalc has been relatively smooth sailing with maybe an hour a day average (though sometimes it's 2 one day and none another!).   This is all with him getting in the blue every week, and getting an A+ in most of the classes.

If he was spending that long and barely scraping by with lots of green weeks, I would first ask him how much he loved AOPS.  If he loved it above all else, we would just keep chugging away at it. If he loved many things, I would maybe consider trying WTMA's Aops course first.  It may be a little less like drinking from a firehouse.

Eta -- my son is very much math oriented, and while I love that he thrives with Aops, I would love it if he loved Latin or history! And philsophy! So grass is always greener....

 

Yes, see, my son is spending about 2.5 hours per day on the Alg A class and does have a few green weeks.  Does that mean Geometry will take him 3+?   Ack!

 

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Is this his first course in AOPS? Some of it could be that he is new to this style of math. My personal experience is that when a student is new to AOPS, it is a new mode of thinking and problem solving to them - it involves creative solutions to problems and there is a lot of depth and complexity to every lesson. I compared the standard math textbook in a highly regarded local private school to AOPS last year and was surprised at how straightforward the "challenging" textbook was compared to AOPS. 

AOPS sets out to challenge, make the student struggle in order to learn some concepts (every student struggles at some point of doing AOPS) and become a creative problem solver. I think that those are all great things to teach a preteen or a teenager. So, sticking to AOPS is not a bad idea at all. But, at the same time, there are other ways to get your child exposed to those values, perhaps even in a more time saving manner to match your schedule.

From what I have observed, AOPS curriculum gets a lot more comfortable for the student (and easier to deal with) as the child gets used to tackling the challenge problems. My son had slow progress with AOPS prealgebra because he was young and was not used to "wordy" textbooks. Once he finished that textbook, the Intro to Alg and Intro to Geo books were not intimidating and he was able to handle them himself. It took him 1 to 1.5 hours a day depending on the topic and we school all year long.

One suggestion: how about taking a break from Algebra and doing one of the Counting and Probability or Number Theory courses before deciding on your Algebra 2 curriculum?

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If AoPS is working for him and it's the pace of the class that is not, what about just using the textbooks? They are written to the students. he could go at his pace and still get the benefit of AoPS.

We only ever used the books, never the classes.

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28 minutes ago, mathnerd said:

Is this his first course in AOPS? Some of it could be that he is new to this style of math. My personal experience is that when a student is new to AOPS, it is a new mode of thinking and problem solving to them - it involves creative solutions to problems and there is a lot of depth and complexity to every lesson. I compared the standard math textbook in a highly regarded local private school to AOPS last year and was surprised at how straightforward the "challenging" textbook was compared to AOPS. 

AOPS sets out to challenge, make the student struggle in order to learn some concepts (every student struggles at some point of doing AOPS) and become a creative problem solver. I think that those are all great things to teach a preteen or a teenager. So, sticking to AOPS is not a bad idea at all. But, at the same time, there are other ways to get your child exposed to those values, perhaps even in a more time saving manner to match your schedule.

From what I have observed, AOPS curriculum gets a lot more comfortable for the student (and easier to deal with) as the child gets used to tackling the challenge problems. My son had slow progress with AOPS prealgebra because he was young and was not used to "wordy" textbooks. Once he finished that textbook, the Intro to Alg and Intro to Geo books were not intimidating and he was able to handle them himself. It took him 1 to 1.5 hours a day depending on the topic and we school all year long.

One suggestion: how about taking a break from Algebra and doing one of the Counting and Probability or Number Theory courses before deciding on your Algebra 2 curriculum?

 

This hasn't been out experience and mine has been doing aops since elementary school and is now a high schooler. My student found Intro to Algebra book "easy" (in aops terms). Then a geometry was a significant step up and took considerably more time, especially proofs and some of them towards the second half of the class were downright cruel. Then the Intermediate Algebra textbook was a shock to the system. It was so much harder. But surprisingly the class wasn't as hard as the book. Precalculus text was on the same level of difficulty as the Intermediate Algebra textbook, but the class was harder. I wouldn't say anything got easy at all with time. In fact things got harder with every passing year. Mine didn't have any other interests outside of math, so he pushed on. I don't think he would have if he wanted to invest equal attention to other subjects. 

 

Now having said that, I think an advice to do text only and not do all the challenging problems might be a good advice. I still think Bluetent will be an equally good option if you want it outsourced. 

 

 

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12 hours ago, mathnerd said:

Is this his first course in AOPS? Some of it could be that he is new to this style of math. .....

One suggestion: how about taking a break from Algebra and doing one of the Counting and Probability or Number Theory courses before deciding on your Algebra 2 curriculum?

 

He completed the AOPS Pre-Algebra book last year on his own (no class) before attempting the algebra class.   So, this is his first online class with AOPS--but not his first rodeo with AOPS if that make sense.    The challenge wasn't a surprise for him, it has just been the pace which has been hard.   He has learned a LOT this school year.   He went from knowing nothing about latex---to becoming a latex master.   And I have seen a lot of growth in his ability to write out solutions since he practices this every week.  Not to mention, he *really* knows Algebra.   

Concerning your suggestion, that is exactly what we plan to do.  IF I stick with AOPS, I am going to attempt to modify the pace at home on my own.    I am going to have him go through the Counting and Probability book on his own (reading the book, watching the videos, and mastering each topic in Alcumus as a test for understanding/opportunity for review).   Then, I am going to sign him up for the online class *after* he has done that so he can review and keep making progress with the written solutions.  (I'm a big fan of that aspect of the class--can you tell?)    

I talked to my son today about math options.   I showed him the Derrick Owens samples.   He was very frustrated/annoyed with how slowly they move.   (Even the Algebra II stuff and Pre-Calc samples.). He says that he REALLY wants to continue with AOPS, so I guess that is what we will do.   The bad thing is that my son also wants to compete in debate next year (another time suck!).   I guess I have to help him make decisions, but it is so hard to prioritize all of these very worthy things.   Sigh.

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What does he see himself pursuing long term? I am with roadrunner in that unless math or theory are long-term objectives, or unless AoPS is his favorite course, I would recommend he switch to something else. I can't fathom their alg 1 course taking that long and it being 1-worth it or 2- really beneficial. While AoPS is great for the students that fit it, it is just one of many options. Honestly, my ds didnt spend that much time on any AoPS course and I thought they were time-consuming then. Your description is over the top when he can master concepts from a different approach.

Forester has been great for my kids. (My AoPS ds actually used Foerster alg 1 and  1/2 of alg 2 and jumped into AoPS intermediate in a spring class and didnt miss a beat. So that tells me Foerster prepared him well enough.)

My dd who  was as strong in math in high school as ds used DO lectures with the Sullivan textbook for precal. (We self-graded and didn't use his materials) and Thinkwell for cal. My current sr is planning on a science major and has also taken that route.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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17 hours ago, TheAttachedMama said:

 

Yes, see, my son is spending about 2.5 hours per day on the Alg A class and does have a few green weeks.  Does that mean Geometry will take him 3+?   Ack!

 

It was harder for my son since he is very much an Algebra kid.  Geometry forced him to think more creatively and that frustrated him a lot!     

 

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4 hours ago, TheAttachedMama said:

IF I stick with AOPS, I am going to attempt to modify the pace at home on my own.    I am going to have him go through the Counting and Probability book on his own (reading the book, watching the videos, and mastering each topic in Alcumus as a test for understanding/opportunity for review).   Then, I am going to sign him up for the online class *after* he has done that so he can review and keep making progress with the written solutions.  (I'm a big fan of that aspect of the class--can you tell?)    

This is what some kids on the AOPS forum are doing, according to my son. Some of them finish up almost half of a textbook by self-study before starting the online course so that they are "ahead" of the class. Some others finish all the chapters (but not the Challenging problems) and start the online course and circle back to finish the challenging problems later on. There are some others who look up the AOPS online class schedule and sign up for courses so that AOPS holidays fall in the middle of their coursework, giving them some time to catch up on homework or reading if they fall behind. Good luck.

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On 1/13/2020 at 9:06 AM, TheAttachedMama said:

Another thing that adds to the problem is that his other courses take a fair amount of work/time too.   We have used Memoria Press cores for several years, which I love.  (The only thing I don't love about them is their math and science are a little weak IMHO.).  The problem is that the high school cores are VERY heavy in literature and humanities.   It is hard to spend so much time on math and science and also maintain such a heavy humanities load.   

My son loves math and science, but he is also very much interested in Latin and history and philosophy.   So it makes it hard to find balance, you know?

I am trying to consider my options as we move forward.   

What other math options should I be looking at as an alternative to AOPS?

 

 

My dd is enrolled in MPOA's diploma program. Before that she did AOPS Alg 1 and Alg 2 at WTMA. She's also done C&P and NT online at AOPS (and dealt with the fire hose, luckily, she took them in the summer). I would suggest both MPOA or WTMA for your ds.

The AOPS classes at WTMA are slower paced and the teacher does an excellent job of making them accessible to bright, mathy kids who are not Math Olympians.

MPOA's online math classes are similar to the honors level classes I took in public school. Dd did Geometry using Jurgensen, Brown and Precalc using Larsen. The teachers are good at making math understandable and are available if you get stuck on the homework. They did a good job preparing dd for dual enrolling in calculus at the CC this year. 

If you can't teach the math yourself, either of these options will prepare your son well for college math without taking over his life. I would recommend doing the C&P and NT classes at AOPS during the summer because those are topics that aren't covered in normal high school math and my dd enjoyed them and got a tremendous sense of accomplishment turning her bars blue. It was a great summer activity when she didn't have other schoolwork to do.

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On 1/13/2020 at 7:06 AM, TheAttachedMama said:

My son loves math and science, but he is also very much interested in Latin and history and philosophy.   So it makes it hard to find balance, you know?


DS14 took more than four hours per day including weekends on AoPS because he is just a slow worker. He switched to public school textbooks after precalculus for AP Calculus BC and AP Statistics. He intends to major in engineering or computer science so it make sense to switch and give him more time for other subjects. The time he spent on AoPS precalculus in 7th grade was given to AP Chemistry and AP Physics C in 8th grade. He did calculus BC last summer and Statistics in summer 2018.

DS15 also took more than four hours per day because he like his ‚Äúdrawings‚ÄĚ pretty using asymptotes (https://artofproblemsolving.com/wiki/index.php/Asymptote:_Basics) and also his latex has to look perfect. Math is a hobby to him so he used his downtime for that.¬†He spent less time on math after 7th grade to concentrate on other subjects as he has less downtime left.¬†

I won’t worry about planning ahead, just plan a course or book at a time. When he finish an AoPS class or book, see if he wants to continue with another one. We didn’t use any of the AoPS classes for math credits for high school. My kids used their AP scores to get their high school math credits.

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13 minutes ago, Arcadia said:


DS14 took more than four hours per day including weekends on AoPS because he is just a slow worker. He switched to public school textbooks after precalculus for AP Calculus BC and AP Statistics. He intends to major in engineering or computer science so it make sense to switch and give him more time for other subjects. The time he spent on AoPS precalculus in 7th grade was given to AP Chemistry and AP Physics C in 8th grade. He did calculus BC last summer and Statistics in summer 2018.

DS15 also took more than four hours per day because he like his ‚Äúdrawings‚ÄĚ pretty using asymptotes (https://artofproblemsolving.com/wiki/index.php/Asymptote:_Basics) and also his latex has to look perfect. Math is a hobby to him so he used his downtime for that.¬†He spent less time on math after 7th grade to concentrate on other subjects as he has less downtime left.¬†

I won’t worry about planning ahead, just plan a course or book at a time. When he finish an AoPS class or book, see if he wants to continue with another one. We didn’t use any of the AoPS classes for math credits for high school. My kids used their AP scores to get their high school math credits.


thank you for saying this. I often think my kid is an idiot that he takes this long when I read posts on this board. If your kids are taking their time, it certainly makes me feel sane here. 

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I think the missing information in Arcadia's post is the age her ds was when he was spending 4 hrs per day on alg 1.  He was taking pre-cal in 7th grade.  @TheAttachedMamadoesn't post the ages of her kids, but I'm guessing he is probably a 7th or 8th grader.  If he is an 8th grader, he is looking at spending that much time or more just on math in high school.  That is a significant amt of time taking away from other required subjects.  That isn't as big of a deal in elementary and middle school b/c other than English, nothing else is absolutely vital and as time consuming.  In high school, though, spending that amt of time on math means that other subjects are going to have to take a backseat.  Fine if math is the student's real desire, but equally, it is unnecessary.

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1 hour ago, teachermom2834 said:

Now, the math olympian crowd will chime in and point out that the WTMA classes are AOPS lite and not as challenging as the full courses. I won't argue that. But- OP did specifically ask for alternatives to AOPS classes. Maybe the WTMA classes are a good fit. 


Hard to hold the tongue ūüėč, but having experience with both, WTMA seems to me AoPS mostly in name.¬†
But again, I don’t think anybody needs a full blown treatment outside of math/physics crowd.  

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Nm...I was quoted but I’m just deleting because I don’t have anything to offer and shouldn’t have posted. 

Edited by teachermom2834

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30 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

Nm...I was quoted but I’m just deleting because I don’t have anything to offer and shouldn’t have posted. 

I wish you hadn't deleted it bc I thought your insight and recommendation were valid!!

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On 1/13/2020 at 3:08 PM, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

Although the Aops online courses have varied for my son in the amount of time each one has taken, the Intro to Alg A and B were probably 1.5 hours a day, the Intro to Geometry was about 2, Intermediate Algebra about 1.5 until near the end, and now Precalc has been relatively smooth sailing with maybe an hour a day average (though sometimes it's 2 one day and none another!).   

Who's teaching the precalc, if you don't mind me asking? 

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Perhaps Square knows the answer to this, but why are the online classes so much more time consuming vs the Academy classes? Sacha is in Algebra 1 at the Academy, which combines most of Algebra A and B, plus some Counting & Probability. Some weeks take longer than others for him, but he's never come close to spending anywhere near the time people are talking about. They get assigned anywhere from 10-15 problems for the week. That's it. This week, they took Sacha about an hour to do the whole week (he is young, but not the math genius like Arcadia's boys are).

He will do Geometry at the Academy next year, but after that, I was thinking of switching to the online classes to save travel time, but you all have me so scared of the time suck. He's taking Number Theory online this spring. Will that be an accurate representation of the other online classes because, thus far, he's only done programming online. The rest have been at the Academy, which seems to have an easier workload.

Edited by SeaConquest

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38 minutes ago, SeaConquest said:

Perhaps Square knows the answer to this, but why are the online classes so much more time consuming vs the Academy classes? Sacha is in Algebra 1 at the Academy, which combines most of Algebra A and B, plus some Counting & Probability. Some weeks take longer than others for him, but he's never come close to spending anywhere near the time people are talking about. They get assigned anywhere from 10-15 problems for the week. That's it. This week, they took Sacha about an hour to do the whole week (he is young, but not the math genius like Arcadia's boys are).

He will do Geometry at the Academy next year, but after that, I was thinking of switching to the online classes to save travel time, but you all have me so scared of the time suck. He's taking Number Theory online this spring. Will that be an accurate representation of the other online classes because, thus far, he's only done programming online. The rest have been at the Academy, which seems to have an easier workload.

Just wondering, does he also have writing problems assigned?  Those tend to take up a good amount of time -- some are more challenging than others, but the writing itself can often take quite awhile, especially as the material covered gets more complex. 

When ds was in Intro to Alg B and Geometry there were challenge problems, the writing problem, and then Alcumus problems assigned.   Once he got to Intermediate Alg the Alcumus dropped off and the challenge problems got more difficult, so the amount of time spent stayed about the same.

The biggest impact sometimes, honestly, is whether ds paid attention during the online class or not.  It's 7:30 at night, usually he's home alone so it's pretty quiet, and he can get pretty bored.  Text based classes that last an hour and a half take a lot of willpower!  So a few bad weeks have been caused by having to go back and read the entire transcript again, or pore through the chapter (which otherwise ds doesn't touch) and he has to relearn the material.  That's probably happened 4-5 times over the past three years, but it definitely caused an impact that week. 

We have not done number theory, but I can't imagine it would be anything like geometry was.  That was just rough! Though also part of it was the speed of the teacher -- for that class and for his next Algebra class he said they would post big blocks of text and he often couldn't read fast enough to keep up.  It was like drinking from a firehouse.  It might be different with different teachers though.  For Precalc he hasn't complained at all about the pace and the workload has been very reasonable.   

 

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Because we also study the textbook and do the textbook problems. And that is insanely time consuming. I can’t imagine not working the book though. I see some young geniuses here (and you might have one of those) who don’t need the textbook, but for the average mortals (as the majority on the high school board), it’s a must.  And while the majority of assigned problems might not be all very time consuming, there are always 2-3 that suck the life and significant weekday time out of us.

I do think though that a lot has to do with kids. Obviously for a child like Quark’s boy the experience would be radically different than my average kid. So I always recommend people pay close attention to what sort of students the parents are talking about. I am guessing the parents at the accelerated board would report radically different results. 

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Just out of curiosity, how much material do the Academy and online classes cover each week?

My son is about half way through Intro to Algebra working on his own.  He completes just under one section a day: so he does the 4-6ish "Problems", compares his answers to the solutions, completes the 10ish "Exercises", and then redoes any exercises he got wrong (after that I help on any that are still stumping him).  This takes him 45ish minutes a day.  If the section is significantly longer or more challenging than normal, then he will temporarily skip the last few exercises and instead tack them onto a short section or onto the review problems.  He can typically complete the page of Review Problems in two days and the Challenge questions in 2-3 days. 

Overall that means that each chapter takes 2+ weeks and that he is completing ~75 problems/exercises a week.  I also mark 2-3 problems each week that I require full written solutions.

Are the Academy and online classes covering material faster?  slower?  in less depth?  with less practice?

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6 hours ago, SeaConquest said:

Perhaps Square knows the answer to this, but why are the online classes so much more time consuming vs the Academy classes? Sacha is in Algebra 1 at the Academy, which combines most of Algebra A and B, plus some Counting & Probability. Some weeks take longer than others for him, but he's never come close to spending anywhere near the time people are talking about. They get assigned anywhere from 10-15 problems for the week. That's it. This week, they took Sacha about an hour to do the whole week (he is young, but not the math genius like Arcadia's boys are).

He will do Geometry at the Academy next year, but after that, I was thinking of switching to the online classes to save travel time, but you all have me so scared of the time suck. He's taking Number Theory online this spring. Will that be an accurate representation of the other online classes because, thus far, he's only done programming online. The rest have been at the Academy, which seems to have an easier workload.

 

I am not particularly familiar with the Academy classes, so I'd have to see a sample assignment to know! For the classes I've taught, they have 10-15 short answer problems (called Challenge Problems) and a writing problem each week. For most kids, the writing problem takes the most time, since it requires a rigorous proof, and a lot of the kids aren't used to proofs. Do they also have writing problems at the Academy classes? 

 

Edited by square_25

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1 hour ago, wendyroo said:

Are the Academy and online classes covering material faster?  slower?  in less depth?  with less practice?

 

I'd say that the online classes go through material faster and in less depth. Also, most people in these classes do the assigned online questions but not necessarily the textbook questions. 

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25 minutes ago, square_25 said:

Also, most people in these classes do the assigned online questions but not necessarily the textbook questions. 


I think a lot of PS kids who I suspect make up the majority of those classes simply have no time to do anything more than class problems. But those kids get math at school as well.

I would think homeschool kids are more likely to also use the textbook because often for them AoPS is the only math they do.

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2 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:


I think a lot of PS kids who I suspect make up the majority of those classes simply have no time to do anything more than class problems. But those kids get math at school as well.

I would think homeschool kids are more likely to also use the textbook because often for them AoPS is the only math they do.

 

It's possible, although I've had a lot of homeschool students as well. I think the Challenge Problems and writing problem take enough time per week that it's hard for kids to do much with the textbook other than read it. 

 

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1 hour ago, square_25 said:

 

It's possible, although I've had a lot of homeschool students as well. I think the Challenge Problems and writing problem take enough time per week that it's hard for kids to do much with the textbook other than read it. 

 


mine did textbook as well, hence the hours. There is no way class only would have been enough.

and he said some of the kids in the class that were signed up never participated. I wonder how many PS kids take it for enrichment and then then realize there is no time for anything. 

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1 minute ago, Roadrunner said:


mine did textbook as well, hence the hours. There is no way class only would have been enough.

and he said some of the kids in the class that were signed up never participated. I wonder how many PS kids take it for enrichment and then then realize there is no time for anything. 

 

Some of the classes are super condensed, so I know exactly what you mean. 

I find that about half of each class will actually participate, and probably a quarter to a third do the work (although it seems to be somewhat more in calculus than I'm used to.) So yeah, that happens with some frequency. 

 

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16 hours ago, square_25 said:

 

I am not particularly familiar with the Academy classes, so I'd have to see a sample assignment to know! For the classes I've taught, they have 10-15 short answer problems (called Challenge Problems) and a writing problem each week. For most kids, the writing problem takes the most time, since it requires a rigorous proof, and a lot of the kids aren't used to proofs. Do they also have writing problems at the Academy classes? 

 

 

So, they only do the 10-15 challenge problems. No writing problems (at least, not in Algebra, I assumed this happened starting in Geometry, but perhaps not) and Alcumus is optional. They have contests at the Academy to encourage kids to participate in Alcumus. I've only ever required Sacha to turn the assigned challenge problems blue. Like I said, this week (completing the square), that took him an hour for the whole week of work. Other weeks, it can take him a few hours, but never anything like what I read about here. Now, I understand that he's doing *substantially* less than those in the classes and those using textbooks, like Wendy's son (who I believe is the same age). 75 questions per week vs 10-15! Wow. I am such a slacker homeschooling mom! I don't require anything in writing. I assumed that he would learn to write proofs in the upper level courses, but now I'm going to email his professor. 

No wonder he gets blue each week and then chokes on his exams. He obviously needs more practice. Almost all of the kids in his classes are older and attend high-performing public and private schools.

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6 minutes ago, SeaConquest said:

 

So, they only do the 10-15 challenge problems. No writing problems (at least, not in Algebra, I assumed this happened starting in Geometry, but perhaps not) and Alcumus is optional. They have contests at the Academy to encourage kids to participate in Alcumus. I've only ever required Sacha to turn the assigned challenge problems blue. Like I said, this week (completing the square), that took him an hour for the whole week of work. Other weeks, it can take him a few hours, but never anything like what I read about here. Now, I understand that he's doing *substantially* less than those in the classes and those using textbooks, like Wendy's son (who I believe is the same age). 75 questions per week vs 10-15! Wow. I am such a slacker homeschooling mom! I don't require anything in writing. I assumed that he would learn to write proofs in the upper level courses, but now I'm going to email his professor. 

No wonder he gets blue each week and then chokes on his exams. He obviously needs more practice. Almost all of the kids in his classes are older and attend high-performing public and private schools.

Peter is 10 and a half. 

He would not be able to do 75 challenge problems each week. 

Most days he does 5-7ish increasingly challenging "discovery" problems that are followed by complete solutions which should guide him to understand the concept, plus 5-7ish "exercise" problems that require him to apply what he learned, plus 1-3 starred challenge problems.  Then he normally has to redo a couple problems that he gets wrong and it isn't unusual for him to need my help on one or two problems that stump him.

Peter does math 5-6 days a week and spends about 45ish minutes each day.  So, over the course of the week he is spending about 4 hours on math, and doing 30ish discovery problems, 30ish exercise problems and 15ish challenge problems.  I don't think the discovery method would be sufficient for him if he did significantly less problems.  I'm sure it would be different if he were getting some direct instruction from a class, but primarily learning from the graduated problems means he needs to do a lot of them to fully explore and understand each concept.

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1 hour ago, wendyroo said:

Peter is 10 and a half. 

He would not be able to do 75 challenge problems each week. 

Most days he does 5-7ish increasingly challenging "discovery" problems that are followed by complete solutions which should guide him to understand the concept, plus 5-7ish "exercise" problems that require him to apply what he learned, plus 1-3 starred challenge problems.  Then he normally has to redo a couple problems that he gets wrong and it isn't unusual for him to need my help on one or two problems that stump him.

Peter does math 5-6 days a week and spends about 45ish minutes each day.  So, over the course of the week he is spending about 4 hours on math, and doing 30ish discovery problems, 30ish exercise problems and 15ish challenge problems.  I don't think the discovery method would be sufficient for him if he did significantly less problems.  I'm sure it would be different if he were getting some direct instruction from a class, but primarily learning from the graduated problems means he needs to do a lot of them to fully explore and understand each concept.

This is exactly what we do. Review takes 3 days; we dont do the challenge review. Half of the proof problems my son just tells me the proof. But he is doing a lot of math problems every week. 

We are 2 weeks ish from finishing geometry and the Counting and Probability book came in the mail and I am so excited for a bit of a break! It looks so much more pleasant!

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On 1/14/2020 at 3:06 PM, teachermom2834 said:

Nm...I was quoted but I’m just deleting because I don’t have anything to offer and shouldn’t have posted. 

Your perspective would have been useful for others reading the thread.

On 1/14/2020 at 4:32 AM, 8FillTheHeart said:

 While AoPS is great for the students that fit it, it is just one of many options. 

 

While my kids enjoyed AoPS, it did make DS15 drop the idea of math major because he thinks he has to be as good as the ‚ÄúAoPS people‚ÄĚ. Dual enrollment makes him reconsider math as a potential triple major.

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Just to give an update, my son worked really hard and manage to do really well in a class!   NOW we are both feeling really good about the class and think it was the single best thing we did this year in our homeschool.   (Aren't we funny?!)   Was it challenging?  YES!  But was it worthwhile?   Without a doubt.   I equate it to the feeling you might get at the end of running a marathon (or having a baby for all of you mamas out there).   In the midst of it (and especially at the end), the tasks seems impossible.    But a few weeks removed, and you are so glad you had the experience.   Perhaps a bit melodramatic, but that is how we are both feeling right now.

My son has also BEGGED me to keep going with AOPS classes.   So that is our short term plan.   He is going to work through the NUMBER THEORY book at home with mama..   (He prefers that to counting and probability and finds the questions more interesting.).   Then I am going to have him work through the rest of the Algebra book this summer and take the online class this fall.   I think that will make the pace very manageable.   (And hopefully he will go back and complete Counting and Probability this spring when Algebra B is finished.)

On 1/14/2020 at 7:32 AM, 8FillTheHeart said:

What does he see himself pursuing long term? I am with roadrunner in that unless math or theory are long-term objectives, or unless AoPS is his favorite course, I would recommend he switch to something else. I can't fathom their alg 1 course taking that long and it being 1-worth it or 2- really beneficial. While AoPS is great for the students that fit it, it is just one of many options. Honestly, my ds didnt spend that much time on any AoPS course and I thought they were time-consuming then. Your description is over the top when he can master concepts from a different approach.

Forester has been great for my kids. (My AoPS ds actually used Foerster alg 1 and  1/2 of alg 2 and jumped into AoPS intermediate in a spring class and didnt miss a beat. So that tells me Foerster prepared him well enough.)

My dd who  was as strong in math in high school as ds used DO lectures with the Sullivan textbook for precal. (We self-graded and didn't use his materials) and Thinkwell for cal. My current sr is planning on a science major and has also taken that route.

He will go into some sort of math or science field most likely.   He has always said that he wants to be a wildlife biologist.  (That is what he would tell you if you asked him today.) But I imagine him being a professor of....something.  He loves to talk at length about topics that interest him (and teach).    (But what do I know?  It is so hard to answer that question when your kid is only 13!)

On 1/14/2020 at 3:15 PM, 8FillTheHeart said:

I think the missing information in Arcadia's post is the age her ds was when he was spending 4 hrs per day on alg 1.  He was taking pre-cal in 7th grade.  @TheAttachedMamadoesn't post the ages of her kids, but I'm guessing he is probably a 7th or 8th grader.  If he is an 8th grader, he is looking at spending that much time or more just on math in high school.  That is a significant amt of time taking away from other required subjects.  That isn't as big of a deal in elementary and middle school b/c other than English, nothing else is absolutely vital and as time consuming.  In high school, though, spending that amt of time on math means that other subjects are going to have to take a backseat.  Fine if math is the student's real desire, but equally, it is unnecessary.

Sorry, he was 12 while he took this class. ¬†ūüôā. (7th grade). He just turned 13.

On 1/17/2020 at 12:11 PM, SeaConquest said:

Perhaps Square knows the answer to this, but why are the online classes so much more time consuming vs the Academy classes?...

 

On 1/17/2020 at 1:01 PM, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

Just wondering, does he also have writing problems assigned?  Those tend to take up a good amount of time -- some are more challenging than others, but the writing itself can often take quite awhile, especially as the material covered gets more complex. 

When ds was in Intro to Alg B and Geometry there were challenge problems, the writing problem, and then Alcumus problems assigned.   Once he got to Intermediate Alg the Alcumus dropped off and the challenge problems got more difficult, so the amount of time spent stayed about the same.

The biggest impact sometimes, honestly, is whether ds paid attention during the online class or not.  It's 7:30 at night, usually he's home alone so it's pretty quiet, and he can get pretty bored.  Text based classes that last an hour and a half take a lot of willpower!  So a few bad weeks have been caused by having to go back and read the entire transcript again, or pore through the chapter (which otherwise ds doesn't touch) and he has to relearn the material.  That's probably happened 4-5 times over the past three years, but it definitely caused an impact that week. 

We have not done number theory, but I can't imagine it would be anything like geometry was.  That was just rough! Though also part of it was the speed of the teacher -- for that class and for his next Algebra class he said they would post big blocks of text and he often couldn't read fast enough to keep up.  It was like drinking from a firehouse.  It might be different with different teachers though.  For Precalc he hasn't complained at all about the pace and the workload has been very reasonable.   

 

 

YES!  We had a substitute who did that one week.   VERY annoying.   I didn't like that teacher much at all.  They would pause for WAAAAAAAY too long waiting for a simple answer.  (Like how do we get a common denominator?  Or how do we add like terms? <Pause for 15 mins>.)  Then, paste the equivalent of a novel in 2 second flat and move on to another novel of text the next second.   He also didn't share many student responses.   Kids seem to become less engaged when they think no one is reading or paying attention to their responses.   And when they stop engaging, they stop paying attention.  

His regular teacher (Benjamin Engwall) was a FABULOUS teacher.  (Sign up for his class if you can!).  His pacing was great.  He also did a great job keeping students engaged in a text forum.  He would share student responses and even just comments.   This helped remind everyone that there were real human beings behind these keyboards.   Not just a teacher pasting in content.

We are on EST, so the classes were pretty late for us. ¬†So getting tired and spacing out was a concern of mine!¬†¬† I got some great tips on this forum before starting:¬† We put on fun music. ¬†I also stocked my fridge with ice cream or made fresh popcorn whenever we had an AOPS class. ¬†We usually don't have food like that, so it made my son look forward to AOPS night.¬† ¬†It also allowed him to ¬†munch while he waited for kids to solve the problems in class.¬†¬† ¬†My son also started a (weird, but fun for him) tradition:¬† Anytime his response was "shared" (a huge honor for him), he would literally howl...which would make our dog howl. ¬†haha ¬†So the entire family would laugh and say, "I guess M-- got shared in his math class." ¬† That became a tradition, and now my middle daughter is doing this in her Mathcounts class. ¬†ūüôā¬† Silly things like this helped him stay engaged.

On 1/17/2020 at 3:30 PM, Roadrunner said:

Because we also study the textbook and do the textbook problems. And that is insanely time consuming. I can’t imagine not working the book though. I see some young geniuses here (and you might have one of those) who don’t need the textbook, but for the average mortals (as the majority on the high school board), it’s a must.  And while the majority of assigned problems might not be all very time consuming, there are always 2-3 that suck the life and significant weekday time out of us.

I do think though that a lot has to do with kids. Obviously for a child like Quark’s boy the experience would be radically different than my average kid. So I always recommend people pay close attention to what sort of students the parents are talking about. I am guessing the parents at the accelerated board would report radically different results. 

 

and

On 1/17/2020 at 5:35 PM, wendyroo said:

Are the Academy and online classes covering material faster?  slower?  in less depth?  with less practice?

 

and

 

On 1/17/2020 at 6:43 PM, square_25 said:

 

I'd say that the online classes go through material faster and in less depth. Also, most people in these classes do the assigned online questions but not necessarily the textbook questions. 

 

I guess I am in the odd one out. ¬† I feel like the online classes gave us much *more* depth than when we just worked through the book alone. ¬† I suspect that you are correct: ¬†*most* kids in the class probably did not not need to do the textbook problems in order to complete the challenge problems. ¬† However, like roadrunner, My son was not one of those kids. ūüėČ ¬†He had to work through the book in order to figure out some of the more tricky challenge problems assigned as homework. ¬† ¬† According to my son,¬†who likes to chat with the kids in his class,¬†most of the kids in his class had already been through Algebra at their schools and were repeating the subject with AOPS for enrichment/added depth. ¬† My son was coming in cold with only pre-algebra. ¬†

 

------

FYI...Here are some numbers to compare workload:   I just checked my son's profile, and he did 1157 problems in alcumus alone *just* for intro to algebra A, plus 131 challenge problems assigned in class, plus 16 full blown written written solutions.   That averages 81.5 problems a week that go much further in depth than any Algebra class I have ever seen.  (Even Honors Algebra classes).    Those are the problems he completed in addition to the textbook and problems worked in class.   Like I said in a previous post, I feel like he really knows Algebra now.

 

 

 

Edited by TheAttachedMama
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@TheAttachedMama I am wondering if you could let me know where I could find the number of problems attempted on the AOPS website for each course (e.g. Alg A, Geometry) to come up with average problems/week. I would like to do the same as well.

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1 minute ago, mathnerd said:

@TheAttachedMama I am wondering if you could let me know where I could find the number of problems attempted on the AOPS website for each course (e.g. Alg A, Geometry) to come up with average problems/week. I would like to do the same as well.

 

Well, I think you only have access to the class website for a few weeks after the class closes.   Our class just closed, so I was able to go to the class page directly.  (I went through and just added up all of the assigned problems for each of the weeks.).  Alcumus remains around though, and you can view those problems by going to the report page.   (Of course, if your child took those classes awhile ago, Alcumus will also include any review problems in the total count for that subject too.).  

...Also, my problem count won't necessarily represent every student's problem count since Alcumus is adaptive. 

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1 minute ago, TheAttachedMama said:

 

Well, I think you only have access to the class website for a few weeks after the class closes.   Our class just closed, so I was able to go to the class page directly.  (I went through and just added up all of the assigned problems for each of the weeks.).  Alcumus remains around though, and you can view those problems by going to the report page.   (Of course, if your child took those classes awhile ago, Alcumus will also include any review problems in the total count for that subject too.).  

...Also, my problem count won't necessarily represent every student's problem count since Alcumus is adaptive. 

Thanks, that is helpful and I will log into alcumus and check. I always wonder if my son gets enough practice using AOPS or if I should throw in more practice and¬†such a number would make me sleep easier at night ūüėȬ†

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2 hours ago, TheAttachedMama said:

...He loves to talk at length about topics that interest him (and teach)....when your kid is only 13!)

Sorry, not on topic, but this made me laugh because my DSjust-turned14 always has a topic (or a few) he likes to (I lovingly refer to as) talk to death.  Currently it's Fortnite...argh!  We severely limit his play and 'talk about' time to save all our sanity. 

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5 hours ago, TheAttachedMama said:

My son has also BEGGED me to keep going with AOPS classes.   So that is our short term plan.   He is going to work through the NUMBER THEORY book at home with mama..   (He prefers that to counting and probability and finds the questions more interesting.).   Then I am going to have him work through the rest of the Algebra book this summer and take the online class this fall.   I think that will make the pace very manageable.   (And hopefully he will go back and complete Counting and Probability this spring when Algebra B is finished.).......

He will go into some sort of math or science field most likely.   He has always said that he wants to be a wildlife biologist.  (That is what he would tell you if you asked him today.) But I imagine him being a professor of....something.  He loves to talk at length about topics that interest him (and teach).    (But what do I know?  It is so hard to answer that question when your kid is only 13!)

My goodness, if he wants to stay with AoPS, all the more power to him!  He should!  It is kids who feel like they have to or somehow they are failing their math educations even while they are finding AoPS soul-sucking, those are the kids that need permission to drop it without any guilt whatsoever.

In terms of the bolder, I could have written the exact same thing about my ds who is now in grad school for cosmology.¬† At 13 he would talk about dark matter, black holes, event horizons......constantly.¬† I didn't understand anything he said but he would talk about physics things for hours.¬† Obviously, it never stopped being a love! ūüôā¬† You never know.¬† What you see today may be where he still is in the future.¬†

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