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Started Pre-A halfway through 6th grade, will this create problems later on?


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Hey all! My twin 6th graders both started pre-algebra about halfway through 6th grade this year, since that's when we finished Beast Academy 5. Looking ahead, is this going to create problems for us? Having math classes not start in August/September and run the length of one standard school year? Should I push to get them to start algebra 1 in the fall, or the other option, intentionally take 1.5 years with pre-A and start algebra 1 in the fall of 8th grade so that math classes then fit tidily onto high school transcripts? I'm also wondering about the possibility of our current schedule preventing us from finding good online math classes (although with southern hemisphere homeschoolers, there may very well be some that start in January?), which I expect to want as they get older, possible dual enrollment, etc. 

Thoughts? 

Thanks! 

Edited by craftyerin
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Are they using AOPS Pre-algebra? That scenario happened here, but then ds ended up spending a year and a half in that Pre-A book, so the worry was for naught. If your dc are more mathy and happen to only need a year for Pre-A, you could always do a semester of Pre-Geometry with Patty Paper Geometry or you could work one of the shorter  AOPS books like Number Theory or Counting and Probability.

I say, just go with it and be sure they are solid as they go, even if that means it takes a little longer than a school year to finish the book - no worries! you have an extra semester to play with! Your students will be happier later with a super strong foundation.

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3 minutes ago, SusanC said:

Are they using AOPS Pre-algebra? That scenario happened here, but then ds ended up spending a year and a half in that Pre-A book, so the worry was for naught. If your dc are more mathy and happen to only need a year for Pre-A, you could always do a semester of Pre-Geometry with Patty Paper Geometry or you could work one of the shorter  AOPS books like Number Theory or Counting and Probability.

I say, just go with it and be sure they are solid as they go, even if that means it takes a little longer than a school year to finish the book - no worries! you have an extra semester to play with! Your students will be happier later with a super strong foundation.

One of them is using AOPS pre-A. One of them was tired of the AOPS approach after Beast and moved to MM7 for pre-A. Right now, both are pacing to get halfway through by the end of May, but we'll see. I like the idea of a one semester filler course if needed (filler in a time sense, not a fluff sense). Thanks for the input! 

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We spent 1.5 years each with pre-A and Algebra.  You can also fill a semester with Number Theory or Probability (or a statistics class from another provider).  Because the AoPS books line up oddly anyway (there's no Trig book) a book doesn't always line up with a traditional course, anyway.  Somewhere on the boards somebody showed a breakdown of what chapters from what book would make a traditional class for Alg, Alg 2, Trig, etc.  I will have a 9th grader next year and am planning to use the best approximation of what we're doing to make a good transcript.  In a sense, it doesn't matter - if you do most of the Alg book in 9th, for instance, I'd just record the Alg credit as a 9th grade class.  I'll be doing that with Alg. 2 - we're doing 1/3 this year and the other 2/3 in 9th, and I'll record the credit as 9th grade since that's when most work was done and we won't be listing stuff done in 8th grade on the high school transcript (unless I have a list of 'courses completed prior to high school').  My advice would be to not rush in an attempt to make the classes fit the 1-year time frame, especially in middle school. Part of why we took longer with some of the books is that we do some Life of Fred - a fun program that reinforces concepts, shows some application, and teaches in a totally different way.  My kid says that it reinforces concepts if he's already learned it in AoPS and makes the AoPS easier if he gets to it in LOF first.  I like that it gives something short to schedule on busy days. 

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Not a problem.

Students who start Algebra 1 in 9th grade are perfectly on track to complete the 4 credits of Math that many colleges want for admission (Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, Pre-Calc).  That gives you the rest of 6th grade, plus grades 7 and 8 to complete Pre-Algebra. 😉 

And if you were hoping to complete Algebra 1 in 8th grade (in order to do Geometry, Algebra 2, Pre-Cal, and either Calculus or Statistics in high school), you still have loads of time to do that -- 1.5 years each for Pre-Algebra and Algebra I (like ClemsonDana did).

The most important thing is to make sure your students are rock-solid with those Pre-Algebra topics before moving on to the higher Maths. Rushing through Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 often trips up students later on, as they have a faulty understanding of the foundational concepts that the higher maths are built on, and they often either have to slow down or even go back and re-learn some of the earlier concepts. So pushing = bad when it comes to transitioning into the higher maths. 😉 

As far as "getting off schedule" for taking online classes -- Derek Owens online math classes are a strong option, and can be started at any time. Or, if you needed to go with a provider who follows the traditional school year, you could just keep working through the summer to complete your Algebra 1. (I would NOT worry about that with the Pre-Algebra -- take that at your students' pace.)

Edited by Lori D.
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We schooled year round until about halfway through high school.  So if we finished PreA on Monday, then we start algebra on Tuesday, whether that's in September, February, or July.  

This came in hand for us because dd finished precalculus in the spring, so we continued the next day with AoPS calculus for the rest of the year.  We stopped for the summer, and by that time she had covered derivatives, but not integrals.  But it was nice because she got some extra time that first semester when she took AP calculus formally online beginning in September.  

I'm a big fan of schooling year round because you avoid the "summer slump" and you never know when you will need the extra time for opportunities like travel or for illnesses or other personal issues.  

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6 hours ago, ClemsonDana said:

I will have a 9th grader next year and am planning to use the best approximation of what we're doing to make a good transcript.  In a sense, it doesn't matter - if you do most of the Alg book in 9th, for instance, I'd just record the Alg credit as a 9th grade class.  I'll be doing that with Alg. 2 - we're doing 1/3 this year and the other 2/3 in 9th, and I'll record the credit as 9th grade since that's when most work was done and we won't be listing stuff done in 8th grade on the high school transcript (unless I have a list of 'courses completed prior to high school').  My advice would be to not rush in an attempt to make the classes fit the 1-year time frame, especially in middle school. Part of why we took longer with some of the books is that we do some Life of Fred - a fun program that reinforces concepts, shows some application, and teaches in a totally different way.  My kid says that it reinforces concepts if he's already learned it in AoPS and makes the AoPS easier if he gets to it in LOF first.  I like that it gives something short to schedule on busy days. 

That all makes perfect sense, And I appreciate the admonition not to rush to make things fit nicely. We do have lots of time. I need to keep reminding myself of that! 

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6 hours ago, Lori D. said:

Rushing through Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 often trips up students later on, as they have a faulty understanding of the foundational concepts that the higher maths are built on, and they often either have to slow down or even go back and re-learn some of the earlier concepts. So pushing = bad when it comes to transitioning into the higher maths. 😉 

This is a good to know! 

6 hours ago, Lori D. said:

As far as "getting off schedule" for taking online classes -- Derek Owens online math classes are a strong option, and can be started at any time. Or, if you needed to go with a provider who follows the traditional school year, you could just keep working through the summer to complete your Algebra 1. (I would NOT worry about that with the Pre-Algebra -- take that at your students' pace.)

Good to know about Derek Owens! What started this mini-panic this morning was my SIL telling me that her daughter, who is 2 years older than my kids, is loving her Dr D's pre-A and they're planning to continue using his classes for Algebra 1 next year. I went to his website, saw that all of his classes run Sept-May and thought, "Crap. Have I gotten myself into a bind?! We're very unlikely to be ready for Algebra 1 in September of this year, and are likely to be beyond ready for it by September of next year." I'm feeling reassured, though. Thanks! 

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4 hours ago, daijobu said:

I'm a big fan of schooling year round because you avoid the "summer slump" and you never know when you will need the extra time for opportunities like travel or for illnesses or other personal issues.  

I wish we could! I mean, we *could* but because of my other son that doesn't homeschool being on a regular 9 month school year schedule, it makes it harder to be consistent with homeschool work through the summer. We gave up when we put my oldest in school. We're embracing the summers off with travel, camps, etc. They're only 11, though. Things could change. 

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11 minutes ago, craftyerin said:

That all makes perfect sense, And I appreciate the admonition not to rush to make things fit nicely. We do have lots of time. I need to keep reminding myself of that! 

Solid skills in prealgebra and algebra will so pay off later on.  Take your time so your student will have a deep understanding of the most useful and important part of his math education.  

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My DD finished Singapore 6 last month so we started MM 7 (Pre A). She's in 6th grade and moving quickly through MM 7 at least for now (we are starting Chapter 3 tomorrow). My plan is to start Algebra 1 when she finishes MM 7 and she would very much like that to be in the fall. We will work through the summer at least a few days a week so maybe we will finish in the fall. I have Beast Academy 5 for her to do alongside the MM 7 as well. My DS (10th grade) took two years for Algebra 1 (8th and 9th grade) because I wanted these foundational higher math concepts solid more than I wanted him accelerated and that has been a good path. If it takes my DD two years (or 1.5 years) for Algebra 1 that's fine with me even though she would say she wants to stay accelerated.

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We have always progressed to the next math when the kids were ready. Didn't care if that matched up with the artificial school year. Sometimes did two maths overlapping.

I have always awarded the credit in the school year the course was completed. Nobody is going to ask when the course started.

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Another online option to consider, which can be started at any time, is unlockmath.com.  We switched to it when I realized my dc was struggling to maintain focus with DO's lengthy explanations and slower pace of speech.  The Unlock Math lady is from Canada and speaks at a very fast pace.  My dc loves the unlimited practice (students can redo an assignment or a chapter/semester review with completely new problems) and the daily review problems to keep skills fresh.  Neither was available with DO.  

 

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