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How do I remediate algebra 1?


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DD is 15 and finishing 9th grade. I do not think we can move on in math next year because of her struggles with Algebra 1. I've posted previously about it. She tends to make 85% on tests in Saxon Algebra 1, but she is missing sometimes 50% on lessons and is just super frustrated.

I'm wondering about putting her in the Key To series or Teaching Textbooks for the next several months and then trying to finish Saxon Algebra 1 before we move ahead in the fall. Of course, the idea of a summer of more math is crushing to her.

Any thoughts?

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I think that 85 percent on Saxon tests is considered doing well. Saxon Algebra 2 starts with about 35 lessons of review. Maybe she just needs to bolster her confidence over the summer by doing something like Thinkwell Algebra 1 to help solidify and tie everything together.

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Coming back bc I spent the afternoon looking through Foesters and a Larson Algebra 1 book and I cannot find the RT=D problems like Saxon is doing.   They have the basic formula but not all the variations.  I'm not sure what your DD is having trouble with, but after looking through these 2 programs I've decided to do them alongside her and not to include them on any tests.  We are at lesson 94.  They are taught again in Algebra 2, so not stressing it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would start next year's geometry and review algebra while doing geometry next year. Sometimes they just need to be older for the algebra to click. My daughter reviewed algebra as her math this year instead of taking calculus, she had gone through algebra and trig but her algebra was not solid. (We are calling her math course math topics, review of all math she doesn't know well plus a bit of things she will need for the college math class she will be taking.)

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Have you considered not doing Saxon anymore? It always baffles me when anyone says it is fine to do anything that involves missing problems in a math program. Either you get it or you don't. If you are missing 10% of the time or more, you just are not getting it.

I would consider doing Keys to Algebra and/or using a different program.

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What exactly is she struggling with?  Without knowing that, it's difficult to make suggestions.  Getting 50% on homework could mean that she has no clue about certain concepts (a big problem) or that she is making a lot of "silly" mistakes because her working memory is overloaded (extremely common).  

Sometimes what's needed is a bit of incubation.  I'd proceed with geometry and reteach algebra concepts as necessary, including those needed for any algebra review included in the geometry course.  Then for Algebra 2, I'd use a text, such as Lial, that gives a thorough review of Algebra 1 in a way that provides both a big picture understanding and practice with the details.  Among other things, it is possible that using Saxon has resulted in fragmenting her understanding of the concepts, so that what are really facets of one thing seem like lots of completely different things.  

Note that when I say "use," I mean that you should present the material to her and have her do practice problems with you to ensure that she understands.  One key piece of this instruction should be showing her how any new material relates to what she already knows.  This will help her remember things better, and it will help keep her working memory from being overloaded.  Then she should check each problem she does in independent practice with you as she works through them, resolving any mistakes or misconceptions before moving on to the next problem. 

I do not recommend simply handing her the Key to... workbooks and telling her to go for it, nor am I a fan of TT's answer-focused format.  Struggling math students almost always need a teacher who can figure out where the hang ups are and then work with the student to fix them, and this is, by necessity and by definition, process-focused.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 5/2/2020 at 9:58 PM, ElizabethB said:

I would start next year's geometry and review algebra while doing geometry next year. Sometimes they just need to be older for the algebra to click. My daughter reviewed algebra as her math this year instead of taking calculus, she had gone through algebra and trig but her algebra was not solid. (We are calling her math course math topics, review of all math she doesn't know well plus a bit of things she will need for the college math class she will be taking.)

 What would you suggest to use for algebra review while doing geometry?

My son struggled a lot with Algebra 1. I feel like we need to really work on it all summer but not sure what to use. Getting 85% on the tests is much better than he did. 😛 

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14 hours ago, LAmom said:

 What would you suggest to use for algebra review while doing geometry?

My son struggled a lot with Algebra 1. I feel like we need to really work on it all summer but not sure what to use. Getting 85% on the tests is much better than he did. 😛 

With my daughter, we just worked through her algebra books again, reviewing a bit each day, doing just a few problems from each section.  With my son, we did Prep Scholar SAT online test prep and then reviewed any Algebra he needed to review, he needed less review and liked the challenge of the SAT prep questions, we only did a few problems from his book in areas that needed work.  

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I am currently working with a student who struggles with Alg. 1. To start with we are using the CLE (Christian Light) Alg. 1 Math Skill Development Sheets. There are 63 of them, reviewing basics that are covered in Algebra - fairly easy and explanations on each page. Then we will start in the Alg 1 LightUnits this summer. It is a gentle program with lots of review. With this particular student I need to build her confidence, and it is working. I thought about using the Key To series but CLE is better (see samples online) for this student at least. Surprisingly the Christian content is almost nonexistent. It is entirely missing from the Development Sheets.

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