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DO is very helpful and responsive, Mr. D more gentle. DO has an "honors" option.

I'm not sure where Mr. D stands cost-wise, but DO will only charge for the months you need access, maxing out at 6 months. So if your ds finishes early you don't need to keep paying (that hasn't been enough motivation here, YMMV) After 9 months you don't have to pay any more, but you have access for at least 2 years. This is apparently the track my ds is on. 😄

@ByGrace3 has a lot of Mr. D experience, perhaps she can come in.

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We have experience with both.

I wouldn't use Mr. D's for a kid interested in STEM. It's too light. And kids who are really good at math would likely be bored by it. It's mostly pretty thorough and covers the bases, but there's almost no word problems - it's a real weakness. I also wouldn't use it for a kid who struggles with... ahem... checking their own work. Because that's a key component of the program. That's the strength of DO - he really walks kids through the problems in the feedback to help them see their errors. He's focused on that. Mr. D's is just not. Mr. D's is good for a kid who can do math, is okay at it, but doesn't like it much, just wants to get it done and check all the boxes. It can also be good for a kid who struggles if they're determined to really utilize the help sessions and make themselves get through it. A lot of kids who struggle with math are avoiders. Mr. D's makes it too easy for them to wriggle out of it for too long.

On the flip side, I wouldn't use DO for a kid who needs a live person to talk them through something sometimes. They will email you more videos, send you suggestions, etc. But in the end, there's no live person to walk you through it step by step. It's much more challenging and strong as a program. Very thorough, but also not AoPS level. I think it's best for a student who needs a bit of challenge - either because they are interested in STEM or because they are smart and fast with work - but doesn't want to make math their life.

There are other options out there. Kathy Warman is nice because she really customizes it for kids a bit based on where they are and focuses on mastery, brings in some slightly different resources:
https://www.kathywarmantutoring.com/

Jann in Texas's My Homeschool Math Class has the reputation of being good for kids who struggle a bit:
https://myhomeschoolmathclass.com/index.html

Math Live Online is one I've heard good things about as well... And now Thinkwell has a level that comes with human support. Which is all just to say... there are many other options out there...

 

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DO offers a sibling discount if they are both enrolled, $10 off each one, but if course having siblings take the same class can be tricky!

I feel like DO with a tutor would be a great choice - but i think math should be challenging and I've not had adc with dyscalculia.

If it isn't as critical to have outside grading, could your younger ds work through the AOPS algebra 1? I haven't gone through that book, though.

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You might want to take a look at Unlock Math.  As far as Algebra 1 topics, it's on par or slightly advanced compared to Derek Owens.  (Dc used DO for Algebra 1 and Unlock Math for geometry and for Algebra 2, which assumed knowledge of a couple of algebra topics dc hadn't covered in Algebra 1 with DO.)  The teacher is a certified math teacher in Canada; she speaks much more quickly than Derek Owens, and her lessons are much shorter.  There are written pages available for online reading or for downloading and printing; they cover the same material as the lectures.  All student work is inputted directly into the website, and mistakes on assignments are clearly explained on the screen immediately and in detail.  If your dc needs more explanation, there is a teacher available during the school day to answer questions via chat.  Assignments, quizzes, and tests can be retaken to improve scores (with different problems).  The midterm and final cannot be retaken.  There is a brief daily review of recently covered material, but it doesn't review material from much earlier in the course until the midterm and final review assignments.   

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Honestly, I'd have the mathy kid do DO and the struggler do Mr. D's. Mr. D's is NCAA approved and used by an accredited provider. It'll be easy to make a case for it. DO - despite being the more challenging course with more rigorous grading - is actually the one I think a random school is less likely to approve. But I wouldn't under any circumstances let the mathy kid do Mr. D's. So whether you choose DO or AoPS or something else for him, don't use Mr. D's.

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7 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I recently had him take the AOPS placement test, and he tested into their Algebra 1.  I don't know, however, whether he's going to want to keep up that pace as he returns to sports, and extracurriculars, and school.

WTMAademy has a full-year AoPS algebra 1 course, in contrast to the 16-week course with AoPS. (I saw it when I was looking recently for alg1 review options, before DS12 moves on to the next thing.)

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28 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

As the parent of athletic kids NCAA approved sounds like something I might need to know about.  What does it mean?  

 

So... someone more knowledgeable than I about NCAA specifics should definitely chime in, but essentially if your student wants to participate in D1 or D2 NCAA recruitment, they must have all their courses NCAA approved. This applies to school students as well - schools must also submit all courses for approval, so it's not a homeschool targeted thing. When you're doing home based courses, it's a hoop to jump through, but not a huge deal - just something to be aware of. When you're doing online courses, you'll want to specifically choose NCAA approved providers. This applies to a lot of providers these days, but certainly not all. I don't think DO has NCAA approval... though he might. I know his calc course now as AP approval.

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We have used Mr. D for years. I have average kids interested in STEM fields. Mr. D is working. Both of my older kids do the Honors option live classes. My ds makes use of the help sessions and it seems to be working for both of my kids. They both hated math and now even like it. I do think the lack of word problems is a weakness and I should supplement that. I don't think it is rigorous, but I do think it is standard level for the classes. 

Also, Mr. D is NCAA approved but only the live courses-- not the self paced. 

As for middle school classes being NCAA approved -- you only have to have the core classes approved so if you plan to use a middle school course to meet that core requirement then yes it must be approved. If you don't use an NCAA approved course, you can fill out a document --CCW I think it is with course descriptions and get it approved via NCAA. It is a pretty common process. 

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My son just finished up Honors Algebra 1 through Thinkwell. We like them pretty well. I think you can do two weeks for free as a trial. I think they also have free refresher courses right now as well.

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10 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Thanks!  I'm going to reach out to him about my kids and see what he says.  

Nothing I've read about Mr. D makes me sound like it's the right option for your mathy younger kid. 

Frankly, I tend to think that this kind of "easy to do by rote" class isn't serving anyone well, whether mathy or not, but that's just my take on learning math. 

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I think the Mr. D's approach is not very conceptually deep. I don't know if it's say it's "by rote" as they do cover the conceptual piece pretty clearly. But also, it's possibly to get through the work by learning the algorithms without focusing on the concepts. I'd say that's true of a number of programs across the board though. I don't think that's ever a good approach for kids who are going into STEM for any reason. For kids who simply are not... mixed feelings. I think it depends a bit.

I will say, we didn't use Mr. D's for algebra I. And I regretted it for my kid who is a bit more mathy when we used it for Algebra II. But not for my less mathy kid who is doing well in Pre-Calc there this year and will take math at the CC next year and I think will be fine.

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1 hour ago, BaseballandHockey said:

What have you read that indicates that the learning in the class is rote?  I'd love to read more reviews.  I've heard that they take more time on basic concepts, and that there aren't word problems, but not that particular criticism.  

You know, I don't think I can cite specific things, but I've gotten a strong impression like that from both all the reviews I've read over the years and having glanced at his page. I have a sixth sense for rote programs, frankly -- I've dealt with them so much. 

Your kiddo is mathy but he doesn't beg for extra work. If you put him in a rote class, he'll do a good job on what's assigned, but he won't enjoy it or find it interesting, and he probably won't work hard to understand it on his own time without some prodding. My very mathy DD8 is like that, too, and she's exactly the kind of kid that something like Mr. D is contraindicated for -- because kids like that CAN do a lot better, but they WON'T make up for the shallowness of the program all by themselves. 

 

10 minutes ago, Farrar said:

But also, it's possibly to get through the work by learning the algorithms without focusing on the concepts. I'd say that's true of a number of programs across the board though. I don't think that's ever a good approach for kids who are going into STEM for any reason. For kids who simply are not... mixed feelings. I think it depends a bit.

Right. Exactly. If you want a kid who can genuinely use the math, you don't want to use the programs where you can get by on learning the algorithms, because it's not setting you up for success. 

For kids who are not going into a STEM field and wouldn't be able to... as you say, mixed feelings. I understand that's a personal issue for you, because one of your kids simply doesn't have the time to do some things seriously due to all the ballet he does. And yes, if I had a kid whose passion took most of his time, I can imagine checking boxes and having mixed feelings about it. (Honestly, in that situation, I'd probably NOT check boxes and run something conceptual that doesn't cover everything then lie about it on the transcript, lol. But I understand that's very much the perspective of someone who's both a mathematician and a contrarian 😉 .)

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My ds did Honors Geometry with DO in 9th grade. His twin was doing Honors Geometry in 10th grade with Mr D. Before the semester break she came to me and said she was able to finish the class work by Wednesday and wanted more work. She has math "history" that I won't bore you with, but I was totally amazed to hear her say this. I responded carefully and neutrally and laid out some options for her and she elected to add DO algebra 2 on top of the geometry class. 

All this to say that your younger ds (or both) may not find a Mr D class to be a full week's worth of work, which may or may not be an issue depending on where you stand philosophically on a number of issues, like what qualifies as a high school class, relative importance of free time in middle school, how much challenge is required for honors and whether that translates well in to his worked, etc.

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Well, this may or may not matter but I thought I would add it. My dd took the college placement test today-- she scored into advanced algebra/precalculus. She is currently in Mr. D's Algebra 2. So it looks like she is right on track. She has done Algebra 1, Geometry and now Algebra 2 with Mr. D. She went into it with a very solid conceptual understanding of math having used Math Mammoth 1-7. I am not a math person, but for my purposes in our homeschool -- Mr. D is working for us. She is getting the math scores she needs, they enjoy math. My dd said the math placement test was easy and fun. lol 

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7 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

While it's literally true that my kid doesn't beg for extra work, that's because I stopped teaching him math in September.   He hasn't had a math lesson from me, or an assignment, since the end of fourth grade math, and yet, a year later, passed out of AOPS preA.  He got there by playing Beast Academy, dropping into his brother's sessions with the tutor, and watching AOPS videos,  and doing Alcumus during his free time  So, I'm not sure why you think he wouldn't work hard to understand things on his own time.

Because you said he was on grade level at school. Kids who are passionately interested in math on their own time (and not for reasons of boredom or complicated social stuff) tend to accelerate themselves in school. 

 

7 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

For DS10, I need two things.  One is that I need something I can use to prove to a school that he should move into Geometry.  But I also need to continue to let him take the lead and explore.  So, I need whatever he does to check the boxes to be fast and easy so he can get back to exploring on his own.   Now, if Mr. D teaches something wrong, or would lead to bad habits, then I don't want that for either kid.  And if it isn't Common Core aligned, then that's an issue for DS13.  

I think rote programs do lead to bad habits, yes. I see the repercussions of those habits every single day when I teach, and I've taught lots of kids higher math. 

 

7 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I will say that I think it's possible that DS10's interest in math will disappear as sports and other things come back.  I think that his reasons for doing math on his own are complicated.  Some of it is his need to be doing what other people are dong.  Some of it is competition with his same age cousin.  Some of it is that he likes doing something that makes him feel connected to my middle son.  So, it's possible that he'll lose interest.  But in my mind, a kid who isn't interested in math or seeking out math doesn't need to do Algebra 1 in 6th.  If that happens, then I'll probably have him finish the bare minimum, and then repeat Algebra in 7th, either at school, or at home with a more challenging curriculum. 

It's possible he'll lose interest. But math opens lots of doors and I don't think there's any reason to put a mathy kid in a class teaching algorithms by rote, because it'll set him back. 

If you don't want him to take Algebra in 6th grade, have him do something else? But I think a rote algebra class is just not the best option. 

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