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Posted (edited)

I was planning on my son taking algebra online through Art of Problem Solving this fall. The schedule has been released and all the times appear to be 7:30-9:30pm, which would be pretty challenging for us. I was hoping a class would happen during our normal school day. I don’t see an option for self-paced for algebra, but it’s possible I’m missing it.  

So, I need some other ideas. He could take algebra through a local homeschool co-op, but the particular instructor doesn’t seem like the right fit for him. He could do AoPS at home, but I feel like some more instruction than I can give would suit him better. His siblings’ school work is pretty time intensive for me right now and I need to outsource something. 

This school year he did Jousting Armadillos and Crocodiles & Coconuts. He did well and really enjoyed both. In fact he would often discuss various problems with me later in the day, something that never happened previously. As background he did Singapore Standards for math in grades k-6. He likes math and will likely pursue some sort of engineering in the future. He is not interested in contest type math. 
 

Any suggestions?

Edited by Rachel
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We have been using Derek Owens for math. It is self-paced, you pay for 9 months maximum, if he finishes early you stop paying,  if you grade the cost is half, if you don't grade then the homework is emailed in and back, support via email is available year-round, honors is an option that you choose by having him do additional homework and an additional page on the tests, there is a sibling discount available. Great preparation for the engineering track.

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3 hours ago, eternallytired said:

AoPS classes are also offered through other venues.  Have you checked the schedule here at the WTM Academy or through Royal Fireworks Press?  (There may be others, but those are the two I hear referenced most commonly as alternatives to AoPS itself.)

Thanks! I was hoping classes were offered elsewhere, but I didn’t know where to begin. 

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3 hours ago, SusanC said:

We have been using Derek Owens for math. It is self-paced, you pay for 9 months maximum, if he finishes early you stop paying,  if you grade the cost is half, if you don't grade then the homework is emailed in and back, support via email is available year-round, honors is an option that you choose by having him do additional homework and an additional page on the tests, there is a sibling discount available. Great preparation for the engineering track.

I’ve heard the name Derek Owens thrown around but never checked into it. Thank you!

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DS just finished AOPS Algebra through WTM Academy. I liked that it was a full year class rather than the 1 semester that AOPS was offering through their website. It moved very fast even at the full year pace and I know DS would have struggled to keep up if taught in half the time. The evening class times were tough for us at the AOPS site too. 

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2 hours ago, AmandaVT said:

DS just finished AOPS Algebra through WTM Academy. I liked that it was a full year class rather than the 1 semester that AOPS was offering through their website. It moved very fast even at the full year pace and I know DS would have struggled to keep up if taught in half the time. The evening class times were tough for us at the AOPS site too. 

I think full year would be better for him as well. He has never taken an outsourced class, so this is going to be completely new for him. I like that they meet 2-3 times per week as well. That should help him learn to manage his time better. 

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On 5/21/2021 at 6:18 PM, AmandaVT said:

DS just finished AOPS Algebra through WTM Academy. I liked that it was a full year class rather than the 1 semester that AOPS was offering through their website. It moved very fast even at the full year pace and I know DS would have struggled to keep up if taught in half the time. The evening class times were tough for us at the AOPS site too. 

I thought AOPS also took a full year, just broken into “A” & “B” sections (one per semester)? 

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42 minutes ago, Shoes+Ships+SealingWax said:

I thought AOPS also took a full year, just broken into “A” & “B” sections (one per semester)? 

Yes, those are both from the Introduction to Algebra book. But I do assume it goes faster -- AoPS usually does. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Shoes+Ships+SealingWax said:

I thought AOPS also took a full year, just broken into “A” & “B” sections (one per semester)? 

I don't think it is quite that simple.

AOPS says of their Introduction to Algebra books: "This book can serve as a complete Algebra I course, and also includes many concepts covered in Algebra II."

And it is generally accepted that a student only has to do chapters 1-13 of that book to cover Algebra 1, and that chapters 14-22 are Algebra 2 materials.

Of their Introduction to Algebra A class, they say: "This course covers much of the algebra of a typical honors Algebra 1 course, some of the content of an honors Algebra 2 course, and some additional material not taught in most standard curricula."

And of Introduction to Algebra B, they say: "Most students who have completed...a high-level honors Algebra 1 course in school are ready for this class."

In fact, their site recommends students take Introduction to Counting & Probability between Algebra A and Algebra B...and Introduction to Counting & Probability says you have to have mastered basic algebra before you take it.

My oldest is very, very mathy, but I have never seriously considered him taking an AOPS class because I think they move far too quickly (and stick to an inflexible schedule which is horrible for us). I find it so ironic that RR warns of the calculus trap, and then schedules the AOPS classes to scoot kids through subjects like geometry and precalculus in only a semester. The AOPS books are so deep and challenging, that even very advanced kids could stay busy with them for a full year, but the classes compress them by covering so few of the problems.

And for what? My son started algebra in 5th grade, so taking a class per semester he could cover Introduction to Algebra A and Introduction to Counting & Probability in 5th, Introduction to Number Theory and Introduction to Algebra B in 6th, Introduction to Geometry and Intermediate Algebra in 7th, Intermediate Counting & Probability and Intermediate Number Theory in 8th, Precalculus and Calculus in 9th, and Group Theory in 10th. Why? What benefit is there to rushing through all those classes in a semester each? I would much rather he take a full year for most of the fundamental classes, and take some of the extra, semester-long classes concurrently if he wanted.

Edited by wendyroo
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28 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

I would much rather he take a full year for most of the fundamental classes, and take some of the extra, semester-long classes concurrently if he wanted.

Thank you for the details! I’m definitely not interested in pushing through at that pace; I thought every class was simply Semester A / Semester B. Like you, I see no point in rushing unless a student is chomping at the bit. I’m sure those kids are out there, but mine’s not that keen! 

As it is, DS8 is happily cruising through BA 4C & I’m already concerned that AOPS PreA will be too rigid / formal / dry for 4th. I’m arranging for a “gap year” just in case: Didax supplements, Arbor Center, Patty Paper, etc.

I do worry a bit that he won’t get the “full AOPS experience” if we take the classes through another site. I know many cut out the contest prep problems, for example. I don’t know that he’d be interested in the competitions themselves, but he might find the problems interesting. We could always do over whatever is skipped independently after the course is completed, I suppose. I just need to make sure I keep up! 😅

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6 minutes ago, Shoes+Ships+SealingWax said:

Thank you for the details! I’m definitely not interested in pushing through at that pace; I thought every class was simply Semester A / Semester B. Like you, I see no point in rushing unless a student is chomping at the bit. I’m sure those kids are out there, but mine’s not that keen! 

As it is, DS8 is happily cruising through BA 4C & I’m already concerned that AOPS PreA will be too rigid / formal / dry for 4th. I’m arranging for a “gap year” just in case: Didax supplements, Arbor Center, Patty Paper, etc.

I do worry a bit that he won’t get the “full AOPS experience” if we take the classes through another site. I know many cut out the contest prep problems, for example. I don’t know that he’d be interested in the competitions themselves, but he might find the problems interesting. We could always do over whatever is skipped independently after the course is completed, I suppose. I just need to make sure I keep up! 😅

Why not just go through the books at his own pace?

I don’t know that you need a gap year if the book is dry... why not just adapt the book or find a different way to teach the same stuff? Honestly, I think a mathy kid could skip pre-algebra and go straight to algebra...

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19 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Why not just go through the books at his own pace?

I don’t know that you need a gap year if the book is dry... why not just adapt the book or find a different way to teach the same stuff? Honestly, I think a mathy kid could skip pre-algebra and go straight to algebra...

This is what we did for pre-algebra. Peter had already worked through most of Math Mammoth 7 (which is their pre-algebra level), but he still took 18 months to get through AOPS pre-algebra. It was time well spent...he didn't learn many new math concepts, but his maturity, executive function, and ability to persevere through longer, more challenging problems really improved.

We started with AOPS algebra, but toward the end it was becoming obvious to me that the AOPS push-through-frustration-to-reach-discovery method was not working well for DS. We finished algebra with other resources.

This year we used other resources plus Alcumus for geometry. He also worked through AOPS Intro to Counting and Probability...which I have very mixed feelings about. I think the AOPS method is incredibly inefficient for DS and does not lead to superior learning for him. OTOH, there aren't a whole bunch of rigorous Counting and Probability texts aimed at advanced middle-schoolers, so if I want to expose him to broader math topics outside the typical sequence, then the AOPS books may be the lesser of all evils.

Next year he is just going with a standard Foerster Algebra 2 with Trig book - rigorous, but not AOPS rigorous...or frustrating or inefficient.

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1 minute ago, wendyroo said:

OTOH, there aren't a whole bunch of rigorous Counting and Probability texts aimed at advanced middle-schoolers, so if I want to expose him to broader math topics outside the typical sequence, then the AOPS books may be the lesser of all evils.

I imagine I’ll write one sometime, but that’s not so useful for you! I have a pretty well-developed sequence for C&P.

 

2 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

He also worked through AOPS Intro to Counting and Probability...which I have very mixed feelings about. I think the AOPS method is incredibly inefficient for DS and does not lead to superior learning for him.

What does that look like for him?

I do discovery but not the AoPS way. I don’t think the AoPS sequence would work for my kids, either.

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57 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Why not just go through the books at his own pace?

I don’t know that you need a gap year if the book is dry... why not just adapt the book or find a different way to teach the same stuff? Honestly, I think a mathy kid could skip pre-algebra and go straight to algebra...

I plan to; I’m just not sure he’ll be ready to make the jump to the more serious format of AOPS - its much more “textbookish” & he really loves the colorful playfulness of BA! Some kids don’t mind making the switch & he may not either - I just want a plan in place in case he balks. I can’t see how a year of going wide & playing with hands-on stuff could hurt. 

I definitely want him to work through PreA whenever he’s ready to. Even if the material is mostly familiar getting used to that textbook format, writing out his problems, & organizing his thoughts really clearly / neatly are all skills I want to take our time developing. 

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Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

This year we used other resources plus Alcumus for geometry. He also worked through AOPS Intro to Counting and Probability...which I have very mixed feelings about. I think the AOPS method is incredibly inefficient for DS and does not lead to superior learning for him. OTOH, there aren't a whole bunch of rigorous Counting and Probability texts aimed at advanced middle-schoolers, so if I want to expose him to broader math topics outside the typical sequence, then the AOPS books may be the lesser of all evils.

I don’t know if one of these looks workable 

https://bogart.openmathbooks.org (I am going to say probably not this one)

https://www.appliedcombinatorics.org/appcomb/get-the-book/

https://www.cs.uleth.ca/~morris/Combinatorics/Combinatorics.html

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Shoes+Ships+SealingWax said:

I thought AOPS also took a full year, just broken into “A” & “B” sections (one per semester)? 

AOPS online classes cover the whole textbook Introduction to Algebra.

WTMA Algebra 1 covers Ch. 1- 13. WTMA Algebra 2 covers the reminder of this book Ch. 13-22 and 7 selected chapters from Intermediate Algebra.

Edited by calbear
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Shoes+Ships+SealingWax said:

Thank you for the details! I’m definitely not interested in pushing through at that pace; I thought every class was simply Semester A / Semester B. Like you, I see no point in rushing unless a student is chomping at the bit. I’m sure those kids are out there, but mine’s not that keen! 

As it is, DS8 is happily cruising through BA 4C & I’m already concerned that AOPS PreA will be too rigid / formal / dry for 4th. I’m arranging for a “gap year” just in case: Didax supplements, Arbor Center, Patty Paper, etc.

I do worry a bit that he won’t get the “full AOPS experience” if we take the classes through another site. I know many cut out the contest prep problems, for example. I don’t know that he’d be interested in the competitions themselves, but he might find the problems interesting. We could always do over whatever is skipped independently after the course is completed, I suppose. I just need to make sure I keep up! 😅

I plan to cover what is skipped independently during the summer. I figure it will also serve as deep review. We are going with WTMA for geometry this fall. I'm making sure we cover all the chapters of Intermediate Algebra text that WTMA's Algebra 2 syllabus covers. He dislikes geometry topics and so a class will motivate and keep him engaged. He's a bit competitive that way.

 

Edited by calbear
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1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

What does that look like for him?

I do discovery but not the AoPS way. I don’t think the AoPS sequence would work for my kids, either.

I help as I can, but realistically I don't have the time or skills to easily set him on the right path to discovery, so he is mostly on his own with the AOPS book...which often feels like he is just adrift on his own.

He starts by reading the teaching at the beginning of a section...except that many of the sections don't have any teaching at all. Then he works the problems. One of his downfalls is that if he gets the problems correct he is very resistant to reading the solutions, but I think reading the book's solutions would be very helpful to him. OTOH, the book's solutions look dense and overwhelming with a lot of text for him to slog through (language is not his strong suit), and even I often find them very confusing, so I understand why he shies away from them.

Then he moves on to the exercises. He gets about the first half correct and the second half wrong. But, we've experimented, and if I have him do the exercises before reading the teaching or working the problems, he still gets about the first half correct and the second half wrong...so that is all knowledge he came in with, and AOPS hasn't really taught him anything he did not already know.

He reworks the exercises he got wrong. He gets a few more of them correct. For any that are still incorrect, I look in the solution manual to see if I can pinpoint what might be leading him astray. It is incredibly difficult for me to guide him because there is very little instruction I can have him re-read and I never know which of the example problems might be of help to him for any particular exercise. So we often spend a while searching YouTube and google for any tutorials or worked examples that might help (completely defeating the discovery method and a very inefficient way to cobble together instruction). Eventually we give up on the last couple problems and read the solution manual...which sometimes prompts a eureka moment, but sometimes still leaves us baffled.

I am very much looking forward to next year. Algebra 2 is in my mathematical wheelhouse (more so that C&P which I never took), and Foerster will actually teach Peter the concepts he needs to know and then build up his skills with challenging problems that require him to use the concepts in unique, non-formulaic ways.

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1 hour ago, wendyroo said:

I help as I can, but realistically I don't have the time or skills to easily set him on the right path to discovery, so he is mostly on his own with the AOPS book...which often feels like he is just adrift on his own.

He starts by reading the teaching at the beginning of a section...except that many of the sections don't have any teaching at all. Then he works the problems. One of his downfalls is that if he gets the problems correct he is very resistant to reading the solutions, but I think reading the book's solutions would be very helpful to him. OTOH, the book's solutions look dense and overwhelming with a lot of text for him to slog through (language is not his strong suit), and even I often find them very confusing, so I understand why he shies away from them.

Then he moves on to the exercises. He gets about the first half correct and the second half wrong. But, we've experimented, and if I have him do the exercises before reading the teaching or working the problems, he still gets about the first half correct and the second half wrong...so that is all knowledge he came in with, and AOPS hasn't really taught him anything he did not already know.

He reworks the exercises he got wrong. He gets a few more of them correct. For any that are still incorrect, I look in the solution manual to see if I can pinpoint what might be leading him astray. It is incredibly difficult for me to guide him because there is very little instruction I can have him re-read and I never know which of the example problems might be of help to him for any particular exercise. So we often spend a while searching YouTube and google for any tutorials or worked examples that might help (completely defeating the discovery method and a very inefficient way to cobble together instruction). Eventually we give up on the last couple problems and read the solution manual...which sometimes prompts a eureka moment, but sometimes still leaves us baffled.

I am very much looking forward to next year. Algebra 2 is in my mathematical wheelhouse (more so that C&P which I never took), and Foerster will actually teach Peter the concepts he needs to know and then build up his skills with challenging problems that require him to use the concepts in unique, non-formulaic ways.

Do you want any C&P guidance? That’s definitely in my wheelhouse. I’d be happy to help.

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2 hours ago, Shoes+Ships+SealingWax said:

I definitely want him to work through PreA whenever he’s ready to. Even if the material is mostly familiar getting used to that textbook format, writing out his problems, & organizing his thoughts really clearly / neatly are all skills I want to take our time developing. 

I guess I think those are really separate strands. I think kids will get the hang of textbooks as they read more and more complicated books eventually, and the best thing for organizing thoughts is to do it orally.

I do like going wide 🙂 . I just tend to pick conceptual ways to go wide that you can build on later.

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24 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Do you want any C&P guidance? That’s definitely in my wheelhouse. I’d be happy to help.

Thankfully we are almost done, but I will definitely ask if we can't figure out the last few major concepts.

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I am in the same boat with Algebra. Robby sort of skipped algebra this year and did lots of random maths including some Jacobs Mathematics a Human Endeavor. We did some of AoPS Pre-A, Alcumus, Zaccaro Real World Algebra then around the election he began Stats on Khan Academy out of his own interest. I think I might have him do the second half or 2/3s of Jacobs along with AoPS or Foresters word problems. I don’t know if that would be enough to consider it “honors.” Is that even something to consider for middle school math credits on a future HS transcript? Is there a test middle schoolers can take at the end of the year to prove their knowledge like CLEP?

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/30/2021 at 8:57 PM, arliemaria said:

 Is there a test middle schoolers can take at the end of the year to prove their knowledge like CLEP?

CLEP mainly exists as a way for adults going back to college. As the College Board puts it, it “helps you receive college credit for what you already know.” So a middle school equivalent would do what? Give high school credit? I am only aware of an equivalent being high schools that allow a student to test out of something, which would generally be something like a final exam for such a class, not anything standardized on a national level, since the US doesn’t have national high school admission tests.

On 6/12/2021 at 5:31 AM, kiwik said:

I have never seen any of the AOPS courses at any time but 7.30 in their time zone.  I quite like it.  Anything before early afternoon ends up being about 5 AM here.

At one point, a year or two ago, they started offering some in afternoon Eastern time classes, like around 4 pm. Their time zone is actually Pacific, because their headquarters are in California, and thus the classes are at 4:30 pm in their time zone. Their audience is apparently mostly children who are enrolled in school.

On their current schedule, they have at least one section of each their intro math classes except Geometry at 4 pm Eastern/1 pm Pacific

https://artofproblemsolving.com/school/schedule

 

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