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# High school math -- Which is more rigorous...

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Teaching Textbooks (TT) or BJU?

Math-U-See (MUS) or BJU?

We have been faithful BJU math users for many years (EK is currently doing BJU Prealgebra) but you might remember that I have previously stated that I do not like BJU high school math beyond Algebra 1. So I am looking for an alternative for EK. I have narrowed my choices to TT and MUS, so I would love to hear from someone who has actually used both TT and BJU math, and also from someone who has used both MUS and BJU and can compare them fairly. I am interested only in knowing how TT & MUS compare to BJU as far as rigor, not user-friendliness, aesthetics of materials, etc.

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IMHO, BJU is more rigorous than either TT or MUS.

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IMO MUS is not a good choice for anyone wanting a rigorous program. We switched to Dolchiani Structure and Method Book 1 after becoming frustrated with MUS.

MUS was also very confusing for my son and myself.

I do not have a BJU alg. book in front of me but one example I can come up with is that in division of polynomials; MUS never has you doing problems where the numbers are to the 3rd power OR that you have to add "0" variable to the nth power when the polynomial that is being divided does not have that power. I am sure that was as clear as mud.... would be much easier if you were sitting here to explain that.

Both myself and a friend both felt we did our kids a disservice with MUS alg. I.

Some kids are able to take what they learned from mus and apply it to a harder problem in kind. But my son and her son are the type where they need lots of repetition with different problems of varing degree of difficulty.

We also used TT pre-alg and started TT alg. My son retained nothing from prealg..... we went on to algebra and ad to back track through SEVERAL pre-alg programs and alg probems before finding a "fit".

We really like the Structure and method book if you want ANOTHER algebra program to look at. the books can be found for around \$20 used and an answer key will run you \$50 from the company.

I find it relatively easy to teach after all the programs we tried and failed at...... TT, MUS, and NEM 1......

HTH,

Chelsea

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Your post is very helpful. I was looking at both MUS & TT, but had pretty much decided to go with MUS. I guess I'll be rethinking that idea. I want something with the rigor of BJU, but that has better explanations in the higher levels (Geometry, Algebra 2, Precalculus). I saw glowing reviews of Foerster and Dolciani Algebra 1 courses HERE. I'd appreciate any input regarding these.

Here are my specific questions regarding Foerster and Dolciani Algebra 1 at this point:

1) Mastery? Or incremental/spiral method?

2) Visually appealing student materials?

3) Any materials available besides the textbook? Workbooks? TE? Which are necessary? Which are not necessary but are recommended?

4) Is the TE a solutions manual, or just an answer key?

5) What math courses are available beyond Algebra 1?

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Here is my two cents on Dolciani Algebra 1 :

1) Mastery? Or incremental/spiral method? I would say it is an incremential / mastery method as there is ample practice in the sections for the lesson being taught BUT there Are also MIXED REVIEWS, Cummulative revies and such mixed through out - after main problem sets to make the student remember stuff that has already been covered - and also in our experience they are a nice break whne the lesson has been challenging to go back to something easier and familiar

2) Visually appealing student materials? Well, it is a text book - I would not say it is as much fun as say Life of Fred - but it is clearly laid out and easy to undertand.

3) Any materials available besides the textbook? Workbooks? TE? Which are necessary? Which are not necessary but are recommended?I just have a student text and a solutions mannual

4) Is the TE a solutions manual, or just an answer key? The solutions guide is a true solutions guide with EVERY problem laid out and answered - even to the chapter tests so you can use them as your tests and not have to buy a seperate bank for them - which would proabbly break your bank LOL

5) What math courses are available beyond Algebra 1? Alg I, Alg II and Geometry - FYI I am planning to use Jacobs Geometry instead.

FYI We are planning to do Alg I , Alg II and Then Geometry - His senior year hopefully will find him at the community college.

Hippo campus has an on-line free course using this test book that looks interesting.

HTH,

Chelsea

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So why are you going with Jacobs for Geometry instead of staying with Dolciani? Just curious. : )

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I already own it :) It was given to me. I have not heard anything about the structure and method Geometry - it is not by dolchinani I believe.

Night :)

Chelsea

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a

Here is my two cents on Dolciani Algebra 1 :

1) Mastery? Or incremental/spiral method? I would say it is an incremential / mastery method as there is ample practice in the sections for the lesson being taught BUT there Are also MIXED REVIEWS, Cummulative revies and such mixed through out - after main problem sets to make the student remember stuff that has already been covered - and also in our experience they are a nice break whne the lesson has been challenging to go back to something easier and familiar

The lessons are also divided up by difficulty. "A" problems being the easiest and "C" the hardest, so you can pick and choose. (See comment below about which type of course you choose. The TE tells you which problems should be done depending on which course you want.)

2) Visually appealing student materials? Well, it is a text book - I would not say it is as much fun as say Life of Fred - but it is clearly laid out and easy to undertand.

My son is a very visual learner. He hated Saxon. Dolciani has been a nice switch.

3) Any materials available besides the textbook? Workbooks? TE? Which are necessary? Which are not necessary but are recommended?I just have a student text and a solutions mannual

I have the TE, which has answers to all problems, additional examples to be worked out, chapter tests, and syllabi for a "minimum", "average," and "maximum" course so you can pick which you want your dc to do. It tells you which problems to do for each type and how long each chapter should take.

I also have the solutions manual, which works out the problems step by step. I've only used it a couple of times, but if you get stuck on a problem and Jann in TX or Jane in NC don't live next door, it's invaluable.

Several months ago I bought the workbook, just to add variety. My son really likes the workbook. It's set up much the same way as the textbook except the problems aren't labeled easy to difficult. There's also mixed review on each worksheet (each textbook section has a worksheet which is front and back).

4) Is the TE a solutions manual, or just an answer key? The solutions guide is a true solutions guide with EVERY problem laid out and answered - even to the chapter tests so you can use them as your tests and not have to buy a seperate bank for them - which would proabbly break your bank LOL

5) What math courses are available beyond Algebra 1? Alg I, Alg II and Geometry - FYI I am planning to use Jacobs Geometry instead.

The next textbook in the series is called Algebra and Trigonometry Structure and Method: Book II. There are several choices in the TE for how to do this course. You can choose "Average Algebra course," "Average Algebra and Trignometry course," "Extended Algebra," or "Extended Algebra and Trignometry course." Both books also give you an idea of how many days each chapter will take, depending on which of the above course selections you make (e.g. For the Extended Algebra course, Chapter 1 should take 9 days, however the Extended Algebra and Trig. course only gives you 8 days for Chapter 1.) After this course, I assume you would go directly to precalculus (assuming you've already done Geometry, of course, which I would do either before or concurrently with this course if you choose the Trig. option).

FYI We are planning to do Alg I , Alg II and Then Geometry - His senior year hopefully will find him at the community college.

Hippo campus has an on-line free course using this test book that looks interesting.

I tried using the Hippo course with my son, but gave up. I couldn't seem to ever get it to work right on my computer. After every session my computer would freeze up (and my computer is less than a year old - it has a good amount of memory and speed).

Hopefully between Chelsea and I we've managed to answer your questions. If you have more, feel free to ask away.

Bev

HTH,

Chelsea

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Thanks, Bev! Great info! BTW, how easy is it to find used Dolciani materials?

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The publisher is McDougal - Littell. I called the publisher direct and spoke to Karen D'Alexander (x5433) at 1-800-323-5435. She'll fax you a form (or mail it if you prefer) and you have to fill it out and send it back. It's not a big deal, it takes five minutes. It's just to certify that you are indeed homeschooling.

She is very "user friendly" and I have enjoyed working with her.

Here's the website with the info about Book 1.

It helps to know the ISBN's when you call the publisher.

Bev

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I now want the TM ! I would definately like it for next year - alg II:)

Chelsea

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If you want rigor then definitely go with either Forester's books, Lial's books, or Dolciani books after pre-algebra stage. Actually some like Lial's Basic College Math for pre-algebra. Just be forewarned that there are tons of problems in Lial's books and the chapters are not set up like your typical high school book. You might have to do a little section and then assign problems instead of reading an entire chapter and then doing the problems. I personally prefer doing Foerster Algebra if the child is up to it. I have a learning challenged child, so I've taken other measures.

FWIW,

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If you want rigor then definitely go with either Forester's books, Lial's books, or Dolciani books after pre-algebra stage.

I thought I had it all figured out -- using TT or MUS -- but after reading recent posts here on the boards, I am realizing that I need more rigor for EK, who plans to go into a science-related field (animal-assisted therapy), which will involve lots of science, and probably plenty of math.

I bought Lial's BCM for her to use this year, but after I had a chance to really look at it closely, I decided to stick with BJU (which she has used since kindergarten, with fabulous results) for Prealgebra.

So, now I'm considering Dolciani or Foerster. :confused:

Not sure if you've followed my saga, but I intensely disliked BJU Geometry & Algebra 2 when ER used them (in spite of my love for all BJU math courses from kindergarten up to that point!), so I decided to follow a different path with EK. I also love BJU Algebra 1, but I figured that if we're going to make the switch, we need to do it after Prealgebra & go through the high school sequence with the same publisher. That is, unless said publisher doesn't do one of the courses. Which I think I'm understanding to be the case with Geometry and Dolciani? And Foerster too?

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We used MUS back in the old days up through pre-algebra, but I had heard enough rumblings about it not being rigorous enough for a kid that wanted to head for science that I made the switch away from MUS at Algebra I.

I read all those reviews at Mathematically correct and then sat down and literally compared Jacobs Elementary Algebra and Foersters Al I chapter and verse. I personally feel that they are extremely similar in approach all the way down to the same problems and examples popping up with just the names being changed (in a few cases). I've heard that Foerster was a student of Jacobs but, I've no idea if that is true or is purely rumor born out of similar styles. I do know that Veritas says that Jacobs recommended to them that they choose Foerster as the best Al II course to follow Jacobs Al I course. I think that Foerster is slightly more challenging that Jacobs, but only just slightly. Foerster goes a bit deeper and has a few more difficult problems than Jacobs, but I believe that Jacobs is extremely good for AL I and then you can just slide right into his Geometry text without having to change horses again. I would choose Jacobs for Al I also because it is less intimidating in the way the text looks. He has great old math related cartoons (like Herman and Peanuts) at the beginning of each new chapter, which always made me and ds smile. And he uses silly character names on some of the word problems. It just seemed more friendly, which I thought was good for AL I. Then you can continue with him for Geometry. I thought his geometry text was great and geometry was my least favorite subject in high school. I also like the way he includes an Algebra review at the end of each geometry chapter...it really helped us keep the AL I fresh.

Then we switched to Foerster after that. I love his books. We used his older text...sold under the Classics label from Prentice Hall for Al II, but not for trig. For Trig and Precalc, we switched to his texts that are published by Key Press. The older Al II text has trig in it, but Foerster recommends switching to the newer ones for Pre-calculus and Calculus.

I've droned on long enough.....hth a little. I know I over-research all my curricula to death... you sound like me....:rolleyes:

Let me know if there are any questions I can try to help with.

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My 12 yo dd has done MUS Delta and Zeta and I am trying to figure out where to go for pre-Algebra on up. She definitely is not a textbook girl, and math is not her strongest suit. However, she has yearnings about dental school (right now). I want her to be prepared for anything!

So, I'm looking for a rigorous enough program that also caters to someone who needs to *hear* a concept explained (DVD?). I'm not mathy enough myself to undertake some of the higher maths w/out help.

Thanks!

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My 12 yo dd has done MUS Delta and Zeta and I am trying to figure out where to go for pre-Algebra on up. She definitely is not a textbook girl, and math is not her strongest suit. However, she has yearnings about dental school (right now). I want her to be prepared for anything!

So, I'm looking for a rigorous enough program that also caters to someone who needs to *hear* a concept explained (DVD?). I'm not mathy enough myself to undertake some of the higher maths w/out help.

Thanks!

Hi,

If you want to use Foerster's books there are some new dvds that go along with them. Here is the link:

I've never used Math Without Borders, but the samples did look good. I want to get this for my youngest.

If you want to use the Jacob's Geometry book then here are dvds that go with it:

http://www.askdrcallahan.com/Products/Geometry.html . I haven't used them either, but I'm considering it with my dds.

Chalk Dust Math is also getting rave reviews by lots of folks, but the dvds are pricey. However they have a high resell value. I also use Math Relief with my middle child. It isn't the most exciting video, but he does a good job of teaching algebra.

HTH,

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