"Can someone tell me if most colleges require students to take a math class higher than Algebra 2 for admission? Is math the only indication of how a student will do in college? Isn't writing important at all?"
I considered this question, and decided to ask an authority. I interviewed a college professor, to get his opinion. This is his response:
"Math requirements vary by school. You don't necessarily have to have extra math to get into a college, but you do need it to be well educated. Upper level math can train your mind. Math is a good discipline, and teaches problem solving in a variety of subjects, beyond math.
"Societal expectations have a lot to do with math achievement. I met a Japanese student going into business, and he actually apologized for ONLY having two years of calculus. In the US, our math expectations are so much lower than the rest of the world. We project those low expectations onto kids even from the grade school level; telling them that math is so hard and it's no fun. That promotes a negative view of math. It is a cultural issue that trains children to think 'I can't do this.' The only real solution is a cultural shift in the perception of math.
"Math is fundamental to science and engineering. Right now many of our country's science and engineering professionals are nearing retirement, yet there are few up-and-coming students able to take those jobs. There are too few people with the math skills necessary to take those jobs. Foreign technical workers are taking those technical jobs, because there are simply too few US students who can do the work. For example, right now there is a deficit of aerospace engineers, and they can't find people to fill those jobs for defense contracts.
"Math is fundamental for all students going into engineering sciences. I have had many students over the years who want to go into engineering but stumble on the math. They may have made good engineers, but they couldn't take the math. Because this is such a large national problem, the government is working on solutions. Grant money from US government and corporations is promoting science and math curriculum and providing hands-on curriculum for math and science. There needs to be a revolution on how science is taught in grade school and middle school. Portray math as fun and exciting! It can be done!"
Don Peter, M.S., P.E.
Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering
Seattle Pacific University
Don and JoAnn Peter homeschooled their two daughters for many years. Don used Saxon math and multi-sensory games for a supplement. His family used unit studies for science. He made it clear that his children were required to complete science and math study, and even required his girls to complete calculus for high school graduation.
The College Board has more encouraging articles about the importance of math, if you would like to read more.
To encourage a love of math in the younger grades, as Don Peter recommends, I used the book Family Math. It is filled with fun math games and activities for grades K-8. We played math games frequently during the week, and my children loved it!
When homeschoolers take classes outside the home, or use a tutor, the transcript can seem a little complicated. You can make it easily understandable by simply using acronyms for outside classes.