I know that public schools do not finish textbooks so I am trying to decide what to do. I see that my son is burnt out. I think he is in summer mode now plus a lot is going on in May. Should I have him just stop for a while? I know he must get through the Algebra 1 before he moves on to Geometry. Should I have him complete the whole text? I know he is not going to want to work on this during summer. Since this is his first year being homeschooled summer for him is the time off he is used to. Do you know what I mean? I have a headache.
~Karen in Florida
I like your advise in talking to the company and seeing what chapters are optional. I didn't know any chapters in a text were optional. I just want to make sure he is ready for geometry in the Fall. I am going to go and get that coffee now or in my case a cup of tea.
We just looked on the teaching textbook website and he said "Hey let me just take the Algebra 2 placement test because that looks easy and then we will see what I know". Calgon take me away. You got it kid.
Oh my goodness! He passed the algebra 2 placement with a 90%. Note to self: when your kids look frustrated it may be because they are just done and not because they don't understand the information.
By the way the younger one said, "If he is testing out I only have two more tests left can I test out too". Guess what? 95%. We are done with the books. Just reviewing in the summer.
Good points, Lee. I like how you said, "When does being hardworking and persistent become harmful? At what point are you just hitting your head against the wall?"
These are good questions to keep in the forefront of my mind. I am an achiever so I can have a tendency to push my boys too hard at times.
Also, I loved Jeff Thompson's comment about not necessarily having to take Algebra I before Geometry. That might be a good option for one of my boys. He is AWESOME at Geometry - but hates regular math... He might benefit by waiting to do Algebra I when he's a bit more mature. Thanks for suggesting that possibility!
I think many homeschool moms would rather err on the side of "over achieving". That's why we have to be so careful to not burn ourselves and our children out. Keep up the good work!
Assistant to The HomeScholar
It's also not necessarily true that a student must complete Algebra I before moving on to Geometry. We had one of our kids do Geometry first and then go back and do Algebra I. Then she did Algebra II and Trig as concurrent enrollment. Another one of our kids skipped Algebra II and then did it in three hours after graduation.
Algebra is one of those things that a student has to kind of keep coming back to. It's a set of rules and a set of tools. It takes some practice and a number of times through to really build up the skill with them.
Geometry is kind of an outlier in the mathematical sequence. It doesn't really build upon the previous material heavily, not does the subsequent material use it heavily. Typically, it uses only minimal algebra. While some of the pieces are essential for later math (learn that Pythagorean Theorem) other pieces only get used again if you end up studying advanced geometry somewhere in college.
However, if you are following a specific math curriculum, you may need to adhere to their schedule. And it is harder to figure out how to shuffle the sequence around if you're not familiar with the material.
Great advise! Especially the excersize before and after math, crucial for boys. If your child is struggling, the only lesson they will learn is perseverance, they are not really "learning" anything practical in Algebra I (I know some may disagree with me there). Math/Science is probably not their gift if they struggle with it. If you have a child who breezes through it no problem, then it probably is their gift and encourage them to go as hard and fast as they can. I have home educated all 4 of my children and have had two of each kind. They all took frequent breaks, but the two that love math (is that possible??) quickly returned to it. Relax! You are doing fine! Get some great books they love and shift gears. Education is lifelong and should be joyful, not stressful. God bless!
Often the math curriculum will provide placement tests. I believe I list a few placement tests in this article: For the Love of Math.
It's worth mentioning here that at least in Texas, the college year starts the last week of August. High schools there typically end around the last week of May. So these colleges might want you to have more done sooner than if you were going to a northern college.
I know that was the case when Mom was doing everything she could to convince a Texas college administrative board to take it on trust that I was going to maintain my GPA. That was before email and long-distance fax was expensive and involved going to the office supply store, so I can't imagine what she went through to pull that off. On the surface, it looks petty, but if the school year is 5 weeks off, "senioritis" could do a lot of damage to a GPA.