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What Is The Correct Math Sequence for High School?

What Is The Correct Math Sequence for High School?

So, a question many high school homeschool families ask when planning for teaching math is, what is the correct math sequence for high school? For most students, what comes first doesn't matter. The most important thing is that your child is learning math consistently each year.


There are two typical math sequences for high school :

Algebra 1 > Geometry > Algebra 2

OR

Algebra 1 > Algebra 2 > Geometry

Some textbooks follow one way, and some follow the other way. They all try to convince you their way is the right way!  Mathematically, it doesn't matter which one comes first, Geometry or Algebra 2, to be honest. However, your child might benefit if they take geometry before 11th grade, to prepare for the PSAT and SAT.

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Robin
Wonderful feedback, Cindi!! You are so very right. That's one of the awesome things about homeschooling. Lee will love reading ... Read More
Sunday, 06 October 2019 03:59
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Do Homeschoolers Really Need Algebra and Geometry to Graduate?

Do Homeschoolers Really Need Algebra and Geometry to Graduate?
Dear Lee,
I am worried about math for my 10th grade son. He has struggled in math for years.  Due to some research about dyslexia in my younger son, I stumbled upon something called dyscalculia. I am wondering if my 10th grader has this and how it will affect his chances at getting into a college. My question is, do they really need algebra and geometry to graduate?
Thank you for your help,
~ Michelle in Oregon




Do Homeschoolers Need Algebra and Geometry to Graduate?



It can be challenging to homeschool a child with a learning disability. You may find my blog post, High School With Learning Challenges helpful. You can get some math help with my article on How to Teach High School Math at Home and choosing a curriculum.

There are "perfect fit" colleges just for your child that don't require a lot of math. I know there are colleges that "recommend" a certain level of math, but there is a college for every student. Graduation requirements also vary state by state. Be sure to look into what your state requires.

Teaching math is important, and teaching math at your child's level is important. It can help to choose the curriculum carefully, which is why I included the article above. When teaching teenagers, their learning style and your teaching style often takes a back seat to their personal preferences - which can be quite strong.

My advice is to choose a curriculum carefully, and continue to help your child at his level without quitting math. Pursue some extra help for dyscalculia. Here is a dyscalculia website for you to get started. Then move forward boldly, because there will be a college that's right for your child, even if he doesn't have algebra and geometry.




Please note: This post was originally published in August 2009 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.



You can subscribe to my blog so it comes to your inbox.  It’s a daily dose of homeschool high school wisdom!
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Should Homeschoolers Take the ACT in 9th grade?

Should Homeschoolers Take the ACT in 9th grade?
Should a 9th grader take the ACT or SAT?



My daughter, Faith, is in 9th grade.  NC requires we administer a nationally recognized test each year, which has been either CAT or Woodcock-Johnson. However, it had been recommended that I use the ACT from here on out to familiarize her with the test in hopes of achieving the highest score for possible scholarship opportunities.  But yesterday, while actually in the midst of composing my email to you, I hear her crying.  She was  finally getting into the test prep material I had bought for her and she was so upset about the prospects of doing poorly on the test.  Is this a bad idea? How did /or would you handle this? Any suggestions would be so appreciated.
~ Laura

Dear Laura,

I think it's a bad idea to give the ACT in 9th grade.  It is intended to measure 11th grade skills. The test does include some algebra and some geometry.  For that reason, taking the test early may only cause frustration.  If the student simply CAN’T score well, because they don’t have the requisite math, then the test will only be an exercise in frustration.  You don’t want to put your child into a situation where they will feel badly about a test they will need to take next year or the year afterward.

In schoolwork, particularly in a homeschool based on mastery of concepts, children are only exposed to tests where they might score 100%.  If they are faced with the SAT, PSAT or ACT early in high school, it may not be possible for them to score well.  If they miss all the questions they have not covered yet, and a few "normal" questions that are difficult as well, they may only get a much, much lower percentage of questions correct.  Taking the test very early can backfire and cause test anxiety that may make their scores worse in the long run.

Instead of practicing test prep to take the ACT test, I suggest that you teach individual skills that are measured by the test.  Teach quick essay skills, vocabulary, and math at their level.  That's wonderful preparation for the test.  Once your children are in 10th grade, you can slowly introduce test prep at home, and have them take the test when it will help them.

There is an alternative to the ACT, called the PLAN.  It is intended for 10th grade.  It is similar to the PSAT, because it's intended to be taken earlier in high school as preparation for the college admission tests. Notice that they still recommend it for 10th grade, not for 9th grade. You can get more information here: http://www.act.org/plan/benefits.html.

For more information, I have a class called "High School Testing."  That class is included as a bonus with the Total Transcript Solution and the Comprehensive Record Solution.  It is also part of the Convention at Home Kit.



Lisa Baughn wrote a review of my Total Transcript Solution. She wrote, “With Lee’s help, any home educating family can create a marvelous, intriguing, scholarship-inspiring transcript.”  Read Lisa’s Review.
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Homeschooling High School: When Should I Stop for Summer?

Homeschooling High School: When Should I Stop for Summer?
Summer break is important.  Homeschoolers don't usually  follow a regular school schedule, however.  How do you know  when to stop?  When does  being hardworking and persistent  become harmful?  At what point are you just hitting your head  against on the wall?



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 would certainly take a summer break.  Although a couple of math problems for review might be helpful, it is vital to remember that a BREAK can be the most important part of summer.

About math,  how far along in the book are you?  I guess I would call the Teaching Textbooks support line, and ask them this question.  Perhaps they will tell you exactly which chapters are "optional." That would mean you don't have as far to go as you think.

Have you tried putting math first?  First in the day?  First in priority, so that nothing else happens until it's done?  Have you tried cutting down the number of problems required each day?   Have you tried doing a physically exhausting activity before AND after math?  Boys do better that way.  Bike rides - running - ANYTHING physical can help them buckle down and concentrate.

Most schools finish in June.  You might want to find out what day the public school ends, and put that on the calendar.  Until then, he might do a full lesson each day (first thing in the morning - no complaints allowed.) After school ends, then he might do just 5 problems per day "to keep your skills sharp over summer, honey, because we know how hard you worked to get those skills, and I don't want you to lose it."

You don't have to complete the whole text.  Set a goal of 80%.  Try to eliminate the parts of the book that are less valuable (using feedback from the company and author.)

Some homeschoolers will just STOP in June, and pick up the book in the same place in September.  That's hard though, to pick up math midstream like that, but it's an option to consider.

For right now, this moment, I suggest dropping the books and playing. You know, take a Tylenol, have a cup of coffee, go outside, do something physical, or take him for an ice cream.

Karen wrote back:
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.

~Karen



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Incorporate Cartooning Into Your Homeschool

Incorporate Cartooning Into Your Homeschool
Any suggestions on how to incorporate cartooning into completing math assignments? So far, my son has come up with 1001 ways to destroy a math book. You can do anything in cartoons, but in reality, you can learn algebraic concepts.

Hi Lois,

There are some comics in Harold Jacob's book.


I have no ideas for actually incorporating cartooning into algebra (LOL!)

I have seen cartooning as an art, as occupational education (when you make it a business) and as a technology credit (when you do it though computer programming rather than drawing.)

Have you seen FamilyManMinistries?

Homeschool dad cartooning for the Lord - crazy fun stuff!

There are vocabulary cartoon books

And there are economics cartoon books, too


What does YOUR child love that he could make it into a cartoon book and sell enough to make his first million?  That could be a fun English credit.

Good luck, Lois!  I'm sorry I was no help with the math part.



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Homeschool Math - Is Pre-Algebra Required?

Homeschool Math - Is Pre-Algebra Required?
My daughter is entering high school next year and we pretty much have her year laid out and what she wants to take.  We sat down and did this together. But my question is this - she has never had Pre-Algebra.  Is it necessary to take that or can she just go into Algebra I and be okay.  I don't remember taking Pre-Algebra in high school and am not quite sure what to do in this area.  Thank you for any guidance in this area.
~ Andra in Kentucky


Hi Andra,
Choose your math curriculum first, and then try to find a placement test for her. Here is a link for a Saxon placement test that should help.  That placement test will determine what math level she should take. Some advanced math classes taken in 8th grade will cover all the necessary pre-algebra content, so she may be fine without the additional class. For more information, check out this blog post.



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