M.R. asks from Chantilly, VA on June 18, 2011
Pre-algebra Class in 8Th Grade vs Push for Algebra Class So He Can Take Geometry
My son took 7th grade Math and now is placed in a pre-algebra class based on his Iowa teat and Terra Nova testing. He is an honors student at a parochial school. He told me he did not finish 9 problems on the IOWA test because he ran out of time. He double checked his answers before moving ontot he next question. He scored average on Terra NOVA test but he was above 90 in 7th grade Math. We want him to be able to take Geometry in 9th grade. Do we push the school to allow him to take algebra in 8th grade...or do we agree that eh takes pre-algebra then have him take algebra 1 next summer so he can proceed to geometry in 9th? Or do we find a an on-line course for algebra and do that on our own. He is a bright student but I think he needs to learn how to take time math test.
D.B. answers from Charlotte on June 18, 2011
M., look at the school's website or go down to see them during morning hours and ask for their school curriculum guide. Sit down and go through the book and see how much math they offer.
Do they offer the following:
Algebra I - Algebra I Honors or Integrated Math
Geometry or Integrated Math - Geometry or Integrated Math Honors
Algebra II Trig - Algebra II Trig Honors or Integrated Math
Statistics Honors or AP
Pre-Calc Honors or the varying versions of Calc
Calculus Honors or AP
Truthfully, high school honors math is HARD. AP is even harder. The brain has to kind of be ready for the harder algebra and being older helps. Your son may do well right now, but the harder level may kick his butt. My sons were the same way. They were placed in the higher level math and really struggled. Yet, they did really well on the standardized testing, so much that their testing and their actual grades were a bit divergent.
I would recommend that you allow the school to decide where to put him for 8th grade. He hasn't reached high school yet. If that isn't palatable for you, try the online course, but get him a summer tutor with the agreement of the school to test him before school starts to see where he stands regarding Algebra I. If he has the tenacity to really be driven and self-starting (without you forcing it all summer) to do this course in the next two months, perhaps it's worth going through the motions with the school.
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L.R. answers from Washington DC on June 19, 2011
Test scores aside, you don't say if you want him to have geometry in 9th grade or if HE wants it, and why, either way. Is he the one driving this accelerated math schedule or are you and his father driving it? If he wants it for himself, why? If he's just going along with your schedule for him, why do you think 8th grade algebra and 9th grade for geometry are best for him, and what's the end goal -- is he heading toward a science or math career (and does he know that for sure as he's just finishing 7th grade?)? He may indeed be the kind of kid who at 12 or 13 already is sure of his direction; there are some kids like that though they're few. (I do know kids who by about 12 truly knew what they wanted to do in life and went out and did it.) If so, great. But if he is not the driving force behind accelerating his math, he will not be motivated enough -- or he will be motivated mostly by the worry that he will let you down, and not by a desire of his own to move up in math. If he IS the one who wants this change, then he should be with you when you talk to the school about it. You want to challenge a bright kid so he doesn't get bored, of course, but you also want to ensure he moves at an appropriate pace so he doesn't get frustrated and behind in math, and the school may have other ideas about that. Maybe instead of framing it as "Do we push the school to do this," perhaps think of it more as "Let's ask the school exactly what's in this curriculum and why they want him moving at this pace through the curriculum."
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M.M. answers from Washington DC on June 18, 2011
Algebra is best learned in a classroom. It is the first math that involves abstract thinking. Pre Alg does a little of it, it introduces some of the Alg concepts.
Does he want Geometry in 9th grade? If he does then push, if he doesn't then you will be wasting your time and his.
He could do Geometry and Algebra together.
If he is brilliant at math then I would go ahead, if not then leave him in Pre ALg.
Or you can do this.
Go to singaporemath.com or saxon math and download their Pre Algebra end of year tests for homeschoolers. If he does real well the Saxon Algebra 1/2 or on the Singapore 6B test then he is ready for Algebra.
M.S. answers from Dallas on June 19, 2011
As a high school Pre-AP teacher a lot of my students are on an accelerated path (in math and science) like the one your describing. My opinion is that if the school recommends that he take the Pre-Alg. class do that next year. If he does REALLY well in it (like 95 or above and he finds it almost boring) then do the Alg. I in summer school so he can move up to Geo. in 9th. However, if he struggles at all with the Pre-Alg then he needs to stay the course and do the Alg. I in 9th. I see so many kids in my class that have "bitten off more than they can chew". In the end, it can have devastating consequences, not just in math but in chemistry and physics, too, where over 60% of our class is algebra based work. Don't do the online course credit. Algebra needs to be taught be a teacher. It is a foundation class that sets the stage for later work.
K.I. answers from Los Angeles on June 18, 2011
I loved Math and took Algebra I in summer school (simply b/c I wanted to) the summer before I started HS. That way I started Geometry in 9th grade and Algebra II in 10th grade and Pre-Calc and then Calc in 11th and 12th grade.
~If you can get him into voluntary summer school and he wants to go, I say do it...it will give him a leg up!
C.M. answers from Washington DC on June 18, 2011
Hi. I am also in Chantilly!
So, I might not have the best answer, but does he want to take geometry in 9th grade? I remember when I was in H.S. most kids took it in 10th grade. If he is ready for it, he can always try it and if it doesn't work out then then he can always go back to alg. 1 or repeat geometry. I don't know what any of those tests are that he took. We just moved here from CA and my kids are only 6 and 3, so I'm not sure how the testing is. I remember when I was a senior, I wanted to take physics. I was horrible at math. Almost failed it. But, I was good at science and I loved it! I had already taken chemistry and biology, but my school said no because I had not taken algebra 2. I was already done with all my science credits, and just wanted it as an elective, but they still said no. Sometimes you can fight the school on it, but sometimes they won't budge either. It's worth looking into though. Just see what he wants to do and I wouldn't push him either way. High school is hard enough, no need to make it harder
L.M. answers from New York on June 18, 2011
I think we need to know why is it so important that he take geometry in 9th grade? I suggest you meet with a guidence councelor and principal if necessary, to discuss the issue.
In our school district, 9th grade geometry is determined not only by scores, but also by teacher recommendation and space available in the class. Also, summer school is not available to high acheiving students.