Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Algebra Thoughts

Jay is using Life of Fred for Math. He started this school year (mid-April) with Elementary Physics. He then moved onto Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology. He is currently more than halfway through Pre-Algebra 2 with Economics. He will be finished with this book before we take our Christmas break. When we return from Christmas break, he will be starting Life of Fred Beginning Algebra.

Since he will be starting Algebra in just a few months, I have been looking over the Beginning Algebra books to determine exactly how we will be using them. We already had Beginning Algebra & the Home Companion. I bought Zillions of Practice Problems in case we need it. I would rather spend the $30 to make sure we have extra problems for him & then find out he doesn't need them, than not have the extra practice & have this be where he hits a wall & needs extra practice.

So, here are the ideas I'm currently considering:

1) Give him 1 week per chapter. Schedule the final 2 Cities as the test each Friday & let him schedule how he plans to complete the work during the week.

2) Let him do it entirely at his own pace. Give him BA, ZPP to use as he needs, and access to the HC until he starts the Cities. Have him do the first 2 Cities as a pre-test, to make sure he is ready. If he gets 100% on it, give him that grade & let him move on. If he doesn't score 100%, have him re-read chapter & study. Then do next 2 Cities as the chapter test. If he still doesn't quite get it, have him study again & use final 2 Cities as test. Repeat with each chapter.

3) Have him read in BA, up to a Your Turn to Play, only doing problems from HC or ZPP if he feels he needs practice. If he gets any wrong in the Your Turn to Play, have him spend the next day or two doing problems in HC & ZPP to practice what needs work. Repeat until finished with chapter. Do 2 Cities as test. If less than 100% review & do next 2 Cities as test. If still less than 100% review again & do last 2 Cities as test.

4) Just have him follow the lessons as set out in HC, doing work in ZPP as needed.

I'm kind of leaning toward option #2, at least to start. If he is moving too slow & it's not because he is struggling with it, we would go to an option where he had less control over the schedule. I think option #3 is my next favorite, then option #1. Option #4 is my least favorite. I honestly think that option #4 would be too much review for him. He is the kind of kid that understands & masters quickly & easily.

I'm going to discuss it with my husband later. I already talked to Jay about it & he likes option #2. Since my husband takes over as head of the Math Department once they hit Algebra (since he likes Math & I hate it), he should have some say in how it gets done.