My 14yo had to retake preAlgebra this year (partly due to momfailure in teaching it; he’s now in MPOA and doing well) but he would like to have the chance to do preCalculus in 12th. To do that, he wants to take Algebra I with MP’s streaming videos so he can take Algebra II in MPOA in the fall.
He would have 14 weeks to accomplish this. Is this doable for a motivated, Baverage student?
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Advice for scheduling Algebra I over the summer
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Advice for scheduling Algebra I over the summer
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Hi Jen,
Based on what you have described, I suggest starting the algebra1 streaming videos this summer, but do one lesson per day (max), and do not double up. This quote from Dorinda: "Algebra is the critical path and an important foundation for everything that comes afterwards" is absolutely true. There is no more important foundation for higher mathematics than algebra1. If he keeps steadily on pace with 1 lesson per day (plus test and quiz days), he should complete algebra1 in about 9 months. He should take an extra day as needed to master any lesson that proves difficult, possibly using Khan Academy for tutorials and extra practice. Soak time helps students really learn algebra. He should have a goal to "overlearn" this subject. If he needs the accountability of an online class, he can pick up algebra1 with MPOA in the fall. The beginning of the online course will be review, which will build his confidence.
After completing algebra1, he may be able to work through the first 5 chapters of algebra2 more rapidly, because they review some key concepts from algebra1. Then return to the one lesson per day pacing for the remainder of algebra2.
As others have mentioned, it may be possible to study algebra2 and geometry concurrently, but don't make that decision yet. See how algebra1 goes and then make a decision. There is no magic deadline to take precalculus.
If he is motivated to tackle math for mastery, the tips in Barbara Oakley's book: A Mind for Numbers, are very helpful. You could read through that book with him, which will provide strategies for continuing his progress in mathematics.

Hi Jen,
Just one more thing to add...Cindy Davis’s lesson plans recommend 90 minutes per lesson. With the streaming video instruction, it often takes longer than this for my son to complete a lesson, especially including grading and correcting (LPs recommend the student do this too).
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Originally posted by Jen (formerly) in Japan View PostYou know how I think it might be doable? If you can assess where he needs to back up to, then work forward, rather than summarily starting at the beginning. Since Alg II tends to review Alg I, and if he didn't need to back up all the way to the beginning, it might be possible that the summer work was doable, and even motivate to the student to accomplish that "chunk" of the Alg I content.
Could someone at MPOA let you know what topics or chapters Alg II reviews? That might allow you to see which chapters he would need to concentrate on. If that were, dunno... 46 chapters in the Alg I book, then I'd bet it could be accomplished without sacrificing the idea of the Alg I content knowledge.
Jen C.
PS: I am assuming you are looking at MPOA for Alg II. If not, then you'd have to look at the At Home Alg II book and figure out what would be review material from Alg I before adding the new Alg II content.
He hasn’t had Algebra I at all yet. He took preAlgebra with me in 8th grade (last year), but it went badly for a multitude of reasons so he barely remembered anything. He’s currently retaking it with MPOA.
Thank you wveryone for your insights on this! I’m sharing them with him so we can discuss all his options.
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You know how I think it might be doable? If you can assess where he needs to back up to, then work forward, rather than summarily starting at the beginning. Since Alg II tends to review Alg I, and if he didn't need to back up all the way to the beginning, it might be possible that the summer work was doable, and even motivate to the student to accomplish that "chunk" of the Alg I content.
Could someone at MPOA let you know what topics or chapters Alg II reviews? That might allow you to see which chapters he would need to concentrate on. If that were, dunno... 46 chapters in the Alg I book, then I'd bet it could be accomplished without sacrificing the idea of the Alg I content knowledge.
Jen C.
PS: I am assuming you are looking at MPOA for Alg II. If not, then you'd have to look at the At Home Alg II book and figure out what would be review material from Alg I before adding the new Alg II content.
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If he really wants to catch up, another possibility might be this: lay a really strong Algebra foundation this year, then if he's still thriving and motivated, do geometry next summer.
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We already own the text MP uses for Algebra I and my kids do horribly with the spiral approach.
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Are you willing to consider a different math program than MP's, or not doing it thorough MPOA, so that he can just work at his own pace and not have to be done in time for fall classes to start?
If he used a math program like Shormann Math, then he could start and finish each level when he is ready. Includes lectures and autograding and access to help. Geometry is incorporated, so you would save a year. Start Algebra 1 now, then Algebra 2, then PreCalc, and in the end that would be 4 credits of math completed in 3 years. I would personally choose to change rather than try to rush through the most foundational mathematics, because it could just hamper him in future classes.
Backing away slowly now...
Kristin
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Originally posted by Mom2mthj View PostJen,
I ALWAYS overestimate what my children can accomplish during the summer. I think it could be considered a character flaw. Summer is my time to get the house cleaned, plan for next year, take a trip, be lazy, etc. My kids are the same. We do some schoolwork during the summer, but it doesn’t always go as planned. In order to attempt this, you really need to make it a family commitment.
.
Well, my friend, if it's a character flaw, you and I are in the same boat.
One of the things that I have to learn about my children are that THEY ARE NOT TINY REPLICAS OF MYSELF. <shocking, right?> Well, maybe I have ONE out of six that is.
I like Dorinda's idea of Alg II and Geo the same year. I knew people in my HS that did that, in order to free up their schedule senior year for something.
Here's another idea. Could you do ANOTHER class in the summer  literature or something  to free up space to dive in and do math well? Math is a bugaboo around these parts, too; but language arts aren't as much of a struggle. I think even if you didn't do an ENTIRE class  even just reading the materials over the summer would give you a bit of breathing room in the fall.
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Hi Jen!
I am offering my vote also for not trying to rush through Algebra 1. I am finding with my kids  even ones who figure it out easily  still struggle with the ability to slow down enough to make sure each step is correct. So there’s concepts to learn, sure, which take time for understanding to take hold, but there is also a need to develop the ability to focus on these long stepbased problems with the necessary attention to detail. I would also be sad to hear he had gotten into a situation in which a redo was necessary, since he has already had to do that once.
Our daughter started precalc as a junior, and has taken two years to do it. It’s nothing to sneeze at either! I would try to be patient, do each next step really well, and then just see what options are there when you get there. Things change. They really do. What seems so critical right now can look a lot different a few months from now  and you are talking years away.
AMDG,
Sarah
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Jen,
i would agree with doable as long as he has nothing else on his schedule. I do have a few concerns, however.
I ALWAYS overestimate what my children can accomplish during the summer. I think it could be considered a character flaw. Summer is my time to get the house cleaned, plan for next year, take a trip, be lazy, etc. My kids are the same. We do some schoolwork during the summer, but it doesn’t always go as planned. In order to attempt this, you really need to make it a family commitment.
I must say say that my major issue with this is that he has obviously had a bit of a rough experience with math. I love his desire to catch up, but I am concerned about it being this summer. He sounds like he is doing well this year with the format of MPOA and my encouragement would be to let him take Algebra 1 next year with MPOA. Algebra is the critical path and an important foundation for everything that comes afterwards...if something happens and it doesn’t go as planned I don’t want him to feel like he has to retake something else so soon. My vote would be give him the year to stick with what is working rather than trying to rush through algebra 1. As momgineer mentioned geometry and algebra 2 can be taken simultaneously or he can take precalculus during summer school at community college after his senior year.
just my two cents...hopefully Cindy will be able to chime in as well.
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That might be tough. He’s have to be willing to do 23 lessons a day for 5 days a week. Sometimes it’s nice to have time for concepts to settle in overnight before tackling the next lesson. But it could be done.
Two other options start in the summer and do a lesson a day and keep going till you finish then start algebra 2 and keep working through the next summer and you can probably catch up. Or it is totally possible to do both algebra 2 and geometry the same year. They both only have algebra as a prerequisite.
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