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#246522  01/01/20 10:56 AM
Re: Middle school math
[Re: sunnyday]

Member
Registered: 03/17/13
Posts: 1786

Thank you for the update! It sounds like things overall have been going well.
I find the teacher's openness about your son's math ability quite refreshing. Clearly, they are trying to offer him something a bit more appropriate based on what they can offer. Would they be open to AoPS? If he is really MIT/CalTech caliber, then AoPS is a good math curriculum as it is designed for mathy students. However, be aware that the format they use does not work well for all mathy students (i.e if it doesn't take with your child, it is nothing against the child, but a format/distribution mismatch).

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#246523  01/01/20 12:46 PM
Re: Middle school math
[Re: sunnyday]

Member
Registered: 11/08/14
Posts: 61

The teacher is a great guy, clearly a gifted adult himself. So much about the way his brain works reminds me of my children, but especially my son. DS loved Alcumus when he used to play with it in fourth and fifth grade. He's always wanted to "dive in" and "break his brain" rather than to be taught with too much explicit detail, and he is really enjoying MOEMS. I think it would be a really good fit. I'm just worried about negotiating with the school to be awarded high school credit. When I asked back in sixth grade if we could consider online options as an alternative to school classes, the counselor directed me to choose only from alreadyapproved and accredited programs listed by the state. I worry it would be an uphill battle to try to get AOPS accepted. I also wonder if any other mathtalented kids have made school math work for them. Maybe I'm borrowing trouble by trying to find alternatives? Maybe if he just can get through the nonrigorous stuff now, he can fill in his own gaps when he finally gets access to morerigorous instruction at the university level? He's good with math and problem solving, but his current passions are more around circuitry and coding, so he's much less likely to explore it on his own right now, and maybe I shouldn't push it?

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#246524  01/01/20 02:44 PM
Re: Middle school math
[Re: sunnyday]

Member
Registered: 03/17/13
Posts: 1786

I would at least try, personally. But then again, I homeschool because I did not work well with the administration.
For those that have been successful getting AoPS approved, the following concerns were the big hurdles: When  the classes are outside of normal school hours. Rather than sit through the math class in school, he could work on the problems/homework during that time and take the class when he would normally be doing homework in the evening.
Support  Technical support may be needed to access the AoPS website. But math support is provided by AoPS through the messageboard (which is well done in our experience).
Content  AoPS can be shorted and still get a good grade. In particular, if one were to only do the online assignments, there is a tremendous amount of depth that is missed (my opinion). The book provides a number of additional problems as exercises, review problems and challenge problems which are very challenging and add a deeper dimension than can be achieved with just the class. If they are concerned about content, let them review the syllabus (usually much more in depth than the school's) and if they are still concerned, make an agreement he does a few of the problems from the book. However, make sure he is not given all the odds or evens and then graded on a 90% scale as the problems are extremely difficult and thought provoking. The way we do it is DS attempts all the problems once on his own. We identify the ones he misses so he reworks. If he is stuck, he is given a hint based on the solutions manual. Some may argue that is not a true grade, but the purpose of homework is to help learn. Again, these problems are extremely hard (but achievable and a good stretch). So before grades go on record for anything out of the book, do a trial run to make sure you have fair representation. Also, if you use the book, DEFINITELY buy the solutions manual.

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#246526  01/01/20 04:48 PM
Re: Middle school math
[Re: Portia]

Member
Registered: 11/08/14
Posts: 61

Thanks for the tips! One thing I was considering was to try Counting & Probability over the summer and see how he gets on. Either online for the accountability, or just working through the books with an agreedupon schedule to make sure that we actually make progress through it.
The flipped classroom could be a good model if we go with this. He really prefers to get his homework done during study hall or class time.

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#246787  02/12/20 08:53 PM
Re: Middle school math
[Re: sunnyday]

Junior Member
Registered: 08/28/18
Posts: 29

DS10 is enjoying CTY Honors Prealgebra. She had worked through a basic prealgebra and algebra book and that was probably needed to jump into it. She skipped 4th grade math, took 5th in fourth, was supposed to take a consolidated class that got her to prealgebra 6th/algebra 7th. But her teacher is so weak, they move at a snail’s pace, and top off it the prealgebra teacher next year is extremely rigorous. The teacher was constantly on Facebook and gave two pages of homework a week.
The class is very well structured and I can recommend wholeheartedly.

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#247304  07/05/20 04:56 PM
Re: Middle school math
[Re: sunnyday]

Member
Registered: 02/24/20
Posts: 64
Loc: Australia

Hi OP, I’m in a different country so I don’t know what’s available in the US but I think our experience here is still relevant even if the resources are different.
My son is now 15 and he has always been many maths grades ahead of his classmates. In primary school, the teachers pretty much let him do whatever he wanted as it was clear he had mastered all of the curriculum (in Yr 4, he achieved a near perfect score in a national competition for Yr 6 students and he subsequently achieved perfect scores for the next two years and near perfect scores in other competitions).
He decided to attend the local high school which has never had any student close to his calibre so they implemented an online system called Maths Pathways (which any student could also opt into). The program enables students to work at their own pace. It was particularly suited to him because each topic has a pretopic test and a score of >90% obviates the need to do the exercises of that topic. In this way, DS finished four years of the maths curriculum in six months. At the time, Maths Pathways did not include the senior high curriculum content (it does now), so he switched to Maths Online to complete the Yr 1112 content & sat his first HSC exam last year in Yr 9. He is sitting the extension exams this year. He has accomplished this sitting in his age appropriate class, doing different work on his laptop. He’s a friendly kid who is always happy to help his classmates so he’s always been popular and never had any issues (the fact that everyone else was also given the same opportunity for online learning was important as it meant that he wasn’t singled out).
The Digital Age offers unprecedented opportunities for tailored learning.
The Maths Olympiad program is highly worthwhile for high school students who are working beyond the school curriculum.

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#247562  09/13/20 03:01 PM
Re: Middle school math
[Re: Eagle Mum]

Member
Registered: 11/08/14
Posts: 61

Hi and thanks for the reply! I hadn't checked in here for a few months, sorry for missing your message. So, since my post, of course the pandemic happened. Our school is starting out 100% distance learning. After some dithering I've chosen to put him in Geometry and not dualenroll him in Algebra 2. I've also ordered the AOPS Geometry book. I'll see how this first week goes, but the Geometry syllabus and textbook do worry me a lot. The scope and sequence the teacher is choosing is NUTS to me. They're barely going to go through a chapter a month, and they're not even getting to proofs or basic geometry definitions like congruency and similarity until January. They will have 3 25 minute synchronous sessions per week, and are told to expect another 2.5 hours of asynchronous assignments (which I truly doubt will take my child that much time). So maybe there will be flexibility for us to dive deeper. It sounds like you found a great solution for your son! Another option I can consider is that the school will be using APEX learning products for some high school assessment, and the district refers to APEX curriculum in its reopening plan for fall. So there's a chance that some selfpaced options could open up that would be acceptable to school leadership! We'll just have to play it by ear and see, I guess. As one of my friends cringes every times she hears it, these are unprecedented times!

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#247566  09/14/20 04:49 AM
Re: Middle school math
[Re: sunnyday]

Member
Registered: 02/24/20
Posts: 64
Loc: Australia

A chapter a month would drive mine nuts too. Typically, DS would sit and master a topic in one session. Self paced is definitely the way to go.
Edited to add: As a student, I used to slaveishly do all the exercises with the rest of my class, although I was learning little from completing them. In final year, a male classmate who never did any of the exercises overtook me (topped the state & got into the team for IMO). He spent his time actually learning. That’s the lesson I took away for parenting.
Edited by Eagle Mum (09/15/20 04:26 AM)

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#247580  09/19/20 01:58 AM
Re: Middle school math
[Re: sunnyday]

Junior Member
Registered: 07/01/18
Posts: 2

I have a similar scenario, DS very keen in Math, pretty much self learned through Khan academy; While in Grade 4 he was already doing Math with 8th graders. This year with Pandemic we moved him to public school (Grade 5) and also dual enrolled in a college for calculus. He is not happy doing place value and decimal addition in his school but enjoys his college as the learning pace is different.
Good point around the High school credits, I was under assumption it would be automatic, I guess the negotiations with school never stops.

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