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    Has anyone had their child take art of Problem solving classes on-line at school? Is that possible? I am looking into paying for a program for my son to take, but when I looked these courses there are hours that look like are at night...so wasn't sure how it would work for him to take it during the day. Is there another way to still take it at school? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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    My son uses an AoPS textbook at school. He's working independently. We go over ideas at home, and then he works on his own at school.

    I agree that the course times are a bit of a pain. I wish they offered times for homeschoolers (which we're strongly consdering for next year).

    It might be worth sending emails to them.

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    cty has AoPS and you can do it anytime online.

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    thanks! He does qualify for all the CTY courses since he took the SCAT this year....but are they the more expensive CTY prices or are they the art of problem solving prices? CTY courses are quite pricey.

    I am not sure about my son doing the textbook at school. so far he hasn't really needed much help with anything. DS7 is in a 3rd grade classroom and earlier this year he was finishing up one of the district's programs and was doing 8th grade math and the teacher said she couldn't help him because she only really knew up through 7th grade. So I imagine that may be an issue next year when he is in 4th and doing highschool math. It would be nice to have an online program with tutorials or some other guidance so that the teacher doesn't have to be interrupted from teaching the other kids too.

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    Originally Posted by shellymos
    thanks! He does qualify for all the CTY courses since he took the SCAT this year....but are they the more expensive CTY prices or are they the art of problem solving prices? CTY courses are quite pricey.

    I've read that the CTY elementary school math curriculum is the same as that of EPGY, which is available for $135 for 10 months through open enrollment http://epgy.stanford.edu/school/openenroll/info .

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    We are looking into supplementing AoPS into school next year for our son 9 in 4th next year. He took 5th grade math this year. We need something for next year. His math teacher says she has nothing else for him also.

    We have lined up a HS teacher as more of a mentor. He can help with the course and design a well rounded Math program... fingers crossed, trial and error at best.


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    Added: my son uses an AoPS textbook at school, not the school textbook.

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    Check out Khan Academy. It's free and it has plenty of video lectures and your DS can do it at his own pace.

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    Originally Posted by kcab
    What about doing his homework and Alcumus problems (if assigned for his course) during school hours? The classes, at least the ones I've looked at, are once a week. That part would have to be out of school, unless they added a homeschool-friendly time.
    I guess the class is only once a week...I wonder if that is a possibility. Is there enough homework and work during the week to keep him occupied for about an hour a day at school with math though? I guess if not the rest could be filled in with Khan academy or something else.


    Originally Posted by Bostonian
    I've read that the CTY elementary school math curriculum is the same as that of EPGY, which is available for $135 for 10 months through open enrollment http://epgy.stanford.edu/school/openenroll/info .
    Thanks, we did EPGY with him a couple years ago and it worked well...except the computer at school was too slow and with open enrollment there is not help and a few times he wanted guidance and no one could help him. I may look into it again though because he did seem to like it.


    Originally Posted by Peter
    Check out Khan Academy. It's free and it has plenty of video lectures and your DS can do it at his own pace.
    He does like Khan academy and they let him do that some at school...but right now they let him do that in addition to the 5th grade curriculum. Next year I am recommending him doing a computer program in place of a curriculum since 6th grade math is in another building entirely. So I don't think they would allow Khan academy to replace a curriculum.

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    Originally Posted by Val
    My son uses an AoPS textbook at school. He's working independently. We go over ideas at home, and then he works on his own at school.


    So does your son work when the other kids in his class are doing their math? Does he stay in the same room or go to a different location to work? Is there a time he needs help and if so, is there someone able to help him? DS7 does math and work and has never required any help or assistance...but honestly I would like him to work at a level in which he may have some questions and am worried that no one will be available to help him.

    I am trying to figure out what to recommend at his upcoming meeting and the logistics of everything smile

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    Slightly OT but I emailed and begged for homeschooler's class during the week. Being in PST, there is pretty much no way my 9 year old is going to agree to do a math class online on a Friday night. Plus, he's sound asleep by 8:30pm most nights- he'll be total rubbish trying to do math at 8pm.

    Richard answered right away and said that they had homeschool friendly times before but the classes were underused. I asked (begged) him to reconsider!

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    That stinks that they don't have it available anymore. It probably would be hard to get a time during the day to fit into his schools schedule perfectly anyhow. I guess the night time would work but we are ET time which is the latest one and goes until 9pm. DS7 usually goes to bed at 9pm and while his brain is always going...not sure if taking a math class minutes before bed will help him go right to sleep. He would probably be in bed doing calculations all night long.

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    Originally Posted by CAMom
    Slightly OT but I emailed and begged for homeschooler's class during the week. Being in PST, there is pretty much no way my 9 year old is going to agree to do a math class online on a Friday night. Plus, he's sound asleep by 8:30pm most nights- he'll be total rubbish trying to do math at 8pm.

    Richard answered right away and said that they had homeschool friendly times before but the classes were underused. I asked (begged) him to reconsider!

    I'll call too.

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    Originally Posted by shellymos
    So does your son work when the other kids in his class are doing their math? Does he stay in the same room or go to a different location to work? Is there a time he needs help and if so, is there someone able to help him? DS7 does math and work and has never required any help or assistance...but honestly I would like him to work at a level in which he may have some questions and am worried that no one will be available to help him.

    Yes, he stays in the room. He doesn't generally need help; when he does, he typically needs help with a specific problem rather than a concept. I help him at home.

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    AoPS offered homeschool friendly classes and couldn't fill them.

    AoPS could be easily used in school as long as there is a computer connection available. There are tons of questions in the books, alcumus, and at least some courses are doing weekly homework rather than the challenge sets that are due every few weeks. Alcumus and homework are online and the book problems are accessible without a computer. While courses do not follow an academic calendar, it would be easy to string a few courses together or to work on problem solving during off times or fun math topics.

    I'd think a kid would need to be able to focus well and work hard independently, but a very mathy kid at 7 may be able to do that well. AoPS has multiple levels and doesn't just start at algebra anymore so it wouldn't be hard to get the right level, even for a younger child. And finally, the whole point of AoPS is to spend a *lot* of time thinking very hard about too difficult problems. Even without access to help, the time spent thinking hard can be beneficial and help can be given at home if needed.

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    Originally Posted by kaibab
    AoPS could be easily used in school as long as there is a computer connection available. There are tons of questions in the books, alcumus, and at least some courses are doing weekly homework rather than the challenge sets that are due every few weeks. Alcumus and homework are online and the book problems are accessible without a computer. While courses do not follow an academic calendar, it would be easy to string a few courses together or to work on problem solving during off times or fun math topics.


    Do you think the amount of work for a class would be able to completed in about 6 hours a week? (not including the weekly class of course). And would he need the computer every day for homework to do during school...or are there days he could just do bookwork? I have to say that since he will probably go through a few courses per year the fact that it will be close to $1,000 makes me lean more towards EPGY open enrollment. But I feel like the AoPS classes sound a lot better.


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    Originally Posted by shellymos
    DS7 is in a 3rd grade classroom and earlier this year he was finishing up one of the district's programs and was doing 8th grade math and the teacher said she couldn't help him because she only really knew up through 7th grade.

    This makes me want to cry. A teacher who can't handle high school math?

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    Well--she's a third grade teacher! I don't think that's so terrible. I'd hope she still has HS math proficiency at a basic level (I'm not sure what that is, TBH), but teaching is pretty different from doing.

    (And I seriously doubt I could still DO trigonometry, for example, myself. I'd have to undertake some serious review. Yeah, I know. I'm going to have to brush up. Math is not my strength. Fortunately, DH is very good at it.)

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    Originally Posted by ultramarina
    Well--she's a third grade teacher! I don't think that's so terrible. I'd hope she still has HS math proficiency at a basic level (I'm not sure what that is, TBH), but teaching is pretty different from doing.

    (And I seriously doubt I could still DO trigonometry, for example, myself. I'd have to undertake some serious review. Yeah, I know. I'm going to have to brush up. Math is not my strength. Fortunately, DH is very good at it.)


    I still think it is terrible because the way that you teach math in early years directly impacts how children will develop their mathematical thinking, and, in my opinion, someone whose mathematical thinking is weak enough that they don't understand pre-algebra, algebra, and basic geometry ( 7th grade or 8th grade math) well enough to teach it when they have a textbook available to refer to, has no business professionally directing the mathematical development of children, period. How well you teach children first- through third-grade math directly affects how well they will do in 7th and 8th grade math, and if you don't know where you are going and how to get there from where you are, you can't possibly build a decent path to travel. Early childhood education is critical, and it is scandalous that we allow people who aren't equipped to do it in the classroom as the primary instructor. The people who teach your children to add, subtract, multiply, and divide teach them how to understand and conceptualize those basic operations, which are fundamental to everything that follows. For example, children who understand that you can only add and subtract things that are of the same type typically have no problem grasping operations with fractions, decimals, adding and subtracting polynomials, and other procedures that are great sources of confusion for children who didn't get that understanding early on. Weaknesses in early teaching don't necessarily impact performance right away - it is only later, when the concepts that should build on the early foundation have nothing to stand on that the problem becomes evident, so teachers who are doing grave damage to the children in their charge continue on and on with no accountability.

    [/rant]

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    Originally Posted by ultramarina
    Well--she's a third grade teacher! I don't think that's so terrible. I'd hope she still has HS math proficiency at a basic level (I'm not sure what that is, TBH), but teaching is pretty different from doing.

    (And I seriously doubt I could still DO trigonometry, for example, myself. I'd have to undertake some serious review. Yeah, I know. I'm going to have to brush up. Math is not my strength. Fortunately, DH is very good at it.)

    I am getting the same from my ds9 3rd grade school.
    They say the teacher can't teach the math my son needs well enough.

    I read something recently and believe it was on the AoPS web site.
    (To get a better idea of how well you know something, try teaching it to someone else.) Not an exact quote.

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    I didn't read everything here but I may have a story that relates. Recently my dd10 took a unit pre- test on angles and lines. They gave it back to her with the exact same post test to compare to two and to see how much she learned. She came home a bit confused. The pre test asked her to draw a 90 degree angle. My DD drew a Right angle using Line Segments. Made the three points, labeled them A, B, and C and made the little right angle box inside the angle. She got the problem wrong because she didn't use arrows on her lines to represent lines.
    She said to me "but an angle is an angle even if it is made with line segments, right?" I emailed the teacher to let her know that DD was confused and the response was that since my DD showed profinciency on the post test she is not concerned about any misunderstanding.

    Now this woman is only a Math teacher. I have never had Math after highschools and am not "gifted" but I really don't believe our educators are educated. Either that or they simply don't care. Or maybe they don't have time to care. I don't know.

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    Quote
    n my opinion, someone whose mathematical thinking is weak enough that they don't understand pre-algebra, algebra, and basic geometry ( 7th grade or 8th grade math) well enough to teach it when they have a textbook available to refer to, has no business professionally directing the mathematical development of children, period.

    I guess I haven't given this a great deal of in-depth thought. I agree that teachers even of early primary grades should have a strong foundation in basic math proficiency, such as pre-algebra, algebra, and basic geometry; that is actually going to come up. Graphing functions, not usually, unless we're talking about our kids. I can see the argument, and yet I guess I think I would rather teachers got really strong pedagogical instruction in good teaching, or perhaps stronger mentoring, than intensive testing and tutoring in higher-order math.

    This is again with the caveat that I actually do not know what basic high school level math is. I don't think algebra and geometry are tpyically taught in junior high to nonhonors track kids, are they?

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    Elementary school teachers in most states, receive almost no training in anything beyond arithmetic. They do receive extensive training in teaching reading and various approaches to it, but not math. Elementary teachers are also often quite afraid of higher level math and don't really understand the concepts beyond simple multiplication and division. While they may have not only passed high school math but at least one course in college level math, they have no training in how to teach that in the classroom.

    My son's third grade teacher who professed to be "excellent at math", insisted that it was okay to put a 0 as a denominator in a fraction, just as a placeholder. My son refused, it blew into a battle of wills.

    Ultramarine- in CA, all 8th graders are supposed to take Algebra I. It's not uncommon to see a class of 8th grade Geometry.

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    Originally Posted by sydness
    The pre test asked her to draw a 90 degree angle. My DD drew a Right angle using Line Segments. Made the three points, labeled them A, B, and C and made the little right angle box inside the angle. She got the problem wrong because she didn't use arrows on her lines to represent lines.

    They got her because the directions said "line" segments.

    This has happened to my son as well. He was marked wrong on a fill-in-the-blanks proof on a geometry test because he wrote "Side Angle Side" instead of "Side Angle Side Theorem." There were four of these instances, and he ended up with a C on an exam that he actually aced. They got him because the directions said "Identify the theorem or postulate that makes each statement true." This was interpreted as meaning that you had to write "theorem" or "postulate" as part of the answer.

    IMO, picayune stuff like this is actually a way of making math "accessible" to students who really aren't capable of getting through a classically taught course. They memorize factoids and regurgitate them on an exam, and the schools pretend that the kids are learning college-prep math. When you look at the material from this perspective, deducting points for arrowheads and the word "theorem" makes sense.

    Obviously, a proper geometry course wouldn't present fill-in-the-blank "proofs." It would make a statement and ask the kids to do an entire proof from scratch, and the main grading focus would be on grasp of concepts and the ability to apply them, rather than vocabulary. True, there's a place for memorizing definitions, but that should be a small, discrete part of a math test.

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    Now, I don't believe the word "line" was in the directions. I believe the directions said "Draw a right angle" but we had another thing that sounds more like what you are describing on the SAME day. She got eight points off on a test that mattered because she wrote the name of the person who she thought geussed clsest o the drawn angle, rather than circling his name. She wrote in under the problem where it said BONUS - describe why you chose your answer. So she didn't circle Tom, but she wrote Tom on the line and said that she chose Tom because Tom was the only one to guess 50 degrees and 50 degrees is an acute angle as obvious in the picture. The rest of the guesses were obtuse angles.

    So she got two bonus points for that answer getting her a 94 on that test. So in the same email as the arrow head complaint I mentioned that I was surprised to see that 8 points had been taken off for writing the answer o. The line rather than circling it. The response was that is she had done that on the nclb test it would be wrong. She needs the children to continue to learn to do well on those STUPID tests. I can't be sure, but the last state test they took proved my dd to ne very good I not the best test taker in the school! This stuff makes me so crazy!

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    If you haven't seen it yet, I would recommend reading Lockhart's Lament (pdf). It's very sad.

    If you wouldn't want a teacher who couldn't read at a high school level teaching your kid to read, why would you want a teacher who can't do algebra teaching your elementary student math?

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    Oh gosh sorry about all my thumb typing errors. I going to read the link.

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    Originally Posted by sydness
    Now this woman is only a Math teacher. I have never had Math after highschools and am not "gifted" but I really don't believe our educators are educated. Either that or they simply don't care. Or maybe they don't have time to care. I don't know.


    When I mentioned that my son's teacher only knew math through 7th grade...I meant more of her certification. I would bet she could do beyond that, but there was some terminology he was asking about that she didn't know. I think it is difficult too because frankly she has about 20+ other kids in there she is teaching by herself. I do want to say that I am a school social workers and work with teachers all day...and I give them much credit. Until you actually do it and see what it's like, it's hard to explain. While you will get the occasional teacher that really shouldn't be teaching...a majority of them work extremely hard and it's really difficult for them to take all that time for each student and each problem with just one person. I would hope that they went over that as a group. Unfortunately, state tests have really made things ridiculous. Teachers are having to teach very rigidly on some things because of those tests...anyhow. thanks for the comments!

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    Originally Posted by shellymos
    I do want to say that I am a school social workers and work with teachers all day...and I give them much credit. ... While you will get the occasional teacher that really shouldn't be teaching...a majority of them work extremely hard and it's really difficult for them to take all that time for each student and each problem with just one person. ... Unfortunately, state tests have really made things ridiculous. Teachers are having to teach very rigidly on some things because of those tests...anyhow. thanks for the comments!

    I agree with a lot of what you wrote, but at the same time, teachers as a group have the lowest GRE and SAT scores, and elementary ed. teachers get the lowest scores among teachers. it's important not to overlook that. It's possible that she really doesn't know the math.

    As for those tests, they're the product of the education system. They don't get dropped down from on high. Educators create them. So they have no one but themselves to blame.

    True, NCLB forces a lot of the problems in our public education system, but NCLB just made a bad system worse.

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    Originally Posted by Val
    As for those tests, they're the product of the education system. They don't get dropped down from on high. Educators create them. So they have no one but themselves to blame.

    True, NCLB forces a lot of the problems in our public education system, but NCLB just made a bad system worse.


    True, a select group of educators do make those tests...but that doesn't mean each educator has say in any of it...and doesn't represent what all educators think should be tested or the manner in which it should be done. Kind of like when you get survey results that say "90% of people......" and you say to yourself 'Funny, they never ask me about this because I would have gone the other way.' Lots of people never get a say...and typically the ones in there teaching the class each day are not out there making up the tests. Anyhow, I won't get into all the testing stuff. I mostly wanted to say that most teachers work very hard, and that it's not at all an easy job.

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    Originally Posted by shellymos
    [quote=sydness] Until you actually do it and see what it's like, it's hard to explain. While you will get the occasional teacher that really shouldn't be teaching...a majority of them work extremely hard and it's really difficult for them to take all that time for each student and each problem with just one person.

    I have been there and done that, with student populations that were not "easy". I have taught in an academic intervention program for4th graders who were identified as being "at risk" for future drug use and dropping out. I have taught pre-teens and teens at runaway shelters, where the "class" composition was constantly changing, so every student needed (and got) in-class differentiation. I have taught in Adult Basic Education and GED prep programs. I have taught in Family Literacy programs where parents were learning to read and do math along with their children. I have taught homeschool co-op classes where the students spanned a wide range of ages and ability levels. I know exactly what I am asking for. I've done it. It is hard. It is also possible, if you have people who know their stuff. There are highly knowledgeable, committed, competent teachers out there. That should be the professional standard, and unfortunately, it's not, and that's tragic, not just for the children who are being cheated out of a decent education, but for the good teachers who end up tarred with the same brush as their incompetent colleagues.

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    Originally Posted by aculady
    That should be the professional standard, and unfortunately, it's not, and that's tragic, not just for the children who are being cheated out of a decent education, but for the good teachers who end up tarred with the same brush as their incompetent colleagues.

    I agree. There's a competence problem, and working hard won't always make it go away.

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    If you wouldn't want a teacher who couldn't read at a high school level teaching your kid to read, why would you want a teacher who can't do algebra teaching your elementary student math?

    Well, it's a fair question. Actually, I'm not sure that all of DD's teachers can actually read and write at a true 12th grade level. But I suppose the answer is that occasionally, in the course of reading and writing even at the third grade level, you may run into a much more advanced concept, word, or skill, and you'd like the teacher to be able to explain it. I see how the same could possibly hold for math--and yet, realistically, a child is much more likely to run into the word "phenomenon" or to ask about how to use a colon than he or she is to ask how to graph a function. Or so it seems to me, with the very real exception of kids like ours.

    I realize that I am coming at this with the prejudices of someone who is no longer all that functional in high school math. (I can certainly do basic algebra and geometry and all the other basic stuff of math that one uses in daily living, and I've picked up some basic stats, but ask me to write a complex proof or do trig? Forget it. I'm high average at math, at best. I never took calculus, and I worked hard to get a B+ in trig.) I'm perfectly comfortable helping my second grader with her homework, but she does ask theoretical math questions that stump me a bit at times--however, she shows signs of being gifted in math.

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    I am positive my son's 3rd grade teacher did not read or write at a high school level. He did receive his "Writing Journel" back at the end of the year with a multitude of correction marks. Most of them, including the cover spelling, were in her handwriting. Most of them were incorrect. His kindergarten teacher insisted that all words in English must have a vowel and that a e i o and u are the only vowels. When he asked how "try" is a word them, she got angry instead of getting curious. He explained that y and w are "sometimes-vowels" (his term). She chose to yell at him for asking questions too hard for his classmates, rather than saying "You're right!"

    Sadly, I've come to discover that there are many elementary teachers who are there because they can't teach anything else, not because they truly want to be there. Looking at a teacher's credential can tell you a lot about him/her. Does she have extra authorizations? A Masters in her field of study (not education)? University level continuing education courses?

    I actually don't mind that elementary teachers aren't capable of high school and college level work. I do care that they believe they are capable and insist that they are correct. I know I don't have a Ph.D in theoretical physics so I wouldn't even begin to answer a question, let alone argue it. Yet my son has encountered a few teachers who would argue back, dig in so hard and straight out refuse to admit mistakes.

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