Originally Posted by Linda on the move
I'm wondering if hiring a tutor to work with him -- make sure his work gets done and he understands it -- would help. With my sn teen, anyone other than me is a good choice.
It might be a very good idea. Can you find a college kid who lives nearby to tutor him? A college student tutor would probably impress him more than an "adult" tutor or a high school student tutor. Even better if you can find a math major who is interested in the theory of computation. At a school like MIT, you can't tell the computer science majors from the math majors because they pretty much study the same thing, so you could easily persuade such a tutor to insert casual comments about why math is so important to majoring in computer science. (Or maybe you can find a physics or computer science major to tutor.)
If you're in Texas, then UT-Austin's Computer Science major is highly respected. Here is the list of courses that an undergraduate has to take: http://www.cs.utexas.edu/undergraduate-program/courses
As you see from this list, as soon as you hit the upper division courses, then you see that if you can't do Algebra II, then you are definitely screwed. Actually, you would be in very serious trouble for even the intro classes, not because of lack of content, but because learning Algebra II is the same kind of learning as you need for programming, data structures, etc. : Logical analytical problem solving. Would that be enough to convince your son?
Maybe you want to make your son to arrange a 30 minute interview with a UT-Computer Science professor? Skype would be fine if you live far away. (If you live nearby a college or university, they might even give him a tour of their department.) Have your son say that he is interested in majoring in CS, and wants to know what kind of preparation would be helpful to succeeding as an undergraduate.
Maybe your son needs the structure of an actual class? (I know that when I was in high school, I was NOT an independent worker and I have very poor time management skills, so teaching myself a topic during high school would have been a losing proposition for me.) I think if I were in your place, I'd enroll my son in a remedial community college course, AND hire a tutor to help him keep on top of the homework. I think I'd have him do this during the regular school year, instead of during the month of August. Algebra II is the foundation of the building, and I would want it to be steel, and not clay feet. So, the statistics course in school to get the minimum number of credits, plus the Algebra II remediation, would probably be a very good solution.
I am normally someone who goes for letting a child take his/her consequences, but for math, it's different. If it is a poor learning experience, it sours the whole thing for a lifetime.