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i'm so out of the loop

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I've been using a curriculum and I hate it. I would really prefer something with workbooks that I can just go through and teach each topic and move on once mastered. I don't care if it's secular or not, but I am prepping my kid to enroll in a college prep school in 2 years and I discovered some significant holes with the kidlet I just enrolled so I'm looking for something to make sure all of the major testing points are hit.


I'm sorry to post what may be a duplicate thread, but the more I read, the more overwhelmed I feel. I'm in the middle of juggling a huge amount of medical appointments, doing several hours of homework with my freshman, and I just want a mommy (mine, yours, you) to help me out.


Also, cost is an issue, so paying vast amounts for a full curriculum is out of the picture. I'm even debating just going through my year end assessments, and making my own curriculum based on their required learning, but that's an awful lot of paper and if I could use a book, it would help me organize.

post #2 of 9
Thread Starter 

Also, I don't care if it is secular or not. I don't even need lesson plans. I just want to make sure I hit all of the things necessary for this world of standardized testing.

post #3 of 9

There are a few things people will probably want to know before making recommendations.


First, how old is your child, and at what level?

Second, what don't you like about your current curriculum? What is it?

Third, what holes did you discover with your older kid?

Fourth, what is your child's learning style... and how would he/she answer the second question above?


Also, maybe I'm the only one, but I'm not at all sure what 'college prep school' means. I'm in Canada and I don't think we have those here. What level would that be? 


On the assumption that your child is older than 9 or 10, my inclination would be to put your child in the driver's seat in choosing curriculum. My 10-year-old has chosen all her stuff both this year and last, and it sure makes it easy to find an appealing good fit and the motivation to move through it. 



post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Sorry. She is 12, and around about 6 or 7th grade, depending on what assessment. I used time4learning and I found it difficult to check out progress because when I had her redo lessons, it made duplicates and in no particular order. I found it hard just to figure out where she was. It took me longer to go through it's lessons to figure out exactly what she was supposed to learn than if I just did it myself.


I'm not sure my kid has gaps or is just overwhelmed going from home schooling to college prep class. She had to learn everything from scratch in a rigorous curriculum. It's a long convoluted explanation.


I'm not sure on the style as we've pretty much used the one curriculum and it's just been "get it done" type thing. She hates the t4l cartoons though.


Prep school is basically more rigorous and is geared toward a smooth transition to college. The classes are more advanced, but this school has more in the way of helping each kid succeed. I'm not sure how to explain it.


Problem with letting my kid pick is neither of us knows what we want. Right now I just want to get her on the right track with something I can easily navigate and check. If I make her redo a lesson, I want the final product to show for my records, and I just wasn't getting that user friendly feeling with time4learning.

post #5 of 9

OK, here we go: the prep schools in my area have a placement testing before they enter freshman year. From the people I know who have gone that route, it sounds like English and Math skills are a priority.  Grammar, which many people find useless, is really quite helpful when learning a second language.  Most colleges have a two year high school foreign language requirement, so I would make sure that my dd had strong grammar skills before entering a prep school.  MY favorite program for this is EASY GRAMMAR.  I only buy the student books.  They are inexpensive and very comprehensive.  Best of all, they only take about 15 minutes a day.  No pretty pictures, basic (get this done) type workbook.  


Math is a different matter because it would be helpful to know where she is at in math.  Most math programs have a placement test that you can administer.  Even at prep schools, most kids will start Freshman year in Algebra 1.  Therefore, I would make sure she was ready for it.  Math Mammoth is a workbook that can be downloaded, we use them as a supplement but they have complete years.  Khan Academy is online and has been redone to include a placement test.  It keeps track of the student's progress and makes sure to have them review skills periodically as well.  


The third focus would be on writing skills.  I am not great at this one.  Hopefully, someone else will have some key advise for you.  



post #6 of 9

Sounds like you're on a pretty different track than us. I have a 7th grader, but she's 10 and I'm looking to divert her away from a narrow academic track and fill her life with enrichment. 


I do think Khan Academy would be worth a look in your situation... it's pretty comprehensive from a pre-algebra level on up, and it's free. I'm not sure if it would satisfy your desire for record-keeping but there is a pretty good tracking system for coaches (a.k.a. parents, teachers) if you want to track everywhere she's struggling, how much time she's spent on this, and that, and other stuff.


So prep school starts in 9th grade and it's like high school but specifically targeted at kids in the college-bound stream?



post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Amy hit the nail on the head with description. I apologize I wasn't able to do so well. Grammar and Math are my biggest concerns, and I found some suggestions for science and history on other threads. And I agree, I need to find something to iron out some strong writing skills. 


Miranda: I adore Khan academy and my oldest's school recommends it for study help. We also use Study Island. Both are geared toward passing those standardized tests. 


We are on a college bound track and I really love the prep school I found. I always felt home education could provide more than public school, but this school provides educational and enrichment opportunities that I could never provide.


Amy, I am definitely going to check out your suggestions and most likely go ahead and buy them since they're not cost prohibitive. If I can have the core subjects down, I think I can figure out what else to prep my youngest for based on what I see my oldest doing in class.


I thank you guys so much for your help.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Amy, what do you recommend for grades 7-8 as Math Mammoth only goes up to grade 6? 

post #9 of 9
Originally Posted by amandajf View Post

Amy, what do you recommend for grades 7-8 as Math Mammoth only goes up to grade 6? 


In my experience, grade 7/8 math is essentially preparing for algebra.  If he/she still needs to get a better grasp on basic arithmetic (add, subtract, multipy, divide) and how it applies to decimals and fractions, I think that the grade 6 books do that well.  If they are ready to move forth a bit, then I think that an official "prealgebra" book is great.  We really liked the Art of Problem Solving books.  We have used prealgebra and are now using algebra.  However, their pre algebra book is the most challenging prealgebra book I have seen.  Basically, prealgebra was an arithmetic review while adding in some really basic factoring instruction and solving for basic linear equations.  Exponential rules were also studied in depth.  I don't really know what other people have used for pre-algebra, perhaps someone else will chime in.  Two good things about Art of Problem Solving though is that they have some videos online to help explain things (if you need it) and the answer guide is wonderful!  It shows the answers step by step so that you can figure out where you went wrong. 


Use the placement tests:  http://www.mathmammoth.com/complete/placement_tests.php  If your daughter shows mastery of the 6th grade stuff, move on to prealgebra. 



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