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Algebra & Geometry

My oldest is in 8th grade and we are using Art of Problem Solving's Algebra 1 this year. Â I choose it because it is challenging. Â DD has always done well in math. Â However, this year her confidence is really lacking. Â While I appreciate the format of the text and the way the problems go beyond "regurgitation" of a process, I think that she is needing more of the plug and chug style than this book is offering. Â For example, we are currently working with lines. Â There are several equations that she is working with; they are all related. Â (standard form, point/slope form, and slope/intercept form). Â The exercises usually include 3 problems that seem like a typical algebra book. Â Then there are 3 or 4 that go deeper. Â Usually, she can get Â 2 or 3 of the deeper ones. Â She does usually get the 3 typical ones correct. Â However, it isn't enough to make her feel like she has a grasp on it. Â She is worried that in a week or two (when we have moved to a new unit) that she will no longer remember what it was that we were doing. Â Right now she says that she uses too much brain energy deciding which formula is relevant. Â I realize that learning something new can literally make your brain exhausted, but I think we should be getting enough practice so that by the end of the unit, she isn't always feeling that way.

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So, enough rambling. . . my question: Â is there a place (online or a workbook to buy) that would be a source of extra algebra problems. Â I know where to get extra work for all the earlier math, but I haven't found a place for algebra. Â I end up making things up myself--which is honestly time consuming and I sometimes want the problems to come out with a nice, clean answer instead of what my random numbers create. Â If there isn't a quick solution, what are the other algebra programs out there that seem good? Â I never cared for Saxon, but maybe I should revisit it. Â Is theirÂ algebra as tight of a spiral as their 6/5.

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Finally, if we move on to Geometry next year (typical in our area to do Algebra 1, Geometry, and then Algebra 2), I am not sure if I will use Art of Problem Solving again. Â What are some decent Geometry curriculums?

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Amy

I found the same thing with AoPS. My middle dd, who is strong in math, moved into it after finishing Singapore Primary. It was good, but working through it on her own without a group of fellow students who were in it together, never quite getting to the point of ease with each new level of challenge, she thought she wasn't doing well and got bogged down. I assumed it was because she was young (I think she was 11 or 12 at the time), but maybe the same issue would have arisen even a couple of years later.Â

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She ended up using our local Canadian school's textbook the next year, something called MathPower.Â She had decided to enter school at that point and went a step down in level because the school could only place her one grade level up the way their schedule worked. Perhaps it was good, because her confidence recovered quickly.Â

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My dd11 is currently doing about the same level of math as your dd, but again we are using a Canadian school curriculumÂ at home ("Math Makes Sense 9"). If we didn't have our local school willing to provide us with their curriculum, I think we'd have returned to what I used with my eldest dd which was one of the Singapore secondary programs. They're not as challenging as AoPS, and have more repetition and consolidation work, but they're not overly spirallyÂ and they take a conceptual approach rather than a formulaic one. The disadvantage for you might be that they do math in an integrated way like a typicalÂ K-8 curriculum, not separating Algebra out as a separate year-long course, etc. We used New Math Counts, which isn't available anymore, but I would take a good look at what has replaced it and see whether it would work for you.

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We've also tried Life of Fred and Teaching Textbooks. I wouldn't recommend either. Life of Fred wasn't challenging enough and contained far too much fluff for my kids. Teaching Textbooks was very much like Saxon but packaged in a slicker presentation: it wasÂ glacial in pace and formulaic in approach, yet impossible to skim through.Â

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Miranda

Thanks Miranda!

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