6th grader in algebra - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 08-24-2011, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Posting in here because it seems to fit the situation.  Our dd's 5th grade teacher felt she was ready for algebra this (6th gr) year, and so we "negotiated" or "discussed" with the math dept at our middle school and the counselor, they looked at her scores, grades, and considered, and said OK.  I still have some apprehension, although her older sister did just fine taking Pre-Alg in 6th and Algebra in 7th.  I'm just worried that there will be a hole in her learning that we have to fill.

 

SO, in addition to support with the workload, which will be a lot for a 6th grader, any thoughts or ideas to help make this work for her without actually doing the work for her of course.  She WANTS to take it, she WANTS to finally enjoy math like she did in 5th grade, and was really worried that she would be bored again like before.  She saw her sister take Alg this year; she saw how much homework her dsis had and so she's "informed."  Her amazing 5th grade teacher really helped his kids stretch and we SO appreciate her learning experiences there.  I just have some apprehension because although I have not spoken with the math dept. chair directly about it, I know she doesn't really like 6th graders in Alg.  She's rigorous, but also an excellent teacher and dd1 had a great time in her class learning.  I just don't want the deck stacked against our 6th grader.

 

So, any ideas/thoughts are greatly appreciated, OR just a word of "it will be fine."

 

Thx!

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#2 of 13 Old 08-24-2011, 09:58 PM
 
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If everyone is behind it, I'm sure it'll be fine. You might ask see if the pre-algrebra textbook has an online support program and if DD can have access to it. I know our distict did and it allowed the kids to go online for tutorials if they got stuck. Your DD may never need it but it might be nice to have access should she hit any gap areas.

 

You don't say how old your DD is... whether she's a young or older 6th grader. My eldest didn't take algebra until 7th grade but she was grade skipped and so a young 11. Math had always been easy (not enjoyed but easy.) She did breeze through pre-algebra in 6th but I have to say she hit a wall with algebra. Don't get me wrong. She still got an "A" in the class but it was a struggle, lots of works, not a lot of retention and certainly some tears. A friend who taught math at a gifted school for several years said this was common amoungst gifted children. Algebra requires a certain level of maturity and often young gifties accelerate through the early years of math but just aren't developmentally mature enough when algebra comes at tender ages. It sure seemed to be the truth for DD as she had a major physical and developmental growth spurt the summer before 8th grade (age 12) and accelerated math hasn't been an issue since! My current 6th grader is 10 and going into pre-algebra. He took 6th grade math online this summer and so we won't have any gap issues. Personally, I'm glad he won't be taking algebra until he is 11. He doesn't have the drive, focus or organizational skills that DD had at the same age and that made all the difference when she was having her algebra struggles.

 

I'm not trying to scare you and you shouldn't assume your DD will have the same issues! I was just sharing our experiences and what we learned.


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#3 of 13 Old 08-24-2011, 10:31 PM
 
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We're in a different system (in Canada) and algebra isn't delineated as a separate course, just integrated into multi-topic math courses for each grade. But my middle tried a US-based algebra course as a homeschooler and it didn't work very well for her. She lost steam after a few weeks and decided instead to spend some time just reviewing and consolidating pre-algebraic math, learning to apply it in increasingly complex problems, expanding her understanding into geometry, statistics, probability, physics, basic exploration of algebra for fun, and so on. She took a considerable break from the formal study of math too. A year and a bit later she's chomping at the bit to move ahead and I'm sure she'll do really well. She's very much ready.

 

I've definitely seen the phenomenon that whatsnextmom describes, of speedy transit through basic math at a young age, and then a bit of a wall hit when kids move to high school level study. My three older kids have taken significant review-and-consolidate-and-gestate breaks from math at age 10-12. As a homeschooling mom I have some new ideas of what to do with my youngest at this point (she's 8 and is getting to a pre-algebra level now). But in the school system your options are probably more limited. There probably isn't a course for "enriched problem-solving for advanced young math students not ready for Algebra I." I understand the logic of your dd moving into Algebra I at this point.

 

 

Back to my middle dd, the kid I most recently helped over this math watershed ... she had no teacher or peer support and was not interested in parental support. She was doing it totally on her own. And it was a particularly challenging course (the intro to algebra book from the Art of Problem Solving series, intended to challenge gifted kids, more complex than a run-of-the-mill algebra course). So with a classroom of peers and a teacher for support, a standard algebra course and the structure of regular classes, your dd's experience might be very different. She's also a year older than my dd was at the time. I'd certainly give it a go ... and just be prepared for the possibility that it might be a bit of a shift for her in terms of learning ease.

 

Miranda


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#4 of 13 Old 08-24-2011, 11:32 PM
 
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My son is homeschooled so take this as you wish.  He is going to be 11, would be grade 5 in public school because of missing the cut of by 4 days, anyway.  He takes online classes for math and science and is getting ready to take Algebra.  I had to hold him back at this point and have him take some science classes (Chemistry and Physics and possibly Biology from the Middle School Science Series) before enrolling in Algebra.  He tends to whiz right through math courses and did just fine in pre-algebra.  He completed that in under 12 weeks. - Like I said, he is a bit of a math whiz.

I don't feel there are any 'holes' in his education.  

If the school and teachers are on board with the grade skip for math I say go for it.  I don't always believe that 'homework' has to be a deal breaker.  Kids who are advanced don't always need to do 30 problems a night to understand the concepts.  Your DD may come to realize that she understands certain things after 5 problems.  My son has never had issue with emailing (since his classes are online) his teachers to get reprieve from lessons after he has shown mastery.


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#5 of 13 Old 08-25-2011, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses.  Like I said, her older sister just finished Alg, and is happy to help her as well; and we are happy to coach her through struggles if necessary.  I just don't want her to get to, say, Alg. 2/Trig in 2 years later and fall apart.  The nice thing is that we have an expunge option for her grade.  But I don't think she'd totally bomb.  It will go on her HS transcript, and that is a bit daunting at this point!  She is definitely a youngER 11, turned 11 end of May.  But she seems at least average maturity and has advanced emotional sensitivity.  And quick low blood sugar.

 

But she LOVES academics and challenges, maybe even more than her sister.  Just thinking ahead.  I downloaded a Pre-Algebra review packet for her to work on slowly over the last couple of weeks; she's made good progress and no questions, and her sister commonly said that they were doing similar stuff when they compared homework last year.

 

Definitely has participated in the GT program here, tested high, honors, etc. etc.  but I always thought she was more the artistic type than the math type.  I am now learning not to "type" my kids!  :)  LOL  There are a lot of on-line resources, and it is possible that she could do some algebra enrichment over next summer if we feel like she needs some retrenchment of algebra basics.  Didn't think of that.  She's a busy girl too, but isn't as self-motivated and practices her music more like 45 min instead of her violinist sister's 90-120 min per day...  Which I think is extremely self-motivated for her age, BTW.  Just compared with her sister.

 

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#6 of 13 Old 08-25-2011, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Also interested in that series if we should need to purchase a textbook, Miranda!  I haven't always been interested in homeschooling curriculum materials, mostly using the library and references and the internet to extensively supplement our children's learning, but that sounds like a good "focus" for that series for my children!  We might get the alg 1 book and see if it's a helpful reference.

 

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#7 of 13 Old 08-25-2011, 08:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Interestingly, she always thought she was bad at math, or at least didn't like it until near the end of 4th grade.  We got a medical condition treated (absence seizures) and her attention improved by leaps and bounds, and the teachers stopped focusing so much on speed tests (boy do I have issues with that)...  and like I said, her awesome 5th grade teacher challenged the whole class and many of his kids (like 7 out of 28) will be taking algebra this year.  And she likes it now.  She loves it and wants to be a physicist now!  :)

 

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#8 of 13 Old 08-25-2011, 09:32 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by moominmamma

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There probably isn't a course for "enriched problem-solving for advanced young math students not ready for Algebra I."

 

Miranda



My DS had a class like this in 5th grade and it was fantastic but certainly a rare opportunity.

 


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#9 of 13 Old 08-25-2011, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Met the teacher today--she sounds MUCH more open to 6th graders than what I had heard; the 6th graders have been grouped in 1 or 2 classes; dd has a couple of friends in her Algebra class and the teacher made a note to *let them sit together*...  I am franklyl relieved.  She told dd how much she enjoyed having dd1 (and how much she looks forward to teaching dd1's sister).  It will be fun for her from a "psychological" POV--dd1 will be taking geometry from her at the same time!  Thanks for your thoughts; I'm much relieved about the initial interactions; now for the actual school week starting Mon if we don't float away...

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#10 of 13 Old 08-25-2011, 08:22 PM
 
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My 9yo (almost 10) has just burned through all the basic elementary math courses, and has demonstrated mastery of very basic algebra (pre-algebra).  She's hitting that 'wall' though where I don't really want to move her forward as she's not ready.  We homeschool, so we can simply expand on material already covered, but it is nice to know that there are some great teachers out there who can bring that out in kids.  I hope your daughter has a great year. :)

 

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#11 of 13 Old 08-26-2011, 04:41 AM
 
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My son is the same age...he turned 11 in mid-May. He's in 6th but has to go take algebra at the jr high (7th-8th graders). I don't have any worry about the workload for him because he basically gets a "study hall" at his elem. school when the other 6th graders are doing math.

 

It's only been a week but so far, so good. His biggest issue is that he doesn't want to go wait with the 7th graders in the gym before school starts. My DD and the neighbor girls are in 8th grade and they want to get there early though (so they can hang out with their friends) so DS is stuck going early. The neighbor drives them and she said she will let DS wait in the car until the first bell rings if he doesn't want to go into the gym so I'm hoping that problem is solved. I think he also eventually feel more comfortable going in the gym.

 

The math class is fine. There are 7th and 8th graders and 2 other 6th graders. None of his 7th grade friends are in the class but he does know some of the kids because they went to his elem school. I think he'll get through algebra fine BUT my DD is in geometry this year (which DS will take next year if Algebra goes okay) and that seems to have a lot of work! I might request a study hall for ds next year to keep his workload down and give him some study time. There has been one other student in our district who took algebra as a 6th grader and he made it through that fine but then bombed out of geometry as a 7th grader and is repeating it this year. But like your school, the grade is expunged so he can just retake it this year. No big deal.

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#12 of 13 Old 08-26-2011, 05:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekka View Post And she likes it now.  She loves it and wants to be a physicist now!  :)

 


 

Very cool!

 

Just adding out data point... We were warned what seemed to be constantly about "hitting the wall" and "holes."  Nope, never happened even with radical acceleration. Of course you'll keep your eyes open, but I wouldn't borrow trouble.

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#13 of 13 Old 09-27-2011, 04:45 PM
 
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DS is 12 and doing Algebra 1 Saxon. He finds it very easy...:) He could have done it last year but the public school did not accelerate kids until 8th grade. We are homeschooling now and he loves that he is finally figuring out things he has known intuitively...

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