Really excited about this math book - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 04-13-2014, 04:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know yet whether it will be the answer, but I'm still very excited about this new math book. My son's after school mentor found it for us. It's this Prealgebra from The Art of Problem Solving, which I see now has a whole website. Ooh baby.

 

(Oh, what a weird thing it is to have a kid who likes math. I would never have imagined me saying "ooh baby" about pages and pages of difficult math problems before I had a kid.)

 

I think there are a few of us who have kids who are really into math. I don't think my kid looks gifted across the board--he has some problems with writing that seem very sticky. School is going pretty well for him and he's slowly working out his issues with words. The only thing that was a total disappointment was how the school dealt with his math gifts. 

 

This book series seems to teach math in a systematic way for the precise audience my kid fits: the passionate math lover.  

 

Has anyone used these? We aren't going to be homeschooling with them. Probably he'll get to use them during an enrichment period at school. I cannot imagine they'll let him use them instead of the math curriculum. 


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#2 of 10 Old 04-13-2014, 09:30 AM
 
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We discovered AoPS a few years ago. My then-11-year-old was quite entranced by it, but she found it got too challenging too quickly. It was tough for her to turn each page and find yet another problem that she could just barely manage to solve. She really missed the feeling of competence and mastery she would have got from being able to solve a few simpler problems easily once in a while. Now, this was Intro to Algebra (Pre-Algebra wasn't available at the time), she was working on it completely independently with no adult support as was her preference at the time as a stubborn unschooler, and she had no real frame of reference to make it clear to her that this was not by any stretch what most 11-year-olds were doing. She got bogged down and abandoned it about a quarter of the way through. But if she'd had the earlier level and some adult support and some other less challenging math going on at the time, I think it would have made a big difference. Your ds's experience will probably be different. 

 

Miranda


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#3 of 10 Old 04-13-2014, 11:53 AM
 
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I think the pre-algebra book is fantastic. The problems are so thoughtful and rich. Many of the problems look tricky at first glance, but have a trick that makes them actually very simple--that piece is very rewarding for kids, I think. And the organization is so beautiful, the way the ideas build.

 

Another book that might work well for dabbling is Jacobs: Math, A Human Endeavor. Very different, chattier, lots of fun problems to play with. It is not as thorny mathematically, but more applied--there will be a lesson or theme for the chapter (number sequences, or probability), and then different real-life examples of how that idea might apply--the counting and probability problems might be how to make a pair of fake dice that will win at craps, or how many ways there are that a world series game can come out if the home team has already won two games.

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#4 of 10 Old 04-13-2014, 11:55 AM
 
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ETA, if you possibly can talk them into letting DS use AoPS instead of the curriculum, you'll have a fantastically math-rich kid. Not having to plow through the regular math might be pretty good incentive for working through AoPS :)

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#5 of 10 Old 04-13-2014, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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One thing I think would help him stick with this book is if I can scan and print out the pages. I know that sounds like a very silly thing to say. I think being stuck for a long time in the beginning of the book will be disheartening. Each section is the right length, though. You're right about mastery, Miranda. I think he can master every piece of this, but it will be less daunting if he's only working on one thing at a time. 

 

This is the balance between adequate challenge and too much challenge. If I had been any good at this stuff, I would have much more of a reference for what to expect, but since I wasn't, I don't. I just really like the authorial voice in this book. It sounds like a math geek writing for a younger math geek--companionable. The best thing about this is that the material maps onto the stuff he's learning at school--it's just more challenging. 

 

Well, I don't want to get so excited that I count my chickens before they've hatched. Anyway I should leave all counting to the kid, since he likes it so much...


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#6 of 10 Old 04-14-2014, 01:21 PM
 
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It sounds like a math geek writing for a younger math geek--companionable.

 

This is such a good description--rings true for the tone of the book, and also for the problems themselves.

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#7 of 10 Old 04-14-2014, 08:56 PM
 
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My son has done the AoPS pre-algebra and algebra online.  Even if you don't sign up for the classes, you can do alcumus.  Some of the problems are purposely too hard for kids to solve.  The point is to teach them persistence.  

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#8 of 10 Old 04-22-2014, 08:21 PM
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We loved the pre-algebra, but finally gave up on the algebra.  However, while my child always did really well in math, it wasn't her "thing". . . she wasn't driven to figure it out.  We literally just switched, our new algebra book hasn't even arrived yet.  

 

I do have a question though: did I misunderstand you when you mentioned scanning in a bit at a time?  I felt that every part of the book was needed; the way the material was presented was meant for a kid who loved math, but the problems built on each other.  I hope you aren't just trying to let him sample the curriculum.  If you just think the thickness of the book will be daunting, don't worry about it.  Each section has several pages of problems/explanations so it doesn't take long before making it to the middle of the book.   

 

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#9 of 10 Old 04-23-2014, 03:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, I was going to scan pages in order, because of the thickness of the book. I'm hoping he can use it in public school for enrichment. It would be nice if he didn't have to carry the huge book back and forth. I could be wrong about this.

 

I don't have a plan for him to skip around the book. I also had the sense that the authors were building. My sense (since I know nothing about math!) is that they're using arithmetic problems that he can do already to illustrate new concepts. I am assuming at some point the problems are going to get harder for him, though. 


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#10 of 10 Old 04-23-2014, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by captain optimism View Post
 

Oh, I was going to scan pages in order, because of the thickness of the book. I'm hoping he can use it in public school for enrichment. It would be nice if he didn't have to carry the huge book back and forth. I could be wrong about this.

 

I don't have a plan for him to skip around the book. I also had the sense that the authors were building. My sense (since I know nothing about math!) is that they're using arithmetic problems that he can do already to illustrate new concepts. I am assuming at some point the problems are going to get harder for him, though. 

That makes sense.  It is a heavy book.  

And, yes, the problems get very challenging.  It can be fun though.  

 

Amy


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