Big high school math issue, math in school was awful, transcript issue - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 07-27-2011, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am going to post this both here and the home school board because I am unsure where it belongs. It is sort of a BOTH issue anyway.

 

My oldest son has been in public school all along basically. He was on the accelerated math track. But this past year, we sent him to a charter school that was supposed to be a STEM academy. Instead, it was a disaster. Mid year, it was very apparent that his algebra 2 class was not working on algebra 2 topics. He wanted to stay at that school, even though I offered to transfer him elsewhere. He wants to major in computer science in college and will need 2 years of college calculus for that. So, I took him to the home school store and let him pick an algebra 2 book. It only came in new, but I bought it anyway because I wanted him to want the book, to be happy with it. I wanted to make things as good as possible for him. 

 

At home, he had the lessons laid out for him and the speed in which he had to do it. It is Life of Fred in case you are familiar with the books. It is meant to be done independently. It is kind of a story based one where there is a running story and then the concepts with small exercises in it. I gave him a spiral pad of paper, which he picked. He could have had a pad or paper or loose leaf paper. After several months of having it and me checking up on him on a regular basis and his swearing he did the work, I thought his book looked quite untouched. So, after asking and him assuring me he did them, I opened his book to the middle (he had claimed he had completed the book) and asked him some of the simpler questions in the middle. Nope, he had no clue what any of it was about. So, then I opened the book to the first page. I showed him an assignment on there and told him to do that one. He had sworn he had done the book. 

 

Turns out, he had never opened the book. You see, it is a self study book. The questions are on one page and then you turn and the very other side is the answers with solution explanations. He did not even know the answers were in the book. He had never opened the book.

 

Here is the clincher. Since he has algebra 2 on his transcript from the charter school, I cannot enroll him in algebra 2 again. I can do it on my own, like home school. But it is not like I can send him to a public or private school, with algebra 2 on his transcript, and get them to have him retake it. He passed it with a B. SO, he has no choice but to take pre-calc this fall, which, by the way, is required for graduation. They have to have 4 credits of math and precalc would be the 4th. I believe there are remedial math classes offered to kids who are not wanting a math track basically, but since he has algebra 2 on his transcript, he cannot back up and take those. Plus, even if it were not required for graduation, he still insists he wants to go to college and major in computer science. He cannot do that if he terminates his math classes now. 

 

 

He does have a processing disorder that affects his ability to comprehend the consequences of his actions. But it does not affect his ability to do math. His math IQ is actually quite high, if he can figure out and accept that he really does have to do it. 

 

I am at wits end over what to do with him next over this. He is going to home school in the fall, but he is actually using an online program so it is not really home school, he will simply be at home. But he lies to me and does not do his work. That is why we are going the online route. But classes start in 3 weeks and I do not see how this is even possible. If given an algebra 2 test out, he cannot even answer 1/4 of the questions. If he works hard, fulltime basically, for the next 3 weeks, he can pull this off. I am so frustrated!

 

Suggestions? 

 

BTW, please remember his processing disorder does affect him comprehending what he is doing to himself, but does not affect his ability to do the math. It is a frustrating situation. 

 

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#2 of 22 Old 07-27-2011, 05:12 PM
 
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How old is your son? Is he about 13? I guess I am a big believer in natural consequences for things like this. He didn't really do the work, then he lied to you about it. This is kind of serious issue in and of itself. I would have HIM talk to his guidance counselor at his last school and see what they recommend. If he wants a future in the career you mentioned then he'll need to take responsibility for learning the things he needs to get to that career. It doesn't seem as if he is as invested in it as he might be.


 
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#3 of 22 Old 07-27-2011, 05:45 PM
 
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I'm unclear as to why you are doing the online schooling. Did he actually go to school before or was it online? In any case I'd submit a statement in writing that the he is not competent in Algebra 2 based on what was taught at the last school, and that if they expect to place him in precalc that you want them to test his competency in Algebra 2.


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#4 of 22 Old 07-27-2011, 06:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post

 

BTW, please remember his processing disorder does affect him comprehending what he is doing to himself, but does not affect his ability to do the math. It is a frustrating situation. 

 


If he has a processing disorder to the degree that he can not tell the truth, follow through independently, and/or take responsibility for his actions- I would need to find solutions to this prior to attending college. Unless you get firm Special Education accommodations : college is truly about comprehending and prioritizing your responsibilities for both personal and academic obligations.

 



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How old is your son? Is he about 13? I guess I am a big believer in natural consequences for things like this. He didn't really do the work, then he lied to you about it. This is kind of serious issue in and of itself. I would have HIM talk to his guidance counselor at his last school and see what they recommend. If he wants a future in the career you mentioned then he'll need to take responsibility for learning the things he needs to get to that career. It doesn't seem as if he is as invested in it as he might be.



Ditto this: I think you need to address this issue. With a processing disorder  affecting his ability to take personal responsibility-- he needs someone to be accountable to. Parents may not be the best choice--- rather a tutor, teacher, guidance counselor,  etc. Someone needs to be checking on him constantly and helping make sure he is making good academic choices that will lead to where he wants.

 

You may need to sit next to him to make sure he is on task and check in daily with you.



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 In any case I'd submit a statement in writing that the he is not competent in Algebra 2 based on what was taught at the last school, and that if they expect to place him in precalc that you want them to test his competency in Algebra 2.


I would do the above. The public and/or online school should and most likely would allow a student to repeat a course if a parent gave just cause. They would likely test his abilities and see where he is at.

 

Other option would be to take precalc and get a tutor to work with him intensely and almost everyday to help him make up lost ground. It would take a lot of work and focus on his part.

 

 

Kudos for him for knowing what he wants to do and for a desire to get a post- HS educations. Make sure that you lay out a plan that he needs to follow to do so- use whatever works for him (writing it down, reviewing it daily orally, etc) to help his stay on task to achieve his goals.

 

For a lot of teenagers- they still needs support to find their way to the goals they set for themselves.

 

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#5 of 22 Old 07-27-2011, 06:19 PM
 
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Here is the clincher. Since he has algebra 2 on his transcript from the charter school, I cannot enroll him in algebra 2 again. I can do it on my own, like home school. But it is not like I can send him to a public or private school, with algebra 2 on his transcript, and get them to have him retake it. He passed it with a B. SO, he has no choice but to take pre-calc this fall, which, by the way, is required for graduation. They have to have 4 credits of math and precalc would be the 4th. I believe there are remedial math classes offered to kids who are not wanting a math track basically, but since he has algebra 2 on his transcript, he cannot back up and take those. Plus, even if it were not required for graduation, he still insists he wants to go to college and major in computer science. He cannot do that if he terminates his math classes now. 

 

 

 

 

Are you certain that he cannot re-take the course or take a remedial class? The schools that I am familiar with would definitely allow a student to re-take a course or take a remedial course, despite any prior grades, if they demonstrated that they weren't competent in the subject. It would be foolish for the school to insist that he proceed into a level if he wasn't able to manage it. I've never known a school principal who wouldn't apply some common sense in this kind of situation. It may be embarrassing for your son to have to repeat the class, but that's the natural consequence for his actions. 

 

Rather than taking pre-calc unprepared, which could lead to further discouragement and falling behind, I think he should defer it for now and finish algebra 2 properly. If he really wants to study computer science, then he may have to delay his high school graduation for a year or graduate but delay college entrance, in order to catch up on his math skills.

 

I would seek out a placement evaluation and perhaps some private tutoring to support him, especially if he really does have to start pre-calculus in a few weeks. It appears that a self-directed approach isn't suitable given his processing disorder. If taking the on-line precalc course will require him to do a lot of extra catch-up work, then it doesn't sound like he can manage on his own. 

 

  

 

 

 

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#6 of 22 Old 07-27-2011, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He is 16. He has never been where he was home schooled or online schooled before this. The public schools in all these years have barely been accountable or adequate in what they have done. He has an IEP. Our switching to an online school is sort of a last attempt at giving him enough stability and consistency in his education that we can turn this around. This upcoming year will be his first year schooling from home. We had home schooled his younger sister for five years in the past. He didn't want to and we had deferred the decision to him. In hind site, I wish we had not.
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#7 of 22 Old 07-28-2011, 05:50 AM
 
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Another thing occurred to me - must he start the pre-calc course in a few weeks? Since it's an online program, could he defer the start date for a month or two or for the fall term? That way, he could focus on conquering the algebra 2 with a tutor for now, and then start on pre-calc.

 

You say he has a "high math IQ", which I presume means that he quickly and easily absorbs and understands math concepts and is able to apply and extend them without requiring a lot of direct instruction and repetition. That suggests that remediation is possible, if he can get past the academic inertia and actually start working and learning, and that he can complete the course in a compressed time frame. By deferring the start of pre-calc to next term, it will remove some pressure but maintain a motivational goal to finish the algebra 2 course. 

 

Which brings me to the next issue - figuring out the lack of motivation and self-regulation that created this situation in the first place. He needs to understand what's causing the resistance to completing his work and the lying about it. It isn't enough to say that he has a processing disorder. He needs some guidance, techniques and strategies to help him overcome the problem.   

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#8 of 22 Old 07-28-2011, 06:11 AM
 
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 He has an IEP


With an IEP, you should be able to get some support from your local schools. I know you are not thrilled with them-- but they may be able to offer weekly home-services/a tutor/etc.

 

As a PP said, a high math IQ means he really is a prime candidate for remediation/tutoring. He may be able to learn it easily, have a lot of knowledge in math, and have great math related skills. But he really needs some tools to use those talents= just because you have the ability does not mean you know how to apply it without some framework. Also ability does not result in motivation.

 

Online schooling takes a lot of discipline and self-learning. You may want to sit down with him and set up a daily routine/plan to help him be successful.

 

The idea of deferring pre-calc and getting Algebra 2 done quickly is a good solution.

 

At 16- he has at least 1.5-3 years before college. That gives him time to get all the courses done and set up some help if he chooses to pursue his chosen field in college. 

 

Another suggestion is to complete the High School classes and then ease in to a local community college with a few classes at first to get a feel for college courses, they also would have a review math course if needed before transferring to a major or larger university. 

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#9 of 22 Old 07-28-2011, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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With an IEP, you should be able to get some support from your local schools. I know you are not thrilled with them-- but they may be able to offer weekly home-services/a tutor/etc.

 

As a PP said, a high math IQ means he really is a prime candidate for remediation/tutoring. He may be able to learn it easily, have a lot of knowledge in math, and have great math related skills. But he really needs some tools to use those talents= just because you have the ability does not mean you know how to apply it without some framework. Also ability does not result in motivation.

 

Online schooling takes a lot of discipline and self-learning. You may want to sit down with him and set up a daily routine/plan to help him be successful.

 

The idea of deferring pre-calc and getting Algebra 2 done quickly is a good solution.

 

At 16- he has at least 1.5-3 years before college. That gives him time to get all the courses done and set up some help if he chooses to pursue his chosen field in college. 

 

Another suggestion is to complete the High School classes and then ease in to a local community college with a few classes at first to get a feel for college courses, they also would have a review math course if needed before transferring to a major or larger university. 

. They don't. We are in Texas. They never give things at home. Even with his IEP they were not doing their jobs. People who have not had to fight the schools will often say to get a lawyer when the school refuses to follow the iep , it is just not that easy. It costs thousands of dollars and you will be in court until your child is 30. They have lawsuits against them now over issues. He has been in special Ed programs since he was a baby ( started in ECI) so I already know what little rights children with disabilities have. So it is not just a "not thrilled " issue, it has been an unworkable issue. I have a younger child with autism spectrum disorder and he will never go back. And every child I have known around here with ASD has switched to private school or home school.
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#10 of 22 Old 07-28-2011, 09:06 AM
 
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But he lies to me and does not do his work. That is why we are going the online route. But classes start in 3 weeks and I do not see how this is even possible. If given an algebra 2 test out, he cannot even answer 1/4 of the questions. If he works hard, fulltime basically, for the next 3 weeks, he can pull this off. I am so frustrated!

 

Suggestions? 

 

BTW, please remember his processing disorder does affect him comprehending what he is doing to himself, but does not affect his ability to do the math. It is a frustrating situation. 

 


In the future, I would follow up with him every single day. Most kids would have trouble having the discipline to work through a math book without a parent or teacher checking up on them. He has even less of an ability to do this than most.

 

I would talk to the school about him doing Alg. 2 again this year, because I find it hard to believe that a kid who didn't learn the material in a year is going to sit down and learn it in 3 weeks. He can take another math class next summer.

 

From watching one of my friends kids do an on-line school this last year, I'd say that it takes constant follow up on the part of the parent, or the kids just end up really behind. It's not a magic pill that gets kids to do their work.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#11 of 22 Old 07-28-2011, 09:39 AM
 
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What about summer school? My public schools offer a summer school at the high school level for kids that may have failed a class during the regular school year. You've probably missed it for this year but its something to keep in mind.
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#12 of 22 Old 07-28-2011, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The public schools will not allow him to enroll in Algebra 2 so summer school there was out. But, it was offered at some places where that was not an issue and he declined. I do think I have figured out what to do though. I am making him sit every day and work through the program I have for him. I had offered him an online program like ALEKS or a learning center or anything else that would get him through, but he declined. Anyway, it seems the school has a statistics class he can use for his 4th required class. It looks like he can take it. SO, if he does not finish algebra 2 soon, I can switch his precal to statistics. I have been explaining to him that going to college and majoring in computer science, he has to do the math. I also was considering enrolling him in "college algebra" in the spring at the community college to make up for the deficiency if worse comes to worse. That should cover the algebra 2 content.

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#13 of 22 Old 07-28-2011, 11:29 AM
 
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But classes start in 3 weeks and I do not see how this is even possible. If given an algebra 2 test out, he cannot even answer 1/4 of the questions. If he works hard, fulltime basically, for the next 3 weeks, he can pull this off. I am so frustrated!

 

 

 

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The public schools will not allow him to enroll in Algebra 2 so summer school there was out. But, it was offered at some places where that was not an issue and he declined. I do think I have figured out what to do though. I am making him sit every day and work through the program I have for him. I had offered him an online program like ALEKS or a learning center or anything else that would get him through, but he declined. Anyway, it seems the school has a statistics class he can use for his 4th required class. It looks like he can take it. SO, if he does not finish algebra 2 soon, I can switch his precal to statistics. I have been explaining to him that going to college and majoring in computer science, he has to do the math. I also was considering enrolling him in "college algebra" in the spring at the community college to make up for the deficiency if worse comes to worse. That should cover the algebra 2 content.


So, correct me if this is wrong, but it seems that you are hoping that he will work at an intense pace for 3 solid weeks and cover the entire year's worth of work. 

 

What is his attitude about it? You haven't really stated how he feels about the situation. Does he want to tackle the course work at such an intense, accelerated pace? It sounds like he already declined that approach when he said no to summer school. 

 

I would be concerned that he becomes so unhappy that he takes a strong dislike to math. It would be a shame if he comes to hate a subject if he is so talented in it. Whatever path you decide on, it's best if he understands and agrees that it's the right one for him. 

 

It's a tough dilemma. Good luck with it. 

 

 

 

 

 

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#14 of 22 Old 07-28-2011, 11:52 AM
 
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I think you might have to just let him struggle and possibly fail. Yes, he want's to be a computer science major but if he's not going to do the math, well, it may not be the right choice for him. Or, it may be he will take a round-about path to it as an adult. You gave him the option of re-inforcing the algebra II and he didn't take it. We all want our children to succeed but at the same time, if success depends on external motivation, they tend to really struggle in college.

 

Is it possible that home study isn't the best option for him? If it's a struggle to get him to do his work, I can only see home study being a tremendous frustration for all. We know several who do virtual high but each one is highly self-motivated. My eldest would be a great candidate but she likes to be in school. Currently, my 10-year-old is doing a 6th grade math course online that will allow him to skip to pre-algebra in 6th grade. DS does have time management issues (and he's 10) so I do remind him to look at the clock and know we are leaving the house at whatever time we have activities. That's always enough for him to jump up and get to the math or piano or whatever it was he needed to work on at home that day.

 

 


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#15 of 22 Old 07-28-2011, 12:07 PM
 
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I have been explaining to him that going to college and majoring in computer science, he has to do the math. I also was considering enrolling him in "college algebra" in the spring at the community college to make up for the deficiency if worse comes to worse. That should cover the algebra 2 content.


I would get him the course catalog for that college and show him what is required for the degree he is interested in. He is also going to have to take the Accuplacer test but that only requires basic Algebra so he may be ok with that.

 


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#16 of 22 Old 07-28-2011, 12:25 PM
 
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Honestly, i would get him a private tutor for the Algebra II class for a complete review before starting pre-calc.  Or start pre-calc very slowly while working with tutor on the Algebra issues.

It sounds like 'Life of Fred' may not be the best book for your child.


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#17 of 22 Old 08-01-2011, 09:53 AM
 
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Rather than stress out about the academics right now, I would focus on the larger issue of his processing disorder, otherwise you can expect the same problems to crop up in the future, at a greater cost to his academic career. There are a number of ways he can "catch up" academically, but he needs help first to enable him to cope with the responsibility that comes with self-study or ensure that he has constant oversight from you or another adult to hold him accountable.


Apparently doing it rong and ruining it for everyone, but I don't give a crap anymorebanana.gif

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#18 of 22 Old 08-01-2011, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Rather than stress out about the academics right now, I would focus on the larger issue of his processing disorder, otherwise you can expect the same problems to crop up in the future, at a greater cost to his academic career. There are a number of ways he can "catch up" academically, but he needs help first to enable him to cope with the responsibility that comes with self-study or ensure that he has constant oversight from you or another adult to hold him accountable.


I would love more info on helping him. I am hoping by having him home full-time, we can work on organization and understanding the consequences of his actions. In public school, they were so often given participation credit, so he was able to pass classes doing very little. When the teachers were not even bothering with grading, and were not communicating, it was next to impossible to work through anything.
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#19 of 22 Old 08-01-2011, 07:14 PM
 
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Does he wish to have help with his organization and cause and effect? Many kids with these issues are not interested in receiving help for it. Is it like ADHD or executive functioning stuff? What is the processing disorder?


 
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#20 of 22 Old 08-02-2011, 07:21 AM
 
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I would love more info on helping him. I am hoping by having him home full-time, we can work on organization and understanding the consequences of his actions. In public school, they were so often given participation credit, so he was able to pass classes doing very little. When the teachers were not even bothering with grading, and were not communicating, it was next to impossible to work through anything.


I was wondering if he had had an evaluation/diagnosis. You may find more help in this at the special needs board.

 

What is Executive Function?

 

Related Issues


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#21 of 22 Old 08-02-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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I was wondering if he had had an evaluation/diagnosis. You may find more help in this at the special needs board.

 

What is Executive Function?

 

Related Issues

 

Sadly, there aren't many moms of teens on the SN board. And this is a different issue with a teen than a little kid. Teens are on an independent track that complicates any SN issues. They don't want mom to help them. They are more aware of their differences from *normal* kids, their self-esteem is more likely to complicate issues. It's kind of a big mess.

 

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. greensad.gif

 

I'm surprised and sadden about how it worked out at school. At neither of the schools my kids have attended could a child this age pass a class without learning the material.
 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#22 of 22 Old 08-02-2011, 10:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


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. greensad.gif

 

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.

 

 

 


 

 

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