Wednesday, March 13, 2019


Smarty has finally recovered from her two very stressful weeks of too many projects and logged back to ALEKS to start her Precalculus class. Yet again, she took a placement test and tested in at 58% of the course.
When Smarty first started Algebra 2, she could master several skills a day, because topics were at least somewhat familiar to her. This time, she got "stuck" on multiplication of matrices for a while - first because she did not fully understand the procedure, then she kept making calculation mistakes and had to return to the starting point. Finally, she got over this hump and now her tentative goal is to finish Precalculus in about 14 weeks, adding 3% every week. She will probably not have time to take a final test this year, but her headmaster was open to having her work on Precalculus over summer if she wishes (and she does) and then take the final test early in the year while also starting on Calculus with other Calculus students. She will also have at least another student her age, also a grade skipper, who will be in the same Calculus class next year, and I am quite happy that she will finally have a math teacher again after not having one for years. I hope that her Calculus class will be engaging enough and challenging enough for her, and this time I welcome several weeks of review hoping that review topics will help Smarty get better grasp on the topics that she might have rushed through in Precalculus and Algebra 2 online courses.
Overall, I am so very happy with Smarty school giving her an opportunity to move at her speed without us having to nag or fight for it like we did for years in public school. I really wish for public schools to have more flexibility with placing students by ability, especially in large schools with diverse student populations - perhaps then we would not see such a "flight" to private schools and homeschooling as we observe in our area. I can't wait to see how Smarty copes with Precalculus topics and hope that she will be ready for Calculus AB as a freshman.

Your Turn

How is math going for your kids?


3 comments:

Min Erva said...

I learned that there are public schools that accelerate students. It helps to have high schools that are walking distance from middle schools to make it easier. They group the students and they take high school classes together. I’m not sure what they will do once they run out of high school classes.

Min Erva said...

I'm very realistic when it comes to what public or private schools can provide. I ask myself, "Are there enough kids who are at the same level to be grouped for a separate class? If I was a school, how would I look at the statistics of providing different levels to students and how many students would benefit? What is cost-effective especially when there are budget cuts?" I'm sure if every parent donated enough that it covers the costs of private tuition, people can make things happen a lot faster. If the school was big enough to house middle and high school students, students could be moved around more as well. In our school, the teacher recommended K to move up a grade but I knew they didn't offer anything above Algebra and she would have been accelerated later anyway. But what they do offer is a Math Counts elective for students who are really into mathematics. (We had some winners last year, I believe.) I think it's a smart way to meet different needs without having to add on extra classes for a limited number of students who are able to accelerate further. Of course, things are different in our neighboring school district which is even bigger and has a high school nearby.

yekcal said...

I've been reading your blog for a few years now and I have been pleased to see your daughter doing so well in math. I have 3 children and they are all high achievers but we are in a similar situation in regards to public schools. Unfortunately, private schooling is not an option for us.

So we have encouraged our children to do their best, knowing that they will have many more opportunities for advancement at the college level. In our school district, the highest Calculus class offered at my daughter's charter high school was AP Calc AB. The highest class offered at my son's public high school is AP Calc BC.

My daughter discovered that HS calculus was VERY different from college calculus much to her dismay. It's possible that this was a school/teacher issue so we are watching our son closely to make sure he doesn't end up in the same predicament.

I'm curious what you will do for your daughter if she takes Calculus as a freshman. Will she run out of math before she graduates? For my daughter, she took calculus through our local college as a junior and didn't take the 2nd semester as a senior. She ended up struggling when she took 2nd and 3rd semesters as a college freshman and ultimately transferred out of the physics program. :(