Middle School Math - BEFORE Foerster's Algebra

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Middle School Math - BEFORE Foerster's Algebra

Postby abrightmom » Sun Mar 15, 2015 4:37 pm

What is Carrie suggesting (or what do you suggest) to use before a student is prepared for Foerster's Algebra? We are not using Singapore Math but my oldest is using a math program that is similar to Singapore (Math Mammoth). I may have my son take the Singapore placement test at end of school year to see if he passes :D . Admittedly, I am not a mathy Mom but I am not afraid of math and have enjoyed learning with my oldest. In looking ahead to 7th and 8th grade I'm trying to understand the sequence of skills needed to be prepared for a rigorous Algebra program like Foerster's. I would like to use Foerster's Algebra with my oldest because I believe he is well suited to a strong program though I don't know if it will be in 8th or 9th. Up until now I've thought we'd probably do an Algebra course in 8th.

I remember a bridge program being offered by HOD after 6B but I don't see it on the website anymore so I wonder what the right sequence would be. Once a student finishes 6B what are they doing until they are prepared for Foerster's in 8th or possibly 9th?

I read a thread in which Carrie shared that her mathy freshman has been using Foerster's Algebra so I wonder what they did after finishing the U.S. Edition. My son would really benefit from a moderate year in math for 7th grade that gives him ample opportunity to refine the basics and integrate any needed topics or skills for Algebra (and I don't know what those are :mrgreen: !).

**I am open to using just about anything and I'd love something with teacher support. Video Text looks very interesting and I'm trying to understand how it works. I'm heading back to read about it once more as I remember Carrie saying it's something that we'd need to see through once we begin as the topics are intertwined. As it includes Algebra IDK if it would be used in lieu of Foerster's or prior to it.
Katrina 8) Wife to Ben, husband extraordinaire! God is so good!
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Re: Middle School Math - BEFORE Foerster's Algebra

Postby lmercon » Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:17 pm

Take a look at No-Nonsense algebra. I understand it to be a great introduction, no-fluff approach to algebra that would set him up well for Foerster's. I've not used either. I'm in a similar situation. Videotext is really expensive and has not had the enthusiastic response from people I know who have used it as I had hoped.
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Re: Middle School Math - BEFORE Foerster's Algebra

Postby abrightmom » Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:37 pm

No Nonsense Algebra is available at our library and I've taken the time to preview it. I like the clean and tidy layout and the very tight daily requirements. As it is more basic then I wonder if it's used in place of Pre-A? *I* don't know enough about pre-Algebra or foundation skills necessary for rip roaring success in Algebra so I'm wondering what sequence would lead me to Foerster's. I am previewing all of Video Text today and it looks like if I go that VT route then that would cover Pre-A, Algebra I and Algebra II. I've yet to figure out how long that would take and if I'd begin that in 7th or need to wait until 8th :mrgreen: .

ETA: I could choose a Pre-Algebra course for 7th grade and then assess Algebra readiness prior to 8th. However, I'd LOVE to know what SEQUENCE Carrie would recommend leading up to Foerster's. I know she has used it successfully with a mathy son in 9th grade. What math is recommended between end of Singapore U.S. in 6th and Foerster's in 9th?
Katrina 8) Wife to Ben, husband extraordinaire! God is so good!
2019-2020 plans
Jax DS16 HOD subjects: US1 Lit + US2 LL + IPC
Logan DS15 MtMM + extensions
Chloe DD13 MtMM
Levi DS9 PHFHG
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Re: Middle School Math - BEFORE Foerster's Algebra

Postby abrightmom » Sun Mar 15, 2015 7:05 pm

Katrina 8) Wife to Ben, husband extraordinaire! God is so good!
2019-2020 plans
Jax DS16 HOD subjects: US1 Lit + US2 LL + IPC
Logan DS15 MtMM + extensions
Chloe DD13 MtMM
Levi DS9 PHFHG
abrightmom
 
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Re: Middle School Math - BEFORE Foerster's Algebra

Postby StephanieU » Sun Mar 15, 2015 7:56 pm

I looked at MathMammoth's scope and sequence, and I think 7a-7b would be pre-algebra. I think after that, if your child is in 7th grade, I would do No-Nonsense and then Foerster's. If your child was in 8th grade, I would try Foerster's. Or, if you like Video Text, you could start that in 7th grade, using it for 7th-9th, counting as pre-algebra, Algebra 1, and Algebra 2.
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Re: Middle School Math - BEFORE Foerster's Algebra

Postby abrightmom » Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:06 pm

Stephanie,

Are you a mathy Mom? :) Sounds like you might be.

I am curious what Carrie is recommending kiddos use between 6th and 8th if they are beginning Foerster's in 9th. I am not seeing a Pre-A or 7th grade option anymore for kids who finish Singapore at the end of 6th. 7th does seem quite young for Foerster's so is Carrie recommending No Nonsense as a pre-A type of course?

We could continue with Math Mammoth Pre-A but I'll be honest when I tell you we both NEED a different format. The MM Pre-A is an option and I purchased the first half so we could dabble a bit. We have bogged down the past year or so and FRESH will help. From some Foerster's threads I've read on the HOD forum I am finding that many Moms (including Julie) are saying that their kids are ready for Foerster's after completing Singapore 6B. Does this mean that Singapore U.S. Edition covers all needed skills (pre-A stuff)? And does this mean that many students are actually hitting Singapore 6A and B in 7th or even into 8th?

I may have him take the placement test for Singapore once we finish MM 6th. Or maybe I'll do it now and see where we are at ....
Katrina 8) Wife to Ben, husband extraordinaire! God is so good!
2019-2020 plans
Jax DS16 HOD subjects: US1 Lit + US2 LL + IPC
Logan DS15 MtMM + extensions
Chloe DD13 MtMM
Levi DS9 PHFHG
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Re: Middle School Math - BEFORE Foerster's Algebra

Postby StephanieU » Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:27 pm

Yes, I am very math-y. I have a masters in math and teach classes online for our local community college (I taught full time on campus before I had kids).
I have seen many places where Carrie has recommend No Nonsense and Video Text as early as 7th grade as pre-algebra. If you are going to be finishing primary math before the end of 6th grade, Carrie and Julie do not recommend Foerster's before 8th grade, which I think is very wise.
So, you are looking for something for 6th grade then? What level of Math Mammoth have you completed?

As for Singapore and going on to Algebra, Pre-Algebra is often just a review of primary math and very basic algebra (that is starting to get taught in primary math). For a mathy kid, this isn't necessary as they don't need the review and will pick up the very basic Algebra in Algebra. Also, Algebra courses tend to have a lot of review as well. Algebra 2 often contains half a year of review of Algebra 1 and then half a year of new material. There is a move away from so much review, but it is VERY slow going. Some curriculums like VideoText try to remove so much of the review by combining the three years of curriculum into one curriculum, but it isn't very common yet.
Mom to 4
DD (11) Rev2Rev (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CtC, and RtR)
DS (9) Preparing (completed LHFHG, Beyond, and Bigger plus some of LHTH)
DD (8) Bigger (completed LHTH, LHFHG, and Beyond)
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Re: Middle School Math - BEFORE Foerster's Algebra

Postby abrightmom » Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:13 pm

Stephanie,

Thank-you for taking the time to talk about math with me. :D

My oldest is 12 and we are striving to complete MM 6th grade at end of school year (June or so). We bogged down in MM in 5th and 6th hasn't been fun. He is strong in conceptual understanding but HATES to show his work. He makes a lot of mistakes in his math due to miscalculating, disorganization and forgetfulness. Math Mammoth has a LOT of word problems and we've had to work hard on those this year. This kid struggles with visual-spatial tasks and I am DREADING the geometry chapter which is coming soon. In fact, I think I am going to mix it into what we are doing now. MM is a mastery program and I have found that over the past two years we learn something new and then don't see it again for awhile and we both forget how to do what was learned. I am hoping that retention with some of these math skills will come with use over the next couple of years.

THANKS for explaining the flow from elementary math to Algebra for me. I have had great difficulty understanding the purpose of pre-Algebra and how to bridge from where we are now to Algebra. I'd really like to give him another year to strengthen skills and so I am trying to figure out the BEST way to do that (and perhaps give us a bit of a reprieve from the depth of thinking required to do the word problems of this past school year). Math Mammoth Pre-A is a logical progression for us but *I* think a real change of format will help us both and so I'm shopping around. A math year that is less conceptual and more focused on mastery of basic operations, fractions, decimals, percents, etc. sounds wonderful for us both!! I have considered No Nonsense Algebra (not knowing if we could use this in lieu of pre-Algebra), Saxon, Tablet Class and Video Text. Outsourcing math is not off the table either. I DO want to do this math with him though as I am growing in my skills and they will transfer to the teaching of my youngers.

**I lack confidence in knowing the right direction. Here are my goals for him once we survive MM 6th: learn to work neatly and show the steps on paper, get more done in less time (i.e. maybe have less to DO but have it really count), nail down all of the basics so that we don't forget (i.e. how to add/subtract/mult/divide fractions), layer any needed concepts or skills that we haven't learned but will need before Algebra (unless they're covered in Algebra which it sounds like they might be).

As an aside I'd love to ask your thoughts on my DD8. Having a mathy Mom to talk to is a GREAT blessing! I am considering moving my daughter to Singapore; Carrie's success with it and the way it fits in with HOD is a HUGE draw for me. My girl is nearly 9 and has stopped thriving with her math which is Christian Light. I have used both MM and CLE with her at different times but chose CLE as her "spine" because it was the least disruptive in our relationship. She's had a number of challenges (not academic but heart issues and some physical aggravations) that have caused us to move slower with math. We ended up skipping about half of CLE 2nd grade because it was way too easy and she tested right out. Then we picked up with 3rd and she is only about half done and BOrED out of her mind .... she is hard to figure out and I think the Singapore format for NOW might work for her (less spiral and tedious review, color text, simple layout, strong conceptual teaching). I could use MM with her as I have it on hand but it is HARD to pick up mid school year and accelerate. CLE just has too much review for her and I think MM is the same .... I am not sure she could pass the placement test for 2A with Singapore and that is HARD :(. Would you move her to Singapore regardless of her placement? What if she doesn't pass 2A and has to start with 1B? She's 9 in April.
Katrina 8) Wife to Ben, husband extraordinaire! God is so good!
2019-2020 plans
Jax DS16 HOD subjects: US1 Lit + US2 LL + IPC
Logan DS15 MtMM + extensions
Chloe DD13 MtMM
Levi DS9 PHFHG
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Re: Middle School Math - BEFORE Foerster's Algebra

Postby Jennymommy » Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:25 pm

Hi ladies, I'm all into this right now with two ds. We stopped Saxon as they both hit a wall...we may pick it up again, but it is boring. For one ds we are using Life of Fred pre-algebra series, and what a relief for now :!: For next ds, we are using Critical Thinking Mathematical Reasoning F to give added (fun) practice before we go on. I have yet to decide about Singapore vs Saxon for next year...
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Re: Middle School Math - BEFORE Foerster's Algebra

Postby StephanieU » Mon Mar 16, 2015 3:21 pm

Katrina,

For your 6th grader, I would lean towards doing VideoText since math has been a slight struggle. Foerster's has more of the word problems that seem to be aggreviating your family, so it may not be a great choice. It is also a text I would consider to be honors or Pre-AP while VideoText is more "standard." So, for those not going into math, physics, or engineering, VideoText is enough. You could also slow down MM 6 a little if you choose, as you are still on pace to move into Algebra 1 in 8th grade. If you think a break to review and relax, you could easily find a "big box" workbook or worksheets online to hit on the basics that might be slipping through the cracks. We occasionally do that as a break just to break up the monotony.

For your younger one, before switching, I would look at the Singapore placement tests. Remember that Singapore uses an end of the course placement test, so if he passes 1B he would be ready for 2A for example. Since she would be considered 4th grade, you would want her to place into at least 2A, with 2B or 3A being preferred. That would let her do 1 level a year and finish 6B before high school. If that works out, and she doesn't balk at Singapore's wording (from the placement test), I would consider a switch. This is only because what you are currently using isn't working well. If it was working well, I would not suggest switching.
Mom to 4
DD (11) Rev2Rev (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CtC, and RtR)
DS (9) Preparing (completed LHFHG, Beyond, and Bigger plus some of LHTH)
DD (8) Bigger (completed LHTH, LHFHG, and Beyond)
DS (3)
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Re: Middle School Math - BEFORE Foerster's Algebra

Postby abrightmom » Mon Mar 16, 2015 3:32 pm

StephanieU wrote:Katrina,

For your 6th grader, I would lean towards doing VideoText since math has been a slight struggle. Foerster's has more of the word problems that seem to be aggreviating your family, so it may not be a great choice. It is also a text I would consider to be honors or Pre-AP while VideoText is more "standard." So, for those not going into math, physics, or engineering, VideoText is enough. You could also slow down MM 6 a little if you choose, as you are still on pace to move into Algebra 1 in 8th grade. If you think a break to review and relax, you could easily find a "big box" workbook or worksheets online to hit on the basics that might be slipping through the cracks. We occasionally do that as a break just to break up the monotony.

For your younger one, before switching, I would look at the Singapore placement tests. Remember that Singapore uses an end of the course placement test, so if he passes 1B he would be ready for 2A for example. Since she would be considered 4th grade, you would want her to place into at least 2A, with 2B or 3A being preferred. That would let her do 1 level a year and finish 6B before high school. If that works out, and she doesn't balk at Singapore's wording (from the placement test), I would consider a switch. This is only because what you are currently using isn't working well. If it was working well, I would not suggest switching.

Stephanie,

Thanks for the counsel. You've given me excellent food for thought and perspective that is much needed.

I agree about not fixing what isn't broken and have stuck with the same two math programs from the beginning. Intertwining MM and CLE has been a good fit for my middle DS who is wrapping up 4th. I really don't want to make a switch with DD but we're basically stuck and it doesn't seem that CLE or MM are the right path for her. I went ahead and printed up the 1B and 2A tests for her to take. 1B looks breezy and 2A is up in the air. According to the Singapore site she needs 80%+ to pass and a willingness to go back to pick up needed skills if there are glaring holes. I'm going to do this with her this week and make a plan. She tested out of another CLE Light Unit today; it's just not fitting her and we're wasting time/effort. She gets tired out doing too many problems and it's boring her ... Maybe she IS mathy? :wink:

My oldest loves word problems :D and prefers them to "regular math". It is ME that gets TIRED of working through them :oops: and as he has learned MUCH in the way of problem solving via Math Mammoth I'd like to have a breezier year helping him in the areas in which he is NOT strong (i.e. organization/showing work, shoring up the basic skills, adding those layers). Does that make sense? I also feel that my middle DS will REALLY need me at the elbow in 5th grade (Math is a TOUGH area for him). For the oldest guy, I really do WANT him to tackle Foerster's and I am fine with it waiting until 9th but think 8th may be just fine for him. He is older for his grade and will be just about 14 his 8th grade year. My middle DS won't use Foerster's unless something clicks for him in the next few years .... :D
Katrina 8) Wife to Ben, husband extraordinaire! God is so good!
2019-2020 plans
Jax DS16 HOD subjects: US1 Lit + US2 LL + IPC
Logan DS15 MtMM + extensions
Chloe DD13 MtMM
Levi DS9 PHFHG
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Re: Middle School Math - BEFORE Foerster's Algebra

Postby StephanieU » Mon Mar 16, 2015 3:45 pm

If it is just you that doesn't like the word problems, then I would go with No Nonsense Algebra. That is a good simple text. I would only count it as Algebra 1 for a child that has significant problems in math (most likely due to learning disabilities). Otherwise it is more an Algebra 1/2 (0.5) course. It won't have a ton of review, but it will go slowly with the new material, allowing your son time to mature before going into Foerster's in 8th grade as a real Algebra 1 course.
Mom to 4
DD (11) Rev2Rev (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CtC, and RtR)
DS (9) Preparing (completed LHFHG, Beyond, and Bigger plus some of LHTH)
DD (8) Bigger (completed LHTH, LHFHG, and Beyond)
DS (3)
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Re: Middle School Math - BEFORE Foerster's Algebra

Postby abrightmom » Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:19 pm

Stephanie,

You've been SUCH a help as I'm seeking to understand the path from elementary math to Algebra :D . Thank-you for taking the time to answer math questions.

I'll check back in after my daughter hits her Singapore placement test wall. She passed 1B with flying colors and she'll tackle 2A tomorrow :D If she passes that test we'll likely start with 2B as I don't believe she's strong enough in her problem solving to pass that. We could probably move quickly through some of the material and focus more on the problem solving portions though. This would mean she could study through 3A and 3B this fall. Depending upon her "fit" with Singapore I could see her moving rather quickly for awhile .... she seems quite ready to fly if I can find the right vehicle!
Katrina 8) Wife to Ben, husband extraordinaire! God is so good!
2019-2020 plans
Jax DS16 HOD subjects: US1 Lit + US2 LL + IPC
Logan DS15 MtMM + extensions
Chloe DD13 MtMM
Levi DS9 PHFHG
abrightmom
 
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Re: Middle School Math - BEFORE Foerster's Algebra

Postby twoxcell » Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:50 pm

I'm going through the same dilemma right now, except my oldest is finishing SM 6b right now. I want to hold off on Foerster's until 8th grade, but can't figure out what to use for 7th. SM 6 covers some Pre-Algebra topics but there are several topics it does not cover. I have looked at a bunch of different Pre-Algebra options and was considering either MM7 or Saxon 87. I'm afraid the Saxon lessons would be too long and torturous. :lol: My ds is not a math fan either so I really want him to have a some review as well before Algebra 1.
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Re: Middle School Math - BEFORE Foerster's Algebra

Postby jer2911mom » Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:53 pm

Katrina, I have used Singapore, MM, and CLE, and I have found BJU to be the middle ground I was looking for. It is conceptual but still provides the underlying structure that MM was lacking as far as having them show their work (or at least the equations they are using to solve the problem), practice their facts, review, and practice the basic operations. It provides a good number of word problems. I felt like with MM there was a risk of losing the foundation in order to learn the conceptual. BJU keeps the foundation while still teaching the conceptual and the mental math. I just wanted to throw that out there as an option to use before Foersters. I have only used BJU 1 and 4, but have been quite pleased with it. I am adding in the Process Skills books slowly on the side to work on bar modeling, but BJU even addresses that a little in the middle school level.

HTH,
Kathy
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