Pacing for No-Nonsense Algebra

Dear Carrie

What pacing would you suggest for No-Nonsense Algebra?

I am using No-Nonsense Algebra with my 8th grader. This is my first year homeschooling, and I was looking through the book. Carrie, have you used this with your child? Do we have the child do one section a day? I am hoping it will not be too hard for him. Any advice would be appreciated!!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help with Pacing on No-Nonsense Algebra”

Dear “Ms. Please Help with Pacing on No-Nonsense Algebra,”

Congratulations on beginning your homeschool journey with Heart of Dakota! No-Nonsense Algebra’s text is broken up into sections that you can just move through at a pace of one per day if desired. It is important to watch the video first and then do the lesson. My oldest son worked through this program for his 8th grade year when it was first out, and it worked well to set the foundation for algebra.

Like any math program, it may not suit all learners. However, in situations where students either need a first pass through algebra prior to high school, or for students who struggle with math and need a no-nonsense approach to getting through algebra, this text works well. Often with any math text, kiddos are taking more from the lessons than we think. Although, sometimes this doesn’t show up until later! For many kiddos, algebra can be frustrating on its first pass through. This is because maturity has much to do with a child’s ability to think and reason at the level required for algebra. Often, just growing a year or two older does as much for a child as the specific program being used.

With my oldest son, we did do VideoText Algebra after No-Nonsense Algebra, which is an option you could also consider. He finished No-Nonsense Algebra early and was able to begin VideoText during the end of his 8th grade year. For us, this worked well. With my second oldest son, we did Foerster’s Algebra, which is another option you could consider.

Blessings,
Carrie

Weighted Grading for Foerster’s Algebra

Dear Carrie

Weighted Grading for Foerster’s Algebra 

We are starting our first year of high school, and we are so excited to be using Heart of Dakota (HOD)! Weighted grading, however, is brand new to me. I really appreciate the weighted grading instructions provided in the World Geography guide. What a tremendous help! I know there are multiple math options for Algebra I, so I understand why the guide says to refer to the math text for grading. However, I looked at the Foerster’s text, and I am still at a loss on how to grade it. Any help is appreciated! Specifically, I am wondering what you would suggest for weighted grading in Foerster’s Algebra? Thanks in advance, Carrie!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me with Weighted Grading of Foerster’s Algebra”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me with Weighted Grading of Foerster’s Algebra,”

At the high school level, the way that you weight your grades can vary widely. Almost any combination of daily work, reviews, and assessment grading will work. For example, you could use daily work as 50 percent of the weighted grade, or you could change that percentage up or down. Daily work can just be earned by effort and completion (and correcting one’s mistakes). This is because quite often in daily work the material is new, and as students are trying to learn new concepts they often falter. So, grading students first efforts at something new is not a true grade.

At the high school level, I’d lean toward a weighted grading of 30 percent for tests and 20 percent for reviews.

Next, let’s consider how to handle weighted grading for tests and reviews. At the high school level, completion of chapter reviews often takes up a portion of the assessment grade. So, I might lean toward 20 percent for chapter reviews and 30 percent for tests. Again, these percentages can be changed up or down.

Open-book testing is another grading option used in high school and in college.

Another option that is used for grading with increasing frequency is for tests to be open-book. Or, instead you might allow your student to write down on an index card any helpful formulas or notes to be used during the test. This was something that was done in my college math classes. I learned to write very small!

Weighted grading varies greatly and is the instructor’s prerogative. 

Even at the college level, where tests are weighted much more heavily, there is quite a bit of variation as to how much other output students are required to complete for the rest of their grade. Some courses are almost wholly test-based, and others split the grading out more with a large amount of other output. My oldest son’s college classes have varied widely in how the grading is weighted. It is often the instructor’s prerogative. Since you are the instructor, your prerogative reigns. You just need to be able to justify how you arrived at the grade.

Blessings,
Carrie

A Smooth Transition from Singapore Primary Math to High School Algebra

Dear Carrie, 

We have used Heart of Dakota from the very beginning and loved it! My son will be in Missions to Modern Marvels this year. He has now completed all of the Singapore Primary Mathematics books through 6A/6B, which he finished in Revival to Revolution. I am a bit confused by all the different math options this year. I’m guessing we will transition to Videotext or No-Nonsense Algebra?  Foerster’s Algebra seems too much for an 8th grader! Is there a math choice that is the natural progression after finishing all the Singapore math books? I maybe should add that he is good at math and is even looking forward to more algebra! I don’t want to push him too hard, but he also will be discouraged if he’s not being challenged. So, what math would be the best bridge to get him from Singapore 6B to algebra in World Geography?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Confused about Math”

Dear “Ms. Confused about Math,”

There are a lot of terrific things about the Singapore Primary Mathematics U.S. Edition 1A through 6B! However, one difficulty is that it stops after 6B and switches to a new writer and a new format! As high school approaches, it can be tough to figure out a good transition between one math program and another. Since one size doesn’t fit all, we offer many different ways to meet your math goals depending on your student.

My son found the transition from Singapore Math 6A/6B to Principles of Mathematics to be seamless.

This past year my third son used Principles of Mathematics Book 2 after exiting Singapore 6A/6B, and it worked well! He went into Principles of Mathematics Book 2 right after Singapore 6A/6B without ever doing Principles of Mathematics Book 1. The transition was seamless even though the programs are different. We had a good year with some concepts being very easy, and others being a bit harder.

Even for a strong math student, Foerster’s Algebra I is better saved for a student’s freshman year.

Even though your son is good at math, you’re right, Foerster’s Algebra is better saved for a student’s freshman year. It would be a challenge to do Foerster’s Algebra I as an 8th grader. It is a wonderful course, but it is also very rigorous. The problem-solving that makes Foerster’s math stand out also requires a more mature student to process what is being asked. So, having a bit more maturity on one’s side before heading into Foerster would be a bonus.

Principles of Mathematics Book 2 provides a good transition from Singapore Math 6A/6B to high school Algebra 1.

If you have an 8th grader coming out of 6A/6B successfully, I’d suggest doing Principles of Mathematics Book 2 next. Then, you could begin either VideoText, Foerster’s Algebra 1, or No-Nonsense Algebra as a freshman. This would help your student firm up any needed skills, making the transition to Algebra smoother in the long run. It would also make the 8th grade year less intense math-wise. Ultimately, this path will give your student a great foundation for the rigor of the math coming in high school!

Blessings,

Carrie