I teach college level mathematics and often encounter students who were home schooled. Many (most) are woefully weak in their mathematics skills and as a result often spend 2 or more semesters in Developmental (High School or below) math courses. Anyone here have such experiences with their home schooled children? Any ideas on how to advise parents to "step up" the mathematics and science components. I can say with great clarity, the students who come to college with stronger math skills and knowledge have more options regarding what to study in college. Mathematics is a "gateway" discipline.

I don't know but I find the opposite to be true around here. My girls went into high school in 9th grade after having been homeschooled till and they both did great in math. One bumped up a grade and the other could have but she wasn't great at math and I was more comfortable keeping her with her own age group so she could go over the skills again. I use Saxon math. But most of the kids I know are more advanced in math compared to their public school peers. Yes, there are a few who have struggled but those parents get tutors for them and I'm sure there are kids in public school who also struggle a bit.

I think this will depend on two things: 1. Their educational philosophy 2. Their discipline to the subject. My guess is that almost all the unschoolers you encounter will be in the category you mentioned but several other groups as well. As well, I would also guess that you get a higher percentage of lower level math students as many homeschooler opt to clep out of basic math. Some, beginning at 15, will take CLEP tests as they complete the subjects (I was not homeschooled but I took the CLEP test to avoid it in College, I only had to take other math/accounting/finance/economics classes in getting my MBA). We have several friends who have graduated from College by 18 because they CLEP and then take classes for the rest of their education. Overall, I think the solution is rooted in the educational philosophy of the child's family and discipline. We endorse the Christian Classical approach. They seem to be a little more academically demanding than most of the other approaches.

I really like Saxon math for Jr/Sr. High mathematics. Public schools do lack in math ed, however, due to the size of their population, they do produce some talented and gifted students.

I'm glad to hear you like Saxon. I like it too but it's always a boost to hear that a teacher agrees.

It depends on the kid and the family's homeschool philosphy. A good many homeschoolers will allow their children to fully explore areas where they are interested/talented at the expense of other areas. Or the child themselves simply aren't ready for the concepts they are encountering and the parents accept "satisfactory" work along with a good attitude and certain concepts slide into oblivion. It's not just math, btw. I have one kid who can work out things in his head, but ask him to write...not gonna happen. I have another kid who tops out the charts in language skills, does fine in math, but is bottom of the barrel in science of all things. As homeschoolers we have the freedom to allow our children to develop in the direction of their talents. Good homeschoolers do try to make certain their children get a well rounded education, but sometimes it just doesn't take. Public schools face the same thing. A good remedial math website that is FREE: www.khanacademy.com

Math is my weakest point and that was reflected in homeschooling, although I realized it and fixed it. I think some parents don't want to admit they struggle with it themselves and many don't realize how important it becomes when learning other subjects later. Maybe some education for homeschooling parents that outline all the subjects where math comes in handy would helped them realize it MUST be done right away, not put off until they already lack the foundation they need to apply it in science and other subjects. I'm thinking something along the lines of a pamphlet aimed at parents and provided to homeschooling groups to hand out. It could explain why it is important, recommend what skills should be accomplished at certain intervals, and provide information on different, high quality sources to use. There should be things included that are self-teaching for parents who aren't capable of teaching it, such as videos that have a teacher teaching the concepts. Even for those that can, these are great as the parent can get frustrated and with a video, the kid can go back and watch the same thing over and over if need be, eliminating much of the frustration that comes from mom or dad going over and over the same thing. We kinda did unschooling, so teaching became incorporating into our whole lives. That definitely included math. The grocery store was a great place for learning liquid and powder measurements, volume, addition and subtraction, estimating, while the kitchen was a place for fractions and division coupled with science because they could see reactions and such with things like baking soda, baking powder, all that good stuff. Yeast is fun. LOL Business math gets done in figuring out costs, holding sales, seeing how the checking/savings accounts work and what banks offer, rates on stuff, taxes, lending terms, all that jazz. Great for teaching politics too...it's kinda hard to separate everything because it all blends when you teach like that. "But mommy, how can you really own a house if the government can take it away if you already bought it but don't pay them taxes?" LOL "Welcome to reality sweetie, unless it's a homestead, you don't truly own squat!" So...is it cheaper to own or rent? Do the math! What if you live in the city? New math. Live in the country? That's a different math. It helps when mathematics are included in real-life applications. Nobody can say after that "I'll never need this stuff in real life" because they're using it in real life. That's what the parents and kids need to know and grasp, but the ones you're seeing with poor math skills usually never got that concept into them.

Thanks menageriekeeper. I am aware of Khanacademy and the plethora of assistance such as youtube etc. I often recommend students to seek such out for further assistance. I know I am "biased" and I understand many homeschoolers allowing their children to "explore", but after 25 years as an educator, I know how important mathematical proficiency is to having a wider range of choices to pursue professional education. Sadly, our great nation turns out dismal numbers of engineers, scientists and mathematicians, to date we have been wealthy enough to import such students. I wish we could change that, and perhaps have something like we did in the 60's with the space race.

Ruiz, in my po, Saxon is successful due to the difference of pedagogy that he "engineered" into his curriculum, that being a consistent emphasis on continual review of previously introduced material from start to finish. Most (VAST majority) of students "grasp" mathematics from DOING it repeatedly, until eventually the "understanding" and significance of it becomes known to the student.

Saxon works well for our children. I agree with the continual emphasis and repetition as it fits one of our sayings, "We are not after perfection (only God can be perfect) but we are after mastery." In the Classical field, everything is about review. At the end of the year our children compete for Memory Masters, last year my older children received the award. They have to, from memory, repeat perfectly hundreds of facts from Math, Latin, Science, History, Grammar, etc. This must be done 4 times (the last two needs to be perfect) and it usually takes an hour and a half each time. As well, it takes place over a several week period. So, you just can't cram the night before. You can get a sample for what we do for the Math and Geography sections here. This is a sample, but the skip counting cannot be done in song and must be said in this format: 5x5=25 5x6=30 All the numbers to either 12 or 15 must be done, the squares, and cubes. As well, they must memorize a number of formulas, you get a sample on this video of the distributive law and identity law from this video as well as others. There are many not included but you get the idea. The goal is mastery of the material and that is why they call this becoming a "Memory Master."

As the contestants would respond on "Family Feud" "GOOD ANSWER!!!!! GOOD ANSWER!!!!" My wifey and I homeschool------our girl just graduated HS last year and is in first year of college as a Math Ed major She can do Calculas and Trig blindfolded with one hand tied around her back without a calculator!!!! My boy----on the other hand----in the 11th grade----this is how he handles Algebra 2--------:sleep::sleep::sleep:----He's the Rip van Winkle of the Mathmatics world!!!!! Soon he's gonna wake up from his little nap and it'll dawn upon him that he has slept through 12 years of math!!!!!! Next year after our boy graduates----I will officially retire as HS principal and my wifey will retire from being the instructor!!!!:thumbs:

I have used Saxon Math for years and my 8th grader received post high school status on the eog testing last year. I used an idea from the Robinson Curriculum with Saxon Math. I taught him all the math facts first, using computers, mental math, and played games. He enjoyed learning without any testing, but just having fun. Then we started with 5/4 saxon in the 3rd grade and progressed from there. He is taking Algebra 1 in the 8th grade this year. What I have learned from being my children's homeschool father is that phonics and math are the keys to learning other subjects. My sons both learned to read before k-5 with phonics. They have never looked back. All the busy work that private and public schools give children are a waste of time if they can't read or do basic math facts.

Here's what worked for the Indian-Americans. They were concerned because their children excelled on the math portion of the SATs, but not so much on the verbal. So the South Asian cultural organizations set up their own elaborate ethnically-based spelling bee competitions. It is like a minor league preparing their children for the the National (Scripps) Spelling Bee. This has produced numerous national champions for them in recent years.

One problem I've encountered with math is that students are now expected to know algebra and such at a much earlier age. I didn't take algebra 1 until the 10th grade--now they are pushing it in junior high. I've had a tough time teaching my oldest math because the "new" math is not how I learned it. It has been very frustrating. For high school, we decided to let our oldest do an on-line academy, mostly because of the math issue. They said she is a semester "behind" in math and put her in pre-algebra. (The same stuff I didn't learn until a later age!) I think it's insane to require kids to learn higher math if they will never use it in real life. I think if more kids were taught the basics of accounting, budgeting, money management, measuring, etc. our economy would be in much better shape. Sure, if a kid really excels in math, let them learn trig and calculus, but I do not believe it is necessary for the average person.

I don't know. In 9th grade, I took algebra/geometry - two years in one year. The standard then ('79) was to do algebra in 9th and geometry in 10th. I then took trig in 10th, calculus in 11th and then what was called "College Math" in 12th. That college math course gave me my 6 credits for math for college. About 1/3 of the kids in my high school did the same as me.

Quantum, a wise parent can see down the road. Some kids just aren't college material. They aren't motivated, they don't enjoy using their minds and they simply aren't mature enough to do well in a college setting. You'd have loved me in college! My parents told me if I wanted to go to college I HAD to get my degree in engineering. Anything else was a waste of time. Did they even look at my high school math scores???? LOL, I barely passed Alg 1 and 2, finally learned algebra in GEOMETRY class (the teacher was fantastic) and made a C in pre cal in college. Guess what? 2 years later after suffering through Cal 1 and Cal 2, somewhere in the midst of Differentials something clicked. My brain was finally mature enough to understand what the teacher was talking about and all of a sudden my barely there C was almost an A. How about that? I have to agree with ABC that we are pushing more advanced math concepts on younger children and they find it so frustrating they learn to hate the entire subject. They never find a love for it. As much as you are seeing a lack in math skills, you are also seeing the results of college being pushed on kids as the "next step" in their lives and a good many of them aren't ready for it. They need a year to decompress, work, learn to manage their lives, gain a little independence while they decide if they want more education. There is no flexibility it seems. And then you have the kids who think they are "entitled" to a good grade in math. Those kids think they are entitled to more than that of course. And that's why they don't show up to class half the time or don't try to do basic math correctly. It's not that they don't have the basic skills, its that they don't care enough to use them. "Well the TA will know what I mean, it doesn't matter that I dropped a negative sign up there somewhere" There was a reason my college profs refused to allow us to use calculators. For that same reason, I don't let my kids use one. But the public schools allow and even encourage it and so do some homeschoolers. Go figure. I tell the teens in our homeschool coop that using a calculator to do basic math is like using a wheel chair when they could walk.