Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Math Help

When my son was younger, my husband would be the math homework helper. He has more of a natural knack for it, likes it etc., whereas I never saw math as anything but work. However, last year algebra stumped him, and since I hadn't followed it from the beginning, it stumped me too. This year my son is taking geometry, and I've been following it closely since the beginning, and I'm surprised at how much of it is coming back reasonably easily. However, I find a lot of instances that I can find the answer, but can't really explain HOW I know those angles are the same--I just know. Well, today I was checking one study guide while he was working another, and using his book as a reference so I started googling the concepts that were giving me trouble and I found a really neat math site. It is called Purple Math and while it mainly covers algebra, some geometry is there too. They also have a links page that I'll be exploring.

Right now we are trying to decide where my son is going to school next year. The school he attends now offers only an academic curriculum. They offer basic (not as hard as college prep) classes, but next year, if there he will take Algebra II (he got through Algebra I, with the help of a tutor, with a D- in summer school), Chemistry (I got through it with a C, which for me was a bad grade), a foreign language (I took Latin only, and he isn't interested in trying that), English, Religion, US History, and two other classes--and there don't seem to be any vo-tech type classes on the list. Basically I suspect that the classes that will give him the most trouble are classes I'm least able to help him with--and least interested in re-learning. If I could figure that it would be a lot of work, but at the end of the road he'd be ready for college if that was his choice, then maybe I could see it as worth it. However, realistically speaking, his grades aren't going to land him in any college except our local community college--and my guess is that they'd put him in remedial classes. On the other hand, I could send him to our local public school. Its reputation isn't the greatest, but I've generally been happy with the public schools we've used, though none of our friends has every set foot in one (unless they are people we've met through school). They have vocational courses, which I figure should at least get him a job when he gets out of school. He can still take the academic classes if he wants to (and some he will have to take) but he will have other options. He can get more special ed support. He'll get home much earlier in the afternoon, and it will cost a whole lot less. Can you tell which way I'm leaning?


  1. I can see which way you are leaning and I can certainly understand why. Most private schools (unless specifically for special needs) can't provide the services a public school can.
    I'm now off to check your math link

  2. I found public schools to be fine as long as I was willing to be involved. I volunteered to help English teachers purchase books, bought some math equipment and even helped with the college fair. I figured I "paid" a great deal less than I would have at a private school- and actually got more diversity. Still- it wasn't on the same level- and my dd was underprepared for college- but she has a wonderful group of diverse friends and had some excellent Microsoft skills when she left.
    Community college is really a good place for most....
    JMHO of course:>)

  3. Right now I'm losing my son. He just isn't "there" when he is studying, it is just do it and get it over with. He doesn't want to learn, he doesn't want to understand, he just wants to finish. He has exams this week. I sat down and did the math, and unless he does tremendously worse on the exam than he has done in the class, he should pass geometry--and may even end up with a C. If he doesn't completely bomb the fine arts exam he should pass it, but it will be a D. Unless he does tremendously better on the biology exam than he has done on any test, he is going to fail biology, so we are looking at four hours a day of summer school for three weeks, at least. I just don't have it in me. We have decided that an "F" is the final straw, and that if it happens, he will not be back at this school next year. The only question is whether we wait until next year to move him, or do it at Christmas. Both his school and the public school are on a block schedule such that a new semester means the start of new classes, so it wouldn't be a bad time to move him, and we wouldn't have to make that drive every day. They have told me that his IEP could be written to give him a daily period in the resource room where he could get homework help and they could teach study skills etc. It might take him longer to graduate, but that's ok by me. I want him to be happy again. I want family time to be something other than fight with him over homework time. I can buy a lot of therapy for what I'm paying for that school--and we might even have time to go.

  4. My opinion- move him at Christmas. He needs to make friends so he can begin next year with them. It is easier to do at semester- IME.
    Sounds like the decision has been made by the school- by the grades he now has. Why leave him there another semester to feel even worse?


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