High school math advice needed

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  • pinkchopsticks

    I have been using MUS forever with all my kids. I love the program. My oldest, however, is struggling in math and just dreads it. She is going into 9th and part way through the Pre-Algebra book and barely passing. I think she needs a change. She needs more instruction than just the videos (we watch together) and mom. 🙂 I like math…but explaining the concepts to her in a way that she “gets it” is difficult.

    So, are there any other programs that you recommend? I have looked at Thinkwell. What other programs should investigate? I have looked at online MUS classes, but they were kind of pricey. I am hoping for a less expensive option.



    The two programs for that level we have experience with are Saxon and Teaching Textbooks. My daughter (now 19) and one son (14) have used Saxon (she used it through Algebra 1/2; he’s used it through Algebra 2), using the teaching CDs starting at about the 8/7 level. In terms of teaching, retention and test scores, we’ve found this to be a very good program. I also like that the solutions CD has the solutions to every problem in the book or tests – every single one – so that the student can pop in the disc and be worked through the problem if there’s confusion.

    My daughter used Teaching textbooks for Algebra 1, and while she really enjoyed that course more than Saxon, and scored well in all her tests, her standardized test scores went down at the end of the year. She retook the course in ps in her 9th grade year, and felt there was a lot missing from the TT Algebra 1 course in comparison with what she was taught that year.

    I later read that the TT courses are well loved and are especially good for “non-mathy” kids, but that they do run a bit behind other courses, and that folks should use placement tests to determine proper placement. So their pre-algebra course might be just right and a gentle introduction after a frustrating time. Perhaps others will have more oprions.




    Thanks for the input Aimee. I will check them both out. I also looked at ALEKS last night. It is a bit pricey, but it seems very unique in its approach. Anyone here use this as a stand alone program?


    This might help. There are some that just go to 8th grade. But she may need to go back and review anyways.

    Some of them are supplements.



    Harold Jacob’s Algebra and Geometry may be an alternative. Dr. Callahan has helpful DVDs to go with them if needed. You can find out about both at http://www.askdrcallahan.com/. I’ll be studying geometry this year using both resources. Admittedly, it’s pricey. But, I found all of it “used” in new condition through Homeschool Classifieds. I didn’t do well in geometry over 25 years ago. So, I’ve decided to study it this year. My older children have either managed with Saxon at the highschool level (with DIVE for some lessons) or floundered with it. As we had it and needed the budget for other resources, we just pushed through with what we had already. But, our eldest daughter wants to redo geometry this year as it’s too spread out through Saxon. We will study together this way. 🙂


    My daughter has used TT and Thinkwell and my son has used Aleks.

    We switched from TT to Thinkwell for Algebra 1. Dd like it okay but preferred TT. Thinkwell was advanced; I would not recommend using it for someone who is struggling. We went back to TT and dd is much happier. The newer versions of TT are better that the older ones in my opinion. They added in some of the topics that were missing in the pervious version. We also briefly tried MUS Algebra 1 before going back to TT and dd did not like it at all. She prefers to work math independently and TT allows her to do that. She also like TT because she only works one problem at a time instead of seeing a whole page of problems to be done.

    We used Aleks for Geometry. My son did not like Aleks because he did not like reading the explanations for the problems and your answer had to exactly match what the computer had. He would have the answer correct but use a lower case instead of upper case it was marked wrong and he was moved back on his pie chart. He found it very frustrating.


    Thanks for the great advice everyone. I showed my dd teaching textbooks…she likes the look of it so I am having her do the placement test. I will look into the other suggestions as well. I appreciate the comment on Thinkwell. Oldest dd is not my math girl…I am just looking to get her through the basics with good understanding.


    We’ve tried everything mentioned here except for Thinkwell. My daughter is using ALEKS and it really works well for her. I know it is a little pricey but to me it is worth it. It is like having a private math tutor who constantly matches the curriculum to my daughter so that she can review if she forgot something and she can move on when she knows a concept. I wish I had switched to it when I first heard about it because it would have saved us a lot of time and frustration.

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