Advice on skipping ahead in math?

<p>My S doubled up on Geometry and Algebra II in school. He used one of his electives as an extra Math class. The only problem that I saw for him was that Geometry was not very hard and so he didn't put a lot of effort into it. We were told that these classes could be taken concurrently without much overlap.</p>

<p>Geometry is important for the SAT and ACT. When taking sample tests my S does have more problems with Geometry problems than Algebra or Trig problems. They are small minor problems, he has forgotten a few of the concepts but they are very easy to fix.</p>

<p>He's taking two math classes again this year. Easy electives for him. My D is taking Geometry this year and complains that it is too easy.</p>

<p>I think it will be a nice challenge for your son to study geometry at an accelerated pace. I also don't think you should slow him down just to make sure he has math senior year.</p>

<p>I took geometry over the summer at CTY, and I had Calculus I as a sophomore and Calculus II as a junior. Then there was no more math at my school, and I ended up taking an extra science course instead. Frankly I think it was a good idea to use my time taking an additional science course offered by my school rather than waste hours on the bus each week just so I could take a math course somewhere else. And colleges certainly don't look at a senior who is not studying math because he/she has completed the most advanced math courses in the same way they look at a senior who is not taking math because he/she got through geometry or algebra 2 and then just couldn't stand it anymore.</p>

<p>I can relate to a lot of the people on this thread. I was skipped ahead in math twice during my K-12 career. The first time was in 7th grade, where I was skipped ahead to pre-Algebra. I then took the accelerated math sequence for a few years until 10th grade, when I took pre-Calculus at the community college. That was the smartest move I had ever made. It moved me up to #1 in my school in math as a sophomore! I took AP Calculus AB the following year, two years ahead of my class. I was the only junior in that class.</p>

<p>My advice: take the math course at the community college if he is qualified for it. It will look good for college admissions, plus he could get into school early somewhere, like I did.</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>Although Geometry is a significant part of standardized tests like the PSAT and SAT, it is probably the easiest math class to learn outside of the normal HS math sequence (through self-study or tutoring or summer camp/class). Since math is one of your son's strengths, I think he would have no problem at all learning it this summer and moving into pre-calc next fall. My own son is currently one of two freshman in a class with 30 juniors taking Honors Algebrra II/Trig, because he skipped two years of math (having taken Algebra I and Geometry in an accelerated math program in junior high) and he's doing just fine (A+).</p>

<p>The key, though, may be having a 4th year of math in high school. If your son is going into science, engineering, or other fields that require math, adcoms will be looking for a math class in the senior year. Make sure he will have a viable option to show on his transcript -- whether it is through the HS or maybe your community college. With thousands of applications coming into competitive colleges, the adcoms might not pick up on the fact that your son has had 4 years of math if they have been compressed; they might just note the absence of a math class senior year. But if the college does not require 4 years of math for your son's intended major, he'll probably be OK anyway.</p>

<p>worried_mom, you raise the point that I mentioned above. While I agree that it is important to have a strategy for the senior year if you accelerate math earlier, my experience is that the adcoms realize when you've accelerated and it may not be important to actually be taking that extra year of math (even for some fields, such as economics that are math intensive) if your exams and other accomplishments show your aptitude.</p>

<p>One piece of sound advice to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to skip math courses is the article "The</a> Calculus Trap," which has been very influential in my thinking. I believe in doing math courses rapidly and early (my son starts calculus next year, at age thirteen) but also THOROUGHLY. The site on which the article is hosted is very helpful for math-interested kids in general.</p>

<p>MGMom, although there are Geometry problems on PSAT, SAT etc, I wouldn't say one has to KNOW Geometry to do them; one has to UNDERSTAND Geometry, that's for sure. I will not advise skipping Geometry altogether, but taking it over summer, or through EPGY, or doing self-study will not do any harm if your kid is strong in Math. </p>

<p>Two of my kids had Math SAT 790-800 in 7-8 grade, before ever taking Geometry. One of them took it in summer school before 9th grade (and complained that it was too simple), finished with Calculus in 11th grade and went straight to college; another one - a homeschooler - never took Geometry formally (as well as any other High School Math), he was just reading whatever books he liked. Turned out just fine, taking several college classes every year...</p>

<p>Looks like you know how your particular school works; if they don't mind the kid accelerating, and you have the options for 12th grade, go for it! It's not good for the kid's development if he is learning at a lower level than he is able to.</p>

<p>Oh, one other thing to watch out for: If you are in a REALLY anal and backward school systen, as we are, be careful that you not be trapped the way my son almost was. If he had not been given credit for the on-line pre-calculus course he did as a double while taking his school's geometry class, he wouldn't have been allowed to graduate because he wouldn't have had four high school math credits! </p>

<p>No matter that he would have done Calculus BC and passed the AP test for it by the end of his senior year. Nuh-uh. He could have taken Business Math his senior year, and as long as he had had four credits, they would have been happier than if he had not done those on-line courses and not pursued credit through their bureaucracy for them (which, BTW, took three attempts, each of which was fully documented and at the end of each of which we were assured that he had been credited for the course).</p>

<p>Just be careful.</p>

<p>Our school allows kids to skip ahead- our math is done with some alg/geom/trig each year, not a single year of each class.</p>

<p>Some kids skip and never are quite the stars they would have been. </p>

<p>My D2 did complete Alg i in 7th grade (a year early) but in her new school for 8th grade did not skip (she was a bit bored) to the higher grade math and has subsequently had an amazing run in math and is extremely confident and glad she did not skip. </p>

<p>D3 did skip and is not feeling as strong, has lost some self-confidence. This is mainly due to some holes in her middle school math :(</p>

<p>I have seen kids skip and still be the #1 student in the older class. If your son feels uncertain, I would not skip if you felt it might undermine his level of understanding. If he is still going to be strong and confident, then go for it.</p>

<p>If he can do the geometry outside, then he should not have any holes, right?</p>

<p>2 comments:</p>

<p>1) I know you're worried about geometry, but if your son's a good math student, this shouldn't be a big problem. He can take the course either at a community college, or he can self-study over a summer (my school let me skip out of geometry/algebra II in 9th grade simply by passing the second-semester final... which, after three weeks reading through the textbook and working random problems, I was able to do without any problems. Your son may be able to work something like this out with the head of the math department at his school).</p>

<p>2) If he does skip, it's <em>definitely</em> a good idea for him to take a math course during senior year, to keep his skills sharp. I know someone already mentioned this, but I highly recommend EPGY. I took multivariable calculus (differential and integral) through EPGY during my senior year in high school, and I found it to be, up to that point, the most rigorous math course I'd ever taken. EPGY offers all sorts of university level math classes - multivar calc, linear algebra, diff eq, real & complex analysis, partial diff eq, topology, number theory, etc. It's a very strong program, so if there isn't an accessible community college or university in your area, he should still have access to lots of challenging math classes even after he's finished everything his school offers.</p>

<p>good luck!</p>

<p>I've been a year ahead in math since elementary school, which meant that junior year I had to take either AP Calc or AP Stat. I took stat as a junior because I was told that my math skills wouldn't be to great after it and it would be better to enter a high school math class without real math for a year than college, and I think I was given correct advice. While taking stat did negatively impact my SAT score junior year, I retook it at the beginning of senior year and did fine after I had been in Calc BC for a month. Stat kills brain cells or something; the only "math" is plugging things in formulas and graphing lines.</p>

<p>My d also finished Calculus bc in her junior year. In retrospect, I think that in her case she would have better served to have not gotten so far ahead. She ended up with no math in her senior year. (She was actually glad about this, but I wasn't)</p>

<p>And I also think her Math score on the SAT would have been better if she had not been so far removed from her algebra and geometry classes which were all completed in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades, two years before her junior year PSAT. The test results showed that she did fine on all the "harder" questions but messed up on mostly the more "basic" questions.</p>

<p>I will not let D number two get so far ahead of the game.</p>

<p>MGMom, I came a bit late to the game but we just accelerated our son last summer. He took Pre-Calculus through Stanford's EPGY Program and liked it quite a bit. He is now in Calculus AB as a junior with all seniors in his HS class. He just took the Calc AB test today and thinks he did well.</p>

<p>Because his high school, a private catholic school in RI, does not offer AP statistics or AP Calc BC he will take a few online classes either through Stanford's EPGY program or Harvard Extension.</p>

<p>Good luck with your efforts and your decision on how best to proceed.</p>

<p>at my school the sequence is: 9th-Geometry 10th-AlgII 11th-Pre-calc
12th-ABcalc or BCcalc</p>

<p>i followed the normal sequence through BC calc and I felt very prepared for the AP BC Exam which i took today in fact. Taking AB junior year and BC senior year is a gigantic waste of time in my opinion since the AB material is covered in BC. Only reason i would see to take pre calc sophomore year is if you want one year to take AP statistics.</p>

<p>The idea of slowing down just to make sure you do better on the SAT is not sitting well with me. If you really think you have forgotten some material, you can spend a little time reviewing using an SAT book.</p>

<p>I agree with August.</p>

<p>By chance, half of my S's Latin class, mostly juniors took the AP-Calc exam this morning. My S calculated that about a dozen juniors are in Ap-Calc on a regular basis. Our school does not offer AP-Stats, so many of them go on to Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra and others do an independent study. It is indeed better to have a fourth year of math in order to keep one's skills fresh. </p>

<p>Personally, I am not in favor of slowing a student down for any reason. It's a recipe for boredom and underachievement. For my S, it would have spelled disaster from both the point of view of academic performance and personal growth.</p>

<p>In response to above comments.</p>

<p>I just would have had her take the pre-algebra course in the 6th grade instead of starting high school algebra at that time. I made the decision to accelerate her based on what I was being told about her abilities by the teachers and counselors without taking into consideration that she would end up with no math in her senior year. If I had signed her up for the prealgebra in 6th as opposed to the Algebra then she would have ended up having a senior year math class. I really don't think that completing AP Calc AB as a junior and then AP Calc BC as a senior would have been all that "slow". But that's just how I feel. At the time I was definitely not thinking about SAT scores and the like.</p>

<p>Some schools do offer AB in junior year and BC in senior year, but AB is 2/3 of the BC curriculum, so BC is really not worth spending a whole year on. There are alternatives to not doing any math in 12th grade. As I mentioned, each year about a dozen students take BC Calc as juniors and go on to MV Calc in senior year. A student, now in college, did an independent project instead of taking MV Calc. She is interested in journalism rather than math/science.</p>

<p>If I could redo my S's elementary math education, I would have accelerated him even more rather than less. Sixth grade was the nadir both in terms of his math learning (zip) and his behavior in class. Bored kids can really get into lots of trouble.</p>

Bored kids can really get into lots of trouble


<p>oh, this is so true. I nearly flunked my sixth and seventh grade math classes because I was bored to death and didn't feel like doing the homework. I probably would have continued on this low streak if my 8th grade math teacher hadn't realized what was going on and offered to let me do contest problems instead of the homework, and if my high school had refused to let me skip... during geometry in 9th grade, those of us who were bored with the class would sit in back and consistently get in trouble for not paying attention and passing notes.</p>

<p>Now, my brother is getting Cs and low Bs in math because he's bored and doesn't do the homework (his test average is an A; his homework average is an F).</p>

<p>The lesson? Keeping back a kid who's ready to move on can definitely do more harm than good, both in terms of class behavior and academic performance. Parents, don't push your kids past their limits, but please don't hold them back and force them to be under-challenged, either. That can be a recipe for disaster.</p>

<p>Great advice in these posts. My S had an accelerated math pace as well, and is fortunate to attend a high school where he could take Linear Algebra, DiffEQ, and Calc III (multivariable) during his senior year. One thing which I don't think anyone mentioned is the perspective which a student can gain in taking these very challenging courses before entering college. My S had never made anything but As in math before hitting these subjects. Now he works for Bs. He'll see these courses all again at college, and I believe he'll have a new-found respect for actually studying and preparing for math tests at college. Better to learn this now, rather than in college.....hope it plays out this way, anyhow!</p>