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If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When Something Doesn't Fit...

I'm stubborn. I hate to admit when I've made a mistake, or chosen the wrong path, or gone barking up the wrong tree, though all of it happens all too often. Even with years of homeschooling under my belt now, I still make mistakes. I still make mistakes even when I have help in choosing things to learn with.

So before this school year began, The Boy and I spent hours looking at math program samples. Literally hours. We printed out samples, checked out FAQs, and so forth, and so on. And we thought The Art of Problem Solving Prealgebra was it, the one and only. We loved the idea of a discovery based approach, and the challenges it presented.

Now I am not saying that AoPS is not a good program -- it really is a very good one, but it doesn't seem to be quite the right fit for us. The Boy has spent six weeks on chapter one...SIX. And he worked hard, often more than an hour a day. The problem for us is that there seems to be a slight tendency to just throw something into the mix, something that wasn't really introduced properly, even in the problem solutions. And then the solutions/explanations themselves are a bit difficult to navigate. Yes, I realize it is very much supposed to be a challenging program, and I respect that, but there is a difference between challenging and frustrating.

Enter Jacobs Elementary Algebra, which we obtained for the next three weeks through an inter-library loan. While it is not technically prealgebra, the first third to half of the book does cover all the same topics, then the second part is more like an Algebra 1 course. It is a more standard approach to algebra, with clear explanations followed by problem sets, though the author's writing style, as well as the cartoons, quotes, etc. he sprinkles throughout the book, is much more reader friendly than many texts I've seen.

We're going to therefore give AoPS a break. I may sell it down the line if we decide not to return to it after giving a couple of weeks or so to Jacobs. We'll see. Part of me really doesn't want to give up. And part of The Boy doesn't want to give up either. But at this rate, we'd take years to finish a single book. And his daily frustration with it is just hard to get through. The other option I am considering is taking a week or two to cement some more concepts with Math Mammoth (exponents, for chapter two in AoPS), and then head back into AoPS itself. Arrgghhhh. Sometimes I hate decision making!

When do you give up on something? Or do you not give up?

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What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
Emerson

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