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Algebra II with Trig Question – Is my Son Ready?

Question from a mom!

My homeschooled son struggles in high school math. He is very bright, and has taken Algebra 1 Algebra 2, and Geometry with Teaching Textbooks. However, he is not a “math mind,” and scored low in his yearly tests. He is going into his senior year, and I fear for his SAT/ ACT scores. He is very, very intelligent, but is not a good test-taker, and does not take naturally to mathematical concepts as they have been presented. How does your curriculum compare to Teaching Textbooks, and does your Algebra II/ with Trig. require that students be math geniuses already? Do you think that he could be introduced to your curriculum, and do well? 
I am a concerned mama…I would so appreciate a detailed/ helpful review/ analysis. Thank you so much.

Answer from Dr. Callahan:

We are college based where Teaching Textbooks are high school. What does that mean? Generally, taking our stuff is much better prep for ACT/SAT and college in general. Does ours require genius? Not hardly. In fact, to some it is easier because we teach concepts instead of formulas. 

For instance, if you put me in a  kitchen to cook, I can do OK with a recipe. But, I do not understand cooking and food concepts well enough to just throw something together (edible). However, someone who can cook and understands stuff knows the CONCEPTS and can do well. 

The ACT/SAT tests CONCEPTS. For a student who is smart, they thrive on concepts but hate being put in a box of rules (recipes) which are often part of high school math. So he might be better than you think he is!

Here is what I would do in your situation. 


  1. Get ACT/SAT coaching ASAP. This will help you and he determine where he stands. I would HIGHLY recommend someone who can work with him directly like Lauren (See Note the discount code!!!! He is a senior – I would do this NOW. 
  2. As for math, I would have him evaluate himself. Go to the textbook website and have him take the quiz from chapters 1 to 8. He should do OK on the chapter 1- 5 tests. But if he struggles before chapter 5, I would have him take Algebra II with Trig. This is a fundamental course in the ACT/SAT.