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Do you recommend non-college bound students take Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry?

Question from Beth:

I work with the Middle and High School Programs for the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools. My focus is math and I’ve been educating our members about the courses you offer. One question we occasionally get concerns non-college bound students who struggle with math. Do you recommend that they still struggle through Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry to get their 3 math credits required for graduation? Or are there other course options/materials that you would recommend? Thank you for any assistance you can give me on this!

Answer from Dr. Callahan:

Great question. I would, and here are some reasons why…

1. These concepts apply. The world is complex, and we know the language of nature is math. Math explains everything from economics to rainfall. Without some understanding, you are subject to be manipulated by people who use math to convince you about their own agenda. For instance, many people talk about “randomness” to make an agenda point. This is really a mathematical term and has specific meanings. Unless you get that, you are sucked into their argument.

2. Math can be practical. Much of what we teach in these subjects has applied to my life when I am building a house, buying fencing for the yard, cooking, etc.

3. You never know what future holds. Many people go back for more formal education or specific education. While you can make-up subjects later, most find it harder once you have a job and a family. While you are focused on education, get education.

4. And perhaps most of all, what if your kids decide to educate their own kids. Would it not be better that they are prepared for the job?

All this said to say, I would not STRUGGLE with it too much. We try to focus on math as real. Focus on the concepts and do not get bogged down in too much complexity. And, do not spend more than one hour per day on the subject. Many a math teacher and course over complicates and works the student to death. So for parents, I say find a curriculum that relates to the student.

Hope this helps.