At-Home Summer Math Program for Reluctant Teenager?
June 16, 2016 6:56 AM   Subscribe

We have a 15 year old (entering 10th grade) staying with us for the summer, who needs significant help with math. He worked pretty hard this past semester to bring his math grade up to a C - and I don't want him to lose that knowledge. What can we do to work on his math skills this summer? Open to all ideas - books, online tutorials, games.
posted by wearyaswater to Education (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Dragonbox is a game that's a great complement to traditional ways of learning algebra.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:00 AM on June 16, 2016

Khan Academy is awesome. I have about a sixth-grade numeracy and it's wonderful for learning and re-learning at your level.

He's also probably old enough to take a summer math course at your local community college, if they offer a class at his level (the first-level remedial class I had to take in college was around pre-algebra or so.) If he doesn't have anything else to do this summer, you can tell him you'll pay for a couple classes (like one fun class of his choice, art or swimming or something, and one math.) He'd potentially meet people and get a taste of what college is like, it's a semi-supervised freedom, and he'd be building math skills. It also doesn't really matter if he passes the class or not if he never uses the transcript for transfer.
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:02 AM on June 16, 2016 [5 favorites]

Ah, I didn't see the "at-home" part. Well, see if there's an online community college course.
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:08 AM on June 16, 2016

On the book front, if he's a reader in general, I enjoyed reading Flatland here recently. It doesn't really do a whole lot for mathematical learning but it is an interesting take on telling a story that involves geometry comprehension and thinking outside of the box (pun intended). It may not be his cup of tea but it is quite short so it shouldn't be too much of a slog.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:40 AM on June 16, 2016

Best answer: I second Khan Academy -- but it's the "pitch" that's important.

With a reluctant teen who had failed Earth Science more than once and needed it to graduate, the pitch was "teachers don't always do their jobs well. You know, it's not that you can't learn XYZ -- idiots have learned XYZ. Think about someone in your class you just doesn't seem very smart -- who's an idiot. Did they pass XYZ? Yeah. You can pass it, you might just not be able to learn it the way they teach it. I suggest you go behind the teacher's back and check out Khan Academy. You have to learn it behind their back. It's kind of nice fuck you to your teacher."
posted by vitabellosi at 7:57 AM on June 16, 2016 [13 favorites]

My daughter loves SumDog - it only goes up to Year 9 in the UK but I think it goes further in the US, you'll need to check.

You'd probably need to use it in conjunction with some other resources, but it's great for reinforcing concepts they've already learnt.
posted by dogsbody at 9:46 AM on June 16, 2016

Best answer: I think that the main thing is not what you do, but that you do a bit each day. If you can, try to do it first thing in the morning before anything else happens. It is amazing what a relatively small amount of work can accomplish if you repeat it and practice it regularly. Try to create a good routine as soon as you can.
posted by jazh at 1:05 PM on June 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Math is a very cumulative subject, so it's pretty likely that he has weak foundations in at least a few mathematical concepts. I suggest going back to the basics and working on improving his mindset. You didn't specify which course gave him trouble, but for example, Reaching Algebra Readiness lays out the fundamental skills needed for algebra. For free math materials, you could see what's available at the public library. Alternatively there's MEP math or EngageNY. In the not-free realm, there's ST Math and Aleks.
posted by oceano at 1:06 PM on June 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

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