Google The Unplanned Homeschooler: What comes after Algebra 1?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

What comes after Algebra 1?

"What should my high school student take after Algebra 1?"

That's one of the most commonly asked questions among homeschoolers, and it's not so simple to answer. Where do you go next, into Algebra 2 or Geometry? Ask this question in any large homeschool group and you are sure to get a lot of debate.


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When I was in school, most students enrolled in Geometry right after Algebra 1, but I chose to enroll in Algebra 2. It made more sense to me to cover that material immediately following Algebra 1, and I did well taking the courses in this order.

There is a strong argument to be made, however, for taking Geometry immediately after Algebra 1, because a student would have more exposure to those concepts before taking the PSAT, thus potentially raising their score.

As my twins were approaching the end of Algebra 1 this year, I realized it was time for our family to make this difficult decision. I had curriculum for both courses ready to go, and had reviewed the first several chapters of each. I just needed to pick which one we would do first.

After a lot of thought, I decided to try a different approach. We're going to do both Algebra 2 and Geometry simultaneously. Now, that doesn't mean I am doubling the workload on my kids. No, in fact, they will be maintaining the same weekly schedule as they did with Algebra 1. But instead of doing one full course and then the other, we are going to do one small section at a time, and switch back and forth between courses.

Some folks have called me crazy for trying this approach, and others have called me brilliant. I'll settle for a little of both, so long as the plan works well for my kids. We can always revert to doing one course at a time if the alternating schedule doesn't work out, but I think that my twins are bright enough to handle switching back and forth.

The best part of this plan is that both Algebra 2 and Geometry will be fresh in their minds when it is time to take their PSAT next fall. We do a year-round schedule with intermittent breaks, and they should be finished with most of both math courses by next October. If everything goes the way I hope it does, this will give them their best chance to score well, and hopefully earn some scholarship offers.

I'd love to hear what you have planned following Algebra 1, or if your students have already moved on through higher math, how they did using one approach or another.