According to many surveys, math remains one of the most important yet frightening subjects for students in the US. In fact, many students in the US don't even know what math courses they should study to get into a college. No wonder their performance is severely sub par at the college level. But your student CAN do well in college math classes by being well prepared. As a homeschooling parent, you want to choose the best for your students. But what does your student really need for college preparation? Which courses will give them the best education and set them off on the right path? There are 4 basic levels of math that a student will need in high school in order to do well at college: Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra II with Trig, and Calculus 1.

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Granted, not all students will make it to Calculus 1, and that's fine. The point here is that you know what subjects you need, then it becomes just a matter of finding the right curriculum to teach those subjects. Start by Identifying the Target College
A lot of the decision-making about curriculums depends upon the college that you want to attend. Typically, each college will have their own set of requirements for incoming students. For example, MIT prefers a strong foundation in calculus. They want their applicants to have gone through at least one level of Calculus in high school before they arrive. Auburn University, however, expects a strong foundation in Algebra I and II with a secondary emphasis being placed on courses like calculus, geometry, statistic analysis, and trigonometry. Pomona College highly recommends students know calculus, just like MIT whereas, Harvard places its main emphasis on concrete understanding of functions, algebra, and graphing. They don't focus much on calculus like MIT and Pomona. So, basically, wherever you want to attend, find out about their applicant math requirements. Now, even though each college has their own course requirements, there are some general points that can be said for every homeschooling student:
• Calculus can be considered optional for most students.
• Taking Calculus 1 in high school allows the student to go into almost any freshman math class with the subject knowledge well in hand.
• Having studied through Calculus 1 in high school allows easier adjustment to the faster pace and stricter structure of college without getting overwhelmed by the course material.
• Algebra 1 & 2, Trigonometry, and Geometry are the minimum courses required to do well at college.
Meet the college requirements by focusing on understanding
You can check off any math course you "completed" but if your student doesn't understand, the effort was rather worthless. For this reason, we encourage you to take the time to figure out what makes your student's mind tick. Study math in a way that makes sense for them personally. If you're worried about your math experience and think you'll need help---seek help. There are many great step by step math courses and DVD courses out there to choose from. Shop around, and get your student's input. Choose the course that both of you like and are excited to learn from.


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