*Hi Laurie,*

I was wondering if you have ever considered not having your girls do all the math up through Saxon Advanced Math? Mine CAN do it but there are so many other things they want to be learning and that I want them to learn, it seems sort of silly to take the time it takes (one hour a day). What did you do? For instance, I would love my girls to know how to do the stock market (at least understand it) as well as basic accounting, to help run a business, and how to do taxes, etc. There just never seems to be enough time. My oldest is 18 so maybe I am thinking these practical subjects might be better to do in their ‘college’ years. But it seems almost too late, as they seem to become interested in these practical subjects at about the age of 16-17 when they are in the throes of geometry and pre-calculus instead. Any thoughts? We met a family recently with many lovely older daughters, and they only do math up through algebra 1. They were all well-read and articulate and talented in the home arts. I was impressed, and, well, just thinking out loud…..

*J.*

I had all my kids go through Saxon Advanced Math plus use a separate geometry course — I didn’t feel that Saxon handled geometry clearly. Nate was the only one who went on to do Calculus.

I think I might want to reevaluate the situation if I had to do it over. Accounting does seem like something valuable — learning how to use Quickbooks back when the kids were in high school would have been very useful to us now. But yet, I still am convinced of the value (not only for the sake of the math knowledge, but for the mind exercise) of completing algebra 1 & 2 and geometry. Perhaps I would be willing to rethink my requirement to take the advanced math course which comes after algebra and geometry. I think it is a person by person decision to be made, not a blanket decision. Our girls didn’t mind the math, so we pursued the advanced math course.

Another reason to continue on with algebra 2 and geometry is because someday your kids will be teaching their own kids. But, yes, it is all something to reconsider. I would be very hesitant, though, to allow my kids to stop math after algebra 1. In fact, I know I would never do that.

Do you know of a good self-teaching accounting course?

I think that basic algebra and geometry are absolutely necessary. I use it all the time – in my everyday life as mom (being able to find an unknown does come up, quite often!) and also in my working life. I actually ended up being promoted, in part because I could actually do math. I was a temp. secretary working for a metal sales company, but I was able to figure out for the boss whether those arches he had formed from angle were fabbed correctly, how many sheets of 4×8′ aluminum might be needed for a project, etc. and ended up office manager with salary and benefits.

Even now I use algebra to figure out my price book (contrasting different sizes of different brands) to figuring out how much Tylenol to give my 24 lb. baby if the standard dose is 70 mg/kg of body weight.

There is also much to be said for the thinking skills involved, the logical progression, and having to justify your steps via proofs. Good training all the way around.