# Algebra 1 for rising 9th grader over the Summer?

My 8th grader was not able to take Algebra this year since the school didn't offer it. She's great at math and interested in taking it over the Summer so she can take Geometry freshman year. I've just started looking at Community College classes or online (like BYU) - but wondered if someone out there had already done this and point me in the right direction. We need OUSD to accept the course and give her credit. Thanks for any advice!

Jan 27, 2022

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Just my 2c as another current 8th grade parent. Algebra is no longer a standard 8th grade class (as it was 35 years ago when i was in junior high); it would be pretty unusual for a 9th grader to go into Geometry and they would likely be the only person who didn't take Algebra at that school as a freshman. My kid is also a pretty high achiever in math (and it's my eldest, so take all this with a grain of salt) but my understanding based on my research at their prospective public high school and the private high school they've applied to, is that you take freshman math with your cohort, and then from there the teachers will provide more guidance for alternate pathways, summer classes, etc., for students who want to get to AP Calc and beyond by senior year. All that said, if your child is a very very motivated and independent math scholar, you might look into CTY or ATDP for Algebra 1 where they would be in a class with students their own age, versus 19-20 year olds and older.

You might look into staying in Algebra for 9th grade and doing Geometry over the summer before 10th grade. It's much easier subject matter to master more quickly, and there are multiple summer options that UC recognizes as adequate. If UC recognizes the course, your school district should too.

Yes, both my kids in OUSD did Algebra at a community college in 8th grade. You will need to show the transcript with a passing grade to the high school guidance counselor to then be placed in geometry in high school.

There are steps and paperwork via the community college to enroll and register for the class. Search for “special enrollment” on the community college’s website, where the forms and steps are usually laid out pretty clearly. (Middle schoolers are special enrollment; not all the community colleges offer that.)

The classes my kids took were great. One was in person and one was all asynch online. Both were very good classes. And free!

I have to contradict one response here - it is in fact common for kids in my child's school, Oakland Tech, to take Algebra 1 in 8th, then be in Geometry in 9th. Lots of kids do this. My son had many friends in his 9th Geometry class. A subset who are strong at math and have particular paths in mind will then take Algebra 2 (via Peralta system or other community college) in Fall of 10th, then Precalculus in Spring of 10th, and be ready for AP Calculus and AP Statistics by 11th. In fact you can accelerate faster than that if strong at math and willing to do CC classes. Note that if your kid wants to take Calculus in 11th via community college, they have to take both Trig and Precalc (run as 2 separate classes in CC) as prerequisites.

f your child is solid at math AND has a lot of parental support or tutoring support, then I think she can do Algebra 1 over the summer. Bear in mind that summer classes are significantly tougher than regular semester classes, because they're condensed into about 8 weeks. This is especially true at the community college level. There is a HS level program via UCB that offers many math classes, in person instruction for about half a day most of the summer. There's BYU. There's SVHS though many parents have told me their classes are weak. There are a lot of programs that *may* be accepted by the HS your kid is entering AND the UC System and other colleges (remember that you need a program accepted by all these). Community colleges can work well though my guess is there will not be many Alg 1 classes offered, bc this is not officially a college class (ditto for Alg 2 and Geometry). In my experience, kids as young as yours just need a lot of parent support and help with organization. My kid has done fine in the CC classes - he's worked hard but it's been manageable. He did need help understanding the concept of a comprehensive final exam, but nothing else has been that challenging.

We'd recommend ATDP through the University of California at Berkeley or CTY with Johns Hopkins University. You can request the syllabus from ATDP so you can send that to your school for approval before taking the class. However, why is it necessary to get the credit from OUSD, as long as your child is placed into geometry? You don't need algebra I on high school transcripts if your child will have subsequent math classes. ATDP requires a rather comprehensive application but doable. CTY requires taking an exam like SCAT, ACT/SAT to be admitted and only students receiving high enough scores can take their math or other classes. ATDP would be an in-person class and CTY is online so consider your child's learning style. We went through this entire process for my child to take geometry over the summer so she would be placed in algebra II as a freshmen. She already had algebra I in middle school. Her high school would not accept ATDP credit for geometry but would accept CTY. In the end, she said no to additional online school over the summer and didn't do it. (COVID kills a lot of motivation) She's doing well in algebra II now as a sophomore.

My younger one is slated to take algebra I as a 7th grader next fall. She's in pre-algebra now and doing very well. She wants to take algebra I over the summer to go into geometry next fall. So I'm about to start the process of getting approval from her middle school and testing/applying again for my second child. Neither of my kids are what I would consider gifted in math and never did Kumon, math circles, Russian Math, AoPs or anything like that when they were younger. I wished I did so they could be further ahead but we didn't have the time/money. If you have a motivated kid and time/money, go for it for your daughter! One thought to consider is that strong understanding of algebra I is fundamental for all subsequent math classes in high school. Good luck!

My OUSD freshman son took compression math in 8th grade and is now taking Geometry, along with other freshmen who did the same. I would say the majority of freshmen are taking Algebra 1 this year, but if your daughter wants to move ahead in math, she can do it through any of the local community colleges or BYU, Apex, Silicon Valley High, or UC Scout. My son is now taking Algebra 2 with UC Scout as his freshman workload has been very light. It’s self-paced but good, and he’s been motivated to do it. If she is self-motivated, it’s a good option, and it is accepted by OUSD and the UCs.

I've taught many students who were accelerated in math in my Calculus class. For some it worked. For others, it was problematic. First on the math level, they didn't have a strong grasp of the pre-algebra, and algebra skills that were needed for Calculus (fractions, factoring, proportion, figure dissection, trig, limits, etc.). Proofs were often challenging for younger students because of the abstract thinking involved. The other, and in some ways worse problem, was that some students who had perfectly reasonable skills, thought of themselves as no good at math because of their struggle with the material when they were too young for it. Slightly accelerated students (Geometry in 9th, Calculus in 12th) usually did ok if they had good student skills and parental support in math. Students who were more accelerated than that had a much more mixed experience. The point of math in high school is that students find it interesting enough that they continue to take math courses in College. I also taught many students in the "normal" sequence who attended UCs, Ivies, and other highly competitive colleges. As a parent, I resisted the hyper-acceleration and my student continued studying (and enjoying) math for the first two years of college at a highly competitive school.