Math Class FAQ


What math classes does Home School Partners offer?
What makes Scott Clifton qualified to teach math?
Scott has tutored math or taught math classes for over 30 years, beginning in high school. He has been blessed with abilities in math since childhood, including an aptitude for mental calculations involving multiplying, dividing, fractions, and percentages. As a sixth grader, Scott's score on a statewide math test was the highest in the county, and 17th in the state. As a seventh grader, he was awarded the "Top Math Student" award at Wake ForestRolesville Middle School in Wake Forest. In high school, Scott scored a 700 on the math section of the SAT, which contributed to his being offered a full, fouryear academic scholarship for college.
How do the math classes work?
PREALGEBRA, ALGEBRA 1, OR ALGEBRA 2:
Each of these three classes includes 2 hours of instruction (with a short break after the first hour), with practice problems and assistance during each class. Students then complete at home assignments related to that week's lessons. All math classes are designed to supplement the efforts of parents who are homeschooling their high school children and are not in any way intended to replace the homeschooling parent, who is, of course, the primary teacher of a home schooled child. I work to present to students easier and clearer ways of understanding math principles, and we have fun and laugh during class, to break up any potential tension felt by students who are intimidated by math.
PreAlgebra, Algebra 1, and Algebra 2 classes use the Saxon Math program. (See "Why Saxon Math?" section below.) Parents need to buy the following for their math student:
The above three elements are often bundled together in something called a "home school kit," which you can buy at many online stores such as www.rainbowresource.com or www.christianbook.com.
MATH TIPS & TRICKS (1 SEMESTER):
Math Tips & Tricks is a onesemester, onehourperweek class that includes practice problems and assistance during each class. Students then complete at home assignments related to that week's lessons. Math Tips & Tricks is included free with "1B." There are three main goals of this class:
Goal 1: Teaching How To Perform Mental Calculations
The first objective of "Math Tips & Tricks" is teaching students how to perform these kinds of calculations in their heads:
 multiplying and dividing numbers with decimals
 calculating percents
 multiplying and dividing numbers with zeroes
 manipulating fractions
 multiplying and dividing numbers by 4 or by 5
Goal 2: Sharpening Ratio/Fraction/Decimal/Percent Skills
The second objective of "Math Tips & Tricks" is honing students' speed and proficiency in these essential math skills:
 converting decimals/fractions/percents
 solving ratios
 speeding up "long division"
 solving fraction word problems
 working out realworld math problems (unit pricing, interest rates, tipping, and so on).
Goal 3: Increasing Success with Higher Math Classes
Here's the bottom line: The techniques and practice problems in "Math Tips & Tricks," if applied by students, will...
 make arithmetic faster,
 increase accuracy in problem solving,
 speed up math lessons with whatever program they use, and
 enable them to focus on concepts, not arithmetic, in higher math classes!
When students aren't spending long periods of time trying to figure out fractions, decimals, percents, ratios, and arithmetic, higher math classes like PreAlgebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Trigonometry become much easier. When students feel confident about zipping through the math areas we cover in "Math Tips & Tricks," they can focus more on x's and y's, and less on arithmetic.
My experience in working with math students for decades is that lack of proficiency in arithmetic, and NOT formulas or x's and y's, is the number one reason that students struggle to successfully complete higher math courses!
And we'll have lots of inclass practice problems, problems to complete at home (they shouldn't take more than 1015 minutes per day), and fun activities like "Jeopardy!" games in class.
When are math classes held?
 PreAlgebra
 Algebra 1
 Algebra 2
 Math Tips & Tricks (1 semester)
What makes Scott Clifton qualified to teach math?
Scott has tutored math or taught math classes for over 30 years, beginning in high school. He has been blessed with abilities in math since childhood, including an aptitude for mental calculations involving multiplying, dividing, fractions, and percentages. As a sixth grader, Scott's score on a statewide math test was the highest in the county, and 17th in the state. As a seventh grader, he was awarded the "Top Math Student" award at Wake ForestRolesville Middle School in Wake Forest. In high school, Scott scored a 700 on the math section of the SAT, which contributed to his being offered a full, fouryear academic scholarship for college.
How do the math classes work?
PREALGEBRA, ALGEBRA 1, OR ALGEBRA 2:
Each of these three classes includes 2 hours of instruction (with a short break after the first hour), with practice problems and assistance during each class. Students then complete at home assignments related to that week's lessons. All math classes are designed to supplement the efforts of parents who are homeschooling their high school children and are not in any way intended to replace the homeschooling parent, who is, of course, the primary teacher of a home schooled child. I work to present to students easier and clearer ways of understanding math principles, and we have fun and laugh during class, to break up any potential tension felt by students who are intimidated by math.
PreAlgebra, Algebra 1, and Algebra 2 classes use the Saxon Math program. (See "Why Saxon Math?" section below.) Parents need to buy the following for their math student:
 a third edition text book
 a solutions manual
 test forms and worksheets
The above three elements are often bundled together in something called a "home school kit," which you can buy at many online stores such as www.rainbowresource.com or www.christianbook.com.
MATH TIPS & TRICKS (1 SEMESTER):
Math Tips & Tricks is a onesemester, onehourperweek class that includes practice problems and assistance during each class. Students then complete at home assignments related to that week's lessons. Math Tips & Tricks is included free with "1B." There are three main goals of this class:
Goal 1: Teaching How To Perform Mental Calculations
The first objective of "Math Tips & Tricks" is teaching students how to perform these kinds of calculations in their heads:
 multiplying and dividing numbers with decimals
 calculating percents
 multiplying and dividing numbers with zeroes
 manipulating fractions
 multiplying and dividing numbers by 4 or by 5
Goal 2: Sharpening Ratio/Fraction/Decimal/Percent Skills
The second objective of "Math Tips & Tricks" is honing students' speed and proficiency in these essential math skills:
 converting decimals/fractions/percents
 solving ratios
 speeding up "long division"
 solving fraction word problems
 working out realworld math problems (unit pricing, interest rates, tipping, and so on).
Goal 3: Increasing Success with Higher Math Classes
Here's the bottom line: The techniques and practice problems in "Math Tips & Tricks," if applied by students, will...
 make arithmetic faster,
 increase accuracy in problem solving,
 speed up math lessons with whatever program they use, and
 enable them to focus on concepts, not arithmetic, in higher math classes!
When students aren't spending long periods of time trying to figure out fractions, decimals, percents, ratios, and arithmetic, higher math classes like PreAlgebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Trigonometry become much easier. When students feel confident about zipping through the math areas we cover in "Math Tips & Tricks," they can focus more on x's and y's, and less on arithmetic.
My experience in working with math students for decades is that lack of proficiency in arithmetic, and NOT formulas or x's and y's, is the number one reason that students struggle to successfully complete higher math courses!
And we'll have lots of inclass practice problems, problems to complete at home (they shouldn't take more than 1015 minutes per day), and fun activities like "Jeopardy!" games in class.
When are math classes held?
 PreAlgebra  Tuesdays, 8:15  10:15 AM
 Algebra 1  Tuesdays, 10:30 AM  12:30 PM
 Algebra 2  Tuesdays, 12:45  2:45 PM
 Math Tips & Tricks  Either Mondays from 8:15  9:15 AM or Wednesdays from 8:15  9:15 AM

Math Class Details

Prerequisites
Why Saxon Math?
A note from Scott Clifton regarding Saxon Math:
I have taught Saxon Math for the last 17 years and am convinced of its greatness as a math program for home schoolers, or anyone else. For many years Saxon has helped home schooled students excel in math. One reason why is that Saxon Math integrates Geometry throughout the upper level math series: Algebra 1/2, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Advanced Math. (Avoid, however, the newest editions of Saxon, which have stripped the geometry out in favor of a separate textbook.)
When students take Saxon's Algebra 1/2, Algebra 1 and Algebra 2, they consistently review the geometry skills needed to succeed on achievement tests and college entrance examinations, instead of learning it in one year, then dumping geometry almost totally. Taking geometry as a separate class can come back to hurt kids when the college entrance tests come (sometimes years after completing the class) and students have forgotten most or all of it. Many students I've worked with who have gone through the Saxon upper math series have come back from taking the SAT or ACT and talked excitedly (No, I'm not kidding!) about how many questions they could answer by recalling the "stuff we've done the last two years in Saxon."
The United States is still the only major industrialized nation where students take Geometry as a separate course in most government and private schools. Students typically take Algebra 1, then Geometry, then Algebra 2. Thus, if Algebra 1 ends in May, a student often goes about 15 months without regular practice of various algebraic principles! This often makes Algebra 2 more difficult than it should be. It sure made it harder for me, and math was a strong subject.
Over the years, I have worked with countless Algebra 2 students who could not remember the most basic principles taught in Algebra 1. When I taught in the government school system, the Algebra 2 teachers spent a significant chunk of the year trying to get the kids back up to speed in Algebra 1. This kind of approach certainly doesn't help American kids excel in math! (As you probably are aware, in practically every recent international study ever done, American high schoolers rank dead last or close to the bottom in math, including Geometry.)
When I worked in the government school system, I saw first hand how the calculatordependent, politically correct, conceptreviewlacking, "How do you feel about the answer to 2 + 2?" math programs were contributing to the devastating math ignorance of American high schoolers. Those government school bureaucrats who have a special hatred for Saxon Math—which teaches the old fashioned way—despise the Saxon program for the same reason "whole language" advocates don't like phonics: because it works!
What more could you ask for in a math program?
Benefits of Home School Partners math classes
About credits
Saxon Math:
A student completing these Saxon upperlevel math books will study the equivalent of the following:
Geometry Note: Students who complete Saxon's Algebra 2 will have studied the equivalent of one semester of Geometry. Students who then complete the first half of Saxon's Advanced Math will have completed the equivalent of a year of Trigonometry AND a second semester of Geometry.
Math Tips & Tricks:
A student who takes "Math Tips & Tricks" might count that class as a onesemester (0.5 credit ) academic elective, with a suggested course title of "Practical Math" or "Math Applications" or something similar.
 Placement test (PreAlgebra, Algebra 1, or Algebra 2). Parents, I very strongly suggest that your student take a placement test before you sign up for a math class. Just email me (see "Contact" at the top of this page), and I will be happy to email you a placement test, which I have found to be quite accurate in determining where a student should be...placed. Placement tests should be limited to 1 hour, done without a calculator, and without partial credit credit given (answers are either right or wrong).
 Proficiency in arithmetic (PreAlgebra, Algebra 1, or Algebra 2). Any student taking PreAlgebra (which Saxon calls "Algebra 1/2"), Algebra 1, or Algebra 2 should be thoroughly proficient in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division tables, as well as basic computation skills such as reducing fractions, long division, multiplication, and working with decimals. That means, in a nutshell, both accurate and fast. As I mentioned above, my many years of experience in working with math students is that lack of proficiency in arithmetic is the number one reason that students struggle to successfully complete higher math courses!
 Mastery of the Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction Tables (Math Tips & Tricks). Students who join the Math Tips & Tricks class should already have their four operation tables (+, ‒, ×, ÷) mastered, meaning they know them accurately and quickly. Math Tips & Tricks is a great class for brushing up on mastering arithmetic skills like fractions, decimals, and percents, or improving performance in higher math classes by speeding up and honing skills in arithmetic!
Why Saxon Math?
 Saxon's "gentle repetition" helps keep students familiar with, and therefore better able to solve, a variety of problem types. "Old problems" are continually reviewed throughout the book so students don't forget how to solve them. There are a number of studies that attest to the superiority of this method, and students continue to prove the method in class every year!
 Saxon keeps geometry fresh in a student's mind by integrating it throughout all upper level math courses.
 Saxon gradually (and nonthreateningly) integrates scientific concepts, notation, and terms for upperlevel science classes like Chemistry and Physical Science into its math books. Introducing these scientific principles makes the transition to these science classes less intimidating, because students have seen some of the material in their math books before.
A note from Scott Clifton regarding Saxon Math:
I have taught Saxon Math for the last 17 years and am convinced of its greatness as a math program for home schoolers, or anyone else. For many years Saxon has helped home schooled students excel in math. One reason why is that Saxon Math integrates Geometry throughout the upper level math series: Algebra 1/2, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Advanced Math. (Avoid, however, the newest editions of Saxon, which have stripped the geometry out in favor of a separate textbook.)
When students take Saxon's Algebra 1/2, Algebra 1 and Algebra 2, they consistently review the geometry skills needed to succeed on achievement tests and college entrance examinations, instead of learning it in one year, then dumping geometry almost totally. Taking geometry as a separate class can come back to hurt kids when the college entrance tests come (sometimes years after completing the class) and students have forgotten most or all of it. Many students I've worked with who have gone through the Saxon upper math series have come back from taking the SAT or ACT and talked excitedly (No, I'm not kidding!) about how many questions they could answer by recalling the "stuff we've done the last two years in Saxon."
The United States is still the only major industrialized nation where students take Geometry as a separate course in most government and private schools. Students typically take Algebra 1, then Geometry, then Algebra 2. Thus, if Algebra 1 ends in May, a student often goes about 15 months without regular practice of various algebraic principles! This often makes Algebra 2 more difficult than it should be. It sure made it harder for me, and math was a strong subject.
Over the years, I have worked with countless Algebra 2 students who could not remember the most basic principles taught in Algebra 1. When I taught in the government school system, the Algebra 2 teachers spent a significant chunk of the year trying to get the kids back up to speed in Algebra 1. This kind of approach certainly doesn't help American kids excel in math! (As you probably are aware, in practically every recent international study ever done, American high schoolers rank dead last or close to the bottom in math, including Geometry.)
When I worked in the government school system, I saw first hand how the calculatordependent, politically correct, conceptreviewlacking, "How do you feel about the answer to 2 + 2?" math programs were contributing to the devastating math ignorance of American high schoolers. Those government school bureaucrats who have a special hatred for Saxon Math—which teaches the old fashioned way—despise the Saxon program for the same reason "whole language" advocates don't like phonics: because it works!
 gentle repetition
 regular review of geometry
 integration of science concepts and terms
 hatred from touchyfeely math supporters
What more could you ask for in a math program?
Benefits of Home School Partners math classes
 Students do many practice problems in class, which we thoroughly review.
 I offer many shortcuts and alternative problem solving methods not found in our math book.
 We have fun and I use humor to help "I hate math!" students.
About credits
Saxon Math:
A student completing these Saxon upperlevel math books will study the equivalent of the following:
 PreAlgebra — 1 unit
 Algebra 1 — 1 unit
 Algebra 2 — 1.5 units (Algebra 2  1 unit, Geometry  0.5 units)
Geometry Note: Students who complete Saxon's Algebra 2 will have studied the equivalent of one semester of Geometry. Students who then complete the first half of Saxon's Advanced Math will have completed the equivalent of a year of Trigonometry AND a second semester of Geometry.
Math Tips & Tricks:
A student who takes "Math Tips & Tricks" might count that class as a onesemester (0.5 credit ) academic elective, with a suggested course title of "Practical Math" or "Math Applications" or something similar.