To teach Algebra 1 or not. It’s been a long debate in the homeschool community about whether our kids must take Algebra at some point during their high school years. Parents can find ample advice online insisting that homeschoolers do not have to teach algebra because it lacks real-world applicability.
Before you take a firm stand that it’s your parental right to refuse to teach Algebra, take a moment to consider a few points.
Each state creates its own laws about homeschooling. Some states have strict oversight and testing requirements while other states do not even require a homeschooler to register their choice of education with the state. Being familiar with your legal requirements is an important first step to deciding whether or not you’ll teach Algebra 1.
(Un)fortunately, there’s still some gray area. In Maryland, for example, parents must provide “regular, thorough instruction during the school year in the studies usually taught in the public schools to children of the same age”. Because the compulsory school age was recently extended to the age of 18 and because Algebra 1 is a graduation requirement for all public high school students, the expectation is that homeschoolers will have to show that they taught Algebra.
Homeschool Diploma Programs
Even if you do not have restrictive laws in your state, if you use a packaged curriculum with a homeschool service provider who issues a high school diploma, Algebra 1 will be a requirement.
If community college is your child’s next educational step, you will most likely be required to show that Algebra 1 was completed as part of your homeschool high school graduation requirement. If your teen eases into community college on a part-time basis during high school, you won’t be required to teach Algebra 1, but your kid will be required to take it before they can get their Associates’s Degree.
If your child intends on going to a 4-year college, then their transcript will need to reflect at least three years of math, including algebra 1 and geometry. Depending upon your child’s intended major, you may be able to substitute statistics for other higher level math courses.
Technical or Vocational Schools
Check with individual school admission counselors to be certain, but we have yet to see a vo-tech school waive the Algebra 1 requirement for any applicant. Your homeschool teen’s application to these types of schools require a high school transcript that shows they have completed a general course of study similar to teens who attend public school. In most cases where traditional coursework is not on the transcript, teens are directed to take the GED before being accepted.
The GED test went under a recent redesign. It currently has language arts, math, science, and social studies sections that test takers must pass. The math portion is made up of one-half algebra problem solving questions.
Homeschoolers interested in the military will need to take the ASVAB Test. The ASVAB is a nine-part timed test. Mathematical Reasoning has 30 word problems. Mathematics Knowledge is made up of 25 math questions. While neither section is going to be terribly hard, test takers should be prepared to complete problems involving ratios, unit conversions, rates, and other algebraic concepts.
For homeschoolers who choose to enter straight into the workforce, algebra becomes one of those subject dilemmas. Families may opt for Consumer Math and focus on life skills such as balancing a checkbook and how to calculate a tip.