Who Teaches Calculus??
I took calculus my senior year of high school. There were six students in the class. The other members of our senior class had elected to take a light year and were playing with guinea pigs in the advanced biology class. I'm glad I took calculus. I was a math major in college and my high school calculus course prepared me for the college calculus course. The other students in my calculus class went on to higher science degrees, so they needed high school calculus as well. And the rest of my senior class who played with the guinea pigs? They survived college without taking calculus!
For many degrees, college algebra is all that's needed for the math requirement. Calculus is for students who are planning on higher degrees in math or science. But a student who is planning to major in English or history does not need calculus. A senior year should be a preparation for the future. Instead of following a pre-scripted high school plan, choose courses that point your children to their future careers and passions. For some students, that plan will include a high school calculus course. But for others, calculus would just be frustrating and fruitless.
Now you say, "I'm a mom! I'm the teacher! I struggled teaching algebra. And now you're saying that my daughter who dreams of a degree in chemistry needs to take calculus!?! Who teaches calculus?" Relax. Breathe. You can do it. Ok, maybe you can't do it. But you can find someone who can. You have options. Some people have success with D.I.V.E. DVDs. Or, Switched on Schoolhouse has a pre-calculus course. Try typing "calculus online" into your search engine. Calculus.org has lots of links and resources for calculus help. There are free on-line texts of calculus courses and colleges offering on-line courses. Contact your local college and ask if your child can audit a first-year college calculus course.
You could ask if there is anyone willing to teach or tutor your child in your church or homeschool group. In our county there is a high school homeschooling program that offers higher math and science courses. Maybe there is a program like that in your area. You have lots of options. You do not have to be the one to present calculus to your senior.
Who teaches calculus? Lots of people do. But it doesn't have to be you!
Lori Lynn Lydell
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TOS Senior Editor