include this in a website devoted to high
Dr. Callahan: Math is the key to our
current product space, but it is not our
mission. We are about preparing your
student for college and life. I coach people
from high schoolers to professionals on a
daily basis, and I see similar issues in all.
The general mentality in our society is to
go to college, get a job, work, have kids
and then have them do the same. All the
while, we end up in debt and many hate
their jobs. However, due to debt they find
themselves enslaved by their own actions.
It occurred to me that we often teach
our kids in the same manner. We teach
them about Scripture and tell them it
should rule all their lives—but does it
guide their education? Often it does not.
We are trapped doing the “normal” and
not questioning what society tells us to
do. For instance, we almost never talk to
parents who do not assume their child will
go to college. Why? Is this really required
of everyone? We also talk to our kids
about getting a good job, but we rarely
talk to them in terms of making a living.
Those are very different ideas. Also, we
rarely work to educate our kids on their
obvious callings: being parents themselves one day.
TOS: If a child successfully completes all
four texts, what course do you suggest that
he begin with in college?
Dr. Callahan: Colleges differ on this. If the
student is heading to college, then he should
seek the counsel of the department in which
he plans to study. Almost always, colleges
use math placement exams. These quick
tests allow the college to determine which
math course your student should start with.
Then they match that against the desired
degree and accordingly determine the
requirement. So if you are an English major
and test into calculus, and calculus is not
required for the degree, then you likely will
have met your math requirement. If you test
into algebra, you might have to take one or
two college math courses.
This is another good reason to go as high
as you can in high school math and
understand the concepts. Extra math courses in
college cost money. Here is a hint few
people know about: the math placement
exams are written by the same people who
write the ACT, so being prepared for the
ACT is good practice for the placement
exam. Usually you can take the placement
tests as many times as you like.
TOS: Many parents who have always homeschooled have a genuine fear when
approaching the high school years, and mathematics is a big reason for that fear. How can
your program help alleviate their fears?
Dr. Callahan: We do it all. We provide the
teaching, tests, and even a simple test-grading guide for the parents. Then, if there
are any questions, we provide 100% support.
While some parents get involved and do the
courses with their kids, most have their kids
doing them completely with us.
TOS: Thank you so much, Dr. Callahan,
for taking the time to develop your
curriculum and making home education at
the high school level possible.
Dale and Lea Callahan developed the
courses offered through AskDrCallahan
( www.askdrcallahan.com). Dale holds a
Ph.D. in electrical engineering and is a
licensed professional engineer. He is a
faculty member in the department of electrical and computer engineering at the
University of Alabama at Birmingham. Lea
holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering and is also a licensed professional
engineer. Dale and Lea have homeschooled
two daughters from sixth to twelfth grade.
TOS: Your high school math sequence does
not include pre-calculus, yet many other
programs do. Is pre-calculus necessary?
Dr. Callahan: It depends on labeling. For
college textbooks, which we use, algebra 2
with trigonometry is the equivalent of pre-calculus. High school textbooks will sometimes have the course broken into two
one-year courses. However, much of the
confusion comes from the titles of textbooks rather than from actual content.
Publishers often title one book Algebra II
With Trigonometry and title an almost identical book Pre-Calculus. They want to be
able to sell the same material to a large
market, so they label their textbooks
accordingly. As for us, we follow the basic
approach that better high schools and most
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For your student:
TOS: How effective is your curriculum in
regard to preparation for the ACT/SAT or
Advanced Placement Testing?
Dr. Callahan: Very. The main issues for the
math parts of these two tests are ( 1) do they
understand the concepts, and ( 2) the more
math they have had the better they do.