An important decision for homeschoolers is to decide if their child will take algebra 2 or geometry after completing algebra 1. Most schools will teach geometry after algebra 1 however there are curriculum programs that teach algebra 1 and 2 together usually as a two year program before geometry.
Years of teaching high school math and tutoring the SAT/ACT puts my vote strongly for having students take geometry after algebra one.
My conclusion is based on the following three reasons:
* SAT/ACT Exam
* Algebra Burn Out
1. SAT/ACT Exam
Most students take algebra 1 around their freshman year in high school. Additionally most students start to take the PSAT or SAT/ACT exams towards the end of their 10th grade year or early as juniors in high school. How well students do on these college placement exams will significantly influence if they get into the college of their choice or win scholarships.
As such parents want their children to be as prepared as possible for these exams. Now to my point- the SAT/ACT exams will be testing students on core algebra 1 and geometry skills. If your child has not taken or completed all of geometry they will be greatly unprepared to handle many of the questions on these exams. For this reason alone I would strongly recommend parents have their homeschooler take geometry before algebra 2.
2. Algebra Burn Out
Before students take algebra 1 they usually will have taken pre-algebra or an equivalent course. These courses cover a good amount of basic algebra to get the student ready for high school level algebra 1. So when your child has completed algebra 1 they have been studying algebra concepts for 2 years. If a child continues onto algebra 2 after algebra 1 they will be in their 3rd year of algebra. Many of the same skills and concepts will be studied again which in my experience can lead students to get bored and burned out with algebra. A critical part of teaching math is keeping the student engaged in the subject. So by having your homeschooler take geometry after algebra 1 you will be adding variety helping them remained interested in learning math.
After students finish geometry and algebra 2 they will be ready for a pre-calculus level course. These courses could be advance algebra, college algebra or pre-calculus. Also most of these courses will have a trigonometry component as well. By far the most important skills for your homeschooler to be successful at this level will be algebra and not geometry. There is a little bit of geometry involved in pre-calculus but mostly the course is an extension of algebra 2 concepts and trigonometry. So having your child just finish algebra 2 before starting a pre-calculus course will help them have a successful start as many of their algebra skills are still fresh. If however a student has just finished geometry and then jumps into pre-calculus they will have not done any intense algebra for a year- not a good way to start pre-calculus.
Ultimately the decision to homeschool algebra 2 or geometry after algebra 1 is yours. Moreover some students can be successful by taking algebra 1 and 2 together. But why take the risk? Unless you have a real good reason to take algebra 1 and 2 together I would play it safe ( and in my opinion smart) by doing the traditional algebra 1, geometry then algebra 2 track.