• Geometry Course Overview

    Welcome to geometry
    The subject of geometry is very often misunderstood, not just from a purely Conceptual standpoint, but from a philosophical point of view. Yes, believe it or not, there is in fact a basic philosophy associated with the study of geometry.

    Anyone who has or has worked with teenagers are intimately familiar with the immortal question "WHY TO WE HAVE TO LEARN THIS STUFF?". I will now attempt to answer this question with something hopefully more useful than the knee-jerk response "BECAUSE I SAID SO".

    Lets leave aside for now the standard practical reasons most frequently sited like becoming and engineer or an architect, which are certainly good reasons, but not the primary ones. As people reach their middle teens, their brains are just beginning to develop higher level thinking skills. Skills that allow adults to observe, describe, analyze, and formulate solutions for complex problems.

    Critical thinking is a very difficult skill to master and requires patience, persistence, and practice. If the truth were known, only a small percentage of the adult population ever master these skills but most of us develop the abilities to solve complex problems that appear each day for the normal adult.

    The effort required to successfully navigate a geometry course provides a framework for the development of these skills in teens. It not terribly critical for a person to recall the Pythagorean Theorem into their 4o's. It is far more useful for the student to have developed the ability to size up a situation, decide that the Pythagorean Theorem is the most appropriate method to arrive at solution, and apply the necessary attention to detail to complete the solution.

    What to Expect
    Many students and parents are unprepared for the rigors of a geometry course. They are used to the arithmetic courses they took in grade school. Perhaps they expect it to be like the algebra course they had just before coming into geometry.

    Geometry requires a great deal of effort on the students part. The course content is involved and as stated above, requires a new kind of thinking skill to accomplish. In addition, the pacing of the course is aggressive. We will cover the equivalent of 2 sections in a chapter of the book in each 90 minute class.

    If your student is in a normal geometry class, you can expect them to need at least 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete the homework for each section. If they are in a Pre-AP geometry course, this time increases to anywhere from 1 hour to 1.5 hours per day. In other words, they should expect to have geometry homework every night of the week. In a few instances students will be able to start their homework at the end of a class but these instances are rare and the students will usually only have 10 to 15 minutes at most.

    This becomes problematic for those students who are deeply involved in athletics or some other extra-curricular activity. Many students attempt to juggle a full athletic schedule with perhaps another activity and find that something must give. Unfortunately it is often the most unpleasant of their activities, which is usually geometry. Getting behind in the course is perhaps the most disabling experience to these students.
     
    Because of the pace of the course, to miss even one class due to an early departure for an away game can mean the student has to double their efforts for the remainder of the week.

    Absences
     
    Absence due to illness is an unfortunate eventuality, especially for active teenagers. In all but the most serious cases, with some extra help, the student can usually recover fairly quickly. For the good of the student, expected absences should be kept to a minimum and, if at all possible, scheduled in a way to avoid, or at least limit the amount of missed class time. Students who miss class voluntarily are required to complete all work PRIOR to their departure.

    This means that if there is a test scheduled for say Wednesday, and the student is scheduled to get fitted for braces on Wednesday during their class period, they are required to take the test BEFORE leaving school that day, or have taken the test the day before.

    Even single day absences can be managed with appropriate planning. Extended planned absences should be avoided if at all possible. For example perhaps a family has planned a 1 week vacation during the school year so as not to coincide with a school holiday. As with single day absences, the student will be required to complete all work PRIOR to their departure. This means that the student will not only have to perform the work with the rest of the class before they leave, but will also have to work 1 week ahead of the class before they leave.

    This policy is necessary to insure equity for all students but clearly it is very stressful for the student who must miss class. It is important to note that this policy does not apply to family emergencies that require extended absences. There are mechanisms in place to handle those circumstances. This policy is in place primarily for the benefit of all students.