Taking Math on Florida Virtual School (FLVS)

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Math is Hard!

I'm not sure if this is a statistically correct statement or not so don't hold my word to it, but I'm pretty confident that math is the most failed subject by students in high school.

No, really -- I've never seen so many students have to retake an English or even a foreign language course than the amount of kids' names that I've seen plastered all over cafeteria wall dwelling summer school sign up sheets for geometry or algebra II.

I was always (and still am) under the notion that you're usually either great with words and not so great with numbers, or you're a math whiz who can barely string a couple sentences together in less than 5 minutes. Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but it gets the point across (Note: I am definitely the first one).

Those summer school math classes fill up pretty quickly here in Florida, so it's a good thing there's Florida Virtual School to take on the rest of the kids who might not fit into the summer school roster or simply don't enjoy sitting in a room with 25 other kids for 3.5 hours a day for two weeks.

While I'm glad that my fellow students have been lucky enough to use FLVS to catch up or even get ahead, I can't help but feel the undying need to warn each and everyone of them about what to expect. For some reason, first-time FLVS math students think that it'll be a piece of cake, or that they can just cheat and get the answers with ease, so hopefully I can tell you what it's really like taking math online and debunk a few myths and put some stupid ideas to rest before you go ahead and make a horrible decision.

But What do I Know?

Well, I know I've taken pretty much every math class there is available on FLVS (with the exception of calculus -- screw that), so I've had a chance to experience it all. Trust me, I'm not some crazy Florida Virtual School representative here to tell you that FLVS is amazing and to do your own work or whatever, I'm just trying to tell you straight up what's the deal with math on FLVS.


Cheating on FLVS Geometry, Algebra, etc.

If you think you're going to be able to wing the class by cheating, then I'm going to have to tell you to forget about it. I'm not even going to go on about academic integrity because lets face it, math sucks, but whether or not you should cheat isn't even the question because you simply can't.

Yes, you can use calculators and stuff, but you're not seriously going to be able to Google the equation and find the answer. You might get lucky a few times with Yahoo! Answers, but 8/10 of the times it's going to be absolutely useless and you'll be left to figure it out yourself. Though everyone gets the same assignments and quizzes, the questions and answers are different for everyone.

It's sort of like when your teacher would make 3 different copies off the same test with different answers, which someone (there was always that one idiot) would try to cheat by reading their neighbors answers, only to learn later that they had Test A while their neighbor had Test B.

Paying Someone to Do Your Math Class

Again, don't do it. If this thought seriously passed through your head, you need to get rid of it. Not only do you have to worry about the person you're paying actually doing your work, but you also have to worry about the possibility of you getting caught and expelled from Florida Virtual School.

Oh, and teachers want you to answer math questions via DBA's to make sure you've actually learned from the modules, so have fun getting around that one.


Math Class Reviews

If you're not good at math to begin with -- no, if you're absolutely horrible at math to begin with, then Florida Virtual School may probably just make things even worse for you. Yes, you get to work at your own pace and there are usually even study sessions with teachers to learn whatever lesson you're on, but it really doesn't make it much easier.

If you're unfocused or easily distracted, then algebra and geometry on FLVS are going to be your downfall. Have a social life? Good luck going a couple days without doing an assignment and completely forgetting everything you've learned the past week. Unless you're constantly on the ball and working every single day (or every other day at least) then you're going to be at a loss, and once that grace period is up, if you're kicked out of the class then you're going to have a nice big "F".

Now if you are okay not really having much contact with the outside world for a while and you can focus with no distractions, regardless of how bad you are at math, I'm sure you can manage to pass the class with at least a high "C".

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Taking Geometry Online is Insane

When I took math online, I much favored algebra I and II compared to geometry. While at the time I thought algebra was going to be the death of me (the later portions of it, the first semesters are pretty easy), I had a rude awakening when I took geometry.

At first I was like, "Alright so I've got to learn how to make some lines and shapes and whatever. What of it?"

Two weeks later I might as well have been curled up in a ball in the corner.

Geometry is no joke, while it might seem quick and painless at first, you'll learn soon enough that having to go through 13 pages of reading and practice for one assignment that you'll most likely fail anyway is really tough. I managed to have myself kicked out of at least 4 geometry classes until I said forget it and signed up for geometry in summer school.

If you have the option, I strongly urge you to take geometry during summer school since it's (usually) only two weeks long and wont kill your soul.

Advanced Algebra with Financial Applications

Also known as AAFA or simply Financial Applications, when you first read about it and whatnot you think it's a cakewalk -- I mean, learning about investing, retirement, how to save money? C'mon! That sounds so easy!

WRONG. Time to do some more suffering.

The first module, Saving (obviously it's about saving money), is supposed to be the quickest and easiest. I jumped in there as fast as possible with not a worry in the world, learning about simple vs. compound interest. It's really easy stuff once you get the hang of us!

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Two assignments in there was this semi-big project assignment thing with so many formulas that my eyes burned from just looking at them. No thank you.

Financial Applications is fun at some times... I mean hey, you're learning about money. But often it's stressful and irritating. Not only is each assignment lesson plan like 15 pages long (that's a lot to digest and even more to remember), it's way too easy to make a single mistake.

Again though, if you're focused and really love learning about money, this can be bearable. I definitely prefer this over geometry, but then again I like numbers when it comes to money.

Algebra I and II

Personally I found the algebra courses to be a lot easier and quicker to deal with, at least the first semesters anyway. The first semester of algebra I is a total breeze, but the second semester will have you stumbling over some things pretty quickly. I think it's more than possible to get through it though, so no excuses here!

Algebra II on the other hand, is a bit harder. I had to drop out of this course and take it in summer school as well. Oh well.

Really, you need to be careful and mindful if you decide to take any math class on Florida Virtual School. Thankfully, each class that you enroll in has a grace period for you to make sure that it suits you and that you can handle the coursework. If not, then you can withdraw with no penalties, so use this privilege wisely and don't fall behind!


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