*[Photo by FXR [aka Soundz’FX].]*

Our homeschool co-op classes start today, and I’m not ready. I never am. Life keeps going, anyway.

## Elementary Math Club

The elementary math club was canceled due to low enrollment. Too bad — that was the class I had done the most planning for over the summer. Still, having the free hour between class sessions will be a nice change.

## Middle School Math Club

I have a new group of middle school kids. Some of them were in my elementary classes last year, but none of them have worked at the MathCounts level before. We will be starting from scratch, practicing the basics and doing lots of problems.

The Handbook Volume 1 is up on the Math Counts website, so that will be the core of our work. I think the MathCounts Toolbox (pdf) would be overwhelming for many of them at this point, but I found some good review sheets at ~~Mrs. Tentoni’s site~~ [no longer open to visitors 😦 ].

**For this week:** How to Solve a Tough Math Problem, and math vocabulary as it comes up in our problems.

## High School Math Club

A few of last year’s MathCounts team are back for high school, but I also have several new students whose abilities are unknown. All of them are supposed to be at the geometry or algebra 2 level, but I think we’ll start the year by going deeper into arithmetic and basic algebra.

The core of this class will be Dave Marain’s challenge problems, along with lessons from the Art of Problem Solving Volume 1. The students don’t have the book (and I suspect some of them would be intimidated by it), so I’ll be drawing on it as a teacher’s reference and adapting as we go along.

**For this week:** A words-to-equation puzzle, How to Solve a Tough Math Problem, percents, and more. We’ll see how far we get.

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Even though you aren’t doing the Elementary Math Club, I’d still love to hear what you would have been doing with it. Also, this is the first time I had heard of Math Counts! Looks like that will be very helpful to my daughter in a couple of years.

For the elementary group, I was going to go through the How to Solve… checklist, spending one week on problems specifically related to each tool in the Problem Solving Toolbox. I planned to use problems from past Math Olympiads and from the George Lenchner books. Your daughter might enjoy trying the Math Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools. They offer a few problems online (including a challenge problem of the month), plus contests through the school year and books to buy.

I have to revise my plans for the high school group. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by now that parents don’t read the descriptions of the classes when they are signing up for their kids, just the titles. My high school class had a prerequisite of completing algebra 1 and being at least part way through geometry. About half of the students fit that description, but the other half are beginning algebra students who were not sure what means. Yikes!