Now, I learnt maths a long time ago, but I want to learn it again (kinda self-teach), mainly for computer science. I know quite a lot of arithmetic and basic geometry. I understand about exponents and logarithms. However, I would love to learn more algebra and equations.

I want to learn more about Algebra, even if it involves starting again. I've checked out KhanAcademy's Pre-Algebra and Algebra course. My question is

  • With my knowledge, would the Pre-Algebra tutorial help me understand most about what is taught in the Algebra tutorial?

  • How long is an estimate for me to learn?

  • Should I start with early maths before touching it? I do know maths.

I may also want to learn Linear Algebra. I might even use the lectures done by Gilbert Strang from MIT Courseware, which I've found as a recommendation on several sites. It looks quite interesting.

Thank you.


closed as off-topic by Michael Burr, Connor Harris, GEdgar, Did, José Carlos Santos Jun 7 '18 at 20:29

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Seeking personal advice. Questions about choosing a course, academic program, career path, etc. are off-topic. Such questions should be directed to those employed by the institution in question, or other qualified individuals who know your specific circumstances." – Michael Burr, José Carlos Santos
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This seems like more of a question for the people that run Khan Academy. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Leingang Jun 7 '18 at 13:16
  • $\begingroup$ @MatthewLeingang That might be true but Khan Academy is a really large site. I doubt that there is nobody here who knows what's it about. $\endgroup$ – Steve Woods Jun 7 '18 at 13:19
  • $\begingroup$ This seems like a question asking for personal advice. $\endgroup$ – Michael Burr Jun 7 '18 at 13:21
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ More appropriate for Math Educators SE or similar. $\endgroup$ – Connor Harris Jun 7 '18 at 13:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Instead of asking on here, why don’t you just try it and see if you get enough preparation? If you don’t, try something else or ask on here for more resources. $\endgroup$ – Michael Burr Jun 7 '18 at 13:59

If you're asking whether Khan Pre-algebra is good enough preparation for Khan Algebra, the the answer is "yes."

If you're asking whether Khan Pre-algebra counts as "knowing algebra", then the answer is "no."

My opinion about pre-algebra is that it should disappear from the face of the planet. It's been a huge mistake over the last few decades to try to teach calculus and algebra in earlier and earlier grades. Children's brains develop at well-known rates. We ignore this science and try to teach Calculus to 10th graders (and when we can't quite do it, we invent "pre-calculus" which is just algebra stripped of anything that isn't directly applied in calculus). And, worse, we try to teach algebra to 6th graders and when we fail we invent "pre-algebra" which pushes necessary things out of the curriculum for the sake of doing pointless acrobatic that are vaguely similar to stuff that's done later in real algebra.

Better to wait a couple years and then just teach the student algebra, now that his brain is developed enough to handle it easily.

Notice that there's nothing called "pre-piano".

The purpose of this rant is to say that for an adult, I firmly believe that "pre-algebra" is a waste of time. Pre-algebra was invented so that kids who are too young to grasp algebra could still play with algebra-like concepts. My advice in the end is that you just do the Khan Algebra.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for that advice. It's been quite an eye opener. Can you say what kind of ages for kids this is? 10 or 8? To be quite honest, I feel like I should learn it. After all, I will be achieving my goal of learning maths. $\endgroup$ – Steve Woods Jun 7 '18 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ Our brains change at puberty. Before, we're just sponges soaking up data. We can really do logic and relate one thing to another. After, we suddenly have this new power to abstract and infer. Pre-algebra is for pre-puberty. I find so many of the pre-algebra exercises to be pointless and artificial. The current system forces the student to learn everything twice. Once in a pointless, artificial context and then once for real. $\endgroup$ – B. Goddard Jun 7 '18 at 21:20

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