As a hobbyist programmer with little to no math skills (no science skills either, thank you religious schools) I am finding math encroaching on my life more and more often. I have always laughed and said that I'm just not good at math because my brain doesn't work like that.

My younger brother challenged me recently claiming that it wasn't a lack of ability that kept higher math out of my hands but a lack of interest. Because my current realm of studies is really starting to delve into 3D modeling, programming for web, mobile and desktop, I feel that a stronger math skill set would benefit me immensely.

But I don't know where to start...

I'm wondering if there is a math version similar to: http://www.code.org/khan-academy

Some place where I can go and start challenging my brain, increasing my math as often as I have time? Some place online? I would also appreciate any tips for books or other resources that would be recommended for someone wanting to ignite an interest in math.

To give a background, my highest level of math in school was pre-algebra in 7th grade. After that the schools my parents sent me to didn't teach higher math (nor evolution) so when I hit college, I had to get a tutor to pass (with a C) the College Level Algebra... I barely did it and it was so long ago I don't remember anything I learned.

I hope this is the right place to ask this... I stumbled across math.stackexchange by accident. Whether this question gets answered or not I will start browsing around and seeing what all there is...

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    $\begingroup$ If you specifically want to learn stuff that will help you with $3D$ modeling, you should look into linear algebra and analytic geometry (hand in hand). $\endgroup$
    – Git Gud
    May 16, 2013 at 20:04
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    $\begingroup$ Is it out of the question to attend a community college? Math is very difficult to learn on your own. $\endgroup$
    – John Douma
    May 16, 2013 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ It's not out of the question. I just have a newborn, am in an Adobe Master Design program already at school, and am working on a bajillion personal projects as well. Finding time to step away from life for the 2.5 hours (roughly) that it would take to attend a class for Math is... not something I will do. But sign on to KhanAcademy.com for 10 minutes a couple times a day? That I will do... AND I can track my progress... I love that site. $\endgroup$ May 16, 2013 at 20:17

5 Answers 5


If you've enjoyed the Khan Academy for coding, then check out it offerings with respect to math! That's my "starting point" recommendation. (Math:...that's where Sal Khan got going, before branching off into other areas.)

See also Paul's Notes: Click on course notes: you'll see a drop down menu: Algebra, Calculus I, II, III, Linear Algebra, etc. Many students find the notes (tutorials) with exercises and examples really helpful.

You might want to investigate OpenStudy where you can interact with other "online" students studying topics you're currently studying. It's a wonderful way to "hold yourself accountable" (peer pressure/participating in study groups/etc) to maintain some sort of progress, and it's an opportunity to simply learn from and support other students working independently, as you plan to do.

Lastly, you can "enroll" here at Mathematics.SE: post questions when you get stuck, to get feedback on problems you've completed, search through questions that are similar to those you might have, and interact more casually asking informal questions in the Chat room. The Math.SE community includes a lot of self-studying students who ask, and sometimes answer, questions regularly.

  • $\begingroup$ Seriously. I had no idea that they offered math. I am going to make it a part of my daily routine now... I love their site. $\endgroup$ May 16, 2013 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy: Very nice pointers! +1 $\endgroup$
    – Amzoti
    May 17, 2013 at 0:56
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, @Amzoti! I'll probably supplement it tonight...seemed very slow today... $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    May 17, 2013 at 0:58
  • $\begingroup$ @amWhy: I totally agree, very slow day for me too! :-( I know I should be working on a bunch of other things, including prep for tomorrow and cleaning (again)! :-) $\endgroup$
    – Amzoti
    May 17, 2013 at 1:00

The obvious answer is the math section of Khan Academy!

More advanced courses can be found here and here, a couple of nice ones on analysis and functional analysis by Joel Feinstein here and some brilliant ones on linear algebra/systems/optimisation by Stephen Boyd here.

It is also worthwhile to check for courses here and (in the future) here.

See also the answers to this question and generally those to questions with the tag (self-learning).

  • $\begingroup$ I had no idea that there was a Math section. I am... in awe... already completed 3 practice sections. $\endgroup$ May 16, 2013 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ @randomblink happens to all (or I would speculate so) of us. $\endgroup$
    – jkn
    May 17, 2013 at 0:05
  • $\begingroup$ There is recreational math at the Khan Academy? O.o $\endgroup$ Dec 26, 2015 at 23:34

I don't know anything about programming but you mentioned "3D" and to me that screams Linear Algebra. However, you only mention doing Gr.7 level math so you have lots of work to do. When growing up I learned a lot from the site Purple Math. It seems to have a lot more topics now then when I used to use it but I remember it being quite good.

Recently I have also come across Basic Mathematics by Serge Lange which seems to be a great book and prepares students for a first course in Calculus. I'm a fan of Lang's writing so I imagine (like most of his books) this one is very good too.

Here is a online lecture series for Linear Algebra by Strang: http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/mathematics/18-06-linear-algebra-spring-2010/video-lectures/

He uses his own text for the course.

Hope this helps in some way.


I will second Serge Lang's book "Basic Mathematics". It is definitely challenging though for those used to traditional high-school textbooks.

But as originally asked, AOPS has something called the "Alcumus" which you might find useful.

As mentioned on the website http://www.artofproblemsolving.com :

Art of Problem Solving's Alcumus offers students a customized learning experience, adjusting to student performance to deliver appropriate problems and lessons. Alcumus is specifically designed to provide high-performing students with challenging problems appropriate to their abilities.

-Over 9000 problems with solutions, including many taken from national math competitions
-An intelligent learning system that automatically provides problems of appropriate difficulty
-Detailed progress reports so students can track their performance
-Tools for teachers to monitor their students' progress
  • $\begingroup$ I have favorited this question and will now use it to follow as many of these suggestions as I can find the time for... I could REALLY use another life after this one. $\endgroup$ May 16, 2013 at 20:32

Khan Academy is good. We used it for a few months. However, I also want to suggest checking out Beestar. It is also an online math resource.


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