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If I want to teach myself math

  1. Sep 8, 2006 #1
    and I know Algebra to a large extent and Geometry to a lesser, but still large extent, how would I go about teaching myself Calculus? It just happens that my math class is a reiteration of a previous one, and I wish to continue learning math despite the lack of classwork.

    (Oh, and I've never tried this "learn on your own" stuff before, so general ideas about that would help! :biggrin:)
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 8, 2006 #2


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    You could talk to your teacher to see if you could get placed in a different math class.

    Are you sure this class is a "reiteration" of the previous one? Maybe you're just doing some review before moving onto new material?

    Did you do very well in the previous math classes? It might be worth going through the material again if it means you will become much more proficient at it. (e.g. poor algebra skills will make calculus hard to learn)
  4. Sep 8, 2006 #3
    There are lots of intro books on calculus for the "layman". Calculus Made Easy is a classic one. I remember one that I read as a teenager that was essentially a comic book, but was pretty good, Prof. E McSquared's Calculus Primer.

    Or you could always take night courses at a community college.
  5. Sep 8, 2006 #4


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    Yeah, that would be a great start.

    I would still consider what Hurkyl said. Do you have good algebra skills?

    Normally you can just jump into Calculus. I never did anything special before going in and I did fine. If you know the Binomial Theorem, know what a limit is, and how to play around with variables quite easily, you're a bit ahead of what I knew before I started.

    I recommend a high school Calculus textbook because Stewart's Calculus might be too advanced for now.
  6. Sep 8, 2006 #5


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    Oh, here's an interesting free text:


    if you're comfortable with the fact that it teaches a nonstandard formalism. (You're learning the same calculus -- it's just a different foundational approach)
  7. Sep 8, 2006 #6


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    I wouldn't play around with the foundation of such a subject because if he seeks help, he will have almost no one for help. It would have to be general.
  8. Sep 8, 2006 #7
    If you wish, I could probably talk to Mr. Faulkner (the calculus teacher at our school) and get you the calc textbook... I was in his calculus class last year and now TA for his current calculus class.

    EDIT: You can also find the notes from the class on Faulkner's website.
  9. Sep 8, 2006 #8
    Hmm, based on what you've all said, I'm going to practice a bit and skim through the textbook(read moose's post) before trying to learn it myself.

    My only problem is keeping track of what I'm doing, and losing/changing a number I shouldn't be changing in the process. Tiny, little errors make A students B students, you know.
  10. Sep 8, 2006 #9
    A students also practice and make mistakes, but fix them, over and over and over and over and over... until those tiny mistakes don't exist anymore :)
  11. Sep 8, 2006 #10
    FrogPad, Moose said the exact same thing, albiet with different wording, therefore I feel as though I should assume t'is true.

    Therefore, here I come, practicing. x.x
  12. Sep 9, 2006 #11
    Yeah, I didn't mean it in a hostile way. Now after rereading what was said, it was unnecessary to even point out. That's what I get for skimming through threads :yuck:

    To actually offer something that may be of some use for you. Check out the http://www.maplesoft.com/" [Broken] tutors for calculus. They have some excellent tutors that will walk you through, step by step through problems. It really helped me learn differentiation rules, and even basic integrals when I was studied calc. What made Calc I so hard for me was my horrible algebra skills. I actually still fall back on my TI-89 because I'll forget something in algebra. Oh... and with those tutors you can make up your own problems. So if you are ever like, what if this, or what if that... you can put it in there and try it out.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  13. Sep 9, 2006 #12
    there is a series for self-study, The Schaum outline series. This is intended to be primarily for home/self study and has lots of problems and answers. I used the Calculus one. I could understand how they presented it.
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