It’s possible to teach yourself Algebra 1 without a formal instructor, but there’s a certain process you’ll want to follow to maximize your chances of success. The following is a game plan from someone who taught themselves Algebra 1 at a young age, and has continued to help people of all ages teach themselves Algebra 1 in recent years.
The first thing you have to do, and this is absolutely critical, is learn the basics of algebra. There is a section here on this website that covers these basics, like the distributive property and the addition and subtraction of integers. This information is a foundation for learning the basic ideas in Algebra 1, and without a solid foundation, no building can stand for long.
Once you have the basics down pat, you’re going to want to spend a whole lot of time solving linear equations. While the initial one step equations aren’t very difficult to learn to solve, you’ll need to develop an intuitive feel for the nature of equations. This feel can be cultivated with a lot of practice on difficult problems, like complex linear equations with large numbers and linear equations with variables on both sides. This time spent cultivating your intuition about equations is the next step in your building, like a first floor. Without a structurally sound first floor, the other floors above will not have much to stand on.
Next, you’ll need to learn about the Cartesian plane and graphing in general, which is most easily done by learning to graph linear equations. You’ll learn about graphing in general, but you’ll also learn about the things that make graphing lines special, like the relationship between slope and the y-intercept. You’ll also learn two important graphing techniques: plotting a series of lines, and inspecting an equation.
From here, you’ll need to move on to more difficult topics, like solving and graphing quadratic equations. But once you have a solid foundation, it’s easy to teach yourself Algebra 1 as long as you work hard at it.
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