Jumping Jehoshaphat! I have made my way inland on the island of Algebra, and can see, in the distance, the Promised Land. Between me and the promise of re-birth in the state known as Pre-Calculus lies the tortuous ground of the Lines, Slopes, and Circles, and farther beyond, the people of the Functions. X-intercepts confused with Y-intercepts, general forms and standard forms of equations that might as well be written in Linear B, subtracting h from x and k from y, completing squares and other magical tricks to arrive at hidden values, all this serves to confuse any student and disorient him so that the Functions can swoop in for the death blow. Yet, so close, so close, is the goal. Can I, perhaps, summon help from a higher form? Others have made the journey and achieved the higher state of Pre-Calculus, so it can be done.
Where there is a will (and the Math lab), there is a way!