solve for x
x^2 - x -26 = 0
"foil doesn't work"
I am DELIGHTED to see such a thing in writing!!!
Please forget that youever heard the term or used the "method". If you simply learn to multiply, just like multiplying numbers, you do not need this unfortunately obstructive "method" for ANYTHING.
If you need to factor something, please learn to Complete the Square, as demonstrated above, or memorize the Quadratic Formula. These are useful methods.
Or it's possible that the FOIL method is a useful method (when it works) and should not be forgotten, since everyone learns differently. FOIL is an excellent method and, with practice, more efficient than either completing the square or the quadratic formula. To discount it because it doesn't work for YOU seems somewhat arbitrary.
Are you saying that it really is too difficult to teach or to learn simple multiplication? Are you failing to differentiate this "method" with the process of factoring? Factoring is also of limited usefulness, being applicable to only a small subset of possibly coefficients, but factoring does not confuse more students than it helps, unlike the source of this conversation.
I see I neglected to include my usual closing,
My views. I welcome others'.