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anyone using Beast Academy books only to supplement?

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#1 Farrar

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 04:45 PM

Just curious. I'm pretty happy with where we are for math right now so there's no way I'm going to switch over all the way and do the practice books. It seems like it would be worthwhile and fun to just use the comic books as a supplement though - sort of as a living math book piece, though perhaps a bit more meaty. But the way some people talk about it as such a thorough, complete, challenging program, you'd think that was a big no-no.

I was out of town when it finally come out, so I definitely missed what I'm sure was a lot of discussion about it, so forgive me if I'm covering a much hashed out topic.

#2 SunnyDays

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 05:01 PM

We're using it as a supplement. My son is doing 4th grade math and racing through it, so BA isn't going to be able to keep up with him. However, they have some fun topics which are covered from a different angle than in most other math programs, so we got the first two guidebooks to read through. He is enjoying them.

I could see how how would enjoy the practice books as well, but we've got a lot of other math going on... it's said that the practice books are a lot of the "meat" of the program.

Most people are using it as a full program, but I don't think a lot of families are moving to it as their sole program... not yet anyway!!

#3 Vida Winter

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 05:16 PM

Right now our plans are to use this as a supplement (at least at first).

#4 stripe

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 05:19 PM

Farrar, Have you seen Marilyn Burns' Brown Paper School Books? (I really love all those books, can you tell?! ;) ) I think the I Hate Mathematics! book and Math for Smarty Pants are an awful lot of fun, and might provide a lot of the same fun-ness in a more supplement type approach. I have fond memories of them, myself.

Apparently several of the AoPS people also liked these as kids.

Here's a nice blog entry about one of them: http://classic.tcj.c...-have-seen-3-3/

Honestly, I find their approach interesting in so many of the books -- and I noticed Mater Amabilis uses Blood and Guts its science program.

#5 LMD

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 05:42 PM

I don't think anyone is making the jump to BA as their main program yet, just not knowing when the next level will be out makes that very hard! DD loves to read the guide, but the practice books really make her work her brain.

I do think the comics are fun and worthwhile on their own, and a very good price.

However, I do think the real value comes in the practice books.

In summary, I'd get the practice books too, and using BA as a supplement is great.

#6 Chrysalis Academy

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 05:43 PM

Yep, this will be a supplement for dd9, who is finishing 4th grade math. She has read the guides and enjoyed them. I'm planning on incorporating a lot of the games from the guides, and all the star problems, as part of the daily problem-solving section of our math hour, along with Singapore word problems, and other things.

I'm hoping to use BA full-on with dd5, when she's ready!

#7 NayfiesMama

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 05:45 PM

We're doing 4A in Singapore, on the days I make him do math. He read through both of the BA books because they're fun.
Yay :)

#8 Farrar

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 06:14 PM

Ooh, yes, I love the Marylin Burns books. :) I guess that's sort of why I want to use the guides - because we love the living math books in our house so much. But we're pretty well math'ed up and I have zero interest in doing the practice books. One of my ds7 does MM and the Singapore CWP. The other ds7 is doing a range of things, though mostly a lot of Miquon. I know some people manage to do a lot of programs, but my kids are pretty intolerant of doing more than the half hour or so of actual pencil and paper math (as opposed to games and living books, which they'll do a good bit more of) that they do every day. Nor do I really want them doing math for hours every day (at least, not unless they suddenly want to).

#9 stripe

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 07:02 PM

I kind of think you'd get more bang for your buck with Burns' books than BA without the practice books. The guides are just not very dense, especially compared to Burns'. And since some of the BA problems are kind of time consuming, it could get overwhelming. However, some of the problems in the practice book are gamelike. A couple of them are on the Beast Academy website.

#10 ErinE

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 05:47 PM

Even as a supplement, I think you should do both the comics and the practice books. The comics are a great introduction, but the practice books really get to the heart of BA.

We're doing them as a supplement right now. After reading through all four of the books, I don't see enough practice. My son still requires regular review of the math facts to keep them fresh in his mind.

In my view, BA is a great problem solving curriculum. I've never seen my son so willing to spend 1.5 hours on math, and he's insists that he should be the only one to solve the problems. He finds real joy in working through Beast Academy.

#11 Kathleen.

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:53 AM

I just looked at Beast Academy and the comic style turned me off. I'm not looking to add anymore math here, but wondered about those with kids who do not like the comic style. It sounds like a great program, but is the entire book like that? Would the practice books be doable without the content from the guide books? Just asking, not looking for another math program.

#12 Farrar

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:43 AM

See, my kids adore comic books. They are quite the little geeks. That would be the main reason to do it. And the fact that the early volumes in 3 are so geometry focused is actually nice because we've not been doing much with geometry and I'd like to do some more.

I get what people are saying about the practice books being the heart of it. I just know my kids and doing well over an hour of math a day is NOT happening, not for years to come. And as MM is working for one of them and the other refuses to stick with one thing and I've decided to flow with that, I don't want to mess with what's working. Maybe I just won't do it at all. Or maybe we'll see if buying one of the guides is worth anything.

#13 onaclairadeluna

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:09 AM

What about using it as summer fun math? You could get one guide and one workbook and see how they like it.

I think the workbooks could be awesome on their own. The only issue is that at some point the math gets hard without the practice that they get in the practice books.

When DD did the sample chapter she read through the guide and then did the practice chapter. She hasn't been able to do this with 3B though. She got to a point where the math got really hard and she had to slow down a bunch (a good thing I think).

So I think it depends on where your child is in math.

Have your kids looked at the samples? Maybe that would help you gauge how well it would work.

Kathleen, My DD was completely turned off by the monsters and after doing the actual math she totally turned around. Now she loves Grogg. So it might not be a big deal. I think to do the practice books with out the guide would also be OK for a kid who is sufficiently advanced. However I am pretty sure that my own child really needs both books. The guide gives hints and the story is kind of fun and motivating. The samples give a pretty good idea of how tough the math gets so if they look doable without the guide, then go for it.

#14 abbeyej

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:11 AM

I picked them up as supplements for dd. We've only gone through a couple of lessons, and I like it, but I don't think I would use it as our "main" math program. ... I'm hoping the next books are available soon. Dd is older than the target age range (she's 10 and has finished Horizons 4 and Teaching Textbooks 5, though I would say she is *not* math-oriented at all), so I don't expect these to last her for long. Still, they're definitely asking things of her that other math programs have not, and I'm happy to have a program stretch her in ways that she would not on her own.

#15 Spy Car

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:11 AM

I just looked at Beast Academy and the comic style turned me off. I'm not looking to add anymore math here, but wondered about those with kids who do not like the comic style. It sounds like a great program, but is the entire book like that? Would the practice books be doable without the content from the guide books? Just asking, not looking for another math program.


I sincerely doubt too many children (or their parents) would be able to do the Practice books without the teaching content in the Guides. The Guides are quite engaging and do a great job teaching concepts in problem solving contexts.

Bill

#16 Farrar

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:34 AM

So what's your thoughts on using the guides and not he practice books, Bill? :D

#17 abbeyej

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 11:06 AM

Oh, and I wouldn't use the guide or the practice without the other. I think you really do need both in order to get anything out of the program.

#18 fractalgal

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 12:38 PM

Just curious. I'm pretty happy with where we are for math right now so there's no way I'm going to switch over all the way and do the practice books. It seems like it would be worthwhile and fun to just use the comic books as a supplement though - sort of as a living math book piece, though perhaps a bit more meaty. But the way some people talk about it as such a thorough, complete, challenging program, you'd think that was a big no-no.

I was out of town when it finally come out, so I definitely missed what I'm sure was a lot of discussion about it, so forgive me if I'm covering a much hashed out topic.


My 4th grade son is scheduled to use Beast Academy (both guide and practice book) as a supplement this summer. He enjoys Calvin and Hobbes, and I think it is brilliant the way AoPS has done the Beast Academy Guides in comic book format.

I read through both the 3A and 3B guides and practice this past weekend; both are excellently done. For example, I found the presentation of the topic of shapes to be one of the best I've seen. It relates shapes to common things familiar to a child in a humorous and appealing way - at least to my son who enjoys comics. Then it presents a Venn Diagram to show the big picture of how shapes relate. Being a visual learner myself, this appeals to me.

I know my son likes it, because he has asked me if he can keep it to read before going to bed. ;)

#19 stripe

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 12:41 PM

I sincerely doubt too many children (or their parents) would be able to do the Practice books without the teaching content in the Guides. The Guides are quite engaging and do a great job teaching concepts in problem solving contexts.

Bill


I've sent my son back to reread the guides for suggestions while working on the problems. I think it's helpful to see how problems are solved. The guide is also not very expensive so I don't see a great argument for skipping it.

I often take turns with math programs, so supplements are not always concurrently running. I think BA could be that sort of supplement. I am not sure it's a 'regular math and then this one' type of supplement. It is time consuming.

#20 Spy Car

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:13 PM

So what's your thoughts on using the guides and not he practice books, Bill? :D


The Guides are really interesting and do an engaging job of teaching the lessons in a way children seem to enjoy (it is certainly true of my son). I doubt anyone one would take nothing away from using the Guides alone, but I question how many children would master the problem solving skills that are introduced in the Guides (and then expanded upon with the work in the Practice books) without actually doing the work in the Practice books.

I think the program was designed (with good reason) for the two parts to work in tandem.

Bill

#21 stripe

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 07:30 PM

I think the program was designed (with good reason) for the two parts to work in tandem.

Yes, it's not analogous to a textbook that tells you "When you add vinegar to baking soda, it will cause a chemical reaction! Carbon dioxide will be formed, and you will observe bubbles forming. The liquid will then flow out of the container" and then the workbook leads you through the baking soda volcano experiment and you are to describe what happens. In other words, they are basically the same, rehashed, with not much new there.

The guide starts the thinking process, but there is more an introductory explanation. The practice book has more complicated questions and not much hand-holding (although there is a hints section, but I confess I haven't made use of it to see what's there yet).

#22 Spy Car

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 07:40 PM

Yes, it's not analogous to a textbook that tells you "When you add vinegar to baking soda, it will cause a chemical reaction! Carbon dioxide will be formed, and you will observe bubbles forming. The liquid will then flow out of the container" and then the workbook leads you through the baking soda volcano experiment and you are to describe what happens. In other words, they are basically the same, rehashed, with not much new there.

The guide starts the thinking process, but there is more an introductory explanation. The practice book has more complicated questions and not much hand-holding (although there is a hints section, but I confess I haven't made use of it to see what's there yet).


You said it well. I like that they keep amplifying the reasoning necessary to do the problem solving in the Practice book after having introduced the *thinking process* in the Guides. By continually "moving the goal posts" with increasingly difficult work in the Practice books it keeps the work interesting and sufficiently challenging.

And agree that both parts complete the program.

Bill

#23 FairProspects

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 07:56 PM

For us, I don't think the retention would be there as a supplemental curriculum without the practice problems. It is one thing to see and hear the information and it is something else to actually use it. The AoPs folks do a wonderful job of creating problems that can't be faked without knowing the concepts.

That step of application has really made BA stick in a way that math terms don't usually stick with ds. He actually described his piano piece as an obtuse angle this morning to the piano teacher :lol: (the notes went down and then up, apparently in angular fashion). The kids also had a blast building Rosencrantz and Guildenstern out of legos. I had intended to use BA as a supplement, but it is so darn effective, and has made math so alive for ds (and even younger ds), that it has taken over the whole show as the main curriculum.

#24 Spy Car

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:18 PM

For us, I don't think the retention would be there as a supplemental curriculum without the practice problems. It is one thing to see and hear the information and it is something else to actually use it. The AoPs folks do a wonderful job of creating problems that can't be faked without knowing the concepts.

That step of application has really made BA stick in a way that math terms don't usually stick with ds. He actually described his piano piece as an obtuse angle this morning to the piano teacher :lol: (the notes went down and then up, apparently in angular fashion). The kids also had a blast building Rosencrantz and Guildenstern out of legos. I had intended to use BA as a supplement, but it is so darn effective, and has made math so alive for ds (and even younger ds), that it has taken over the whole show as the main curriculum.


I'm really glad to heard BA is working for you guys! :001_smile:

Bill

#25 pgr

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:49 PM

We're using BA as a supplement; DD is finishing up SM2B as the primary math. We do SM2B and an "extra" - CWP, IP, Miquon. She started with BA once a week, and has asked to move up to biweekly. :D She works at her own pace, stretching out the lesson as needed. We read the guide book, and then work through the problems as stamina allows. I think the way the practice book is written helps facilitate that approach somewhat.

I was leery of the comic book style, as I personally am not a fan (DD hasn't really read comics), but I agree - very engaging. I enjoy reading BA.

I also strongly agree that the guide book and practice book seem written to be used together - one builds on the other. There is undoubtedly additional teaching in the practice book.

We started with just 3A to see if it's a good fit, but we will definitely be continuing with BA.

#26 stripe

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:02 PM

Farrar, have you seen anything by Theoni Pappas? (Penrose etc) She talks about polyominoes, toothpick puzzles, rep-tiles and other such things in her books. Alas, they're not as visually advanced as Beast Academy, but there's a lot in them, too.

#27 SneguochkaL

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 04:42 PM

Hi, for those of you, who purchased BA 3a and 3b and using it as a supplement, do you recommend getting all 4 books or just practice books? My oldest child is almost done with her SM4 SE and Russian math and looking for something fun to do on week-ends and during the summer months. We are homeschooling all year around, so we need something fun and challenging for June:) My son is only 5, so he will not be ready for comics textbook for another year. He is finishing his 1 grade Russian math and doing SM 1 this summer, so I am primary looking for something for my 9 years old daughter, who is very good at math. Now I am thinking to purchase only practice books for her, because some material she already learnt before and it would be just a review for her. I appreciate any comments and advices.

Edited by SneguochkaL, 09 April 2012 - 04:59 PM.


#28 Chrysalis Academy

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 06:27 PM

Hi, for those of you, who purchased BA 3a and 3b and using it as a supplement, do you recommend getting all 4 books or just practice books? My oldest child is almost done with her SM4 SE and Russian math and looking for something fun to do on week-ends and during the summer months. We are homeschooling all year around, so we need something fun and challenging for June:) My son is only 5, so he will not be ready for comics textbook for another year. He is finishing his 1 grade Russian math and doing SM 1 this summer, so I am primary looking for something for my 9 years old daughter, who is very good at math. Now I am thinking to purchase only practice books for her, because some material she already learnt before and it would be just a review for her. I appreciate any comments and advices.


Well, I'll take a stab, as I have a dd9 who is just finishing her 4th grade math and will be supplementing with BA in the summer . . . I definitely think the meat of the program is in the Practice books, especially for kids who already get the concepts (i.e. they know how to multiply, etc., this isn't the primary teaching vehicle.) DD read the Guides and liked them. I have a hard time reading them, myself - I don't enjoy comics, visually, and I find it fussy and hard to follow. The practice books are *excellent*, though. You could get what you are looking for with them alone, especially if the comic-bookiness isn't really the draw for you.

#29 stripe

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:12 PM

You really should start a thread about Russian math. I have the books but have only used them a little. How do you use them?

The meat of the BA books is in the practice but there's very little explanation, only problems. It might be strange.

#30 SneguochkaL

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 11:37 PM

Well, I'll take a stab, as I have a dd9 who is just finishing her 4th grade math and will be supplementing with BA in the summer . . . I definitely think the meat of the program is in the Practice books, especially for kids who already get the concepts (i.e. they know how to multiply, etc., this isn't the primary teaching vehicle.) DD read the Guides and liked them. I have a hard time reading them, myself - I don't enjoy comics, visually, and I find it fussy and hard to follow. The practice books are *excellent*, though. You could get what you are looking for with them alone, especially if the comic-bookiness isn't really the draw for you.


I dislike comics myself, but my kids love them. At this point, I am more thinking about getting just practice books for my oldest child, and later when my son is done with his SM2/Russian math 2, I will get the "textbooks" for him. It will happen next year, when whole 3rd grade BA curricula will be completed.

#31 SneguochkaL

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:33 AM

You really should start a thread about Russian math. I have the books but have only used them a little. How do you use them?

The meat of the BA books is in the practice but there's very little explanation, only problems. It might be strange.


I am not sure about Russian math thread. It might be only interested for Russian-speaking people, because it is in Russian language. I am using Peterson's math for my kids. For my daughter it is kind a supplement this year, but for my son it is a core. Many parents/elementary teachers in Russia dislike this particular author, because 50% of assignments are very challenging(very hard on parents who are not good at math); textbook/workbook doesn't provide "enough explanation" of the topics presented, and introduction of algebra elements are in a second grade textbook. I like it and my kids love it, especially my puzzle-loving son. I think this particular curricula gives kids a chance to think creatively. It engaged my son in a lot of extra activities such as pattern recognition, writing math expression, logical thinking etc. One of the assignment for the 2nd grader was to write an algorithm(directions) " how to use an elevator?" We plan to continue using this author through 6th grade books.

I don't own a Russian math 6 book , but I think it is the one many people refer to when they talk about Russian math textbook.

Posted Image


What Russian math books do you refer?

#32 thefragile7393

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 04:08 AM

I wish they released their materials in grade order...2nd to whatever...and had materials for younger than grade 2 planned. My son would LOVE this but he isn't going to be in a 3rd grade level anytime soon. I'D. consider using it as a stand alone perhaps if they had a kinder-1 level

#33 stripe

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:25 AM

I am not sure about Russian math thread. It might be only interested for Russian-speaking people, because it is in Russian language. ...
What Russian math books do you refer?

I have the translations of Soviet books from the University of Chicago. There are several other members on this forum who use them in English (wapiti, Snickerdoodle, Ray); I know Ray thinks they are fantastic. They are for grades 1-3 only.

The Grade 1 book was originally published in 1980 by Prosveshchenie, Moscow as Matematika: Uchebnik dlya pervogo klassa (ninth edition).

You are the second homeschooler I've heard of who uses Russian language math books, which unfortunately I cannot because I don't know Russian. I know another lady (in real life) who is supplementing with the above books; I think she might actually speak Russian but has easier access to those ones.

It has only problems for the student, almost no instruction. Ray posted a few screenshots here.

There are also some other Russian math books in translation for the high school level. I also have Mathematical Circles: Russian Experience (Mathematical World, Vol. 7) by S. A. Genkin.

#34 zoo_keeper

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:20 PM

BTW, for those that are lamenting having children too young for BA, it's not too early to start now! We use SM for our main program. DD7 is in 2B and DD4 (5 this month) is in 1B. We supplement with a variety of programs, including BA. We do BA together as a group, and while DD7 answers probably 60% of the problems, DD4 is right up there holding her own on some of the easier problems. True, we're only in the quadrilateral section (early on in 3A), but I just wanted to point out that there are ways to work together through BA even if it's above grade level. In fact, they've both been clamoring for it so I'm off to do some "storytime" with them right now!

#35 wapiti

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:49 PM

I have the translations of Soviet books from the University of Chicago. There are several other members on this forum who use them in English (wapiti, Snickerdoodle, Ray); I know Ray thinks they are fantastic. They are for grades 1-3 only.


I admit that I never quite got around to making good use of them, so I passed them along to some dear Russian friends (who live in the US and whose dc will be learning math in English).

#36 elladarcy

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 06:37 AM

We've had Beast Academy 3a for a year, collecting dust on the shelf. Dd is at the tail end of MM 4b, and for some reason decided to pick BA back up. It clicked for her. She was able to do the problems previously, a year ago, but her learning is much deeper now.

FWIW, I'm not sure why they say they've lined up BA with common core (other than multiplication in 3rd grade), because it lines up very nicely with MM 4, taking similar concepts and going deeper with them. I think MM and BA would work brilliantly together.

I guess don't rush your math beasts, or maybe just do 1/2 or a third the first time through and let them chew on it some more later. Or save the starred problems for a second pass.

Bean

#37 winoelle

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:37 AM

We use Beast Academy as a supplement behind my dd's grade level. Math is not a good subject for her, but her love of comic books makes BA very appealing. The problems in the workbook are challenging, especially the starred problems, and it is so different from her main program (CLE) that I think it adds a lot. I got it because I knew she would love the comic book style and because she needed more challenging problem solving. We use it topically, out of order. It has made a tremendous difference in the depth of her understanding.

#38 Five More Minutes

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:19 AM

nm ... Just now realized this thread is over a year old! :blush:

#39 elladarcy

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:10 AM

nm ... Just now realized this thread is over a year old! :blush:


That's okay- math threads are searched for and read often.



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