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If You Quit Beast Academy Please Tell Me Why?


elmerRex
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Honestly, we're not a math tricks and games kinda family. Tell us what's going on with the concepts, explain when/why we might need to use it, make sure we have the procedures down, call it a day. BA felt gimmicky and the pages were too busy for me. We had some fun with it in grade 3 but I could never use that as a spine over SM. 

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We use it as a supplement but here are some things I have seen/heard from others that stopped using it as a spine:

 

1.  Publication schedule was too slow.

2.  Doing such a concept oriented program without enough review was a poor fit for their student.

3.  Did not cover other topics that the parent deemed necessary.

4.  Child or parent did not like the cartoon aspect.

5.  Child or parent did not like the way the concepts were presented.

6.  Was too different a program from what the parent/child was comfortable with.

 

Just because something is a wonderful program for one kid/parent doesn't mean it will be for another kid/parent.  I will say that I think BA is a great program and I still use it as a supplement but it was abysmal as a spine for my kids and one kid in particular did not learn as much from it as I had thought they would.

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We got ahead of the publication schedule. Otherwise, we'd have continued.

 

As much as I appreciate BA (big fan) it would not have served us well as a stand-alone program. Primary Mathematics (Singapore) was often better for developing more prosaic elements of my kid's math education, which BA sometimes gave short shrift. But for introducing math competition type thinking and providing a stretch BA was superlative. So a mix of resources was best for us.

 

Bill

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We got ahead of the publication schedule. Otherwise, we'd have continued.

 

As much as I appreciate BA (big fan) it would not have served us well as a stand-alone program. Primary Mathematics (Singapore) was often better for developing more prosaic elements of my kid's math education, which BA sometimes gave short shrift. But for introducing math competition type thinking and providing a stretch BA was superlative. So a mix of resources was best for us.

 

Bill

I completely agree with this assessment. My younger DS could not have developed his math skills just with BA. SM was the foundation on which we could play with BA. He is also the kid who needs review. Having said that my older boy, who has freakish memory and requires very little repetition, retained pretty much everything from BA. Yet we still made sure to finish SM for a stronger foundation.

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Pretty much what Bill said...except, we still use it, lol.  My 5th grader IS outpacing Beast.  But I think he will be able to use all of Beast 5 from the coming spring through next fall/winter.

 

I would not use Beast as a standalone, even with my mathy kid, for the reasons mentioned above.  There's not enough review, imo***...and while I don't feel it is gimmicky, certain aspects of it are difficult to review/practice as they are methods the student wouldn't typically encounter otherwise. For example, the perfect squares chapter in Beast 3.  

 

That said, I adore Beast and how they present concepts.  It truly does stretch the student while laying the groundwork for later, more difficult concepts.  The Grade 3 chapter that covered skip counting is a really good example of how Beast stretches while laying groundwork.  

 

 

***By review, what I mean is, they don't revisit mastered concepts, which makes it easy for a student to master and then forget.  Kind of like that perfect squares chapter I mentioned above.

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We quit BA for the same reason AOPS is not a great fit for us (yet we persist--books will be written about my math pathology). The reason is that these curricula IME assume a deep math knowledge or facility or propensity, and they just kick it up a notch. If you're not mathy, these work but it's almost like you had to learn the material elsewhere and come to AOPS for the further challenge. Connected to this, I don't think there's enough practice for people like DS who did not have the prior/inherent knowledge. DS is doing the second part of the algebra book now, I want him to take Algebra regents in NY and I know I will have to heavily supplement. This is fine as AOPS never sold itself as being for the common, non gifted, folk ;) so it's really not their fault!

That said, I am doing MEP with DD and will give another whirl to the beast books when time comes.

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We're using it as a supplement to Math Mammoth.

 

Reasons it would not work for us as a spine:

 

* Too teacher intensive - requires too much hand-holding

* Not enough review

* Sometimes the difficult problems are so frustrating for DS (which is mostly a good thing) that he needs to set the whole program aside for days or even weeks until he can look at it with fresh eyes...this would be inconvenient if this were our main math program

* Cartoons are distracting

* Has too many puzzles and word problems and not enough straightforward, numbers in a column, arithmetic drill problems for us to use it as the main math program 

 

All that said, we love using it as a supplement a couple times a week and I think it is a valuable use of DS's math time.

 

Wendy

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For the right student Beast Academy is the perfect math series.  But I think most students would be best served to use something else as their main program.  BA is perfect for my oldest dd.  She was bored and annoyed by Singapore Math and has really grown in her math ability and enjoyment by using this series.  She loves the presentation, both the fun comics and how the concepts are presented and also likes the problem sets.  She hates having a problem set of the same type of problem over and over again.  The challenging, puzzle type problems in BA give her just enough not boring problems to learn the concepts well.  Unless your student is similar, it probably won't be a good fit.

 

ETA: I don't think we'll be using it as the only program for the younger kids.  They need more practice and can't handle the frustration of the super challenging problem sets.  For them, it will make a good supplement, but we won't do it all.  They are using Singapore Math as their main program.

Edited by Lisa in the UP of MI
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We got ahead of the publication schedule. Otherwise, we'd have continued.

 

As much as I appreciate BA (big fan) it would not have served us well as a stand-alone program. Primary Mathematics (Singapore) was often better for developing more prosaic elements of my kid's math education, which BA sometimes gave short shrift. But for introducing math competition type thinking and providing a stretch BA was superlative. So a mix of resources was best for us.

 

Bill

 

Please I am sorry to annoy but I am ESL, can you please explain the sentences with red.

I did look up them in the dictionary, but do not understand shrift. I asked the computer and prosaic and superlative have 3 meanings. Can you clarify what you mean please?

 

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Honestly, we're not a math tricks and games kinda family. Tell us what's going on with the concepts, explain when/why we might need to use it, make sure we have the procedures down, call it a day. BA felt gimmicky and the pages were too busy for me. We had some fun with it in grade 3 but I could never use that as a spine over SM. 

Yes. I am wary of teaching "tricks" that cloud or confuse the growing of a childs understanding. Thank you for this comment.

 

My DS did the 3rd grade BA books as a supplement to Singapore CA Standards Ed. but the publication schedule was too slow and BA isn't as comprehensive in terms of topics covered. Maybe by the time all of the BA books are published there won't be so many gaps, but this was a few years ago.

Since you used the books and if you look at the coverage now, do you feel it is more comprehensive? I think that the topics covered are "not right" but I was not educated in America so all US Math looks "not right" to me :laugh:

 

Probably not the type of reason you're looking for, but my son hated the comic style... He's always hated cartoons and things that aren't realistic and just couldn't get over it to enjoy the math side. He said it was "babyish."

 

Also, we had already been won over by Singapore...

My eldest would hate the cartoons too!

 

 

 it was abysmal as a spine for my kids and one kid in particular did not learn as much from it as I had thought they would.

Please can you tell me why it is a bad spine for kids in your family. For the child who did not learn as much as you thought, can you explain why?

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Please I am sorry to annoy but I am ESL, can you please explain the sentences with red.

I did look up them in the dictionary, but do not understand shrift. I asked the computer and prosaic and superlative have 3 meanings. Can you clarify what you mean please?

 

 

I'm not Bill, but I can help with the meanings.

 

"Primary Mathematics (Singapore) was often better for developing more prosaic elements of my kid's math education"

 

Prosaic in that usage means ordinary, functional, straightforward.  Primary math spends time teaching and drilling regular old arithmetic problems while almost all of Beast Academy problems involve using arithmetic to solve a logic/puzzle/thinking problem.

 

"which BA sometimes gave short shrift."

 

Short shrift is an expression meaning not much or not enough attention to.

 

"But for introducing math competition type thinking and providing a stretch BA was superlative."

 

Superlative in that sentence means the best.  You often see superlative used to describe a type of adjective.  For example, fast is the adjective, faster is the comparative adjective and fastest is the superlative adjective.  Used on its own, superlative just means the best or most of whatever is being described.

 

Hope that helps.

Wendy

Edited by wendyroo
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Please I am sorry to annoy but I am ESL, can you please explain the sentences with red.

I did look up them in the dictionary, but do not understand shrift. I asked the computer and prosaic and superlative have 3 meanings. Can you clarify what you mean please?

 

 

Sure, sorry. One of the areas I think Primary Mathematics is especially strong is in covering the basic fundamentals (nuts and bolts, if you will). These include covering things like the basic algorithms (like column addition and multiplication and long division) as well as mental math strategies. PM also develops a bar-diagram method of solving word problems. These strengths are not limited to "the basics," but by "prosaic" I meant the arguably "boring" parts of arithmetic that students need to learn

(unless they are some sort of super-intuitive).

 

BA at times seems to take these basic skills as a "given." They may go very deep on a particular skill, and then just say a kid should know multiplication. That might work for the outlier type student. Mine is a smart kid, but fairly typical in learning skills better from an organized progression.

 

So the strength of PM was giving a straightforward (and fairly efficient) methodical coverage of the basics. The downside is much of this stuff is "boring." Necessary, but...

 

So to provide more joy, a sense of challenge, and out-of-the-box problem-solving Beast Academy filled a nice place as a great supplement. BA type materials make my boy more interested in learning "the basics" so he can do this other sort of work. So in our little home program, I've tried to balance materials that make the basics comprehensible while providing challenges that make mathematics fun. For my kid, BA was fun. So now (as a 7th Grader) he goes to the Math Counts/Math Club on Thursdays after school (tonight) and that's normal for him. 

 

BA does a great job adding the sort of Math Circle/Math Lab problem-solving skills for elementary school kids. It is not the only great resource, but a very good one IMO. It would not have served us as a "spine" for basic math instruction, but there are plenty of other option to fill that need. BA is it's own thing. I love it for what it is. I only wish they'd produced it earlier. But we enjoyed the experience while it lasted, and have continued on with Art of Problem Solving, the big-brother to BA.

 

And my kid loved the comic book style and (maybe more so) the storyline aspect to the books.

 

I hope that's more clear.

 

Bill

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I'm not Bill, but I can help with the meanings.

 

"Primary Mathematics (Singapore) was often better for developing more prosaic elements of my kid's math education"

 

Prosaic in that usage means ordinary, functional, straightforward.  Primary math spends time teaching and drilling regular old arithmetic problems while almost all of Beast Academy problems involve using arithmetic to solve a logic/puzzle/thinking problem.

 

"which BA sometimes gave short shrift."

 

Short shrift is an expression meaning not much or not enough attention to.

 

"But for introducing math competition type thinking and providing a stretch BA was superlative."

 

Superlative in that sentence means the best.  You often see superlative used to describe a type of adjective.  For example, fast is the adjective, faster is the comparative adjective and fastest is the superlative adjective.  Used on its own, superlative just means the best or most of whatever is being described.

 

Hope that helps.

Wendy

 

Better me than I am :D

 

Bill

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Please can you tell me why it is a bad spine for kids in your family. For the child who did not learn as much as you thought, can you explain why?

 

Well, in my case my kids are dyslexic and they were struggling with reading at the time.  There was too much visual information for DS, although he tends to like things in color.  Also, both need a lot of repetition for something to stick and there wasn't enough in BA.  DD liked the concepts being presented so it worked o.k. as a supplement for her, but she struggles with math in general so she needed a LOT of scaffolding to use it.  For the child that it was an even poorer fit for, he actually was turned off by the cartoony nature of the presentation, which surprised me.  He thought it was fun at first but got tired of the cartoons and the wording and started to shut down when BA was pulled out.  Now if I took the info from the book and presented it in another format it worked better.  He likes Art of Problem Solving's Pre-Algebra much better but needed more scaffolding with that program and help reading all of the text because he was not at that level of math or reading yet.

 

We use Christian Light Education's math program as a spine because it has a lot of well organized, targeted review, along with an easier format for presenting concepts and a really awesome way of working through math fact practice.  Pages are not super cluttered, either.  Most of the time the explanations make sense even to my math challenged child and I like most of the examples used and the general format of each lesson.  

 

Beast Academy and CTC math and other resources work better as a supplement alongside CLE for my kids.

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Sure, sorry. One of the areas I think Primary Mathematics is especially strong is in covering the basic fundamentals (nuts and bolts, if you will). These include covering things like the basic algorithms (like column addition and multiplication and long division) as well as mental math strategies. PM also develops a bar-diagram method of solving word problems. These strengths are not limited to "the basics," but by "prosaic" I meant the arguably "boring" parts of arithmetic that students need to learn

(unless they are some sort of super-intuitive).

 

BA at times seems to take these basic skills as a "given." They may go very deep on a particular skill, and then just say a kid should know multiplication. That might work for the outlier type student. Mine is a smart kid, but fairly typical in learning skills better from an organized progression.

 

So the strength of PM was giving a straightforward (and fairly efficient) methodical coverage of the basics. The downside is much of this stuff is "boring." Necessary, but...

 

So to provide more joy, a sense of challenge, and out-of-the-box problem-solving Beast Academy filled a nice place as a great supplement. BA type materials make my boy more interested in learning "the basics" so he can do this other sort of work. So in our little home program, I've tried to balance materials that make the basics comprehensible while providing challenges that make mathematics fun. For my kid, BA was fun. So now (as a 7th Grader) he goes to the Math Counts/Math Club on Thursdays after school (tonight) and that's normal for him. 

 

BA does a great job adding the sort of Math Circle/Math Lab problem-solving skills for elementary school kids. It is not the only great resource, but a very good one IMO. It would not have served us as a "spine" for basic math instruction, but there are plenty of other option to fill that need. BA is it's own thing. I love it for what it is. I only wish they'd produced it earlier. But we enjoyed the experience while it lasted, and have continued on with Art of Problem Solving, the big-brother to BA.

 

And my kid loved the comic book style and (maybe more so) the storyline aspect to the books.

 

I hope that's more clear.

 

Bill

 

Thank you both Spy Car and WendyRoo.

 

Yes very clear to me now.

 

 

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Since you used the books and if you look at the coverage now, do you feel it is more comprehensive? I think that the topics covered are "not right" but I was not educated in America so all US Math looks "not right" to me :laugh:

 

I'd have to pull out the 3rd and 4th grade SM books to check their tables of content to see which topics are missing from BA.

 

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Short shrift- not enough, it was glossed over etc.

 

Superlative- kind of an unusual way of saying "the best" - in English a superlative is the last in a series of adjectives or adverbs denoting the most,

 

The superlative of many is "most" for example

 

Don't know if I am helping here.

 

I have no idea what bill

Meant by "prosaic" 😊

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We needed more review and my daughter HATES comic books. In hind site I knew from the get go that BA wasn't going to work, but this forum is constantly reaffirming the "AOPS is the only math curriculum for serious math students" prerogative so we gave it a try...

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We're doing it on the side with Miquon and about 1/3 of MEP (I skip a lot in MEP but since I plan on using it as her spine later, I regularly get it out and have her do the more unique MEP-style problems so that she will be able to jump right into MEP as her main one once we finish Miquon) at the moment but I can already see that it probably wouldn't work as a spine for this particular child. BA will likely always be on the side for her. I do plan on having her do it in its entirety though.

 

She can't take the frustration level it requires for very long. She likes it, but our pace is slow and we have to be able to set it aside a few days at a time. A lot of this has to do with her age and maturity, so we'll see how that changes as she gets older. But I see a lot of value in multiple math programs anyways, especially since I'm of the "go deeper" rather than faster philosophy with my kids when they are capable of it.

 

ETA: I'm not using it for all of my children though. It wouldn't fit oldest dd at all. She is very much a CLE kid and struggles a lot with math. She does like looking at the guides though. DD4 is still too young to tell, but I imagine I will use it with her. So it just depends on the child.

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I gave up on it as a spine, for now, because the problems were too inspiring, lol, meaning DS would sometimes start an interesting problem and just continue on with that one thing and forget what the point was unless I reminded him. I'm happy to let him use BA for exploration while continuing with straight forward math for daily practice.

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I had my DS start 3A in the spring of 2nd grade, after a year of public K, RS B, and about 2/3 of RS C. It was perfect for him! He even wants me to get home BA 5C next month when it's out even though he's in 6th and finishing a few topics in Singapore before AOPS preA. He hates tedium, and needs problems to be interesting to fully engage his ADHD mind - BA was perfect and RS was an excellent base.

 

My middle DD started BA 3 at the beginning of 3rd. Prior to that she had done a mix of RS, Miquon, and Singapore. She also loved BA, was really getting the math, but she needed more practice so we added DreamBox. Awesome combo. Again, solid foundation was important. RS and Singapore are great for that!

 

The only reason we quit was because we outpaced the books (for DS). DS is currently in public 4th grade.

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I've only tried BA with one of mine. She is a strong math student with a bad attitude toward math at times. (For the record, this is typical behavior even in activities this child truly adores.)

The Kid: DD/8 has always been at least one full grade level ahead in math. She is very strong conceptually, rock solid on basics, and easily gets bored just plugging through a math book. She could whip through two complete lessons in her main math book (not BA) in thirty minutes and call it stupid; that *was* in the appropriate level. Last year I started having her straddle two very different math books and that went much better. She spent about a month in each one on average. Her older siblings were in Math Olympiad that year and she found she really enjoyed trying some of those challenging word problems.

The BA Experience: By all accounts she'd be a prime candidate for BA. Strong student, needs variety, wicked sharp on challenge problems and calculating. After completing a handful of lessons in BA 3A she adamantly refused to ever work in that book ever again. She didn't want to read the comic for fun or even look at it. This was hands down the strongest negative reaction she's ever had to any curriculum. No math book is worth mounting that, no matter how much *I* wanted to like it, so it has been shelved to wait for her little brother to grow into it.

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BA is the first curriculum that worked for ds1, aops is the second, for which he was well prepared out of BA4.

I just switched DS2 from BA to Singapore (hopefully supplemented by BA). He didn't enjoy the puzzly aspect. He also needs more review. I think for the right kid BA is perfect though. We had 3 bad fits before we found it and it was an absolute gem for us.

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Tears!

 

It would have been a perfect fit for my oldest but he was past it by the time it came out (though he did read his brothers BA 3). I thought BA would be great for DS 2 (at the time I was struggling to find a math program for him as every thing kept ending in tears). BA 3 started out great, he loved the comics the math seemed to be clicking and I thought I could hear a choir of angles :lol: )...but by 3c we were back to tears and just complete confusion on his part. He just wasn't able to grasp it. 

 

Surprisingly, he is now doing Shiller Math (I'm finally hearing that choir of angels) and he has on a couple of occasions said "Oh I remember this from BA" when I had thought positively nothing was sticking. :001_rolleyes:

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I loved BA when I looked at it, but felt I needed strong teacher support materials to teach math, so I went with Saxon; that is working well here for all of us.  When I first got the Saxon series, though, I also bought BA as  supplement, thinking that if it worked out for us and I could use it to teach effectively, I could always transition to that solely if I wanted.  Well, DD was the first to use it  and she hated it because she doesn't want to sit and look at math puzzles and riddles patiently; she wants git her done math.  So we dropped BA even as a supplement and stuck with Saxon.  2 Years later, I tried BA as a supplement with mathy DS, figuring he would like it, but DS is a kid that wants as little work as possible and he wasn't amenable to doing Saxon and another supplementary math program.  I was unwilling to take the plunge into BA because I still don't think it has enough teacher support for me, so I decided Saxon instead of BA.  I think DS would have done well with BA, but I am not sure I would have, and that it just as important a consideration, IMO.

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BA is a perfect fit for my DS#1.  He needs little to no review, hates pages of repetitive drill-type problems, loves puzzles and logic, and grasps math concepts quickly.  I'm a mathy person myself (but I'm an engineer, not a mathematician), so when we get to topics that BA just assumes the kid will instantly master and DS#1 doesn't, I'm able to break it down for him and *teach* without help from BA.  

 

BA did not work for my DS#2.  He enjoyed the 3A shapes chapter very much (he's likely visual-spacial), and got through the next 3 chapters alright, but once he hit new material, stuff that I hadn't already introduced via Right Start, he fell apart.  I may still try to supplement with it occasionally for some added depth and just to stretch him a little, but it could never be his spine.  He is just as smart as DS#1, but he needs a steady feed of review, wants to get math "done" (would prefer a page of drill to playing with math), isn't too psyched about logic puzzles, and has limited tolerance for frustration.  He's also easily distracted and it's hard for him to stick with the more challenging BA problems long enough to finish them.  He loves the comic book presentation though!  He still reads the Guides, though the Practice books he leaves untouched.  

 

I think BA does a good job at least briefly covering all the important topics (at least when you consider the whole series, not just one grade level); however, some topics aren't well presented IMO.  Like multiplication.  Their introductory multiplication chapter fell flat on it's hideous face.  They basically said "We used to skip count, but now we're going to multiply.  Memorize these immediately," which is such an ugly way to introduce multiplication!  They do eventually teach "tricks" for mental multiplication like multiplying by 10 then dividing by 2 instead of multiplying by 5, but it's too little and too late.  I consider most of these "tricks" to be strategies that should come before multiplication mastery so that kids can figure out the multiplication facts they haven't memorized (and without skip counting the whole way).  They eventually tie multiplication into area, but again, it's after telling kids to just memorize the multiplication facts.  Nothing else is jumping out in my mind right now, but I know we've encountered a few other places where I felt the need to supplement BA with my own knowledge for DS#1.  Nothing as bad as that multiplication chapter, and work-around-able for the mathy instructor, but definite detriments to the program nonetheless.

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BA is a perfect fit for my DS#1. He needs little to no review, hates pages of repetitive drill-type problems, loves puzzles and logic, and grasps math concepts quickly. I'm a mathy person myself (but I'm an engineer, not a mathematician), so when we get to topics that BA just assumes the kid will instantly master and DS#1 doesn't, I'm able to break it down for him and *teach* without help from BA.

 

BA did not work for my DS#2. He enjoyed the 3A shapes chapter very much (he's likely visual-spacial), and got through the next 3 chapters alright, but once he hit new material, stuff that I hadn't already introduced via Right Start, he fell apart. I may still try to supplement with it occasionally for some added depth and just to stretch him a little, but it could never be his spine. He is just as smart as DS#1, but he needs a steady feed of review, wants to get math "done" (would prefer a page of drill to playing with math), isn't too psyched about logic puzzles, and has limited tolerance for frustration. He's also easily distracted and it's hard for him to stick with the more challenging BA problems long enough to finish them. He loves the comic book presentation though! He still reads the Guides, though the Practice books he leaves untouched.

 

I think BA does a good job at least briefly covering all the important topics (at least when you consider the whole series, not just one grade level); however, some topics aren't well presented IMO. Like multiplication. Their introductory multiplication chapter fell flat on it's hideous face. They basically said "We used to skip count, but now we're going to multiply. Memorize these immediately," which is such an ugly way to introduce multiplication! They do eventually teach "tricks" for mental multiplication like multiplying by 10 then dividing by 2 instead of multiplying by 5, but it's too little and too late. I consider most of these "tricks" to be strategies that should come before multiplication mastery so that kids can figure out the multiplication facts they haven't memorized (and without skip counting the whole way). They eventually tie multiplication into area, but again, it's after telling kids to just memorize the multiplication facts. Nothing else is jumping out in my mind right now, but I know we've encountered a few other places where I felt the need to supplement BA with my own knowledge for DS#1. Nothing as bad as that multiplication chapter, and work-around-able for the mathy instructor, but definite detriments to the program nonetheless.

I never felt they told the kids to memorize anything. My kids kept the multiplication charts they made handy to use when needed. They memorized through use. But I agree that BA is not for all learners. I'm grateful to have found it for mine because others were equally wrong for them as BA is for some.
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I never felt they told the kids to memorize anything. My kids kept the multiplication charts they made handy to use when needed. They memorized through use. But I agree that BA is not for all learners. I'm grateful to have found it for mine because others were equally wrong for them as BA is for some.

 

Really?  You didn't think so?  In the second section of Chapter 4 in BA 3 (on page 18 of the guide) Sergeant Rote says, "Your skip-counting days are over.  From now on, you will memorize all the facts you need to master my drills."  [emphasis NOT added]  Another frame on the same page has Sergeant Rote talking about the times table saying, "You must know it like you know your own claws."  Then he has the little monsters read aloud what is written on the back of the times table sheet he has handed them, which includes, "I must master each of it's rows and each of its columns until it has become a part of me."  Then Lizzy tells the other little monsters that she practiced her times tables during fall break and that "Learning to multiply starts with knowing your times tables." That's on page 19.  On page 21 Whinny laments, "Ugh! We have to memorize all of the answers on the table?!?" and the little monsters realize that they already know all the 0s, 1s, 2s, and 10s.  When Alex points out on page 23 that even with those already known, "...we still have a lot to memorize," the little monsters discover together that half of the remaining facts have twins and conclude on page 25 that they really only have 28 facts left to memorize.  The rest of the sections in the chapter seem to operate on the assumption that the multiplication facts have been memorized and go into products of multiples of 10, multiplying several numbers, and "tricks" for multiplying 4 and 5 by two- to four-digit numbers.

 

I'm not saying it's a bad curric by any means.  Like I mentioned in my earlier post, BA is a perfect fit for one of my boys -- seriously the best thing that ever happened to him and math.  I'm just not a fan of how they teach a few of the many topics they cover and have felt the need to fill in some (perceived) conceptual and methodical gaps, which is fine since I'm confident making that kind of call and adjusting as necessary without a second curriculum.  Any parent with a relatively strong math background can do this, and probably differently than I.  A more liberal arts oriented parent may potentially find this difficult, and BA might not be the best fit in that situation unless the child is internally motivated to seek out such things and/or is the kind of kid that just gets math, regardless of how well it is or isn't presented.

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Similar to others, I felt like BA was a great supplement, but wanted a more systematic, step by step coverage of basic arithmetic (we use MM as a spine, which is similar to Singapore, discussed by others on this thread). The problem was, when we took the time to do BA as a supplement, we got "behind" with MM and had trouble finishing it up in a year, which caused stress for both dd and I.  She doesn't have the stamina to do really long sessions of math, and neither of us was excited about the idea of doing two different math session each day.  So for this year (5th) she's working through MM and doing things she finds more fun and less intense - Mind Benders, Balance Benders, other logic-y and problem solving things - in a separate session. That seems to work fine for her, whereas doing BA in a 2nd session just felt like too much math.

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We didn't quit BA, but we did have to shelve it for about a year. When we started it last year, DD did well with the actual work, but it was far too stressful for her. She is focused on getting the right answer, not on playing with the math, and she had very low frustration tolerance. About 2/3 the way through 3A, we gave it up.

 

This year, she is enjoying it. She has stronger math skills and at least a little more ability to manage frustration. We use it as our primary program. I supplement almost everything I've ever used, and this is not an exception.

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I have twins - it worked well for one (though the publication schedule meant we didn't finish it). For the other, everything in the practice was too easy or too hard. It didn't feel like he was getting anything out of it. The easier problems didn't lead him to a deeper understanding or to a curiosity to puzzle out the hard ones. So I stopped using it with him pretty quickly. He did join us to read the comics pretty regularly though.

 

I know Beast is the hot new thing still, but I get a little tired of seeing it suggested like it's the be all end all thing - and I see this a lot for both kids who need challenge and kids who find math hard or boring. It's going to work for some kids and not others. The hook is great, but it's not great enough to push all kids into engaging in the hard math. And even for kids who need a challenge, it may not be the exact right sort. Beast is excellent and amazing. I just don't see it working for all kids, not even all mathy kids and certainly not for all kids who don't like math.

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I never felt they told the kids to memorize anything. My kids kept the multiplication charts they made handy to use when needed. They memorized through use. But I agree that BA is not for all learners. I'm grateful to have found it for mine because others were equally wrong for them as BA is for some.

 

This is how memorizing the multiplication tables worked for my dd, too.

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Several years ago, we tried BA 3A (but had also purchased 3B). My daughter hated it. She didn't care for the monsters, didn't like the busyness of the pages, didn't want to have to wade through cartoon strips to find the math teaching, and strongly expressed a desire for a "just tell me the facts" approach to math. I agreed with her wholeheartedly. I disliked BA, too. We went with CLE Math (from the Mennonites), which is probably about as far away from Beast as you can get.

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Really? You didn't think so? In the second section of Chapter 4 in BA 3 (on page 18 of the guide) Sergeant Rote says, "Your skip-counting days are over. From now on, you will memorize all the facts you need to master my drills." [emphasis NOT added] Another frame on the same page has Sergeant Rote talking about the times table saying, "You must know it like you know your own claws." Then he has the little monsters read aloud what is written on the back of the times table sheet he has handed them, which includes, "I must master each of it's rows and each of its columns until it has become a part of me." Then Lizzy tells the other little monsters that she practiced her times tables during fall break and that "Learning to multiply starts with knowing your times tables." That's on page 19. On page 21 Whinny laments, "Ugh! We have to memorize all of the answers on the table?!?" and the little monsters realize that they already know all the 0s, 1s, 2s, and 10s. When Alex points out on page 23 that even with those already known, "...we still have a lot to memorize," the little monsters discover together that half of the remaining facts have twins and conclude on page 25 that they really only have 28 facts left to memorize. The rest of the sections in the chapter seem to operate on the assumption that the multiplication facts have been memorized and go into products of multiples of 10, multiplying several numbers, and "tricks" for multiplying 4 and 5 by two- to four-digit numbers.

 

I'm not saying it's a bad curric by any means. Like I mentioned in my earlier post, BA is a perfect fit for one of my boys -- seriously the best thing that ever happened to him and math. I'm just not a fan of how they teach a few of the many topics they cover and have felt the need to fill in some (perceived) conceptual and methodical gaps, which is fine since I'm confident making that kind of call and adjusting as necessary without a second curriculum. Any parent with a relatively strong math background can do this, and probably differently than I. A more liberal arts oriented parent may potentially find this difficult, and BA might not be the best fit in that situation unless the child is internally motivated to seek out such things and/or is the kind of kid that just gets math, regardless of how well it is or isn't presented.

Oops - you're completely right. I don't read the guides all the time :O) We didn't memorize though, and they've done quite well.
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Oops - you're completely right. I don't read the guides all the time :o) We didn't memorize though, and they've done quite well.

 

 

Well, my kid reads the Guides over and over. But he apparently totally missed the message that he needs to just buckle down and memorize the times table too.  :lol:

 

I think he's got them now, over a year later, but when we were doing that chapter he was quite fond of using his times table chart.

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