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Jame

Tell me about Beast Academy

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Just wondering if anyone here has any experience with Beast Academy and if you could share your experience. I'm thinking about trying it out over the summer to keep reviewing. Do you have to get the guide and practice or can you just get the guide? Any replies are very much appreciated.

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DD8 loves BA. If you wanted it just for a math book to read on the side, you could just get the guide. If you want it for a math program, you need the practice book. A lot of learning takes place in the practice books. Typically DD reads a section in the guide (~10 pages) then does 2-3 pages a day in the practice book until she gets to the part she needs to go back to the guide. So she may work for several days before reading in the guide again. Between guide book readings they expand on the topic and teach more in depth in the practice book. 

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My son is 10.5 and we've gone through them all up to 5c (will do 5d when it comes out). It's a challenging curriculum and very different from Singapore (what I used with my daughter). I would say it's definitely advanced and the kids need to use deep thinking with many of the problems (especially the starred ones). My son will be very ready for pre-algebra after this. He just took a standardized test and he scored at the 99th percentile.

 

I read the guide aloud with him and then set him free on the practice book.

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Beast Academy ------------>  Best.math.ever.

 

Seriously, it's a fun math.  You should absolutely buy both the guide and the workbook.  Much of the math teaching is actually in the workbook, and if you just get the text, you will miss out.  

 

My kiddo does it pretty much self-directed.  But I also use it a year behind his Singapore curriculum.  They complement each other very well.  

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I can't wait until Beast Academy finally publishes 5D. My ten year old uses it and enjoys it. Really, I don't think the guides by themselves teach enough to justify the cost. Get the practice books. We use it as her primary math curriculum: she does some Khan and Alcumus while we wait for the publication of the next book. She does it pretty independently: I just correct it and help her with anything she didn't get. 

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LOVE Beast. My big kids fight over who gets it first when a new one comes in the mail and my little guy is saying to give it to him as it's HIS math.

 

Definitely get both the practice book and workbook if you are going to do it.

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My 7 year old LOVES Beast Academy.

 

He devours the guide book over a couple hours (and re-reads it over and over).  Then he works his way through the practice book.  Some of it is very challenging (especially 3A), so I don't expect his progress to be linear.  Sometimes he breezes through several pages and other times he gets stuck and the whole math session is spent with us sitting together thinking through one problem.

 

Wendy

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Seconding all of the above... BUT... Beast has become so "hot" in the homeschool community lately that I feel really compelled to warn people that it's not for everyone. And not all kids will find it fun, even though the comic book guide is appealing and well done. I have twins and both of them tried it and it absolutely was all wrong for one of my kids and right for the other one. Do not underestimate how hard it is. There will be math tricks and problems that will make you really think hard - yes, even in the 3rd grade book. There are problems in there that they don't expect your kid to be able to get without help. It's part of the AoPS (the publisher) philosophy that kids should sometimes face problems that they really have to work through, that they should get problems wrong sometimes so they can learn from their mistakes. If your kid won't be able to take that, it's probably not the right program for them. Also, it doesn't have a ton of practice in some really basic skills - Beast assumes that your kid "gets" things like basic operations without much practice. So, again, if you think they'll need more than that, then it needs to be a supplement or it's not the right program for you.

 

I hate to be a Debbie Downer about Beast. I actually adore it and could gush and gush as well. I just feel like I'm seeing people adopt it who maybe shouldn't be, sometimes ditching programs that are really working. Or thinking that it's going to help their struggling math student love math. Or their average math student suddenly turn into a math genius. For the right kids, yes, but just keep the pitfalls in mind.

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Seconding all of the above... BUT... Beast has become so "hot" in the homeschool community lately that I feel really compelled to warn people that it's not for everyone. And not all kids will find it fun, even though the comic book guide is appealing and well done. I have twins and both of them tried it and it absolutely was all wrong for one of my kids and right for the other one. Do not underestimate how hard it is. There will be math tricks and problems that will make you really think hard - yes, even in the 3rd grade book. There are problems in there that they don't expect your kid to be able to get without help. It's part of the AoPS (the publisher) philosophy that kids should sometimes face problems that they really have to work through, that they should get problems wrong sometimes so they can learn from their mistakes. If your kid won't be able to take that, it's probably not the right program for them. Also, it doesn't have a ton of practice in some really basic skills - Beast assumes that your kid "gets" things like basic operations without much practice. So, again, if you think they'll need more than that, then it needs to be a supplement or it's not the right program for you.

 

I hate to be a Debbie Downer about Beast. I actually adore it and could gush and gush as well. I just feel like I'm seeing people adopt it who maybe shouldn't be, sometimes ditching programs that are really working. Or thinking that it's going to help their struggling math student love math. Or their average math student suddenly turn into a math genius. For the right kids, yes, but just keep the pitfalls in mind.

 

Totally agree with this 100%. My daughter did Singapore all the way through and though she is very good at math, I do not think Beast Academy would have been a great fit for her. I think Singapore is more straight forward, whereas BA requires more conceptual thinking. There are some problems so advanced that my husband and I couldn't figure out without the answers, and even after reading the answers, it took us a while to grasp it fully.

 

I remember when it first came out, people were saying they were using it as a fun supplement. But that has not been our experience at all. The Practice book is challenging and a full curriculum. We usually spend 1-2 hours on math every day, five days a week, and we'll be happy to finish year 5 within 9.5 to 10 months.

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I love BA, but I'll let the praise from others do the talking since there's so much of it.

 

I will second Farrar and say it isn't for everyone. While I love it, DD is more in between. She devours the guides and reads them over and over, like some kids might do with superhero comics. However, she still moans and groans when it's time to do the workbook. In theory, she loves math - she will read everything she can find, she will discuss concepts with DH (who has a math degree and gets into concepts over my head), she'll watch videos... but put a math workbook in front of her and she will likely believe she is being tortured. It's easily her least favorite part of school and BA didn't change that.

 

That said, she finds BA to be less torture than anything else she's seen for math.

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We love Beast Academy.  I agree that both the guide and the practice books are a must.

 

My son finished 5th grade math through Red Bird in December and we started Beast Academy at the beginning.  We are doing about a book every 3 weeks, but my son gets math (97th percentile when last tested).  It really targets kids like him, because it is an advanced way to look at math.  I did very well in math and went far, and I even have learned a few tricks.

 

I would encourage adding math facts to encourage fluency.  We do it alongside other math programs just to drill the basics.

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I love Beast Academy for all the silly voices I get to use for each beast. Seriously, reading the guide to my kids is my favorite part. You can totally hand the guide over to the kids...but what would be the fun of that??? Our eldest daughter, who hates work, complained her way out of the program after 3b. I was gutted. The next daughter is currently thriving with it. Just an FYI she's had Miquon, RSA, and Ray's arithmetic.

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I have 4 kids.  My math genius who ENJOYS a challenge (even if he can't figure it out and has to ask for help) loves Beast.  My girls would be beyond frustrated and would hate it.  They want to be taught how to do math.  They do not want to wrestle with it and try 8 different things to see what works.  Beast is NOT for every kid.

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I can't wait until Beast Academy finally publishes 5D. My ten year old uses it and enjoys it. Really, I don't think the guides by themselves teach enough to justify the cost. Get the practice books. We use it as her primary math curriculum: she does some Khan and Alcumus while we wait for the publication of the next book. She does it pretty independently: I just correct it and help her with anything she didn't get.

its at the printers - 4 weeks to purchase-ibility

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Beast requires way more focus and concentration than my son was able to give it when we tried last year. He does great with Math in Focus (Singapore) and handles challenging problems well, but he doesn't want to spend 20 minutes figuring out one puzzle. He would rather move on. Over the past year we have tweaked meds and his focus is sometimes better, plus he is a little more mature now. It might be redundant to go back and do the rest of 3rd grade Beast when he is finishing up 5th grade Math in Focus - it would basically be a source of puzzles rather than math instruction.

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To answer specific questions, yes you need the guide and practice books. The practice books is where the majority of learning comes, because of their well designed problems which lead to learning. They aren't simply practice of the lesson from the guide.

 

Big love for BA in our house! No, it's not for everyone. It would be harder for the kid who wants "show me how to do it and I'll do it for you." You've got to be willing to think outside the box, and maybe beat your head against the box but stick with it. It might be harder for the kid who doesn't like math. And it might be harder for someone who doesn't have a really solid foundation in number sense and some mental math strategies under their belt.

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Just want to thank everyone for the responses! I'll be getting the guide AND practice :) I'm so excited to use this over the summer a bit and continue throughout the next school year. 

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I know you ordered, but I want to jump in and say, we also love BA!  Dd9 just finished Singapore Standards for 4th grade, and will now do BA4 as her "summer math".  We did the same for grade 3.  She likes it, and reads the guides for fun as soon as I get them in the mail.  I'll be ordering grade 5 whenever it is ready. 

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