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Janeway

Beast Academy worth trying again?

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Son did not like BA at the 2A level. I have 3A level but we finished a level of Singapore Math and now he tests out of 3A. I am about to make an order from Rainbow resource and trying to decide if it is worth ordering another level of BA (3B) or if I need to just stop already. Is there a chance he would dislike BA 2A so much but then like a higher level? Or should I just forget it?

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Since you have 3A just sitting there, I would have him do it “for fun” while you are between levels. He can skip around in it if he likes, and see if he enjoys it generally or still doesn’t. That would give you a better idea of whether to give it another shot.

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I can say my son seems to like level four better than three or the very brief time he spent with two. It's probably because it's actually newish material for him. But he didn't outright hate the earlier levels. 

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No. As a supplement, BA is great for kids that are inherently interested in either the math inside or the story and drawings. I don't see any sense in pushing it. 

 

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One of my kids really disliked it in level 2 and actually enjoyed level 3 quite alot. 2 does feel a bit different to me. We don't use it as a full math though, just supplement and review.

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I got a level 2 book for my son as a supplement.  He liked it but I didn’t really care for it so I never pushed it.  I really like math and he does too, but I’m not sure it’s everyone’s style.  I’m waiting for him to ask me to sit down with him and go over what he has done but I think he has moved on.  Oh well 😉

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Well, I think it would depend on why he didn't like 2.

Mine won't touch BA.  I borrowed the books to see if he would like them, but the idea of mixing comics and math was not met well.  When I gave him some choices last year on a new curriculum he picked something that was more standard looking and has been happy with it.  I could try BA again for next year, but I think I'd get the same response: comics don't belong in math.

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Testing out of a Beast level is meaningless as to whether the student would get anything out of the level or whether the student would find it doable. It's hard math.

I think lots of kids benefit from Beast as a supplement. I think a few kids benefit from Beast as a primary program. I think some kids simply won't get much out of it. If you want to try again as a supplement, then I think you can and age or maturity and approaching it differently might make it suddenly click. But I think 90% of whether Beast works for a kid or not is personality. So unless you've got money to burn, I wouldn't personally. I'd look at other supplements to make math engaging.

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6 hours ago, Farrar said:

Testing out of a Beast level is meaningless as to whether the student would get anything out of the level or whether the student would find it doable. It's hard math.

I don't think "hard math" describes 2A. Add me to the people who didn't like it at all and it wasn't bc anything in the book was difficult.  I have never used any of the other elementary texts, but 2A was a complete waste of $$ here. Whether or not level 3 is appropriate for her student, I have no idea, but 2A definitely did not make me want to jump on the BA bandwagon with my youngest who is on par with her brother. 

For Dd I am supplementing with HOE bc at this pt I already own it and it works.

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DH and Dd both dislike and will not pick it up, I will no longer touch anything AoPs. DH is fairly mathy so  it’s not just me.

Edited by madteaparty

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My kids loved it, but if they didn’t, I would not have pushed. You can do better with MEP and SM, especially if you rely on Intensive Practice books. 

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10 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I don't think "hard math" describes 2A. Add me to the people who didn't like it at all and it wasn't bc anything in the book was difficult.  I have never used any of the other elementary texts, but 2A was a complete waste of $$ here. Whether or not level 3 is appropriate for her student, I have no idea, but 2A definitely did not make me want to jump on the BA bandwagon with my youngest who is on par with her brother. 

For Dd I am supplementing with HOE bc at this pt I already own it and it works.

I had one kid that it worked for and one that it was so far off the mark that it was hard to believe it was the same program. For BalletBoy, it was like everything in it was too easy... until it wasn't, and then it was so frustratingly hard and weird that he got nothing out of it. For Mushroom, the easy problems led him into an understanding and desire to do the challenging ones. So, yeah "hard" is a massive oversimplification. Parts of it are really simple. And I've seen it not click with a kid. On some of the math groups I'm on - and some of the more alternative ed groups - it seems to be the thing that people recommend for *every* kid. I keep finding myself saying, look, this program won't mesh with all kids. Graphic novels and puzzles are neat as a hook, but they're not magic bullets. Sometimes kids need other stuff.

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2 hours ago, Farrar said:

I had one kid that it worked for and one that it was so far off the mark that it was hard to believe it was the same program. For BalletBoy, it was like everything in it was too easy... until it wasn't, and then it was so frustratingly hard and weird that he got nothing out of it. For Mushroom, the easy problems led him into an understanding and desire to do the challenging ones. So, yeah "hard" is a massive oversimplification. Parts of it are really simple. And I've seen it not click with a kid. On some of the math groups I'm on - and some of the more alternative ed groups - it seems to be the thing that people recommend for *every* kid. I keep finding myself saying, look, this program won't mesh with all kids. Graphic novels and puzzles are neat as a hook, but they're not magic bullets. Sometimes kids need other stuff.

Your kids worked through 2A? In my opinion, 2A is just not a well designed text. The concepts are simple. But the text itself is clunky.  I am currently thinking I will try the pre-alg text with dd. She will probably be ready for it by spring of 4th grade.

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2 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Your kids worked through 2A? In my opinion, 2A is just not a well designed text. The concepts are simple. But the text itself is clunky.  I am currently thinking I will try the pre-alg text with dd. She will probably be ready for it by spring of 4th grade.

No, we tried it way before 2A came out. Mushroom did all of BA that was available when he was doing it - I think that was roughly 3A-5A. I know we didn't finish out grade 5. BalletBoy tried 3A and it was a huge bust. It was... just not well-designed for him, shall we say. I looked at some of the second grade ones recently at a friend's house and they seem very much the  same as the rest of the series, so unless there's something that I'm missing from my casual look, I think they're all pretty much the same. AoPS's higher levels haven't been right for either of them.

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Yes, with Beast it’s either too easy or too hard. We only used grade 3, because they just didn’t have other levels, but I strongly believe SM IP does a better job of providing problems at all levels of difficulty as opposed to 1 or 10 (scale of 1 to 10 of difficulty. Yes, I am a little exaggerating) as Beast does. What we liked about Beast was unorthodox topics covered. And my little one liked their way of long division. All of a sudden the was happy because that’s how he divides naturally in his head. So if money is not an issue, I would do another program and maybe use Beast for unorthodox topics (puzzles... counting...). 

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On 12/1/2018 at 9:20 PM, 8FillTheHeart said:

I don't think "hard math" describes 2A. Add me to the people who didn't like it at all and it wasn't bc anything in the book was difficult.  I have never used any of the other elementary texts, but 2A was a complete waste of $$ here. Whether or not level 3 is appropriate for her student, I have no idea, but 2A definitely did not make me want to jump on the BA bandwagon with my youngest who is on par with her brother. 

For Dd I am supplementing with HOE bc at this pt I already own it and it works.

 

I agree. It had a similar set-up, but I didn't think 2A was the least bit challenging, especially when compared to the rest of the BA series. My DS#3 did all of 2A in about a week and a half (at 5yo) and then refused to do 2B when it was released because it was "tooooooooo easy." He liked BA  levels 3 and 4, and then decided he wanted to jump into AoPS Prealgebra. He's gone back and done most of level 5 in between prealgebra assignments, so I'd say he still finds it engaging.

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14 hours ago, Cake and Pi said:

 

I agree. It had a similar set-up, but I didn't think 2A was the least bit challenging, especially when compared to the rest of the BA series. My DS#3 did all of 2A in about a week and a half (at 5yo) and then refused to do 2B when it was released because it was "tooooooooo easy." He liked BA  levels 3 and 4, and then decided he wanted to jump into AoPS Prealgebra. He's gone back and done most of level 5 in between prealgebra assignments, so I'd say he still finds it engaging.

 

Am I reading correctly that your son began doing AOPS pre-algebra around eight years old? Five for level 2; Six, 3; Seven,4; Eight, pre-algebra+ BA5?

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1 hour ago, OKBud said:

 

Am I reading correctly that your son began doing AOPS pre-algebra around eight years old? Five for level 2; Six, 3; Seven,4; Eight, pre-algebra+ BA5?

I read it as having completed BA 2A, 3-4 and pre-alg mixed with level 5 all at ages 5-6.

Definitely not representative of my kids! My kids max out on anything academic related in about 30-60 mins at age 5 (for everything school related, not just math.) And my 8 yr old will do what I ask, but she is not jumping up and down to do more. 30-45 mins of math is the absolute max she will ever do. I don't see how to cover that many books at age 5 without a more disciplined approach to school than we take. 🙂 Our more lax approach is fine with me bc less stress on how to deal with it one the other end. Having them too advanced a young age makes things complicated when they are older. No lofty goals here, so less is great!

Edited by 8FillTheHeart

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24 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I read it as having completed BA 2A, 3-4 and pre-alg mixed with level 5 all at ages 5-6.

 

 

Oh, yeah! 

Either way, if one of us is reading that correctly, that particular kid's aptitude can't really be a gauge against which most other parents can determine if BA2 is "hard math" or not. 

BTDT, as the parent of the young kid doing the high level things 😄 

Edited by OKBud

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9 minutes ago, OKBud said:

 

Oh, yeah! 

Either way, if one of us is reading that correctly, that particular kid's aptitude can't really be a gauge against which most other parents can determine if BA2 is "hard math" or not. 

BTDT, as the parent of the young kid doing the high level things 😄 

But, I do agree with her that 2A is not hard math. I have had kids of varying abilities, gifted to struggling. 2A is not hard math. Confusingly presented at times, yes, but hard concepts, no.

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Programs designed for Gifted-and often gifted in a specific way-kids seem to be especially prone to becoming trendy and “the one”-only to fail because, honestly, they were written for a small subset of kids. I also think math programs by mathematicians tend to struggle when they try to teach arithmetic (I am not super impressed by LoF elementary, either-but DH feels that some of the college level texts are about the best, most readable introductions to the subjects he’s ever seen, and wishes he’d had them as an upper division/graduate student). DD was one of the kids who fangirls over RR and treasures her autographed copies of Introduction to Algebra and Introduction to Geometry-but statistically, she’s a pretty extreme outlier. And I’m not sure she would treasure AoPS as much if she hadn’t been very, very solid on arithmetic and mental math when she got to AoPS PA (and had a little more time to develop frustration tolerance) She’s enjoyed reading the BA books and some of the puzzles in them, but she wasn’t learning the topics for the first time. 

 

I tend fo think that AoPS (and MCT LA, among others) are just as specialized as Barton Reading or Ronit Bird-and should be viewed in the same eye-that if your child needs it, and can benefit from it, it’s wonderful. If they don’t, there are a lot of other options that will probably be a better fit-and, usually, cost less. 

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On 12/9/2018 at 2:30 PM, dmmetler said:

Programs designed for Gifted-and often gifted in a specific way-kids seem to be especially prone to becoming trendy and “the one”-only to fail because, honestly, they were written for a small subset of kids. I also think math programs by mathematicians tend to struggle when they try to teach arithmetic (I am not super impressed by LoF elementary, either-but DH feels that some of the college level texts are about the best, most readable introductions to the subjects he’s ever seen, and wishes he’d had them as an upper division/graduate student). DD was one of the kids who fangirls over RR and treasures her autographed copies of Introduction to Algebra and Introduction to Geometry-but statistically, she’s a pretty extreme outlier. And I’m not sure she would treasure AoPS as much if she hadn’t been very, very solid on arithmetic and mental math when she got to AoPS PA (and had a little more time to develop frustration tolerance) She’s enjoyed reading the BA books and some of the puzzles in them, but she wasn’t learning the topics for the first time. 

 

I tend fo think that AoPS (and MCT LA, among others) are just as specialized as Barton Reading or Ronit Bird-and should be viewed in the same eye-that if your child needs it, and can benefit from it, it’s wonderful. If they don’t, there are a lot of other options that will probably be a better fit-and, usually, cost less. 

How do math programs by mathematicians struggle when they try to teach arithmetic? :-) (As a mathematician currently teaching her daughter arithmetic, I'm curious!) 

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What I’ve seen tends to be either making the easy hard (too much detail) or jumping steps and topics quickly and not recognizing that kids need more practice and repetition. For some gifted kids, that works-they already have intuited the basics and thrive on the increased detail and extra topics and speed. For other kids, it’s a fast lesson in “I’m bad at math and will never be able to do this!”. This tends to be an “expert” problem in general-I had a research assistanceship in grad school helping a very senior professor put his work online as part of a grant. He had fired four IT and CS majors who were all much better coders than I was-but were unable to, in his words “teach an old dog new tricks”. As an education grad student (with a background in teaching preschoolers, and who had worked the college of business computer help desk as a part time job as an undergrad) I could break things down enough that I could teach them-even if sometimes, that meant having to look things up and figure them out on my own at home so I could go in and teach him how to do it. 

 

 

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9 hours ago, dmmetler said:

What I’ve seen tends to be either making the easy hard (too much detail) or jumping steps and topics quickly and not recognizing that kids need more practice and repetition. For some gifted kids, that works-they already have intuited the basics and thrive on the increased detail and extra topics and speed. For other kids, it’s a fast lesson in “I’m bad at math and will never be able to do this!”. This tends to be an “expert” problem in general-I had a research assistanceship in grad school helping a very senior professor put his work online as part of a grant. He had fired four IT and CS majors who were all much better coders than I was-but were unable to, in his words “teach an old dog new tricks”. As an education grad student (with a background in teaching preschoolers, and who had worked the college of business computer help desk as a part time job as an undergrad) I could break things down enough that I could teach them-even if sometimes, that meant having to look things up and figure them out on my own at home so I could go in and teach him how to do it. 

 

 

Ah yeah, I can see that. I bought Beast Academy and was actually not super impressed. I liked the puzzles, but they didn't seem to be communicating anything super important, and the easier problems didn't really build up to them. And they definitely don't have enough practice.

I feel like I've been taking a totally different tack than most curriculums and I've been trying to basically not teach any tricks at all. We just define things and play with concepts, and make observations about numbers :-). I do find mathematical training is helpful because I know more kinds of math so I can think of different contexts that skills can come in handy (we've been doing binary recently, which is surprisingly accessible to a smart 1st grader.) 

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