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Math Program Evaluation: Aops Beast Academy vs Local Math Circle


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All,
We need some help on deciding which math program to choose as a supplement to child's school curriculum.

We have a child who placed well in her first Math Kangaroo over the summer. We are now evaluating between Beast Academy and our local Berkeley Math Circle.

Can anyone advise of your experience with these programs and which one you would go with? Thank you in advance!

Best - Suma

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Math Circles vary a lot in tone and quality.  I'm in the Bay Area, and I've not seen the Berkeley math circle, but have heard good things about that one and the one in San Jose.  We weren't as impressed by the one at Stanford.  You'll want to ask locally, as WTM is a national list.  

For info of interest to local homeschoolers of gifted kids, consider joining this group:

http://www.sfbaghs.org/

The BAGHS parents are very supportive, but it takes a while to go through the vetting process and get admitted to the group.

For a more immediate answer, I believe there are several moms on this FB group who have direct knowledge of Berkeley math circles:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/emergehsc

BA is more of a solid curriculum, while math circles are generally a supplement.  I think Berkeley is more comprehensive however, but I do not have direct knowledge.  Good luck.  

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I can't speak to Berkeley Math Circle, but Beast is just really fun for math loving kids. Even if you don't use the full curriculum, your child may enjoy the textbooks.  My child still regularly re-reads them years later...

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My new 11th grader has been  in an UC based math circle since the 2nd grade. His cirlce has a three year wiat list.  To get a better idea about the Berkeley Math Circle, get a copy of A Decade of the Berkeley Math Circle: The American Experience, Volume I.  there is also a volume 2.

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Thanks for posting @gstharr, I forgot about that book.  From a distance I hear that magical things happen at Berkeley Math Circle, but we live too far away.  And I'm not sure it's an adequate replacement for a math curriculum, though for many kids it could be.  

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I have experience with math circles in the bay area as my son has been in one since 1st grade. The local ones are not meant as a replacement for math curriculum. These math circles cover a myriad of math topics, discussions and activities led by mathematicians and they are not geared to teach curriculum or to train for math competitions if that is what you are looking for. They provide a thought provoking environment and a source of enrichment for a student who is interested in thinking deeply about a mathematical topic or problem for longer durations. The higher level math circles cover a single topic for a few weeks.

Beast Academy is an elementary level math program which is fashioned to be fun while also challenging. We used their books and not the online option. Though they cover all the elementary math topics, it was not our only source of math.

Edited by mathnerd
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