Beast Academy Math
Updated: Sep 24, 2019
When I planned our 2019 Fall curriculum, I had really high hopes of using an online math program for my 3rd grade daughter. She says how much she enjoys learning online for math including playing games, the interactive format, and the fact that it reads you the instructions. This year, reading has fallen way lower on her list of things she loves, while math remains towards the top. As a mom of four (of which 3 homeschooled this year), I NEED there to be some things that are independent. To have private teaching/tutoring sessions for every one of my homeschoolers, for every subject, every day is not conducive to everyone getting school in. Math is one of those things that my daughter can be independent with for the most part, with some guidance here and there.
When we started the school year, we began with Teaching Textbooks because we had been using that the previous year when she came home half way through 2nd grade, from public school. We used the end of Level 2 and started Level 3 for Teaching Textbooks, when the mood struck her, as we were still in deschooling mode. (Public school for 2nd grade did a number on her love of learning and self confidence as a motivated learner...another story for another day). While Teaching Textbooks has many pros such as, the program reads her everything, math is taught in bite sized nuggets, it has interactive review, and automatic grading. I also love that they have a subscription so you do not have to eat the cost of the pricey DVD's any longer. The cons for us however, and it was a huge one - so huge it caused us to switch curriculum, was that it was constantly repeating itself. While this is great for a child that needs extra help in math and relies on that spiraled approach, it is highly frustrating for a mathematically inclined child who needs, and craves, that advanced and faster paced learning. We found ourselves constantly quizzing out and skipping huge chunks of repetitious material. It became very frustrating for us both and time consuming to try and figure out where she should be yet again.
Enter Beast Academy Online from AOPS (All About Problem Solving). They are known for their thorough math curriculum and critical thinking approach to math. It is not simply "add this, multiply this" in a direct, dry manner, they have some of the most interesting lessons that really get a kiddo thinking critically and creatively about math. My daughter, while "mathy" is a highly creative child and craves that kind of approach. We have been using it for three months and she absolutely adores it. We were able to find the sweet spot of having an engaging curriculum, while having a fun and interactive math curriculum.
She is currently going through their Level 3. (If you have to correlate a 'grade' to the levels, they are about a year ahead of the level correlation. Level 2 = 3rd grade; Level 3 = 4th grade; and so on). When we first started, she was so excited to get to all her favorite (and more conceptual, creative) lessons such as lessons with spatial type puzzles, measurement, and estimations, that I let her skip around and do what sounded interesting. She soon became very aware that she was starting to have some gaps, and while skipping around was fun, she wanted to start back at the beginning and start at the beginning and work her way to the end. She has completed about 35 or so lessons (she also supplements with a heavy dose of Prodigy Math - I will be out with a post on that soon!) and so far is truly loving it.
Beast Academy is traditionally a graphic novel book type curriculum with workbooks that go with it however, we prefer the online version. You still have access to the graphic novel books online, but all of the practice problems are online. Instead of paying for the books, you pay a monthly or yearly (for a discounted rate) fee. I felt it was a pretty inexpensive fee and is even less to add another child. The other great thing is that when you pay for the subscription, you get access to Levels 2-5 books, online work, and they just added VIDEO mini lessons to help learn new concepts! This is amazing to me because if you ever do need to go back and fill in a gap, or reteach something your child needs to relearn, you are able to do that by just unlocking the grade/levels that you need. The last thing I feel I should mention is that, while it does automatic grading like other programs, it also emails you weekly (if you check that option) a weekly report of everything they did for that week. How many minutes spent, what they worked on, what days, etc. It's a fantastic tool and very user friendly for parents!
I will leave the link below if you would like to check it out! (NOT a sponsored post, and NO affiliate link for this one - I just love BA that much :D )
Jolene / The Domestic Teacher