A Homeschool Math That is Engaging, Challenging, and Fun? Beast Academy May Just Be All That!

By Tricia Brookover

My oldest kiddo learns math similar to how I learn it, so choosing a math program for her was easy.  And then kiddo #2.  We struggled (and cried!) through multiple programs.

I couldn’t understand what he didn’t like about them and he was too young to articulate it.  In his third grade year, I stumbled onto Beast Academy by Art of Problem Solving.Finally.  We had a winner! 

Three years later, Beast Academy has proven to be an excellent fit for him and for my youngest. {Now finishing grades 5 & 3.}It’s also provided us with laughter, made math fun while also challenging them…and me!

Beast Academy: The Basics

There are four levels to the program, 2-5.  While they roughly coordinate to grades 2-5, many people use them for grades 3-6. 2A starts off pretty easy but the difficulty ramps up pretty quickly. Each level has four book sets. The guide book is the comic storybook.  But don’t think this is something you should skip because it’s just a comic. 

This book, through the stories of the students at Beast Academy, starts the math teaching that you’ll continue in the practice books.  The two books work in conjunction together and you really do need both to get the most out of the program.Each of the four books within a level takes us 8-12 weeks to complete. Cost One book level: $108 (4 guide books, 4 practice books) Online program: $15/month or $96/year.  The online program, new this year, takes the place of the books. It is not a supplement. 

The guide books are on there, as well as practice problems and they just added videos.Assessment tests are on their site.  Definitely give your kiddo one because the correct placement may not be as obvious as you expect.  I appreciate that there are placement tests for the various books within a level. 

Beast Academy

Beast Academy: 3 Reasons to Love It

    1. It’s fun. Yeah, sometimes we have to do things that just aren’t fun.  But laughter and enjoyment are a big part of our homeschool life.  If I can find a program that is fun and meets our academic goals, I’m not going to skip it in favor of a boring program.  I want my kids to not just do well in math but also look forward to doing it.  And I don’t want to dread teaching it!  I definitely love teaching math with Beast Academy and my boys are eager to see what the furry creatures are up to in each lesson.
    2. It’s challenging. Beast Academy goes far deeper than your average program.  My daughter used Singapore Math & Math Mammoth, so I was used to math with a high level of rigor and thoroughness.  Beast Academy takes it even further.  My husband and I are both proficient in math but, having learned math in a typical school setting, it doesn’t always come easily to take a different approach to math.   At least weekly, I’m stumped by a problem (even in level 3) and need to consult the answer key.  That would be frustrating to many parents and kiddos but we love the challenge.  My boys think it’s hilarious when even the all-knowing MOM is stumped!
    3. There aren’t a lot of practice problems. This may be a con for some people but it is part of what drew me to the program.  As I considered the math programs that had worked better than others with my son, I realized that they all had one thing in common–they didn’t have a lot of practice to them.  Once he’s learned a concept, he wants to move on to the next one.  Because of Beast Academy’s challenging nature, multiple practice problems would make the lessons a lot longer.  Rather, students are taught how to flexibly apply a concept or skill in various kinds of problems.  Through this application, your kiddos will come away with a greater understanding of how math works.

Math Curriculum Beast Academy Homeschool

 

Beast Academy: What Else You Need to Know

Most answer keys give you just the answers.  But do you ever stare at the answer and wonder how in the world to get it?solution: a means of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation. Beast Academy’s solutions area helps you actually solve the problem.  (Sometimes ‘dealing with a difficult situation’ is more accurate!  Some of these problems are TOUGH.)

If we’re struggling with a problem or I’m unsure how to explain how to reach an answer, the solutions guide empowers me to guide my kiddo successfully to an answer. 

The last thing I want to do is try to figure out how to get to that answer if we’re already frustrated with not having the correct answer!  {I find it helpful to tear out the hints & solutions guide from each book.  This way I can look through it while my kiddo is still able to work on the problems.}

If you need or want extra sheets of some of the games & activities in the book, Beast Academy puts extras on their website. We don’t often use them but it’s a nice option.

A totally minor detail that adds nothing to the story but I love: From the level 2 books to the level 5 books, you can see the students grow older in the illustrations. That attention to detail made this Disney-loving-mama smile. 

We’ve found the pacing to vary by book. Estimate about 10 weeks per book. As we adapted to a new style of math, it took us about 12 weeks for the first two weeks. Now we usually complete a book in 8-10 weeks spending 2-2 1/2 hours a week on it. {If you use the free Homeschool Panda online planner, I have shared our lesson plans for levels 3 and 4. You can import them into your planner!}

At 40-something, Tricia Brookover is finally living life her way, from tackling a 20-year dream to really homeschooling her own way. And this 10-year veteran homeschool mom is on a mission to help others do the same.  On her blog and on her YouTube channel, she has one mission—empower moms to create a homeschool life uniquely their own.

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