Updated: Dec 9, 2022
This year I have both boys working through Beast Academy math.
Art of Problem-Solving publishes Beast Academy as a lead-in to its rigorous middle and high school textbooks for advanced students. It is a comprehensive curriculum for grades 1-5. I love that it is both digital and physical. Some days my kids can complete the lessons on their own. On other days the material is more complex- but this platform provides plenty of hands-on activities to grasp the concepts. I even picked up the additional puzzle books. My children excel in math, and my five-year-old enjoys the work the most. Beast Academy does a great job laying the foundation, and when I see the older child has a gap, I can access any chapter or grade and even go back and practice previous stages.
Beast Academy comes with full-color, graphic-novel-style books that tell the story of four "beasts" who attend Beast Academy. We follow the four as they attend classes and puzzle over the problems posed by their instructors. The creature characters have grown on both of my boys. Each monster has a distinct personality, and the comics provide a fabulous storyline of a class of mathletes who infuse humor in every chapter. However, do not let the humor and the adorable cartoon monsters fool you. Beast Academy is not only a math curriculum but the most challenging math program available for these grade levels.
The kids are rewarded online with challenging puzzles that stretch their minds as they complete lessons and chapters. Another bonus included a free resource called Beast Academy Playground, which has plenty of IRL math games and puzzles to try. The kids also earn graphic design dollars and a "bank account" to create their monsters. My kids enjoy this last feature and create a new monster almost weekly. It is fun to watch their knowledge and monsters evolve.
The back-end analytics are significant. You can sign up for a weekly feedback loop to see how much time your children spend working and what areas they focus on. You can see how your student performs in different regions and example problems. My children do a new lesson 3-4 days a week.
Beast Academy is an excellent fit for children who do well in math but are easily bored with lots of repetitive practice. The program requires patience and perseverance for complex problems, but it also helps to build patience for children to whom it does not come naturally. Beast Academy aligns loosely with the Common Core State Standards. It spends more time on critical concepts, mathematical thinking, and conceptual understanding than is called for in the standards. Some skills are introduced more than a year earlier than in Common Core.