Beast Academy

Beast Academy (mathematics, grades 2-5) operates by giving students problems to solve without a great deal of initial instruction, guiding them into learning as they wrestle with unfamiliar material.

Subject: Mathematics (arithmetic)

Grade level: Elementary and early middle school (grades 2-5)

Publisher: Art of Problem Solving


Description: Beast Academy is a conceptual math program intended to cover arithmetical topics (according to the publisher, it is “loosely based on the Common Core standards”) The program is written in comic book style, with plenty of problems and an online component, and is intended as a full math program (not a supplement).

Beginning with arithmetical problems, Beast Academy moves (by grade 5) into some pre-algebraic material. Like the upper-level Art of Problem Solving materials, Beast Academy operates by giving students problems to solve without a great deal of initial instruction, guiding them into learning as they wrestle with unfamiliar material.

Pros: Beast Academy is strongly conceptural and encourages mathematical thinking (as opposed to formulaic problem solving) at an early age. The program is designed to produce a high level of mathematical achievement at an early age, and is excellently suited to STEM-gifted students. 

Parents of dyslexic children have found Beast Academy (and the AOPS approach generally) well suited to students who struggle with processing written information.

Cons: Many parents have observed that the program is designed for children who process mathematical information quickly (and relatively easily). Although it can be used with slower maturers, it is likely to frustrate many children working at the grade level indicated by the book titles.

The cartoonish, comic-book style is annoying to some learners, and the core books are visually “busy” and distracting.

Why it’s not in the book: Several reasons.

As of publication of The Well-Trained Mind in August 2016, the program was not complete through the end of Grade 5. 

The program introduces “higher level” (abstract and algebraic) thinking at a very early stage. Although many young students will prosper with this challenge, in our opinion, the majority of math students will not be ready for the logic- and even rhetoric-stage skills introduced during grammar- and early logic-stage studies.

Generally, Beast Academy does not hold to our preferred model of grammar-stage instruction; it is strongly whole-to-parts.

What parents say: Visit these forum threads to find out more.


Susan Wise Bauer

Susan Wise Bauer is an educator, writer, and historian. She is the co-author of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (now in its fourth edition), and the author of (among others) The Well- Educated Mind, The Story of Western Science, the Story of the World series, the History of the World series, the elementary series Writing With Ease, and the pre-rhetoric series Writing With Skill. Susan was home educated through high school and has taught all four of her children at home. She has a B.A. and M.A. in English language and literature, an M.Div., and a Ph.D. in the history of American religion from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, where she taught writing and literature for over fifteen years.


6 thoughts on “Beast Academy

  1. Beast academy is really bad. Its not worth it. My child use to use it and it gave incorrect information, the instructions were not clear and the problems were way to hard for the level. I do not recommend Beast Academy for your child, it is just not worth it.

    1. I was just looking at getting it.. but I looked at a sample explanation of multidigit addition and it was a problem with out clear instructions. it fave 48 + 26. said to add 2 to make 48, 50… but it never said to subtract 2 from 26. I can see this being really confusing for a 7 or 8 year old.

  2. BeastAcademy is an engaging curriculum. My kid of 9 loves it. He engages at grade 5 and is very enthusiastic.
    The instructions are clear and engaging. Kids need to learn problem-solving if they want to succeed in the future. BeastAcademy does all that.

  3. I do Beast Academy with my daughter, and love it, but we do it a year behind her regular math curriculum. I’ve read quite a few different opinions on how to best incorporate it, and we ended up creating our own system, which seems to be working very well. My daughter is six, and is just finishing the second grade on Beast Academy, but has almost completed the third grade on Khan Academy. I had her finish all the second grade math on Khan Academy, before I let her start with the second grade math on Beast Academy. You can skip the comic books (unless your child is really into them), and just do the video tutorials and the classroom/lab work, it saves a lot of time, and the video tutorials offer superior explanations. Best wishes

  4. We love Beast academy for my eldest and youngest, They are doing level 5 and level 2. It is not a good fit for my middle child because when things are too challenging she shuts down. It really is dependent on the type of student. We chose to do the online version with the books and utilize the videos to instruct. I don’t think I would do just the books because of the abstract way it is taught the videos are very helpful especially since I was not taught math in the same way as they are learning it.

  5. It really isn’t a year ahead, but it is challenging and is worth it. If you have the kind of kid who will be ready for Algebra in 5th grade that is what it is set up for. And if you have a 5th grader that needs to be ready for algebra in a couple of years, it may work for that if you start lower. The online option is more gentle than the books as lessons are better broken down and there is a video for most of them.

    I absolutely love that problem solving is built in right away. I wish more curriculums did that.

    We have supplemented arithematic practice off to the side, but I think that is necessary with about anything that you do.

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