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  1. #1

    Default Art of Problem Solving Algebra1 / Well Trained Mind Academy?

    Hello Everyone!

    I am new here and also to homeschooling. Am so happy to have found this forum!

    My son is a rising 8th grader. I have been considering the Art of Probem Solving Algebra 1 curriculum but am hesitant because I may not be able to provide adequate support when he is stuck. AoPS classes have no audio; are text based only so it won't work for us. While further researching I came across the "Well Trained Mind Academy" whose Algebra1 curriculum is aligned with AoPS Algebra1 curriculum and they offer online live classes. Seems like a perfect solution for us because they use the AoPS textbook and have live lessons!
    Has anyone here used the Well Trained Mind curriculum? What is your opinion? Would like to know your review on them. I am a homeschooling rookie so would greatly appreciate your help and suggestions.

    Thank you!

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  3. #2


    All I can say about AoPS is that when I looked at it for my mathy son, I rejected it as looking more like a college textbook than a middle school one. It also gives the vibe of being super snooty. We decided on an old regular high school textbook. Its not the bestest thing in the world, but adequate! They do “give lessons” at the start, so if theres ever something youre not sure on, you could always read them yourself!

    WTM is definitely not secular, I dont know if that applies to their math courses as well. (I call it WTF because of some of their ludicrous curriculum choices.) They do have their own forum, that might give you a good sense of its its something that you will fit in with.

    Let us know when you have any questions!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3


    My daughter is using AoPS Prealgebra this year. I agree with AM that it does look dry (compared with the Beast Academy she was using before that). However, my daughter copes with it fine (even though she loved the presentation of Beast Academy). She does not do it every single day (only twice a week), as every day would be too much for her. She uses it in combination with Jousting Armadillos (2 days per week; for an interesting, different approach) and a grade level curriculum workbook from a bookstore (1 day per week; to check she is on track with what would be taught in public school).

    So far, she has found it fine and mostly uses it self-teaching and I check it afterwards. For the parts both of us are not sure on, there is more than enough info in the books for us to figure it out.

    AoPS has it own online classes as well that go with the books. They are quite expensive though. They are online classes with live instruction:

    You can also buy it as an online book with access to videos (not sure what those are like as we have the paper book).

    As an aside, I don't get the snooty vibe off them that AM does. I don't see a problem with programs that are targeted to a specific type of child/learner (i.e., I am totally ok with gifted classes, acceleration, streaming of classes, and recognizing peoples talents and different/advanced abilities for many, many reasons). I think AoPS says "this math is for this type of person" but not "this math is for this type of person and if you can't do it or don't like it, then those who can are better than you", which would be snooty. I don't think that just because a program exists to meet a specific need = snooty or elitist. Children of all abilities are allowed to access curricula and education that meets their needs, and that goes for children of abilities different to those targeted by AoPS being able to access a curriculum that allows them to learn and enjoy math just as much as those who might love AoPS.
    NZ homeschoolers (school year runs start Feb to mid Dec).
    DD 12 (year 7) and DD 7 (year 2).
    Fourth year homeschooling.
    Part-time freelance science copyeditor.

  5. #4


    My son is very visual so we ended up doing Singapore Math 7-8 instead of AOPS for Algebra I. We have used AOPS for geometry and Algebra II, once he grew into the look-feel of the more adult-looking book, if that makes sense. We will be doing AOPS PreCalc this upcoming year. We do like the series, so far.

    Singapore was very attractive-looking but sometimes their explanations were not as clear as they could have been. Apparently Singapore is better for the lower grades. I did not think Singapore Math for Algebra I was "bad" like people say the upper middle school grades are(although 6 looked worse, to me), but it was lacking in clear explanations at times.

    That may also be b/c we went with the common core version instead of the traditional Singapore version b/c I knew we would only be using 7 -8. In any event, my son enjoyed it very much but I would not recommend it.

    The AOPS books do have a teacher solution manual, at a very reasonable price, which I find helpful given the decades it has been since I have done this stuff. We have never tried live lessons, though, so I cannot speak to that.

  6. #5


    Thank you everyone for replying to my question with your helpful replies. Wrt AoPS online classes, they are purely text based; no audio. I am not sure it’s the right method for my son.

  7. #6


    If I was doing it (and this is similar to what I did with my daughter), I would print out the "are you ready for this", "do you need this", and the various excerpts (available via the book page in the bookstore) and try them. Then if the child is ok with it and you want to go ahead with it, order the book and the solutions manual and try self-teaching it to see how you go.

    Then if you need more help, enroll in the AoPS course. I hear you are worried about the lack of audio but it sounds like it is still very interactive without the audio and they seem to have well thought out reasoning behind it. (As a comparison, my daughter has done an online school with audio and lets just say, the audio did not add to the learning experience!). It says that if you drop it before the start of the third class, you can get a full refund. So that gives you two classes to try it out and see if it is actually ok. The way I would see it, they would be the best ones to teach their own curriculum (over WTM).

    Then if it is not a go for your child with the lack of audio, try out the WTM one (again, they have a refund policy).
    NZ homeschoolers (school year runs start Feb to mid Dec).
    DD 12 (year 7) and DD 7 (year 2).
    Fourth year homeschooling.
    Part-time freelance science copyeditor.

  8. #7


    I have a pretty math oriented teen who just graduated this year, having completed AP Calculus at her high school. We tried APoS in 8th grade and it just didn't gel for us. The material wasn't inaccessible and I have a background that allowed me to support it, but it was too much hand-holding at what was a stressful time for me personally. We ended up switching to a Prentice Hall text book that I found at a local used bookstore and that worked better for us.

    APoS was originally created for students who wanted to compete in high-level math competitions. The emphasis is on learning not only concepts and applications, but to do the calculations quickly in order to use them in really challenging, complex situations. It can be a lot of pressure, and I know some really capable students who went on to top engineering schools who gave up on APoS.

    IMO, (as a mathy person with mathy kids and a mathematician husband, who's going to grad school in statistics)the emphasis for Algebra 1 should be on getting a really solid understanding and working relationship with the fundamental concepts. It's a the foundation of everything from here on and many students who rush through concepts, and don't gain mastery, fall off the STeM track just because of unnecessary math anxiety. I will probably use a traditional HS textbook, combined with some practice on Khan Academy with my younger kid next year (rising 8th).
    AtomicGirl--Mom, old enough to know better
    Athena--13, 8th grade, home schooled, 2E, wicked cool
    Monkey King- 8, 3rd grade, home schooled, future owner of the galaxy

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Art of Problem Solving Algebra1 / Well Trained Mind Academy?