How big?

During the fall 2015 season, there were 20 girls, 6 coaches, and three groups.

How much?

2015 fees were $50 for evaluation day and $290 for one spring/fall season. Current fees are on the registration page.

What goes on at a typical meeting?

For the first 30 or 40 minutes the girls work in their workbooks. Coaches help girls with problems or teach them a topic, and occasionally assess fluency. Then girls may switch to Kenken puzzles. We end with a group activity.

Is Athens Area Girls' Math Team right for my daughter?

Not necessarily. Here are some things to consider.

Are you able to meet the significant parental demands? Most all children require support and reminders to do their work at home. Checking the finished exercises after each is finished is important to catch errors and prevent their practicing errors. We have no magic. Ordinary hard work is how math skills develop.

The program is best suited to girls and parents who want more challenge than schools can offer, in particular larger doses of challenging problems. It works most smoothly for girls who either absorb lessons quickly, or whose parents are able to help with explanations at home. Individual tutoring or another program (e.g., Kumon) is more suitable for children who struggle with math at school.

Problem solving and coaches with strong math skills are our most notable features. The challenging problems use skills in the standard curriculum but employ much more reasoning than do straightforward exercises. They only appear in supplemental workbooks that girls do after the regular workbooks if they are working at a level as high as their school grade. Girls progressing slowly (e.g., because work at home is not done) and girls placed below their school grade level do not benefit from these problems until they catch up. All girls, however, can develop some problem solving skills via Kenken puzzles and the word problems that appear in the regular workbooks (that are more involved than typical school problems).

Transitioning to the Singapore curriculum is relatively straightforward for second graders and becomes increasingly complicated in higher grades. (Two fifth graders successfully transitioned and benefitted, but they were both unusually hard working and top students at school.) Girls are typically placed at levels below their school grade. Steady work is required to catch up.

The girls see coaches for one hour per week. The workbooks do not include lessons. Some people do best with introductory lessons and much interaction. At math team girls work until they reach a point where they are unsure of how to do a problem. Then they ask a coach for help. Tolerating uncertainty, recognizing when help is needed, and being able to call over a coach are all necessary.

For the program to be workable, girls cannot be disruptive. They should be able to work steadily for an hour, read most printed directions, and interact productively with adult coaches. If you have a young child, consider whether she has enough energy to work on an academic subject after school.

What about Evaluation Day?

We evaluate where each girl should start the curriculum and whether she is able to work semi-independently for an hour in the team setting. Although it's impossible to know results of an assessment beforehand, we can answer questions and discuss concerns.

Afterwards (right afterwards, if possible) you will receive feedback regarding whether the program is currently a good fit, and the appropriate level of workbook. We are happy to share specifics of the assessment and our reasoning. If the fit is good, then you decide whether to register her for the next season. That registration deadline is three days after evaluation day to allow for book ordering.

Can I reproduce this for my daughter at home?

If your goal is to build strong math skills, and you are mathematically confident yourself, and you can manage the logistics of consistently working with her, then you certainly can help her build a strong math foundation. One on one instruction is very powerful, especially when customized to the current knowledge and personality of the student.

There are community aspects (structure, exposure to other girls doing math outside of school, support from other parents and coaches, group math activities) that are harder to reproduce.

My daughter is not gifted. Will she flounder?

The curriculum is designed for all students. Steady work is the key to progress. It is not always obvious to coaches who is or is not labeled gifted. It also does not matter: we focus on growth in math skills and deal with mathematical issues as they arise.

What are the rules for the girls?

Respect your coach, your parents, your teammates, and yourself.

In practice this means:
Follow directions.
Work hard, in recognition of the people who delivered you here.
Encouraging others is great. Put downs are not.
Give yourself a pat on the back for working hard. Do not compare yourself to others. Instead compare yourself now to yourself one month ago.

Will a girls' math team make my daughter love math?

We do not know. The coaches hope their enthusiasm is contagious. Personal growth can be very gratifying as can being noticeably good at something. Some members say math is their favorite subject. Four of the six members at one elementary school chose math for their Enrichment Cluster subject.

What if homework does not get done?

We are here to support parents looking to strengthen the math foundation of their child. We understand that there are many legitimate reasons why homework was impossible any particular week. Parents may even decide a week off is what their girl or family needs. Skills, however, do not develop without practice and work. Whether our program is still worthwhile is a judgment call.

Some girls work steadily at the rate of two workbooks a year at the level that matches their grade. They excel in school math and their parents find the program worthwhile

My daughter is first grade. Can she join?

An ideal group for girls in first grade would be more active than our team meetings. Working for an hour after a full day of school is hard for many first graders. We would rather have the 1st graders start a year later than lose them after an exhausting experience.

If parents believe that the workbook program would be a good fit for their particular girl, we are happy to discuss the situation.

How do I get my kid to work on a workbook?

Parental enthusiasm and attention are powerful. Consider however you manage to get your child to do other things. Talk to other parents. Math team parents employ many different set ups (with school homework everyday, in the car, long sessions on the weekend). Kids noticeably progress from small amounts of daily effort.

How do the groups differ?

Groups are mostly determined by workbook level. They may be combined based on registration. Grouping by levels allows the ending group activity to be math related.