Highly Advanced Kids
AAH Math Team originated to give unusually math focused, motivated, mathematically talented kids an opportunity to find a group of like minded peers, as well as to put them in contact with adults who are experienced in dealing with talented math kids. Although our mission has expanded to include kids with a range of abilities, appropriate opportunities for the profoundly math gifted remains a core goal.
We try to get highly gifted math kids involved as soon as we identify them. Kids can continue through high school. The kids who particularly LOVE this are three or more years ahead, and have stood out as mathematically talented their entire lives. They have been math focused from very early childhood. Many of the families in the group homeschool specifically because their child is too advanced mathematically to fit into a standard school setting.
The most important benefit of math competitions to the most highly talented kids is that it connects them with other kids like themselves. They may be within our group, or in the city, or the state, or even the country. But competitions help them to identify each other. A 11 year old who is doing high school level math because they are gifted is very different from a 16 year old at the same math level. The gifted kid is better off connecting with other gifted kids their age than with normal ability age kids several years older.
This connecting process gets going in earnest with the Mathcounts competition. It is a middle school contest, with local, state, and national levels. The winners nationally get scholarships and free trips to Space Camp. The top competitors end up running into each other through their high school careers. They tend to cluster at the same top tier colleges. And it all starts with Mathcounts.
Many parents feel that their elem or middle school aged child who is doing high school level math should not bother with middle school contests. But the exact opposite is true. Those are exactly the kids who have the most to gain because of the networking opportunities. All strong kids who are age eligible for Mathcounts should make a point to do it. They will be able to enter high school contests as well, so it is broadening their experience, not holding them back in any way. We split off the top handful of kids who are eligible for Mathcounts, and they receive special training and attention.
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