I’m your expert in all things related to Art of Problem Solving math curriculum and math contests generally. I guide students who are taking the online AoPS courses and studying from the textbooks independently. I help students prepare for AMCs and I coach a homeschooled MathCounts team every year.
You can also call me a Richard Rusczyk fan girl. One of my favorite talks is one he delivered at Math Prize for Girls in 2009, when he showed this slide:
“I certainly wish your website and materials existed when I was in high school. I went through junior high and high school without ever missing a question on a math test, and then took [Math] 103 and 104 at Princeton, which was one of the most unpleasant and bewildering experiences of my life and poisoned me on math for years.”–Princeton University alum
“I want you to think for a minute what this student’s middle school and high school teachers thought when he went off to Princeton. They thought, “We succeeded. He went off to Princeton; we’re awesome.” They never saw this. I’m sure he didn’t go back to his middle school teachers and say, “Yeah what’s up?!? You didn’t prepare me for this.”
“So they didn’t get this feedback, and this happens a lot. Kids go through school, some very good schools, they get perfect scores on everything, and then they come to a place like MIT, a place like Princeton, they walk into that first year math class, and they see something they’ve never seen before: problems they don’t know how to solve. And they completely freak out. And that’s a bad time to have these first experiences. Having to overcome initial failure.”
Don’t let this happen to your student. Front load their math education by challenging them early in their academic career. I’m talking elementary and middle school.