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RightStart Math program- how do you and your kids like it?

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Melanie J
San Antonio, TX
3/30/2009
Hi all!

I'm a newbie here, and am thinking about homeschooling my son with this program. I took a look at the RightStart Math program, and it looks like what my son would like. However, I am not strong in this area, are the lessons pretty understandable from the parent's (teacher's) point of view.

Thanks!

MJ
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Deidre H
Port Orchard, WA
3/30/2009
I absolutely LOVE RightStart! My kids (varying abilities) have all done well with it (3 kids...we've used Transitions and B through D.) I do have to admit there were a few times I taught a lesson wrong...only to have an AHA moment later, realizing what I was supposed to have done. However, despite that, its still done the best for my kids (and we tried several math programs.) I started my LD 4th grader all the way back in Level B, and don't regret it. He'll never be speedy with the math facts, but they are far better than they were, and he knows how to figure them out from other things he knows, which is really the point! I pulled his little brother back in math to teach them together, and even though his brother was advanced, he still gained a lot from it, and really enjoyed the card games. I don't think you can go wrong with RightStart, other than maybe trying too high of a level to start. (I've heard its harder to come into the middle. However, my 2nd child started in C and did great. But, that may be because I pulled him significantly back from where he had been working.)
- -Deidre
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Melanie J
San Antonio, TX
3/30/2009
Deidre-

Thanks for responding to my post. My son is almost 7yo and he is our only child, and has no other extended family members out here. We live in TX, and he is currently in a private Christian school. However, he it is almost the end of the school year, and he is starting to exhibit signs of boredom with the drill instruction they give. He has been identified as gifted, but even the things they are doing in that specific class aren't challenging him. :( I worry about him being an only child and staying with mommy learning for a few hours, and not being in the classroom socializing etc.

Anyway, all your kids sound like they really enjoy the math they are learning. I taught 2nd grade several years ago, so am familiar with the MBTP unit studies. Are your kids enjoying those too? Is it easy to follow for the teacher's manual part? You said you taught something wrong.. oops! At least you didn't kill their spirit like some lessons being taught in the public or private schools .)

Well, thanks for writing! Oh, how do I know which age level my son should be in, in terms of the curriculum?
The abacus looks fun!!

Hope we can stay in touch!

MJ
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Deidre H
Port Orchard, WA
3/31/2009
Quote:
Deidre-

Thanks for responding to my post. My son is almost 7yo and he is our only child, and has no other extended family members out here. We live in TX, and he is currently in a private Christian school. However, he it is almost the end of the school year, and he is starting to exhibit signs of boredom with the drill instruction they give. He has been identified as gifted, but even the things they are doing in that specific class aren't challenging him. :( I worry about him being an only child and staying with mommy learning for a few hours, and not being in the classroom socializing etc.

Anyway, all your kids sound like they really enjoy the math they are learning. I taught 2nd grade several years ago, so am familiar with the MBTP unit studies. Are your kids enjoying those too? Is it easy to follow for the teacher's manual part? You said you taught something wrong.. oops! At least you didn't kill their spirit like some lessons being taught in the public or private schools .)

Well, thanks for writing! Oh, how do I know which age level my son should be in, in terms of the curriculum?
The abacus looks fun!!

Hope we can stay in touch!

MJ
You will find plenty of socialization through homeschool activities in your community (unless you're extremely rural).

I have not used MBTP, yet...just investigating. I have been using unit studies, and like them, but am burned out by the preparation....that's what led me here.

I've been using RightStart for over 2 years, though. Based on your child's age, I'd start with RightStart B....he'll likely move through it quickly, but I think it will be enjoyable and form a solid base for the other levels.

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Melanie J
San Antonio, TX
3/31/2009
That sounds great Deidre!

I took a look at the RightStart sample pages yesterday, and there are some really neat things in there! I think it would fit my son's interest etc well.
So you are not using the MBTP curriculum currently? How come? Are you using something else?

Are the teacher manuals pretty easy to read in the RightStart program? I have to be honest, I was looking yesterday, and I was looking at Level C program (thinking that would be the best fit) but maybe too advanced for just starting out?? Anyway, I was looking at the near doubles lessons, and I was getting a little confused myself- so just wondering if it is easy to teach.

Thank you so much for your input and info!! I appreciate it!

MJ
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Melanie J
San Antonio, TX
3/31/2009
Hi again!

Boy! It's nice to talk with someone who is actually using this program!!
It looks like he would be in Level C, but it would be beneficial for him to do the "transition lessons" first, then move onto C.

Are you familiar with the transition lessons?

MJ
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Deidre H
Port Orchard, WA
3/31/2009
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That sounds great Deidre!

I took a look at the RightStart sample pages yesterday, and there are some really neat things in there! I think it would fit my son's interest etc well.
So you are not using the MBTP curriculum currently? How come? Are you using something else?

Are the teacher manuals pretty easy to read in the RightStart program? I have to be honest, I was looking yesterday, and I was looking at Level C program (thinking that would be the best fit) but maybe too advanced for just starting out?? Anyway, I was looking at the near doubles lessons, and I was getting a little confused myself- so just wondering if it is easy to teach.

Thank you so much for your input and info!! I appreciate it!

MJ
You can start with Transitions/Level C (that's what my 9yo did), but your son will probably go through the levels quickly, so there's really no reason not to start in B, imo, and just go through it quickly, emphasizing the abacus and 5's and 10's. Transitions helps, but is not as thorough as B, and not as fun. B is a fun level, with lots of card games, which I think would be enjoyable to do. My 9yo still loved to do all the games and stuff with his little sister! Having just one child...you will have to play the games with him, though.

As for easy to teach....yes, its easy. There were a couple things per year that weren't instantly clear to me...but my kids taught me! (Like check numbers in Level D...I was really slow catching onto it, because I never learned it. Fortunately, I got close enough my better student was able to fill in the gaps and teach his brother.) I think the near doubles lesson was a bit hard for me, too, if I recall correctly....but those are rare. I am math-minded, though (computer programmer), but I never really understood what I was doing on anything beyond algebra (don't expect me to know when to use all the higher math I took!) I love the program...my only complaint is that is doesn't become self-directed at any point, and with 4 children, I was running out of time to teach everyone. With one child, I can't think of a single reason anyone wouldn't LOVE it!

- -Deidre


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Melanie J
San Antonio, TX
4/1/2009
Hi!

Boy I think I have a question or comment for you everyday :) Hope that is ok.
I like your ideas for the RightStart. However, I took a look at Level B, and it looked a little "young like" instruction ex. the song"Buckle my shoe," he may not get into that. He likes music, but I could see him thinking this might be babyish. Is Level B all like that?
Yeah, looks like he would fit nicely into Level C, but he does need to get familiar with the Abacus. He has learned 5's and 10's but not on an Abacus.

Are you going to start the MBTP curriculum for the next school year? It seems like such a comprehensive curriculum, fitting all the needs of my son :)

Let me know!

MJ
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Melanie J
San Antonio, TX
4/1/2009
Quote:
You can start with Transitions/Level C (that's what my 9yo did), but your son will probably go through the levels quickly, so there's really no reason not to start in B, imo, and just go through it quickly, emphasizing the abacus and 5's and 10's. Transitions helps, but is not as thorough as B, and not as fun. B is a fun level, with lots of card games, which I think would be enjoyable to do. My 9yo still loved to do all the games and stuff with his little sister! Having just one child...you will have to play the games with him, though.

As for easy to teach....yes, its easy. There were a couple things per year that weren't instantly clear to me...but my kids taught me! (Like check numbers in Level D...I was really slow catching onto it, because I never learned it. Fortunately, I got close enough my better student was able to fill in the gaps and teach his brother.) I think the near doubles lesson was a bit hard for me, too, if I recall correctly....but those are rare. I am math-minded, though (computer programmer), but I never really understood what I was doing on anything beyond algebra (don't expect me to know when to use all the higher math I took!) I love the program...my only complaint is that is doesn't become self-directed at any point, and with 4 children, I was running out of time to teach everyone. With one child, I can't think of a single reason anyone wouldn't LOVE it!

- -Deidre


Hey!

You mentioned that this program doesn't become "self-directed" at any point, will that mean, in the future that it will be harder for the student to use self-directed material, or do this by himself. I want to play and help, but I want him to learn it and be responsibile too.

Thanks!

MJ
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Deidre H
Port Orchard, WA
4/1/2009
Quote:
Hey!

You mentioned that this program doesn't become "self-directed" at any point, will that mean, in the future that it will be harder for the student to use self-directed material, or do this by himself. I want to play and help, but I want him to learn it and be responsibile too.

Thanks!

MJ
My oldest was 11 and using Level D (LD/2e). He was old enough to really need more independence. With your son, I don't think this will be an issue....he'll be through the curriculum before that is an issue. There are still worksheets to do independently (more as the levels progress.) I wouldn't make that a consideration at this point.

As for level B being babyish...the first few lessons might be (the part that reviews level A), but it doesn't stay that way. My 11yo used it when he was almost 10, and is very baby-sensitive....there were only a few things we skipped because of being "beneath" him. (He did groan at his sister singing the songs, and refused to participate in that. Fortunately little sis was singing them...so he heard them anyway.)

As for using MBTP...currently, it seems the best fit for my family. Our convention isn't until June, so I figured I'd wait until then so I could browse through it a bit more. I'm currently "committed" to my current program for this semester. I may try a literature unit before then...but I'm not sure what lit unit to do, now, without impacting future studies.
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Melanie J
San Antonio, TX
4/1/2009
Oh, ok. This all makes sense. :)

You mentioned "convention." Is MBTP going to be be at this fair that is on their website? Is that the convention you are speaking of?

I see it is going to be in SA TX (where I am) too! I would be interested in going, and hearing bout MBTP :)

Let me know!

MJ
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Deidre H
Port Orchard, WA
4/1/2009
Yes...convention...fair...same thing. WA is in June.
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Alice A
AThens, WV
4/25/2009
Quote:
Hi all!

I'm a newbie here, and am thinking about homeschooling my son with this program. I took a look at the RightStart Math program, and it looks like what my son would like. However, I am not strong in this area, are the lessons pretty understandable from the parent's (teacher's) point of view.

Thanks!

MJ
My 6 year old did not like the RightStart Math so we used Shiller Math and it worked just fine for us. We used it with MBTP 5-7 and 6-8 curriculums. The Shiller Math was easy for parents to use with little prep time and the lesson topic changes daily so held the interests of my boys. And no, we didn't have to be math experts either.
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Melanie J
San Antonio, TX
4/25/2009
Oh, that is too bad.
Can you elaborate more on why this math program did not work for your boys.
My son will be using the Level C math program, and from what I have seen, it looks like something he will do well in, but I too, worry about it being challenging enough.

Melanie
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Alice A
AThens, WV
4/25/2009
My son attended a Montessori school prior to us homeschooling and the methods utilized in authentic Montessori clicked with him. For example, he already knew the process for adding 4 digit numbers to 4 digit numbers even though he didn't have addition facts memorized when we started. After that beginning, he found the RightStart abacus both frustrating and silly. Shiller Math uses Montessori-like materials and language so it was an easier transition for us and fit nicely with the MBTP. Shiller also changes materials and topics every few lessons, so it allowed him to keep his mind engaged and progress at a rapid enough rate that he didn't get bored with math.
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Melanie J
San Antonio, TX
4/25/2009
Hi!

Thank you for the information, is there alot of talking that is done by the parent? I was looking at the diagnostic tests and there was alot of talking on the parent's part- do i have to buy the Kit before doing the diagnostic tests?
Yes, my son also attended a Montessori school when he was in preschool, so I am not sure how math montessori math today would help him or not.
I worked in a Montessori classroom tho, and I know that children can learn in this environment.
Does RightStart change lessons frequently like Shiller?
My son NEEDS to be engaged =)

Melanie
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Alice A
AThens, WV
4/25/2009
Quote:
Hi!

Thank you for the information, is there alot of talking that is done by the parent? I was looking at the diagnostic tests and there was alot of talking on the parent's part- do i have to buy the Kit before doing the diagnostic tests?
Yes, my son also attended a Montessori school when he was in preschool, so I am not sure how math montessori math today would help him or not.
I worked in a Montessori classroom tho, and I know that children can learn in this environment.
Does RightStart change lessons frequently like Shiller?
My son NEEDS to be engaged =)

Melanie
Shiller is set up to have a lot of parent interaction, but they suggested that my son could read the lessons and complete them himself whenever he felt comfortable. We use a mixture of both now and it works for us- -he's finishing Shiller book 3 and his reading is fine. We like working through the lessons together, like we do with MBTP.

To answer your other question: You can use the Shiller diagnostic tests without the kit. we used household objects and whiteboards as substitutes on some of the questions. I'm sure the folks at Shiller will help you if you need to clarify a skill they are trying to check.

If you or your son need a program that is more pencil and paper and has less parent interaction, keep exploring options. I have friends that like Math U See, Saxon, Singapore, and RightStart. I've learned a lot from them, online reviews, forums, etc. and gradually have figured out what works with my kids and my style.


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Melanie J
San Antonio, TX
4/26/2009
Hi!

Did you happen to buy the 4-8 Kit with Shiller? I was thinking about trying to find these on my own in learning stores, rather than buy from Shiller- what do you think?
Seems a little spendy for just 2 years (2nd-3rd) for my son. Then have to buy the other kit for the next 3 years

We definitely do not want a pencil and paper curriculum- that is what he has at his school currently, and he needs more hands on and engaging material

Melanie
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Alice A
AThens, WV
4/26/2009
Quote:
Hi!

Did you happen to buy the 4-8 Kit with Shiller? I was thinking about trying to find these on my own in learning stores, rather than buy from Shiller- what do you think?
Seems a little spendy for just 2 years (2nd-3rd) for my son. Then have to buy the other kit for the next 3 years

We definitely do not want a pencil and paper curriculum- that is what he has at his school currently, and he needs more hands on and engaging material

Melanie

We did downloads for the manuals and purchased the individual items we needed instead of the whole kit, since it was cheaper. Like MBTP, you can purchase individual items for the curriculum and use materials across years.
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Carmen L
Sanford, NC
5/2/2009
I love RSM!! We started with another program but my son got bored. He is 7 and gifted at math. (struggles with reading but great at math) I like it becasue it spirals which means he is always learning something new. I can see the reasons they have thme to things and it is buidlign a great foundation. There are not too many worksheets. Some days not any at all. He loves loves loves the games. I will be starting my daughter in the fall with it so I am hoping that she loves it as much as. He test at 4th grade level but i started him with transistion C.
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Laura M
Dacula, GA
5/4/2009
Melanie,

We love it. My daughter, 7, will be in Level C in the fall. It took us about 15 minutes each day to do the lessons in Level B, sometimes longer, but not often. We did all of level B in less than 36 weeks. The great thing is she UNDERSTANDS math. She also loves the games, which really do teach them the concepts. In level B we touched on fractions, division, geometry, and added multi-digit numbers. It's a well-rounded program that keeps my gifted daughter's attention. And there are very few worksheets. She had less than 50 for the whole year.

Laura