Still deciding whether RightStart is right for you? Check out my full review.
Interested in using RightStart Math in your homeschool? Buying their curriculum can be confusing, because they are currently in the midst of producing a second edition. This RightStart Math Buying Guide will help clear up the confusion and help you make the best choice for your child and your budget.
Step 1: Placement test
First, have your child take the placement test. RightStart is organized into levels A through E. Level A is typically kindergarten, Level B is first grade, and so on. But, because RightStart has a somewhat unusual scope and sequence, your child may place lower than his or her previous math level. Don’t be worried about this—all curriculum have different definitions of grade levels, but it’s almost always counter-productive to add stress to math time by placing a child higher than the placement test suggests.
Step 2: First edition or second edition?
Dr. Cotter wrote the First Edition in the late ‘90s. Over the past few years, she has begun revising the curriculum and has produced a Second Edition for Levels A, B, C, and D.
Both the first edition and second edition are still available, but I recommend that you purchase the second edition. Some of the benefits:
- Reflects new research and Dr. Cotter’s new insights into math teaching
- Contains more teaching notes and research notes to help you grow as a teacher
- Has a slightly easier-to-follow layout
- Requires one large up-front manipulative purchase, but then the same manipulatives are used throughout the levels. (For first edition, many manipulatives are re-used, but new manipulatives are added for each new level.)
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I prepare my preschooler to use RightStart?
Check out my Preschool Math at Home for simple, playful activities that will help your child build number sense before beginning Level A.
I already own the first edition. Do you think I should switch to the second edition?
The first edition is excellent, and there’s no reason to switch if you already own it. (I personally use the first edition, since I bought it before the second edition was available.)
My older child never developed good number sense and place value understanding. Can I use RightStart to help remediate that?
Yes, but don’t buy the full curriculum. Instead, check out the Activities for the AL Abacus. It provides the most essential activities for developing solid number sense, understanding of place value, and computational fluency in a streamlined (and less expensive) package.
Do I really need to buy that expensive manipulative kit?!
Unfortunately, you really do. In the second edition, nearly all the manipulatives are used in every level, and they’re essential to the program.
I love the idea of using math games in my homeschool, but I don’t want to use the full curriculum. What can I do?
RightStart offers a comprehensive set of math games with games for every elementary math topic. I highly recommend it for adding some fun to any math curriculum.