RightStart Math Review: A great start, but also a big investment

RightStart Math Review and Buying GuideRightStart lived up to its name for my family and gave both of my kids a great foundation in math. During my busy first few years of homeschooling, I was grateful to simply open the RightStart manual and start reading each day, knowing that the lessons would be well-thought-out, rigorous, and interesting. It’s now been several years since we used RightStart, but I still see the fruit of our RightStart years in my kids’ excellent number sense and mental math skills.

However, despite these positives, my kids only did the first few levels of the program before I switched them to other programs. Sometimes, what’s perfect for one stage of life isn’t the best fit in the next stage–and that’s okay! In this review, I’ll explain more about RightStart’s pluses and minuses to help you discern if it might be a good fit for your family.

Overview

RightStart is a teacher-intensive, manipulative-heavy program, loosely based on Montessori principles. Each level has a required workbook, but most of the teaching is in the teacher’s manual, and lots of one-on-one teaching is required . This is especially the case in the lower levels, and children are able to work a bit more independently as they progress to higher levels.

al abacus, favorite math manipulative

Manipulatives and Visuals

While RightStart covers all of usual elementary math topics, it really shines in its treatment of numbers and operations (adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing). It helps children develop excellent number sense through a variety of carefully-selected visuals. For example, in Level A, children represent the numbers up to 10 with their fingers, tally sticks, taps, beads on the abacus, and words in a song—and that’s just in the first eight lessons! The AL abacus is essential tool in the RightStart curriculum and is used frequently.

RightStart helps children build computational fluency through careful development of the standard algorithms (the usual procedures for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.) Well-chosen manipulatives and a gradual, step-by-step development of an algorithm over a series of lessons make it easy for children to understand not only how to use the algorithm but also why it works. I still remember the joy of my son’s “Aha!” moment in Level B when he suddenly realized that he could add four-digit numbers!

Use of Games

RightStart also helps kids build computational fluency through frequent games. The games prove a lot of practice with mental math and math facts, and many of them are genuinely fun, even for adults. This, plus the fact that there isn’t much writing in the early levels, makes RightStart a great choice for kids whose math ability is further along than their writing ability. The downside, though, is that playing games to cement math facts rather than doing a worksheet means more parent-directed teaching time.

Teacher’s Manual

RightStart uses a highly-scripted teacher’s manual that tells you exactly what to do in each lesson. It even spells out the exact questions to ask, although you can always put the questions into your own words. This might be a drawback if you prefer a more flexible teacher’s manual, but it’s a great strength if you don’t feel confident teaching math and want a lot of hand-holding.

When I used RightStart, I appreciated that I didn’t have to spend a lot of time prepping math each day but could just open the teacher’s manual and start teaching. However, I found I sometimes had to spend some time looking backward and forward in the table of contents to figure out where a series of lessons is headed, because RightStart uses a spiral approach to learning. There are no chapters or units, just a list of lesson titles, and parents often are left feeling unsure whether a topic is supposed to be mastered or just introduced in a particular lesson.

Lesson Length

Because it is so teacher intensive, you need to plan to be present for the entire math session, especially in the early years. Some moms report that they only spend fifteen or twenty minutes on each RightStart lesson, but some spend up to forty-five minutes.

So, should I buy RightStart Math or not?

RightStart Math may be a great fit for you if:

  • Your child loves games and hands-on learning.
  • Your child doesn’t like to do a lot of paper-and-pencil work.
  • Your child enjoys inductive learning, figuring things out, and “aha!” moments.
  • You want an open-and-go, scripted program.
  • You enjoy and have time for parent-directed lessons.
  • You can afford the expensive start-up cost.
  • Your child thrives with regular review.

RightStart Math may not be the right choice if:

  • Your child prefers straightforward and clear demonstrations of math skills rather than figuring things out for himself.
  • Your child learns more slowly or more quickly than most other kids. The spiral lesson format makes it difficult to condense RightStart for advanced learners, and it makes it difficult to know whether or not to move on for slower learners.
  • You don’t have time for lots of parent-directed teaching and games. (This is especially important to consider if you have (or will have) multiple school-age children. Many parents find more than two RightStart lessons per day to be their breaking point.)
  • The manipulative kit doesn’t fit your budget.
  • Your child gets impatient with regular review.
  • You don’t want to have to keep track of a bunch of manipulatives.

How much does RightStart cost?

RightStart’s annual cost is comparable to other programs (about $90 for each year’s instructor guide and workbook). However, the start-up cost is steep–$210 for the full manipulative set! This works out to only about $35 per year if you use it for your child’s entire elementary education, but it’s a big upfront cost.

RightStart also offers a Super Saver option that provides a more pared-down set of manipulatives. With this option, you’ll need to print and prep several more materials, though, too.

Conclusion

For my family, RightStart was the perfect first math program. My kids developed excellent number sense, strong conceptual understanding, and a positive attitude toward math. But eventually, I decided that switching to other programs would serve us better. The hands-on teaching time simply became too much with two kids (even for a math-loving mom like myself!) and my kids’ individual personalities made other programs a better fit.

My son loves math, but he hates review when he thinks he already knows something. Plus, the spiral format made it too difficult to accelerate him to his optimal pace. (For those of you who love curriculum details: We ended up going through half of RightStart C (first edition). Then, we worked through Singapore Primary Math 2A and 2B to finish up subtraction before moving on to Beast Academy 3A.)

My then-6-year-old daughter did NOT like being told what to do, so I decided to switch to a more independent program for her. (She finished RightStart B (first edition), then moved to Singapore Primary Math 2A and has used Singapore ever since. If you’d like to read more about our switches, scroll down through the comments below for more details.)

The bottom line: If you can afford the time and money required to teach RightStart, the program provides an excellent introduction to math and helps set children on the path to becoming capable and confident at math. It’s a great program for a child who likes conversational, hands-on learning and for a parent who has the time for lots of one-on-one instruction.

But if RightStart isn’t in your budget, don’t worry! There are many excellent homeschool math programs out there that cost a lot less. Check out my curriculum page for reviews of my other favorite programs to help you find something that won’t bust your budget.

Updated May 2020. This is my honest opinion of the program; I was not paid or compensated in any way for the review. However, I am an affiliate of RightStart Math. If you buy an item through an affiliate link above, I receive a commission, at no additional cost to you. 

Please note that comments are closed on this post. If you have a question, you can contact me here

142 thoughts on “RightStart Math Review: A great start, but also a big investment”

  1. Why did you change after 3 levels? I am interested in this program, as well as horizons math. If I do horizons I would probably get the abacus and teach with the number sense as a goal…horizons does not really tell you how to teach a concept anyway. I am somewhat mathy and was exposed to the teaching for understanding and inquiry based learning in college teaching classes and math teacher conferences. It seems like a good idea and sure helped my basic math skills. That said I am suspicious of Asian math and any “new math” stuff. It was sure detrimental for my uncle to do new math on the 70,s or late 60’s and Abeka worked for me personally…I guess it makes me nervous to try something different. But this math program reminds me of AAR which is the Orton Gillingham based trading program I use and love in that both teach why then drill which makes tons of sense…any thoughts would be welcomed.

  2. I had two main reasons for switching. One was that I was ready for my son to have a little more independence in his math work, and RightStart is quite teacher-dependent. The other is that it is hard to condense RightStart. He was ready to move a little faster than the RightStart lessons were moving, and the spiral nature of the program makes it hard to combine lessons and move faster. It’s an excellent program–the daily lesson structure just wasn’t the best fit for us at that point.

    I love how you sum up AAR (“here’s why, now practice”). I use AAS and like it for the same reason. If you like that approach, RightStart would probably be a good fit for you.

    You’d probably be fine with Horizons if you use an abacus and manipulatives to teach number sense and conceptual understanding alongside the exercises. My one caution would be to be brutally honest with yourself about how much time and energy you’ll have to figure that out each day. For me, even though I write math curriculum, I don’t always have the energy on an average Tuesday morning to come up with a lesson from scratch, so I rely on printed curriculum (either my own or someone else’s) to at least guide me on a day-to-day basis.

  3. The brutally honest part is so true hence the AAR. I am trained in Orton Gillingham but I got tired of always writing my own lessons…and I had a baby. I still write some practice sentences and stories for my son because he likes them and I tweak lessonsbm but I don’t always have to do anything. Thanks for the input. I found a used RS A teachers Manuel and so I am going to look at it. Buying used will also help with cost:) I don’t mind using the original program. Thanks.

  4. Sorry to post another question. I can see perhaps using this program for a while then switching in 3rd or4th grade. (I have 3 kids 4.5 and under) How is the scope and sequence compared to a more traditional program? Would this be a problem?

  5. No worries, I’m happy to answer questions!

    The scope and sequence is slightly different than other programs, but it’s still fine to switch. The biggest difference in the early grades is that Level B focuses mostly on addition (without much subtraction), so a child who switched after Level B to a different second-grade program might miss some of the early subtraction exposure. However, once a child has done Level C, he or she is on track with the more standard scope and sequence. As a result, a lot of families (including mine) do RightStart through Level C and then switch to something like Singapore or Beast Academy for third grade.

  6. Hi Kate, thank you for this review of Right Start. I have been using it through K with my daughter, and there are MANY things my hubby and I love about it. He is the math-brain and specifically picked it at a home-school convention. It fits our daughter very well — she is the “sociable child who loves games and hands-on.” I love the way addition is introduced as “partitioning” and the endless variety of visuals that accompany concepts.

    HOWEVER… I am getting concerned with three main things: 1. The lack of periodic assessments; 2. The — if I may say so — rather bizarre nature of the assessments; and 3. The way the concepts seem to be introduced willy-nilly and then forgotten.

    Concern 1: I think my daughter needs more regular assessments, and although I “build” review into every 5 and 10 lessons, some concepts seem to be “let go.” For example, we are now on Lesson 35, but quadrilaterals, parallel and perpendicular lines are totally off the radar, and she has now almost forgotten them. I am wondering, ‘Why were they even introduced?”

    Concern 2: The assessments seem strange to me. As I look ahead to the next assessment in Level A, it asks for my daughter to “show what under the table is.” I am wondering why it’s not asking her to give examples of parallel and perpendicular lines. 😉 She KNOWS what “under the table is.” And there isn’t much other to assess besides that and perhaps three other random things. That honestly seems strange to me.

    Concern 3: I am concerned about my daughter not learning, for example, “8 + 7 + 3” before the end of first grade and not knowing how to compute something like that. I am seeing a huge swing from one lesson to another, and I don’t know now what to expect.

    That said, STILL there are tons of things I like about this program. I wonder if there is a way for me to incorporate another curriculum — Horizons, for example — so that she is getting some of the nitty-gritty stuff??

    Thanks for listening! I appreciate your advice.

  7. Hi Debbie,

    Glad to hear that you and your daughter are enjoying RightStart! Here are my thoughts on the concerns you mentioned. (And bear in mind that I’ve only personally used the first edition, so I apologize in advance if anything I say doesn’t apply to the 2nd edition materials.)

    First of all, I agree with you that several of the non-arithmetic topics in Level A feel a little random. There’s nothing wrong with introducing some of the geometry terms, but I’m not sure why they get so much focus. (My guess is that Dr. Cotter was initially trying to meet a specific states’ set of standards when she wrote the program in the 90’s, and so she included everything required by that state.) Your example about “under the table” is another good example of it. I suspect that these topics fall off the assessments because they’re truly not as important as the number sense, place-value understanding, and computational skills that kids are building throughout the program.

    The spiral nature of the curriculum–those swings from lesson to lesson–can definitely be tricky to navigate. I’m personally a “big picture” kind of person, and so I don’t like not knowing where the curriculum is headed either. I often read ahead a few lessons to see where we’re going and to what degree the child is supposed to master the current lesson. But it does take a little figuring out!

    The assessments in Level A are new, and so they may not be well-integrated into the program. Personally, I wouldn’t worry about them. The main point of assessment is help us teach our children better and remediate any gaps before they become big problems. But when you work with your child every day, you get a very clear picture of what your child has mastered and what your child needs to review.

    RightStart is a very advanced kindergarten program, and your daughter will truly have an excellent foundation for higher-level math. But I do wish that the program explained itself a little more along the way to help parents understand what it’s trying to accomplish and how. I don’t recommend adding anything to the program, mostly because I think it’s usually better for us to pour our energy into teaching one program well than into cobbling together bits of this and bits of that.

    You sound like you’re doing a great job with it–and having a kindergartner who likes math and is thriving at such advanced work is a big accomplishment!

  8. Kate, thank you for the thoughtful reply! I would like to follow up just a little…

    In reading some of the comments you made to the inquiry prior to my own, it sounds like you were very happy with the progress your kiddos made in math for those first three or so years with RS. That is encouraging to me. It sounds like, then, you didn’t feel that concepts had “flown off the radar” for them with the spiral nature of the program? From what you share, it sounds like the foundation for them — and what you anticipate for my own daughter — was excellent.

    I don’t have my hands on a Level B or Level C yet, but it sounds like there is some discrepancy with a normal Scope and Sequence if ditching RS before making it through Level C. That said, let’s say we decided to do the same: May I ask if there is a program you would recommend hands-down after the switch? I ask because there is so much manipulative use and conceptual foundation with RS, so I would want to ensure that the switch to another program would have some consistency in that area. I fear something radically different in approach would confuse my daughter. Of course this is all hypothetical.

    Thanks again!

  9. Hi Debbie, Yes, RightStart has given my kids a terrific foundation. They may have forgotten a few of the less essential ideas (for example, my now-9-year-old always had trouble remembering the difference between parallel and perpendicular until he studied it again in Beast Academy) but they have a deep understanding of numbers and operations and feel confident that they can understand math and solve challenging problems.

    As you said, if you’re doing RIghtStart, sticking with it through Level C is a good idea so that your child masters the typical K-2 scope and sequence before switching. There’s no need to switch at that point, but if you wanted to switch, Singapore is an excellent choice. It’s certainly a little different than RightStart, but the overall focus on conceptual understanding and strong mental math skills is the same. My son didn’t have any trouble getting used to a different forma, so the transition was pretty smooth.

  10. Once again, Kate, thank you. Your response to my questions was very encouraging to me. I have been looking ahead into RS Level A, and I am happy with the way I see the lessons progressing. Since you are not only a fellow home school mom, but also a mathematician and someone who has USED Right Start, it was tremendously helpful for me to get your advice. I appreciate it!

  11. I am planning to use the original edition of rightstart a next year with my kindergartener (5 in a few weeks) I also bought the b teachers manuel (I found this all used). I was wondering how you supplemented. Did you just play extra games (I have the game book) and maybe use a kumon book if the children needed more practice? I think A will go pretty fast…he has done some math and likes it but I don’t want to push. I plan to start b partway into the year. Just wanting some ideas of how someone actually used this. Thanks

  12. I used A and B pretty much as written, without much supplementation. My son picked everything up quite quickly, so the games and warm-up activities were enough for him to master the material thoroughly. My daughter needed a little more practice with the addition and subtraction facts, so I used my Addition Facts That Stick and Subtraction Facts That Stick books’ games and worksheets for reinforcement. I also needed to adjust the pace more for her, dragging some lessons out and sometimes skipping a concept until she was ready for it. For some reason, she just could. not. get. the idea of subtraction at first, so I skipped it for a month or two and then came back to it when her brain seemed more ready.

    You’ll likely get a sense of whether you need to supplement or adjust the curriculum as you go. Level A is very introductory, so you’ll probably be able to just whiz through for now.

  13. Thanks. That is what I thought about A also. I am planning to whiz through it. Thanks for your thoughts.

  14. Hi Kate, thanks so much for this review. I found you through the Your Morning Basket podcast! I have been planning to use RS level A with my first grader next year and was really encouraged by hearing about your experience and recommendation. I got to sit in a few workshops about RS at a homeschool convention last weekend and was even more sold on it than I was before. I was also homeschooled but I felt like my mom really struggled to find a good math program that she liked especially for the elementary years so I am so hopeful that my children will have a different experience than I did, one where they grasp the truth and beauty inherent in math that I don’t always even see. Your thoughts on YMB were excellent and inspiring as well toward that end! Thank you so much!

  15. So glad that you enjoyed the podcast, and that the review was helpful, Sarah! Enjoy Level A–it’s a lovely way to get started in homeschool math (both for kids and moms). 🙂

  16. Hi, Kate. We’ve got four littles: In September they will be 5.5, 4.5, 2.8, and 1. We are planning on starting the 5.5-year-old with RSM A; his only formal math lessons have been counting, connect-the-dots, and writing numerals, all in Kumon books. I’ve heard from you and others about how one-on-one RSM is, but also that Level A is appropriate for 4-year-olds. Do you think we could do joint lessons with both of our children? In many ways, my 13-months-apart children are like twins, but in other ways, my five-year-old is noticeably more advanced than my four-year-old. Are the games set up for three players? Is there a lot of conversation where my son can, in his enthusiasm and pride, answer all the questions and leave my daughter as a discouraged observer? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to best handle this. Or if there’s another curriculum that would still be conceptual but more suited to our situation. Thanks!

  17. Hi Eric,

    I think it’d be well worth your while to give joint lessons a try and see how it goes. As you said, most 4-year-olds can handle Level A just fine, and your kids will probably enjoy having their math lesson together. Most of the games can be easily adapted to 3 players, or else the parent can simply observe and let the kids play. (In fact, that might be pretty ideal, since I’m guessing you’ll often be busy with your two littler ones!)

    As far as lesson questions go, you will certainly want to establish some family norms for how questions get answered. There are enough questions that the kids can take turns most of the time, but you may need a “talking stick” or something else that they can physically hand back and forth to indicate whose turn it is to answer a question. Or, you could have them whisper in the answer in your ear so that both have a chance to answer.

    There are certainly no guarantees that it’ll work, but I’d guess that it will work out great. If your 4-year-old is overwhelmed, you might drop back the difficulty level and try my “Preschool Math at Home” which leads nicely into RightStart. Or, if your 4-year-old is thriving, but your 5-year-old is bored, you may need to separate them and let your 5-year-old zoom ahead in the book. But that’s just one of those things that you likely won’t know until you try.

  18. Hi Kate,
    I bought a used edition of RS Level A from a friend at the end of my daughters kindergarten year. I really liked the straightforward lessons as I had been cobbling things together for that first hs year. I should have tested her as RS recommends but decided that I wanted to start with Book A when we got into our first grade year. I wasn’t a strong math student, so I wanted to learn the foundation of how this “new math” worked. The first 10 lessons felt repetitive to me and was stuff she had already mastered but I wasn’t feeling confident enough with hs to skip anything then. I also supplemented with Life of Fred and Bedtime Math. While it’s not her strongest subject because I don’t think there’s enough repetition for her, she grasps the concepts pretty easily and really likes math. I had some personal issues come up in the spring and so we never finished Book A. I had plans to finish up in the summer but that didn’t happen and here we are beginning second grade and still finishing up the last few lessons in A. In looking at B, it seems that it is a lot of the same material. Should I start in on B and just learn to be ok with the fact that she’s a grade behind or should I just teach the lessons in B that I think she needs some review and more experience with and try to condense it so that we can get her into C this year? Thank you!

  19. Hi Sasha, My advice would be to condense just the first part of B (the section that reviews level A), but then teach at whatever your usual speed is for the rest of B. It’s fine to hurry along a little, but I’d suggest not rushing too much. Level B is in many ways the most important level of the program. The mental math strategies, mastery of the addition facts, and deep understanding of regrouping and the place-value system are crucial to the higher levels, so they’re worth lingering on. Taking your time with B will likely save you time in the long run—when the foundation is firm, it’s a lot easier to build on top of it.

    That said, first edition level C is extremely looong. (It takes many families a year and a half.) I’d definitely suggest talking to the RightStart customer service people and seeing if you can switch to 2nd edition for C so that you don’t get bogged down and worry about dropping further behind grade level.

  20. Kate thank you for your taking the time to answer my question. Good, sound advice and it gives me some insight on what to expect from Levels B and C.

  21. Hi Kate,
    Do you have reviews of any schools using this program? I have a teacher friend who is struggling to find an appropriate math curriculum for her junior high special learners.
    Thanks,
    JK

  22. Hi June, I don’t personally know of any schools that use the program, but they do put out a classroom version of the program. I’ve heard their customer service folks are extremely helpful, so they’d be good people to talk to if your friend would like to find out more.

    I think it’s a a great program for kids of any age who struggle in math–I used a lot of its material to help get a 4th grader get up to grade level. Your friend might also be interested in looking at the RightStart Arithmetic Kit. It’s a streamlined version of the whole curriculum that would allow her to work though the basics of arithmetic in a focused way.

  23. Hi Kate,

    I’m so thankful to have found your website, and appreciate the many hours you spend in helping us moms tackle the job of math education in our homes!!

    I started my older two three years ago with Singapore Primary Mathematics, it went ok for awhile but eventually my oldest son was is tears over camping so long on the same topic, and I think it was too abstract for my very young first grader. She and I had a math battle most days. This fall my son started Beast Academy and is thriving with it, and I switched my daughter to Right Start B. We are now in lesson 51 of RSC. She seems to like RS and enjoys the games, but we spent all week on subtraction, and she’s know her facts through 20 for a while now. I don’t feel like we are making forward progress and I’ve tried to combine/ skip some of the lessons, but I hesitate to do this too much as I don’t want to skip anything foundational.

    You should also know I have a son in K and daughter in pre-K. RS A is my favorite curriculum for this age and I wish I would have started my older two with it. It is a perfect fit for my Wiggly Willy son, and the lessons are fun……………when we actually have time to do them! The reality is we are only doing 1-2 lessons per week.

    All that to say, I’m considering going back to Singapore with my daughter(age 7), for these reasons 1) I would like to feel confident we are making progress in math, instead of spending so much time reviewing a topic she knows well , 2) I think I understand the Singapore method better after teaching RS, and would hopefully do a better job teaching it, and 3) I would like more time to teach my K son with the RS curriculum.

    Any thoughts or advise?

  24. Hi Marie, That’s where I got bogged down in RightStart as well. I love levels A and B, for all the reasons you mentioned, but it definitely starts to feel like a slog halfway through C, and it’s not easy to compact or accelerate.

    Moving back to Singapore for your 7-year-old sounds like it makes a lot of sense for you. (It’s what I ended up doing, too, as a transition between RightStart and Beast Academy.) You might want to keep using the games from RightStart to continue to add some fun to the lessons and ease the transition to more bookwork, but otherwise you should be good to go. Also, you may want to keep using the abacus and place value cards from RightStart as needed to demonstrate the algorithms and mental math strategies concretely.

    Hope that helps! 🙂

  25. Kate,
    Last May I had a few concerns about RS, and you gave me some guidance (see comments above). For awhile afterward we plowed ahead really well with RS, but lately I just don’t know: Honestly, it seems quirky to me. 😉 Maybe that is okay because Math can be quirky. In one of the previous comments you suggested seeing it through until Level C. We are finishing Level A this year (my daughter is in first grade), and that means two more years of RS, and I just don’t know if I can do it. As I said before, there are things about it I love; there are other things that I just find strange.

    My daughter is VERY good at Math. She also loves the hands-on stuff. I feel like we are getting bogged down, and I also feel dislike the way some of the concepts are taught (i.e: place value). So I am seeing it through Level A, the end of this year, and then I feel like I need to seriously consider making a switch as my daughter begins Second Grade. I do not know for certain we will make a switch, but I think my hubby and I need to assess things come the school year’s end.

    That said, you recommended Singapore being a good alternative, but that was your recommendation if we decided to switch “after Level C.” So hypothetically, if we find we need to switch AFTER LEVEL A, may I ask: What program would you suggest as the “easiest” transition for my daughter as she begins SECOND GRADE? Again, she is quite good at Math, and she loves the hands-on.

    Thank you, Kate!

  26. Hi Debbie,

    If you’re finding that RightStart isn’t a good fit for you, I’d recommend just going straight to Singapore 1st grade. Now that you’ve worked with RightStart for a while, you can always use the abacus and place value materials as manipulatives for illustrating the first grade concepts. Much as I love RightStart for the beginning years, it’s certainly not the only way to learn math. I love all the freedom we have as homeschoolers to switch things up!

    Kate

  27. Kate,
    Thank you. So to make sure I understand correctly: I would begin Singapore First Grade math with her as she begins Second Grade come next Fall? I assume that would be necessary to “fill in any gaps” she may miss by not doing RS Level B? (It may be a scenario where we decide to “do some math” over the summer, anyway).

    If we find she is catching on rather quickly with Singapore First Grade — because again, she is very good at Math — would it be advisable to try to get her to the Singapore Second Grade as soon as possible?

    You can probably tell my main area of concern right now is that she not “get behind” or have too many “gaps” with a curriculum switch, especially because she does enjoy math so much and it seems to come rather quickly to her.

    I appreciate your insight, Kate.
    Thank you,
    Debbie

  28. Hi Debbie,

    Definitely look over the Singapore placement tests to confirm (found at http://www.singaporemath.com/Placement_Test_s/86.htm). But I’d expect that Singapore 1A would be the place to go after RightStart A. Singapore 1A covers two-digit addition and subtraction much more thoroughly than RightStart A, and it’s definitely essential for moving forward to the second grade books. Since your daughter learns math quickly, you may find that there are topics that you can work through fairly quickly, without doing every page or lesson. But I wouldn’t try to rush it too hard. Singapore really builds concepts step by step over the years, so you don’t want to miss any of the building blocks. Singapore is generally considered “ahead” of American textbooks, so she’ll still be roughly equal to same-age peers.

  29. Kate,
    Yes, I noticed the free placement test on their site — thanks!

    At the risk of driving you crazy with questions, I have one more scenario for you: Let’s say we decide to go ahead and stick with it, and we use RS Level B for next year (her Second Grade year) after all, and then decide to switch. Do you think it would be better to cut the ties now, or do you think it would be okay to do one more year of RS before switching?

    Thanks,
    Debbie

  30. No worries, Debbie. I can talk math curriculum all day long! 🙂

    I really think either way is fine. If you do RightStart B, you should be fine going straight to Singapore 2A. But if you want to stop now and go to Singapore 1A, that’s great, too. Both are terrific programs, and there’s enough review in these early levels that you shouldn’t have any problems with gaps.

  31. Kate,

    I love your blog and your reviews are so helpful. My oldest is about to be 7 (boy) in first grade. We have been doing Saxon Math, level 2 this year. Kindergarten last year he completed and successfully grasped Saxon level 1. We seem to have hit a wall in Saxon thus far this year. Facts that he knew before he now has trouble figuring. Is this normal? I was researching Right Start since I have 3 younger children who would be coming up and have wondered if it may be worth our while to switch over. What are your thoughts between the two?

    Do you have any other suggestions on how to re-engage the 7 year old’s love of math? It has deflated in the past few months and it’s devastating.

  32. Glad you’ve found the blog helpful, Lauren!

    Kids sometimes take a step backward when they’re learning something new, so it’s certainly possible that his brain is just making new connections and not processing so quickly in the mean time. But if he learned the facts mostly by rote, it may be that he simply isn’t remembering them and needs to either review them more and learn them in a more strategy-based way.

    As you’ve probably seen in your research, RightStart and Saxon are very different programs. Saxon works fine for many families, but it’s not a program that I recommend. I could write a whole blog post about it (and perhaps should!) but my main issues with it are:

    1. Jumping from one topic to another makes it difficult for kids to really master topics. They don’t have several days in a row to focus on just one topic.

    2. Saxon is very procedural in its teaching: here’s WHAT to do. I believe kids thrive most in math when they have a mix of procedural and conceptual teaching: here’s WHAT to do and WHY.

    3. The problem sets are very long and tedious. They’re more than most kids need, and all that repetition can really make kids hate math.

    That said, some families love it and have been very successful with Saxon. It has a long track record in the homeschool community, but I believe there are better options out there now–including RightStart. 🙂

  33. It is so validating to read that RS C (1st ed.) can take a year and a half for many families. I have been plodding along with my 3rd grader, and I figured I must’ve gone wrong somewhere. Or perhaps math was harder for him than I thought….but my instincts said he was doing fine! We are about to start division. I don’t like math lessons to go too long and have split lessons and practice up quite often. I also try to stick to the lessons and not skip much because so much has been said or written about the wonderful nature of the program. However, this article also validated an unarticulated concern: I couldn’t tell where the curriculum was going. I felt rudderless but was trying to be trusting! 🙂 I am considering a curriculum jump after we finish RS C despite finding D for a great price. Thank you for your article! Looking forward to poking around your site more.

  34. Ooh, Anne, that’s one of my biggest challenges in homeschooling: deciding how much to trust the curriculum and how much to adapt and tailor it to my own kids. It’s definitely a balancing act, and I’m glad the article helped you validate how you’re feeling about RightStart. 🙂

  35. Hi Kate,
    Thanks for all the information you share through your site. I have also worked through Addition Facts that Stick with my daughter and it has been great. I am working through Right Start B with daughter age 7. She is not a natural learner, most things are a struggle. Right Start has been great, but we are almost through her second grade year and have not covered subtraction! We are also heading into lessons on vertexs and symmetry. I am beginning to think we need to move to something a little more traditional and something that takes just a little less of my time. . My other kids have done Christian Light Education Math, but I also have Math u See manipulatives in the house. Do you have any thoughts on a good path for us?

    Thanks.

  36. Hello! Let me say I am so very thankful for your web site and advice.

    If we complete RS A, B, C for kindergarten, 1st and 2nd, where would you advise we pick up Singapore? 3A?

    I’ve also had recommendations to use Singapore through grades 3-6, and then move to Saxon for 7-12. Would this make sense to you? If not, do you suggest Singapore through the middle and upper grades, or do you recommend another program?
    Thank you!

  37. Hi Kelli,

    Yes, 3A is a good place to start after Rightstart A, B, and C. Both programs get kids roughly to the same place at that point: fluent in multi-digit addition and subtraction, and with a beginning understanding of multiplication and division.

    I’m just at the beginning of researching middle school and high school programs (my oldest is just turning ten), so I’m afraid I’m not much help there yet!

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  38. Hi Kate,

    I am using RightStart and it has been a great program for my kinesthetic daughter. She is 11 and we had a slow start to Math understanding and so we took our time. We are about halfway through Level D. I am considering changing to something else for next year, that we could move ahead with. I see you recommend Singapore which I really like the sound of and I am going to look more into. Would it be visual enough for her? Also, have you had any experience with Teaching Textbook, as this is the program I was looking at moving her into?
    Thank you.

  39. Hi Kate,
    My 5 year old son just completed Singapore Earlybird Kindergarten Workbook B. While we still like the Singapore method of teaching, I am planning to switch to Right Start because he is a very “hands on” learner and loves games. We also ended up doing much of the Singapore book orally because although he understood the math he tired with the writing. Given that he has already completed and understands Singapore K workbook, would you recommend Level A or B of RS? I also anticipate switching back to Singapore at some point once his fine motor skills improve but want to give RS a try for this coming year. Would the transition be smoother to switch back to Singapore after level B or C? I’m trying to get a big picture in my head 🙂 Thank you! I appreciate any advice!

  40. Hi Jennifer, I’d recommend going with RightStart A. It goes much deeper than Earlybird, especially with place-value. Just feel free to move quickly through lessons where your son already knows the material.

    It doesn’t make a difference whether you transition back to Singapore after level B or C, but Level C is probably a slightly smoother transition. Singapore teaches addition and subtraction together, while RightStart focuses more on addition in Level B and subtraction in Level C. So, having your child master both addition and subtraction before going back to Singapore may make placement easier. (He’ll probably be ready for Singapore 3A at that point.)

    Earlybird to RightStart A is actually what I did with my daughter, and it worked well. I ended up moving her back to Singapore after level B, but that was mostly due to style and not content. She preferred more independent work, so Singapore was a better curriculum for her at that point.

    Happy Math!

  41. My almost 10 yr old is half way through Right Start D and, while there are things I LOVE about it, I’m considering a switch. Its the only curriculum we’ve done. He definitely needs more practice and review (neither of us super love the games, and they don’t seem to help much, so I create my own practice worksheets), and I think he’d really benefit from a more mastery-based program. We just start getting the hang of something and are switched to another (seemingly unrelated) topic. By the time we circle around to the first thing again we almost have to start over. He struggles to remember facts but does well with various tricks. He has a great abstract concept of math and number sense because of RS. His mental math is good, but he sometimes needs reminders of the procedures. He’s very slow to process things and loses focus. He’s a whiz at word problems. RS has finally helped ME understand and be confident with math, so I love teaching it because I get to learn, but I’m not sure if its best for the actual student in the family. ????

    After reading through your articles I’m leaning towards Math Mammoth or Singapore. He’d love the idea of Beast, but I think it’s be too challenging for him as his confidence isn’t very high. MathUSee is tempting because of the videos, as he learn really well from videos but I am afraid he’d be bored.

    He’s my only student so I’ve got plenty of time. Colors, etc aren’t important. He enjoys word problems. I need helps as my math skills are poor.

    Would you have a suggestion for us?

  42. Hi Tina,

    That’s fantastic that RightStart has laid a great foundation for your son, but I can see why you’re thinking about a switch. Based on what you wrote, I’d recommend Singapore over Math Mammoth. Both are great programs, but Singapore offers a full teacher’s guide, while Math Mammoth only offers some general teaching suggestions. With Singapore, you’ll be able to continue learning and growing as a math teacher more easily than MM. I think you’ll find it much more satisfying!

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  43. Hi Kate,
    I had planned using RSM with my child when we got to school-age (just turned 4). I still plan on doing so, but after reading this I have a few questions:
    1) If she continues to show signs of math giftedness, I was going to switch her over to Beast Academy. BA will eventually have a second grade level. But according to this, RSM won’t have covered subtraction yet. Would you recommend holding off on BA until 3rd, evrn if a 2nd grade is available?

    2)officially, our Charlotte Mason-based homeschool doesn’t start until age 6, which for us, is the beginning of first grade. She can already add on fingers and beads and do even/odd. If I held off until 1st grade, could we start with B?

  44. I have a 9 year old nearly done with teaching textbooks level 3. She gets average scores on her lessons, in the 80s. However, I don’t feel like she has a solid enough foundation to proceed to the next level. One example. She counts by five and ten easily. Knows the value of money. But if we have 1.25 and need to add a dime (which she knows is worth ten) she has no idea. Her multiplication table is not yet memorized. We’ve been working on it, but it’s made her Progression difficult as now she’s learning 3 digit multiplication and division. I own all the levels of teaching textbooks as I was so hesitant to teach it on my own, and I have 7 kids ranging from 15 to 6 months. I hate to invest in a completely different program but I want to help her build a better understanding. I also have a 3 and 5 year old that I could start working with them. So. I have 2 main questions. First, do you think pausing TT to do level B or maybe C would be beneficial? I’ve always been interested in RS but honestly the time commitment scared me off each time. But really those early years need mom and hands on stuff. So I’m willing to change our schedule to accommodate one on one work. Next, what is your overall opinion of TT? I used to love it. Now I’m feeling a little less sure …..

  45. Dear Alaina,

    RightStart is a wonderful program….but honestly, the full program is really time-consuming. I found it difficult to contemplate with 2 kids, let alone 7. I wouldn’t recommend it for you, but I hear what you’re saying about your concerns with your 9-year-old. Your money example definitely shows a lack of understanding that I’d want to address sooner rather than later. Instead of going for the full program, I’d suggest looking at RightStart’s Arithmetic Kit and Worksheets for the AL Abacus. They’re a stream-lined version of the RightStart program, and good for helping older kids fill in conceptual gaps. (They’re way less expensive and time-consuming than the full program, too. 🙂 Once you work through it with your 9-year-old, you’ll likely learn a lot as a teacher that you’ll be able to bring to your 5 and 3 year old as well.

    Regarding TT, I’ve never done a thorough review of the whole program, so please take my thoughts with a grain of salt. I bet you know it better than I do! My main concern with it is that it’s very easy for children to mindlessly follow the steps they see on the screen unless they have a parent talking them through the lessons and holding them accountable for actually thinking. Building the habit of understanding what you’re doing in math takes a lot of practice (and prodding!) TT and screen-based programs can definitely work for some kids, but others tend to start working pretty mindlessly.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  46. I’m so happy that I stumbled across your wonderful site! I’ve been agonising over what math program to use for my 10yo son. We’ve only been homeschooling now for a year and a half and while he’s leaps and bounds ahead for his age in reading and writing, he seems to really struggle with math. I’ve been looking at both RightStart Math and Maths-U-See but from your reviews it looks like perhaps RightStart would be more suited to him. While he’s 10 (and ‘officially’ in grade 5 this year) he’s yet to fully grasp multiplication and division. My only concerns with RightStart was that he’s not a big fan of ‘games’ (mostly because he has anxiety over things being a competition and ‘losing’) and also that it could be too young for him ….but perhaps a year or two of this would be beneficial to cement his foundation math before moving on? I’d love to hear your thoughts! I need a program that provides full instruction for me as his teacher as math is the only subject I don’t feel confident in. Any advice would be very much appreciated! (also we’re in Australia, though hoping that won’t make a difference)
    🙂

  47. Hi Kate,

    Love your blog. I am currently teaching my 5 year old son using Math-U-See and your addition and subtraction book. The visualization strategies offered in your books have been super helpful because he’s not super keen on the MUS blocks. We are also big on games and so I’m hoping to build his number sense that way as well. Anyways, I’m just wondering if I continue with this plan, do you feel we are missing anything that RS offers? In other words, if I am using the techniques and games in your books along with game play, do you feel RS has anything distinct and unique that my son won’t get from MUS?

    Thank you!!!
    Laura

  48. Hi Karen,

    A couple of years of RightStart would likely make a big difference in cementing that crucial foundation in multiplication and division. I don’t think he’d find it babyish at all–the worksheets are very plain and straightforward, without any pictures or large fonts that would make them feel too young. Even though your son isn’t a big fan of games, I think you’d easily be able to work around them. In the higher levels of RS that you’d be in, the games are more optional than in the younger grades, and there are generally worksheets that you can use instead.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  49. Hi Laura,

    The biggest difference between RS and MUS is the number of topics that they cover each year. As I’m sure you’re aware, MUS is a strongly mastery program, with one main topic studied each year. This works well for kids who like math to be very straightforward and linear, but some kids find it rather tedious. RS covers a greater variety of topics each year, with more jumping around between topics. It’s a lot more interesting for many kids. But as far as the math goes, both books will give kids a solid math education–they’re two different ways to get to a similar place.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  50. Sorry if this is a double post – not sure if my first one posted. Thanks so much for the thorough response. I think I will make the switch to RS next year (as my son is pretty bored with MUS right now); however, I’m not understanding how RS isn’t a mastery based program. Isn’t mastery of the math facts the end goal? I’m a total new homeschooler so sorry if I’m behind!

  51. Laura, that is such a great question! The word “mastery” is used in two different ways when we talk about math curriculum, and I’ve never thought about how confusing that is. (Hmm…I may need to write a whole article about this.)

    As you said, all programs aim for “mastery” of math: fluency with the math facts and procedures, understanding of important concepts, etc. That’s one sense in which the word is used.

    However, it’s also used in another way. Most math curricula can be divided into two different categories: spiral or mastery.
    -Spiral programs break content up into smaller chunks and spread it out over the course of the year, coming back to it multiple times and going into it in greater depth each time.
    -Mastery programs focus on one topic at a time until children have mastered it. (Traditional textbooks are a good example of this–there’s a chapter on division, then a chapter on fractions, then a chapter on decimals, etc.)

    Even within these two categories, there’s a lot of variation. For example, I’d call MUS an “extreme mastery” program, because it focuses primarily on one topic per year. Singapore and Math Mammoth are also mastery programs, but not to quite the same degree. They break math into topics and study one topic at a time, but they cover a wider variety of topics each year. On the other hand, RightStart is a spiral curriculum, but not an “extreme spiral.” It focuses on one topic for at least a few lessons at a time, while other programs might jump every lesson or two.

    Choosing mastery vs. spiral depends a lot on your personality and your child’s personality. For example, my son be a terrible fit for MUS because he loves novelty. Studying the same topic all year long would drive him crazy!

    I hope this makes things more clear. Thanks for a great question!
    Kate

  52. Thank you so much! My eyes are opening! Makes total sense now. I completely see the mastery of MUS and now that I think about it, much of the resistance I saw from my son this year in terms of math had to do with it.

    Can I ask about matching up levels in RS with grade levels? I just like to have an idea of where we should be at, when. I think I read that you said RS A can be started with most 4 year olds. If I start next fall my then newly 6 year old in B (he will be entering kindergarten and will have completed MUS Alpha from this year) and C for 1st grade, does that keep us “on a good track” without falling behind? Sorry, I just need a long term goal to visualize, of course with room to be flexible, to really give me peace of mind when in comes to math.

    If we do end up switching after C, is it best to just take the placement test from the new curriculum’s website and go from there?

    I had a friend tell me that by the end of third grade, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division should be mastered. Is this a good end goal for us? I’m not saying the scope of early math educatuon is limited to this, but is this one of the big ideas behind early elementary math? Definitely want to take your class if I can.

    Sorry again for so many questions. I’m just trying to get a solid grasp on all this MATH! I do have a funny side comment. As mentioned above, we are using your addition book and my son LOVES the game board for learning 8s. It kind of makes me laugh because we play it so much, his 8 facts are superb!!!

  53. Hi Laura,

    So glad that explanation was helpful!

    You CAN start RightStart at age 4 (gently), but it’s really a kindergarten curriculum, and an advanced one at that. RS A is kindergarten, B is first grade, and so on. Your son will be ahead of grade level if he does B in kindergarten, so definitely no worries about being behind. If you do switch after C, definitely use the new program’s placement test. But you may find you love RS and want to stick with it.

    Regarding your friend’s comment: I agree with her, but I’d say by the end of fourth grade, not third. And yes, it’s a good way to think about the goals of elementary math. It’s great for children to have exposure to geometry, measurement, fractions, etc. in the early years, but what really matters for their future success in math is solid arithmetic skills: math facts, mental math, and written computations with whole numbers, in all four operations.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

    P.S. Well-Trained Mind Academy is changing their registration system, so unfortunately my class isn’t available right now, but it should hopefully be back up in a few weeks.

  54. Thank you so much!!!!!! Feels great to have a solid plan for next year. I’m excited to try some of the games I found on your blog! Can’t thank you enough!

  55. Hi Kate-my daughter is currently attending a private kindergarten program and we’re planning on beginning our homeschooling journey this fall in first grade. I see you mentioned above level B was a first grade curriculum. Would you suggest our starting level B and skipping over A?

  56. Hi April,

    If your daughter’s had a basic kindergarten math program at school, she’ll be fine starting in Level B. There’s quite a bit of review of Level A for children who are starting at Level B.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  57. Thank you for that information, Kate! 🙂 I have two more questions. I’m planning on purchasing your addition program for my daughter over the summer and then was leaning towards RS this fall. A friend of mine whose daughter goes to a highly ranked school in our state, passed on her grade 1 math curricula and I had tossed around the idea of using those but it sounds like RS gives an excellent foundation. They use Math in Focus but it says Singapore Math on the cover. Do you know if the content varies much from the regular Singapore Math you mentioned ? Also would you still suggest RS and then switching to Singapore for grade 2? The Math in Focus book I have indicates its the common core edition. I think I remember you saying you use the US edition. Is one better than the other in your opinion? I appreciate your time.

  58. Hi April,

    Math in Focus is based on Singapore’s Primary Mathematics series (which is what people are generally talking about when they say “Singapore Math.”) Both cover similar content, but Math in Focus has a slightly different scope and sequence so that it aligns with Common Core. Also, Math in Focus is written for classroom teachers, so homeschooling parents often need to modify the activities a bit for use at home. It’s a solid curriculum, and definitely a good option (especially if it’s free!)

    I personally switched after second grade because it felt best for my family at the time, but not because of any weakness in RightStart. I don’t have any qualms about using RightStart past 2nd grade–it’s just that my son was ready to move faster, and RightStart is hard to accelerate. It also takes a bit of time to teach multiple RightStart lessons, and I thought it was wiser to prioritize my time in other ways.

    Hope that helps!
    Kate

  59. Hi Kate,

    I just ordered RS A and B. My initial plan was to put my soon to be 6 year old who understands place value to the hundreds and knows his addition and subtraction facts from MUS Alpha in RS B (and my 4 year old in A). I’m just wondering – will my six year old miss anything by skipping? I see some geometry and fractions in there – is that all recovered in B? I was thinking of starting with A but he gets very bored when he’s not challenged so as I’m looking through the A curriculum, I’m thinking he would not like it. Just don’t want to miss any core stuff with him. Maybe I should practice with the abacus before diving into B with him?

    Thanks!

  60. Hi Laura,

    B reviews a lot of the material from A, and so I predict he’ll be just fine. There’s a thorough review of the abacus and basic number sense in the first 10 lessons or so, and then the geometry and fractions are also reviewed later in the book. You know your son best, and so if you think he’ll be bored and tune-out if he’s not challenged, I bet you’re right–and that moving him along into B is the best plan.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  61. Hi Kate,

    Thanks so much for your thorough review! We’ve been using Right Start Level B with my 6-year old son who’s in Year 1. We’re about half way through the book and I’ve just realized that he really isn’t understanding place value well. He can look at a number like 120 and say the number, but when I ask him to write “120” he doesn’t know what to do. And I gave him the Math Facts addition test you emailed the other day, and he doesn’t get how to add +8 or +9 to a number (despite us frequently using the AL abacus in our math lessons). It’s like the concept behind the manipulatives isn’t really clicking…

    Anyways, I’m just wondering if you’d have any suggestions for getting back on track here? I did get a Kumon Addition Grade 1 book that we’re working through… and I was thinking of using MUS for a bit because of its strong emphasis on place value in the beginning years (maybe purchasing the Alpha DVD?). Any other suggestions?

  62. I have been using your preschool math at home book at home book with my 4 yr old. She will probably be done with it next school year. What do you recommend as a good program to transition to after preschool math at home? She loves the variety of games/activities as well as how they are hands on versus worksheet since she is not great with writing yet. I appreciate that we can move as fast or slow as we need for her to master a concept. Based off this review, I am wondering if RS is the best move or something else. What recommendations for you have for a seamless transition from your book?

  63. Hi Kayla,

    So glad your daughter is enjoying the games and activities in Preschool Math at Home! You can transition to any program after it, but if your daughter likes hands-on activities, RightStart would be a great choice. She’ll be well-prepared to thrive in Level A.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  64. How does the lesson prep compare to preschool math at home. A appreciate being able to just skim a bit a head for the week and then the day of just open and go with preschool math. Does right start have a similar prep time. I have heard it can be parent prep intense. I don’t mind the need for parent one on one for the lesson since I don’t think she would want to do all her math through worksheets/independent. Based off this is right start still the better option over math u see? I know she needs hands on at least for the early years but I want her to not be dependent on them forever and can do mental math (I was and am still not the best with mental math). Sorry for all the questions!

  65. Hi Kayla,

    RightStart is a scripted program, so you can just read along and follow the directions for each lesson. When I first started teaching it, I often would skim over the next few lessons so that I knew where it was headed. You can check out the samples on their website to give you a better sense of what the individual lessons are like, too. There are a lot of manipulatives, but you generally just have to pull them out–you don’t need to do any other prep usually to be ready for each lesson.

    I do feel that RightStart gives kids a better foundation than Math-U-See. (If you haven’t read it yet, you can read my full MUS review for more on my thoughts on that program.) Both have hands-on materials, but RightStart does a much better job of building strong number sense, mental math, and place-value understanding for younger children.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  66. Hi, I tried Level C and D and decided to return them. The teacher intensive part was driving me crazy. We’ve been using Math Mammoth and my two older children learned just fine. I decided to try RightStart because I wanted Math to be more fun (with manipulatives and games). Now we’ve gone back to Math Mammoth but I’m using online and card games to supplement. Now I have a soon-to-be 4 year old. I’m considering using Level A with him. For my two older ones, they’ve learned to do a lot of independent work (that’s why trying level C and D drove me crazy to have to revert!) But for my young one, I believe in strong parent involvement to set a solid foundation for independent work later on. I read all the comments and you had recommended switching out after level B or C. What is your opinion on switching out after Level A? Even after switching out of A, my plan is to continue to use the abacus and games to supplement. I’d really appreciate it it if you can share your thoughts!

  67. Hi Kady,

    I can definitely understand how it felt too teacher-intensive to switch to RightStart for older elementary students. Even just using A would be powerful in building your younger son’s number sense. Plus, as you said, once you get used to working with the abacus and base-ten manipulatives in level A, you could continue to use them with Math Mammoth.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  68. Hi,
    Your link on 5 quick tips on how to teach RightStart math doesn’t seem to be working. Could you have a look at it please.

    Thanks

  69. Hi Faridah,

    Sorry, that link can be tempermental! Try it on a desktop computer if possible, but otherwise feel free to send me an email at the Contact link in the menu above and I’ll email it to you.

    Thanks, and happy math!
    Kate

  70. Hi Kate,

    I have an almost 3 year old granddaughter that has blind parents. I will be homeschooling her with the parents input . I am looking into curriculums, ways to homeschool like the Charlotte Mason approach. I have friends that use Rod and Staff Math and English . They seem to like it. I would like your thoughts for preschool and what skills are needed for right start math and Rod and Staff review if possible. Did I read that you have college degrees in math and have written programs? My granddaughter does not live with me which makes things harder. I do not know where to start except I do not want to rush things . She is starting to really grasping a lot of things.

    Thanks
    Joyce

  71. Hi Joyce,

    It sounds like you’re at the beginning of a wonderful journey! My book, Preschool Math at Home, is a great place to start with a three year old who is getting interested in numbers. The introduction gives a summary of what preschoolers should learn about numbers, and then there are over 50 fun, playful activities to do together to make sure she’s well-prepared for kindergarten.

    I haven’t written a full review of Rod and Staff yet, but it’s my favorite of the more traditional homeschool math curricula. It’s important to make sure to do all the hands-on activities in the teachers guide (and not just hand the child the workbook) but it’s a solid, sequential program with a good mix of new material and review in each lesson.

    Happy math!
    Kate

  72. Thank you, I really like what is see and read on right start but I am in between to households . Praying for the right direction.

    Thanks, again,
    Joyce

  73. Hi Kate! Thanks for his review! I am wondering if you can help me- I have a 9.5 yo daughter just finishing Singapore 3A. I have some money to spend on math this year and am thinking about switching to RS. This child is not Mathy, doesn’t “get” math, and prefers to be told exactly how to perform operations. I see from your review and comments above that this type of child would gain from switching to RS. I worry that she wouldn’t like all the manipulative work and wonder what level to place her in if I did switch. Amy advice?

  74. Hi Hosanna,

    At this point, I think it’d be difficult for her to switch to RightStart. It’s a wonderful program, but I think your concerns are spot on. Placement, especially, would be a bit of a challenge, since RS follows a less-traditional scope and sequence.

    If your daughter likes to be told exactly what to do, I’d look at either Math-U-See or Rod and Staff. Math-U-See is a more conceptual program, with a lot of focus on using their manipulatives. (Here’s my detailed review.) Rod and Staff is a much more “old school” procedural program, where children are told specific steps for solving different kinds of problems. There aren’t any manipulatives, although the teacher’s manual sometimes has suggestions for ways to make the lessons more hands-on. It’s very good for children who struggle with math, because it provides a nice balance between review and new skills in each lesson. With either option, you’d want to use their placement tests to see where to start your daughter.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  75. Hi Kate,
    Our 7 year old homeschooled son has sensory processing disorder and his interest in maths and reading is near zero. He is not autistic but possesses certain similar traits to autistic children. He is very hands on, loves singing and sensory play. We were looking at RS but are now not so sure. Are there any programmes that you would recommend for children with sensory processing disorder and a near complete aversion to formal learning and a near zero interest in maths?
    Thanks
    Eunhyun

  76. Hi Eunhyun,

    Based on what you say, RS seems like the best fit for him. It’s very hands-on, and the games and conversation make it feel much less like a formal math program than most other programs. If you’re not sure about doing the full program, you might try getting started with the Activities for the AL Abacus set and the card game set. They’ll give you a feel for how it works with your son, without having to make such a large investment.

    Best wishes, and happy math!
    Kate

  77. Hi Kate,

    My 10 year old daughter hates Math U SEE. This was our first year homeschooling, and I realized that she has very weak number sense. Since I am not confident in math myself, I had her take a four month course in RS level D. She struggled to keep up initially because she didn’t start the program with the rest of the class in the beginning of the school year. However, according to her instructor, she improved greatly and finally got caught up with the rest of the class. I plan to teach the rest of level D myself for the coming school year, but I lack the confidence to do so. Have you found good parent support from the Right Start website?

    I am also concerned that my daughter is “behind” in math. If we could give it a grade level, what would level D be considered? Thank you for your time.

    • Hi Julie,

      Yes, Rightstart had great customer service. You can definitely give them a call if you have any questions. There’s a good amount of support in the teacher’s guides, too.

      Level D is considered third grade. Your daughter may be a little behind for now, but I think you’ll be very glad in the long run that you invested this time in strengthening her number sense. Middle School math curriculum is very “mushy”, with much less well-defined grade levels for specific topics. I bet your daughter will be on track for algebra right on schedule, and she’ll have much stronger should than if you’d pushed ahead.

      Happy math!
      Kate

  78. Hi Kate,
    I have a seven year old granddaughter with special needs (vision therapy and occupational therapy will be a big part of her day) and I will homeschool her for this year, hoping to catch her up with others in her class. Fortunately, I am a retired special ed teacher and have the time to do so. She has a very difficult time understanding anything math (processing speed, working memory, and spatial awareness are very low). She loves games, so RS sounds like a good fit for her. I’ve just purchased your ten-frame addition book also. She had a regular kindergarten experience. She went to first grade, but got very little benefit from it.
    Questions:
    If I am homeschooling for just one year, will the concepts covered be enough to integrate into a third grade classroom next year?
    I have plenty of partial math books and some manipulatives saved from my teaching days. Do you think I would need the whole program?
    Will she be confused after learning through the traditional way of memorizing facts (which really didn’t work)?
    Would I begin her at level A or B? She is a 2nd grader who functions more at a late kindergarten level in math and reading.
    Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Lynn,

      If your goal is to integrate her into a regular third grade math class next year, I would use Activities for the AL Abacus and the RightStart games kit instead of the full curriculum. It’s a more streamlined version of the program, and it will allow you to zero in on the most essential skills she needs to be ready for third-grade math: number sense and place value to the thousands, addition and subtraction facts to 18, and mental math and written computations with addition and subtraction through 3 or 4 digits. You can read my full review of Activities for the AL Abacus to see whether it sounds like the best fit for her, but I think it’s your best bet.

      Best wishes, and happy math!
      Kate

  79. Hi Kate. My daughter just turned 10 and we’ve been doing RS since grade 1. She’ll be starting RS E this year, if I decide to continue with it. Anyway, I love RS, except how teacher intensive it is. I’m considering switching to Singapore, as I think the independence could be good for her, but I’m also hesitant to leave something that has worked well for her. If I continued with RS, how far would you recommend going with it? I’ve heard some say it’s great to a certain point, then not so much. If I switched now, what level do you think I should start with in Singapore? It seems like the 3B placement test has some fraction problems that weren’t covered previously in RS. Perhaps it would be better to start at 3B to get a good foundation with the program. I’m really on the fence, so I appreciate any thoughts you have! Thanks!

  80. Hi Jessica,

    I’m afraid I can’t really say how far to continue with RS, since it depends so much on your particular circumstances. It’s fine to continue all the way through, and it’s also fine to stop here and switch if you feel like it’s time for your daughter to have more independence.

    If you do decide to switch to Singapore, I think you’d be fine going into 4A. Those few fraction concepts shouldn’t be a problem. The one thing to watch out for is long division: it’s introduced in 3A and reviewed very quickly in 4A, so you may need to spend some extra time on that section in 4A or supplement it slightly.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  81. Hi Kate,

    Thanks to your guidance, my sons are currently using RS A and B. I’m looking for something they can do while I work with the other one, at least a couple of times per week. I thought I saw something on your site one time about DreamBox. Is this something you’d recommend and if so, is it best to go by grade level? I ask because I tried the free trial and it seems super easy at the K level, but perhaps it quickly gets more challenging. Any guidance would be super helpful!!!!!

  82. Hi Laura,

    Yes, I highly recommend Dreambox, and I think you’ll find that it complements RightStart well. It’s an adaptive program, so it will adjust based on what your kids can do. (But, since RightStart moves kids along pretty quickly, you may want to set the Dreambox level a grade level higher than your kids’ RightStart levels, as it will always adjust downward as needed.)

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  83. I have 8 kids. I am kicking myself for not using it for the first three. I am not sure if it even existed then (early 90s). It might have been cost prohibitive. I have a 14yrs old who I started out with Rightstart B and then we stopped and moved on to Singapore because I simply got lazy. Plus I think I had a toddler and a newborn juggling them as well as two older ones. Hard to say or even remember those blurry days. Anyways, my 14yrs old struggles now starting around level E math-fractions and decimals and percents and looking back I really think she needed Rightstart all the way through E. I finally got my hands on some free Rightstart through E and looked through them and think “WOW! What an amazing way to teach math! Why wasn’t I taught the same way? Would have saved me a lot of misery. ” Anyways with number 7 child I started with Book A, and took a break for a year. Big mistake. And restarting with B again. He should be in D by now. Sigh. So now I am trying to remediate B and C at the same time to get him to D level as quickly as possible. Ideas anyone? I tried the old worksheets and workbook way with him and honestly nothing stuck. He really didn’t get it. So going back to tried and true which is labor and time intensive Rightstart. With Number 8—going to do RS straight through. Learned my lesson.

  84. Hi Carolyn,

    Your child number 7 sound like a perfect candidate for Activities for the AL Abacus. It’s the “original” RightStart curriculum, and it provides a more condensed and streamlined path through the key concepts, without the spiraling. I wrote a review here, so take a look and see if it might provide what you’re looking for.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  85. My third grader is halfway through Singapore 2. I think she’s does well with it but hates it. I want something that tells me exactly step by step what to do. Is it too late to switch to RS level C?

  86. I forgot to mention that I already own the card games and abacus but then I get lost on what game will reinforce what we are doing best!

  87. One more thing! 😬 We are using the Math in Focus version of Singapore this year. Before that it was the regular Singapore but I liked the layout of MIF so I thought I’d give it a shot. I forgot to add we also already own activities for the AL abacus. So maybe we should just continue working through Singapore and supplement? We are up to starting multiplication in Singapore. Would you still start from the beginning with the activities for the abacus?

  88. Hi Meghann,

    No, it’s definitely not too late to jump ship to RightStart. (I hear you on wanting something that tells you exactly what to do! RS will provide that.) If you’re up to multiplication in Singapore, you should be fine jumping to level D in RightStart…but do take a look at their placement test to verify that. 🙂

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  89. Hi Kate,
    I have three kids who have been using Singapore Math until now, but for various reasons I am ready to “break up” with Singapore Math and move on to different curricula.

    My eleven year old has high functioning autism and has until now grasped math concepts easily. He started struggling with some abstract concepts and multi step story problems in Singapore 6A. We looked at different math programs and he really likes Teaching Textbooks. He enjoys the computer based, independent format, so I think we will try that program for him.

    My nine year old has both autism and dyslexia. He really struggles with reading (we use AAR and AAS) but math concepts seem to come more easily to him. He is in Singapore Math 3A, but is really starting to struggle with the story problems. We need something else for him, as long term I do not see Singapore Math as being a good fit. Since he loves having graphic novels read aloud to him, I trialed a digital subscription to Beast Academy for a few months. He LOVES the textbooks, but it is very time intensive for me to read them aloud to him multiple times and while the format really reaches out to his type of thinking, I fear that Beast Academy would be too advanced for him. I think I will purchase the 3A textbook and workbook to give him the benefit of the doubt, but my gut feeling says that it won’t work as our primary curriculum.

    I am considering Right Start and Math U See for him. Right Start looks very good, and like it would be suited to his learning style, but I worry about it being so parent intensive, particularly since I am doing other parent intensive curriculum with him.

    My five year old daughter is in Singapore Math 1B. Like her oldest brother, she seems to grasp math concepts easily. I may leave her doing Singapore Math for a while, or swich her to Right Start or Math U See if her older brother goes that way.

    I would really appreciate your thoughts. Also, do you have any recommendations as to what levels of Right Start would be suitable for the younger two? I was thinking B and D, but am not sure.

  90. Hi Heidi,

    Honestly, I think your reservations about RightStart’s time commitment are spot-on. It’s a fabulous program, but it sounds like you are already working very hard to give your kids a great education. Adding two parent-intensive math lessons to your teaching load would be a lot. If you feel that your 9-year-old really needs it, I’d definitely say to go with your thought of moving him to RightStart and leaving your 5yo in Singapore. Level D is probably the right level, but check their placement tests. RightStart has great customer service, so feel free to give them a call if you’re unsure, too.

    Another option would be to keep your 9yo in Singapore but modify the word problems significantly. They go so far beyond what most other programs require, and the bar diagram method can be very challenging for kids with autism (since there’s often a non-verbal learning disability component to autism). Perhaps you could supplement a little with Beast Academy?

    Finally, I’d just say that if your 9yo son loves Beast Academy, he’ll probably hate Math U See. It’s very spelled-out, with little room for creative problem-solving, and I’d guess he’d find it boring. Definitely print out some samples for you both to look at before going that route.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  91. Hi, I so appreciate your math reviews! We used Abeka for k5, and are finishing up with Abeka for 1st. I have grown to strongly dislike Abeka, and am only finishing it because of how much I paid for the curriculum. My son is doing great with the math, but I feel I am having to work extra hard making sure he really “knows” the math vs. just following steps and memorizing. I was given the Rightstart level A and B curriculum, and was going to use that for my child starting K5 this Fall. I thought about getting Rightstart level C for my 2nd grader, but I do worry it would be too much having a child in A and C. I have thought about Singapore, Math U See, and Math Mammoth. I have also thought about Christian Light Education or Bob Jones, but I feel that would be very similar to Abeka. I would love your thoughts. I want him to have a strong math program, but also do not want to be bogged down with math everyday while homeschooling 2 little guys.

  92. Hi Lyndley,

    Two levels of RightStart is do-able, but certainly time-intensive. Definitely take a hard look at your schedule to make sure you have 15-20 minutes per day available for each child’s lesson before committing to that. However, if you’re already putting a lot of time into tweaking Abeka, you may find it actually saves time to use an open-and-go curriculum that doesn’t require as many adjustments!

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  93. Hi Kate- I’m so thankful for this post and the comment thread. So helpful. I started my 1st grade son on RS level B this year but I wish so much I’d known about it earlier for my now 3rd grade daughter! It’s been a saga with her, my guinea pig, but we started with Saxon per many recommendations I’d received. I have a background in education as a former ESL teacher but though I dealt extensively with literacy and love it, math is my weak point and I did gain experience with it. I did read (some of) Li Ping Ma’s book before I had kids and was determined to learn and teach math a different way than I was taught. I switched to Singapore level 1 because of that with my daughter after not liking Saxon for many reasons, but we hit a wall with it…she nor I were ready for it. I learned of the Reknrek through a math blogger and other visualization tools and it was the missing piece for us. I worked a lot with subetizing with dot cards and the reknrek and place value cards and she quickly gained the number sense needed and since has loved mental math and decomposes and recomposes numbers like a champ and likes math. However, I made a mistake of going back to Saxon for something “to follow” while supplementing as I felt was needed. Well, that worked okay last year (grade 2), but this year even my daughter is weary of it because it’s still almost all review of things she does not need more practice with and seems to be not moving forward. I skip SO much and supplement SO much and yet it’s not even touched on things she’s been ready for and is still reviewing concepts that she has mastered. It’s really hard to move forward. I forgot to mention, I discovered Right Start at the end of last year and it looked so wonderful to me because it was actually using the strategies I was trying to supplement with, and doing a much better job of it. So I bought level B for my 1st grade son and grappled with my daughter over whether to change curriculum again (she liked Saxon at that point still-though it may have been just the familiarity) or just supplement with the RS games and manipulatives. Much to my regret, I opted for the latter. So now, half way through her 3rd grade year, I feel like we’ve lost so much time yet again, and feel a need to make a switch now. We’re planning to do math year round (not all subjects-just math) with 1 week breaks every 6 weeks or so, so I’m wondering if I start her in C now, perhaps skipping some things because there should be SOME overlap with what she’s already learned, if we could get caught up eventually as far as grade level equivalents. I’m not sure if I mentioned that I’ve been using the AL Abacus with her and along with the games have focused on the understanding part where procedural is overly emphasized but Saxon is *just* starting to introduce 3 digit numbers (as far as computation and place value)! I initially taught trading with cubes which worked well for her and she grasps it with the AL Abacus as well. I don’t mind math being teacher heavy and I love teaching. Honestly, I am re-learning with them as I was not taught this way and enjoy it and want to be doing it with them. I am really concerned though, even though my daughter has strong number sense, I feel like we’re behind because of Saxon and the back and forth. I still feel like I need hand holding in how to teach the concepts. She is advanced in literacy (probably because of my love of it and teaching it) so I don’t mind spending extra time on Math. It’s definitely where we need the most growth. I’m sorry this is so long. I’m just wondering if making the switch now to C is wise, or if I should start her in D now. I have already ordered level C since we’ll need it next for my son anyway and so that I can see what’s in it and if she needs to go through it or can skip it with some back teaching. It’s either that or as mentioned before, start C now and hope to catch up eventually. Do you have a recommendation? Thanks for your time and sharing your knowledge here!

  94. Hi Amy,

    First of all, give yourself a pat on the back for all the thought and attention you’re investing in making sure your children learn math well. I’m sure it feels frustrating that your daughter isn’t quite where you’d like her, but it sounds like she has some very solid foundations that she can build on as transition to RightStart.

    I think your instinct is right to switch her to C, move quickly through it, and then start D whenever she’s ready for it. Give yourself the freedom to skip or condense lessons, and don’t feel that your daughter has to do every worksheet. With your year-round schedule, I bet you’ll be ready to start D in the fall. But truly don’t stress too much about grade-level either. I’m definitely a mom who likes to see my kids “on track” too. But the more I work with middle school and high school students, the more I see that there’s quite a bit of flexibility in the middle school years. Even if your daughter is “behind” right now, she’ll likely be able to start algebra on schedule in 8th or 9th grade–and the solid foundation you’re building right now will help get her there.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  95. Thanks Kate for your kind response. I have a lot of peace now about this plan. It’s been a relief for my daughter and me to let go of Saxon. We’ve really enjoyed our math time every day this week. I also signed up for your courses on Well Trained Mind and am waiting for my books to arrive for that. I am so thankful for the timeliness of them as the resources I’d found so for were just what I needed for K-2 but this is just what I need for 3-5! So excited. I also purchased Multiplication Facts that Stick and will be getting the addition and subtraction ones for my younger one, God willing. SO thankful for all these wonderful resources!! Blessings to you.

  96. Hi Kate! Thank you for this review! I have a 5 year old who we started homeschooling Kindergarten this year. We have gone through the Singapore Kindergarten textbook and workbook A but came to a standstill when my son had a hard time recognizing numerals. He’s able to count to about 15 orally, and he can put number cards 1 -10 in order, but if I show him any number above three outside of the context of the number line he has the hardest time telling me what the number is. I have tried things like dedicating one day to a certain number. For example the number of the day is five and we count five of everything around the house we have the number five taped up on the walls, etc. He’ll be able to remember it for that day but the next day he can’t tell me what the number is. I have been thinking about switching over to Right Start A as I think the abacus will really help him to have a good number sense, but I’m wondering if I should start with your preschool math homework first? What are your thoughts on this?

  97. Hi Andrea,

    My main suggestion is this: don’t let his trouble with recognizing written numbers keep him from moving forward in math. It’s fine to do most of his math orally, without much use of written numbers, as you continue to work on the recognition piece. It’s also fine for him to have a number line in front of him (perhaps with dot quantities next to each written numeral) to aid him in recognizing them.

    With that in mind, I’d suggest spending a month or so on Preschool Math at Home before moving to a kindergarten program. That will give him time to deeply understand the numbers to 10 before moving into RightStart A, without number recognition bogging him down. Then, feel free to scribe for him or do the worksheets orally once you start the full RS program.

    It sounds like you’re doing all the right things to help him learn to recognize numbers, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it just clicks for him at some point. Keep up the great work, and happy math!

    Kate

  98. Thank you so much for your suggestions!!! I started the Preschool Math at Home book with him and he loves it!!! He calls it “the fun school.” 👍😊😍 He even had an epiphany where he realized that 3 and 2 is 5!! I will be recommending your book to all my homeschool friends with little ones!!!! Thank you again!!!!

  99. So glad that Preschool Math at Home is helping, Andrea! Thanks for taking the time to follow up and let me know how it’s been going. 🙂

  100. Hi there! I have a kinder who has seemed less ready for school than my other children and hasn’t picked up on much math other than the digits, some memorized math facts, and counting to 29. I’m considering Right Start because I think he would enjoy the games and needs the visuals but I loathe manipulatives! Will this curriculum drive me crazy? I have MUS Primer and we stalled on number street and haven’t picked it back up since we stopped in early November. We are doing some academic and cognitive testing but I feel like RS would be a good fit in the event that he has a learning disability. Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated!

    • Hi Sarah,

      RS does have a ton of stuff, but their manipulatives are a bit different than other programs. It’s mostly cards and measuring tools, not tons of little plastic doohickeys to keep track of. Maybe take a look at their kits and see what all is contained to see if you can handle it? If your son learns visually, it could be a really good fit for him.

      Happy Math!
      Kate

  101. Hi! My son began home school for 1st grade and we used MUS Alpha. He did fine with the program but ended up loathing the math worksheets. I am not sure if it was because he just doesn’t like to write or if the same sheets for an entire year became boring. So I was thinking another year of MUS would be drudgery and was, therefore, considering RS. However, after reading your review and comments, I am wondering if we should go directly to another program. I am fine with the teacher intensive manner of RS but, like you, will probably want to foster independent learning as he grows. I saw you mention Singapore and Beast Academy and am wondering if you think best to switch to one of those instead of doing RS for awhile and then switching? My main concern is that I am not strong in math myself and need all the teacher help I can get.

    • Hi Tish,

      I think you’re making a good choice and are completely on the right track here. I’d suggest going directly to Singapore. It provides a lot more parent support than Beast, and it’s an excellent program.

      Happy Math!
      Kate

  102. Hi! I’ve been trying to read through the comments, but I may have missed this info, so please forgive me if so. I have a 7 year old finishing up RS Level A (it was slow-going at first but now he is flying through lessons). I don’t really care that he is technically “behind” as long as we keep making progress, which we are. Anyway, I don’t want to stick with RS forever due to how teacher-intensive it is, but I’m unsure how long to stick with it to give him the best foundation. We use the 2nd edition. I also will have a kindergartner to start teaching Level A in the fall! Thanks.

  103. Hi Melanie,

    I recommend going through C to give a solid foundation with place-value, number sense, addition, and subtraction. From there, you can switch to just about any third grade program (although I always recommend doing a placement test just to make sure.)

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  104. Kate, I have to stop back by and give you a big thanks! I printed off 1A and 1B assessments for Singapore, and my son is really enjoying them! Such a change from the MUS worksheets! We just finished 1B, and he declared, “This is actually fun!” Since MUS Alpha only covers addition/subtraction of single digits, I was blown away when he was adding and subtracting double digits in his head for Singapore. My son said, “That man (MUS teacher) didn’t even go up to 20!” I ended up ordering 1B…Dimensions for the added teacher help. Even though he did really well on the assessment, it assessed things we haven’t covered, so I figured best to start there. We do math in the summer, so we can move quickly if it ends up being too easy. Anyway, thanks for the wise counsel!!!

  105. This has been so helpful, thank you for the review and answering questions. My kindergartener loves math, and has finished a few kindergarten and 1st grade workbooks mostly independently. We are ordering Math for a Living Education level 2 for “fun” this summer, expecting to finish by Sept. I wanted RS last fall, but 2 year old twins and pregnancy stopped me. I really want her to have a good foundation for mental math. What would you suggest for next fall? She knows addition, subtraction (100 and under, including borrowing), place value, basic fractions, time, and money. I’m open to RS, Singapore or anything that you’d recommend! Thanks!

  106. Hi Amber,

    Both Singapore and RS are great programs–but with three-year-old twins and a baby, I’d definitely go with Singapore since it can be done a bit more independently. Check out their placement tests to make sure you put her at the right level, and you should be good to go!

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  107. Hi Kate,
    Thank you so much for sharing your helpful insight! Such a blessing. My son is finishing 1st grade. He has completed RS level A, B, and half of C. We both loved it and he picked up on things so fast! But… with a rising kindergartener and toddler twins in the mix, I started having a difficult time with the teacher intensive side of RS. I needed something he could do more independently and felt like he was ready. So, we made a big switch and gave Saxon a try. He placed into Saxon intermediate 3 and has been working through that for that last few months. I like that he can do most of the lesson independently but it seems very dry and procedural. Also, math used to be his favorite subject but now it is at the bottom of his list. He completes the problem sets in Saxon with almost 100 percent accuracy in good time so I don’t feel like he is disliking it because it is too difficult. Not sure if we should press on or make a change. He’s still learning… just not loving it. I’m trying to plan next year for both him (rising 2nd grader) and my daughter (rising kindergartener). I would love to do RS with my kindergartener and wish I could continue with my son too but with the twins in the mix, I need at least one person to be working somewhat independently. The twins will also be on board before I know it. Do you have any recommendations? I looked at MUS because it has the video teaching component and thought maybe that would help but wanted to get your thoughts. Thank you!

  108. Hi Jenna,

    That’s wonderful that your son is doing so well in math. But I agree with you–if he’s beginning to hate math because of the curriculum, you’d be wise to switch to something else. (I posted a quick mini-review of Saxon on Facebook last week. Your experience sounds similar to a lot of the moms who chimed in.)

    I would definitely not switch him to MUS. He’d likely find its extreme mastery style boring and repetitive, and you’d end up back where you started. (Here’s a link to my MUS review.) Instead, I’d suggest looking at Math Mammoth. (Review here.) It emphasizes independence as well, but it gives kids a lot more interesting math to think about along the way.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  109. Hi Kate,

    We have been using rs math for 3 yrs now and both my son and I really enjoy it! But, just as you and so many others have stated, when adding you get ones into the mix it can be challenging using rs because of being so teacher intensive. We have 6 kids, our oldest in 2nd doing level C, our 6 yr old has special needs and is in therapy, but our 5 yr old will be added to
    the schooling mix in the fall, then we have a 3 yr old and 10 month twins. So finding something that’s engaging and fun but takes less time would be wonderful!

    We are working through level C but I’m beginning to look into other, less teacher intensive, options for next year. I’m considering masterbooks math lessons for a living education, teaching textbooks or Saxon. Do you have experience with any of these? Or would you recommend a different program? And which level would be best to into after completing RS C?

    With Saxon there’s a site called, Nicole the math lady, where she actually teaches the lesson, she’s quite comical and makes the lessons fun, and then
    The kids do the questions in the book.

    Anyway, your advice is greatly appreciated ☺️

  110. Hi Kelli,

    Yes, RS can get very time-consuming with multiple children! If you scroll down to the bottom of this article, you’ll find my top 5 favorites as well as links to reviews. Out of those 5, Math Mammoth is the most-independent, so make sure to check it out. 🙂

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  111. Hi Kate, I am new here and really appreciate the help finding math curriculum. We have used Right Start B and are in the middle of C. DS is starting to DREAD math and so am I. He refuses to do the games (always has, but it didn’t seem to be a problem until now as he caught on very quickly). We need something simple, reinforces what he has learned already. He is a social learner, in that he wants me right there with him, and an auditory learner. He hates writing, and giving him a worksheet will just frustrate him. I feel like he has a decent foundation, but some concepts need reinforced. Any ideas?

  112. Hi Kate! What a blessing to find your articles! So much great information that will help me tailor math better for my family. We use RS and my son (11) is starting level F this summer and will hopefully finish in the spring. He does well and grasps concepts fairly quickly but is also easily frustrated (especially when he doesn’t understand instantly or thinks something is going to be hard). I am hoping to use some of the ideas you’ve presented in your articles to make a concerted effort to break through his mental barrier to math this year. Since we are coming to the end of RS (we probably won’t do G) I need to decide what program to move to for more advanced math. RS recommends Video Text Interactive but I honestly haven’t been able to find enough reviews on it to really make an informed decision about it. Is there a math program that you suggest for the next level of math when coming from RS? I would prefer something that is fairly independent because I have three younger kiddos at home.
    Thanks!

  113. Hello Kate! I’m a homeschool mom from Poland (well, I’m actually from Spain, but I’ve been living in Poland for 18 years with my Polish husband and our 6 children). We’ve been homeschooling for 2 years our 4 eldest children, who will be 13, 12, 9 and 7 this year.
    This September I’ll only have 3 children (my 7-year-old daughter decided she really, really wants to go to school). The eldest two do math independently with some help from my husband, who studied math at college, so I’ll be working with my 9-year-old son.
    I must confess I LOVE Rightstart Math! I’ve been checking the samples for months and I think it would be a perfect fit for him (I think he’s a kinesthetic learner). The only problem is that here in Poland children have to learn the same things children learn at school and they have an exam at the end of the year, so there’s no sense in buying a whole curriculum for him, we work with the text and workbooks our school lends us. He’s being doing well (he got 86% in math both years), but the books are pretty dry (no manipulatives) and my son is quite bored. I’ve been thinking about supplementing math with some RM products, but I don’t know which ones would be better, Math Card Games or Activities for AL Abacus (or both of them?). We’ll be covering: adding and subtracting 2, 3 and 4-digit numbers, multiplying and dividing 2 and 3-digit numbers by 1-digit numbers, measurements (m, cm and mm; kg, dg and g), perimeter, time (hours, minutes and seconds), fractions (1/2 and 1/4 with shapes, length, weight, time and money).
    Unfortunately, there are no curricula (or really anything) for homeschoolers in Poland, so I buy American products (I’m doing your Facts that Stick books in summer!). My children hardly know any English, but I translate everything to them and they’re learning some English by the way!

  114. Hi Marta,

    For those topics, I think the Activities for the AL Abacus would probably be the better bet. They’ll help you teach those concepts in a hands-on way, especially the multi-digit multiplying and dividing.

    That said, the card games set has a lot of games that make these dry topics more engaging. If you can afford both, I don’t think you’ll regret it.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  115. Hi Kate! I have a 6 year old who loves to play games and does not like to do worksheets. I really want to use Math Mammoth. I feel pretty strong in math and I don’t want to lesson plan. I think we could start Math Mammoth and she would be fine as long as I did a lot of it verbally. So I’m considering doing RightStart B because I think she would love it and learn a lot and I am pretty sold on the Math Games and Abacus and feel like we could just keep using them with MathMammoth. Is it crazy just to do RightStartB? RightStart C sounds a little painful to me.

  116. Hi Jenny,

    Not crazy at all! RightStart’s abacus, manipulatives, and games are a great way to provide some fun and hands-on work for Math Mammoth. Both take a similar approach to teaching concepts, so they complement each other well.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  117. Thanks, Kate, I’ll get them both. Do you think I need to buy the whole Arithmetic Kit if I buy the Math Card Games Kit or can I just get the Activities for the AL Abacus, since the games kit has an abacus?

  118. Hi Marta,

    Double-check with RightStart’s customer service people, but I think you’re right that you won’t need the whole Arithmetic Kit.

    Kate

  119. Hello

    We have done RS since level A and we are on E at the moment. It is an amazing program and my son understand math in a way I was never taught.
    Unfortunately, we are hitting a few spot that is hard to understand.
    Is there any chat rooms where parents share their knowledge on this program?
    Thank you

  120. Hi Virginie,

    I’m not familiar with any parent chat groups for RS, but check Facebook. I bet there’s a group! Also, the RightStart customer service team is very helpful. I’m sure they’d welcome a call from you and be happy to give you some tips to get past the tricky spot.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  121. Hi Kate, Right Start is working great for us, but I am feeling like there is not a lot of word problem practice. She does great with the word problems that are included, often solving them in her head before we even talk through meaning and strategy, but I would like to to teach the Bar Diagram strategy for solving problems and expose her to a bit more variety. Is there a workbook that has problems well sequenced that you would recommend? I have text books for Singapore 3,4, and 5 A but not the workbooks. It would be nice if there was a workbook that was open and go that she could do some independently. I am especially interested in this before we do standardized testing again this year because we are still “catching up” in terms of grade level equivalents.

  122. Hi Amy,

    Glad to hear that RightStart is working well overall for you! There are two options for Singapore bar model word problems.

    1. Carson Dellarosa publishes a series of Singapore Word Problems. There’s a good variety of problems, but the catch is that there is little actual instruction in the book. You’d need to use the bar diagram solutions in the back to reverse-teach the bar diagram method to your child, or you could use these problems in conjunction with the Singapore textbooks.

    2. Singapore publishes a set of books called Challenging Word Problems. These books are aligned with the Primary U.S. series, and they provide instruction within the text. The title doesn’t lie; these books can be difficult. If you go this route, I recommend buying the book for one grade level lower than your child’s current grade. (And give yourself permission to skip any especially tough ones that don’t help you meet your overall goal.)

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  123. I am sorry if this has been asked previously in the comments! We started rightstart math and are on level A. I like it but I feel like my daughter needs/wants *some* independent work /worksheets. Do you have any recommendations for good workbooks to supplement with rightstart level A and B that helps them review the concepts and practice using the scale, abacus, etc to figure out their answers? (I am thinking practice with coins, patterns, addition, partitioning, doubles, etc). Thanks!

  124. Hi lovely,

    Thank you for your review. I am about to start my first year of homeschooling and am struggling to pick a maths program. My daughter is 7.5 and is in grade 2. I am deciding between Right start maths and Singapore maths. My son is 11 and he is in grade 6 and he will be doing Singapore and Beast. He loves maths and giving things a go and working things out. . My daughter is not as mathy as my son and I would like to give her a solid foundation. I am not sure if I should go with right start or singapore. She is more worried about making mistakes and likes everything to be perfect and wants someone to help her. So I would like to build her confidence in maths. Both programs look amazing, I just cant decide. Please help. Thank you and have a beautiful day.

  125. One more thing. With my son I will start him on 4a as there are a few areas that his school did not cover. He will go through that level rather quick but I want to make sure he does not miss anything. I am trying to decide which version to get. I am deciding between dimensions and standards version (basically for the home instructors guide). Which version would you go with? I am also from Mauritius so would like the metric system. Thank you.

  126. Hi Tanya,

    Regarding Singapore, I’d go with Dimensions so that your son can just go straight into the middle-school books without having to switch series.

    For your daughter, both programs are great, and so you really can’t go wrong. But since she’s a perfectionist, you might find that RightStart works better for her. There are fewer worksheets (and more games), so she won’t have to stress as much about getting all the right answers on the worksheet. At least for my perfectionist, it’s a lot easier to make a mistake while playing a game with Mom than to see mistakes on a worksheet. RightStart has a lot more games and oral activities, so that might help.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

  127. Hi Kate,

    Thank you so much for your kindness and helping so many people make these maths decisions. Seems like it is really hard to pick a maths curriculum. I have finally decided to start my son with Dimensions 4a and he will do Beast academy also.

    For my daughter I am still a little undecided. I have looked at Right start and it is amazing. She is almost 8 and should be going to grade 3 here but I would say it is more like grade 2. I have seen many posts where people stop Right start after level C and go to Singapore. So would it be less beneficial if I start her on B or C than starting at A? It is a big start up cost. So just want to make sure that it would still be worth it. If that makes sense.

    Also have you seen Miquon maths? If so what is your opinion. Thank you so much for your time and all you do for maths. It really is great reading your articles.

  128. Hi Tanya,

    Yes, RightStart has a huge upfront cost. Starting your daughter with Dimensions would likely work fine, and it would allow you to reuse the books that your son uses, too. If you’d like to add some of the benefit of RightStart without investing in the whole program, take a look at their Activities for the AL Abacus.

    Miquon is an interesting program, but it’s very different than most other curricula. It’s completely investigation-based, so it’s great for a child who likes to figure things out for herself…but very frustrating for other children. If you look at it and think your child would love it, it could be a good fit. But for many children, it’s a bit frustrating.

    Happy Math!
    Kate

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