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Can I get some thoughts on my concerns about RightStart C?


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I don't want to jump ship unnecessarily, but I know that lots of people have expressed concerns about RS after level B, so I'm wondering if what I'm experiencing is along the same lines.


I have a non-mathy DD8, and I'm just not sure how well she's retained what we've learned thus far. I believe in strong mental math skills, but RS is hammering on things that are making her crazy, like the different strategies for adding two-digit numbers (e.g., 46 + 57 = [96] 103 -- she can find the answer much more quickly and easily with the other strategy, so how hard do I need to push THIS one?). Now we've begun multiplication, and I just don't really understand why RS is teaching it the way they are, and DD's not understanding the things I think she's supposed to be getting from these lessons, and is so frustrated by the method. And I'm kind of wondering, what happened to subtraction?


Are these some of the concerns others have had at this point? Obviously we're only a few lessons into multiplication, so what I'm feeling could just be the mega-frustration of starting something very new, but all of a sudden, the few tiny little doubts I've had have all sort of gathered into a bigger ball of "What the heck?!" Math used to be something we looked forward to doing, and now it's something DD fears and cries over (not every day, but often enough to concern me).


If you've left RS at this point (early in C), where did you go? Is there a better fit somewhere else? My plan was always to go with RS until I felt like it wasn't working anymore and then move to Singapore, but I'm not sure Singapore's right either, especially given my doubts about what she's retaining. I would love any suggestions or thoughts you might have if you've been down this path before.



Edited by melissel
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I had the same thought about subtraction! It took RS forever to get to subtraction (making it very frustrating to use supplemental workbooks!) and then it kinda of gets dropped.


About the mental math, my ds always adds the tens then the ones and I don't ask him to keep trying the strategy with adding the way RS is pushing. He totally gets it his way, it works and he does it quickly which is good enough for me! He KNOWS the way they are pushing and understands it but likes his way faster ( 46 + 57 = [90+13] = 103 ).


I am looking for something different for 2nd grade too but I'm not willing to give up on RS C just yet. LOL, All that to say that I'm interested in this same topic :bigear:

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We've used B-D so far and will be starting E after Christmas. I let my kids use whatever strategy works for them after discussing them. I like the mental math in RS but after C I felt my ds needed more repetition so we use both RS and CLE. I don't line them up, just use both curr. I think RS assumes you are still playing games alot, and I do feel they are very valuable, it's just that with a house full of kids I don't always have the time.

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My kids had problems with all of the strategies as well. I introduced them to the strategies but let them choose the one that was the easiest for them.


I didn't bail on RS until we got to Level E. My reason being that they didn't cover long division very well and my dd wasn't ready to do per cents and decimals at 9 yrs. of age. I thought C & D were pretty good. Subtraction is covered later in level C.

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We've used RS right through (now doing Geometry) with my eldest, and my middle child is just finishing B. C is a number of years ago, but I'll add in my opinions based on a variety of experiences.


RS focuses on addition and multiplication to the neglect/exclusion of subtraction and division. It almost seems as though RS expects students to understand the "positive" functions so well that the "negative" functions will just appear instinctively, as the other aspect of a "part/whole equation." For my ds, subtraction did come quite easily, however, he would forget the process, as it wasn't practiced as extensively. Division, OTOH has been quite a pain, as have fractions. With Division, I just created some supplementary sheets and focused on the skill until he understood. With fractions, I've bought some supplementary material (a 7th grade Spectrum workbook), and we are currently working through the fractions materials.


That said, ds loves RS and laments every day that I pull out the Spectrum workbook. He has a much better intuitive grasp of math than I do, and is great with mental math. I will continue with RS for my girls, although I'll be more pro active about its faults.


One other thing... Moving into multiplication I spend lots of time doing active math: singing multiplication songs (I made some up), tossing a bean bag or marching or jumping while chanting songs or tables (some songs have a strong 4/4 beat good for the 4's and 8's, some 3/4's/waltzes work with the 3's and 6's). This is a beautiful Multiplication clock, that even my non-artistic son loved making, and here is a multiplication star (tutorial)- these projects really helped my son love multiplication.



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Well, I've posted this before, but my kids have both used RS A and B and I think those levels are wonderful. I used RS C almost to the end with my daughter and it went fine. She really enjoyed the drawing lessons somewhere in the middle of that level. However, I definitely started to feel she needed more systematic written practice. I know RS has practice sheets for you to use, but I did not feel confident about which ones I should be using when and I didn't feel like she was going to get consistent practice and review with me trying to schedule those on my own.


So, I decided to supplement with CLE (we started about halfway through level 2) and she has done so beautifully that we dropped RS. Workbooks fit her learning style and I feel like she is learning so much more than she was in RS. Her standardized scores skyrocketed to the 99th percentile after we made the switch. I am considering the RS Geometry book for her at some point because she loved those drawing lessons so much in RS C, but we will see.



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No program is a perfect for every child. And it seems most need some tweeking. That being said, I found that RS taught addition so well, that when we got to subtraction, my son had no issues with it. Later in D, RS really hammers the subtraction home IMO. Division is worked on a lot in E. You'll find that something is introduced in one level, but then cemented in the next. RS teaches multiplication through skip counting first. This is the method I've seen recommended the most. I was not taught that way....we just memorized the tables. BUt my kids are pretty quick w/ skip counting.


Much of RS is in the games and it's the part most neglected. I know if we're short on time, the games are the first thing to be cut when it really should be something else. :001_huh:


As far as the method, I generally insist that DC works the problems in that lesson using that method. For any other problems, he's free to use any method he likes which is what RS wants them to do. But if your DC really can't get a method, just let her use what works for her and move on. What I do in that situation, is that I model the method when doing problems and playing games. My oldest NEVER, ever liked the two fives strategy. For my middle child, the two fives strategy came very naturally and he still uses it. Go figure. Every kid is different.


My oldest did B-E and is now in RS Geo. My middle has done A-C and is almost mid-way through level D. I almost jumped ship to Math Mammoth b/c my middle son is on the young side and I felt he needed much more practice. Well, when I looked at level D, all the practice/cementing he needed was right there in those beginning lessons - every bit of it.


Anyhow, RS is quite conceptual and is not a good fit for some kids. My boys have loved it. RS does end prematurely I think. Dr. Cotter didn't finish it. It needed one more level which was to be called RS Algebraic Approach which was to be done at the same time as RS Geometric Approach. I believe this level would have hammered home/cemented fractions, multiplying fractions, dividing fractions, decimals and percents. So after RS E, we've moved into Math Mammoth 5A/5B. I think if you switch to SM after finishing level E, most go into SM 5A/5B as well.


If you go into SM after finishing RS B, I think you'd have to start in SM 2A/2B b/c the scope and sequence is very different. YOu could pick through the things she needs to work on and move through quickly. There is a placement test for Singapore Math which is where I would start.

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I jumped ship at the end of B with my son and at the end of C with my daughter. I felt that we got to a point where RS did not offer enough focused work on the core math concepts. We now use Math Mammoth (2A for my son, 3B for my daughter). No math curriculum is perfect, but things are going well.



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Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.


I felt that we got to a point where RS did not offer enough focused work on the core math concepts.


I think this is part of my problem. We definitely have not spent enough time on the games, but then someone said in another thread that she actually spoke to Dr. Cotter at a conference, and Dr. Cotter told her that the games are only meant to be played when they're scheduled, which really knocked me for a loop :confused:


Other than the games, it seems like the only review is the timed review sheets, which she dreads, and whatever worksheet goes with each lesson, which usually comes at a time when she's most frustrated with that lesson *sigh* Each lesson is taking us almost an hour now, which is draining for both of us, but I feel like breaking them up just adds to the scattered and unfocused feeling.


I think what we'll do is what I originally planned for the short term: finish out our lessons until we take our long break in December, and then use that long break to do the review sheets and play lots of games. After we come back in January, I'll reevaluate. But if anyone else has advice or thoughts, I'd love to hear them (I hate killing my own threads :lol:).


Thank you!

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I switched my DD at the end of C for a different set of reasons, but I will say that it's an easy switch to either Singapore or Math Mammoth. Presumably Math in Focus (the new syllabus Singapore) as well, but I haven't used that program.


My DD placed into SM 3A after finishing RS C, but I found that for certain topics in SM she couldn't follow along with all the conceptual leaps. So I'm supplementing with certain of the single-topic "blue" MM worktexts.


I'd like to use RS A & B with my DS but he wasn't ready to start A at the beginning of this year, so we backed up and he's flying through MEP Reception. Once he finishes that, I'll have to decide whether to try RS A again, continue on with MEP Yr 1, or try Singapore Essential Math K.

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I looked at what would be on the SAT, and ... yep, taught to the test. the month before the SAT, We covered those topics and he did very well on the test. ( not getting love notes from Johns Hopkins or Duke,, but very well)


I like Galore Park you can teach it sugergically, go in , cut out the bits you need, skip 4 chapters, do that, skip 2 more chapters,, do that.



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When I finished level C with my oldest, she was in the middle of 2nd grade. She was awesome at mental math but had one strategy that she preferred over the others. I did what a pp mentioned with requiring my dd to use the particular strategy being discussed in the lesson, but allowing her to use whatever she wanted at other times.


I also agree with Tara about the "focused work on core concepts." Dd was not retaining much outside of mental strategies. Plus, we were starting to butt heads over the lessons due to the amount of time it was taking (like you, it was taking much too long). Plus she was becoming increasingly frustrated with herself. I felt like she needed quicker recall of certain things. She could add 54 + 63 faster than 2 + 3. Weird, I know, but true. I switched her to a CLE/CWP combo. CLE was exactly what she needed. She loved the independent/workbook aspect of it. And I was glad to see her gaining speed on math facts and gaining her confidence back. She needed the practice that CLE provided for multiplication basics. After a semester of CLE, I almost went back to RS D (I think I did for about a week), and then jumped ship to Math Mammoth. I think we're sticking with it for the long haul. She's able to use the mental math strategies that were so well-ingrained from RS and continue flexing those brain muscles on some of the word problems, yet there's enough "focused work on core concepts" for my liking. I teach the lesson or go over the new concepts first (her dyslexic tendencies give her trouble reading and understanding instructions unless I read them out loud), and then sit beside her while she does the lessons to make sure she's heading in the right direction. Yet, she feels quite independent. We're doing Primary Challenge Math on Fridays, and I am thinking about adding in some CWP now that we're on solid footing again.


She had gotten to a point in RS where she was mostly frustrated and thinking she was not good at math; now she really enjoys math and her favorite part is the puzzle corner section in MM that can be pretty tricky!


I've started my son in RS A and I plan to take him through B, and then we'll see. He's very math-minded (He seems to already understand every concept we get to in A) and so RS might be fine for him to continue in on past B. We'll figure it out when we get there. IME, I've found nothing better than RS A & B for beginning math students.

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I remember C dragging on, but I stuck with it and I'm seeing the results now that we are D. I thought the multiplication in C was slow and I had doubts. However, now ds 20 lessons left in D and he is fast with his tables. Division has confused him a bit. I'm giving him division worksheets from MM because he asked for something to teach him faster. Now his understanding of division is getting better.

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I like the mental math in RS but after C I felt my ds needed more repetition


This was us as well. We did NOT have the time to add more games, so we began Math Mammoth as a supplement this year. I had bought a couple of the blue topics this summer and was so impressed that I bought the cd w/ all of the grade levels. These two programs mesh together really well, and I will keep my younger son using both programs. With my older son, I'm not sure yet if we will use RS E next year w/ MM or not....I haven't heard alot of wonderful reviews for level E like the other levels, so I'm hoping to get my hands on a copy at the convention to see if it looks good or not.

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Here are my thoughts, which I will try to put into a cohesive outline. Not feeling particularly eloquent today through. :D


*My kids are dyslexic and have problems memorizing, then transferring what they memorize to practical use. It just takes them longer than other kids.


That said to date they have all learned their math facts, and I credit RS games for that given my oldest two had done Calculaders, flash cards and Flashmaster with no retention.


My kids do play the game daily, with each other. I only generally play games with ds and then only twice a week. I don't use the worksheets except in level B. Then I do not time them, EVER. Dyslexic's do not do timers, they simply forget everything if you do that to them.


*None of my kids have had problems with the level of subtraction work. There is actually a lot in level D, and it teaches traditional borrowing as well as a third method. Nor have I had a problem with the division practice. Level E suggests the child does one multivide a day in their journal. With a multivide you take a number, in the example I posted it uses 21, and you multiply it by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Then you go backwards and divide it by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 back to the original number. This should provide plenty of practice in long division, IMO, especially if you are using it with a 5th grader that is the suggested age. I suspect that a lot of people skip doing this, which is part of the reason why the kiddos don't end up with much long division practice.


That said I do also use Singapore math, so my kids are getting more written practice. I was a huge Singapore fan before using Right Start so RS started out as the supplement. For my kids RS is now their main math program because it works so well for them. In addition all of my kids are working a couple grades below grade level in Singapore. For example my oldest is in 7th grade and just started IP 5B. She will probably start level 6 books this year, but she won't come close to finishing them.


I do wish Dr. Cotter would write the Algebra level, because I would prefer to use her methods. They just work for my hands on, right brain learners. But given she isn't I think the pre-algebra program I am using will fill in any remaining practice they need, just as her program would if she had written it. I am adding Hands On Equations for kinsthetic Algebra.


*Both my children and I have strategies that we prefer. Generally I like to do every thing as a base 10 problem, so every time I step in to help I approach it that way. For example when ever we have a break ds is intimidated with the double digit mental addition in the warm ups. Thus I generally step in and help him. With a problem like 83+8 I will start by asking him what he needs to add to 3 to make 83 90? He will answer 7. Then I ask him what is left over from 8? He generally around her jumps ahead and gives me the answer. Usually after help with the first he does fine till the next break.


My point is because I favor this method, so do my kids. Thus when they teach a different strategy, we cover it. But I allow the kids to find the answers the way they want to. The point of the strategies, IMO, is to show a fluency with numbers. That there is no one right way to think, which is how I feel Saxon often unintentionally comes across especially how I was taught it in PS. Once they get that I see no need to force them to use a method they don't care for. Not even for the worksheet.


*None of my kids have had problems with core concepts. Of course I wouldn't allow it. :D I would go back and fix it if I suspected any such thing. With the example of being able to do larger numbers and not simple 2+3 I would go back and play war for a week, then I would schedule it at least a weekly for a month or more. My kids adore war, so that isn't a problem here.


We are required to test at the end of 3rd and 5th grades, so these are the test results I have gotten thus far, using the NP score (the one that lines them up with all the other children who have taken the test and tells where they would fall compared to the other children):


Sweet Pea 3rd grade: 97% (Missed answers are due to not having covered the material, division-though she got a few of those.)

Sweet Peat 5th grade: 84% (Again most missed are due to not having covered the material yet in either Singapore or RS.)

Pumpkin 3rd grade: 89% (Again missed all the division, and a few others.)

Honey Dew 3rd grade: 75% (She missed both the division and all the charts. She didn't get as far in Singapore as the other two, so she must have missed chart work that they got.)


I am really happy with those scores.


I also keep lessons short, so if that means doing them over more than one day, we do. The whole 4-9 digit addition section in B I generally do one problem a day, so we end up spending something like a whole month on about 5 worksheets.


Now just because it is a great combo for my kids it doesn't mean it is the right fit for everyone. I think RS A and B works for a lot more kids because kids start out very concrete and develop abstract thought as they go. Mine have stayed pretty concrete. I also think the visualizing can enable a child to move to worksheets fluently, without the hands on, earlier than they might have been able to if they just start out with worksheets alone. They are able to picture it in their minds rather than needing the hands on.


I have often wondered how strong visual learners would do. You have the manipulatives, which are visual, and I would think the drawing of figures to do area and such would work well for them, but I would think many visual learners would do better with more worksheets.



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