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Rightstart B, Hates Abacus


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Rightstart has been the perfect fit for my 10 yo, but I'm not so sure it is for my 7yo who is about halfway through RS B. I want to finish the subtraction lessons with her and then possibly move her into something else for 2nd grade. She recently told me she hates using the abacus (she has always resisted it) and just wants "to use my B-R-A-I-N." ? I can understand that...my mental math skills have improved while teaching my older daughter, but I don't see an abacus in my head. I see more of a very long number line. Anyway, she catches onto math concepts more quickly than my oldest, but she has a very low frustration tolerance and easily gets upset. She tends to do more counting to figure out problems than I would like, so I've always made her do the strategies we learn on the abacus so she can learn it, but I'm tired of the fight. Also, I know she has a pretty good 1st grade grasp of the things like money, time, measurement, etc that fill up the last part of each level in RS. So I don't think the needs to finish the book past the subtraction lessons before we move on. If we stick with RS though, we probably will finish those just because she struggles with handwriting and I know that all those lessons in C with addition and subtraction tables will be too much for her. I also see her struggling with the geometry lessons in C.

Options I'm mulling around:

  • Try to adapt the abacus lessons to another manipulative like money or a 10-frame. (I'm not exactly sure how to do this, so would appreciate tips from anyone who has. I tried popsicle sticks and that didn't work well either.)
  • I have all of Math Mammoth (one of the failed attempts with big sister), so I showed her some pages from it, but the pictures were not something she is used to and that bothered her. I'm thinking of gradually transitioning her into it anyway and seeing if she gets used to it. For example, while we keep working on subtraction in RS B, give her some pages from a fun topic like time and see how she does with it. MM was way too busy and not enough explanation for my other daughter, but I'm not sure that will be a problem for my 7 yo.
  • If neither of these go well, I'm thinking of Singapore or Math in Focus although I hate to spend that much on another curriculum when I already have two. Do these rely on the abacus as much as RS?
  • I've thought of Beast Academy because I think she would like the explanations in the comic book in the samples I've seen, but I think she would get frustrated with the problems.

Thoughts? When I asked in the RS FB group, most of the replies said she didn't have to like the abacus and to just make her do it. ? I get that we have to do hard things, but would like math to not be a fight most days. ☺️ Thanks!

 

Edited by Mindfulgirl
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The abacus became boring very quickly for our child.  So we switched to Mortensen Math blocks which is like MathUSee.  

RightStart is useful for geometry, but the abacus is limited and boring.  Blocks seem superior for teaching concepts (like algebra) - and more fun to use.

 

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We are mostly through E here.  The abacus was quickly discarded.  Instead I have used place value mats and cuisenaire rods, or used the abacus for demonstration but let him use any tool he liked to do the work (or no tool at all, his main preference).

I look ahead to the lessons and see what is being taught and how.  I can often adapt the lesson to fit him better.  Like, the fraction tiles don't work for him.  He finds them cumbersome and annoying.  But he liked a game called Fraction Formula and it helped him see the relationships instantly.  We're now using Gattegno book 1 because I'm looking ahead to see how addition/multiplication of fractions is being taught.  I like the extra tools that Gattegno is giving me to help through that.

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For those of us who are not kinesthetic, having to use any kind of manipulative (and that includes manipulatives such as base 10 blocks and Cuisenaire rods) on a regular basis is a terrible thing.

Maybe your dd needs a more traditional math, such as Rod and Staff.

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We love RS here! If your DD uses counting to explain how, you can validate it, then ask for another way to solve the problem. The best thing about RS is that math is presented as flexible (all those strategies you're teaching her). There are many ways to solve any given problem. Counting is valid (though discouraged, obviously!) but if counting gets her to the right answer, then she might feel more secure exploring other ways, from the safety of already having the right answer. If that makes sense.

 

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41 minutes ago, YearRoundMom said:

We love RS here! If your DD uses counting to explain how, you can validate it, then ask for another way to solve the problem. The best thing about RS is that math is presented as flexible (all those strategies you're teaching her). There are many ways to solve any given problem. Counting is valid (though discouraged, obviously!) but if counting gets her to the right answer, then she might feel more secure exploring other ways, from the safety of already having the right answer. If that makes sense.

 

I like this idea! I could validate that she is getting the right answer that way. I think I've been too discouraging when she does that.

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We ditched the abacus as soon as I knew my student's number sense was good and only pulled it out for demonstration or the occasional lesson. I typically would replace it with Montessori beads or MUS bocks... things like that. 

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We are in RS E and rarely use the abacus. Somewhere in the middle of B we dropped it for the most part. I will pull it out to show a new strategy if there is a lesson on it, but it's rarely used after that. RS is great even without it.

If she likes doing in "in her brain" Beast Academy could be a really good fit. It is difficult, but worthwhile. We do both BA and RS they complement each other well.

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17 hours ago, Btervet said:

We are in RS E and rarely use the abacus. Somewhere in the middle of B we dropped it for the most part. I will pull it out to show a new strategy if there is a lesson on it, but it's rarely used after that. RS is great even without it.

If she likes doing in "in her brain" Beast Academy could be a really good fit. It is difficult, but worthwhile. We do both BA and RS they complement each other well.

I feel like her frustration tolerance is too low for Beast Academy. If that improves with a little maturity, we may try it next year. I do think she would like it if she can get comfortable with a little frustration.

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MM made my son cry after about 30 seconds of using it.  After we left RSB (about 3/4 of the way through), we moved to Singapore 2A and it was smooth sailing for quite a while.

Also, as an aside, your goal is for them to ditch the manipulatives.  If your daughter is ready to try going abacus-free, I'd let her.  Also, there are other base 10 manipulatives that work just as well--blocks, chips, etc.

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3 hours ago, EKS said:

MM made my son cry after about 30 seconds of using it.  After we left RSB (about 3/4 of the way through), we moved to Singapore 2A and it was smooth sailing for quite a while.

Also, as an aside, your goal is for them to ditch the manipulatives.  If your daughter is ready to try going abacus-free, I'd let her.  Also, there are other base 10 manipulatives that work just as well--blocks, chips, etc.

Yeah, I have to admit those MM pages are a little dizzying even to me. I really like the look of Singapore...the pages aren't crowded, the textbook is colorful, etc. My daughter said she likes the pictures that go with the problems better than the MM ones too. I like the scripted aspect of the RS teacher's manual better, but I think I can adjust. Also, teaching RS to my oldest has given me a good foundation since both programs teach in a similar way.

Anyway, yes, she tends to get new concepts pretty quickly and not need the manipulatives, but when she doesn't get it, I struggle to help her understand when she resists the abacus so hard. We grabbed some linking cubes and colored counters today and we have the base 10 cards from RS that she likes a lot. Glad to hear you moved from RSB to Singapore 2A easily!

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