View Full Version : Right Start Math Frustration?

09-15-2009, 10:11 AM
Is it me? I have a love hate relationship with Right Start Math. I love the philosophy behind it but hate teaching it. Math takes over an hour every day without any added practice or even right start games. I feel like the explanations for how to use the odd materials don't make sense half the time and it is all over the map in terms of sequence. Subtraction isn't addressed until the END of level B. Huh? We are halfway through level B and I am starting to raise the white flag of surrender. Anyone else have this experience? Did you switch or stick it out? Your thoughts? Also - I am starting work half time and the nanny will do school. I don't think I can leave this system with her to teach.

09-15-2009, 10:25 AM
I started out hating this program. But it was so pricey that I decided to stick with it as much as I could. It has worked well with one of my dc but the other was having a terrible time. So we've taken a huge break.

I'll keep using RS with the one dc but I'm going to try to switch to MUS with the other dc. We'll see how that goes.

I LOVE the teaching ideas. I love that they use several different kinds of manipulatives, etc in teaching. I love how the teaching methods just make sense to me. Instead of just a workbook and a bunch of problems, it actually teaches ideas, methods, the tools to figure out the problems.

But I haven't loved how long the math lessons take. I have 4 children and 2 are doing a math lesson, 1 is wanting to learn like crazy and 1 is into absolutely everything. What I've done is just adjust to our needs. So I don't complete a whole lesson at one time. I do about 20-30 minutes usually a day. That doesn't complete a whole less but that's o.k by me. And if I have more than 30 minutes of time to give, then I'll go ahead and do the whole lesson.

I've decided to make RS work for me as long as it's working for me. And it is for that one child. So I'll keep it up and I hope that I end up liking MUS for the other just as much as I like RS for the other child.

I do plan on joining the RS yahoo group as well. I hope that might help to make my experience even more rich.

09-15-2009, 02:50 PM
Tammie, I used RS Level B last year and had a few frustrations with it. That being said, I decided to continue on with Level C and I absolutely love C! Level C has built-in review lessons after every 5 normal lessons and there are some great practice sheets. I wish B had been formatted like C is. I would encourage you to give it a little longer. When I was frustrated with RS I called their customer support person and she was wonderful. I started ending my math lessons after 30 minutes. What didn't get done became the next day's lesson. This one thing helped a great deal. Don't worry about subtraction since it is covered in depth in C.

09-15-2009, 03:48 PM
Ds 2 just started Level D. He's been using RS since midway through Kindergarten.

The late intro to subtraction was not a problem here. Even though ds is a year "behind" in math according to their schedule (he's in 4th grade and D is supposedly 3rd grade), last year on his annual testing he scored a almost a full year AHEAD in math.

If your child has absolutely NO idea of what subtraction is, go ahead and introduce the concept while doing math games or some other low-pressure context. But there is no harm in waiting until the book gets to it to actually expect him to know it.

We have cut many lessons short if ds reaches the end of his ability to absorb it. Just finish up the next day. We do not include the games in the lesson time. We use them at a separate time as a fun break between other subjects.

Nancy Ann
09-15-2009, 04:30 PM
We are using level B and we really like it. I love the no/very little worksheet part and I love that we learn math facts by playing games and not drills.

We only spend about 20 minutes. I do not do much of the warm up begining part unless my son needs review. I read through the lesson plan and sometimes it's a little difficult to understand because it's a different way of learning than the traditional approach. Than we do the lesson. I am not sure why it's taking you an hour? That would be very frustrating!! What does your math time look like?

Yes, the subtraction is at the end but to be honest I am exhausted from fighting curriculum. I have been homeschooling for 8 years and every curriculum has something I wish were different. (except FIAR for some reason:) ) But especially with Math. There is always something I wish was taught in a different way or out of sequence. But I trust this program and the lady who created it and so I keep going.

09-15-2009, 04:40 PM
I'm a RS drop out. I love everything about it except I can't teach it. My dd could not get the hang of it and not counting just irritated her to no end! I do know that the problem is me but I can't change that :D So we're using Horizons and love, love, love it! I plan to use the RS "stuff" at some point since it was sooooo expensive. At least I feel compelled to type that so I look good :roflol:

Lindy S.
09-15-2009, 08:06 PM
I have to say last year when we were 1/2 way through RS Level B I, too, was feeling very frustrated! It just felt like so much work and I just wasn't sure that the results were equivalent to the amount of time put in. I also called the customer service line and the woman was super helpful. I said that I was going to take a break for a couple of weeks and just play the games to solidify what we had been learning! She thought that was a great idea and recommended particular games for the areas that I felt ds could use improvement/confidence! Well, that did the trick because after that my ds and I did much better with the program. He really knows his stuff. He doesn't blurt out math fact answers super fast but he processes it and he really is understanding the way numbers work. I am already a much better adder than I ever was! My advice: definitely stick with it! We finished Level B over the summer since we took out time and when we finished my son was actually sad!!! Isn't that funny? A kid sad to be finished a math book. I think that's great! It seems like C might be a bit easier to maneuver too.


09-15-2009, 08:07 PM
My friend was using right start and bailed out. :unsure:

Elizabeth in KY
09-15-2009, 08:27 PM
We started off wth RS, and it just didn't work for us. I was frustrated with the amount of prep work, and ds wasn't all that excited about it. He prefers a workbook! That was he can see exactly how much work he has for the day, and how much he has left for the semester.

We do use the manipulatives, and the abacus has worked very well for my ds.

09-16-2009, 07:57 AM
This is my 6th year with RS. I have used it with all of my children. I switched my oldest to MUS when we were in the middle of Level E just because I didn't like how RS handled division and the other math concepts (decimals, percentages) but I had to switch her anyway at the end of E so this wasn't a big deal. My ds has just started Level D. I am not using curriculum with my youngest but am using RS as a guide as to how I teach math to her.

In my experience, Level B is the hardest level to teach. I was very frustrated with this level when we were going through it with my oldest. RS doesn't always explain everything clearly but I have muddled my way through it and it hasn't been a detriment to my kids. I have never taught math for an hour with my kids. When 20 min. has passed, I stop our lesson and continue on with it for the next day. It may take longer to go through the book but, keep in mind, RS is teaching concepts that, in ps, are being taught at older grades. Level B has concepts that are being taught in ps at Gr. 3.

From looking at MUS and RS, I am so glad that I did not do MUS when my children were younger. I know they would have been bored with it. RS is full of variety. You never know what you are going to do with RS in any given day. That worked for my kids. My kids also do not like workbooks so this was another plus for RS.

Holly S
09-16-2009, 09:45 AM
I'm another RS drop-out. :blush: We used level A and I had the same issues. DD did fine with it...I cringed every time I pulled the manual out. We switched to Singapore because it teaches in a similar manner. The lessons go much quicker for me and I'm still able to use our RS games book and many of the same manipulatives. It also doesn't jump around from topic to topic nearly as much. I finally switched when I realized I'd eventually have 3 kids going through the program. :eek:

If you decide to stick with it, I'd set a timer and stop after a certain time. There's no way my DD could sit for an hour or more of math! I spend no more than 30 minutes with her each day, and I often have to break that up into a couple sessions!

Jennifer in TX
09-16-2009, 10:35 PM
I felt the same way when we went through Level A. It wasn't until dd started adding 4 digit numbers early in Level B that I "got" it. Level A laid a fantastic foundation for addition.

I set a timer for 20 minutes, and that's how long we spend on each lesson. We can usually get through a whole lesson except any game or worksheet in that amount of time. If we haven't completed something, we just start in that spot the next day. I keep a sticky note in the book so I know exactly where to start the next day.

I wouldn't skip the warm-ups. That's the drill and review.

I have to say that I think RightStart is incredible. It's one of my top reasons for not sending my kids to public school. I think it's that good.

09-17-2009, 06:21 PM
I agree that RS is an awesome curriculum, in terms of teaching kids to THINK. At the same time, I've had to tweak a lot of it for my 7-year-old, who has PDD and ADD issues. It took us over 2 years to get through Level B...and the mental math never really did click with him. After many frustrating hours of working on this, I finally decided to just skip the mental math for now, and come back and pick it up in a year or two. That has been a HUGE burden off my chest. He just completely lacks the visualization skills required to do mental math (like 47+58) right now...and since I never did learn to do this until probably high school, I don't think it's a huge tragedy if he doesn't know it yet.

I was also concerned about the late approach to subtraction, as I have to keep him PS-ready at all times. So once we started Level C, I skipped way ahead to subtraction for awhile. We were able to jump ahead to the subtraction lessons in C without too much trouble. Once we finish covering subtraction with regrouping the RS way, then we'll back up and sort of "camp out" a while while we work our way through Level C. In the meantime, I've been doing lots of workbooks for review...he likes colorful workbooks, so I use those instead of the RS review.

I think it's a fantastic curriculum...I wouldn't use anything else as my primary curriculum...but it isn't perfect (no curriculum is.) But again, that's the beauty of homeschooling...you can modify as you see fit to meet the needs of your child.

09-17-2009, 07:34 PM
You guys are so awesome to take your time and respond. I truly appreciate it. I am leaning towards finishing B slowly but supplementing with a traditional workbook. I picked RS for the very cool approach but I don't know if it's clicking for her and I don't know that she visualizes anything. "noooooo mom, I don't want to!!!" is what I get when I ask her to try. I am meeting with the principal at our local school (a friend of ours who is super supportive of us homeschooling) and she says she'll hook me up with any of their materials I want to use. I am hoping there will be a workbook in the mix. I like that I will know what is going on with her peer group whether I use it or not. That being said, I am inspired by both the people who stuck it out AND the drop outs. Ha Ha - thanks everyone!!!

09-17-2009, 09:50 PM
We are doing Level B too. I love it. I am a big fan of teaching math from this type of approach. I recommend calling the Rightstart customer service line. The number is on the website. They are SOO helpful! They have great suggestions and are very friendly and knowledgable. I HIGHLY recommend calling. They have talked me through a couple concerns I had and I have heard others say they loved their customer support too. The workers have all used the program with their kids and they have a lot of ideas on how to make it work and what is the best way to implement it.

09-18-2009, 08:10 AM
Are you part of the RS Yahoo! Group? They've been super helpful to me.

I also love-hate it (some of the prep in the first half of B is painful), but I see SO many benefits; it has mapped my son's mind for math. Math is his favorite part of the day. My son is super comfortable with numbers and really understands thanks to the RS methods.

If your daughter, isn't getting it, I think you need to slow down or stop a bit and play games. :/ I don't know. I would definitely call customer service and bounce some ideas around with them.

One thing that helped me with Level B (which we are almost done with!) was prepping the night before. You can't really fly by the seat of your pants with RS.

Julie in FL
09-18-2009, 02:54 PM
ami....what is the RS yahoo groups title? I've tried to find it but can't. I'm thinking of switching from Saxon to RS and I would love to ask some questions. :)


09-18-2009, 03:05 PM
I knew there was a yahoo group too but I wasn't sure where to sign up for it at. Ami, I'd like to hear about where to sign up also. :) Thanks!

09-18-2009, 09:44 PM
Here's a link to the RS Yahoo group:

09-18-2009, 10:48 PM
another RS drop-out here. I love the idea of it, but implementing it was making me crazy.

we switched to Singapore and have not looked back.

Julie in AZ
09-18-2009, 11:32 PM
We used RS Level B through half of C then switched to TT 5.

My dd has recently been upset with math so I've been letting her do Rainbow Rock (http://www.sonlight.com/RM167.html) on the computer. I love the way it shows grouping in tens!

Julie in FL
09-19-2009, 10:40 AM
I ordered RS last week and it came in the first of this week. We did several lesson from level A yesterday and we did not care for it. As I looked over the lessons, it seemed to jump around or maybe it's just me. I've decided to stick with Saxon and supplement with Singapore.

Thanks katied for the link :)