Right Start Math
What should you expect?Some of the most unique aspects of this program are its non-counting strategies and a "number naming system" that is different from what is traditionally used in the United States.
RightStart has published Level A through E and a Level G. These levels can be mapped to grade levels of kindergarten through middle school (junior high). We are anticipating the 2017 release of Level F. All published levels are available in a 1st and 2nd edition and were all published very recently (2013-2016).
RightStart Math review
When they say that RightStart uses non-traditional counting, what does that mean?
During the RightStart curriculum, students are taught to visualize numerical quantities in groups of 5's and 10's. This might seem strange to parents raised in the U.S. public or private school systems. The RightStart program also uses a "number naming system" that is distinct from the U.S.
An example of counting in RightStart.
For example, if a student is asked to add 7 + 9. It would be traditional in U.S. classrooms to count up 7 from 9. An Asian influenced math program will remove one number from 7 and move it to the 9 in order to create a 10. So, 7 + 9 → 6 + 10.
The RightStart number naming system.
The Asian words for numbers larger than 10 convey a much stronger sense of a base 10 system. Instead of calling the number 11, eleven, we call 11, "ten-one." Twelve (12) is called "ten-two."
The RightStart curriculum introduces this method of counting first. After students learn to conceptualize numbers in the "math-way" they learn the "less intuitive words" for numbers.
RightStart is definitely a hands-on learning math curriculum. RightStart uses games to reinforce the concepts being taught. Most children really do enjoy these games.
Special needs and RightStart Math
Many children with special needs have difficulties paying attention long enough to teach a new concept. This can be very difficult. RightStart has short lessons that are often able to keep students with special needs engaged and actively engaged and participating in the lesson.
Does RightStart Math work?
Leann Warren provides an excellent testimony for RightStart. Here is what she says:
What makes RightStart different? It uses a visual and hands-on approach to teaching by integrating both a 2-color abacus as well as hands-on activities! I can personally attest that this curriculum WORKS! We've used it for the past 4 years. In fact, I'm a college math teacher, and my son is actually faster at mental math computations than I am... all because of RightStart! [source]
RightStart Mathematics manipulatives & add ons
RightStart math uses games, cards, tools, math manipulatives, and more. For some parent-teachers this may be suprising, but the games book is actually very helpful. Right Start is only expensive the first year because you will need to buy these manipulatives. After that, it is fairly cheap to just add on the new book each year and one or two manipulatives as you need them.
Organization is key for RS manipulatives, but once you have them set up, it is fabulous. Need help setting up or organizing them? Here's how one homeschool mom did it.
The games book keeps lessons and practice fresh and enjoyable. Every family will have preferences for the add ons and manipulatives. However, the basic number cards are usually the most popular.
The corners cards are unique and engaging. While some of their manipulatives can be re-created by hand, the corners cards are tricky to replicate yourself.
The abacus is an absolute essential. The go-to. In a best case-scenario, your homeschool/class will have two.
The balance is often one of the most exciting add ons. However, it may or may not continue to hold your child's attention.
Do I need to follow the teacher's manual or can I improvise on my own?
Definitely follow the teacher's manual in the beginning -- until you are very comfortable with the material. There really is no need/reason to stray from it. The teacher's manual lists out exactly what you'll need for each lesson.
So, I need to buy the manipulatives?
Yep, that would be our strong recommendation. Buy the manipulatives. They are so integrated into the programme that it is quite tricky to pick and choose. If you don't have all of the items and are unable to re-create it, you will probably have to skip a lesson. One item that sticks out as particularly difficult to make is the math balance.
The manipulatives are how your child practices math (there are few worksheets).
RightStart Math reviews by homeschooling moms
I really like right start math. I don't think I'm going to switch out for another program. One of my kids is working on Level C, and the other is on Level A. I find all the manipulatives very helpful. I would not recommend skipping them. You do end up using everything as you progress through the levels, so if this is the curricula you use for all of elementary math, then it's definitely worth it to get the set of manipulatives. Creating your own is often more of a pain than it's worth.
There is a heavy emphasis on games to get to master the facts and I've found all the card games and other manipulatives have been very helpful in reinforcing the basic math facts. I'm more secure now in my knowledge of basic facts now because of RS!
This is my first year teaching math and I've thankful to be using RightStart from the beginning, but what I hear from lots of people is that memorization of the facts is so boring to practice but so essential to computation. I'm thankful that there are so many fun games built into the program so there's lots of practice without it being boring! [source]
I love that it encourages mental math!
Buy RightStart Math Curriculum
Sample PDFs of RightStart Mathematics
Take a peek inside the book's pages!