Math Lessons

James has been working his way through RightStart Level B this past term, and most days he absolutely loves it. He says it’s his favourite subject.

There are a lot of options available these days when it comes to math curricula, and I thought about using a couple different programs when I was first looking around. Singapore Math is used in quite a few classical schools, so I considered it – but I really don’t like its cutesy graphics. I also thought about using Math-U-See because Mystie Winckler (homeschooling mom whose blog I’ve been following for years) really loves it. But I didn’t like that it was DVD based – at this point in James’s education, I’d prefer to teach him myself, rather than have him learning from videos. I ended up choosing RightStart mostly based on online recommendations (especially on the Ambleside Online Forum), and I’m really happy with it so far. I was looking for a program that keeps math both interesting and practical, and RightStart does both well.

The lessons are very clearly laid out. Each two-page spread in the book contains one lesson, and each lesson has clear objectives and a list of the various materials needed to do that lesson. So, when we’re ready to start our math lesson, I open the book, gather the supplies and we begin.

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I also like that it slowly builds on what a child has already learned. For example, the warm-up activity gets children used to thinking through simple addition facts. I’ve seen good, steady progress over the past few months in James’s mental math.

In today’s lesson, James was working on adding 6s, 7s and 8s to two-digit numbers. Charlotte Mason recommends keeping math lessons to 15-20 minutes when children are in Year 1, so if we don’t make it through an entire lesson (and we rarely do), I just put a little sticky arrow on the page and we pick up from where we left off on the next day.

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June loves keeping a keen and watchful eye on James during his lessons.

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One of RightStart’s advantages is that it integrates math games into the lessons, which really helps reinforce learning. James loves the games he’s learned so far! Here’s one example from a few weeks ago:

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This week James started learning a simple form of Solitaire.

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Gotta get a little bit of attention, too! 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Math Lessons

  1. ambervanderpol2015 says:

    I wish I had started with Right Start with my two older boys, it really looks like a great program. We ended up using MEC for a couple years, and then last year I just went out on my own. I’m using the Strayer-Upton books for them right now, which is fine for where they are at, but I am planning on (finally!) getting Right Start to use with my 4th child when he’s ready to start school. And then there’s his two younger sisters…

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    • arenda says:

      Yeah, we’re really happy with it so far. Math is one of those areas where I understand the concepts, but have really no idea how to teach them to my kids, so I appreciate having things laid out so tidily… going out on my own would be super uncomfortable for me! Exciting for you to begin Right Start with your next! (How old is he now?)

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      • ambervanderpol2015 says:

        I was at a point last summer where I was very concerned about how things were going for Math w/ my two boys. One was slogging ahead in MEC but not really understanding what he was doing, and the other was ready to move faster and needed more challenges. I didn’t know how to adapt the curriculum that we were using to accommodate those needs, but then I saw a presentation by Sonya Schaffer about Richele Baburina’s work at a conference over the summer and I was hooked. I bought Richele’s book and DVDs and started using those methods with my boys last year, and saw amazing leaps in comprehension and interest. However, it took a lot of creativity and thought to do it, which I had last school year, but this dwindled as my pregnancy advanced and now with a baby in the home again, it just isn’t really available! LOL So I’m looking for something more scripted and prepared.

        My 4th just turned 6 in Sept., but we’re going to start him in Y1 next school year. This year I’m only working on beginning reading and math concepts. I am using the book Preschool Math at Home w/ him and his sister which has been fun and helpful.

        Last night I saw that Richele’s new math curriculum is going on sale at Simply Charlotte Mason and I decided to buy that instead of Right Start. It is significantly less expensive, and since I’ve been so pleased with her book and DVD, that I am hoping this will work well. I am really hoping I won’t regret this decision!

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        • arenda says:

          How interesting! I always find it fascinating when something clicks for kids and their understanding/comprehension jumps ahead like that. This SCM math program sounds like it could be perfect for your family! It makes me quite curious about the curriculum … (especially since math is something I really haven’t studied from a CM perspective).

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          • ambervanderpol2015 says:

            From what I understand, there is a lot of overlap between Right Start and what CM did for math in her schools. When I was at that conference in the summer of 2016, Right Start Math was being recommended by Sonya Schaffer and her husband for people who wanted a scripted approach. Obviously they must think there’s some room for another math program, since they are publishing this one, but I think the two programs will have a fair amount in common, especially in terms of their overall approach and philosophy regarding teaching math. I’m sure at some point in the next few months someone will do a review and comparison between the two, which should be interesting to read. For what it’s worth, Right Start is also what CMI’s Alveary is recommending for people who want a more scripted approach. I’m really looking forward to getting to take a look at this new program!

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          • arenda says:

            Thanks for sharing that, Amber. I always love reading those comparison reviews – I’ll look forward to seeing any CM vs Right Start ones. 🙂

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