For the past few months, we have been using Horizons Math for Kindergarten. As of last week, we officially finished the first half of the program, 80 lessons. There are some things I really liked about it. The fact that it is a spiral curriculum, for one. Each day, a new topic was presented and old ones were reviewed (versus a mastery curriculum, where you stay on one topic until you have it mastered). It was colorful and seemed to have good reviews.
But there were two things that I really did not like about the program: It seemed to move really quick, and it was boring. I don’t know if some of that has to do with Madison’s age, but on some topics there was so much review and on some, it seemed like we were moving on before she understood what we had done the day before. And while I am sure there is some way I could have tried to slow it down, I just didn’t feel like it was working out for either of us.
As far as the boring part, it felt like all we were doing was worksheets. And truthfully, Madison didn’t complain about doing worksheets – she loves to “do math.” I just really want school to be fun for us (as much as possible). And doing Horizons felt like too much writing and not enough understanding, so I decided to look for something new.
That was probably a month ago, and doing that time I have tried to do a much better job researching math curricula than I did the first time. The one that really stood out for me was Right Start. Again, I have heard so many positive things about the program, and the main negative comment was that it is very teacher intensive. I feel like I can handle that – I only have one kid right now, so that’s ok with me. One of my favorite things about the program is that it tries to teach understanding, not memorization. And I also like that there are so many learning games, especially at this age, and not so many worksheets.
So, after reading about RS quite a lot and asking other preschool moms why they love it, I decided to order it. I waited to buy it from our homeschool convention because I really wanted to see it in person and read the manuals and see the manipulatives. I am glad I waited, because I feel like waiting really gave me confidence in my decision.
Our starter kit came in the mail on Friday as we were on our way to Kansas for the weekend. Of course, I took it with me and read everything and started cutting out all of the things we would need for the first few (twenty) lessons. I will say that I agree about the teacher intensiveness. There are a lot of materials to prepare, but I only have to do it once! And when we do have more kids (hopefully soon…), it will already be waiting for me!
We officially started the lessons today and Madison loved them. She was more excited about math today than she has been in weeks. She asked to do an extra lesson, and I let her, although that is not a habit I want to get into. I am trying to take it slower this time and make sure the information sinks in. Since we are starting in Level A, I definitely feel like we have taken a big step backwards from where we were with Horizons, but I think it is a good place for us right now. We aren’t really in a hurry, you know?
I was asked why I chose Right Start over Math-U-See and that is hard for me to answer. I did look at MUS at our homeschool convention, but it just didn’t feel right. There are some similar aspects between the two programs, but RS feels right for us right now (although I reserve the right to change my mind later), and I will keep you updated on how it works out for us.