Tag Archives: right start

A new start in math

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.

My first convention

I read several articles about being prepared for your first homeschool convention, but I ignored them.  I’ve been to conventions before, so I thought I knew what to expect.  Not so.  I printed out the convention schedule, circled the classes I thought sounded good, grabbed a book to read in case I had free time (yeah right!) and walked over to the convention center.  As soon as I walked into the exhibit area, I was overwhelmed.  I really underestimated the amount of shopping that was going to be available…

I have already picked out my curriculum for next year, but I wasn’t planning to buy it since we are supposed to be moving to Japan sometime soon (the date is still up in the air).  Well, actually I was planning to buy Right Start Math after becoming frustrated with Horizons and hearing so many good things about RS, but I wanted to wait for the convention and see it first, and I did end up buying that.  I also bought ETC, Book 2, since we are about to finish Book 1.  We are moving along with that faster than I expected.

I also bought some Handwriting without Tears stuff, which was a change from my original plan of using Horizons handwriting.  I was able to look at that and decided against it.  There was a very large Rainbow Resource booth where I was able to see HWOT, along with almost all the other handwriting programs I had considered, and decided to buy HWOT.  I didn’t need to buy it now because I don’t plan to start it till fall, but I got caught up in buying stuff.  That’s ok.  I might decide to start it sooner.  We are on a little different school schedule than most other families right now because we started preschool in December, and I haven’t really decided when we are going to transition to Kindergarten.  I am waiting to see how the Japan situation will pan out.

Some other stuff I bought that I did not plan to – a skip counting CD from Math-U-See, which I plan to incorporate in Madison’s memory CD when I update it (hopefully soon), a Kumon cutting book (just for fun), and (my favorite purchase), a poster with the genealogy of Christ.  It is one of the coolest posters I have ever seen – I am excited about it for myself, not just for school.  Here is a link – check it out – really!

There were a lot of classes available too – some were just ok, but one I really enjoyed was about Classical Conversations.  I would really like to find out some more information about this program – from what I can tell, it is like a homeschool support group for classical home educators. They have a free 3 day program that I am going to attend in June, and they have them in several states, so if you are interested in classical education, I would recommend checking out the website and seeing if they offer the free classes in your area.

Matt came with me on Saturday, but we only made it till lunchtime when we met up with some friends and went to lunch with them.  That was the end of his time at the convention, but he was good company.  It’s probably good that he didn’t come with me on Friday.  We have a tendency to make each other spend more money when we are together.

Unfortunately, I think this is the only convention I am going to get to go to for several years – unless there are conventions on Okinawa I don’t know about!