Right Start Mathmatics1. Title your post with the name of the program.
done -- see above.
Here is the website: www.alabacus.com2. What level/age is your child? Did that influence your decision to use this particular program (or not to use another?)
Brianna is 5 1/2 and just began level B lessons today! I started the program very informally with her when she was 4 because it uses a specific naming system for the numbers greater than 10, and I thought it would be easier for her to use that system if she became familiar with it at an earlier age. Plus, the early lessons of Level A were *super* easy - mostly stuff she already knew, even at 4. We took a long hiatus at her leading when she learned to read from 4 1/2 - 5. We then began regular lessons (several times a week) this fall. (I know, a "school-y" schedule!
3 y.o. ds is in a great preschool, so we do sort of follow his school calender for the time being.)3. What sort of learning style does your child have? Are we talking about a mathematically-oriented child? A visual learner? Kinesthetic? (A brief description will help other parents who may have a similar type of child to make this decision.)
Hmm, I don't know if she's mathmatically "oriented" or not. We've always presented math as fun, so maybe she just picked up on that. She does like math and likes doing her lessons. She picks up on math concepts pretty quickly I think. She's mostly an auditory learner, but Right Start does a pretty good job of incorporating various learning styles. I like that dd is encouraged to use visualization, for example -- something that doesn't come very naturally to her, but that is valuable to have at least a taste of. The hands-on activities might not be crucial to her understanding of a concept, but they sure help reinforce it, kwim?4. Describe your math program: does it use a lot of manipulatives? Rely on visual indicators?
I'm not very familiar with many programs, so I don't know to compare. But I think RightStart uses quite a few manipulatives. There are relatively few worksheets, especially in the Level A book. The worksheets are fairly short, and just a reinforcement (practice) of what the child should already be grasping.Is it compatible with other programs?
I'd say it's not very compatible with other programs. In fact there are "transition lessons" for kids who have reached 2nd grade level or above with other programs and are switching to RightStart! It probably wouldn't be too hard to switch *from* RS to another program though.Does it require a great deal of parental preparation/intervention/active guidance?
Not much preparation, but yes, it does require active guidance. Each lesson is pretty short though. We sometimes do more than one at a time because dd isn't ready to quit. Do you think that the program is suited to home educators, or is there a heavy focus on busy work and classroom managment? What about repetition, is there enough? Too much?
RightStart has a specific home education program, which is *great*. I love the instructor manual -- I do the lessons with it open in front of me! It's very clear and easy to follow, but doesn't assume the parent/teacher is a moron.
Each lesson starts with suggested "warm-ups" which generally include review of concepts from previous lessons. I decide which warm-ups are useful, if any. My dd doesn't require or like lots of repetition, but if she did, we could work that in with this program.5. Why did you decide to use this particular program? Was it to suit your individual child, or because it was recommended by a book/another homeschooler/a post here?
I found it because I thought an abacus would be fun for my dd (who was 3 at the time -- I was *not* looking for curriculum, but I had made the decision to homeschool). I was searching the 'net for activities to do with an abacus. RightStart uses an abacus rather heavily, so my search took me there. I loved
what I saw and asked about it on this board and another homeschooling board. I only got a couple of responses from each board, but the reviews were glowing!6. What do you like/dislike about the program?
I love how it relays math concepts and emphasizes comprehension of the foundational concepts rather than manipulating numbers or simply surface use of math for simple computation, etc. *I've* learned a thing or two about how to think about math -- even from the Kindergarten lessons!
I feel that dd has a super-solid foundation for further math learning as she grows.
My only complaint is minor. Parts of the curriculum seem pretty arbitrary. Most of the concepts build upon eachother in a logical fashion, but not everything. Suddenly thrown into the middle of learning about 10's and 1's will be some rather obscure geometry stuff, for example.
: Telling time is introduced at the end of the level A book because... they might as well learn it sometime?
Oh well, those things are *easily* skipped if a child isn't interested. My dd was almost always interested and even insistant that we not skip anything. Nevertheless, some of the "random" content was totally unrelated to anything else in her life, so she didn't retain it. No biggie IMO -- she'll learn those concepts and remember them when she needs them. It's not hurting anything to introduce them as long as she welcomes it.7. Will you/would you continue at different levels, or do you think that another program might be better suited to your child as s/he progresses? Why?
Right now, the program is elementary level only (through 4th grade). There is a "preliminary edition" of a geometry program aimed at middle schoolers. I see no reason to switch at this point. DD is doing well with the program and I suspect that my younger ds will too. I have no idea what we might do when we are done with the RS books -- that's too far off to predict right now.