Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: In the middle of nowhere, at the centre of everything.
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I like the idea behind RightStart but I found it to be a poor fit for the ability and interest of my unschooled (-but-wanting-a-curriculum) kids. RightStart expects kids to get full mastery of multi-digit addition and all the place-value abstraction this entails before even beginning to connect 3+3=6 to 6-3=3. Subtraction and multiplication are delayed for way too long, IMO.
On balance we've found Miquon and Singapore to be a much better fit for my kids and the sorts of things they were interested in learning, when they were interested in learning about them ... and the two are cheaper, even in combination, than RightStart. Both explore number relationships and operations with small numbers very thoroughly before moving into place-value abstraction and regrouping algorithms.
Miquon is very unschoolish ... playful, hands-on, easily child-led, discovery-oriented. It can seem chaotic to parents, who need to spend a good bit of time exploring the annotations manual and the program's philosophy. I love it because it's so conceptual and mathematically robust. It's always best to start with Miquon at the beginning (Orange book). If your dd wants a workbook-based approach that she can do on her own, Miquon may not be the best choice. If you want to keep things unschooling-like, Miquon "math lab" sessions are a pretty neat way of doing so.
Singapore's placement tests are readily available at SingaporeMath.com and IMO are very accurate. I'd encourage you to trust them even when they give unexpected results. My 9yo graduated from Singapore Primary Math this week -- she's my third child to do so. My youngest finished the level 2 stuff yesterday. All four of my kids, even though they learn math quite differently, have done well with Singapore Primary Math.
Mountain mama to one great kid and three great grown-ups