Another RightStart fan. I think it is great.

It really doesn't take a lot of time to prepare. - keep in mind I'm doing edition 1, so can't comment on edition 2... In level A and B there is occasionally something you need to copy/print and cut out.... the finger/tallystick/dot cards, or some rectangles or triangles. Occasionally you need a 9x12 sheet of paper. These really aren't very often, and get to be fewer and fewer. Very little prep.

I have all the manipulatives, except the math balance, stored in a portable file-box - which comes out at math time, so I don't even have to get out the items ahead of time.

I don't generally even read ahead - when finishing up one lesson I generally glance at the next one to see what the topic is (and if I need to prep anything)

hth!

We use RightStart also. I really like the curriculum, and how it progresses. I also love that we can stay where we are at and play games and activities with manipulatives until we understand a concept. It isn't necessary to master a concept fully before moving on to the next lesson though, because each lesson reviews and teaches in small steps.

As for the amount of time it takes to prepare: I have pulled out the manipulatives we currently use and keep them together where we do our math. Each weekend I spend some time looking through the lessons I expect to teach the coming week - usually 3. There is a list for each lesson of materials needed, so I can quickly see if there is a new manipulative, or other household item we'll need. I put those with our math things. I read the lessons, skimming mostly, to make sure I understand what we are going to cover.

My son struggles with math. MUS did not work for him. He understands the AL abacus with Rightstart pretty well. We started with their book, Activities for the AL abacus, and math card games. We ended up switching to their curriculum. It is very hands-on with many manipulative. If you go this route, they have a Yahoo group to join. It is teacher intensive. I know some people set a timer. At times, we take a break from it and do other math practice work. My daughter, though, catches on to math quickly and could use any program.

In the fall I will be working on some more "formal" math with my daughters, who will be 5 and 6. The two girls are generally at the same level. My 6YO takes a bit longer to pick up on concepts. She will technically be in 1st grade in the fall, but she's more at a K level.

Manipulatives are going to be a must for my 6YO, especially. My older kids both picked up math quickly and so I didn't have any worries about them "seeing" what they were calculating.

I'm considering a few different curriculums. I really think I need something to guide me through this year to build a good foundation. Anyone have things to say about -

-RightStart - looks like a popular one. I'm concerned about the amount of prep time

-Shiller Math - this looks fantastic, but I haven't heard many reviews about this one

-MUS Primer Level - I used MUS Beta, liked it pretty well, but I used it with my son who grasped math very quickly. Enough manipulatives for younger students?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

I am a mathy person, and I found myself frustrated when my oldest was 6 and just wasn't getting what we were doing.... We were doing MEP Year 1 - and MEP is a great program, but he was stuck on a basic concept and I just didn't know how to help him with it.

I ended up (when he was turning 8) to RightStart because of that problem - he wouldn't understand what I was teaching him, and as I always "got" math, I didn't know how to help. RightStart made a world of difference. He started enjoying math, and was understanding. I honestly think the abacus and learning to visualize numbers on it is inspired. My oldest 2 have been in it since level B (after using MEP) and are in level D, and my third has done A and is partway through level B. (And I have to say that she gets it even easier.... )

I also love that if they are having problems in RightStart that there are math games for various concepts that you can just play instead of doing lessons for a while, instead of having to come up with something for more practice....

Curlywhirly-I remember getting Family Math from the library a year or so ago for DS and enjoyed it. I will have to request it again.

Katrina-That sounds like a good idea.

I was looking around at Rod and Staff preschool books. I feel like she lacks confidence in math and just doesn't enjoy it....

I am a Mathy person, and I understand your pain. My eldest (almost 8) still battles me on math.

One idea I have for seeing numbers ( the abstract symbol representing a quantity) and the concrete amounts: have her work with beads, beans, cubes, whatever, and have her build quantities. (Don't worry about tying it to the number yet. Just ask her to make a group of two, three, etc. Work your way SLOWLY up to ten or so.). Then, after she gets the quantities, maybe make cards with the Arabic numeral and a dot showing the amount. When she builds her groups, have her match her card with the number group it represents. After she matches them, you can explain what numbers stand for.

With my eldest, I had to keep lessons SUPER short (5 minutes MAX), and just be encouraging. (SOOO hard for me, to not let my frustration come through.)

Another idea, to reinforce what she learns above. Write numbers on sheets of paper and lay them on the floor. Have her go find quantities of things to put on the number. "Go find three socks for the three!"

Hope that helps,

Katrina

Some of the games in Family Math would help build the math skills you are looking for. Here is a link to Family Math http://www.amazon.com/Family-Math-Equals-Jean-Stenmark/dp/0912511060/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393357519&sr=1-2&keywords=family+math+for+young+children

DD is 5.5, and loves reading and writing, but is just not a "mathy" person. I am a retired chemical engineer, and I keep finding myself frustrated that she doesn't understand things when I explain them. We haven't used a curriculum. I am trying to do things like the Three R's book with lots of games. Today we played Chutes and Ladders and she totally couldn't understand how to figure out which direction to go next (in increasing order). She even tried to go vertically up 10 spaces at a time, though I kept trying to explain it to her. She likes card games like Go Fish. I tried doing some oral word problems with her (ray's arithmetic) using manipulatives and she is not an auditory learner and totally doesn't pay attention to the words I am saying! She can do preschool things like patterns, sorting, opposites, and I have her work on puzzles weekly or more. What is the next step? She is pretty good at numeral identification but totally doesn't understand what the numbers really mean. Do I need to use a curriculum instead? What should my expectations be? My 1st grader just "gets" math really easily so I find myself comparing which I don't want to do....

I just want to add that we did actually start some 1st grade things this past fall and quickly shelved them because it just didn't seem right. I decided to wait even though my son was nearly 6 (5.75yrs to be exact). He is very smart and able, just disinterested in "school". Imagine that?! ;) Not sure why I am feeling so antsy to start 1st grade. Just looking forward to next school year I guess! My kids do need a little more structure but maybe more "school" wouldn't solve that. We are just kind of bored with our K year, probably not because of waiting on 1st grade though. I too am sick of the worldly ways of starting kids earlier and earlier. I don't understand that at all. I don't think you would regret waiting. That extra year before K is a gift they can't really get at any other time. Or you could start and know you have the freedom to go real slow... or faster if your child wants!

My son has a late June birthday (25th) and we waited until he was 6 to start K. I'm happy we waited. He's the youngest and for him I think that was the best choice based on his personality too. That was our first year homeschooling as well, we had planned to send him to public school, which is why we waited originally, but I'm still happy with our choice for him and think it was best to wait until he was 6 to start K. I am pretty sick of the worldly ways of starting kids earlier and earlier, I'm a big fan of letting kids be kids and that there isn't a huge rush to adulthood because that comes soon enough and last the rest of their lives.

I'm sure you'll make the best decision you can for your family, so don't fret!

Thank you everyone for the insights and ideas! if anyone else has experiences to add i sure would appreciate it. i know i have some time to decide but i like to have an idea of where i am headed and what to plan for next year:)

My oldest turned 6 this past fall (late fall) so we decided that this would be his K year. I just have to say that I am SO antsy to start first grade, don't know if I can wait for the next school year to begin in Aug/Sept! Not sure how helpful that is :). Sometimes I wish that we had just started 1st grade this year, since he did make the cutoff (very late here), and just plan to slow it down at anytime if needed (obviously would not change the grade reported, which was K this year). That is what I sometimes wish I had done.

When I register my DC, I place them where they would be in the public school systems, but I consider their birthdays when I planning their currciulum for the year. If they have a summer birthday, I might place them behind a level. Two of my DC do well with school and have fall birthdays...I sometimes have them ahead a level. I think the most important thing is to put them where they fit best. If we had to do more with the state, I'd consider placing them a year behind, but we just have to register them and keep track of hours.

If your 6yo is your oldset, I'd probably hold off on formal history for now. We did unit studies when my oldest ones were younger. At ages 4-6, my main priority is getting them to read and I felt like too much history took away from that. We did some history and science, but it was much more laid back than it is now. I added in some more formal history when they were in grades 1 & 3.

I'm in a similar situation. I have two older children, so my two youngest do sit in on family readings, but right now they are 5 and 4 (15 months apart, my older daughter will be 6 in May). We are doing light K work this year for both of them, but I am not rushing it in part because my 5YO isn't quite ready for more and also because I'd like to keep her and her sister at similar levels.

They are both sounding out words, practicing handwriting, and doing quite a bit of nature study. Otherwise, though, learning has been very informal through board games and day-to-day life.