Topic | Layout of a few Math options

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  • joannarammell

    Didn’t want to highjack post…so started new.

    From Lishie:

    Have you used RS in the past?  Am I remembering wrong that you previously gave positive reviews for RS?

    We are using MUS for some and RS for other  kids in our family…….we like them both-just curious as to your opinion.   I apologize if you have already discussed this?  maybe I misssed something?

    Lishie …see my post two days ago called Update and Apology re:Math Advice, if you haven’t already.

    Yes, I have recommended RS.  I have nothing negative to say.

    In fact, for the record, I have actually used or seriously poured over and find the following programs really sound mathematically, in no particular order.

    Right Start (very hands on, kind of scripted, need to play the games to drill the facts, didn’t work for us, no real retention, but from post mentioned above…we had lots of issues so you can’t go by us, many people use it with great success, and I probably could have made it work even for us…also longer lessons had to be broken up a bit for CM and I have four children!)

    SIDENOTE:  At one time I thought I could combine children in math…I think it may still be possible in theory…but practically trying to do it was a disservice one way or the other to MINE…either the one was held back too much or the other one was rushed.  For true mastery, I had to leave math seperate.   Maybe if they were closer together…but right now I have two at two different levels and a third about to start a completely different level.  I really wanted to combine them.  Cause in a couple years I will be teaching 4 levels… And though my first son was born with a great math sense and again theoretically he might be able to be combined with my dd who has been struggling….but my daughter needs to go as fast as she can.  And truthfully those two personalities and competitiveness (which I am trying to curb) is not a good match.  And that son gets frustrated easily with just living…I don’t want to rush him.  Trust me!

    Math U See (was personally blessed by author at hs convention when he spoke about a different topic entirely, tried it, and my children are flourishing in math for the FIRST time–they like his humor on the video which I watch with them (since it is my first time through with him–I hold the remote and pause it to give them the time they need to process and do what he asks of them as they process a bit slower than he does, lessons are short, he is clear, it is good)

    Math Mammoth  (loved the various ways she presents the material, instructions are directed to the student!)

    Making Math Meaningful  (loved the truly scripted lessons–awesome feature…think very CM hands on and scripted like First Language Lessons or Writing with Ease–also has kind of experiments for math…very hands on–children liked the treasure hunt before math…but I struggle with starting the things that make me go find stuff to do them with…like science experiments–hence my complete curriculum change–it was my personality that was the trouble!)

    Miquon Math is also a nice intro…my least with it fellow was very with it in that.  He was quite young but gravitated to it. Again hands on experiments to discover the concepts.  Even pretty young ones could do this slowly.  From a publisher that used to publish the math curriculum I loved and used when I taught high school.  They also do the Key To books which are great.

    Life of Fred…I find Fred hysterical.  I use it more like a math living book than a math textbook. We just like to read the stories and then work a problem or two.  At this time, I don’t really have an opinion for using it as a complete math program.  Not far enough along to decide.  My friend who helped me purge the curriculum (see previously mentioned post) let me keep Life of Fred cause she knew we just read it for fun.

    and what I have seen of Teaching Textbooks is sound.  A friend of mine uses Making Math Meaningful as the foundation and then switches to TT when time…works great.  Have kind of informally checked her children’s understanding of math…looked over their student notebooks…and very sound. They have the concepts down.  And are flourishing.  It is an option. 

    this list is by no means all inclusive.  I am sure there are other great programs out there. Many really like singapore…in fact many at my almost all homeschooling church use it, and it is highly recommended by a math friend of mine.  I was able to rule it out pretty quickly for MY family.  Don’t even recall why right now.

    There are many options.

    May God give YOU the wisdom you seek,



    psreitmom reminded me in the other thread that I had meant to mention Math on the Level as one I had used here.

    It was also thorough. And worth mentioning.  

    It doesn’t contain lesson plans.  But it does have a task list of everything you need to master before Alg 1 (remember all those years ago…that list is finite!) and it lists a lot of ideas (hands on many of them) per item for ways to master each task.

    You are supposed to create I think 5 reveiw problems…and it teaches you how and it even has some great tracking forms to keep track of where you are etc.

    Didn’t work for us due to several factors.

    However, I was very impressed with it in addition to the others mentioned above.


    Joanna, I wanted to get your advice too.

    We are using RS – my older 2 are partway through level D, my 3rd is starting level C, and I may start my preschooler in A sometime. It mostly works well for my family. I separated my oldest 2 for most of last year, which was needed at the time – but they stayed within 3 or 4 lessons of each other, and ended at the same lesson. The first couple of lessons this year together have gone well.

    My oldest, Delta, has dyslexia and struggles with math facts. He is almost 11, and ‘grade 6’. Level D is roughly ‘grade 3’ level. Delta does show understanding of higher math stuff – he gets to do whatever topics in math on Khan Academy, and I get surprised at times at some topics he has ‘mastered’.

    So to the question. RS shows on their videos how older students using their program can be ready for algebra at appropriate grades. Your posts 3 years ago showed similar information. But…. I’m not convinced about doing Algebra, Geometry, etc. And therefore not sure about recommended programs for after RightStart.

    In Canada, hs math is integrated – topics depend on the difficulty steams and goals. There are topics that I don’t think are covered in the US algebra/geometry programs – statistics, financial math, for instance.

    I am consideting using MEP math from the UK. Their program changes in about year 7 – to finish it my son would need to be ready to start year 7 in grade 7…. and that seems unlikely.

    I guess I’m not sure my exact question – just trying to figure out how to make things work out….


    Hi Suzukimom!  Good to “see” you!

    So Delta has dyslexia too, eh? I didn’t remember that from 3 years ago, if you knew it then!  How ’bout that challenge?  Makes life interesting and spicy–I’m thinking of all this cayenne pepper I’m drinking!

    My eldest will be 11 in Jan.  And I know what you mean about not being on “grade level” in math!

    I think you are right in that most U.S. algebra/geometry programs lack statistics…and fininacial math maybe too.  The program I taught in Public School had some…but it was not the norm, not homeschool friendly, and not readily available.

    I did see a Stewardship course offered by MUS that seems to cover the financial math aspect from a Christian perspective.  I think it would cover the financial math well at a high school level.  But statistics is not normally covered until college in the U.S.  Though I vaguely remember one.  I will keep my eye out  and let you know if I happen across one!  I am sure other curriculum besides MUS have the business aspect of things as well. I just don’t know which ones.

    About MEP from the UK, I have no idea about the program itself.  But if it seems unlikely to you…it will stress you both out trying to get ready for it.  You will have to evaluate:  is it worth it?

    Remember Suzukimom that He is 11.  My personal experience (and no it does NOT apply to everyone–there are exceptions) is that a child has a developmental milestone around 14 in which he can go more easily to the theoretical.  That is why Algebra is more successful a lot of time after that switch flips.  I’ll give you…sometimes it comes earlier…and sometimes later.  When I taught I could see light bulbs coming one with my younger students mid year 9th grade.  It was an awesome ah ha moment for them and a huge relief for me!

    So you have approx 3 more years at LEAST before –sorry US terms…Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 if needed–depends on your requirements and his goals.  College needs through Algebra 2 or higher.

    And maybe he needs a new format?  I can not believe how amazingly different my daughter is in math now.  She BEGS to do it.  She Dances and Sings for joy.  She exclaims over how much she loves it.  She chooses to do math in huge amounts of her free time.  I am in shock!

    My son with tears in his voice hugged me and thanked me profusely for getting him his own math book.  He worked through his lesson today and loved it and thanked me all over again, clutching it to his chest like a prize.  They LOVE the workbook aspect of it, too.  Go figure.  I was trying to stay completely clear of “workbooks.” That book to work all their pages in.  To start fresh and work all the way through.  The start and the finish.  The ownership.  They love it.  

    Sometimes I guess you just need to find what works for your child.  I mean.  You know, I never even considered MUS.  NEVER.  🙂  Humbling, I’ll tell you!

    Btw, MUS has a free drill practice on their website.  I have been allowing my daughter to do it twice.  You set it up which ones to drill…and then they do it.  It is timed and she tries to beat her time.  She freaks though more than about twice.  She starts to stress.  So I limit her.  She likes doing it those two times and it gives her practice.  I think it is 20 problems at a time with the parameters you set.  Very basic.  No frills.  But has been a good addition for us at this point.

    May the Lord give you the Wisdom you seek.  He promises to in His Word!






    I’m not sure if I realized Delta was dyslexic when you were here before… I’m thinking it was about 2 years ago.

    It makes things frustrating, yet there is much he is very strong with. It has been very humbling for me – I was very gifted, and I guess I’d expected my kids would be too and schooling would be easy, etc. Nothing is easy. Yet the intelligence is there.

    I worry with math, as with some of his other strengths I could see ‘Engineer’ or ‘Architect’ as possibilities… except for…. math. Of course, there are many other possibilities.

    It isn’t just MEP, though – it is trying to imagine him ever catching up. Math, reading, spelling, handwriting,


    Maybe that is the thing for both of us Suzuki…maybe we need to stop the trying to catch up to the standards around us and start focusing on this one child in front of us (and the others in line behind them!) and see what we can do to equip this child to be the best that he/she can be…

    Just because someone struggles at this age with math…doesn’t mean they can’t be an engineer or architect later in life.  They might have to work harder to master the basics but be a natural master at the higher order of things.  And just because one has dyslexia doesn’t mean you won’t spell and read and write as well or better than some that don’t.  

    I have learned a powerful saying I think by Theodore Roosevelt…Comparison is the thief of joy.

    Compare Delta only to Delta (not including our spiritual growth as laid out in the Word).  Is he making progress?  In what areas does he need support? etc.  Those are the types of questions to ask yourself and him too.

    Don’t hold him back from learning everything he can in his gifted areas and in math, too.  Rememdiate the facts and keep going.  I see in my daughter that the two educational lines (the facts retention) and the concepts will eventually merge.  I literally work on them like they are two seperate subjects.  Math facts and Math lessons.  I learned this partly b/c of her lack of spelling she wanted to write a letter and needed me to scribe for her.  The flow, composition, word usage was amazing.  I realized that I needed continue to remediate the skills to accomplish that independently, yet not hold her back from composition either.  Hence, my new title, scribe to my talented princess!  We still work on the spelling, grammar, punctuation, typing, and breaking down all the rules and sounds of the English language into bits she can digest. And she is making progress.  Eventually, she will be able to write what she composes.  The two lines will meet!

    I watched some amazing free videos when I found out about my dd dyslexia.  They helped me so much.  I cried through much of them b/c it explained so much of what was going on with not just dd, but also my sons.  I had a son who at the time would come to me and for thirty minutes I would try to answer to his satisfaction the question, Is today, TODAY?  He was four.  No other child of mine has struggled with this, and I was so scared about what it meant.  I mean, really.  Yeah today is today. And he continued to ask me periodically.  What on earth?! Right!  Something is terribly wrong.  Right!?  But then I watched those videos…and suddenly started weeping in relief!… Dyslexics have difficulty with left and right directionality.  Tying shoes sometimes, etc.  This can translate into a difficulty in the directionality of time.  Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.  

    I bought him a magnetic calendar.  It is his JOB each day to change the date and weather (he loves finding clouds in the sky…b/c of course it is almost always sunny here!) on the calendar.  At the top of the calendar is says TODAY IS _______.  I worked with him for about a month…discussing what happened yesterday, that today is today (whatever date and day of week), tomorrow…and what is happening today and tomorrow and whether it is the weekend and when daddy will be home, etc. 

    He’s a pro now at 5.  He comes by each morning and changes the date on the calendar.  I hung it by the kitchen.  No more weirdness about time! Discusses whether daddy will be home etc.  We had clouds today, we are due for some rain (minor storm) –very exciting!  A quick pic:

    I shared this to just say.  Work with their weaknesses…equip them the best you can…and celebrate their strengths as well.  The Lord has a mighty plan for Delta.  You’d be amazed at the dyslexic brain.  If you haven’t seen these videos…here they are:  just go to the tab at the top that says on-line videos.  There are quite a few.

    Her being able to read unabridged works by the original authors certainly threw me off the scent!  I had ruled out dyslexia years before.  But to tell you the truth, I didn’t really know what it was.  I was full of the myths of dyslexia.  So yeah, no she didn’t have that.  When it was brought to my attention again by several professionals, I went online and found these free videos that really helped me a lot.  I learned all kinds of things that I had no idea about.  Very helpful to us.  I wish I had known years before, however, I trust God and His timing!

    May He fill you with peace and relieve you of the burden of trying to catch up.  Ditto for me!






    p.s. Suzuki, I don’t agree with everything in all the videos.  If you think a child will ever eventually master the facts, don’t hand them a calculator.  It can be crippling! And she kind of poo poos the idea of the crossing the midline therapies.  I agree that those are not going to cure dyslexia.  However, sometimes they are needed for other reasons, like my 5 year old not being able to get the button through the hole or crawling like an alligator instead of alternating when he crawls on his belly.  We use iLs Integrated Listening System, a music therapy program that integrates some Brain Gym and other things for sensory and motor and auditory integration.  So I’m just saying, we have to keep being discerning.  I didn’t want you to think I was in complete agreement.  Nothing and nobody is perfect, except Jesus!


    Joanna – Everything you shared with suzukimom is a picture of what has been going on with my daughter, who is now 11. I didn’t know exactly what was going on until she was getting close to 10. I also wish I would have known years before. It was have spared us a lot of tears and frustrations. Her reading is improving, but not to the point where I can let her do it independently. She loves to write, but spelling is still pretty bad:) But, the more they read and write, the more that will help the spelling.

    Even after finding out what was going on, i still had in my head that I wanted my daughter doing a certain curriculum. It’s a wonderful Bible-based curriculum, but I finally had to come to the realization that, given the circumstances, it was not a good fit. I finally did it. I gave up that curriculum and simplified. This year has been going SO much better. Sometimes I feel like I am keeping her back, but my evaluator said to me more than once, teach the child, not the curriculum. My daughter was disliking school very much, and it was because I expected her to do certain work or certain amounts of work that really were not addressing the issues. She actually told someone recently that school is going better, so I know what we are doing is making a difference. If my daughter never makes it to algebra, so be it. I am focusing on math that will help her in real life situations… money, time, measuring, basic math facts, etc. Just learning numbers in the hundreds was progress. She is able to find pages in hymnbook at church, not quickly, but she can do it! Just being able to find pages in a hymnbook was so exciting:)

    You mentioned your son not understanding today. My 11 yo has the same difficulty, not so much with today, but future. Even though I tell her that in _ days we are doing _______, she is constantly asking me when we are doing this. The only way I know how to explain it to her is to say you have to sleep _ times. But, she will still lose track. I should have been more consistent with a calendar. Honestly, I should probably be doing with her what you did with your 5 yo., or something similar. She is getting better at knowing what day of the week it is, and can even find it on the calendar sometimes, but she still has difficulty with that. Maps are something else she cannot comprehend as far as distance. We have traveled out of state many times and because she cannot understand time/hours, miles mean nothing to her. We are still on inches and feet. So, I am using a simple US map to help her with states and direction. So, in math, we will be elementary for quite a while. But, I know I can’t change that. If I have to work on money all year, that’s okay. My daughter will take the change in the self-check-out and count it before she gives it to me. Something she didn’t do before!

    We can’t put our children into a mold. Being on these homeschool message boards is sometimes discouraging, because there are those who talk about making sure their children do such and such courses before they graduate, or afraid their child is behind because they haven’t done this or that at a certain age. Teaching is not one size fits all, even for children without difficulties like ours. But, hearing those things would make me feel two ways….inadequate (maybe I’m not teaching her the right way) or upset, because deep down I know that finishing certain courses for high school is not for every child. I’m over that now:) I need to just focus on Angie and her needs. God has given her talents and gifts that I don’t have. I need to build on those. He has made each child special and unique. Teach them where they are and what you know they need. The rest is in Lord’s hands.

    I am going heavy on character study and Bible memorization this year. I have said, even on message boards, that Angie’s character is more important to me than how far she goes academically. Although I want her to learn what she can academically, my desire for her is to grow up loving, obeying, and serving the Lord.


    Life of Fred has a statistics course.


    Hi Joanna


    I think I do do pretty good at working with Delta with his weaknesses, while also giving him time to work with his strengths.  I also do pretty good at accepting that he will be who he is, and that it will be wonderful.  I am so thankful that we homeschool, because he would be a very different boy if he went to PS – he would be pulled out to do remedial work – missing subjects he would like – probably made to feel dumb by the other students, etc.

    I think I have looked at some of those videos.  I like the ones at headstrongnation as well…

    It is on my forums that I am most likely to share my worries/concerns etc….  so sometimes it probably sounds worse than it is… 🙂



    I guess I kind-of hijacked the original thread here….


    This whole conversation (including the other post) has been very encouraging to me. We just recently learned my ds11 has dyslexia. Actually I will be forever grateful to Suzukimom for helping me to see that. It has actually been quite a relief to learn what dyslexia is and how that explains so many of the struggles we’ve had. And, like you guys, math has been a huge one. We are using Life of Fred this year. I had passed over that as an option in the past, as it didn’t seem to match up to any of the other math programs with the order of things and I just couldn’t wrap my brain around how it worked. But after reading The Dyslexic Advantage (great book) and learning a little about how strong dyslexics are in global thinking and contextual memory, I decided to have another look at Fred. We’re only two weeks in, so it still remains to be seen if he’ll make any gains with Fred. But at least for now, math is enjoyable again. That is very welcome right now while we’re working so hard with the reading and spelling. I do have a link to Khan Academy at the ready if we need more explanation or more practice. 🙂

    Thanks for all you’ve shared. 🙂



    Oops. I had not remembered that I had responded on the other thread. Sorry for repeating myself. Embarassed



    Actually, Melissa, I was glad you posted.  I went back and checked the other thread and responded to your post there!  I think I had missed some of the responses.  So thanks.

    Suzukimom…I am absolutely positive that you are doing a great job!  I know when we talk about the struggles sometimes people forget that we are not only struggles we are successes too!  Sometimes awesome great success…

    We will try to remember that about each other no matter our current difficulty, deal?





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