Topic | Retention problems with RS, recommendations?

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  • tmama

    I am thinking of switching curriculums, as I’m noticing my kids (just about 6 and 8) aren’t retaining what they’ve learned (we just finished B with the oldest). I love the curriculum and the science behind it, but it can get frustrating when they don’t remember what we’ve spent significant time on. I have read about MUS and MM, and a little on CLE; these are the top contenders. I don’t really WANT to change, but…Any suggestions on how to stick with RS, but help retention? Or, opinions about next best?


    Do you play the games frequently?

    Are you rushing through the level?


    Which things are they having problems with?


    There are some review lessons at the start of level C



    This is my conundrum right now with my 8 year old. Yes, we play the games but not weekly as this has backfired on me . I have to be careful with the games because she will only want to do the games , expect a game and balk and complain about doing a lesson. She completed levels A & B just fine. Since we have been working in level C  I have seen a big change. She does not like math anymore and it’s a struggle with her.

    I signed her up for IXL math just to experiment , thinking a computer based math would interest her , but she hates it 🙁

    I was looking at both math u see and math mammoth. For shear cost alone MM would be 1st choice .

    Suggestions or ideas ??




    Just a thought, I have scheduled 4 days of lessons and one game day.  I gave her the choice to do the game day on Friday or Wed. and split the week.  She chose Wed.  That way your daughter would know what to expect and maybe you could even reward the good lesson days with a game?


    We have switched math curriculum several times.  I finally figured out that what is most important at our house is that I feel comfortable teaching from the curriculum,  and that I like it.  I understand math when it is presented in a traditional way. We use CLE.  It is a loose spiral,  which has worked well for retention with my girls, who struggle with math.

    I tried Right Start but found that I was often confused and thus not confident presenting the lessons.

    Math Mammoth was frustrating for my dd because it is discovery based, as well as Right Start. She does better with traditional math.

    All of my kids like the Right Start games and use the RS manipulatives for fun.

    Math U See is in the new math category vs. traditional math in my opinion,  meaning that they emphasize that kids can see the concept. MUS works well for my highschoolers,  but not as well for my kids who struggle with math,  especially multiplication.

    All that to say, use what you can teach from enthusiastically and patiently.  Tweak as needed for your children.





    MUS has some review, but not much.  We have to add in practice on math facts.  I’m not sure switching to MUS or MM will solve your problems.   My plan for the coming year is to drill math facts once or twice a week (I picked up some flashcards) and play a RS math game once a week.  My plan was to have a short MUS test on Fridays, followed by a game.

    Another thing we do is year round math.  We aren’t as pushed to finish during the year and we have less of a struggle getting back to work with a new school year.  We even add some math on our “breaks”, which my older ones have said helps with retention.

    Personally, I’d try to find some ways to make RS work, instead of switching programs.  I switched math programs a few times, and regret doing so.  Maybe you could review older lessons a couple times a week.  Give them a review problem or two, in addition to their new lesson.


    Ladies thx for your input ! I may try going back to 4 days of lessons 1 day of games to see if we have a better experience than last time. Her losing interest , complaining & retention issues caught me off guard because she did so well in level A & B . We plowed through this last spring anyway … Which made it worse . I should have stopped around February & re-evaluated .

    Holly – that was my one reservation about switching to another math – that it would not solve our problems. I did some praying & talked to hubby , we are going to kick it in high gear and do whatever we need to in order to make RS work this year. Hubby was apprehensive about having 2 different math curriculums with the kids . I discovered some RS webinars & tutorials which gave some help . Along with this forum , I will need to frequent the RS one as well for support and ideas.

    sometimes the grass is not always greener on the other side – we just need to  put forth the effort to make what we already have work for us  🙂 curriculum hopping is dangerous .. LOL


    I will add though, that sometimes you do need to use a separate curriculum for different children.  I started out with MUS and was determined that was all I was ever going to use for each child due to time/cost restraints.  I do think it works well for many of them, some of mine didn’t need blocks, others did and it went well for a long time.

    However, 5 children in MUS led to a lot of waiting for me to help with lessons/problems, etc. and two of my children begged for something more independent (even though MUS can be independent as well, just not the explaining part when they don’t understand the instructor, or don’t understand why they missed things), so they are doing Teaching Textbooks and love it and are doing well.  My daughter has had major struggles in math, and we tried TT, then CLE, then back to MUS and now switching to RS.  I think RS will actually be the best for her, she gets the abacus so far and it’s helping her with simple math facts she couldn’t learn at all through the other curriculums.

    So just for what it’s worth, I think you should stick to the RS too, but be open to using something different if it’s truly not working, or even just for a different child.


    Are you trying to get through a full lesson each day? It works better for us to do a partial lesson, and if a game is not part of that lesson we will choose one, often from a different section. Eg. the lesson is fractions, so we play a money game. Earlier this year I decided we would stop lessons altogether and just play the games. My son found a workbook that he wanted, so we bought that and he was happy for a few months. I won’t change from RS because I believe it is the best fit, but I will change HOW we use it .



    What level(s) are you using in  rightstart?

    How long do you typically work on the lesson each day?

    Do you play a game every day and if so, do you choose the game ahead of time?

    thanks for sharing how you’re making rightstart work for your family.



    We are using Level B of 2nd Edition. How long we spend depends on my son’s attention level, and my patience and determination 😉 Today we worked on fractions – a part of lesson 102 and most of 103, but not the warm-up sections. Today we played money war because that is the current favourite for my son (he’s 7). We may have spent 30 minutes on the lesson portion, the game time came later in the day and lasted maybe 15 minutes.
    We really don’t play a game every day, but I do try to most days. Some days I pick it out ahead, but some days I let him choose. He’s an only, so we have some freedoms that come more easily than to families with multiple kids, and time isn’t split amongst siblings.
    We are travelling for one week next month. I’ll rearrange the order of lessons the week before. I will save the money and calculator lessons for the trip, and prepare to play games while we are away. I will make sure lessons involving bulky manipulatives, like the balance, are done at home.

    Hope that helps. The best lesson I learned with RightStart is to not try to set an end date to complete the level. We work best when we just go at our own pace.


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