Rightstart math vs MUS for first grade?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
  • Author
  • lnosborn

    I had a question for those who have used Rightstart Math and MathUSee, or neither!  I will be starting my 6 year old homeschooling “officially” (legally) this year and I’m trying to decide on a math program to use.  I’ve heard good things about both Rightstart and MathUSee.  I don’t want to spend a lot, but I want a good curriculum that I’ll stick with for awhile.  I know some homeschoolers say a math program is not necessary at this age and to play math “games” and keep it simple and fun.  I have the book, Family Math by Stenmark, and we have been using that on and off with Life of Fred apples that a friend loaned me.  I need something kind of laid out for me, I don’t want to plan math if I don’t have to!  What do you all think?


    I personally found it difficult to use RS, especially with other kiddos around.  IMO, it is very teacher intensive, more than I could offer.  I recently switched to MUS and am so glad we did.  We are using it for our (nearly) 9yo daughter and 5.5yo son.  They BOTH learn in different ways, but BOTH love the program!  The DVD segments are short but done very well.  I can replay if needed.  There really is no prep for the teacher (at least in lower grades).  


    If you don’t want to plan math then MUS is super great.  Just open and go.  We watch the videos together.  All my kids start with their Primer when they are 4, I know that seems early, but the Primer is SO basic and it takes mere minutes to complete each day.  I wouldn’t wait beyond age 6 to start some type of organized math curriculum unless you’re AMAZINGLY detailed and organized.  I like Life of Fred, but it really seems arbitrary and so we use it as a supplement as opposed to the core curriculum.


    Thanks so much you all!  This is very helpful to my decision making.  I will have 2 younger children around and I have heard Rightstart IS more teacher intensive.  I know some others who use Life of Fred as a supplement to MUS, and are happy with that as well.  Thanks again!


    I’ve not used RS but from what I hear it is very mom time intensive. If you’ve just got 1 or 2 kids that’s probably easier to fit in than if you have a lot, though I’m sure moms of many can do RS if they want to. We use MUS and have used it a few different ways.

    For younger children I watch the teacher lesson on dvd beginning around Beta or Gamma, (earlier levels I skip this for just the lesson manual), read the lesson in the manual, and go teach my kids hands on using the blocks. Works great.

    For my oldest (6th grade) she got to a point where she wanted to watch the dvd lesson, so now she watches without me and then we do some practice together before turning her loose on the workbook practice pages. Sometimes she will ask me to watch the dvd with her too, and I always have pre-watched it and pre-read the lesson in the book.

    My sister also homeschools and her oldest (5th grade) actually watches the dvd and does his math without her. Math is something he just ‘gets’. That would never work with my oldest, but I could see it working with one of my younger ones down the road.


    Oh, another thing. I don’t know how often RS has you teaching new concepts/lessons to the child. MUS has 30 lessons per year/level, so I end up needing to teach a new lesson to a child about every week or so. The rest of the week does not take ME, the kids are doing practice or review pages, then taking the test. So one thing I’ve done is teach the ‘new lesson’ to different ages on different days. It means I only have one sit down with a child math lesson in a day, and that only 2-3 days a week right now (1 in Epsilon, 2 in Beta). The new lesson takes me about 20 minutes to do and make sure they get the concept. If I had a new lesson every day for each child that would quickly add up (I’ve got 7 kids). I don’t know that RS has daily lessons involving mom? I know others like Saxon do…


    I have not looked into MCP Math, I’ll have to check that out.  Thanks!  When I looked at Rightstart, I wasn’t too crazy about purchasing all the manipulatives because it seemed we could make do with what we had already-or at least do it considerably cheaper.


    We began with MUS Alpha. DS did just fine. Then for some reason got talked in to RS at the convention. I (nor he) did not like it at all. It was way more teacher intensive, more expensive, and altogether confusing for both of us. We switched back to MUS. It is simpler, more straight forward and cheaper.


    Ok, I’ll have to be the other person here.   I love RightStart.  The abacus is inginius for teaching money concepts.  And if you have a pencil phobic child, or one that hates worksheets – there aren’t as many in RightStart.  (The amount does increase a bit each level…)   Also you use card games to practice the concepts.  It is mostly open and go (there are a few things to prep in Level A and B – they take less prep if you buy the pre-copied appendixes)

    That said – it is teacher intensive – and it is mostly a lesson a day once you hit level B.  (You do take days to play the games – which is easier if you have more than one child.)   I have 4 children… right now my oldest 2 have their math together in Level C.   I also have a 5yo in Level A, and a toddler sitting in.  Once my youngest is in level A, it might be interesting trying to get all the math in!


    Thanks, Tristan and mrsjez! Very helpful!


    Suzukimom, what you are describing is what was appealing to me about rightstart. I was looking at startiing in level b. About how long does each lesson take? I’m sure it depends on the child too. The price of it just seemed too much for us. Are there manipulatives you find more essential than others in your experience with it?


    We also love Right Start!   With that said, my boys are 6yo and 3yo so I currently only have one child doing math. I started level A with my oldest last fall.  The key to Right Start is the practice is from games not flashcards, the AL Abacus and other manipulatives.

    I always hear that it is “teacher intensive” but I have not used any other programs to make that comparison.  I usually read through several lessons each week to see what is needed and have them collected in one spot. The lessons are scripted (items underlined) with other descriptive notes for your benefit.  I never do one lesson per day. It would take me 30-45 minutes and I only want to spend 15 minutes per day.  My son loves the games and some days we only play games.  Just today we played a game that is teaching him his math facts (1&9, 2&8, 3&7, etc) and I already see that he is using his abacus less and less (we have only been playing this game for about a month).  

    I love the manipulatives!  As you use the program you start to realize how perfectly they all fit together and really help him understand the new concepts.  

    Also, I have listened to a couple of webinars that Right Start does and they have been very helpful.  The two I have listened to are “How To Teach Level B” and “How to the Play the Games”.  

    Blessings as you make your decision


    Math-U-See is about the only curriculum I’ve stuck with from the start, lol:) Love it. Kids and I watch new lesson together (short and interesting). Then I help with a couple problems if needed to get started and then they’re pretty much on their own the rest of the week with me just correcting pages. Now that we’re in Pre-Algebra my dd sometimes needs a bit more help but still not much and she’s not super-savvy at math. Though Honors pages are a good challenge! I also like that if high school math gets over my head I can always pay for their online classes if needed. MUS had been a blessing for us. And seems to take less time than I hear other programs can. Blessings, Gina


    Sorry I took so long to answer – busy day/evening!

    We started in Level B.  I find a lesson takes about 20 minutes for Level B, and closer to 30 minutes for Level C.  I’m doing Level A right now with my 4yo, and I think they take about 15 minutes… although it is actually suggested that Level A lessons be broken into 2 and take 2 days each.  (There are only 77 lessons in level A.)  But my daughter generally wants to do the whole lesson, there have only been a few that I have split up.    

    One thing I do if I think the lessons are getting a bit long (and I generally suggest, but haven’t done as much this year) is decide how long you want a lesson to take and set a timer.  When the timer goes off, if you aren’t done – stop there and do the rest next day.  If the lesson is done before the timer is off – (and there is more than a couple of minutes) – play a game!

    If you contact RightStart, you can sometimes get gently used items – things that were returned with their guarantee, or things that were looked at during a conference – with a percent off.

    For all levels you would want the Lesson book and the Worksheets.  If you have a few kids, they now have E-Workbooks (that is new – wish they had had it before!)

    For the Manipulatives – Level A 

    – Abacus – Necessary  (although I have also built homemade ones with popcicle sticks, bamboo skewers, and pony beads.  The kids prefer the real ones)

    – Place Value Cards – MUST  (You can print off some from paper, but these are much easier to work with!)

    Abacus Tiles – Not used a lot – they each represent an abacus, to demonstrate 1000 – might depend on child if needed…

    Cards for Math Games – MUST

    Geoboards – Used at various times – there are some online virtual ones you might be able to use instead, but it will depend on child if they “get” the online ones

    Colored Tiles – I’d get these – they are used a LOT, and in later levels are used to measure (they are 1″ square) 

    Geared Clock – Useful to have – could get buy with a paper clock (and one is in the appendix) – but the fact that the hands move together is demonstrated more with this one

    Geometry Reflector – can get by with a mirror, but useful.  Not used very often

    Tally Sticks – these are popsicle sticks

    Yellow is the Son CD – songs are online, or can do with the music/words in the book

    Game instructional DVD – I think these are all online too.


    More coming…





    Level B:

    see the list for Level A…


    Base Ten Picture Cards – a must!  (And I’d have a duplicate if teaching more than one child the same lessons at the same time.) – note can probably find pictures to print somewhere online, but these are great quality.

    Wooden Cubes – only used a couple of times – could probably use any cubes…

    Math Balance – only used a few times – but the kids LOVE this one, and it might demonstrate the concept.  There are a few virtual ones online


    Level C: (NOTE – We are only about 1/2 of the way through)

    Items from Level A and B have similar comments….

    Math Card Games book – MUST (and I’d concider buying it early)

    Fraction Charts – only used a couple of times so far – but I think they will get used more and later.  Can find some online, but most don’t include ALL the fractions.

    Centimeter Cubes – haven’t used them yet…..

    Tangrams – haven’t used yet

    Calculator – have only used a couple of times so far – might be able to use any?

    Drawing Set – you need the triangles and T-Square…  didn’t use the special compass so far.  I somehow ended up (I got some stuff used) with 2 of the set except the drawing board.  I was able to find a artist watercolour canvas board about the same size at a dollar store, so one child used that and the other used the board….   But I don’t know where you would buy a T-Square like that other than here, and it is a pretty good price….

    I can’t comment on the higher level manipulatives.


    ALSO – There is a new edition just coming out – I can’t comment on how the manipulatives might be used with it…..


    More info coming….

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 21 total)
  • The topic ‘Rightstart math vs MUS for first grade?’ is closed to new replies.