I am using Rightstart Math B this year with Rose, my first grader. I had previously used Righstart through level C with my older three, and then Grace used up through level D. I switched because it just felt so teacher- intensive to me. Righstart involves a lot of other equipment besides the lesson book. You also need things like photocopies of various sheets, game cards, the abacus, geoboard, balance, student clock, a music CD, square tiles, fraction tiles, and game cards, though not all in each lesson of course!
This year, I had planned on starting Rose on Math Mammoth, but changed my mind at the last minute. The samples I saw for MM1 involve an awful lot of writing, which she is not ready for, plus it just seemed too dry for first grade math. I already had an ancient, well-used (and cover-less!) copy of Rightstart B on my shelf. It is not pretty anymore….
But I figured it would still do the trick, so I resisted the urge to buy a new one. Even though I have found Righstart to be quite teacher-intensive, I love the math foundation the older three got from it and wanted the same for my little one. I knew though, that to use this program, I would have to be more organized. Teaching four kids makes for a very busy homeschool day and I knew I would just get frustrated if I had to hunt down maniupulatives and all the little pieces Rightstart requires each day. So I spent part of a summer afternoon making the program more open and go and putting everything together on a shelf. Here’s a little tour of what is on that math shelf.
First, I purchased this cute little bin from Rainbow Resource Center, for less than four dollars. It is their “small utility caddy” and it comes in a ton of fun colors. I use it to store the items we use most often. The contents will most likely change over the course of the year, but right now I have an abacus, our Yellow is the Sun book, tally sticks, the place value cards, a set of plastic coins, and some math game cards.
I also keep a little baggie of plastic animals in here. Righstart lessons often require a certain number of items to use as aids to teach ordinal numbers, less/more concepts, and things like that. With the bag right there, I don’t have to get up and grab anything. These are just little things collected over the years that have been taking up space in the house, so it is nice to give them a function!
This tote comes along for every math lesson and it is small enough that Rose can grab it and bring it out along with her book. We can easily grab it and do our lesson on the back porch or at the picnic table. Obviously, all of our supplies don’t fit in the little purple tote, so I also keep a larger basket on the shelf with some of the the bigger or less-often-used items.
In here, I have a box of colored square tiles, our hundred squares, more game cards, our skip-counting envelopes, and a set of geo-boards.
In the back of the basket, I keep a folder containing most of the appendix pages. I bought the set of appendices available for this level so that I wouldn’t have to make all those photocopies and I am very glad I did!
Appendix pages that will be used more than once are stored in a binder outfitted with page protectors. In here, I keep things like:
A part-whole circle set….
The Swim to Ten Game….
And the practice sheets (so she can do them with a dry-erase marker)…
At the back of the binder, I put several copies of the “math journal” pages which are used frequently throughout the program….
Because Rose is my last child to go through this program, I am having her do the worksheets right in the worksheet book, rather than photocopying them all. There are not many worksheets at this level, which is nice.
And here is everything on the shelf. I have the bigger basket, the caddy, the math book and book of worksheets, my binder, a large teaching clock, and an extra abacus. Also, you can’t see it here, but in the corner I keep a tub of pattern block and pattern block cards, just for a little something extra if she is bored.
And that completes the tour of our math shelf and how I organized Righstart! I am sure I will have more thoughts to share on this program as the year progresses. Right now, she is absolutely loving it!