Hi, Rach (great name!). My name is Rachel and I am happy to help you today.
It sounds like you really do have a strong grasp on understanding the strategies. You are right about ‘rearranging’ the numbers so the kids see 5 and another number. This strategy (as well as all the others) will really become helpful later on. Remember, your kids are getting a foundation to build upon later.
As far as memorizing goes, I know what you mean. One of my kids has a very good memory and there would be no way I could keep him from memorizing. For some kids, that is their strength and gift. However, you don’t want him to ONLY learn by memorizing. You can use the games and other activities in each lesson to reinforce the facts and to put the facts into a purposeful scenario.
Each child learns differently. One thing I have learned is that one strategy or activity helps one of my kids where another strategy or activity works for another. That is why RightStart works so well on a variety of learners. Dr. Cotter gives so many ways to learn and understand the mathematical concepts.
I hope this has helped, but if you have more questions, please do not hesitate to repost or send RightStart an email at email@example.com. You can also call their help desk at (888)272-3291.