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I have not paid much attention to the corresponding grade level of the RightStart books we've been using, instead working through them at the natural pace of each child. But in anticipation of submitting reports I am looking more closely at this and realizing that my 2nd and 4th grader are significantly behind their peers. My 2nd grader is on RSB lesson 102, and my 4th grader RSC lesson 125. To what grade level does each book correspond? At times, both express great frustration with math but also show consistent progress and understanding. The proposal to do math through the summer would probably be met with mutiny, yet I fear I'll have to show a plan for "catching them up". Any thoughts?

May 2nd, 2018 - 9:31 PM

Hi, Annalisa. My name is Rachel. Thank you for your post.

Great question. There is a general grade breakdown for each of the levels. It is as follows:

Level A - kindergarten

Level B - 1st grade

Level C - 2nd grade

Level D - 3rd grade

Level E - 4th grade

Level F - 5th grade

Level G - 6th grade

Level H - 7th grade

It would appear that your children are a bit behind. There are several ways you can catch them up.

The first suggestion would be the one you had mentioned. You will definitely want to teach your kids through the summer, especially your older one. You can make it more fun, though, by having lessons outside or by the pool. Let them decide on where to do a lesson. Perhaps it is on a picnic lunch at the park - then when the lessons have been completed they can play on the playground for a while. Provide rewards for the work they do to help encourage them to complete the lessons with a positive attitude. I teach my children math over the summer months. We tend to do two lessons a day for two or three days a week - depending on how behind we are or how much material I want to cover to get my kids a head start for the following school year.

Another way to help your children catch up is to cover more than one lesson a day. Each lesson in Level B should only take about 10 minutes to complete. So, you should be able to finish two lessons in about 20 minutes - maybe even in less time. Level C might take a bit more time to do more than one lesson, but if you combine 'like' lessons (for example, do more than one Geometry lesson in a day) the amount of time shrinks because the manipulatives are already out and set up. When you do more than one lesson, you do not necessarily need to do all the Warm-Up equations and the Conclusion equations - unless you are not sure your child fully grasps the material.

To help speed up the lessons, you may want to quickly move through the equations provided in the lessons. If your child knows the material, you do not need to work through every single example equation. Work through enough to be sure your child understands the material and then move on. If they struggle with a concept, then stay in that section of lessons until they understand it.

That brings me to another point: When pushing your children through the material a little quicker, be sure to keep an eye out for them not understanding the material. Do not push further than they can keep up. Be very attuned to how your children are learning the material. If they are struggling, slow it down. If they are doing well, speed it up.

Another suggestion to speed up the progress is to skip the review lessons and the assessment lessons if you feel your child has a full understanding of the concepts being reviewed. You will want to keep up the math card games just to keep the material fresh. But, you do not need to spend an entire day or two on the review lessons and assessments if your child has the material down.

One final note: Because the first part of the next level will be reviewing the material covered in the previous level, you can really fly through those lessons if you do them right after the previous level. I am currently working with my daughter starting in Level E. We had just finished Level D a few weeks back. Because the first groups of lessons are easier for my daughter, we flew through them. In just a couple of weeks I am already at Lesson 31 in Level E.

OK....one more final note! ;-) Help your children make learning their own priority as well. If you feel they will resist you, then get them on your side. Help them to understand that they are a bit behind and they need to catch up. Let them come up with ideas to help speed up the process. Let them make up charts or a paper chain or something so they can keep track of their own progress of catching up. Let them help create the goal and let them take some ownership of their learning. I did that with a couple of my children who need an extra push. When they saw that the more they did resulted in the less time it took to accomplish their goal, then on their own took responsibility to work through their lessons quicker. They took control of their own learning.

I hope that helps! If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to post them here or email RightStart Math directly at info@rightstartmath.com.

Have a great day!

Rachel

May 3rd, 2018 - 7:40 AM

Thank you for your response, Rachel. I am first struck by the time you suggest each lesson should take. That a level B lesson should only take 10 minutes is completely out of our experience. It is more likely that a short lesson (for us) takes 20 minutes to work through the "lessony" part and then the worksheet takes some number of minutes in addition to that. The warm up section alone can take 10-20 minutes some times. A level C lesson takes even longer. I am inclined to believe that they understand concepts, but are severely hampered by their lack of speed in producing math facts. Also, they both demonstrate quite a bit of difficulty at focusing on math - they simply don't want to be doing it and I have to repeatedly call their attention back to the lesson. We do play the games sometimes, but they also can take quite a long time and added to a lesson could make our total time spent on math 60-90 minutes. Given this scenario, the thought of doing 2 lessons a day is painful and would, ultimately, be unproductive since they will hate math and dig in their heals even farther. Help! :grinning:

May 3rd, 2018 - 2:35 PM

Hi, Annalisa.

Well, to be honest, I think if I had to do math that long every day I would also revolt! Hahaha!

There are a couple of things you might need to do to completely revamp your teaching time and your kids learning time. First of all, only spend a couple of minutes on the Warm-Up. You do not need to do every equation!

Next, if your kids are struggling with those equations, it may be because they are not strong with their math facts. The math card games will solve that problem. There have been times in my kids learning that I have completely stopped the lessons and simply worked on math card games to get their math facts up to speed. After a week or so, they were strong in the math facts and the lessons went so much better. If the kids do not know their math facts, everything is so much more difficult.

Once your kids are strong with their math facts, I think you will find that the lesson moves much quicker. When you do work through the lesson, if you find your kids are doing well in a segment, then move on to the next segment. You do not necessarily need to go through each and every example if you know your child understands the concept.

If you teach a subject too long, your child will tune everything out. I have a couple of children who have ADHD. I literally had 10 minutes to teach one of my kids. After that 10 minutes was up, I don't care how much I talked and taught and worked with him, nothing else was going to enter his brain. ;-) You need to find the saturation level of your kids. It may be 10 minutes or it may be 15 or 20 minutes. But if you continue to teach after that time limit, your kids will shut it off and you will be wasting time trying to work through the math lesson.

You may want to teach math in segments. For example, have your kids do their warm-up equations (at least a couple of them) first thing in the morning. Then have them work on their spelling or another subject. Then teach the main lesson later in the day. Have your children do the worksheets while you are preparing lunch. Then have your kids play the math card game during lunch or right after. Breaking it up might reduce brain fatigue.

One thing to motivate your kids is to set up a timer for them. Let them know that if they work hard for ???? minutes, they can be done with math for the day or for a while. That way, they know that they have an ending to the math coming. If you are not done with the lesson, put a sticky note where you stopped and come back later to finish it - again sticking to the 10- or 15-minute limit.

When you get to a place when you are only spending 10 to 15 minutes teaching a lesson, then you need to start adding a second lesson in the day. However, you do not want to teach them consecutively if your time is already up. Instead, teach one math lesson early in the day and another math lesson a bit later.

I think the big piece for you, though, is getting the math facts mastered. Once those are stronger, I really think your kids will start moving much quicker in their Warm-ups and their worksheet. If you want some ideas of games that might help your kids, just let me know what they are really struggling in. Or you can browse the Math Card Games Manual to find games that will meet their learning needs. Remember, playing the games VITAL to your kids learning. When I first started the program, I thought the games were an 'extra' fun thing to do. However, as I got more familiar with the program, I realized that the games are an integral part of the program.

I hope that helps! As always, feel free to post here with further questions or concerns you have. Or you can email RightStart Math directly at info@rightstartmath.com.

Have a wonderful afternoon!

May 3rd, 2018 - 3:04 PM

We don't spend that long on math! We spend 30 minutes for the 4th grader and 20 minutes for the 2nd grader and cover as much of the lesson as we can in that time. This is why we move so slowly through the books. Also, it often takes a long time for them to become focused. I don't believe they really have a concept of how to work attentively for a few minutes and be done. This is a habit we have struggled to instill, knowing that it's key to success of any kind. Every once in a great while something spurs them on and they accomplish this, but it's hard to sustain or replicate.

We'll focus on math games and see if we can get the math facts up to speed. And I'll be more selective in my use of warm up equations.

May 3rd, 2018 - 8:30 PM

Also, it occurs to me to mention that both children have an aversion to using the abacus as if it is a sign of weakness that they would need it, or that it would slow them down. It's clear that the opposite is happening.

May 3rd, 2018 - 3:00 PM

Hi, Annalisa.

Thank you for that bit of information. Just like the games, the abacus usage is vital for your children to visualize quantities. Otherwise, math symbols are just that - symbols. When your children start visualizing the abacus, their math facts will start coming much quicker. One of my kids has memory deficiency. He literally was unable to memorize math facts. However, he was able to answer his math facts because he visualized the abacus in his head.

For a period of time, I would recommend that you play easier math card games and require your kids to use the abacus until they can spout off their math facts. This will do a couple of things. First, it will help them start visualizing the abacus. Second, if they have an aversion to the abacus, then they will want to learn their facts quicker! Hahaha!

As always, let me know if you have any further questions or concerns! We are here to help!!!

Enjoy your afternoon!

May 3rd, 2018 - 3:15 PM

I have been requiring them to use their abacus even when they don't want to, but for the second grader especially that is another thing that can make a lesson go longer - the minutes of refusal. And then he is in such an angry mess that learning anything is impossible. To be clear, this does not happen every time, but seems to depend on his mood leading into math. In short, they do use it, but it becomes another thing to fight about.

May 3rd, 2018 - 7:50 PM

Thanks for the clarification! I am much relieved that they are using the abacus. ;-)

Have you thought or tried to find ways to make using the abacus more interesting for him? Or even math time, in general. For example, the both of you take turns moving beads. If you are doing the equation 5 + 2, then he can move the five beads and you can move the two beads. (He, of course, needs to say the answer). I make funny noises when the beads move to make it more fun for the kids. I have also jumped and celebrated when they get a solution correct. I have also made a big deal when they get to a solution quickly.

Another thing to help make math interesting is to do math away from the school desk. Take math on a field trip, sort of. Do math sitting on the floor or at the kitchen table or under the kitchen table! Do math on the front porch or on the deck. Why not have a math lesson in the trampoline??!! Make math an adventure.

One other thing I have found with some parents is that they, personally, dislike math. So, they approach math with dread and disinterest - which, in turn, makes the child dread and dislike math. I am not saying that you are doing this. But perhaps you can think of ways to appear more excited about math to help draw your child to being interested in math.

With my children I start math class by saying, 'Let's go play math.' Some days I say things like, 'I am SOOO excited to do math with you today. You are going to learn something really, REALLY fun!' Or 'Guess what?! Today, you get to use ???? manipulative today!!!! I can't wait!'

Sometimes children need to feel more in charge of their learning. You can maybe have your son 'teach you' the lesson for the day. Or have him find the perfect spot in the house for the math lesson.

With my ADHD kids, I would have a basket of 'commands'. When they completed something of note, for example answering a difficult equation, I would let them pick the command out of the hat. These commands would be something like, 'Jump up and down 10 times on one foot', 'Give Mom a hug', or 'Do a handstand' or 'You get your back scratched.' Having brief and fun interludes during the math lesson is fun and suddenly my kids are interested in finishing that equation to see what the 'reward' would be.

In the end, each child is very different. Find ways to engage your son while also getting him to learn math.

As always, feel free to repost with any further questions or comments you may have. Or you can email RightStart Math directly at info@rightstartmath.com.

Have a great weekend!

May 4th, 2018 - 8:19 AM

Thanks for these ideas to celebrate each small success. I'm also realizing that it is my instinct to keep all steps or answers secret, so to speak. In other words, when they struggle with a step, to make them figure it out on their own instead of giving them one step toward to end this time, and letting them try again on their own the next time. Somewhat like you suggest with 5+2, he enters 5, I enter 2, he says the answer. Thanks for the help!

May 4th, 2018 - 11:26 AM