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Post a message or simply read what others have written and answered. Rachel, a RightStart™ Math user and one of our customer care people, will be monitoring this forum. She will respond to your questions as needed.

Have a great day and remember to play a math card game! 


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Re: Grade to RSM level coordination

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

Have a wonderful afternoon!

Re: Grade to RSM level coordination

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.

Re: Grade to RSM level coordination

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.

Re: Grade to RSM level coordination

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!

Re: Grade to RSM level coordination

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.

Re: Grade to RSM level coordination

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

Have a great weekend!

Re: Grade to RSM level coordination

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!

Re: Grade to RSM level coordination

Anytime, Annalisa!

Keep me updated on how things are going!!!

Have a lovely weekend.