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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!!!

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 info@rightstartmath.com.

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.
Rachel