Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Top Questions for the Week

This is just a reminder to get out the Math Card Games book and play games A LOT. Many families tend to just think when they first start to use the games that they are just more “fun” than “learning”. In reality, the games are like a 100+ question worksheet in disguise. We want to remind everyone how important the games are to the program. Some lessons, of course, won’t have games specifically listed, but there are many games to choose from within the Math Card Games Book. Many parents don’t think of opening the Math Card Games Book and finding a game to play … but they are the strength and beauty of the program!!!

We have many parents calling in to question how to teach multiple children in a variety of levels. We have found success in having the older children help to teach the younger ones, as it reinforces their own skills, while helping out their younger siblings. The other thing that helps is to have them all play games together. Even the most simplistic game for the younger children will offer benefits for the older, more skilled children as it helps to firm up their own understanding and confidence.

Top Questions for the Week

When will RS2 Level C be available?

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The writing is complete and the final proof is well underway. We’ll be updating the website in the next few weeks with a more detailed timeline for all of you who are patiently waiting. We are so excited for you to see the new lessons!


Level D helpful hint: Check numbers and subtraction 

We’ve had a few of you call us regarding Lesson 49 in Level D. This will help to clarify check numbers for those of you working with them for the first time.

Just as you would check your answers in a subtraction problem by adding the answer (difference) to the the number subtracted (subtrahend), you can add the check numbers in the same order (difference plus subtrahend equals minuend).

For example:

                           83 (minuend)                     check number: (2)

                          -33 (subtrahend)                check number: (6)

                           50 (difference)                   check number: (5)

5+6=11 which is check number 2

If you want more information on check numbers, watch this webinar. Scroll to the bottom of the page and it’s right there for you to reference.


RightStart™ Manipulatives

What’s so special about the manipulatives used for the RightStart™ Mathematics program? Let’s run through the list.


AL Abacus: This abacus has 100 beads, is grouped in 5s and 10s using color. It is different from the Chinese abacus, the Japanese abacus, and “play” abacuses (where each string of beads is a different color). Both sides of the abacus are used in different ways. The AL Abacus is available in various colors, sizes, and materials.
Six Special Decks of Cards: Basic cards (0 to 10), multiplication cards, fraction cards, money cards, clock cards, and Corners™ cards make up the six decks.
Fraction Charts: One plastic fraction chart stays intact and a second chart is pre-cut to allow  the child to manipulate the individual pieces. Very importantly, this chart includes the 1/7ths and 1/9ths. It is also one color so that the student doesn’t associate a specific fraction with a specific color and encourages the “mixing and matching” of fractions without the constraints of color.
Abacus Tiles: These tiles are a representation of the AL Abacus allowing for a child to see what more than one hundred beads would look like.
Geometry Panels: We make these ourselves!
Place Value Cards: Adaptation from Montessori’s decimal cards.
Goniometer (Angle Measurer): Although this is not an item we make, it is no longer produced and almost impossible to find elsewhere.
Drawing Set: These pieces can all be found individually elsewhere and we assemble this in our warehouse. Triangles don’t having inking edges and the T-square is transparent for ease of use.
Base-Ten Cards: These drawings represent ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands with the groupings of five to allow for quick recognition of quantities. Images align with the AL Abacus bead grouping. Other base ten cards, stamps, and/or blocks ignore the grouping in fives.
Yellow is the Sun CD: We make these ourselves, although you can download the song online and the music is in the back of the teacher’s manual.


Math Balance: Pegs for the balance are on both sides of the balance arm which allows for twice as many weights to be hung on a number making multiplication a breeze. Weights are also 10 grams which is used in RightStart™ Mathematics Second Edition (RS2).
Centimeter Cubes: Our centimeter cubes weigh one gram. This is an important aspect for RS2!
Geometry Solids: We have a set of 12 wooden shapes. In RS2, these specific shapes are important because they are measured and weighed, as well as identified. Different shapes and sizes will alter the lesson significantly.
4-in-1 Ruler: This ruler measures in centimeters, millimeters, and inches in sixteenths. What makes this ruler special is inches divided into tenths! When a calculation calls for 4.3 inches, the student can precisely measure and draw 4.3 inches, rather than approximating.
Colored 1” Square Tiles: We had a hard time finding tiles that were consistently one inch square. Sadly, there was a LOT of variance. We have these tiles made in the USA now and have the precision needed. Quantities are 50 in four different colors.
Geoboards: These come two to a set. Pegs need to be 7 x 7. Many geoboards are 5 x 5 which will not allow for enough space for the children to do their lesson work.
Casio Calculator SL-450: This child-friendly calculator has a quirk that allows for skip counting, so the SL-450 is needed.
Mini-Clock: This clock is geared, which means the hour hand will appropriately follow the minute hand. Hour hand is color coordinated to the hour numbers and the minute hand is color coordinated to the minute numbers.
Tangrams: Tangrams can be found in all sizes and colors. Many other tangrams have rounded corners making measuring a challenge. RightStart™ provides two sets with two different colors and have sharp and precise edges. Lessons in RS2 reference the two colors.


Tally Sticks: These are craft sticks. If you have some around the house, that will work! You will need 55 sticks.
Plastic Coins: As long as you have 30 pennies, 20 nickels, 20 dimes, 20 quarters, and 4 half-dollars, you’re ready to go.
Folding Meter Stick: Any meter stick will work. Ours folds simply for convenience.
Geometry Reflector: This handy reflector creates for reflections. It is made of transparent material, so it can also been seen through for additional comparisons. A rectangular hand-held mirror will also the trick.


We’re all for saving money. I’m right in there with you all! If I can shave off a penny here and a dollar there, I’m a happy girl. So, let’s say you can find some of these manipulatives at a second hand store, discount store, or borrow from your friend. That’s fantastic.

But then you still need the rest of the items.

The RightStart™ Mathematics kits have a significant discount savings. So, unless you have an amazing treasure of manipulatives at your fingertips, it’s usually cheaper to buy the kits because of the healthy discounts incorporated into the kit pricing. Discounts on the Starter Kits range from $30.00 (SK-G) to $83.50 (RS2 Math Set) to $112.00 (RS1 Complete Kit).

In my book, that’s a nice savings!!

Autism, RightStart™, and Testing Scores

My 11 daughter has high functioning autism. We consider her to be a 5th grader, and she just finished up Level D (scoring 100% on the end of the year test!). She had serious problems with math until we found Right Start. She was 8 years old and still could not reliably tell you what 2+3 was. Then once she labored to figure that out, she couldn’t tell you what 3+2 was. It was like that every single time.

A dear friend let us borrow Level B for the summer so we could try it out before putting all the money into it (since she’s my last child, I was hesitant to invest so much money on yet another program that wouldn’t work). As you must have guessed, it was a huge success and I purchased the curriculum eagerly.

I just had my daughter take the ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) a couple of weeks ago for the first time. She has previously been tested by psychiatrists as part of her autism spectrum evaluations, but she’s never done a ‘bubble’ test where she had to read the questions herself and fill in the answers. For a child on the spectrum, that alone can be a challenge. And I have her take the grade-level tests simply so I can compare her to her age/grade peers. I know she will be behind in math because there are some topics she simply hasn’t covered yet, getting such a late start. Yet, she has always managed to test only slightly below grade level, which is amazing to me.

So this time, I was expecting her scores to be lower, because of the nature of the testing and this being something completely new to her. I was quite wrong! She scored in the 69th percentile for Math Concepts & Estimation. This is on the upper end of the Average range, and her grade equivalent was 6.8 (which means that she performed on this 5th grade test the way you would expect a child in the 8th month of 6th grade to perform on this test). For Problem Solving & Data Interpretation, she scored in the 51st percentile which is right in the middle of the Average range. Her grade equivalent was 5.9 which is exactly what she is! Her math computation scores are quite low but those are irrelevant to me because she has slow processing speed and I do not ever pressure her to finish the drill sheets for a fast time – and math computation is not included in the overall scoring anyway.

Breaking it down into the subsets, she scored 100% right on both Measurement and Probability & Statistics questions and also scored very high on the Algebra subset. To me, this shows that Right Start teaches kids how to think mathematically. And that, in my opinion, is the most important thing!

I have rambled on long enough, I think. I just wanted to share that my child with special needs – who didn’t even start using language to communicate until she was 3.5 years old and who didn’t understand anything to do with math until she was 8, just score on grade level and slightly higher as a 5th grader, when she has only finished the 3rd grade RightStart book! Amazing!!

Thank you, RightStart!
Jennifer C.