Now that my children are mostly graduated, I look back at my time schooling. As a mother of five RightStart kids, I am going to share some of my findings to encourage you and help you kick off a RightStart kind of year.
BE CONSISTENT. B-E Consistent! Be consistent!! Think of it like a little cheer and say it just because it’s fun to say. Seriously though… being consistent in doing math is probably the most important advice I can give you. This is coming from someone who has six children, five who were RightStart kids. I know how HARD it can be to be consistent.
There are seasons when you will have to sacrifice something in order to be consistent. If you have toddlers, you may have to do math during their nap time or wait till dad gets home and do math in the evening. If you have multiple children, it may mean you do school from sunrise to sunset. Well, not really, but it will feel that way some days. It may mean doing some school on the weekend or year round. I know that may not sound appealing to some of you but it’s worth the sacrifice for your child.
Consistency is one of those things I didn’t really understand or implement till a little later in my schooling and it made such a difference.
- In being consistent, you must also plan for those days you can’t get a lesson taught whether it’s because of sickness, working with multiple children, or some other event. That’s where math card games come in handy. Make sure you have a backup game for those days you can’t get a lesson done. Playing a math game for ten to fifteen minutes is equivalent to doing a worksheet. Of course you may have one of those children who love worksheets, so have a few worksheets available for that child.
- There may also be a season where you can’t do math due to serious life events….disasters, death, accidents, illness, to name a few. This is extreme but it does happen. If you can’t even get some math games in, just do your best to get back to doing math when you are able. One great aspect of RightStart™ is that anyone can pick up a manual and teach a lesson. You may have extended family or friends who could step in and help you during this time, depending on the circumstances. Don’t be afraid to ask if needed.
KEEP MATH TIME ENJOYABLE. No this doesn’t mean it will always be fun. But if you or your child starts getting frustrated, take a step back. Re-evaluate what is going on. Are you or your child hungry or tired? One time my youngest son and I got so frustrated, he balked at doing the math and I was pushing him so we could take a break for lunch. It got so bad I just wanted to throw the book and go sit in a corner to cry. But instead I told him we were done for now (even though we barely did any of the lesson) and to go eat. It wasn’t till I told him to go eat that I realized that both of us had not had breakfast. It’s amazing how much better we are to function when we aren’t “hangry”….hungry + anger, or in this case, frustration.
Maybe the lesson is too much too soon. Every child is different in how quickly they process new information. Some children may need a day or two to let it sink in. That’s great! Rather than push forward on a new lesson that’s causing frustration….take a day or two to play some favorite math card games. Then go back and tackle that lesson and you’ll be surprised how less frustrating it will be. Just make sure you are consistent in doing some type of math on those days you don’t do an actual lesson.
BE WILLING TO COMPROMISE. I have a tendency of being one of those people who want to do one lesson each day. I like to mark it off my schedule. However, I learned that there are seasons where my child is not at a place to do a whole lesson in one day.
I have learned a lot with my youngest child. He and his brother both started in Level B together and stayed together until Level D. My older son moved easily into Level E but my younger son seemed to hit a wall. Not that he couldn’t do the work, but he went through a season where he would become visually overwhelmed at the worksheets. I’m not sure why, but I can say that I was having trouble with tip # 2 about keeping math time enjoyable. He would balk at doing his worksheet. I KNEW if he would just settle down and apply himself he’d get it done quickly. He, on the other hand, sat and argued with me that it was too much. I would then tell him that in the time he argued with me he could have had it DONE! Our arguing was escalating into major frustration on both our parts. So, I took a step back and came to the realization that we would NOT be getting a lesson done each day. I compromised with my son and told him that he only had to do half the worksheet that day and the other half the next day. We did not do a new lesson on the days he did the other half of the worksheet. That one little decision made a major difference in his attitude. It made math time enjoyable again. He’d get that half of the worksheet done in minutes. Of course I wanted to tell him if he got it done that quickly he should finish the worksheet but I resisted.
Yes, it took us longer to get through Level E. Even though it didn’t follow my schedule it was worth the extra time because it kept math enjoyable. And to give hope if you are going through this kind of season, this young son of mine is now a junior in high school and has no problem doing any work given to him.
ASK FOR HELP. It’s not a matter of IF you have a question, but WHEN you have a question. Why not get a quick answer rather than wonder and question? There are some great places to receive help.
- Call: RightStart™ has a great customer service people who are there to help you succeed. You can call and talk with someone in person at 888-272-3291.
- Message: you can write your question as a message on their website or Facebook page. They will walk you through a lesson, help explain some of the philosophy or give you suggestions to help make your experience with RightStart more enjoyable.
- Struggling Learners: RightStart has an official Facebook page for struggling learners. It is a closed group, but ask for invite and you’ll be approved.
- Other RightStart™ groups such as RightStart Buy/Sell/Talk, which is also a closed group, but, again, ask for invite. This page is not hosted by RightStart™, but still a place where you can ask your questions to others who use RightStart™.
- The RightStart™ Pinterest page has has a lot of great math posts that support RightStart.
Finally, I am always gleaning some great wisdom and insight from others. It’s also encouraging to know I’m not the only one who may struggle with something. If you have any other advice to ensure a good RightStart™ year we’d love to hear it.