Note: This post was written in 2011, before RightStart Math’s second edition curricula was available. Although this is pertinent information, it does refer to the first edition, RS1, of Levels E and G and makes no mention of RS2 Level F.
RightStart™ Mathematics Level E is the fifth and final year where the teacher is working with the child directly. The following year, Level G, the student will be more independent and the teacher becomes more of a facilitator than an active teacher.
Here is an email from Heidi, written April 1, 2011. As you read this, notice how the child and other family members are already starting to move towards a cooperative learning style.
“This is a note to tell you how much I’m enjoying the courses you’ve developed. I was introduced to your program a year ago by a homeschooling friend and have had a wonderful time with my youngest son this past year in Level B. In fact, I find your methods so interesting that I wanted to introduce them to my older son, and we’ve begun to work through Level E.
Yesterday we were poring over Durer’s magic square in Level E and he found some additional patterns! The next morning, my husband and son found more! How incredible is that? …
When Nathan discovered the first set of corner patterns yesterday it was quite exciting, and we enjoyed more of it this morning together and wanted you to know.
What fun that father and son are excited over math patterns! Side by side, both are exploring and learning. Knowing that Dad is interested, excited, and intrigued by math, I’m thinking the son’s math focus is heightened.
She continues: My older daughter, … was so frustrated [with her current math program] that I thought if she did your geometry program she might move up to Algebra thereafter. I’m encouraging her to do several lessons a day. She enjoys the artistic element of the work.
I know she is meant to read and discover for herself, which I’m encouraging her to do. I am determined to order a workbook for myself and do the program as well as a refresher, as an example to her of my interest in understanding what she’s doing, and thus hopefully as a motivator.
This mother-daughter team is as effective as the father-son team. Dr. Cotter says it is helpful for two people to do the lessons together. Try to work as an “equal,” not as the “teacher.” After both people do the worksheets, compare the results and then look at the Solutions. Having the parent/teacher stay ahead of the student is also a good idea.”
Heidi concludes: “After all these years, anything that seems like a word problem still paralyzes me. On Worksheet 29 [of RS1 Level G], I had to look in the answer book to get me going.
Analyzing why I struggled, I realized that if I could first state my discovery, then describing the process was no problem. I don’t know if I would have gotten to it without the teacher’s resource. Do you recommend I let my daughter have access to that when she stumbles? I’m afraid it might become too much of a crutch to her.
I suppose by working just ahead of her and understanding, then I can lead her to it with appropriate questions or even clearly stating my strategy.”
Dr. Cotter responded to Heidi that It is fine for the student to use the Solutions to look at the answer, then go back and work the problem through. This is a common practice in college courses!
Also, let the student know that it is a good practice, after making an error, to write on the back of the worksheet page where they went wrong. With the wrong path identified, the correct path is more evident. Most importantly, remind the student that each lesson needs to be read, not once, but several times, just like a college textbook.
Finally, if a student has questions in Level G, they can email Dr. Cotter directly at JoanCotter@RightStartMath.com. Students who put “Math student” in the subject get answered first.
Enjoy your time with your child in Levels A through E. Level G will start them on the path of self-teaching.