Ray's Arithmetic

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  • Reviewed on Tuesday, November 16, 2010
  • Grades Used: K - 4th
  • Dates used: 2000 - 2003
Ray's Arithmetics was a program our family enjoyed. It is a program used to teach mental arithmetic. Upon completetion of the 4 books, ds and dds went into algebra 1 with all the confindence and knowledge needed to perform higher arithmetic. Upon the end of our middle school journey, all three children had completed algebra 1 and 2 and geometry. The strong knowledge of the basics you obtain from using Ray's Arithmetic program, has without a doubt, provided our children a strong arithmetic background.


  • Reviewed on Wednesday, September 8, 2010
  • Grades Used: 2nd-4th
  • Dates used: 2010
I am new to Ray's Arithmetic, but I already love it. I first heard of it on a Charlotte Mason-related website, and checked it out since we do a CM-style program. So far we are using the hardcover Primary and Intellectual levels from Mott Media. Because Ray's is mostly done orally in order to encourage facility with mental math, we get through alot more math than we would if my kids had to laboriously write out every problem. Writing does follow eventually, but mental math is the focus. Doing it orally seems more "real world" to me, since this is how most of use math in daily life. The word problems also give a sense of ways in which math is used in life. I have not found the slightly archaic language or prices in the word problems to be an impediment at all. Since I am reading the problems aloud, I can easily reword them if necessary.

The series also lends itself to creativity without added expense. After the first few days, I was having my kids make up word problems to ask each other, and they loved it. All sorts of household objects can be used as manipulatives if needed. It makes me almost ashamed of the years I bought expensive math texts with my older student! Math is often the homeschooler's most expensive subject, but it need not be.

I have found it easy to adapt to teaching different levels at once, by just varying the difficulty level of the problems.

I highly recommend the Parent Teacher Guide by Ruth Beechick. It helps the homeschool teacher break down the lessons into a weekly plan. I don't follow that strictly, but it gives a starting place. The author also gives suggestions for teaching, math games, and other very helpful hints. Incidentally, a separate volume by Ruth Beechick (unrelated to this series) called "You Can Teach Your Child Successfully" also gives alot of great ideas for teaching math (and other subjects), little "tricks of the trade," etc. In fact, if one really studied that book, you could do without a math text at all, but adding Ray's makes it that much easier.

I bought some nearly-new used copies of Ray's Arithmetic on Amazon very cheaply. But even if you buy the whole series at retail, it's only about $100 and will carry you through high school. (The volumes retail for about $10 each). There is also another website that sells all the volumes on one CD-Rom for less than $60, which can be printed out page by page.

I am thrilled to find a program that won't cost me hundreds each year for slick volumes or CD-Roms, or consumable workbooks that can't be re-used. This series is very basic but very practical and has taken the misery out of math in our homeschool. There IS definitely parent involvement; you are there teaching every step of the way instead of just assigning pages. But it makes it possible to see exactly where each student is at, to adapt the lesson right in the moment if need be, and it's actually fun, rather than correcting and re-teaching pages of workbooks etc.


  • Reviewed on Friday, February 1, 2008
  • Grades Used: 1, 2
  • Dates used: 2005-2007
I was excited about Ray's approach and the price, but after 2 years I was in tears. I do think this is a good program, but it was not right for our family. There were some concepts that were not covered but needed to be, and you really have to do the teaching on your own. It tells you to teach certain concepts, but not HOW to teach them. My husband and I both love math (my husband is an accountant), but could not do this. The biggest struggle for us was how to teach the concept even though it is something that we know well. If you are disciplined enough to do it then it could be great. I am not though, so I switched to Saxon math which we love to teach and my children love to use.


  • Reviewed on Wednesday, February 1, 2006
  • Grades Used: 1st & 2nd Grade
  • Dates used: 2004-present
I love this math program! It has optional workbooks up to grade 4. You don't need them to use the program successfully, but they are offered by Mott Media.

I love Rays because of its focus on mental math. We started by using manipulatives, then writing the problems on the board and now he does most of it in his head ;) Both my kids are progressing well with Ray's.

Ray's is also pretty simple to teach (at least in the lower grades) Other programs that I looked at were pretty complicating.
It is also very inexpensive. You can use the same books for all your children, because they are non-consumable.

We are very pleased with this program.