Monday, June 15, 2009

Ray's Arithmetic Teacher Guide

I have planned to use Ray’s Arithmetic for our math curriculum since I first thought about homeschooling, more than 5 years ago.  Since we started actually using it two years ago, though, I’ve been struggling to figure out how it was intended to be used.  The books don’t have instructions for the teacher, and the teacher guide that comes with the reprints, by Ruth Beechick, did not satisfy me.  I have several posts on this blog where I’ve analyzed Charlotte Mason’s arithmetic recommendations and explained how I’ve adjusted Rays to fit those, but I still didn’t think I was using the material as effectively as I’d like.  (Fortunately, my oldest has natural math ability so she hasn’t been bothered too much by all this.)

On the Ray’s Arithmetic Yahoo group I learned some time ago about the Eclectic Manual of Methods, which is a teacher guide for a variety of materials including the McGuffey Readers and Rays Arithmetic.  I found working from a pdf copy of the book to be off-putting so I never really approached it.  In fact, I didn’t even look closely enough to realize that the arithmetic section of that manual was quite short .  (It begins on page 105 of the pdf copy.)  I did try to find a hardcopy, but they are few and far between.  (The only one I can find right now is located in Germany and would cost me over $20 including shipping.)

I finally sat down with the text copy and the pdf copy of the manual and created a Word document with just the arithmetic section.  I’ve included all of it except one long table of exercises that I just couldn’t bring myself to type in–that part you’ll have to go to the pdf copy to see.

I haven’t yet read through this in detail and tried to compare it with CM’s recommendations, but from my cursory review while editing I would say that it generally does follow the same outline that CM recommended in Volume 1.  I’m sure I’ll post more about this as I dig into it further–I’ll be using at least years 1 and 3 of this guide very soon.


  1. Kathy, this is great! I am so glad you linked this today as I had no idea you'd done it. I've been using Ray's with my girls and I really like it, but I'd love to read further on its use. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for linking this (again) today. How embarrassing that I already commented here a few months ago, which means I had this link before, and then lost it! :)

  3. Thanks so much for posting this! I have just decided to use Ray's Arithmetic to teach my son, so this will be very helpful.

  4. Thinking about this for my youngest. Wasn't familiar with it for older two, and it looks daunting. BUT. Reading everyone talking about it on the forum makes me want to tackle it for him since he's more 'mathy' than his older siblings. All to say thanks in advance - it looks complicated but clearly you've helped out those of us walking this path behind you. Here's to hoping I can figure it out!

  5. thanks so much. We are just starting out and this is very helpful

  6. Amazing! Thank you! I notice that it discusses the implementation of intellectual and practical... Do you know if there was similar guidance for the "Higher Arithmetic" book?

    1. No, I don't know. I don't use Higher Arithmetic, so I haven't looked for instructions.

  7. What curriculum did you move onto after practical? I read in the forum that you used Lial's then switched to Jacob's Algebra? or Jacob's pre-Algebra?