All of my girls have been using CTCMath regularly over this past school year, so I was super excited that we had the opportunity to review the CTCMath Homeschool Membership with the Crew again this year. CTCMath has a complete online math curriculum for kindergarten through high school level math courses, including algebra one and two, geometry, pre-calculus, calculus, and trigonometry. We'll be continuing on with CTCMath, using it for 6th grade up through some high school courses this year.
So, after all my years of searching for the "perfect" math curriculum- and I literally mean years- what makes CTCMath the math for us? I think there have been many things that have made CTC such a good fit for our family.
The priceI'll be honest. Some of the math curricula that I've seen and thought would work great for my kids is just too expensive. I have four children that need a math curriculum. I can't afford to buy four levels of an expensive math program. I just can't.
CTCMath is incredibly affordable. There are options for monthly or annual subscriptions. And the multi-child subscription includes all of the course levels (kindergarten-high school) for the whole family- the WHOLE FAMILY!
I can pay one price and all of the kids can use CTC for the whole year. If they finish a level, they can move up. I don't have to buy more curricula. If they need to go backwards for review, those levels are available for them to access as well.
The independent workI'll be honest, ya'll. Math isn't my thing. I can do okay up through algebra one or so. After that, I have to learn it in order to help the kids with it. I can when they are really struggling. But it's quite time-consuming for me to have to work through the math textbook in order to relearn how to do something in order to then teach it to the child who is struggling.
CTCMath is an online program. The kids do their own work, using their own computers or devices, on their own. As in without me.
CTC can be accessed on a computer or on other devices. Although the girls like to use the bigger computers, they have been able to do CTC on the iPhone or iPod when they couldn't use the computer for some reason.
The interface is very easy to use and intuitive to figure out. The video lessons have a voice with the concept presented and practiced on a white board, so even young kids can watch by themselves and figure out what to do. And because the concept is being taught by an actual teacher- Pat Murray, who has an awesome Australian accent- if the kids are struggling with a lesson, it's easy for me to watch and be able to figure out what's going on and how to help them.
The mastery learning styleWhen I first saw CTCMath a few years ago, I wasn't sure it would be "enough" math. The program isn't cyclical like some math curricula. Instead it's mastery based. Instead of touching on topics over and over in greater detail throughout the elementary grades, CTCMath has students learn and practice a concept until mastery and then move on to a totally different concept.
The parent can determine what "mastery" is by setting the passing grade acceptable for each student. That means that if the student scores below that passing grade, she'll have to redo the practice problems until she can pass. Students are motivated to continue practicing because they receive different levels of awards based on their total average score- bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. This is more motivating to the younger kids of course. My younger girls still like to try to beat themselves and get a higher certificate. Kathryne doesn't care so much about that now.
I've often had people ask me what we do to review past concepts since CTC doesn't cover them over and over in different grades. We've done a couple of things. Occasionally I'll print out some worksheets to review past math concepts. Also, CTC has a diagnostic test at the beginning of each lesson set. Students can take a short, standard or comprehensive test. These tests are good for an end of the lesson test. But they're also good to use to review concepts now and then.
I really like this mastery approach. Kids don't move to the next level because of a random grade level. (All sixth graders do this.) Instead, they move on because they've understood the concept. I've often told my kids that it really doesn't matter what grade level is given to the section they're working on. It's okay to be the age of a seventh grader but be working on the sixth grade section. The grade level is given to help you know where to start. But what's important is that you can understand the concept and pass the practice sections.
The lesson presentation and practice styleWe all like that way that Australian math teacher Pat Murray presents the video lessons. He's clear and concise and he demonstrates the concepts on a white board while talking. (You only hear a voice. There is no person on the video.) Then he demonstrates several examples. After the lesson presentation, the girls work a set of problems. The problem sets are short, and they can see their progress on a progress bar so they know how many are left to complete.
If the answer is incorrect, a correct answer is shown. In the higher levels a more complete answer is given with more detail as to how to work it out correctly.
In the upper levels, there is an optional worksheet to print. Students work out the problems and then enter the answers as multiple choice answers. The worksheet questions are different than the questions after the video, so you can use them for extra practice.
The reporting and parent areaOne of my favorite parts of CTC is the reporting. At any time I can look and see exactly what each child has been working on, what their scores have been, how many times they've had to practice a section, and more.
It's incredibly easy to go in and get a grade if it is required at the end of the year. I don't really keep grades in elementary and middle school. But I keep a transcript for my high school students, so I need to record their grades. It was so easy to do this at the end of this past school year.
I also opt to get a weekly report. CTC emails me a report each week. I can know how much time each child has spent on the program, what sections they've worked on , and any awards they've received.
Besides reports, the parent area allows you to create tasks. If you want to assign certain lessons or tests each day, this is a good way to do that. I don't use the tasks section. Instead I have my kids work on math for 30-45 minutes each day. This has seemed to work to have them get through a grade level (or more) in a school year. But if you have a student who seems to be dallying and not finishing enough, you could use the tasks option to create daily lesson plans.
The extrasBesides the regular math lessons, CTC has three extras available that are fun ways to practice math skills. They are found at the bottom of each page.
Speed Skills allows students to practice all of the basic math operations and try to get faster and faster. This is great for memorizing basic facts.
You can see a report on Speed Skills in the reporting area so that you can tell how quickly students are able to answer a number of math facts.
I usually have my girls do Speed Skills several times a week in addition to their regular math lesson.
Times Tables Shoot 'Em Up is a game that helps kids practice multiplications facts. It's similar in play to the old Galaga arcade game.
Swap Pieces is a thinking skills game that involves swapping all of the colored pieces from one side of the board to the other with rules about how each type of piece moves. I have yet to solve this one!
We'll keep using CTCMath as our math curriculum. It's helped the kids to finally be successful in math. You can see what other Crew reviewers thought about it by clicking the banner below.
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Maths Online (Australia Only)