CTCMath vs. A+ Interactive Math: The Best Homeschool Math Curriculum for Moms Who Aren't Great at Math

I am not a math person. I am really, really not a math person. I do not like math. I struggle with understanding math. Although I was a straight A student in school, I dropped Advanced Math my senior year because it wasn't required, and I thought taking it would bring down my GPA and knock me out of being valedictorian. Seriously.

So the main subject I've always worried about teaching my own kids in our homeschool is math.

I made it through kindergarten and the early years of homeschooling my two oldest children with only a few hiccups. After all, even I could do the basic processes of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. I can even handle fractions. Most of the time. But then we headed toward pre-algebra. And that's where the trouble really began.

I was determined that my kids wouldn't have to struggle with math like I had. I wanted a curriculum that they could understand and that I could guide them with given my limited math abilities. So we began trying a variety of math curricula.

I'm not proud to say that we've used a total of eight different math curricula at this point in our homeschooling. Some have worked better than others. Some we kept for a year or two. Others we ditched after a few months. But one we've come back to again and again. Now I've had the opportunity to review and write about this awesome program. And, because I love to see how different curricula compare, I'm going to give you a comparison of two of the math programs we've tried in our great quest for the homeschool math program that works for a mom who doesn't excel at math.

CTCMath homeschool math curriculum
Disclosure: I received a free subscription to this program and compensation in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are always my own.

The math program that we've found ourselves coming back to many times is CTCMath. If I ask my kids which program they've benefited the most from, they'll probably say CTCMath. In this post I'm comparing CTCMath with another online program- A+Interactive Math. We tried this one out for a bit. I expected it to be similar to CTCMath but was interested in finding out which was best...for the kids and for me.

CTCMath: An Overview


CTCMath is an online math program. It is completely online. Kids watch a video and then answer questions in an interactive style that lets them know if the question is correct or incorrect and allows them to see a solution. There is a PDF summary of the entire lesson as well, so you can print it and allow kids to read the lesson. This is great for learners who do well with visual learning instead of audio learning. In the upper level maths, kids can also print a worksheet, complete it, and then fill in answers online and see solutions.

Each section in each level throughout the program has three diagnostic tests- a short test, standard test, and comprehensive test. Kids can take a diagnostic test at the beginning of a level to determine what they know and at the end of the level as a test of progress and skills learned. As kids work through the levels of the program, they will earn a certification- bronze, silver, or gold- for each lesson based on the correct answers they give. You as the parent can determine what grade level is considered mastery- the "pass mark", and the child will continue to try the lesson- with new questions- until mastery is achieved.

When you subscribe to CTCMath, you can subscribe for a single child or for the entire family. But your subscription always opens all grade levels. This is sooo awesome for homeschool families like ours who don't necessarily keep track of grade levels. If a child works ahead, she can finish multiple grade levels in one year. If she needs extra help, she can fall back and work on some of the material for the previous grade level. All the levels are always right there.

As kids work, they- and you- can see their progress. You can see detailed reports, summary reports, results of diagnostic tests, recent tasks kids have worked on, and certification awards that kids have received. You'll also get an email each week that gives you an overview of the progress of each child from that week. This is a good way to get a quick look and follow up if you see patterns of problems or see that a child isn't working often enough or making progress. If you are required to keep grades in your homeschool, these reports are a great way to easily get a grade for the reporting period.

CTCMath homeschool math curriculum

CTCMath vs. A+ Interactive Math: Finding "the Best" Homeschool Math Program


When I decided to take a look at A+ Interactive Math, I expected to find that the programs were similar. My main reason for wanting to look at A+ Interactive Math was really just to see if CTCMath was "the best" or if we should make a change (again) to something better. (To be honest, it was "shiny, new curriculum syndrome." I always have this desire to try something new!) As we used the new program, I compared the two in several areas.

Ease of Use


With CTCMath it was super easy to jump in and begin working right away. The interface is very intuitive, and it was easy for both the kids and I to figure out what to do. There is a demonstration video on the site if you need to see a walk-thru. But, because everything is all in one place and follows logically- lessons, practice, testing- it is pretty easy to get started right away.

When I first used A+ Interactive Math, it took me some time to get set up. Although the format is similar- video lessons and interactive questions- there are other parts to the lessons such as worksheets and exams that need to be printed separately, along with their solutions pages. I had to watch the demo to understand the flow of the program, and I had to explain it to the kids because they weren't sure how to get started.

Program Levels


CTCMath makes it super easy for the kids to work at any grade level they need. We've never kept track of grade levels very much- until high school transcripts roll around. So it was nice when my sixth grader by age needed to still work on the fifth grade math lessons. It wasn't any big deal for her to drop back and choose those lessons. And when my fifth grader was really ready to begin pre-algebra, it was right there ready for her to use.

With A+ Interactive Math's Family Plan, you will get access to all of the grade levels. But only the parent can change a child's grade level from the admin screen. So you'll need to choose one grade level for the child and change it in the admin section if the child needs to move up or down.

Format


Both CTCMath and A+ Interactive Math have the same basic format of a video lesson along with questions that you can answer after the lesson. Both of them can give students a printed copy of the explanations and a printed worksheet for practice. So both are great for students with different learning styles. They include audio, visual examples in the video, and printed material to read.

But one big difference is that, while CTC has everything in one place, with A+ Interactive, I had to go to the Worksheets tab to print those and then the Exams tab to print those and then to other tabs to get solutions to those and then the Curriculum Book tab to get a printed form of the lesson. And if I wanted the kids to do an online worksheet where they placed answers in an interactive format that would allow them to know of they were correct or not, I had to use the Online Worksheets option. All of these things were in different places. This format made things a little confusing.

CTCMath homeschool math curriculum

Appeal to Kids


My kids have really loved CTCMath. It's easy for them to use. They understand the explanations from the teacher. The video teacher doesn't talk down to kids or sound childish. The system of completing work and earning a certificate to progress is also easy for them to understand. So they know when to move on or when to go over the material again.

A+ Interactive was more difficult for the kids to use so they were a little frustrated with it by the time I had explained it all to them. They didn't like the teacher. They felt like she was talking to little kids even in the higher level math lessons. (I know that is totally subjective, but it was the opinion of my kids.)

Appeal to Mom


Just like the kids, I loved that CTCMath was so easy to jump into. It didn't take hours spent watching tutorials to figure it out. I love that CTCMath sends a weekly report with kids progress. Even though I need to check up on any online classes regularly, I freely admit that I fall down on the job. CTCMath helps me out with those weekly emails.

As I mentioned, A+ Interactive Math was more difficult to set up and begin. I didn't like that I had to go to all different places to find the different things I needed for the kids to complete for the lesson. The one thing I really did like is that they provide a suggested lesson plan schedule that tells the kids what to complete each day. CTCMath doesn't, so I looked at the lessons and told them how many to work on each day or how much time they should spend working. Of course with A+ Interactive, if you have a child who needs to slow down and work on previous lessons or if you have a child who is progressing quickly and can do multiple lessons in a day, your lesson plan will be thrown out the window anyway (which is likely why CTCMath doesn't bother.)

Record Keeping


Ah, I love the record keeping abilities of CTCMath. I've mentioned my love of the weekly progress reports. But I also love that I can hop in and see exactly what the kids have been working on and what their scores have been anytime. It was also really easy when it came time to record grades for my high schooler's transcript because I could just pull up that report and easily find her scores.

A+ Interactive Math does have some great detailed record keeping as well. However, if you use their printed worksheets and exams, you're going to have to enter those scores manually in order to have them averaged in with the grades.

CTCMath homeschool math curriculum

Cost


Cost is a big deal for our family. And if you're a homeschooling family, you're usually looking out for the best buy- the curriculum that will work AND be affordable.

The current cost for CTCMath is $118 for a family membership. And they give homeschoolers this price (which is 60% off their normal price) and a bonus 6 months, meaning you'll get 18 months of math for your whole family for around $118.

A+ Interactive Math also has a family membership. Theirs is currently $149 for one year- 12 months.

Try CTCMath


You can find CTCMath's Family Membership with the 60% discount for homeschoolers here.

CTCMath also offers a free trial of the program so that you can find out if it's right for your crew.

Want to know more about CTCMath? You can find them on social media too.

CTCMath homeschool math curriculum

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