Four Must-Have Elements of an Effective Homeschool Math Curriculum

Have you been on the lookout for an effective homeschool math curriculum? Here are four must-have elements of a great math program.

“This isn't the answer the book gave. But I don't know what I did wrong,” my son groaned. “Will you look at it to see if you can figure it out?”

Ugh. I know it was only pre-algebra. But I couldn't for the life of me see where he'd gone wrong. Meanwhile, my fifth grader was staring at me blankly as I tried to explain adding with fractions. I felt like screaming. And it was only our first class of the morning.

Ah, math. It's always been the biggest struggle in homeschooling for me. Out of all the things I've taught my kids throughout the years, it's the subject I felt least prepared to teach. 

Trial and error with multiple homeschool math curriculum options taught me what, I believe, are the must-haves when it comes to a resource that makes it possible for my kids to learn math most effectively. And there is a homeschool math curriculum out there that includes all of these.

Homeschool math curriculum

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post. All opinions are always my own.

When my oldest kids were in middle school and my youngest in elementary school, I found CTCMath. Since then, it's been a homeschool math curriculum that we have returned to again and again. CTCMath has several elements that, I think, make it an effective curriculum. You can watch my tour of this online math program below. And keep reading to learn my four must-have elements of a homeschool math program and how CTCMath includes them all. 

An effective homeschool math curriculum helps my kids learn independently.

I have four children. It is really difficult to teach a subject like math – where everyone is typically at a different skill level- effectively to four children at once. This was especially true when my kids were young and struggled to work independently. But it was also true with the upper level maths where I had to basically relearn the material to teach it to the kids. I needed a math curriculum that the kids could use independently.

CTCMath is an online program. The kids do their work independently, using their computers or mobile devices, on their own. As in, without you. The curriculum can be accessed on a computer or on other devices. The interface is 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. 

When my kids were elementary-aged, I could sit in the same room with them while they worked on math, working on something else and just supervising. And as they got older, I could leave it with them and just check in to the reporting area regularly. Having a curriculum that my kids could use independently was a sanity saver.

CTCMath curriculum

An effective homeschool math curriculum has a lesson presentation and practice style needs that works well.

All four of my kids have different learning styles and strengths. This can make choosing a curriculum for any subject area tricky. And there have been times throughout our homeschooling when I had to use different curricula resources for different kids. I'm glad homeschooling allows us to do this. But it certainly is nice when one curriculum has a style that actually works well with all of my kids.

In CTCMath, 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. Then he demonstrates several examples. In addition to the video presentation, each lesson also has a printable PDF. This allows students who can follow along better with printed materials to do so. This multisensory presentation means that this math curriculum works for kids with different learning styles.

After the lesson presentation, the student works a set of problems. The problem sets are short, and they can see their progress on a progress bar so that 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. This means that I'm not struggling to figure out why a student missed the problem. 

An effective homeschool math curriculum has robust parent reporting and planning tools.

I didn't keep up with grades when my kids were younger. But as the kids neared middle school and then high school, I needed to keep grades for transcripts. When we were using an online math curriculum, I wanted to make sure that I had the records I needed when it came time to average grades. And with kids working more independently, I wanted a quick and easy way to be able to check it to see what they were doing and how well they understood- or didn't understand – the material.

One of my favorite parts of CTC is the reporting. At any time, I could look and see exactly what each child had been working on, what their scores had been, how many times they’d had to practice a section, and more. It’s incredibly easy to go in and get a grade from the parent reporting area if it is required at the end of the year. Besides reports, the parent area allows you to create tasks. So if you want to assign certain lessons or tests each day, this is a good way to do that.

The parent area of CTCMath also allows you to set a mastery level for students to reach before they can move on to the next section. This means that, although they can complete lessons independently, you don't have to worry that they are just running through without any comprehension of the skills they've been learning. And when you check on student progress, you can see mastery of topics at a glance because it's color coded.

Homeschool math curriculum reporting

An effective homeschool math curriculum is affordable – even for larger families.

I love buying homeschool curricula. Unfortunately, there's that pesky problem of money. A curricula buying budget really puts a damper on things. So, when it comes to finding effective curricula, the resource has to not only work well, it also has to be affordable. And, in the case of our family and other larger homeschooling families, the curriculum has to be affordable for even multiple kids. It can seem an impossible demand sometimes.

But CTCMath is incredibly affordable. There are options for monthly or annual subscriptions. And the multi-child subscription includes all the course levels (kindergarten-high school) for the whole family-the WHOLE FAMILY! You can pay one price and all the kids can use CTCMath for the entire year. 

One of the best things about this setup is that it means kids can work in multiple levels over the course of the year. If you don't stick with traditional grade levels or if you homeschool year round, it's okay. Kids will be able to move on if they finish up one level. And if kids need to go back for a review, that's okay too. They can go back to other levels or topics they need. You'll never have to buy another level of math in the middle of the school year again. (Says the voice of a homeschool mom who has had to do this with another math program.) 

Effective homeschool math curriculum

More About CTCMath

CTCMath is a complete online homeschool math curriculum for kindergarten through high school level math courses, including algebra one and two, geometry, pre-calculus, calculus, and trigonometry. The curriculum includes instructional video tutorials, interactive questions, worksheets and solutions, and parent reports. There is also a Speed Skills area that lets students practice and build proficiency and speed in basic math operations.

With CTCMath:
  • Kids can learn at their own pace.
  • Attitude and confidence increases when it comes to doing math.
  • There's lots less stress around math time for parents and kids.

If you want to take a closer look at CTCMath, you can check out some of their free math tutorials on YouTube. You can also sign up for a free trial.

And when you're ready to get CTCMath's homeschool math curriculum for your family, you can get 1/2 off your subscription for homeschool families!

CTCMath curriculum

CTCMath helped me regain and hold on to my sanity – at least when it came to teaching math. It's proved to be a valuable homeschool resource that we've come back to again and again over our homeschooling years.

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