Monday, July 27, 2020

CTCMath Review: How the Online Math Curriculum Works in Our Homeschool

Text: CTCMath Review: How the Online Math Curriculum Works in Our Homeschool; background image of numbers

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

We have had the joy of using CTCMath in our homeschool for over a year now. Last year we reviewed the online math curriculum with all three of our children – using the kindergarten, first grade, and algebra II levels. This year, we were fortunate that our subscription was extended so we could review the next levels for our younger children (we are still discussing what mathematics our high school senior will be taking this upcoming homeschool year). The 12-month Family membership allows us access to all the grade levels and lessons. So, if one of our children is struggling, we have to find the right lessons to help them succeed.

CTCMath offers clear, spoken explanations for all levels and mathematics topics through their site. Simple and concise diagrams are used to accompany the instructional videos. You can even download and print a summary of the lesson for your children. There are so many great features that even after using the program for more than a year I am still finding new ways to use it.

What Are the Benefits to Using CTCMath in Your Homeschool? 

Text: CTCMath Review: How the Online Math Curriculum Works in Our Homeschool; clip art 2 & 3; screen from CTCMath
  • Students can see and hear the information 
  • There are no distractions from other students (unless their brother or sister is nearby) 
  • Your child can stop and remind the video to hear the information again 
  • Your children can use pencil and paper to work out mathematical problems 
  • With interactive questions, your children receive immediate feedback – no waiting for a worksheet, quiz, or test to be graded 
  • You can print out your child's work to review or for your homeschool portfolio 
  • If you have a question, there is a handy parent guide with helpful videos 
  • You can move your child to a different grade level or course whenever you want to
  • Your child can take diagnostic tests whenever you or they feel the need to so you can see where they stand 

How Did We Use CTCMath in our Homeschool? 

Our daughter had already completed the kindergarten level, so we continued to move along with the first-grade lessons. Some of the topics have been a bit more difficult for her (which is understandable as she is only five) so we have been working through the lessons slowly. Here is a sampling of what she has learned about the following in the first grade curriculum: 
  • Adding up to 20 
  • Subtracting up to 10 
  • Recognizing Groups
  • Doubles 
  • Introduction to Division 

United States Curriculum for 1st grade; course schedule under Number, Patterns, and Algebra

In the next few weeks, we will be taking a look at fractions, patterns, and money. I will also incorporate more of the diagnostic tests and weekly revision tasks to ensure she is understanding what she is learning. And if she is having difficulty, then we can go back to the lesson to review the topic again. We can even go back to review kindergarten topics. CTCMath allows you to move between grade levels because you have access to the entire curriculum. 

I can also print the lesson summaries so she can refer to them as she completes the questions. We can also use them to review offline. Most times, she just wants me to open the summary in a separate tab so she can reference it while she is completing her questions.

Chart on how to double numbers from CTCMath

I also really like how division was introduced to our daughter. The videos did a great job of providing multiple examples. Then the questions allowed her to work through the problems so she could really see what division means. For example, she had to move the sandwiches to different platters to create equal piles. She was physically (online) dividing them up.

Introduction to Division screen from CTCMath

Division Question - separating out sandwiches onto plates

Our younger son completed his weekly revision tasks for the first-grade curriculum at the beginning of the review. I then had him start the second-grade curriculum. In the beginning, I decided to set tasks for him to complete. I used the tasks with his older brother last year for Algebra II. You schedule them through the parent account. I quickly went through and set assignments or tasks for him as you can see below.

Tasks from CTCMath younger son did not want to complete his assigned task. He prefers to skip around and work on which topic he wants to on that day. So far this hasn't been a problem but he will soon discover that the mathematics concepts build upon each other and he will need to go in order. And if you complete the lesson without clicking on the task, then the task is marked as incomplete. 

2nd grade math grades from CTCMath
You can see by the dates on this report, he jumped around a bit when completing lessons.

This week, I watched our younger son complete a really interesting lesson on adding three numbers. I really liked how the questions presented him with a set of numbers and he had to pick the ones that would add up to a larger number. I appreciated how this was helping him think about mathematics in a different way.

screen from CTCMath "choose 3 numbers that add to 22"

I also decided to print one of the weekly revision tasks for our son to complete offline. He completed the questions at the dining room table and then entered the answers later online. You will need to print these questions in color for some grades because the color of items in the question is sometimes important.

CTCMath Weekly Revision sheets printed out

CTCMath Weekly Revision sheet completed
I failed to change the printer margins so some of the questions were cut off when I printed the pages out.

During the school year, we will have our children complete lessons on CTCMath at least four days a week. Since we are homeschooling, sometimes those days might include a Saturday instead of a 'normal' school day. As it is the summer, I have not required them to work as often as they will in a few weeks. 

One of our children's favorite games on CTCMath is the Times Table Shoot 'Em Up game where they have to complete multiplication problems by shooting the alien ships. This is a timed game which they love playing over and over. There are also two other games – Speed Skills and Swap Pieces – that they do not play as often.

When your child completes the questions and gains 100%, the screen is filled with confetti to celebrate. A very fun way to encourage children!

CTCMath getting 100% on questions - confetti
You can see under the score, that you can generate a report so you can download the questions your child answered. 

And finally, another favorite of our children is changing the color scheme on their accounts. After each day's lessons, both kids will spend about five to ten minutes picking out which colors they want to pair together.

I highly recommend CTCMath. It is an excellent online math curriculum for your entire homeschooling family! 

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