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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Homeschool Crew Review: CTCMath Family Membership

My most difficult subject to teach is math.  I loved math when I was in school and it came very easy to me, but for several of my children it is not at all easy.  Curriculum that worked with my two oldest did not work well with the others and I have been struggling to find the perfect fit.  When we were offered a 12 month Family Membership for up to 5 students from CTCMath to use and review we decided to give it a shot to see if it might work for our math curriculum this year.

CTCMath is a complete curriculum for grades K-8.  Starting at grade 9 it is recommended to be used as a supplement.  A subscription to CTCMath gives you access to all of the grades and you can move between grades as you need to. You also have the ability to move through the program in the recommended order or pick and choose which topics to study.  You can use this program on a computer but it works on tablets as well.  CTCMath has over 1400 different math lessons and over 57000 interactive questions. 
When your student is logged in they have access to all of the grades.  They choose the level to work in and then can see all of the main topics.  Each main topics have several sub topics.  It is very easy to work through the topics in order or pick and choose which area your child needs to work in.
Anthony is working in Pre-Algebra which has 4 parts.  Under Part 1 their are 4 main topics: Basic and Whole numbers (this topics has 12 sub topics), Fractions (17 subtopics), Decimals (10 subtopics) and Percentages (11 subtopics.) 
The program shows you which subtopics you have completed and how you did in each area.  So the next time you log in you just click on the next subtopic.  
Each lesson starts with a video lesson taught by Australian teacher Pat Murray.  The length of the video varies but all of the lessons we have viewed have been under 5 minutes long.  The video gives a couple of problems and shows them being worked out. At the end of the video students are wished good luck with their questions.

After viewing the video students click on questions where they are given 10 questions to answer.  They know right away if the answer is correct or not.  A green check mark shows it is correct, a red x shows it is incorrect.  If they get the answer incorrect the correct answer is shown.

When they finish their questions a report is generated that shows all of the questions with the correct answers and their percentage.

 CTCMath has a new Question Bank Wizard which allows you to create worksheets for each lesson if you wish.  You can control the number of questions and the level of difficulty and assign the worksheets to your child.  This is a great option for extra practice off of the screen.

Weekly reports are emailed to the parents.  Parents have a separate log in so they can see at a glance when each student last logged in, what they worked on, and how they did.  You can also assign tasks and create worksheets using the Question Bank Wizard.

When I first was assigned this review, I though I would use it with three of my students.  But since I have reviewed CTCMath in the past, they renewed my Family Membership for up to 5 students so I decided to go ahead and have the younger 4 children all use CTCMath.  Emmie has been working in 3rd grade, Lily in 5th, Christian in 6th, and Anthony in Pre-Algebra.  We only have one laptop so they have to take turns (we go youngest to oldest) and wait patiently but so far it has worked out great. Each child is only spending around 15 minutes per day on their lessons 4 days a week.

I started out having them do a diagnostic test but changed my mind about that and instead have just had each of the children complete the lessons in order in the grade level they are in.  I do sit with Emmie to make sure that she understands what she is supposed to do , but the others have completed their lessons completely independently.  Although I did watch Anthony do his lesson yesterday and hopefully convinced him that just because the lesson is on the computer does not mean he doesn't need to use a pencil and paper to work the problems out first!  I love that I don't have to teach or grade the lessons.  It is all done for me and that is an amazing time saver!

The lessons are short and to the point.  The voice on the lessons is easy to listen to and understand.  I love the visual aspect of the lessons.  In the multiplication lessons I thought it was a great idea that they covered up the number not being used and wondered why I  had never thought of that before. They do a great job explaining the concepts and helping children to understand.   The immediate feedback is great for children so they know right away if they have the answer correct or not. I also like how easy it is for them to see their progress and also for parents to see exactly how the child is doing.

If a child struggles with a concept you can have them rewatch the video, but there is only one video for each lesson.  They can do additional questions though and it is very helpful to see each problem worked out so they can see where they went wrong. That is one of the reasons I decided to switch the boys to CTCMath because their last curriculum only gave the answers not the solutions.  I have had one of my children spend several days on one lesson rewatching the video and doing additional questions to make sure he truly understood.

 Another benefit of using  CTCMath is that you are given access to all grades rather then being locked into a specific grade level.  So if you start your child in a particular grade level and they start off doing well but find it becomes too difficult you can switch them to a lower grade, or if it becomes too easy you can move to a higher grade.  For my child that struggles the most in math, I moved him down a grade and he is doing great.

I thought that since they were getting done so quickly with their lessons that maybe it wasn't enough.  But then I realized that you don't need to spend more time for it to be enough.  All that matters is that they understand the concept and are able to build on it to move to the next lesson.  I am planning on using CTCMath this year for our math curriculum for my four youngest children.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

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