August 1, 2016

Another Peak at CTCMath~ {Curriculum Review}

The first year we were blessed to be on the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we discovered CTCMath (you can read my first review). It came at a time when my oldest (8 at the time) was struggling with math and me as his teacher. CTCMath revolutionized math for our classroom and was the perfect match to my auditory/visual learner. My youngest, however, has been doing excellent with workbook style math over the course of his Kindergarten year, so I didn't use CTCMath for him. When I had a chance to review the CTCMath Homeschool Membership with my youngest, I was curious to see how HIS learning style would work with this program.
CTCMath Homeschool Membership ~Curriculum Review

About CTCMath

CTCMath is an online program designed to be used like an online math tutor. The program allows the student to work at their own pace, to stop and rewind the teacher during a lesson until they get what is being taught, access their work at any time of the day, get caught up or even jump ahead. Each of the video tutorials is audio and visual with easy to follow explanations and animation. The videos can even be accessed on some mobile devices!

Depending on the level of the math subject, each video is followed with either online questions or an optional printable worksheets. Each answer to online questions is logged and answers are given immediately! The answers are stored so each student can see their progress!

Membership to CTCMath grants you access to every level of math from Kindergarten to Sixth, Basic Math to Calculus and Trigonometry! This allows students to fill in the gaps in their learning at any level--which means you can focus on specific lessons.

CTCMath Homeschool Membership offers a monthly, 6 month and 12 month plan. There are single student plans and family plans. The best deal is for the 12 month plan...especially the 12 Month Family Plan on sale right now (as of the date of this posting 8/1/2016) for just $118.80. This plan is good for 2 or more students (up to 10!). That's unlimited access to unlimited levels for all the school age students in your family.

How Did We Use CTCMath?

Because we already had an account with CTCMath, I simply had to log in to get started. I set up Baby Britches to work through the Kindergarten material, as I was pretty sure we were done with it, but I wanted to double check. So I gave him his choice of what he wanted to do. I sat near him while he began, there to help if he needed me. Fortunately, it was set up so he had near complete independence on it. This was a change from the previous time we had used it. Before, I had to read all the questions for the lesson, but THIS time, there was an audio button that would read it to him for me. He loved this and would tell me "Go away. I can do it myself, Mommy."

The Kindergarten program has the following topics:
*Numbers, Patterns, and Algebra
*Measurement
*Space & Geometry
*Statistics & Probability

The routine is simple: Pick a grade. Then pick a topic. Then pick a category. Then pick a lesson.
Here is an example of a lesson page:
There are five lessons in the Numbers 2 category. You can also see that there are three options for Diagnostic Tests depending on what you want your child to complete. Once your child begins a lesson, they now start earning percentages for a certificate. They can earn Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Platinum can only be earned by maintaining a 100% in all lesson questions. For the longest time, Little Britches didn't want a platinum because he knew Gold was the best. LOL. Now he understands and tries to get them, but doesn't achieve them very often. You can access your child's list of awards on your parent dashboard in their profile. You can print out a certificate for each one they get--which actually gets emailed to you notifying you of their success.
Baby Britches' Awards
The math lessons are very simple. You simply click on any from the list and you will have a new screen opened which has a video lesson and then a tab for the questions. You can make your video full size and there is also the option for a printed version of the lesson. The lessons are 2-7 minutes long depending on the grade and topic with colorful characters and a lovely narrator. My boys love listening to it because he's Australian. LOL


Once the video lesson has been completed, you student can begin their questions. They are a mix of fill in the blank, drag n drop, and multiple choice. It is an interactive format.
Drag and Drop

Fill in the blank (see the audio buttons?)
Once the questions are completed you get your results and have the option to print results or do more questions. We have a rule for my oldest that if he gets 100%, he doesn't have to do anymore, but if he gets less than 100%, he has to do them UNTIL he gets a 100%. My youngest has to get a 90% or higher and that's enough. We just talk about what he missed. Once the first set of questions have been completed, the lesson will be marked as completed on the list. This pattern continues for all the lessons on the site.

Something new to CTCMath is a place in the parent dashboard where they can ASSIGN lessons/tests. This was not available when we reviewed the program before but something that many of us asked for (yay!).
Here you can pick a date, title it, add in the description, decide if you want them to do things in order, and then add lessons or tests. You can also add recipients--so if you have two kids working in the same grade, you can add BOTH of them to the recipients for the task at the same time. (woot!)

Here is an example of what an upcoming week looks like for each of my boys:
This shows me what I have set for them, and allows me to edit or delete the tasks from this window. Easy peasy. When they log in, they will see a little mark on the tasks bar of their opening screen, showing them they have a task to complete. Then they simply click and go.

As of today, Baby Britches has completed all of the lessons within in the Kindergarten level with a 98% average showing me he has mastered his skills. I did not choose to have him take a test in each area since he consistently achieved 100% in every category. We will be beginning the first grade level when we begin again next week.

What Were Our Thoughts on CTCMath?

I always like CTCMath and since my last review, they have updated several things. I love that the Kindergarten program has audio options for the questions. This was something that I mentioned the first time around would be useful. I appreciate that I can load up tasks for each child and when they log in, they can click tasks and see what I have for them to complete, whether lessons or tests. I like that I can customize the screen to match each child's likes--Baby Britches wanted it blue, whereas my oldest likes his green.

I have found the new edition of CTCMath to be very user friendly and even my 6 year old can maneuver through it successfully. He enjoys the silliness of the video lessons and that they are short. He loves being graded and enjoys the tests. Baby Britches MOST enjoys the fact he can work on it independently. He logs in on his own and clicks tasks to see what I have for him to do. When he's done, he tells me his score so I can see how he did. Although he sighs when he doesn't get a 100%. LOL.

I have two cons:

#1 Once you close the test or question results, you do NOT have any other opportunity to print the results. I wish that it was possible to at least be able to print out the tests since they include the diagnostic results. I would prefer to have record of the tests over the questions if I had to choose between them. Because I know it would take a large database to store every child's test scores, if it was possible, I'd like to see it just store the LATEST test in each category--or just store them for X amount of days so that as a parent I can go back and print it off. I love that the tests provide a diagnostic highlighting strengths and weaknesses, but you only get this if you print out that test.

#2 I have looked all over in my parent dashboard, and I cannot see where it tells me how long my subscription is for. I would like to have a place where it can tell me when my subscription will end so I can budget for the next one. I think this is very important.

Will we continue to use this product?
Okay, here is where I might surprise you. For Baby Britches, although he did fabulous, this is NOT his best learning style. It is a great REVIEW for him. He's already learned all the concepts taught in Kindergarten thanks him flying through his normal math, so there wasn't anything new. I do NOT plan on having him use this as his primary math when we start it again. It's been great for summer review, but he does best with his other math. This however, allows me to see how much he remembers from our studies. I also like that the testing is easy for him to complete (he actually likes getting graded) and gives me a hard copy of how he is doing--the diagnostic test, even breaks it down for me into areas he might need work on (if he missed any problems). So while we won't use CTCMath as our PRIMARY math, I absolutely see us using it as a SUPPLEMENT or for review. He ADORES math and ASKS to do more all the time--which makes CTCMath ideal to have on hand for him.

Remember though--this IS the primary math curriculum for my older son because it works PERFECT for him.

Would I Recommend CTCMath?

I ALWAYS recommend CTCMath to anyone who has a child that is struggling in math. It is a great curriculum for isolated math practice, with easy to understand video lessons. The younger grades (K-6) have enough to be considered a "complete" curriculum in my opinion, although some may think it's too light with it all online. It was designed to be a tutoring tool more than anything and it would work fabulous for that. The upper level maths are very well done. I have explored the geometry and algebra and found them to be very detailed and clear to understand. I like that the higher maths have an offline component in printing the worksheets before entering the answers. Another plus is that this has a family membership opportunity--and if you have children from K through high school, one price gets you math for them all! And it's VERY affordable.

I have only ever heard from one family that found this did NOT work for them--and it was because their children didn't learn as well from online programs, not really that there was anything wrong with the program itself. However, they did say it was a great TUTORING program for them. I think it would be a great program for anyone just wanting to give their child summer math practice too.

Want To Know More?

We enjoyed reviewing the CTCMath Homeschool Membership from CTCMath for the last couple weeks in our home. We focused on the Kindergarten course, so make sure you check out the rest of the crew members and the areas they reviewed.
CTCMath Review
CTCMath has a very active social media presence, so make sure you follow them to keep up to date on what is going on.
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Periscope: 

Pinterest: 

Youtube: 
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As before, we really enjoyed using CTCMath. I think it's a great program for any family looking for an online math curriculum that is easy to use, that also offers independence for even the youngest user. We will definitely continue to use the program; however, I think I will keep it as before for my oldest, and just let my youngest use it on demand since he does so well with a different style.  
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