August 20, 2019

Exploring CTCMath with Elementary and Middle School {Product Review}

CTCMath~ Online Math Resource {Product Review}
Math. That word can dredge up oh so many emotions in our children. One of my sons gets excited and will share his love for it. The other spits it out like it tastes bad when he says it. Over the years we have tried and discarded many math programs for my oldest son. One company, however, has made frequent stops along the way. Today I'm going to share our THIRD experience with 12-month Family Membership, from CTCMath and show you why this is one of the few math programs that my oldest son is willing to use.

About the Product

CTCMath is an online program designed to be used as 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 optional printable worksheets. Each answer to online questions is logged and answers are given immediately! The student can see their cumulative average increase as they continue mastering a topic, allowing them to earn certificates based on their overall topic performance. Additionally, there are detailed progress reports and Full parent control! In the parent section, parents can set tasks, set pass marks, clear grades, access full solutions, set up weekly email progress reports, etc... 

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. There are three levels of quizzes within each topic which can help isolate holes in learning and makes it easier to address where mastery needs to be reached. 

Additionally, the parent can create a series of Question Banks for the students to isolate attention to particular subjects. These can be created and printed off, or you can set them up as tasks for your students to do online where it will save the scores.

For the last several weeks, both of my boys have completed work on CTCMath--my oldest working in the Pre-Alegra topic and my youngest working through topics in 4th grade.

Our Thoughts on the Product

We've had a lot of CTCMath experience in the past, but this review really showed me some changes that have been made that are great! One of the best things is that every assignment (worksheet) is saved and can be viewed later by the parent. This is a HUGE thing as before, if you didn't print it, you never saw it again. Another bonus is the question bank option. I loved being able to handpick questions from the categories the boys worked in for the question bank, and that I could determine how many hard-medium-easy questions I wanted to include. In some ways, I think the question banks are the best way to create a "text" as the parent has access to all the student's work and can find the questions that gave the most trouble and isolate them onto a question bank. Here's a run-down on how they work...

Determine what grade/topic/category to be on the question bank
Determine how many questions and the difficulty

Look over the questions and change them out if you desire

Save the Question Bank

Assign Question Bank as a Task for Student
Student can Complete Question Bank just like any other worksheet
Both boys love the independence the program offers. My youngest flies through the work and does it over and over until I tell him to stop. LOL. He's the math guy. He really got a LOT of the 4th-grade material correct, even though we technically haven't covered all of it. My oldest did well for the most part--he says he doesn't like the voice of the videos. LOL. He does get frustrated with himself when he misses things and dislikes that he has to repeat them over and over until he gets a high enough average percentage to pass a topic. But on the other hand, he says he likes being able to actually DO that. To improve his score. 

I appreciate the fact that both boys could be working on it at the same time--one on my laptop, and the other on my Kindle. We never had any issues with using the Kindle for the program. In fact, my oldest says he PREFERS using the Kindle since it is touch screen. He likes being able to take it anywhere to work on.

One thing that someone new to CTCMath would have to remember is that this is designed to be more of a tutoring program. The students can jump around however they desire without having to "unlock" lessons as they are completed. I think that the material of the program is BEST used as a supplement to any book work. More as an "additional practice" program. 

This is how I have always used it:

1. Have the student (or you!) determine what topic they want to explore within their grade level work (4th for my youngest, pre-algebra for my oldest). Then have them take the basic diagnostic test. This will give both of us an idea of how much they know within that topic. 

2. If they pass it with 100%, I strongly consider not even bothering with working on that topic. If they don't pass it well, I look at the problems they miss and focus on those lessons. 
This tells me what lesson area he needs more work on if we desire
3. Complete any lessons to fill in the knowledge gaps. The lessons are directly underneath the diagnostic tests and are in order according to the sequence of material. Because the diagnostic tests specifically tell you what lessons are covered in the tests, you can easily isolate the lessons. This can be done by telling the student what to cover--or by setting it up as tasks in the parent dashboard for them to complete.
Lessons in the 4th Grade--addition and subtraction topic
Watching the Video Lesson
4. Once the lessons are done to my satisfaction, I have them take a different diagnostic test--more comprehensive--from the same topic. If they pass it to where I think they should be, they are done with that topic--even if they didn't actually do every single lesson in it.

Now you may have students who WANT to have every lesson checked off so they can earn a certificate. Or you may have one who doesn't care. That's where you can enjoy the freedom this site offers and cater its use to your student.

There is additionally the option to play speed skills or to work on times tables, but neither of my boys chooses to do either of those right now.

I appreciate all the details in the parent dashboard, including detailed activity list so I can see exactly what the boys have (or have not. LOL) been working on over the last few days. Including their scores.
Because of the way this worked this year, I think we will continue to use CTCMath to supplement our other regular math course. Both of them are working in the material that can be reinforced with the CTCMath program and it will help me to ensure retention and mastery.

If you are looking for a full and complete curriculum for math--I really don't suggest CTCMath. I think curriculums need to be progressive and a bit more sequential. I think there are times when having a child master a topic before the next one can be unlocked is a good thing. CTCMath really is ideal for isolated focus on material, or just additional math practice. It is perfect for the families with multiple students since you can access the entire grade level of material for any student with the Family Membership. It takes the pressure on you as the teacher out of it. You can let them learn from someone else in a different way. And if they don't do well with the videos? There are transcripts of the videos available for use. I appreciate the online aspect of the program as it means we can take it with us without taking books. 

Want to Know More?

For the last several weeks the boys have each been using the 12 month Family Membership that we received from CTCMath. We've explored the 4th grade and pre-algebra side of it, but make sure you visit other crew members for a more complete picture of what the company has to offer!
Math 12-month Family Membership {CTCMath Reviews 2019}


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