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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

CTC Math (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)



It's not a secret that the one subject we struggle with is mathematics.  We've tried many various math curriculum with mixed results - some worked out good, others just were not a proper fit for my kids. Last year, however, we were given the opportunity to review CTCMath.  This was one of the better fits for our family and I honestly feel that it was a huge factor in my oldest daughter passing her high school math course that she had been struggling with.  When we were given another opportunity to review the one year subscription of CTCMath Homeschool Membership, I was pretty thrilled.  We were given access to the program for up to 10 students. 




CTCMath is an online math curriculum that covers all math concepts, from Kindergarten all the way to higher level mathematics such as Trigonometry and Calculus through more than 1,367 animated and narrated video lessons. These math concepts are not aligned with common core as CTCMath believes in teaching math the traditional way.  Each student has access to all grades of math as part of the subscription and can easily switch between the various levels with little trouble. This proves to be very useful for older high school students who might be learning concepts that are both Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 during the same year. You can also easily jump students from grade to grade rather than having to buy a separate grade level for more advanced lessons. 

For grades Kindergarten to 8th grade, CTCMath can be used as a full mathematics curriculum. For high school math, CTCMath recommends that their website be used more as a supplement in addition to another math curriculum. 

The program is completely browser based and requires no computer instillation. I ran it  Chrome without any problems or glitches.  In the past, I was also able to log into the program with my Kindle Fire without any problems.  CTCMath's website says it should run on all HTML5 platforms such as Ipads, Iphones and Android devices, making it convenient for lessons on the go, such as in a doctors office or while riding in a car..

Since the last time I reviewed the program, there have been many changes made to the website. First, the overly colorful menu is gone and has been replaced with a very clean, more institutional looking white/grey screen. While the lessons still consist of the videos followed by answering questions, I did find the new formatting to be much easier to navigate (although, to be honest, the old format was easy to navigate as well). Also, a major addition was the ability for the parent to add Tasks for the student to work on.  These tasks, once scheduled, would show up on a tab at the top of the student's worksite.  While I personally did not use this feature during our review as I typically sit with the kids while they are on the computer, I can see how it would be very helpful for students who can work independently but still need some direction. 

  

In all grades, students are presented with a video lecture that shows the concept for that particular lesson. These videos are very short, on average less than 5 minutes. Examples are given along with very detailed breakdown of the answers. In lower grades, the lesson is followed by a series of questions (around 10 to 12 questions) that reinforces what they just learned.  Extra questions are provided as an option if the child did not do well on the initial questions and might need extra review. Feedback is immediate as the answer will be marked right or wrong and the correct answer is given. After all questions are complete, a printable copy of the questions along with the child's answers is provided which can be printed out for record keeping (something I think is great).  There is a bank of more than 57,000 interactive questions throughout all the grade levels. 

In higher grades, after the video lecture, the student is provided with a worksheet that they can print out and work offline. Once completed, they can record their answers in the website and have their answers graded. By default, the student must score a certain percentage in order to obtain a passing grade on these worksheets or they are told to try again. 


The last time we reviewed CTCMath, we used it strictly as our math curriculum using the 1st and 2nd grade levels.  This time around, as we were already established in another math curriculum that the children were both doing well with, we decided to use CTCMath as a suppliment to reinforce what they were learning with the other program.  This worked out really well for us, especially for Garrett.

For example, one of the hardships with Garrett's autism is that he struggles with math concepts that are not exact - most notably with rounding numbers.  Try as we might, no matter how many times we explained and reexplained and reviewed, Garrett just could not wrap his mind around the concept of rounding.  To him, it goes against the exactness of math. 

Luckily, there was plenty of material on rounding numbers on the CTCMath program.  I sat down with Garrett and together we watched the video lesson and then Garrett did the practice questions.  To my surprise, he got all but one correct.  The next day, we again watched the video and again he did the practice questions - this time he got them all right. The ability to switch between the various grade levels was helpful, as a few of the rounding lessons were considered 2nd grade and a few were considered 3rd.   Since then, he has not struggled with rounding at all.  The way it was presented in the video was perfect for him and allowed him to easily understand the concept where I had failed.  

As they proceed through the program, students are graded as either Platinum, Gold and Silver based on their average grade from all tasks in each set of lessons. Platinum is awarded when a student gets 100% for the entire set. 



One of the many pluses to CTCMath is that tracking your child's progress is very easy. CTCMath sends progress reports to the parents email on a weekly basis letting you know how many times the student logged in, for how long, what they did while they were logged in and how they did on what they worked on, This same information can also be accessed from the Parent account which gives quick access to all students currently enrolled in the program. From the parent login, you can download these reports as a PDF file for your records. 





CTCMath is a product I can honestly recommend.  In the time that we have used it, it has helped not one but two of my students understand math concepts that otherwise would have been lost. 




For more information about CTCMath, visit their website or any of the following social media sites:


CTCMath (US and Canda)



Maths Online (Australia Only)




CTCMath Review

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