I was sponsored by CTC math to review their comprehensive online math curriculum program and am excited to share my experience as well as an awesome giveaway! All opinions are mine alone. For more information please read my full disclosure here.
Since starting our homeschooling journey this year my kids and I have all been on a learning path, each in our own way. My journey has been in understanding what works for each of my kids when it comes to things like math and reading. Because my kids all have slightly different learning styles, finding a math curriculum for homeschooling has been a work in progress.
My oldest daughter is a pretty good self-starter and is learning to work on her own with minimal help from me. My son, however, requires a bit more direct instruction before he can really grasp certain concepts and what he needs to do. Because I have four children it isn’t always feasible to be sitting right next to only him to give instruction, so I decided to give CTC Math a try.
CTC Math – Curriculum for Homeschool
What is CTC Math?
CTC Math is an online, subscription-based math program for kindergarten through high school created and taught by Australian math teacher Patrick Murray. It is intended to serve as your core math curriculum, although it could also be used to supplement other math courses.
How we are using CTC Math. We are using this as our core math curriculum for my eldest son. We switched to this program about mid-year after he had been struggling with what we were using previously. We’ve used CTC Math for just over a month now, and he really enjoys using this as he is understanding the lessons and his comprehension has gone way up.
Note: when we first switched to this it was a slight learning curve as he got used to using the online program and adjusted to the teaching style, but after the first week everything has been working out really well for him.
How CTC Math Works
For each course (grade level) there are broad sections that are then divided into topics within each section. You can see an example for the sixth grade level in the picture below. The broad areas for that grade level are number patterns and algebra, measurement, space and geometry, and statistics and probability.
The first section is broken down further into the topics of number I, patterns and algebra, fractions, decimals, fdp conversions, number II, and problem-solving. The little number to the right shows how many lessons are in each topic, so for number I there are 16 lessons.
Are there any placement tests?
There are diagnostic tests for each level, and I would highly recommend taking them before beginning if you are just switching to this program. When we started, I placed my son in some lessons at a level I ‘thought’ he was at, but realized quickly he had some learning gaps and we needed to start in a different place. Taking the diagnostic test can also let you know which topics your child has already mastered so you can place them in lessons that suit their needs.
There are standard and comprehensive tests for each topic from grades K-8. When a student completes the test, you will get a report detailing any lessons which may need to be reviewed. The image below shows a sample diagnostic test. There were many areas that my son already had previous knowledge, however, there were also quite a few gaps in his learning. As a result of this test, I was able to assign daily lessons that covered his specific needs and gave us a plan to move him forward.
You can also use the diagnostic tests as a final exam when a student has completed the lessons within that topic. There are three forms of diagnostic tests: short, standard, or comprehensive. Diagnostic tests will tell the parent or teacher what a student knows or needs to learn, but the program doesn’t automatically prescribe a grade level or course based on the tests.
Assigning Lessons or ‘Tasks’
Once I had an idea of what my son needed to be working on I was able to assign him tasks. When you assign tasks you can choose who you are assigning it to (if you have more than one student), what lesson you want them to complete, and you can even give a deadline or due date.
The image below shows the parent view of tasks that have been assigned. When your student logs in they will see that they have a task assigned to them and they can click on it to go directly to the appropriate lesson.
If you want your child to start a course from the beginning and complete all the lessons in that course, you would not need to assign tasks. You can have them choose the level you want them to be in and simply click on the first lesson to get started.
What Is A CTC Math Lesson Like?
Each lesson begins with a brief tutorial that runs from four to nine minutes. Tutorials use colorful graphics and animations with Patrick Murray’s voice-over explanation. I have watched several lessons myself and they are very understandable. Below are a couple of screenshots from the Primes and Composites lesson I watched.
I think the only thing that would improve upon the way lessons are presented is if there were a way to make the kids stop and practice to check for understanding before moving on. The lessons are very short, though, so that may not be necessary since they move right into practice problems after each lesson.
You can print out a one-page summary of each video tutorial for handy reference or review if you wish. Unfortunately, there is only one tutorial for each topic, so if a student doesn’t grasp a concept as presented in that tutorial, they don’t have another option. Parents will need to watch for this. If a student seems to be missing a particular concept, they might need to use something besides CTC Math to teach that particular concept. CTC does have a weekly review sets of problems which should help you spot weak areas, or you can use the diagnostic tests after each topic and review as needed.
After watching the tutorial video, students are given a series of interactive questions (alternatively, you can print out a worksheet for them to do and then they come back and enter the answers online).
Answers to the interactive question set are entered online and immediately scored. Once all the problems are finished you are able to see a page showing the problems with step-by-step solutions.
As a parent, you can decide what a passing score will be for your students. If after watching a lesson and doing the problems your student doesn’t score the minimum percentage that you have set, they will need to repeat that lesson in order to move on. They will get a different problem set to try when redoing the lesson.
Since I get a record of all attempts in my parent dashboard, this has given me a good idea of what areas my son has been struggling with. Here are a few of my son’s latest attempts. The diagnostic test that he took previously is at the top, and the lessons he has worked on since are below. The dashboard shows the average score of all attempts, the first attempt score, the high attempt score, how many attempts, and how many it took to pass.
The parent dashboard is very comprehensive and you can dig further into the results by clicking on a tab called “individual results” and from there you can view a report of all problems attempted.
One bonus with this program is that there is a fun game to help kids learn their multiplication facts. The game is simply called Times Tables and it is actually pretty fun to play.
Whether you have kids that are just starting to learn their facts or need a little reinforcement now and then, this game makes it fun and easy to practice.
Thoughts on CTC Math
Overall I really like the program for my son, but the bigger thing is that he likes it. It works well for his learning style, the lessons are short enough that he doesn’t get frustrated but long enough that he is learning what he needs to learn.
The one thing that I do struggle with him on using this program is to get out his paper and pencil to work out problems. I want him to show his work on more complex problems, and since this is an online program he tries to just do it in his head a lot of the time.
In this program, older students will need to do some paper-and-pencil work to solve complex problems. However, younger students also need to be given opportunities for paper-and-pencil problem solving since CTC Math at younger levels rarely makes their use necessary. There is a ‘Question Bank Wizard’ that can solve this problem if you use it to create printable worksheets.
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