Wednesday, June 17, 2015

CTC Math- Schoolhouse Crew Review

Let's just get something straight from the start.  Math is NOT my thing. Never was, never will be. But oh, how I long for my children to know more than I do.  Much more. So I push math a lot in this house.  More practice equals more skill. The kids will thank me someday, I am sure.

While toted as an online math tutoring program, CTC Math has helped us significantly not only in the area of practice, but teaching new skills as well.  This online math program allows each registered student unlimited access to all levels, from Kindergarten to high school subjects like Algebra, Statistics, and Geometry. We have been blessed to be regular users of their 12 Month Family Plan for the US.

Each grade level is broken down into streams and then each stream is broken down into various topics. The lessons under each topic are quite short (ranging from 1-4 minutes at the lower grades), which is what we are working within right now.   Several example problems are worked using a white screen and explained by a lovely sounding Australian gentleman, Pat Murray.  After the lesson is complete, your child then works through several practice problems and is done.

Not sure where to start?  Each lesson has two tests that can be taken prior to the lessons to see what your child's understanding is on that particular subject.  If they do well and you feel they scored high enough, you are free to skip that lesson and go to the next.  Lessons can be done in any order you prefer, making is easy to pick and choose what to do each day based on your particular needs.  This is a great way to get in extra review of areas of weakness, or study for a particular skill needed on an upcoming test.  ACT or SAT anyone?

The program is self grading and keeps your scores, emailing you weekly progress report. At the end of each unit completed your child will receive an award page to print out.  Check marks on your menu show what has been completed for record-keeping purposes.

Afraid you will run out of new materiel?  No worries.  There are over 57,000 interactive questions. Not sure your child gets it?  You are able to rewind a lesson or repeat it as many times as you want.

How we have been using CTC Math-

Because my older son has had a pretty packed summer, we decided to concentrate on just Colby with this review.  Colby, who just completed 2nd grade, is actually pretty good in math, but when we did standardized testing with him I noticed some gaps in his learning.  He also seems to struggle when something is not asked exactly like he is used to from his previous math.  Often I know he knew the answer, but the working of the question tripped him up.  I had planned on him starting at the 3rd grade level but changed my mind and have been allowing him to complete the lessons in the 2nd grade level as a review.

We typically work 4 to 5 days a week, depending on our schedule.  Because the lessons are fairly short, it is easy to fit one in between scheduled summer activities.  The first week we worked on the program I did not allow Colby to skip any lessons, even if it was a concept I knew he had mastered.  I felt like that would give him the confidence he needed.  It also meant he got a high percentage score and was thrilled to print out his first certificate!

The following week, I decided to mix things up a little and allowed him to take the test for the unit.  I told him up front that at any time I saw he was struggling he would then have to actually watch the lesson.  Turns out there was only one section he struggled with and it was in an area we had not covered in the previous year.

After that we have continued to just take each day as it goes, hopping back and forth in what he does. Some days he is happy to watch the lesson and others he asks to take the test first to see how much he knows.  As long as he is working forward, I am content to let him make that choice.

Another neat feature of CTC Math is the Speed Skills section.  There are four levels to choose from and and each times you on math facts for 1 minute.  This is an area we have only briefly tried for now, as being timed seems to stress my son out, but I think it is a great way to keep basic math facts fresh in a child's mind and I am hopeful that the more we work on it, the more confident he will become.  The program saves your high score so you can judge how you are doing.

What do we think?
I really like this program! We had good success with it when we reviewed it previously, and continue to be impressed with the breadth of information it covers.  For kids who need to brush up on skills or just stay fresh over the summer, homeschooled or not, this is a great, non-threatening way to give your child a few minutes of practice each day.  The quick lessons and bright graphics easy hold a child's attention.  I would also suggest that you could use it throughout the school year, if not daily for reinforcement, or maybe on one of your lighter schools days as a reward for a week well done. We will continue to use it and feel confident that it is helping to solidify the new math skills Colby is learning!

CTCmath Review
Crew Disclaimer

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