Monday, June 15, 2015

CTC Math (Schoolhouse Review)

CTCMath Review

One concern that many homeschooling parents have is teaching math. What’s the best curriculum? Can I teach math to my own child? That’s one reason that computer-based curricula are popular for math. Even parents who have no concerns about using a textbook with their elementary-aged children may look for a way to outsource math once their children are in high school.

CTC Math, an online, video-taught math program is a comprehensive program, covering Kindergarten math through Calculus. As part of  The Schoolhouse Crew, I had the opportunity to try out the 12 Month Family Plan. The  Homeschool 12 Month Family plan costs only $118 per year for the entire family. The membership allows access to all levels, so a child is able to switch levels mid year, or review easier material at any time.

CTC Math is a complete curriculum for grades K-6, and is recommended as a supplement for upper grade levels. Upon examining the scope and sequence and the lessons, particularly for geometry, which Emily used, even the upper levels seem to be quite comprehensive and might be considered as a primary curriculum.

Emily has been using the geometry lessons for the past month. The material she is covering is partly review and part new material for her. I set up an account for myself and have been doing some lessons in Algebra 2 in order to try out the program as well.

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Once the user signs in, he sees this home screen, showing every grade level. Once a level is selected, lesson options for that course appear.

 

 

 

 

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Each lesson begins with a short video. The videos are only about 5 minutes long, just long enough to explain a concept and show some examples, but not long enough for the student to lose attention. Because this is an Australian-based program, the teacher, has a delightful Australian accent. That alone made the videos more fun for Emily!

After the student watches the video lesson, he views or prints the lesson worksheet. (Elementary levels answer questions online instead of printing worksheets.) Once the worksheet is completed, the student chooses the correct answer from a list and enters it online. This method is used to eliminate the difficulty of typing mathematical symbols on the computer. If the student doesn’t make a passing score (set by the parent), she may do the lesson again and the grades for each lesson are combined for a final score. Lessons that require drawing, graphing, or other tasks that can’t be answered through  multiple choice are graded by the student or parent and the grade is entered manually.

Every topic in the elementary level and some topics in the upper levels include diagnostic tests that can be taken before beginning the topic. This is a great feature and I would like to see it on every topic. This enables the parent to see what the student has already mastered and to assign selected lessons instead of every lesson.

One feature I look for in any online program is a useful parent page. From the CTC Parent Login, I’m able to see scores for every topic my student has attempted, the number of times the activity was attempted, and the date. It was helpful for me to see this quick summary. I did wish I had the ability to reset the random Parent Login password, though to something I could remember. I had to look it up every time I wanted to log in!

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The student summary page also shows “efficiency ratings” and high scores for each topic, but includes slightly less detail. Scores from each attempt are combined to create the efficiency rating, with the first attempt weighted higher. Although this can be frustrating for the student, it does encourage her to do careful work the first time. Fortunately, the student can pass a topic on the basis of the best test score.

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What I liked:

  • The video lessons are short, but explain concepts well. Multiple example problems are demonstrated.
  • The worksheets are also fairly short, often containing 10 problems. This isn’t overwhelming to a student.
  • Although the answers are in a matching format, there are far more answer choices than questions, reducing the chances of a student guessing.
  • Most assignments are graded by the computer. A topic average is also calculated by the computer
  • The diagnostic tests and topic tests are very useful. (I wish they were included for every section.)
  • The scope and sequence is comprehensive.

Emily has enjoyed using CTC Math and wants to continue with it. We had a bit of trouble with keeping up with worksheets, so I think I will print them ahead of time and put them in a binder so they will be in order and all in one place. The only problem we’ve had with CTC is Emily’s tendency to guess answers and to check out mentally during the videos. This isn’t a reflection on CTC, though, because she does the exact same thing for every computer based program (in any subject) that we have used. I just have to remember that she needs to be supervised closely. Most students would be able to use CTC Math independently.

I think that CTC Math is a very comprehensive and easy-to-use program at a great price and highly recommend it.

CTCmath Review

I received this product free in exchange for my honest review.

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