Monday, August 1, 2016

CTCMath (Schoolhouse Review)

CTCMath Review

There are many many programs available to homeschoolers for teaching math. CTCMath is an excellent online math option. We received the CTCMath Homeschool Membership for review, so Emily has been reviewing her Algebra 2 skills this summer.

CTCMath is a full curriculum for grades K-8 and is recommended as a supplement for high school. From my experience using CTCMath over the past year, I would note that the Algebra  and 2 and the Geometry programs are quite full and didn’t seem to miss any topics as compared to other curriculum options. I’d feel pretty confident about using them as a complete curriculum instead of as just a supplement. The Pre-Calculus and Calculus levels don’t seem to have as many lessons and may be less complete. Since Emily hasn’t completed those subjects yet, it’s harder for me to evaluate their completeness.

How Does CTC Work?

(Please note that this is my description of the high school courses. The format of the elementary courses may vary—I didn’t use them.)

An enrolled student receives access to all grade levels. Within each grade level, there are multiple topics to choose from, with several lessons within each topic. This makes it easy to either work sequentially through all lessons or to focus on particular topics that the student may need to work on. Some topics included a diagnostic test. I found this very helpful (and would love for the diagnostic test to be included for every topic). Since we were using the Algebra 2 course as review, I could have Emily take the diagnostic test, then review the 2 or 3 lessons that she needed to work on rather than require her to work through all of the lessons.

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Each lesson includes a short video and a worksheet. The worksheet can be printed, then the student enters answers online and the program grades the work. The videos very clearly explain the concept and are less than 10 minutes long. The worksheets have a multiple choice/matching format for ease of entering answers with symbols. A few lessons, such as those that require proofs or drawing graphs require the student or parent to self-check and manually enter the grade.

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The program keeps track of progress and gives a grade by using an average of multiple attempts, weighting the first attempt more heavily. (The low scores pictured below resulted from a first score of 0 and a second score of 90-100.)

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A single student membership includes both a parent account and a student account for the parent (so I could actually use the program as if I were a second student). The parent account allows the parent to see log-in times, lessons attempted, and grades earned. It also allows the parent to assign particular lessons as “tasks,” giving them a due date.

Our Experience:

Emily enjoys using CTCMath. The teaching is solid and concepts are clearly explained. The video lessons are just long enough. I appreciate that they don’t take a lot of time. Emily liked being able to print worksheets out, so that she could do her calculations on paper rather than entirely online. She also said that she liked that when she made an error, the evaluation would show her which questions she had missed and that on the next attempt, she was just required to resubmit answers for the missed questions rather than for all of them.

The program keeps progress records that the student can see and more detailed records for the parents to view. I can see when Emily logs on, which lessons she has viewed, how many times it took her to master a lesson, and the grades for her first and last attempts.

I also have the ability to assign her tasks if I want her to work on particular lessons. This was very helpful after she completed a diagnostic test. I would look through the test, note which concepts needed more work, and assign her those tasks.

A new feature that I love in the parent account is the ability to clear grades from particular topics or lessons. This can be nice if you want your student to have a “fresh start” and not to be penalized for previous performance.

Emily did experience one glitch. Although CTCMath runs on HTML5 devices and can therefore be used on iPhones, iPads, and android devices, Emily reported a bit of trouble using it on her i-Phone. The videos worked, but each time she started to enter her answers, she would be logged off and need to log-in again to complete the process. The program would give her a score of 0 for her first attempt, then correctly record her score the second time. This, of course, impacted her grades. I don’t know if this is a common issue, or just a glitch with her device.

CTCMath is a solid, easy-to-use program that we plan to continue using throughout the upcoming school year.

CTCMath Homeschool Membership offers a huge discount for homeschool families. Prices range from $11.97 per month for a single student to $118.80 for a 12 month membership for 2 or more students.

 

CTCMath Review

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

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