Friday, April 25, 2014

CTC Math


Math is a subject that is used in everyday life, whether it's for your job, in your home, or at the store. That's why it's so important to have a good grasp of understanding. Since math builds on itself, I want to make sure that my kids have a solid foundation now, so that future learning of more difficult concepts is made easier. I was thrilled we were given the privilege to review a 12 month family plan subscription from CTC Math.

CTC Math is a comprehensive online math tutor. What I really appreciate about this program is that the lessons begin with video tutorials. The videos are recorded by Pat Murray, father of 10,  from Australia (where the program was created.) My kids loved his accent and often answered the questions in the same way, and many times kept up the ruse for a bit afterward, too. More than just being a fun tool to practice another accent, the videos are truly helpful in learning math concepts. With 1,367 animated and narrated lessons starting with kindergarten and going all the way through high school (algebra, calculus, geometry, trigonometry), there's something for each student. The tutorials for the younger grades are 3-5 minutes and easily kept the attention of my little ones, while the older grades' videos are a few minutes longer. Don't let the brief lessons fool you. The tutorials are done in such a way that makes the concepts easy-to-understand. They are colorful, but not flashy or distracting. And while my kids enjoy the programs with the create-your-own-avatar, I appreciate that this one does not. Too often I'd find them wanting to change their characters and, in turn, not focusing on the lesson. Here, there's nothing to draw their attention elsewhere.

After watching the video portion of the lesson, the student answers about 10 questions to see what he's learned. My little pupils had fun with the ones that required dragging the answer to the appropriate place, because we recently got a touch-screen computer. (Hey, whatever it takes to get them excited!) It does work just as well using the mouse and even on some mobile devices. After the questions are completed, a results page comes up so the student can immediately see how he did. Little green check marks are by the ones that are correct, and red Xs are next to the incorrect ones. From there, the student can complete more questions or head back to the lessons.

All of the lessons can be accesses at any time. So, while I started Alyssa (6) in kindergarten and Jake (8) in third grade, they were each able to choose other levels to learn. Jake, especially, was pleased with this aspect. He rarely likes to work where he's "supposed to", but instead wants to find a section that is more difficult and challenging.

The only problem I found as we've been using this program is seen in the picture above. Alyssa was working on the shapes lesson. She's know her shapes for many year, so I knew this would be an easy lesson for her. I was standing nearby and heard her frustration in getting an answer wrong. As I looked at the screen to see what the problem was, she clicked the button to move to the next page. I did get a glimpse of the screen though and was intrigue. It had looked like she had answered them correctly. I watched her finish the review questions and had her complete them again. They have a bank of over 57,000 interactive questions, so I wasn't sure if she'd get the same question the next time. Thankfully, she did. I watched her put the triangles and rhombuses in the proper boxes. Then I watched the little red X pop up on the screen again. There must be a glitch in the program somewhere. I explained to her that she had been right, but that didn't change the results page with the 90%. All in all, it is not a big deal, but one that I believe should be noted. 

Speaking of the results page, the parent can log-in to the system and easily see what the child has accomplished. I can see exactly what my kids have been working on and how well they are comprehending the material. I also get emails with their progress. One thing that the kids like is that they earn printable certificates for completing the work. That piece of paper with a picture of a medal and their name makes them feel so proud of their hard work!

I am so glad we have a full 12 months with this program! I believe that CTC math is one of the best math resources we've used. The lessons are not too long, easy-to-understand, and interactive. My kids can work at their own paces and have their very own tutor anytime of the day. The best part though? They're truly understanding and learning the concepts. 

Currently, homeschoolers can purchase a 12-month subscription plan for the reduced rate of $118.80. CTC Math also offers other options for plans, like single students or family for monthly, 6 months, or 12 month rates. Check out the plans to see which one may work best for your family   

If you'd like to see how this program worked for other families, please click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew of this program.

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