I received a free CTCMath membership in exchange for this review and I was compensated for my time reviewing CTCMath. All opinions are my own and I am not required to post a positive review.
Why we use Online Homeschool Math Curriculum
For our first several years of homeschooling, my two eldest daughters both used textbook/workbook-based math curriculum and it worked out fine. They are close enough in age that I could teach them at or around the same level and nobody would be too bored or too challenged.
Enter onto the scene kids #3 and #4. Finding time to sit down and do any serious one-on-one homeschooling work with my older girls was a struggle, let alone a topic that demands excellent explanation, such as math. With my son being a fairly typical two-year-old boy, one of us must watch him diligently at all times, which resulted in us falling further and further behind in many subjects, including math.
Not only that, but my third daughter starts kindergarten this year and she's going to require a lot more of my attention, too.
So, in light of all this, we decided to give online math programs a shot this year.
What I love about CTCMath's 12 Month Family Membership
I have invested a lot of money in curriculum over the years. I have been known to spend over $100/year per child on math. This is alright with one or two kids, but when you have several kids, it adds up, especially when you factor in all the other subjects. Plus, even if you can reuse the texts with subsequent kids, you still have to buy new workbooks every year.
In contract, the ease and simplicity of CTCMath's 12 Month Family Membership makes it a great deal for our family. For $118.80, the whole family gets access to a full suite of online homeschool math curriculum including K-6, pre-algebra, elementary measurement and geometry, algebra 1 and 2, geometry, trigonometry, pre-calc, and calculus. This is an amazing deal and is 60% less than their normal family rate.
As an extra bonus, homeschooling families also receive an extra six months with the purchase of a 12 month membership.
CTCMath's Math Curriculum is Challenging and Thorough
To be honest, my kids took a little while to adjust to CTCMath's online program. It is a more challenging program than they are used to and it demands that they be precise in their calculations and in their understanding of the questions and the possible answers. I actually love this because I've been trying to work on this with my kids forever, and it always seems to fall on deaf ears. With CTCMath, they have to be precise to get the questions correct. (This can be frustrating at first, but they do get used to it).
One thing I love about CTCMath is that the problems are challenging. When I first looked into online homeschool math curriculum a few years ago, I decided against it because all of the programs I tried seemed to be too simple in their approach. I feel like CTCMath has a rigorous curriculum that will give kids the math skills they need to be academically competitive late on when they apply to university.
It's also great that kids are not confined to a single grade. If they come across a subject that they're not clear on, they can go back and review it from an earlier grade. The majority of the classes have well over a hundred lessons for them to work through, so you don't have to worry that your kids are missing out on an important component of their math toolkit. I'm also in favour of CTCMath's position on teaching math in the traditional way. This seems to be getting rarer in math curricula, and it's nice to find one that is committed to that.
How the program works
1. First students start by watching a 3-5 minute video giving different examples of the types of questions that they'll be working on.
2. Then they do about ten similar questions on the computer.
3. After that, they print out a one-page worksheet. They work each of the questions by hand and match their answers with the choices from an answer bank. Then they go back to the online program and type in the letter that corresponds to their answers.
4. Their work is graded and they find out which ones they got wrong. They then have the opportunity to re-do those questions if they want. If they get a certain percent wrong, they do have to redo them before moving on.
5. They can also print out a page with the solutions worked for them so that they can see where they went wrong. After that, they move onto the next lesson.
At any time, you or your child can sign in and view their progress on any of CTCMath's courses. Here are some screenshots of their reports. This is also really helpful if you have to report on your childrens' homeschooling progress to your state or province. Simply print PDF copies of these reports and include them in your portfolio with some completed worksheets.
What my kids love about CTCMath's Online Math Courses
My two older girls both tested CTCMath's 12 Month Family Membership. Here's what they had to say about it:
"The videos are clear and you are walked through each step. The worksheets do not include anything that you did not learn in the video. They have worksheets, videos, and questions [i.e. it's comprehensive]. You can pick your own theme to match your personality. I also like that is just the right amount of challenging. It gives you a chance to learn more, rather than just practicing your work."
- Grade 4 daughter
"CTCMath is very different from other math programs I've tried. I liked how it had worksheets and online questions. It was nice how there were possible answers plus the correct answers and we had to figure out which were which by doing the questions. I liked knowing what my grades were. I did find the videos a bit hard to understand and thought they could have been longer. Overall, it was very interesting and different and on the whole, quite good."
- Grade 6 daughter
CTCMath also offers three little games that I think are especially important in helping kids improve their math skills.
When I was a kid, we did math drills every day. The teacher would hand out a sheet with 60 questions on it and we had to write our answers as quickly as possible, putting up our hand when we finished to receive a time score. I found these exercises so helpful in sharpening my math skills that I have continued them on with my girls for many years.
Thankfully, CTCMath provides these drills for me. At the bottom of the student page, students can click on Speed Skills and Times Tables to work on improving their speed with basic math questions.
There is also a simple but addictive puzzle called Swap Pieces that will help them work on their logic and critical thinking.
Sign up for a free trial with CTCMath
If you're looking for a new math program for next year, CTCMath offers a free trial that you can sign up for to test out the program and see whether it is a good fit for your family.
Also, CTCMath is currently hosting a giveaway and one lucky family will win a 12 month membership. Contest is open to worldwide entrants.