Through this last school year, I’ve introduced more and more curriculum to H. She turned five in May and although this coming year would be her first official year in kindergarten, I’ve done quite a bit of kindergarten work with her. She’s fairly advanced for her age and I didn’t want to hold her back by ignoring that. Most of our work, however, was in reading and writing. That’s why I was excited when the opportunity to review CTC Math was made available through the Schoolhouse Review Crew. They sent us the 12 month family plan, so we’ll have access to it for a whole year. I have a feeling we’ll get lots of use out of it during that time!
What We Received for Our CTC Math Review:
For this review, we received the 12 month family plan to CTC math. We will have access to all grade levels for a full 12 months. This program is completely online, so you must have a good internet connection to use it. We use Chrome and didn’t have any problems with delays or freezing up.
How We Used CTC Math:
For the first lesson, I sat down with H to walk her through it. CTC Math is all online, so we sat down at the computer and I opened up the main screen and clicked on “Kindergarten”. We decided to start at the beginning (although you could choose whatever subject your child needs extra help on), so we clicked, “Numbers, Patterns, and Algebra”. This opened up the list of topics on the far right. We jumped right in with Number I.
Under each topic, there is a diagnostic test and several lessons. The Number I topic actually had six different lessons. I had H sit with me and do the comprehensive test so I could see how well she did. I then went through and gave her stars based on how I thought she did on each topic. My though process was that we could then skip those lessons. (We did end up going back and doing them all…I’ll share why later.) On this screen, you can see how H did on each lesson. In the parent area, you’re able to enter a “passing” grade. I made it 90%, so you can see, she’s passed “Numbers 1 to 5″, “Numbers as Words”, and “Counting in Action” I like that I’m also able to put in a score using the stars though because I had to help her a LOT on the Numbers as Words questions and would like her to continue to practice those.
After that initial test, H has been able to navigate the program mostly without assistance. The lessons themselves are clear and to the point. The teacher explains the concept several different ways and there are pictures or videos to go along with the explanation. H seems to enjoy watching the lessons and I actually enjoy watching them with her. The teacher has an accent and his voice is soothing to listen to. The lessons can be played as many times as necessary. There is also an option to pause, fast forward, or rewind a lesson so if your child doesn’t understand a concept, they can slow it down or listen again.
After the lesson, there are ten questions for the child. H likes the progress bar across the top of the screen that shows how many questions she’s done. She always likes to try to figure out how many are left! Just one more math exercise I guess! The questions all address the concept from the lesson, but in several different ways. For instance, the picture below is from the “Numbers Up To Twenty” lesson. Besides this type of question, there are opportunities for the child to color in a certain number of objects, count objects from a group (a group of mixed fruit…how many bananas?), and choose the answer with the correct number of objects. One of my favorite things about this program is that there isn’t an astronomical amount of questions following the lesson. I’ve always felt that if a child can answer ten questions correctly (or even 8/10), they probably understand the concept really well. CTC Math aligns with my beliefs perfectly! Plus, if a child is struggling, there are always more questions available for them. In general though, a kindergarten level lesson from start of lesson to the end of the questions only takes about ten minutes.
H struggled with this particular lesson. She has been counting to 20 for a long time, but writing the numbers was new to her. Also, counting objects on a computer screen was new. I had to teach her that it was okay to touch the screen to count. Monitoring progress is a simple task in CTC Math. Below is an example of a report showing her progress. As you can see, her first attempt, she scored a 73%. Today, she scored 100%!
When a child scores a certain percentage, they are given “awards”. H thinks these are just amazing. We printed them off as she earned them and they’re taped all over our house. It’s a simple system really, but it means a LOT to a five year old! Here is one of her awards. These are the reasons H went back and did the sections I knew she’d already mastered…because it all has to be mastered in the system or you don’t get the award!
My Opinion of CTC Math:
I have to say, I was really impressed with this program. When I first clicked around, I was afraid it would be boring for H, but it has proved to be quite enjoyable. The lessons are thorough and clear and there aren’t so many questions afterwards as to frustrate or bore her. I was also impressed with how many different ways each concept was taught. It seems that a child is more likely to understand these concepts because they are presented and tested with so much variety.
That said, CTC Math is definitely more of an online tutor than an online curriculum. It worked really well for showing me what H already knew and what she needed extra help with. It would be an excellent addition to your current curriculum, especially if you have many children and it’s hard to keep track of their skill level, or if you have a child struggling in a certain area who needs extra help.