And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Monday, August 1, 2016

Online Math Option for Multiple Grade Levels #homeschoolmath

After success using CTCMath last year, they were kind enough to allow us to do another review for them. Our CTCMath Homeschool Membership has been extended for another calendar year, and as soon as we received access, both kids jumped back into their online math lessons. During our previous membership, Speedy worked on some 2nd grade material and was able to complete all the 3rd grade lessons. Apple dabbled around in 5th and 6th grade lessons before. The last few weeks Speedy has been plugging away on the 4th grade videos and questions. Apple used the program to work on Algebra I.

With the Homeschool Membership, we have a parent account with a login and password, and then each student has their own account with password and login. I was able to personalize their logins and passwords so they were easy for them to remember. Our CTCMath membership allows both kids full access to the site for 12 months. The site has video lessons with questions for 16 different levels from Kindergarten to Trigonometry. Students are free to move around between levels. That has been especially helpful in the past if one of the kids needed to go back or ahead for extra practice on a specific area. Each lesson includes a short video lesson (most less than 5 minutes) and questions to answer to check understanding of the concept. The videos are engaging with plenty of examples for the lesson. The questions are typically answered online although we have come across at least 1 lesson that required a worksheet to be printed. After filling in the worksheet, answers were put in online and scored.

4th grade actually seems to have the least lessons. In 4 categories, there are a total of 96 lessons. There are also 21 test sections and you (or the student) can select a short, standard, or comprehensive diagnostic test. The same choices are available on the other levels. I have had both kids do the longer comprehensive test when they have finished that whole section. CTCMath automatically grades the lessons (YAY!), and students are awarded certificates based on their scores for each section. They can access their awards through their account, and you can also elect to have awards emailed to you. Through the parent account, you have the ability to set the pass grade.

Apple has taken the opportunity to work on Algebra I over the last few weeks. I really think this has kept her active so it won't be much a review when she picks back up her regular Algebra I course. While CTCMath is a considered a complete curriculum for lower grades, their FAQs state it is best used as a supplement in upper levels. Even so the Algebra I course includes 150 lessons with 16 diagnostic tests. The diagnostic tests on this level are also available in short, standard, and comprehensive. Apple will continue using CTCMath to supplement her Algebra I course this year. It will particularly be helpful because she is ahead in that course and will finish it in early 2017. This online option will give her math to work on until she is ready to begin Geometry. The best thing about CTCMath is she will be able to move straight into some Geometry lessons whenever she is ready with no extra cost!

The parent account is very user friendly, and it is laid out well. It has many useful options including the ability to see the program on student view. I can see the time they logged in as well as any tasks they completed while logged in. There is also an option to have a weekly report emailed to you. I love this feature as I can see their progress summary each week along with their overall average score. I do wish there was a way to get an average only on the grade level they are currently working on. Instead the average includes any work they've ever done on CTCMath so that can be a little confusing. It is possible to pull up reports on the parent account based on grade level, but there is not an average available.

A new feature recently added was the ability to set up tasks for the student through the parent account. With this feature, you can assign specific lessons and/ or diagnostic tests and give a deadline. Then the task will show up on their student account. This is a great feature if you aren't going to be around to give an assignment.

We've noticed some other updated features as well. The students can now edit their themes to change the color of the page. The parent account has a new streamlined layout. I also noticed that under the parent account, I can now clear a specific topic or lesson. This may have been a feature I didn't notice before. This feature came in handy when one student was having a particularly difficult time with a lesson. Now I can clear it and let them return to it on a different day to get a fresh start.

So we still love CTCMath! The video lessons are short, and both kids follow them well. The site is easy to use, and we've pulled it up on Kindles, tablets, and our desktop. This program is really teacher friendly because it automatically grades and creates reports that can be emailed or accessed online. The kids like the positive reinforcement of the awards. Both Apple and Speedy used CTCMath last year as a supplement (in different ways), and they will both do so again this year. If you are looking for a family friendly, online, multi-level homeschool option, you should definitely check out CTCMath!

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