The Online Math Curriculum Everyone Loves {Review}

Roadschoolers often turn to CTCMath for their math needs. When the Homeschool Review Crew gave us access to their 12-month Family Membership, we thought we’d join the wagon train (that’s like a bandwagon, but for RVers, since RVers all have their own wagons) and see what the hype is all about.

CTCMath is an online math curriculum. A student takes diagnostic exams and then works through the lessons that will bolster his weaknesses. Another option is simply selecting a grade, selecting the first topic on the list, going through each lesson in the topic, and so on throughout the grade level. CTC can be used throughout all the grades. In fact, it can be all the math you ever buy ever.

The main strengths I see with CTCMath as a whole are as follows:

  • visual
  • personalized
  • self-paced
  • independent

I’ll touch on those briefly before I jump to the roadschooler’s perspective that I really want to share.

Visual: Each concept in the math program is taught through brief videos. IF you have a visual learner (and I personally can’t figure out any other way to understand math), the video approach is ideal, unless, of course, you want to teach math yourself. If you want to do all the teaching, stop reading this review and get a different program.

Personalized: Because the student can take diagnostic exams, they (or you) can see where their strengths and weaknesses lie and choose lessons accordingly. If a child needs to review levels, that’s an option. If a child is bored senseless and should jump ahead, that’s completely doable. If a child is doing fifth grade math but needs some foundational work in a couple concepts, he can jump back and work on only those areas. No wasting time on concepts he’s mastered. That bumps into the next concept.

Self-paced: Some students watch a seven-minute video about a math concept and SNAP! They’ve got it. Others need to watch that video three, maybe five times, need to mull it over for a week, need to go back and watch related foundational videos, need to add chocolate to the scenario. I get it! CTC gets it! With CTCMath, the student is not rushed. He can entirely go at his own speed and study what needs to be studied when it needs to be studied. (That’s my favorite part about CTCMath.)

Independent: Finally, CTC is an independent program. I still remember buying a highly rated math program when my oldest daughter began homeschooling (She’s 22 and survived me! Hooray!) and not knowing how to teach it. I understood the concepts, but I didn’t understand how to break it down for her. I have even studied calculus, but I could not teach math to my kids. Truth be told, I don’t want to teach math to my kids beyond Cookie Math (You have four cookies, I eat two, and now you have…). CTC teaches the student. You don’t really need to be there.

Optionally, there are various ways you can be involved. You can set up tasks for your child to do. You can create question banks or use preset question banks. You can print worksheets. You can print solution guides to problems (I haven’t figured this out yet). And you always have the option of being involved in every dot and tittle. That’s just not how we roll, since our aim is independence in our students. My other aim is not teaching math to nine kids.

What did we do?

We attempted the diagnostics tests, and they did give us good information. From here I shoulda coulda woulda selected the lessons they needed to work on. I do not, however, want to put that amount of effort into their math every day. You see, our current math curriculum goes like this: child inserts disc, child watches lesson, child does assignment. Notice the lack of Mom in there. That’s how I want to keep it.

After some advice from some fellow Review Crew members, we changed it up. I selected the child’s approximate math grade and had them go down the series of subjects. Open the first subject, do the first lesson in the first subject, etc. I did this with my 11-year-old and my seven-year-old. The seven-year-old’s reading skills meant she needed more help with that aspect, but our other daughter was completely independent. I received weekly reports and whatever else I needed to make sure she was on task.

We didn’t print anything. Printing gives me hives. I tested the question bank, but again, I’m not going to get that involved. I’m just not. I set a few tasks, but again (am I getting redundant?), I don’t want to be involved.

Some Roadschooler Perks

I told you I’d talk about roadschooling with CTC. Here are the considerations:

  • Space
  • Internet
  • Convenience
  • Price

Space: Our current math program requires a student text, a teacher text, a disc, and a test booklet. That’s about four pounds of weight and three inches of shelf space. (You house-based people are like, So?!) That’s a big deal, especially for the five kids using the program right now! CTC is entirely online unless you print, which I didn’t do and still used it successfully.

Internet: You will need internet access. I don’t see a way around that. Consider your lifestyle. If your family dry camps on BLM land most of the time, this might not be for you. If you’re a Thousand Oaks member, this could be your thing.

Convenience: When we have to reorder books, we have to know where we’re going to be and have them shipped ahead. We also have to keep a back supply of books somewhere so we don’t have to keep buying the same books. Right now we have seven years of books on board. CTC has it all in one.

Price: Most homeschoolers have to crunch the budget, but roadschoolers often have to do even more, since work is hit or miss for many. Check out the price in the graphic below. That is current as of this posting.

What’s our math plan?

My older kids did not even try CTC because they’ve been in the same program for 8-12 years. The two that are using it n ow will continue a bit longer to see if they want to switch or not. The little guy is only four, and I do not want another screen-based activity for his little brain-full of potential at this point. If it becomes a regular part of our school, I’ll write another review about my thoughts at that point.

One unimportant note:

This is an Australian program. The editor in me struggles with that every once in a great while, because their grammar varies slightly. Don’t sweat it. I sweat it, because I’m an editor and I have issues in my head with these things. You, however, will be just fine. Just fine!

For other Homeschool Review Crew reviewers’ opinions, please click here.

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