Overview: This CTC Math review is not only from the homeschool parent perspective but also from a math teacher’s perspective — so you know it’s legit! Note: This review is sponsored by CTCMath but all opinions are definitely my own.
As always I’m going to be completely honest with you. Here is a statement you might not read anywhere else, especially on a sponsored review: I think that most math curriculum options out there can teach your kid math. Even the rigors of high school math, actually.
Truly, I don’t think the math content itself is usually in question when it comes to comparing math curriculum choices — and I’ve looked at a lot of them. That’s not really what we’re concerned about.
What we really want to know is if a particular math curriculum will work for us logistically. We want to know about whether it will meet our particular preferences or needs, how much time it will take from us moms — and whether our kid will maintain success and interest enough to keep going, hello.
I’ll give you the spoiler right now: As a former math teacher and as a homeschool mom whose kid has used the program, I recommend CTC Math as a quality math curriculum for all levels.
But you want to know why, obviously. Let’s dig in to the nitty gritty.
My CTC Math Review
I find that my math teacher self and my homeschool mom self are inextricably linked, LOL, so the following points are written from both perspectives simultaneously.
1) CTC Math is VERY reasonably priced.
Yes, I’m going there first. You know me; I look at price almost before anything else. I have always HAD to, and that is true for many homeschool families. Why pretend otherwise, or get you to fall in love with a curriculum that you then discover you can’t afford? I hate that.
Other math curriculum options can cost hundreds of dollars per student, and with a large family that gets impossible in a hurry. CTC Math has a subscription model which you can purchase for an entire homeschool family for a total of less than $150 per year (or less than $240 if you pay monthly, which is still a great price).
For an individual homeschool student, if you pay annually, it is less than $100.
Go here to verify this for yourself: CTC Math is Half Price for Homeschoolers.
At that rate, you could even just use it as a supplement to any other math curriculum — but why would you, when you consider the other nifty things about it which I will now elucidate for you?
(But first let me also mention the 12-month, no questions asked, money back guarantee. If you don’t like CTC Math, you don’t even have to explain why, and they will give you a full refund. So if money is your concern, there is no need to worry about it with CTC Math. You can rest easy!)
(OH, and did I mention the FREE TRIAL? Just sayin’…)
2) CTC Math is sequential, not spiral.
I know there are many Saxon lovers out there, and we used it for the mid-elementary levels, but I’m not a fan for high school, simply because of the spiral method.
For high school, the math teacher in me prefers sequential instruction. High school math gets quite detailed and can be complicated — it’s so much easier to figure out when one step is building on another in definite, logical increments.
It’s much more difficult when you’re skipping from one topic to another, never really certain what came immediately before. Spiral is supposed to be better for retention, but how can you retain what you never fully understood, because you received it piecemeal rather than building related concepts in close proximity?
Spiral instruction can lead to confusion at the high school level, even for a math-minded kid. I just can’t personally recommend it.
(So then if you’re gonna use CTC Math for your high schooler to get sequential instruction, you might as well use it for the rest of your kids, too, am I right? See #1.)
3) The lessons are designed to facilitate independent learning.
I am a huge fan of independent learning in high school, and math is one of the best subjects with which to make it happen.
CTC Math lessons have three main components to ensure your kid can learn well all on their own:
A video for EVERY lesson. The videos themselves are clear and easy to understand. In all honesty, I’m not going to claim that they are entertaining to watch, simply because teens are bored by just about everything, and it’s foolish to try to pretend otherwise. But the videos are taught by an award-winning teacher with a neato Australian accent, so there’s that.
Interactive onscreen questions that are adaptive. That means they are chosen via an algorithm based on your student’s progress, ability, and needs. In math teacher terms, this part of the lesson is called “guided practice,” which is the opportunity to try out a new concept a few times with immediate feedback, before being responsible for an entire assignment. Guided practice is very essential for learning math, but too often it gets overlooked. Not with CTC Math.
A printable worksheet. This is what math teachers call “independent practice.” I love that it is printable, to get kids away from the screen for awhile as they work with pencil and paper to solve the problems. Then they go back to the computer to input their answers, and one unique feature of CTC Math is that there is an answer bank to choose from. So if the student has calculated an answer that is not in the answer bank, they know they need to try again — before ever being graded on the assignment. It’s a form of non-intimidating feedback that helps them be more successful.
Here’s another distinctive detail: every question can be voiced by the computer. So if your kid has trouble reading, they don’t have to struggle with it during math time!
With clear instruction, guided practice, and independent practice, CTC Math enables your kid to do math completely without you. Talk about less stress in your homeschool day!
And of course it goes without saying that all grading is done by the people inside the computer, LOL, and you don’t need to mess with it at all. Weekly reports are sent to you via email.
Basically it’s hands-off math for you. And your kid gets all the benefits of learning independently. A win-win!
4) Every student gets access to every level at all times.
Why is this helpful? Let’s say your teen is in Geometry, but they’ve forgotten how to solve an equation. They can hop back to Algebra 1 to review that concept and then proceed with Geometry again.
In high school math this type of situation happens quite frequently. CTC Math makes it easy to get over the hurdle — no googling required. I don’t know of another math curriculum that offers this type of complete access.
5) The parent has control of the important things. Such as:
The passing grade. YOU decide what grade your kid needs to attain before moving on. It doesn’t have to be 100%. (I always chose 80. I’m not a my-kid-must-get-all-A’s person. I doubt any former-math-teacher-turned-homeschool-parent is.)
Your student’s password. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe in having access to my student’s account at all times. Even in high school.
The number of attempts that must be made before solutions become available. You know what? I think my kid should try more than once! But I don’t want to frustrate them by having to keep trying umpteen times on a problem they just don’t understand at all. So I always choose 2 for this setting. But many other math curriculums don’t even give you an option for this.
The parent can also plan the schedule and assign lessons/tasks to the student on certain days, if that works better than just letting the student work through them sequentially at their own pace. Your choice! Definitely more flexible in this regard than other options out there.
You may know that I’ve written about CTC Math before, in an article that compares it to another online curriculum called Aleks. In that article I shared a video that shows the student portal for CTC Math.
Now I’d like to show you the parent portal, so you can have a complete picture of all the wondermous-ness that is CTC Math. In this video you’ll see behind the scenes; I’ll take you through every feature so you can see the extensive reports and the control you have over all the important details. Take a look:
Head over to CTC Math to sign up for the free trial — and be prepared to love it!