Monday, June 15, 2015

{Review} CTC Math

We've been desperately searching for math education products to use with Amber for Algebra 1 and forward. Recently we were offered the opportunity to review the 12 Month Family Plan of CTC Math, which is an online tutorial math program.

CTC Math is a comprehensive program with courses from Kindergarten all the way through calculus.  Each course is broken down into streams, which are then divided further into topics.  The topics then have a varying number of lessons, depending on how many are needed to ensure understanding of the math concept. The program can be used on a computer, or now even on a tablet device, such as an iPad!

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of CTC Math - an online math tutor for all ages!
What makes this program unique though is the lesson presentation. Instead of videos with an instructor standing before the camera talking through a lesson, CTC Math displays only the math content being taught with a voice over that slowly and clearly explains the topic at hand.  Information for each step in a math problem appears as it is being discussed.

This method makes it extremely easy for the student to go back and rewind the video if they don't fully comprehend the topic. The procedure can be re-watched as many times as necessary.  Each lesson also has a Lesson Summary available to the right of the active lesson screen.  This summary provides bullet points of the main concepts with examples showing all work needed to follow the math procedures.  The Lesson Summaries are even printable!

The individual lessons also have interactive worksheets or question sets available to help the student reinforce their understanding of the topic. The questions are graded by the system, with the complete solutions for the more advanced courses being made available only after the worksheets for a lesson are complete.

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of CTC Math - an online math tutor for all ages!
Parent administrative area and an Algebra 1 worksheet.
The majority of the topics in each stream also include diagnostic tests where you can choose to use either the Standard Test or the Comprehensive Test.  These are not placement tests, but help to ensure your student is fully understanding the topics. These test results, awards earned, and scores from lessons completed are all accessible by the student at any time through a link to Awards & Reports. 

All of the lessons are available through a student login only, while the parent login is where student accounts are created.  The parents have the ability to set the passing grade for each student separately.  Parents also can view certificates, reports, and activity for each student.  There is even an option to have the system email weekly reports to the parents. 

Our Experience:
Amber has always been overly resistant to any type of online math. She had no desire to even try online products when I've brought them up before. Now we are both trying to keep an open mind during our search for more suitable math options. She was very willing to give CTC Math a try, especially since this was not just recorded lessons with a teacher talking.

Right away we encountered one of the huge benefits of the CTC Math structure. Amber was able to select lessons, not just topics, in any order she wished! This is huge for us since she had mostly completed Algebra 1 with another curriculum. CTC Math does not require passing grades or even attempting previous lessons before selecting another.

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of CTC Math - an online math tutor for all ages!
(Right) Menu system of a course, and drill down into a topic with completed lessons.
(Left) More worksheets and a lesson
It did take us a full lesson period to decide where Amber might need to start within CTC Math. Amber had clearly already covered some of the major topics while others she was unsure of the nomenclature. The diagnostic tests were very help in deciding which topics Amber had sufficiently covered in her previous curriculum. This gave us a place to start in our second session. We did decide to go straight forward with the CTC Math lessons and not try to match them with another product Amber was also testing at the time.

Amber says the presentation of these video lessons with both the auditory and the visual aspects make it so much easier for her to understand even on some of her lower cognitive days. Not to mention she likes the accent of "the voice" conducting the lessons. Amber honestly didn't expect to like CTC Math at all, but cooperated with me since I was so kind to search out new math options for her.  In the end, she loves CTC Math and willingly completes more than is asked.

Instead of math being a chore, Amber honestly enjoys the worksheet assignments too. Even though some of the questions on the Algebra 1 worksheets require a little bit of computation, Amber was pleased she did not need to show her work to turn in an answer. The worksheets contain an answer bank from which to select your final answer.  There are always more answers than questions, but by using the answer bank it makes it easier to work with mathematical notation.

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of CTC Math - an online math tutor for all ages!
(top)A sample of the student report screen (poor Amber, it looks like she did poorly on one diagnostic test because I used it to play around with the system)
(Bottom) And... one of Amber's awards
Overall we are extremely pleased with CTC Math and excited to keep using it for the duration of our 12 month subscription.  We have made it part of our current math line-up in conjunction with another program though, since we both feel it's not quite rigorous enough at the upper levels as a stand alone product. Still, we highly recommend CTC Math for any age student, but especially those who have struggled with math in other programs.

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Connect with CTC Math on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ctcmath

Please check out what other members of the Review Crew thought of versatile CTC Math.

CTCmath Review


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