If you've got a large passel of kiddos to homeschool (like we do!) you might find it challenging to pick a curriculum. Some options offer lots of opportunities to customize lessons to the needs of your kids, but it comes at the cost of lots of extra prep time. Other options are low-prep because it's basically a take-what-you-get model - no flexibility for adapting to meet different needs.
CTCMath Online Homeschool Math Curriculum
CTCMath is an excellent blend of flexibility and low-prep.
- Auto-checking, which both saves mama’s time and also provides a more objective (and therefore less prone to melt-down) form of feedback than finding you have problems to correct when you thought you were done with math.
- Customizable so that mama can choose which activities she wants each kid to work on. This way, even though everyone is working at their own level, we’re all focusing on one topic (like measurement or fractions).
- Easy to set up and use so that mama can have the control and customization she wants without the headache of doing lots of extra prep work to make it happen.
- Access to any level so that kids can review earlier material or move ahead in a particular topic, even if they haven’t mastered all the topics of a certain grade level.
- Thorough reporting because when you have four different kids working at four different levels, you need easy access to everyone’s progress!
- Super cost effective because with a big family, anything that costs and arm and a leg per kid is just not an option.
Customizable, Easy to Use, All Access
When I registered my children with the CTCMath program, I didn’t have to decide up front what one grade level they’d be able to access during our year of membership. Instead, each registered user has unlimited access to all grade levels of material all year long!
As a parent, you have lots of options for how to assign activities to your students. Let me walk you through three of them.
1. Self-Directed Math Curriculum Exploration
Students can follow the menu-tree to choose a Course (grade level), Stream, and Topic.
Then, within the particular topic, they can see their own progress and choose activities to complete (or re-do if they want or need to improve their score):
2. Parent-Created Tasks in CTCMath
From my parent/teacher login, I can create custom tasks for each of my learners. I can create one task and assign it to multiple learners, or I can create individual tasks for each learner.
At the top of the dashboard are three tabs: Home, Tasks, and Tools. Click on the Tasks tab and then click +Add Task.
Notice that you’ve got lots of options for customization. You can set a start date and an end date. You can add a description of your task. You can choose whether or not to be emailed when a task is due. You can choose to force students to complete diagnostics and lessons in the order you determine. And you can choose to hide the year (grade) level from students as they work on a lesson or diagnostic test.
A the bottom you will see three blue hyperlinked options to +Add lessons, +Add diagnostic tests, and +Add recipients. Clicking on any one of those links will open a new three-tabbed window below.
On the Lessons tab, you’ll be able to choose one or more lessons to assign to your student. Notice that you can choose what qualifies as completion: attempting all questions, or attempting all questions and reaching a passing grade (parents define the percentage that qualifies as passing for each student during the set-up process.)
At outset, every lesson in the program is available in the list. You can narrow those choices by using the search box, or by choosing a Course (grade level), Stream, and Topic. In the example above, I chose the Course “6th Grade,” the Stream “Space and Geometry” and the Topic “Plane Shapes and Solids”. That left me with several possible lessons and I clicked on the Add button next to “Shapes” in order to select that lesson.
In addition to (or in place of) adding Lessons to a task, you may wish to add Diagnostics. Once again, you can use the search function, or narrow down your choices by Course and Stream. You can decide whether to assign a Diagnostic of 20, 30, or 40 questions.
Finally, you’ll want to add recipients to your task. You must add at least one recipient, but you may add as many as all of your learners to the task!
Direct-Link Assignments for Online Learning
There is one final way that you can choose and assign lessons to your students and that is by use of Direct URLs. At the top of the dashboard, click on the “Tools” tab. Then choose “Browse Lessons”
Once again, you can narrow your choices by search or by selecting a Course, Stream, and Topic.
Once you click on a particular Lesson, a thumbnail of that lesson will appear at the bottom, along with a direct URL to that lesson. But if you look closely, you’ll notice a pattern! All of the URL’s look like this:
The ???? is simply the four-digit Lesson ID number. Of course, if someone who isn’t enrolled or logged in were to use this link, he would simple be directed to a log-in screen and wouldn’t be able to access the lesson. But for your students, once they have already logged in, they can click on the link above to be taken directly to the Lesson linked!
Now perhaps you’re wondering if there’s anywhere you can access a quick reference sheet of all the Lessons (along with their corresponding ID number). Well yes. Yes, there certainly is! And you can download it right now!
First, visit the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page of the CTC website. Then, look for the question that says “Do we have the freedom to review earlier grades?”
Expand the answer to that question to reveal a hyperlink that says “Click here to download a complete lesson list.” Bravo! There you have it! You’ll be downloading and Excel spreadsheet.
If you’re comfortable with spreadsheets, you’ll also be able to use the columns of the spreadsheet to filter by Course, Stream, and Topic just like you would in the “Browse Lessons” feature in the CTC Dashboard.
(P.S. If you’re wondering why anyone would need a URL for a particular lesson, it comes in handy for those who are giving their children school assignments via such methods as email, blog posts, or Google Classroom!)
If you choose to create tasks for your students and decide to be emailed at the time a task comes due, you’ll receive an email daily with a progress update on each student. You can also choose to receive weekly reports on all of your students in addition to or instead of the daily reports.
As you can see, you’ll get a summary overview of logins, performance on various lessons and diagnostics, as well as a report about on-time completion of assigned tasks.
At this point, I bet you’re really impressed with the functionality and flexibility of CTC Math. Why not give it a try?
And if you decide that CTCMath is a good fit for your family, now you can take advantage of Single Membership or Homeschool Family Membership 50% off for a limited time!