CTC Math – A Review

For the past several weeks, my children have been utilizing an online math curriculum. CTC Math provided our family with a 12 Month Family Plan to review and it has been well used. Five of my children, ranging from K level math to pre-Algebra, have been spending time with CTC Math and today, I’d love to share our experience and thoughts with you.

What is CTC Math?

CTC Math is an online math program that provides study for math levels from Kindergarten Math to Trigonometry. Within each level there are different Streams and within those Streams are various Topics. For example, in 5th Grade Math there are four streams: Numbers, Patterns, and Algebra; Measurement; Space and Geometry; and Statistics and Probability. If you select the Measurement Stream, you will find topics like: Time, Speed, Area, and Volume. The Statistics and Probability Stream would present: Chance and Graphs.

The math lessons are taught by Pat Murray, an Australian math teacher who has helped thousands of children with math. Mr. Murray teaches in a very simple and straightforward style that engages the student’s attention. For the lessons, Mr. Murray is not on screen. The student sees the topics being discussed and problems being displayed on a white screen. There are no advertisements or other distractions for the student. The instructional time ranges from around 3 minutes to 10 minutes depending on the math level and difficulty of the topic.

CTC Math does not limit your child to one level of learning. Your child’s math needs determine what level he would work at. Your child can easily move from 3rd grade math to pre-Algebra from day to day. This provides for review and mastery in weak areas and the ability to continue to move forward in topics where the child needs a challenge.

While CTC Math does not have a placement test for the overall curriculum, topics in levels up to Pre-Algebra do contain diagnostic tests. This allows the student to test in a certain topic and see if completing that topic is needed or if they can move ahead. The diagnostic tests can also be used after a topic is completed to “test” for understanding.

As the parent you can set what percentage you prefer to be a “passing” grade. CTC Math averages the three highest attempts and shows a shaded bar of the current percentage. Even your youngest students can see how they are doing in their studies. When a topic is completed, CTC Math awards certificates: silver, gold, or platinum. This could be a fun motivator for some students.

Tracking student progress is very simple and thorough as well. Once a week, CTC Math sends the parent an email with a link to a report of how students are doing. You can also view detailed reports for each student via the parent account. You will also receive an email sharing with you the certificate level your child has obtained.

How Did We Utilize CTC Math?

With the 12 Month Family Plan you receive five student accounts. (If more than five are needed, CTC Math is happy to open up the needed student accounts.) My oldest daughter who is currently in Algebra 1 does not do well with online math programs so I allowed her to opt out of using CTC Math. The five children I had using the program accessed the following CTC levels: Kindergarten, Third, Fifth, Sixth, and Pre-Algebra.

Each of these levels met various needs that my children had. For my fifth, sixth, and Pre-Algrebra student, CTC Math was used as a supplement or review to their current math studies. They worked on the same level of their current math text and were able to sure up some weak areas and gaps.

My third grader used CTC Math as a companion to her current math studies. The third grade text that was in use covered a narrow range of topics and CTC Math allowed Hannah to explore and learn other topics of math for her age/grade.

My first grader used the Kindergarten level as we have not officially started any math studies for her. CTC Math worked as her main math curriculum. It also was her first time working independently with a computer program.

When we initially began CTC Math, I worked along side my children to help decide which levels they would like to work in. The older three all wanted to use CTC Math as a review/supplement for their current studies. My pre-Algebra student especially felt she needed some reinforcement on a few areas before she tackled Algebra in a few months.

The program is very easy to navigate and the children were able to access their accounts and work independently. Due to some technical issues, we only had one computer available for the five to share. I would open up a tab with the CTC Math Student Login page and the children just rotated through as the computer became free. Even my five year old daughter was able to log in, find her topic, and view the lesson.

After they completed watching the lesson, they would click on the “questions” icon to complete the problems for that lesson. Higher levels, such as Pre-Algebra, allows you to print out the worksheet. However, my daughter chose to use a small whiteboard and complete the exercise without printing.

Our Thoughts

Overall, I think CTC Math is a great online math resource. Would I use it as full math curriculum? No, I would not. Pat Murray does a lovely job of presenting the information on a level the children can understand without talking down. None of my children complained about have to do CTC Math. This is a huge factor! However, if a child struggles with a topic, there isn’t an optional video to view. If the child doesn’t grasp the concept, it isn’t going to be explained in a different way.

However, I love it as a supplement. The lessons are well done without being overwhelming. It has worked great to help fill in the gaps and encourage mastery in some areas. This has helped to build confidence in one of my children.

As a mom with eight children, I love the 12 Month Family Plan. I am not limited to a certain number of accounts or locked into one level. The flexibility CTC Math offers is wonderful. It was helpful that if a child was frustrated in Numbers and Pattens, they could easily move over to Measurements.

Two of my children found CTC Math helpful and “easy”. They appreciated his short and to the point explanations. They were mainly using CTC Math as review, so I can understand how the topics were seen as easy. My youngest student said that CTC Math was “fun”. She loved doing her lesson each day. One of her favorite parts is after a lesson was completed, it shows her the problems and which ones were right and wrong. She quickly learned what color her percentage bar needed to be and loved when it turned blue.

Then the last two children had very differing views. Hannah, 3rd grade, did not really enjoy CTC Math as much. She found that the topics were hard to understand and how Mr. Murray explained didn’t really help her. She is a lot like her oldest sister and just doesn’t do well with online programs.  Then my fifth grader, Lydia, loved CTC Math. She found it “easy” and Mr. Murray explained stuff “just like you, mom”. It was helpful for her to see the lessons worked out as it was explained.

One final note..I appreciate that there are no games or outside links in this program. CTC Math is a well done online math course that presents the information clearly with no silliness mixed in. Children are motivated by a job well done. Love this!

Purchasing/Pricing Information

There are two options available for homeschool families: Single Student Plan and the Family Plan. Both plans allow for monthly, six-month or twelve-month purchasing. The more months you purchase, the greater the value.

The 12 Month Family Plan is currently available for $118.80; this gives complete CTC Math access to two or more students! (This is the current sale pricing at the time of posting.) You can view a breakdown of all pricing options to make the best choice for you family.

CTC Math also offers a Free Trial so you can see the program in action in your own home!

Many other families have been using CTC Math so stop by the Schoolhouse Review Blog and see how CTC Math worked for other families!

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Mere Christianity Journal ~ A Review

As my children get older, I realize more and more how essential it is that they know what they believe and why. My desire is for my children to be able to communicate their faith and be able to have an intelligent discussion with others. One way that we handle sharing apologetics and bibilical worldview is through literary works.

For the high school years, Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis is scheduled for reading and study. Homeschool Adventure Company has a resource, The Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal, to aid in discussion of Lewis’ classic work. I was pleased to bump Mere Christianity up the required reading list and utilize the Mere Christianity Journal with my older children.

What is the Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal?

The Mere Christianity Journal is a companion discussion guide to Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. Due to the content and maturity needed to understand and discuss Mere Christianity, the recommended age for the journal is twelve – adult. Parents may find that when using this journal with middle school age children, that it is best to walk through the text together. Young adults in high school and older should have no problem working through the journal independently.

The Mere Christianity Journal is presented in a simple, yet effective style. Beginning with the preface, the reader will work through the book a chapter at a time. A reasonable pace is about a chapter a week but if working with a student on the younger end, you may prefer a slower pace. The journal provides around ten questions for discussion per chapter. While some of the questions are straight forward and the answers clearly found in the text, other questions call upon the reader for personal reflection and thought.

“According to Lewis, is what is good for society a strong enough motivator to keep men from being selfish? Why or Why not? ” Journal Question for Chapter 3

There are two options when you purchase the Mere Christianity Journal: a print copy or a downloadable PDF. We have been utilizing the PDF version. One of the benefits of the PDF version is that it is interactive. This means that you or your student, can type journal answers directly into the PDF and save it. For students who struggle with writing, this could be a benefit.

In the Preface of Mere Christianity, Lewis makes it clear that he will not be discussing matters of doctrine but just covering the basic principles that Christians agree upon. The Mere Christianity Journal agrees with Lewis and no one doctrinal stance is presented. The Journal is open ended in the sense that the reader, as they study the text, can apply their personal doctrinal beliefs to what is being discussed.

“What will happen when God openly and directly intervenes in our world?” Journal Question from Chapter 5, Book 2

 

How Did We Use the Mere Christianity Journal?

Initially, my oldest daughter (fifteen) was scheduled to read Mere Christianity this year. However, I decided to utilize the Mere Christianity Journal with my three oldest children. There was no doubt that my oldest could handle the study on her own but I felt having a group discussion with everyone would be a great way to really flesh out the text and our thoughts on the text. It was definitely the right decision as my twelve year old definitely needed someone to walk with him through the book and journal. The discussions we shared together as a group were fabulous.

The plan was simple: each week the children were to read one chapter from Mere Christianity and then work through the questions from the Mere Christianity Journal. Since I had three students working through the Journal at the same time,I simple uploaded it to a shared file so everyone could have access. Naturally, my writers chose to not use the interactive feature but use an actually journal to put their thoughts and answers. My son definitely preferred the interactive feature.

“I wouldn’t want to read Mere Christianity without the Journal. The questions helped me to not miss important information in the chapters. I didn’t get confused or lost in the reading.” Mary, 14

We had a scheduled time once a week to meet and discuss. While we covered the questions presented in the Journal, they were often the source of deeper discussions. This was really beneficial in helping one of my children realize that the ability to articulate what you believe is so important. I misunderstood what one child was trying to express and it had me a bit concerned.This led to a later discussion with dad and discovered it was just an issue of not being able to correctly express what my child believe.

For those parents who chose to have their child work through the Journal independently, an answer key is available. Once you purchase The Mere Christianity Journal, you will be given information on how to get the answer key; free of charge.

Our Thoughts

My three oldest and I have thoroughly enjoyed working through the Mere Christianity Journal. My oldest daughter is working at a quicker pace than the rest of us. However, we still keep our once a week discussion.

“The Journal was really easy to use. I like that the questions were simple and to the point.” Rebekah, 15

The Mere Christianity Journal is a valuable resource. It has been very helpful for me; especially when the week gets hectic. Even if my time to really dig in personally to the text has been limited, I don’t have to stress about discussion time with the children. The Journal covers the chapters thoroughly and really make it easy to facilitate this time. For my children who are working through it at their own pace independently, it has been great at helping them to not miss key points and helped them to really think through the topics.

One cautionary note: C.S. Lewis does address topics such as: sexual morality and Christian marriage. These topics definitely require a parent to consider the age and maturity of the child when tackling these topics. For our family, discussion of these topics is appropriate for the age of the students working through Mere Christianity and the Journal. You may want to pre-read the chapters dealing with these topics if in doubt of suitability.

The Mere Christianity Journal can be used in a variety of ways. As we are, you can use it within your homeschool for apologetics and biblical worldview emphasis. The Journal would also work well for a homeschool high school co-op class or group study. You could also utilize the Journal for an adult Bible study or homeschool moms’ book study. Of course, don’t overlook using this resource for personal study and reflection.

Purchasing/Pricing Information

There are two options for purchasing from the Homeschool Adventure Company:

Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal - Print Copy – $28.95

Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal - Digital Download – $18.95

You can learn more about the Homeschool Adventure Company and the Mere Christianity Journal by checking them out on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

The Homeschool Adventure Company also has other resources such as: Philosophy Adventure, Philippians in 28 Weeks, and The Wise Woman. Fellow Schoolhouse Review Crew members review the above products and the Mere Christianity Journal. Take a moment to see what other reviewers had to say!

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Beautiful Day, Cute Kiddos, and Such…

Looking for a profound blog post to encourage and inspire? Well, this post is not it. At this moment, I should be working diligently on blog reviews and planning a menu. However, I am in the mood to just simply delight in my children and being their mom.

I have to say that I have some wonderful children. Perfect? Um, no. I know their parents. Trust me. Perfection does not live in our home.

I have children that have to sit next to a parent during church or the temptation to disrupt a sibling is too overwhelming.

I have a child who has an imaginary bug named Bluey that lives in the child’s ear. Not only that but Bluey loves to play with Legos. Bluey’s Legos are made from dirt; this is why I shouldn’t clean the child’s ears too frequently.

Children who want me to read. More. And more. And more. Little ones who savor a book no matter how many times you have read it. Two little ones who race to see who finds the mouse in Goodnight Moon first.

My girls who have become young ladies? Still can’t resist a beautiful morning at the playground. Younger children want to play freeze tag? No worries. My big girls are right in the middle which always makes it more fun.

I love that Caleb sometimes misses out on impromptu trips to the park because nothing is better than going to work with dad.

I am not a morning person. Mornings are hard. But having a two year old who smiles and says “Good Morning, mommy!” as soon as she sees you, makes it worth it.

Laughter around the dinner table…laughter until you are almost in tears…might be one of the best ways to wrap a day.  Whether it is laughing over a terrible joke or the fact that someone had no idea there was desert in the US, laughter is a good thing. In case you were confused, a Corvette is not a musical instrument.

This could be an ongoing post. At times are raising these kiddos challenging? You know it. Do I go to bed some nights weary and worn from difficult days? Oh, yes. However, I am so thankful for them each and every day. They are delight and joy to my heart.

So my rambling is over. Enjoy the beautiful days of sunshine and warm weather. Enjoy your cute kiddos. Treasure their funny little sayings or imaginary bugs in their ears. It is going by fast……