Online Math Program: CTC Math {Review}

CTC Math Review
When choosing a math program for my children, I choose based on whether or not my children like the program, and rarely take into account how easy (or hard) the program is for me. We currently use a program that is written to the child, but I still have to teach when my child doesn’t understand a concept, and I have to grade their assignments and tests. So, it was a pleasure to review the 12 Month Family Plan from CTC Math. This plan is a full online math curriculum for all ages, grades K-12, that does the teaching and grading for me!

Price

The 12 Month Family Plan is currently $118.80 for homeschoolers (regularly $297). This includes unlimited access to all grade levels across the system for up to 10 children for a full year. Compared to our current favorite online math program this is a very reasonable price, but additional plans are available.

CTC Math Review
How CTC Math Works

  • View a tutorial video
  • Print a summary of the tutorial to use as homework or as a review
  • Complete the interactive questions (younger students) or worksheet (older students)
  • View and/or print solutions with step by step explanations
  • View progress reports to determine areas of further study

Our Experience

It was easy to log in and add up to 5 students with the 12 Month Family Plan. (I could have emailed to add 5 more children, but I didn’t need to). I was able to choose login info and passwords, which was convenient. In the Parent Settings, I opted to receive a weekly progress report and notice of awards and/or certificates.

Eliana ~ 1st Grade

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I initially started Eliana out in the Kindergarden level because her current math program starts out at a K level and progresses into 1st, and I wanted to make sure she did not have any gaps in her math education. She had the option to watch the tutorials, but we mostly jumped right to the Diagnostic Tests to see if she had mastered the level. She did Measurement, Space and Geometry, Statistics and Probability (dot and block graphs in the K level), before she asked to move on to the 1st grade level.

Moving to the next level is simple. In fact, you can move through any of the levels of the program with just a click.

We are working through the 1st grade level systematically, so she began in Whole Numbers. She initially starts off by watching the tutorial, but if the concept is one that she is familiar with, she skips over to the Questions.

Her only complaint is that it is hard to raise your score to a passing if you do not do well the first time. For example, if she gets a low score the first try, and gets a 100% the next time she does the Questions, it won’t raise her score to a passing. It averages her scores. She has to redo the questions again and again to get a passing score.  This is discouraging to her.

I worked through a section with her to see how many times she needed to pass in order to “pass” this section. She got a 15% the first try (because she didn’t understand the directions), and a 92% the 2nd try, which brought her score up to a 54%:

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She got a 100% her third try to bring her score up to 69%:

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She had to get another 100% – doing the SAME material to bring her score up to a passing score.

I think it is a bit redundant to have to prove over and over that you know the material, often repeating the same questions, to get a passing score. What happened is that she knew the material covered in the tutorial, so skipped it and went straight to the questions, but then did not understand how to work the problems, because the explanation on how to work the problems are explained in the tutorial, and not always in the questions. 

This is honestly the only problem I have with the program, but feel it is a significant problem, considering it is discouraging to her, and I can’t look at her progress chart and see her real progress. Looking at her progress report, I would have had no idea that she scored a 92%, and a 100% twice.  Or that the third passing score of 100% finally brought her score up to a passing score of 97%.

But, looking at the bar graph below, I can see her last score for Writing the Numeral was 100, but her score average is still only 67%.

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Also, she has to watch the tutorial to know how to work the problems, even though she may already understand the material.

So, even though this is an online program that does the teaching for you, you still need to sit next to young children to help them by reading the directions and/or questions. This is slightly counterproductive to me. If a program does the teaching, I’d rather not have to sit through the lesson as well.

Other than that, she likes the program. In fact, she often did several lessons in one sitting.

Malachi 3rd Grade

I let Malachi choose where he wanted to work since he is ahead in his math, and after working in addition, subtraction, multiplication and money, he chose to work on fractions, but challenged himself to move on to 4th grade fractions once he mastered 3rd grade fractions. He liked having the ability to jump ahead to boost his confidence. Giving him freedom with the program inspired him to want to “play” more. He asked regularly to do CTC Math. He enjoys the competitive aspect of the Speed Skills where he can work on learning his math facts, and he likes to try to beat his record.

As his teacher, I feel this method was less organized and structured and it felt “all over the place” to me, so the last two weeks of the review, I had him start working systematically. He didn’t like this as much at first, but didn’t complain.

Because he was more motivated skipping around, I will probably continue to use the program as a supplement, rather than as a core. It can be used for both, so this feels like a good balance for me. I do plan to continue to use it, though, because it is easy for me, and he likes it!

Dylan

Since I had Nathan and Dylan take 6 weeks off of their regular math program to review another math program, I didn’t review this with them. But, I did have Dylan get on and do a few lessons in Algebra 1. We found that after watching the tutorial, it was easier to print the questions, and then get online to enter the answers later for grading. I like that as a teacher, I can have him watch a tutorial, and then print the lessons to do later for “homework.” I also like that I can use CTC Math as a tutor if they don’t understand a concept.

I also highly recommended it to my husband who needs to freshen up his math skills. He took a Pre-Calc class this semester and had to drop it because it was too hard. The tutorials in CTC Math would have been perfect for him. He is a visual learner, so he needs to “see” the problems being worked. I suggested he use it this summer when his work slows down.

Pros:

  • great for visual learners
  • great for large families
  • tutorials that do the teaching
  • does the grading and record keeping for you
  • worksheets can be printed for offline use, and then answers entered online for grading
  • testing is optional and offers a standard and comprehensive option
  • ability to easily bounce to a different grade level
  • weekly email reports, and standard and comprehensive reports available online
  • bronze, silver, gold and platinum certificates are awarded when a student does well
  • computer based (a pro for kids that like to be on the computer)
  • the accent of the teacher (my kids liked that)
  • family pricing

Cons:

  • the grading system (as mentioned above)
  • you need to sit next to young children to read the questions and directions
  • computer/internet based (we had some computer and internet troubles during our review)
  • the day of the week begins on Monday (personal con)
  • it is an Australian program, so some spellings are not English (like colour)
  • no visual motivators – while playing to earn new cool backgrounds and avatar elements may be considered a distraction by some, it is motivating for my visual learner

Connect with CTC Math on Facebook: CTC Math (US) or Aus (Maths Online).

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Comments

  1. As soon as I saw your review after mine, i had to jump over and see what you thought of it! I love that you were able to work at several different levels. I’m sorry that E had issues with it. I had a feeling that watching the videos would be crucial, so even if it was a lesson that Seth PROBABLY knew, I had him review the short lesson. Fortunately he never got less than a 67% on his first attempt…I think his lowest lesson score average was an 89%.

    I think the printable worksheets for the older maths are a great thing. I tested it out to see how it worked. Very nice. I too liked that the grading was taken out of my hands.

    To keep Seth from being sporadic with his progress, I picked him a topic but he got to do the lessons in whatever order he wanted. He liked that freedom. Doing this we were able to finish a few complete topics.

    I kept thinking of you when I was writing my review about how it was a benefit for families with several homeschooled children. LOL! Thanks for sharing your good review!

    • LOL, Lisa, I do the same with your reviews! You are doing such a great job! Your reviews are always so thorough! I read yours and think – oh, yeah! That is true. I also read some and find out things I didn’t know. That’s a great idea – a happy balance between working systematically and having that freedom they love so much. I will try that with Malachi. :)

  2. How did you print the lesson worksheets to be used at a later time, as you said, “for homework”? I haven’t been able to find that feature.

    • Hi Amanda, the print feature is only available for courses after the 6th grade (like Algebra 1). (You click “view worksheet” and there is a print button).

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