Thursday, April 24, 2014

A TOS Review: CTC Math




As long as Math exists on the planet mankind will be searching for ways to make it more appealing to those of us who don’t have a “mathy brain.” Some of us don’t. Some of you are making scowling faces at your computer right now telling me to just “stop complaining about math and do it all already!” 

Listen folks. I made my A in College Algebra. I have no intention of revisiting it ever again. But wait! I speaketh to soon. My son is young yet and we have miles to go before we can set aside those trickier math concepts. Bummer. 

So I am obviously not going to sugar coat it for you. Math has not been the most enjoyable subject at our house. I’ve given up on trying to make it fun and exciting. I don’t have it in me. What I have come to appreciate, however, is those special math helps that come around now and again.
The calvary this time around has come in the form of CTC Math. Josiah and I were able to review the 12 Month Family Plan

http://ctcmath.com/


What I Received 

Contrary to your first impression, the 12 Month Family Plan from CTC Math has absolutely nothing to do with cellular service. CTC Math is a comprehensive online math tutor. It was developed by Australian math teacher, Pat Murray. The lessons are intended for grades K-12 and are presented by Mr. Murray, himself. They generally run about 4-9 minutes and extra reinforcement is given through interactive questions, quizzes and tests. 

Right now Homeschool Families are receiving a huge discount at CTC Math. A single Student Membership is $11.97 a month; $50.80 for six months or $78.80 for 12 months. The Family Plan (which is what I reviewed) for two or more students is $15.97 a month; $78.80 a month or $118.80 for 12 months. 



How It Works and How I Used It

I have a primary math curriculum that I use. It is gentle and really plays to Josiah’s math strengths and weaknesses. I used CTC Math as a review tool. In my opinion, one can’t review math enough (I can’t believe I just typed that!)

I feel like Oz the Great and Powerful. "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" In my case, it is "Pay no attention to that pile of clutter you see in foreground." The lights make everything look bigger. At least Josiah has a smile on his face.

Josiah has had difficulty over the years memorizing math facts. One of the benefits of using CTC Math is that it doesn’t matter where one has left off…It is set up by grades and by Topics. And we are not bound by either.
For example, Josiah is in 6th grade. If I feel that he needs additional practice before moving on to another concept I can do that. I get to pick and choose whatever I think he needs help or “tutoring” in…whether it found in the 2nd grade menu or the 6th grade. We weren’t stuck in 6th grade math. Josiah could move around the topics based on his individual needs rather than what a particular curriculum tells him he needs to work on next. 

The video tutorials are simple and to the point. Which helped my “off on a rabbit trail” boy.

I am going to take you through one of the “topics” Josiah worked on this week.

You can see that how the site is arranged. When I created Josiah an account (which by the way he wants me to tell you he has a killer password) I also got to create a parent account. I have to be honest. I rarely visit it. I receive reports via email and the I can see by his scores alone and the course information what I need to assign.


This week Josiah worked on Measurement...specifically, Time.


Today he did Time Conversions. The lesson began with a lesson with Mr. Murray. You can see from the screen that Josiah is able to rewind or fast forward or play again. I'm sure that there are times when he wishes that he could "fast forward" me....but that is an entirely different blog post. After the lesson, Josiah clicks on the Questions box to the right. We are also able to click on the lesson summary and print it off.  I was reading on the website that there are over 1,000 animated and narrated videos. Bless Mr. Murray! He has been a busy man at our house!


 What I like the most about this format is that the student is given one question at a time. Josiah is in control. He can hit submit when he feels confident about his answer. Right away he knows if he has gotten the problem right. He can also see from the progress bar above how much longer he has until he is finished. Which is very important to the 12-year-old male. You know what I mean. 


After he completes the question, he immediately receives his score. We have it set up that he is striving to receive a 90% accuracy. Which means that there have been lessons he has had to repeat. Good stuff. 


I want to show you this screen. You can see from it that Josiah needs to repeat the questions for the Time Difference Lesson and the Timetables. The scores will be averaged out for his final totals. His average at this point it 79%...which in some cases is perfectly acceptable. I like that he can work to improve that average. He likes it as well. We all need a "do over" from time to time. 

 

I have to talk a minute about the Timetables lesson. I got a kick out it. These locations are obviously not in my neck of the woods. I'm ready to hop on the train to Turramurra.


This screen shows some previous lessons. This is actually from the 2nd grade multiplication course. We did this as reinforcement/review.  One of the Josiah's  motivators has been earning certain levels. For this level he earned a GOLD. There is even a certificate to print out!


My Thoughts

Josiah enjoyed using CTC Math. He really liked listening to Paul Murray’s accent. Which I have to admit might be more appealing than his mom’s occasional hillbilly twang. 

The lessons were nice and short. Mr. Murray got straight to the point. Which might be part of my problem. I seldom get straight to any kind of point. 

I personally loved being able to “wander” around grade levels and topics. Josiah and I have both been sick for the past few weeks. He got sick first and then me…you know how that works. CTC Math was the perfect option for when Josiah started to perk up and I was still dragging. I simply assigned “do math until you get great scores.” I didn’t have to use my snot-filled brain (sorry for the visual image) to grade, check or explain anything. 

For those of us who don’t need snot in the brain to mess up math CTC Math is simply a great tool. It really is an excellent tutor. 

Forget the wonderful homeschool aspect…CTC Math is terrific for all math “doers.” I think it would be a great tool for those in public school setting who need extra help. 

You can connect with CTC Math at http://CTCMath.com/ or on Facebook. 

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