Inside: Learn how the right homeschool math curriculum can improve your day along with some benefits to your child.
After homeschooling for 15 years, I’ve seen and tried almost every homeschool math curriculum out there. That’s because all of my children struggle with it in some form or another. (It’s safe to say we’re not math geniuses here!) And because of that, math has made our days challenging.
I received a Homeschool Family Membership from CTCMath along with financial compensation for this review. My opinions are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.
How Math Can Affect Your Day
What does your homeschool look like when it’s time for math? Does it disrupt your day due to a child who struggles, hates the subject, and takes forever to finish?
In the past, my 9-year-old daughter dreaded math time. She might mysteriously disappear from the table when she knew it was coming, whined about how she didn’t like math and asked why she had to do it, or better yet, she turned into a spineless invertebrate whose body lost all form and slid down the chair.
This brings out the ugly side of mom and then all parties involved need an “attitude check”. Yep, I’ve been known to lose it. Math brings out the best in us.
It’s amazing how one little subject can wreak havoc on your day!
The Downside to a Textbook-Based Homeschool Math Curriculum?
While there are a lot of different curriculum options to choose from when you homeschool, many of them are textbook-based and can have some downsides.
Math is not a subject everyone can gather around the table and do together. Textbook-based math requires you to sit beside your child and teach the lesson one-on-one. I know, I know, as homeschool parents it’s our job to teach our kids. However, if you are trying to teach math to multiple students, it can suck up time faster than your kids can drink a Big Gulp Slurpee from 7-Eleven. And that means you get nothing else done!
Not to mention as you get into the high school years, you may spend even more time relearning skills before you can teach them. You can kiss Masterpiece Theater goodbye on Sunday nights because you’ll be studying Algebra instead.
Emotional? You’re thinking, “It’s math! This is the least emotional subject I could teach.” Then you, my friend, have not experienced a child who melts down over reducing fractions and you become a participant in a Shakespearean tragedy. There’s struggle, external and internal conflict, tears, and the need for comic relief and divine intervention. Did I mention I’m not a fan of Shakespeare?
A child who melts down over math is like watching a Shakespearean tragedy. There’s struggle, external and internal conflict, tears, and the need for comic relief and divine intervention.
Housework? Who Has Time for That?
While you are spending much of your day teaching math, your dishes are piling up in the sink, laundry is overflowing in the basket, and if someone unexpectedly knocks at the front door, you’re tempted to turn off the lights and hide because the house is a mess. (I’m not saying I’ve done that or anything.)
There’s only so much time in the day to get things done and when you’re spending most of it teaching math, other things get neglected.
All the drama and tears can take a toll on you and after a while, you doubt you’re capable of teaching math. You might even doubt you should be homeschooling. You are not alone if you have thought this way. Textbook math can have that effect on you.
Nothing puts a damper on the relationship with your child like you teaching a subject your child hates or struggles with. It’s wonderful homeschooling your children, but there are occasions when you may need to take a step back to preserve your relationship, especially during the teen years.
Having to Be the Expert
When you start homeschooling and you’re teaching from a math book, you think you have to be the expert. You’re it, and your child relies on you to present the lessons in a way he understands. Talk about pressure! And not true!
As a homeschooler, you don’t need to be an expert in every subject because there are other options for teaching them:
- Hire a tutor
- Find a friend who’s comfortable teaching math and have her teach it while you teach her kids another subject you’re good at
- Join a co-op that offers math classes
- Purchase an online course to teach it for you
Perhaps it’s time you considered another option?
How Can an Online Math Curriculum Help?
Someone Else Teaches Your Child
An online math curriculum removes you from the equation. As I stated before, letting someone else teach can save your relationship with your child.
I think one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is the bond you form with your children because you’re with them 24/7. But there’s also a danger in driving a wedge between you and your child when school is difficult. You need to know when to step away and let someone else teach.
Experience Other Teaching Styles
Using an online program gives your student a chance to learn from someone else and experience different teaching styles. It prepares him for college classes with various professors who present information in their own unique ways or even lectures or conferences he may attend as an adult at his job.
Learning a subject online holds the student accountable to someone other than you. There’s no arguing that Snickers, the cat, was helping and she chose the wrong answer. The computer will score the work and it is what it is. The student needs to pay attention and do his best work or he may need to repeat the lesson or receive a grade he’s not happy with.
Frees Up Your Time
One of the biggest challenges to homeschool moms is getting everything done in school AND the house. I have found an online curriculum so helpful with this!
While your child is doing his lesson, you can work with someone else (which speeds school up) or get some housework or meal prep done. You can accomplish a lot with 20 to 30 minutes of extra time.
While teaching your kids to work independently can take time, online programs can help. They can have a positive effect on these areas:
- Following directions
- Focus and attention
- Completing tasks
- Active involvement in the lesson
Who doesn’t want that? I am a huge advocate of teaching my children to work independently and the sooner the better!
A bonus is most online courses record grades for you. You can print a report and find out how your child is doing. You can see if he is completing the lessons, struggling in certain areas, or needs moved ahead.
If you have a portfolio review done for your state requirement, being able to print out completed lessons and grades makes preparations easy.
It’s Second Nature to Our Kids
Let’s face it, our kids are the first generation that’s been raised with technology from day one and they’re often more comfortable with it than other formats of learning. I’m not saying we should get rid of textbooks, but when a subject is difficult and technology can make it a little easier, it’s the perfect time to use it.
Before using an online program, I dreaded teaching math to my youngest daughter. She hated it and it made life miserable for both of us. I managed to find another program she liked a little better, but it was still a chore for her to do it.
Then I gave an online math program a try and what a game changer! No more whining, tears, or drama. She’s like a different child. Want to know what we used?
What Is Our Favorite Homeschool Math Curriculum?
Have you seen CTC Math mentioned in just about every email you get in your inbox? I know I have! And to be honest, I have ignored them for a long time. I mean how great of an online math curriculum could it be that everyone is talking about it?
I had the opportunity to do a CTCMath review and figured I’d see what all the hoopla is about. Both my girls liked it from the first lesson and didn’t want to stop. Perhaps these people were on to something?
My girls never complain about math now, even the 9-year-old! It’s like night and day. Math has become their favorite subject!
Most mornings, my youngest daughter heads to the computer and starts by herself. On the few occasions where I have to tell her to do it, it’s kind of freaky. She does it without a single groan, whine or eyeroll. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. I keep waiting for her old math-hating self to return, but so far it hasn’t.
Why We Love CTCMath
- Attitude changing
- Short lessons– The lessons only take about 15 minutes.
- Self-monitoring- You can set a passing percentage and the student can’t go on until he meets it
- Weekly reports– You receive an email with a progress report every week. It includes the number of lessons your child did, his average score, if he completed any tasks, games, or diagnostic tests, and also tell you if he earned certificates.
- Practice Worksheets– Additional questions in the form of worksheets are available for extra practice in grades 1-6
- Work solutions provided for worksheets
- Examples are given with each lesson– The examples given in each lesson are easy to understand, which is one thing that makes this program so successful.
- Interactive manipulatives– This is my favorite feature! Kids can drag-and-drop items on the screen to understand and work out the problems.
- Multisensory– The child is seeing, hearing, and often doing something with each lesson. This caters to all learning styles.
- Screen is not overwhelming– Many programs try to look like a video game. This one is simple, uncluttered, and helps children focus on what is being presented. I think it would especially be helpful to children with ADHD.
- Math fact drills– At the bottom of the screen, students can access drills for their math facts
- Core homeschool curriculum– CTCMath is a complete math curriculum. It covers everything for each year with no supplementing needed.
- Grades K-12– The whole family can use one curriculum. Often you find a curriculum you like, but it doesn’t go into the middle or high school years or vice versa. This one covers all grade levels.
- Party on the screen (as we like to call it)- In grades K-4, when a child gets 100%, confetti comes down to celebrate getting all the answers correct. They are developing ideas for something similar in the upper grades.
- Created by a homeschool dad with 31 years experience– Pat Murray has taught math as a tutor, high school teacher, and homeschooler. His goal is to help children of all abilities succeed in math.
- Individualized for each student– Have you purchased an online program before where your child needed to practice skills from a grade level above or below but couldn’t because your purchase only gave you access to that one level? Frustrating, right? CTCMath allows you to move around to any grade level or lesson you like. If your child needs to review skills from a grade below he can do that and then jump back in where he left off.
- Videos can be paused, rewound, or replayed if needed
- Certificates emailed to the parent– Children can earn bronze, silver, and gold certificates based on their scores for each lesson. They’re emailed to the parent and can be printed and given for motivation.
- Assign tasks– Parents can assign specific lessons they want their child to do
- Encourages the use of pen and paper– Unlike other online math programs where your child only types the answers on the computer, this one encourages the student to work out problems on paper and refer back to them when the answer is incorrect to identify why it was wrong.
- No common core– They teach math traditionally and present lessons with easy methods that give children success.
- Placement Tests– If you are unsure what level to start your child at, there are placement tests with a detailed report showing what lessons need reviewing
- Works on Apple and Android devices– You can take math with you! Can you say carschooling!
- Free Trial – You can try CTCMath free. With their free trial, your child can try the first lesson of every topic in each grade level with no time limit. It also includes the diagnostic tests.
You can learn more by watching this video.
Our Experience With This Homeschool Math Curriculum
To say that using CTCMath has improved our school day is putting it mildly.
My daughter is calm, happy, and amazingly sitting up straight in her chair again. I get things done around the house while both of them are working and it’s a win-win for everyone. I’m thrilled to have tried it and will continue to use it in our homeschool.
Do yourself a favor- stop ignoring all those emails like I did and experience how this homeschool math curriculum can improve your day! You have nothing to lose with their free trial. And if you love it, they have a half-price discount for homeschoolers. This makes it very affordable for your whole family to use.