Homeschooling can be a daunting path to embark on. Many parents wonder how they can possibly “get it all done” by themselves….especially if they are homeschooling multiple children.
As a mom of six kids, I am a HUGE fan of the “work smarter, not harder” philosophy, and because of that, my top recommendation for homeschool families is to outsource math to a self-teaching curriculum as soon as possible. This provides your children with professional teaching via video lessons, and does all of the grading and record-keeping for you! While I am not a big fan of just sitting the kids in front of a computer and expecting them to learn, THIS is the exception!
CTCMath is my favorite because it covers K-12 math (others do not), and offers one incredibly affordable price that covers ALL your kids no matter how many grade levels they work through in a year. I do not know of a more educationally effective, time-saving, money-saving option out there!
Teaching math to my kids has been one of the toughest, and sometimes most frustrating aspects of homeschooling. Of the four remaining kids that I have at home, two are doing great working independently using CTC Math and Life of Fred. And two struggle to retain…..just about everything. We have tried many, many different things, and still haven’t found that magic approach that really sticks for these two kids. Honestly, you guys, while on the one hand I worry about how on earth I’m going to get these kids through high school math, on the OTHER hand, math time is where I really shine as a paragon of patience. And actually, I’m not even kidding when I say that.
I don’t want to mess my kids up, you know? And if they don’t understand, it’s not like that’s THEIR fault, right? And if they feel jittery or upset or like someone is mad at them, how can they use their brain power to hopefully do their math? They can’t.
So, I’m calm. I speak so, so nicely. I gently remind them of what they did yesterday, and the day before, and the day before…..and show them examples.
We get out the white boards and dry erase markers. I talk them through the process. I give them fun little hints to help them remember. (ha)
In short, I’m a paragon of virtue. While the gray hairs are sprouting and inwardly I’m probably losing minutes from my life. lol (But gaining stars in my crown, y’all! Stars in my crown! lol)
Well, the other day one of my kids was just stuck. Absolutely stuck. As it sometimes happens, it was for something that really shouldn’t be too hard for him to do. For whatever mysterious reason (so many mysteries like this in our life!) the way he was trying to think of it was taking him a looooong time.
This mysterious math problem? “What is half of 34?” I gave him space. I gave him suggestions. I wrote out the problem on the white board. And after about ten minutes, I took my frazzled, frustrated self over to the couch. And pulled a blanket over my head. Yup. (FYI: Humor works well to diffuse frustration. And the kids won’t cry.)
I sent the above text message to my friend Amy. She’s a fellow homeschool mom who also has her share of struggles. She also used to be a high school algebra teacher. (So I complain to her about our math woes from time to time) You can see how sympathetic she was. LOL (So glad my suffering can bring joy to someone else! hahahaha)
Well, we got through math that day, of course. And while I was glad that I’d been able to remain calm (nobody could see the faces I was making under the blanket), there was still that lingering worry about the homeschooling itself: What am I doing wrong? How can I help my kids succeed? What if I don’t figure it out in time? Will they be ok? Am I screwing this up? Now, I’ve been at this homeschooling gig for a long time. This is the end of our 18th year since we began, in fact, and two of our kids are grown adults. So, I can objectively know that things will come together sooner or later, I am not screwing everything up, and they will be ok. But those doubts and fears can creep in. In some seasons it can feel overwhelming.
I don’t have any pretty answers for this. This is just the tension that goes along with the responsibility of being in charge of your child’s education. And for those of us with kids that struggle with academics, it can be regularly daunting. I don’t share this in order to provide an easy answer. It’s only to let you know that we all have these things. You aren’t alone.
If you want to feel less alone, if you want to hear from a mom who tells it like it is, let’s get connected, ok? You can sign up to get my newsletter, which includes a bunch of stuff including regular from-the-trenches posts from me. You can follow me on Periscope and interact with me over there live. I also plan to get going on Facebook live, so if you Like Enrichment Studies over there, we can connect that way, and you’re also welcome to join the Enrichment Lifestyle group on FB as well. I just know it helps to keep it real with other people that are also going through the same kind of stuff.
I’ve been homeschooling my six children for most of the past 20 years, so it would be fair to say that we have used quite a few different math programs. With so many different issues and needs for each child and circumstance over the years, it’s only natural that one size hasn’t fit all.
A couple years ago some of my kids needed something different for their math, and after considering several options we decided to try CTCMath. The simplicity and affordability of it had a huge appeal. I was looking at needing 3-4 different math levels, which in every other program I was considering would have been $150-200 per child. CTC offers math for all levels from Kindergarten through Trigonometry, at one low price that covers the whole family! Boom! Yes! For one bargain price ALL of my kids could use CTC, and as they leveled up or needed to refresh their memories about a particular aspect of math that year, there was nothing else to buy. What a relief!
Not only that, but CTC does all the heavy lifting of TEACHING and GRADING! Oh yeah. No more sessions with me struggling to figure out how to explain a concept. No sirree. Instead, each lesson is taught via streaming video where you can hear the teacher and see how to work the math examples right in front of you, before working the math problems yourself and entering your answers into the CTC site. The system gives immediate feedback if their answers are right or wrong, which I really appreciate since it’s important for them to know right away if they aren’t understanding a concept. You can immediately take action to re-work a problem and make sure the student understands before going on.
I also loved it that my kids could access their CTCMath on their Kindle Fires. When we started with CTC they didn’t have laptops, and with 4 kids using the program, it wasn’t practical to all share the same computer. The options for accessibility are awesome. CTC will also work on your ipads and tablets. Very handy!
The family plan is set up to include 5 children in a family, but if you have more kids than that, you can easily contact CTC support and they will add more students to your account at no extra charge. So nice for large families, and what a blessing financially!
You can play a demo and watch a sample lesson here.
Diagnostic tests at the start of each unit help you and your child determine if they need to do that section or if they can safely bypass it and go on to the next. This was helpful for us, coming from a different math program. Since each math program seems to have its own order of doing things, it isn’t always straightforward to find where your child fits when switching to a different curricula. The diagnostic tests helped us avoid “gaps” AND repetition of concepts already mastered.
My son Isaac is using CTCMath again this year, and he really like the videos and the teacher. We have used some other video-based teaching programs before, but this one seems to make the most sense to him, and the teaching style is pleasant and engaging. Isaac is able to work through several lessons each day during his math time, and he seems happy doing so. The program corrects his work as he goes, so he’s able to work through anything he missed and see solutions if something went wrong.
One fun aspect of the program is that periodically my son reaches milestones in the program and we get an email congratulating him and telling him about his accomplishment. And each week I get a summary of the work that’s been done and what grades he has earned, so if I haven’t been paying super close attention, that’s my opportunity to get back on track and know what’s been happening with his math.
For children that are using other math programs, CTC can still come in handy. If they get stuck on a concept, we can pop over to CTC and let them watch the video lesson. Often this provides a different way to approach the problem, and that does the trick for helping them understand the concepts in a different way. So, CTC works well as a tutoring option as well!
CTCMath is currently offering an awesome deal for homeschool families. You can get 60% off their already very reasonable prices! This 12 month deal costs less than what I paid *per child* for our last math program, and this covers ALL of the kids in your household at ALL levels!!! And as if that wasn’t a compelling enough offer, they offer a 12-month money back guarantee! You can’t beat that!
I hope that learning a little more about CTCMath and our experience with it has been helpful to you. We have really appreciated it at our house.
Disclosure: CTCMath sponsored this post, but I paid for our CTCMath membership myself. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Welcome to my blog. It’s so nice to meet you!
Welcome to the Enrichment Lifestyle Blog! I'm so glad you're here. :) I'm Erica Johns, and I love to encourage homeschool moms and help them enjoy more of the beauty of the arts in everyday life.
About me: I started my homeschooling journey in 1997 and graduated the last of my six children in 2021. Amidst all the hard work, crazy days, uncertainty, and lost pencils, what I think we really gained was the gift of a lifetime: TIME TOGETHER. So awesome! Click my pic to learn more.