CTCMath Review

Mother and daughter posing with school report

Let me start by saying, I wish I had this program when I was in school, it would have helped me tremendously. When I first considered homeschooling my kids I was worried about how I would do with math and how well I would be able to teach it . Math, honestly, has never been my strong point. I’ve always been a reading, writing, English type of student and when it came to math I did it but I could have done much better. My daughter takes after me and she loves reading. When it came to math she seemed to struggle and I partially blamed myself because my approach and/or delivery wasn’t the best. I searched for months trying to find the right program to help me help her grasp the concepts.

A few days ago I told you about a math program called CTCMath. After signing up for the free trial and exploring the site I was very impressed. The tutor made everything easy to understand. I decided that it would be worth the investment and purchase the program. I have purchased several programs in the past which did not yield the results that CTCMath did in one day. I decided we would do an extended math session today so I could get the feel of the program and see how she liked it.

Before we started CTCMath this morning my daughter had been struggling with rounding. No matter how I tried to explain it, it wasn’t clicking. I looked for games and she kinda got it but when we went back to doing it on paper, it didn’t stick.  It was so frustrating trying to explain something that to me, was super easy to understand. By the end of 2 hours on this program (we covered several topics) she completed rounding with a 95%! I was am AMAZED. I still can’t believe she picked it up in that short of a time and we didn’t have to play online games. Most of all, My child was so happy to finally get it. She was proud to show me her 95% and 100% on her lessons. I was happy that all I had to assist instead of instruct and I didn’t have to grade a thing!

After she completed her math sessions I received an email informing me of what she did for the day and how she scored on all of her topics we covered. I even received 3 awards to print and display! I am so happy I found this program.  If you have a child that needs help in math, please save your sanity and look into this program. I will happily continue to pay for this program until we are done with homeschool. It is well worth the $78.80 per year!

 

**This is my honest opinion of the product reviewed**

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Grade 5 school schedule

This is my Grade 5 year round school schedule. I originally was going to schedule Friday’s off but after considering the field ministry, I think Monday’s will be a better day during the week to get out with the children. I know it looks like a lot but I wanted to make sure my daughter was getting the same types of classes she would be getting in a public school setting. Our days usually end before 3:30 but it’s nice to have that time set aside just in case an assignment goes longer than expected. Most classes will be scheduled in 30 minute blocks except math which we do for an hour each day. I like to start with math in my schedule because it’s both my daughter and my least favorite subject and I like to get it out of the way so it’s smooth sailing for the rest of the day.

Materials used this year….

Math class- we are using Khan academy but I may start using Xtra math this year.

Bible class- we are using the book “What does the Bible really teach?” as a bible study aid. Since we have Bible class scheduled daily we only read until the next subheading. Be sure to look up every scripture noted and discuss with your student to make sure the principals are understood (If your child is not yet on the level to read the Bible teach book you can use the “Learn from the great teacher” or “My book of Bible stories”) Once we complete the Bible teach book we will be moving on to the God’s love book.  (This is the only class you will need to do with your child)

Art class- We paint, draw, color and do picture studies. I’ve also found some artist biographies to complete while studying particular artists. I purchased a used textbook called Art connections which has some great assignments as well. I also posted previously a link to Mrs. Brown’s art class.

Read aloud- I really found that having my daughter listen to audio books while reading along helped her with reading. The free audiobook app we use is Librivox (free on android play store). hey also have a windows 8 application (free) or you can go to the website librivox.org. There are several languages supported. When I have a spiritual audio book assigned we use JW.org and we also downloaded an excellent app called JW pod-caster (free on android play store). It has a ton of literature (from the website) that you can listen to as well. Reading and listening to literature helps your student improve their reading skills.

Health- We are using Harcourt Health and fitness grade 5 textbook.    I make up questions based on the reading and there are also some questions provided as well.

Computer- We are focusing on keyboarding skills this year. I am using Learn to type (free online program). We also add in some typing games that I search for online to break up the monotony of typing.

Reading- I loved reading growing up and so does my daughter. We use reading comprehension books and I also use chapter books. With the chapter books I typically skim over and look up comprehension questions and  vocabulary words. You can sometimes find questions and answers online based on the chapters of whatever book your reading.  We also do lapbooks which my daughter really enjoys doing.

TIP:  Try to schedule reading before lunch that way you have time to start cooking lunch (or dinner) before class is over.  I’ve found it helps me with managing my time…

Grammar- We are using Exercises in English level E language arts book. Any grade level language arts book will do. I assign two pages per day.

Writing– For writing we do copy work, cursive practice and creative writing. I like to use scriptures from the bible and Ambleside online has some copy work assigned per grade level. I did use majority of the Ambleside copy work assignments BUT some of the passages are taken from classic literature that have a racial attitudes and language. I personally decided to leave those out.

Spelling– I use Spelling city (free online) to create lists and spelling tests. See my older post on spelling city of you are not familiar.

Geography, Science and Music- I decided to use http://allinonehomeschool.com/ for my Geography, music and Science. I have my own Harcourt Science textbook that I may switch back to but this was already done and because I was exhausted with planning curriculum,  I used  someone else’s.

PE- I use YouTube for PE. I find kids Zumba or other children’s fitness routines and have my daughter a video 1-3 times depending on the length of the video. It’s very important that we keep our kids active and doing a dance routine is a fun way to do it. Sometimes we all join in the fun!

So now that you know what I am using and below is my schedule for the day. While my daughter is doing math, I have time to work with my son who is in pre-k. I’ll do a separate post for my pre-k learner.

 

Year Round. Tuesday- Friday Schedule.  One month off for Summer break and three additional weeks off during the school year to be added when we want a break or vacation. Having Monday’s off we can go out in service and do housework. We can also use Monday’s as a makeup day if you need to make up a missed school day.

8:30 Daily Text Daily Text Daily Text Daily Text No class/ make up
8:45 Math Math Math Math No class/ Make up
9:45 Bible Bible Bible Bible No class/ make up
10:15 Art Read Aloud Art Read Aloud No class/ make up
10:45 15 min break 15 min break 15 min break 15 min break No class/ make up
11:00 Health Computer Health Computer No class/ make up
11:30 Reading Reading Reading Reading No class/ make up
12:00 Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch No class/ make up
12:30 Grammar Grammar Grammar Grammar No class/ make up
1:00 Writing Writing Writing Writing No class/ make up
1:30 Spelling Spelling Spelling Spelling No class/ make up
2:00 Geography Geography Geography Geography No class/ make up
2:30 Science Science Science Science No class/ make up
3:00 Music PE Music PE No class/ make up

 

 

When your child is disabled

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This article was very helpful for me. As you may already know, my son is on the autism spectrum. As his parent I’ve felt like sometimes I was on a roller coaster trying to help my son and cope with how I was feeling in reaction to his quirks and/or behaviors. I’ve prayed many days to Jehovah to help my son and to give me and my family the strength and endurance to care for him. Some days have been great while others have left me feeling drained and defeated. I was told to read this Bible based article by my mother and I was glad she told me about it. I felt renewed after reading this wanted to share this with you. Whether you are a Jehovah’s Witness or not, this Bible based counsel will help you. Feel free to look up the highlighted scriptures or grab your own Bible to look them up. Either way you will feel encouraged by the power of God’s words. There are many other encouraging articles if you are interested at Jw.org

http://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/wp20130201/disabled-child/#?insight[search_id]=cb3e9e99-01f6-4717-9415-02e648c1df56&insight[search_result_index]=0

Ducksters! Awesome new homeschool resource!!!

I’m sitting here finishing up my curriculum for the remainder of the year (YES!!!) and I was looking for something to supplement our World History class. I came across http://www.ducksters.com  and had to share this site with you guys! This site looks awesome and I plan on using this tool to help with our homeschooling to mix things up.

This site has: US History, World History, Geography, Science, Study help and more!

List of free and affordable Homeschool resources

1Homeschooling your kids shouldn’t be expensive. Due to a change in financial circumstances, I don’t have the budget  I spent this school year so I must be frugal. I will be updating this list periodically with free and low cost homeschool resources and stores I find homeschool supplies on the cheap.

 

Homeschooling resources

1. Worldbook.com – Typical course study/ what your child should learn per grade
2. Amblesideonline.com – Free curriculum (Charlotte Mason based)
3. Oldfashionededucation.com – Free christian based curriculum
4. Progressivephonics.com – Pre-k
5. Starfall.com – Early phonics (pre-k & kinder)
6. Ceure.buffalostate.edu – Math
7. Smithlifescience.com – free study units
8. Gardenofpraise.com – Biblical worksheets
9. k12reader.com – free printable grammar/ English
10. Cellsalive.com – science
11. Froggy.lbl.gov/virtual – science , virtual frog dissection
12. Kids.nationalgeographic.com – science
13. Teach-nology.com – free printable
14. Schoolfamily.com – Free printables
15. Diyhomeschooler.com – Free study units and more
16. Uen.org – curriculum
17. Angelfire.com/pa4/weslanco – free study units
18. Cyberschoolbus.un.org/cur.html -Free study units under curriculum
19. Freeprintables.net – free printables
20. Teachersprintables.net – free printables
21. Easycovers.com – free binder cover templates
22. Math-aids.com- create free math printable worksheets
23. Freeunitstudies.com – Free unit studies
24. Allinonehomeschool.com – Free complete homeschool curriculum (Pre-k- high school)
25. Tinasdynamichomeschoolplus.com- Awesome printables and DIY planner pages and help for the parents
26. Education.nationalgeographic.com – Free education lessons ideas and videos from National Geographic
27. http://www.jmeacham.com – free study units
28. http://www.handwritingworksheets.com – create free handwriting worksheets
29. http://www.tlsbooks.com – Free printable worksheets
30. http://www.first-school.ws/theme/printables/calendar.htm
31. freehomeschooldeals.com – TONS of free homeschool stuff
32. http://www.vocabulary.co.il/ -Lots of vocabulary games (K-12)
33. Hslaunch.com – Awesome site to get lapbooks, notebooking pages, worksheets etc.. FREE

34. Ducksters.com- History, Geography, science etc… Free

35. http://www.worksheetplace.com/ – free worksheets, quizzes, lists etc…2000+ free worksheets

 

Planning for my second year of homeschool

This year has been a learning experience for me.  I almost thought I was going to give up and send my daughter back to public school because homeschool seemed so time consuming and I was overwhelmed.  I went from creating my own curriculum to K-12 and RAN back to doing my own curriculum-quickly! I read all of the mommy homeschool blogs and finally came to the conclusion (after lots  of prayer) that I have to do what works for me and my family and it’s okay if we mess up sometimes.  I was in such a panic to line my homeschool with what I saw in the homeschool blogs and sometimes I was very discouraged thinking ” I wish I could do that “. As someone who is learning to be more organized, it’s been a challenge since I am a go with the flow kinda person. I learned my children needed more structure and frankly so did I.  Some changes we will be implementing is the schedule.

I decided to do the year-round school for a couple of reasons: 1) If my daughter doesn’t use it, she starts to lose it. We’ve spent so much time refreshing skills already learned in public school because we haven’t done them in a while. 2) If I get off of my routine, it’s hard getting back in and we suffer for about one week while mom tries to pull it together.

I found a 2014-2015 calender online and started to plan my school year. I’ve decided that we will have a 4 day school week (Mon-Thurs) and on Friday’s we can go out in service or work on any incomplete assignments from the week.

The crazy thing I am going to attempt is planning an entire school year in one weekend so I don’t waste time planning curriculum during the year and it frees up so much time.  Here is the link for the blog I got the idea from:

http://www.simplyconvivial.com/2012/homeschool-planning-a-year-at-a-time-introduction

When I first saw this, I thought it was crazy. There was no way I thought I could do an entire year in one weekend. I know I wanted to do year round but and just figured I would have to set aside time to plan my curriculum each week.  After printing a calender this is what I came up with:

2014-2015 Homeschool Calender:

Days of school each month on Mon-Thur schedule.

July –  16 Days

August- 16 Days

September- 18 Days   (End of 1st quarter)

October- 18 Days

November- 16 Days

December- 19 Days  (End of 2nd quarter)

January- 17 days

February – 16 Days

March -16 Days (End of 3rd quarter)

April – 18 Days

May – 10 Days (180 Days of school)

Since we don’t celebrate National Holidays, I get a weekly break which is much needed every week.
I like this schedule and wish I would have thought of it sooner! This gives the family a 3 day weekend every weekend. I have the flexibility to have a scheduled “make-up” day every week if something needs to be completed or if anyone was sick and this doesn’t cut into our normal family time. I’m hopeful this schedule will work. After looking at the number of days in each month, it doesn’t seem so unrealistic to sit down for a weekend to plan out the entire year. A weekend sacrificed is worth not having to plan out curriculum every week .

I’m so glad I found this site!

I was browsing online looking for more home-school study materials when I came across this amazing page called HS Launch. There are TONS of notebooking pages, study units, Lapbooks and more and it’s FREE!  I’ve been super busy getting back into the groove of things with putting my curriculum together. Just wanted to stop in and share that with you. It’s always nice to have someone else do your lesson plan when your short on time!! Check it out!!!

http://www.hslaunch.com

Agape!