Math seems to be a struggle for a lot of homeschoolers. Let’s see if CTC math is a good fit for you, too. We really like this math curriculum!
Before we continue though, here is my disclosure: CTC Math sponsored this review by offering me their product and I was compensated for my time, but I was NOT required to write a positive review. So this is my honest opinion after trying the program.
I hope this article helps other families that (like us) are looking for a math curriculum unicorn. 🌈 CTC Math seems to work great for us. Read more to see what I mean (LONG post alert!).
Here’s a quick overview of what we’ve been doing so far.
We tried one year of Singapore Primary (for K) before continuing with Math in Focus. We’ve been sticking to MiF since 1st grade and it while works for him, there is certainly no lost love between M and math :).
If you wish to see some fun additions to our math curriculum, check this post on math manipulatives (Cuisenaire Rods).
“Math just makes my brain feel hot, especially the calculations.”— M, homeschool kid aged 10
The problem we have with math is me: I am not a mathy person! I can’t make math interesting for him. And that’s what’s been happening in our house this year. I tuned math into a boring, dry subject and that needed to change!
We realized we might need outside help but I didn’t know where to start looking for it.
- extremely flexible/self-paced
- short (so it could be used as a supplement)
- someone else doing the teaching
- easy to navigate (no learning curve if possible)
- easy to align to what we are already doing
- no more bulkyness (3 textbooks at once are hard to juggle)
I also wished that M will somehow become independent in math (like he did in Chemistry and Physics where he is self-driven).
I took everything into consideration from tutors, to other programs (too expensive, too much in addition to what we are already doing, too hard and complicated to navigate, kid doesn’t like the format) and we finally, I settled on CTC Math!
1. What is CTC Math?
CTC Math is an online math curriculum for k-12 created by a homeschool dad of 10 who clearly knows what homeschooled children need in terms of math.
Pat Murray, the creator of this awesome math curriculum, used to be a math teacher in Australia. He eventually quit his 30 years long career in order to homeschool his 10 kids. That’s how CTC Math was born and grew to be a widely appreciated math curriculum worldwide.
“Some teachers can take upwards of 15 minutes teaching even a simple concept. It’s so boring it could send a whole army to sleep. Far better, and this is the method I prefer, is to teach the concept in about 4 minutes, and get the kids to practice it for the next 11 minutes. Same 15 minutes. But this time around, the kids have actually learned something. And have a much greater chance of recalling it later on.”— Patrick Murray, CTC Math Founder, https://www.ctcmath.com/pat-mu
I love the way he explains things, in such a simple, direct manner and he is right! Some of the programs we’ve tried do take a LOT of time explaining things that are straightforward.
This math curriculum is a chameleon! I love just how versatile it can be and how simple and organized all the information is at the same time. So much better than my unicorn, because it’s real!
You can transform it into a mastery or spiral approach by just choosing the way you would like to work with it. It can also be turned into a “blended learning” or offline program by simply printing the practice problems or even the lessons! Just read more to see how.
Although CTC Math is pretty easy to navigate, I will take you through each section so you can see some of the most important features.
Student Dashboard versus Parent Dashboard
I am attaching an image comparison of the two, you can drag the slider to see now view or the other. On the left, we have the student view and on the right the teacher/parent view.
When you first log in to CTC Math you are asked to create a profile for your students from your parent profile. It’s very easy to set up and the kids do not need an e-mail address. This was a bonus for us because M doesn’t have his own e-mail yet and I am not planning to give him access to one anytime soon.
Parents can assign tasks and tests to their students by choosing from what’s available and customizing it to their needs. Here are some things that you can do from the parent dashboard:
- add up to 5 students (if you email them you can add up to 10!) with the Homeschool Family Membership option
- assign tasks to be completed, separately for each child
- monitor when children log in and how much time they spent online
- check their progress and see where they struggle
- set up your own “passing grade” (50% or more) and the number of attempts your child is allowed before passing a lesson
- create your own custom question banks where you can choose the difficulty level and more!
- see all the lessons at a glance
- get all your reports in one place wirh a simple click
- access to video instructions on how to use the program’s features
A student dashboard lets kids:
- pick up where they left off
- see their tasks and due “homework”
- get awarded for completing lessons and tasks
- access ANY level
- watch lessons multiple times in video/pdf format
- print lessons
- answer online questions with immediate feedback
- access drill games to speed up their math
- see their login history and reports/awards
- change their display theme
Lessons and Levels Overview
CTC Math covers a lot of topics for each class from kindergarten to 12th grade. I will attach photos so you can check all the topics covered in each grade.
Please note that CTC Math is NOT Common Core aligned and if you are outside of Australia, you get access to the United States Curriculum.
2. A Closer Look at CTC Math Curriculum
CTC Math is very flexible and is perfect for homeschool families that need an affordable, independent math curriculum. I will expand on each of the points below:
- Very affordable
- Customizable and adaptable
- No frills
- Independent math
- Immediate feedback
- Fun and motivating
CTC Math is an affordable math curriculum
It’s a very affordable program. Their Membership for Homeschool Families for a full year costs just $ 148.50. For those of you with multiple children, it’s at such great value!
With one homeschool family membership, you get access to ALL the lessons from kindergarten to 12th grade and you can add up to 10 kids. Please note that you initially get access for 5 kids but if you send them an email requesting more spots, they will help you enroll the rest of your children.
Besides, they offer a 7-day FREE trial and a “money-back guarantee” for 365 days!
50% discount if you are a homeschooler or homeschool family.
(November 2021 offer).
You can try the program for 1 week, just click below
CTC Math also gives you a 365 days period for a full refund!
Isn’t that just perfect? If you decide at any point that this is not a good fit for you anymore, you get your money back.
CTC Math is a customizable and adaptable math curriculum
This is a math program that’s very flexible and easy to adapt to (almost) everyone’s needs and demands. I stated above that I like to call it chameleon because it just seems to mold to your needs in ways other programs can’t.
Here’s how it can be customized for your needs:
Mastery or Spiral
CTC Math is thought out as a mastery approach program but with a few tweaks, you can easily turn it into a spiral approach by simply jumping from concept to concept as you need to.
We use it as a supplement to Math in Focus so we are going with the mastery approach because M learns better that way. For example, he can spend a day doing fractions for the next 2 grades if he wishes to because he likes them.
Full curriculum or Supplement
You can use CTC Math as a stand-alone curriculum or as a supplement because the lessons are so short.
We have time to squeeze it next to our math curriculum since it’s so versatile and M is happy for a change of scenery from traditional pen and paper.
He also likes hearing someone else explain the concepts for a change.
So we are using it to supplement Math in Focus and solidify some of the harder-to-get concepts.
Accelerate or Decelerate
You can definitely use it at your own pace.
For children that need to review and even relearn some concepts, you can take it from the beginning and quickly go through all the lessons from previous years, stopping where you need to fill some gaps.
You could just do the tests and stop only where the kids have problems.
For children that are good in math, you can let them work ahead, at their own pace, choosing their own topics of interest.
Online or Blended
CTC Math is online-based, but by printing out lessons and questions you can turn it into a blended or an almost offline program.
One of my greatest concerns about online programs especially in math is that everything is done online. It doesn’t have to be that way with CTC Math.
We print out some worksheets instead of just solving them all on the screen to balance out screen and paper.
I also print out the lessons because the information is so condensed it can be easily used as notes to review at any point!
Another cool feature is that when the kids redo the problems, they will get different questions every time! So there’s no chance to memorize the answers or cheat.
I have a friend who’s using CTC in a different way (just proves again how adaptable this simple program is!). She is making her son do only the tests. If he scores high (remember, you can set the scoreline from 50% up, as you wish) she just skips him to the next test and so on until they hit a concept he doesn’t know. Then he will dive into those lessons before moving on.
This program works for kids that don’t have patience with traditional curricula, for kids that are behind their peers in math and need to catch up but don’t want to be forced to go through a whole traditional curriculum, for kids that are great in math and can quickly grasp the concepts before moving on.
Printing lessons and worksheets:
I love the fact that you can even customize the amount of working space you need for the printable worksheets!
I know some kids have sensory issues and panic when they see a paper full of numbers. You can instead choose the size of the white space around your problems and even the position!
The option to print lessons is easy to spot, just click on PDF under the video lesson and you will get to print and save it.
For printing questions, follow the steps on this video (you have to log into your teacher account).
CTC Math is accessible
What I mean by this is that CTC Math is very easy to navigate and set up, easy to follow up and you get access to ALL the levels at once.
Kids don’t need to follow the lessons in a certain order. They can go slower when it comes to harder concepts and faster when it comes to easier concepts.
M is happily jumping around concepts (cherry-picking only what he likes). That’s why I started using the tasks for him. But he could certainly fly through fractions for example, or negative numbers (even though he’s not covered those in-depth officially).
I think it encourages him to explore more and that’s what we’ve been missing in math.
It’s also accessible from anywhere! You can log in from any device at any given time, no more bulky books and notebooks to carry around.
I’ve heard of people using it with their kids while they wait in line for an appointment, or while traveling, while at their grandparents’. It’s really very easy to access anytime.
CTC Math – No frills, just math
We’ve tried lots of other online math curricula and math games. Some get the kids so engrossed in the play and what happens around the math that they end up using the program for their daily game fix.
That’s why I don’t like using these games and I usually avoid online programs. I won’t name them, but you can easily spot them because they are game-centered, not math-centered.
What I like about CTC Math the most is its simplicity! It’s to the point, no wasted time, no other distractions: plain and simple math with an easy to navigate website.
The videos are short (just a few minutes), the explanations are concise and very easy to follow. If M doesn’t understand the lesson, he can just quickly listen to it again- it just takes a few minutes. Or he can review the lesson printout.
CTC Math lessons speak to all types of learners:
auditory – the lessons are explained in an auditory-visual manner.
To top it all, the Australian accent might be a novelty for some kids and might help them remember more- we certainly like it!
visual – each video lesson has simple on-screen instructions, is visually appealing, and organized in a logical, clean manner.
There is no clutter here!
kinetic – you can print out the questions for kids to solve on paper.
That way they can get a multi-sensory approach to math.
With younger children I would even use manipulatives to illustrate the video in real life.
I think that because of its simplicity, CTC Math works so well for a variety of kids and families.
The simple math games they have on their website are fun and appeal to children. M certainly enjoys them a lot! And unlike other online math games, they focus on math!
Have your kids try them for free! Just go to CTC Math‘s website, scroll to the bottom and you will see the games there.
I think games are a great way to speed up calculations and I am a big advocate for games instead of drills. So this was another bonus point for CTC for bringing these short math games into their curriculum.
CTC Math is an independent math curriculum
Oh boy! Haven’t I looked for this!
We use IEW for composition and it works so well because the lessons are video-based, the teacher is funny and his explanations are just perfect for M.
Of course, I wanted something similar for math. And I looked and looked until I reached CTC Math! M is not resisting at all when I log him in. He just dives in. When I open the main curriculum textbooks though, it’s a different story! 😅
My goal is to get him on an independent road for all his subjects. We are slowly getting there and we keep working towards that goal.
CTC Math is allowing him a taste of independence. And I think it aligns perfectly with what we are lacking in our main curriculum.
This math curriculum is perfect for math independence!
Busy parents– I work from home and sometimes I need to travel for 3-4 days per week!
That means we are missing out on a lot of math.
CTC Math is easy to do by kids, independently, it’s short and to the point, so they won’t feel overwhelmed on their own.
Families with multiple kids working at multiple levels– I know it must be very difficult to keep up with everyone.
You are just one parent and can’t be in multiple places at once, but with CTC you can just look at each kid’s progress and just help them when you see they are struggling. Otherwise let the program do the hard work of grading everyone.
Kids that just need to work independently – like my friend’s son, who struggled with math for years. He just refused everything she chose because the traditional style did not work for him.
Then I told her to try CTC Math. She is constantly raving about it now, sending me messages to thank me for recommending it to her.
Her son is flying through the lessons!
I feel that CTC Math is our IEW for maths. I will keep paying for the membership because it’s gently nudging M exactly where I want him to go: math independence!
CTC Math offers immediate feedback and has record-keeping features
The immediate feedback is a feature that more programs share, and I like it because that means the child can learn from his mistake and not repeat it.
Kids can see what lessons they scored high on and where they need to work some more. They can also see at a glance what lessons are completed and what lessons aren’t. It’s all very intuitive.
And as for me, CTC Math takes the correcting homework task out of my hands. The papers are already graded, the progress is easily visible.
Each test can be printed out or saved as a PDF and the mistakes are clearly marked. They can be saved for an online or offline portfolio of the child. If we were to choose CTC Math as our main math curriculum, I could just add his work and tests in a portfolio and send it over to his school (I wrote more about our school here).
CTC Math is truly made with homeschoolers in mind when it comes to this aspect. Having everything easily accessible for record-keeping is an amazing feature.
CTC Math is fun and motivating
Just looking at M play would give you an idea of how this works! I’ve never seen so much excitement when doing multiplication no matter what I’ve tried.
CTC Math also uses award certificates for each level and each lesson. What a simple and efficient way to keep little ones motivated! It works exactly like our sticker rewards. (you can read more about how we motivate in our homeschool here).
Their certificates are Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Imagine M already aiming for the most expensive element. I think he is also picturing these in terms of their chemical symbols and tries to get to the most valuable one. 😅 Because he told me that he hasn’t gotten “the platinum” yet.
I heard of parents using the games included as little rewards, too: you finish 2 lessons, you can play math drills and I feel that’s a great motivator. We will try to use it like that in the future because M loves shooting the little alien ships while multiplying!
Downsides of CTC Math
Spoiler alert: there are almost none.
But like with any program, CTC Math won’t work for everyone and I am trying (very hard here) to come up with a list of things that someone would not like about this program so you can get a more rounded image of it. This was NOT easy, but here’s what I came up with. Note that most of them can be adjusted to fit your family anyway.
- NOT Common Core aligned– I know most of you will jump for joy when you hear this. I have nothing against common core, and the math we use is CC aligned. Just thought I should mention this for those of you that look for CC aligned programs.
- Grade levels might not fit exactly– depending on the math program you’re using, grade levels might not fit exactly in with CTC Math. M is 5th grade, but some of the Math in Focus concepts are in the 6th grade section. You can go around this by simply searching for a concept rather than relying on grade level.
- Might not be enough for math inclined children– CTC Math is awesome, but some of the lessons might be too easy for kids that love math (the ones that live and breathe math). They might need more challenge to keep them engaged. These kids would benefit more from other programs, geared towards them.
CTC Math is perfect for:
- large families
- budget families- it’s very affordable
- busy parents
- kids that lack confidence in math
- children that need more independence
- kids that get overwhelmed by traditional formats
- kids that work at different speeds through different concepts
- beginners- CTC Math will take care of almost everything
- families that look for just math, simple and concise, easily delivered!
CTC Math isn’t for:
- families that look for Common Core aligned programs
- kids that are very good/advanced in math might need more
All things taken into consideration, I am warmly recommending CTC Math to everyone, especially since they offer a 7-day free trial and then have a full refund policy for 365 days (100% money-back guarantee)! You truly have nothing to lose by giving them a shot. Maybe you’ll be as pleased and surprised with them as we were.
CTC Math Extra Freebies and Trial
Just to close this on an even greater note, you can find some really cool free stuff from CTC Math even if you don’t subscribe to their program (right away).
- Free trial for 7 days- get access to all the levels k-12!
- Free games by just accessing CTC Math website. Just scroll down and you will see the games to play linked at the bottom.
- Free YouTube lessons by accessing CTC Math’s YouTube Channel
Some Gifts for my Readers
And because you were so patient, reading all the way through another long post, I thought I’ll offer you a couple of printables.
One is the unicorn (or chameleon) Math Cover 😆. Just add your preferred Math Logo or personalize with your child’s name.
I added the blue unicorn with the CTC Math logo for our CTC worksheet folder. There’s nothing worse than messy pages floating everywhere.
The second printable is a mini worksheet with the Area of a triangle that we made especially for this post. You can find the explanations of finding area, how to find the height and base of a triangle, and I even included a small cut and paste activity.
Get them both from our Resource Library by subscribing below. You will receive an email with a password to access the library.
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