Saturday, December 9, 2017

Holiday Elf is Back!

There are so many wonderful things happening this year. It snowed for the first time in a long time in Texas. My daughter FINALLY had a snowball fight with me and the neighborhood. We took a winter walk together to view the lights as we played in the snow. Here is a picture of the front yard the next morning. The snow quickly melted away by mid-afternoon.

We also had a special visitor arrive. Our Elf on the Shelf, Faith, came to the house. The first day she spread shreds of paper across the house leading to the Christmas tree where she was hiding in a decorative Christmas box with a sign saying, "I'm Back!" My daughter was thrilled to see that she returned and helped clean up the mess.
Here is another prank she recently played on Alyssa. My daughter woke up and ran to the bathroom only to find . . . 

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? 
Share your Elf actions or deeds in the comment section. 

I will link this post up at Blogging Through the Alphabet Linky. H is the letter of the week so come join the fun and link up your post. I will also link this post up at the Homeschool Blog Link Up.
Building Character Round Up {and Weekly Homeschool Link UP}

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

2017 Blue Ribbon Awards

I posted my last review for the Homeschool Review Crew on the first of November. The Crew year has just finished up - we are now on a holiday break. The Homeschool Review Crew has blessed my family this year with 15 review products. We've enjoyed learning about several new companies and trying new products in the year 2017.

The Crew team reviewed over 75 products in 2017. They've given out 31 Blue Ribbons to 22 Companies. We voted on our favorites and results are in! The Crew leaders tallied up the votes in order to give out the Blue Ribbon Awards.

I wanted to end the year by sharing our personal favorite review products with you. The links below will take you to my blog reviews.

Our Family Favorite Review Products for 2017

Favorite Math: CTC Math
Favorite Math Supplement: Algebra for Breakfast
Favorite Geography: Let's Go Geography
Favorite History: Homeschool in the Woods Project Passport
Favorite Reading: K-5 Learning
Favorite Art: Creating a Masterpiece (Me) and ArtAchieve (my daughter's)
Favorite Christian Supplement: Let the Little Children Come
Favorite Supplement: Super Teacher Worksheets
Favorite Science: A Journey Through Learning Exploring Creation With Botany Lapbook
Favorite BookCarole P. Roman Books
Best Product Just for Fun!Trust Fund Movie
Favorite Parent Product: Everyday Homemaking - Everyday Cookbook
Favorite Elementary: Let's Go Geography
Resource I Didn't Know I Needed: Super Teacher Worksheets
Best E-Product: Home School in the Woods Time Travelers and Project Passport
Best Online Program: CTC Math
Kid's Choice: Let's Go Geography

Thank you to all of the vendors who offered us review products this year and congratulations to this year's Blue Ribbon Award Winners!

Now that you've read about our family favorites, visit the Homeschool Review Crew Blog or click on the graphic below to find out which companies won the Blue Ribbon Awards and to read about the other Crew members' personal favorites.
Homeschool Review Crew Favorite Products for 2017

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Gokstad Viking Ship Geography Art Craft

The featured craft from our Let's Go Geography curriculum last week was the Gokstad Viking Ship. Alyssa researched information about this ship using the websites provided. Norway is well-known for their prominent Viking heritage. She learned many other meaningful factoids during her research session.

Let me tell you a little bit about this art project. First, we gathered white, brown and blue shades of paper for the Viking ship. I printed the template patterns from the Printables section of the curriculum on the different colored paper for her to trace. The sails were printed on white, the ship was printed on brown, and the ocean waves were printed on blue paper.

My daughter cut out the waves and glued them in place starting in the middle of the page. She worked her way down the page. She also colored and cut out the sails. She colored the vertical stripes red and white. Then, the brown entire ship was lightly colored darker and decorated. She wrote Norway on the bottom of the page.

I will link this Gokstad Viking Ship Craft post up at Blogging Through the Alphabet LinkyG is the letter of the week so come join the fun and link up your post. I will also link this post up at the Virtual Refrigerator Linky and the Homeschool Blog Link Up.
Homeschool Coffee Break
Building Character Round Up {and Weekly Homeschool Link UP}

Friday, November 17, 2017

Finland Reindeer Craft

My daughter is studying Finland this week so I thought it would be fitting to write an F is for Finland Reindeer Craft. This is an awesome craft that can serve as a Christmas tree ornament. Did you know that in an area north of Finland there is a place called Lapland where the Sami people live and raise reindeer?

The Let's Go Geography curriculum we use provides the student with information and an educational website link to research more information about the Sami people and the reindeer they raise. We actually slightly modified the craft project. 

We gathered the following materials for the project:

  • Gold Pipe Cleaners
  • Brown Construction Paper
  • White Card Stock Paper
  • Small Red Pom Pom (Sparkly)
First, I printed the reindeer template found in the Printables section of the curriculum on white card stock. Alyssa cut out the reindeer outline. She traced the white card stock template on the brown construction paper. Then, she cut around the shape.

Next, my daughter hole punched the top of the figure in the middle between the ears. Then, she cut and reshaped the gold pipe cleaners to look like antlers. You can add a tree hanger through the hole to place it on the Christmas tree. The pipe cleaner antlers will be between the two pieces of paper. 

Alyssa glued the brown paper reindeer on top of the white card stock paper to make it stronger and sturdier. She also decorated the reindeer craft. She drew on the eyes instead of using Googly eyes. Ears were drawn as well. My daughter also glued on a red sparkly pom pom for the nose using a glue dot. It looks like Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer. She decided NOT to add glitter to the reindeer's face. The glitter would make the face appear snow-blown. Finally, Alyssa wrote Finland on the back of the reindeer craft and drew snowflakes. I think the craft is super adorable. She plans on making several of them as ornament gifts.   

I will link this Finland Reindeer Craft post up at Blogging Through the Alphabet Linky. F is the letter of the week so come join the fun and link up your post. I will also link this post up at the Virtual Refrigerator Linky and the Homeschool Blog Link Up.
Homeschool Coffee Break
Building Character Round Up {and Weekly Homeschool Link UP}

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ecuador Butterfly Craft

We are continuing our journey through our Let's Go Geography curriculum. I wrote about my beginning experiences and opinions with this curriculum on my blog, A Learning Journey, about a month and a half ago. Ecuador's featured craft displayed the beauty of the butterfly. Ecuador is known for having many more different species of butterflies than any other location around the world. The curriculum provides an educational website link for children to research and explore butterfly pictures.

Let me tell you a little about this week's craft. First, we gathered the necessary supplies for the project including black construction paper, white cardstock, black pipe cleaner, scissors, glue stick, and acrylic paint.

I printed the butterfly template on white cardstock for my daughter from the Printables section of the curriculum lesson plans. Then, she folded the template on the fold line with the design face up. She also folded the black construction paper and placed it inside the folded butterfly template.

Next, Alyssa cut along the dark lines of the butterfly. She glued the white butterfly pattern on the black paper to give it a background.

In order to make a symmetrical butterfly, my daughter painted one side of the butterfly and then folded it so that it would paint the other side of the butterfly. Touch-ups were needed to fill in white spaces. She continued using this painting technique for most of the project except for the outside borders which were painted by hand.

The last step of this project was for her to fold the black pipe cleaner in half in order to create butterfly antennae. She placed the butterfly inside the folded pipe cleaner and twisted the top. Alyssa wrote "Ecuador" on the butterfly.

I will link my Ecuador Butterfly post up at Blogging Through the Alphabet LinkyE is the letter of the week so come join the fun and link up your post. I will also link this post up at the Virtual Refrigerator Linky and the Homeschool Blog Link Up.
Homeschool Coffee Break
Building Character Round Up {and Weekly Homeschool Link UP}

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Poison Dart Frog Featured Craft

We are still working through our Let's Go Geography curriculum and we recently finished the South America unit. I wanted to share with you one of the featured crafts from that unit which centers around Colombia's Poison Dart Frog. This week at Blogging Through the Alphabet we are focusing on the letter D so I chose Dart Frogs as my blog topic.

A short paragraph about the Poison Dart Frogs was provided as part of the curriculum. She learned that these Colombian frogs secrete a poison on their skin that you can't touch as a defense mechanism to warn off predators. She also learned that in ancient times, the poison was placed on the tips of arrows or darts when hunting for food or utilized in warfare. Alyssa also used the educational website link to research more information about them. 

In order to make this craft we needed white and green paper, scissors, glue sticks, and crayons. I printed the leaf template on green paper and the poison dart frogs were printed on white paper. After researching images of poison dart frogs, Alyssa colored the dart frogs. She was fascinated by the colorful designs of all the dart frogs. Next she folded, cut out, and glued the frogs to the green leaf template. That's it . . . it's a super simple craft.   

I will link my Dart Frog post up at Blogging Through the Alphabet Linky. D is the letter of the week so come join the fun and link up your post. I will also link this post up at the Virtual Refrigerator Linky and the Homeschool Blog Link Up.
Homeschool Coffee Break

Building Character Round Up {and Weekly Homeschool Link UP}

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Let the Little Children Come - Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack

Let The Little Children Come

Let the Little Children Come sent us the Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack to review.  The company offers a variety of interactive evangelism tools and resources that teach about God's love and share the Gospel with children. The sampler pack contains TEN Gospel tracts and evangelism tools which are suitable for children ages 5-12 years old. The assortment of items are easy to use and effectively teach the profound message of salvation. We received four popular types of evangelism tools including the Pop-up Tracts, FlipAbouts, Animated Tracts, and the Wordless Salvation Bracelets and Book. Our items arrived in a bubble envelope which included an enclosed plastic carrying case or pouch.

What's Included in the Sampler Pack
  • Wordless Bracelet Kit
  • Silicone Salvation Bracelet
  • Wordless Book
  • John 3:16 Animated Tract
  • Where's Everybody Going? Animated Tract 
  • The True Story of Christmas Animated Tract
  • The Lost Easter Egg Pop-up Tract
  • The Most Amazing House Pop-up Tract
  • Gospel Buttons FlipAbout
  • John 3:16 FlipAbout

 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks

Our Experiences
I used the products with my nine-year-old daughter. I wanted an easy way to share the message of salvation with her and I wanted to teach her about God's love. I am also hoping she will use these tools to openly share the Gospel with her friends.

Let me start by telling you about our experiences with the wordless bracelets and book. We received two bracelets and one wordless colored book as seen below. 
 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks

Silicone Wordless Bracelet
The wordless silicone bracelet is an awesome way to teach and share the Gospel of Salvation to children. It is also known as the Gospel or Wordless Bracelet. We received a medium sized bracelet which is intended for older children and youth. The bracelet fit Alyssa without falling off. Alyssa wore her bracelet on her wrists to church and other locations. People would notice and ask about it. This tool is a neat way to ignite a conversation about salvation. She could easily explain the Gospel message because each color represented a significant piece of the message. The bracelet is available in three sizes: Small (Younger Children), Medium, and Large (Adults).

I think these bracelets would be a wonderful Sunday School welcome gift for children attending. They could also be passed out at any church event or function. For example, these would be great prizes at our church's upcoming fall festival or even at child baptisms. They can be added to goodie bags at a Halloween party or given out to trick or treaters. 

The silicone salvation bracelet came with an explanation of what each color symbolizes. Gold represents God love for us and how He wants us to be with Him in Heaven. Black represents our sins and the reason why we can't be with God. Red represents Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. White is the color that stands for the cleansing of sins and our new relationship with God including the fact that we can be with Him in Heaven one day. Green represents our growing relationship with God. We used this rolled up paper explanation for the Wordless Book too.  

Wordless Bracelet Kit
I thought this activity was going to be my daughter's favorite, but it wasn't because of the sliding knots. She had a difficult time creating the knots without help. She quickly thread the colored beads on the black cord. She watched the video demonstration and read the written instructions to learn how to create the sliding knots, but she still needed my help. It may be easier just to tie the ends together with one knot.   

Wordless Book
I used the rolled up explanation from the silicone wordless bracelet tool with this product. This tool can be used in the same manner as the bracelets. It is a simple way to explore the message of salvation. It is a stapled booklet which consists of five colored pages. Gold, black, red, white and green pages are included. No words are written in the booklet. The booklet can be used with children and new believers. They can tell the message in their own words using the colors as cues.     

John 3:16 and Gospel Buttons FlipAbout
This was Alyssa's favorite activity! I highly recommend spending some time familiarizing yourself with this activity before sharing it with your child. We spent several minutes attempting to use the FlipAbout and it became a competition to see who could use it properly first. My daughter was the first one to figure out how to use it. Now that we know how to use it we will use it as intended. I will quickly flip through the Gospel Buttons in hopes to intrigue the children that I share it with. Then, I would share the message of salvation beginning with Heaven. The How To Use instruction sheet provides the user with key points in the form of questions and verses to cover. The directions for this particular activity could use some minor wording clarification. 

The top picture shows BOTH of the FlipAbouts we received in our package. These tools required her to fold the FlipAbout back horizontally away from her body and then she needed to turn the FlipAbout to the left 90 degrees counterclockwise. The common problem occurred when we tried to open it as we would a book. You MUST use your right hand to grab the left-side of the FlipAbout to open it. Once you get the hang of it, this activity rocks! 

The FlipAbout on the right-hand side only uses brightly colored symbols to share the salvation message with children. The images included are the symbol for heaven in a gold background representing God's home, the white splashed heart with a black background representing sin, a white cross over a red background represents Jesus taking the punishment for our sins, and a white heart with a green background which represents our cleansed hearts.       

John 3:16 FlipAbout
Sorry about any blurry images. My daughter was folding and turning too fast for my camera. This FlipAbout utilized both words and colorful images to share the well-known John 3:16 Biblical verse. These tools are extremely fun once you get the hang of them. My suggestion to the company would be to make more of these FlipAbouts to help children memorize relevant Bible verses. It was used in the same manner as the Gospel Buttons FlipAbout.  

John 3:16 Animated Tract 
My daughter's attention was immediately captured when she opened this tract. It was her first time to utilize an animated tract. The movement of the images definitely caught and maintained her interest. The tract helped her memorize the Bible verse too! A phrase was added with each page until the complete referenced verse was revealed at the end. This tract was one of my personal favorites. The images selected will aid the child in their understanding of the verse. The tract includes circling hearts when stating "For God LOVED the world so much . . . " It also includes images of a cross, people walking, and an image of what is meant to be Heaven or eternal life.

First, Alyssa read the salvation message on each page and then she created the animations. The concept was simple. She placed the striped plastic acetate sheet over the cover and blurred images. Then, she slide the plastic sheet left to right to make the image move. This process was followed throughout the presentation.

Where's Everybody Going? Animated Tract
This tract contains the same usage directions. However, this is a story about God's Creation. It begins with a question about who made the Earth spin and includes an image of the Earth spinning. My daughter's favorite image was of the dolphin jumping out and back into the moving water. There is also a sweet image of an enlarging heart above a girl and boy when the tract explains that God made us and LOVES us very much. It also includes images of two people fighting, a spinning cross, and people going with God. My daughter didn't like the fighting image. I REALLY wish this tract actually included one image for each Day of Creation. 

There was a How To Use instruction sheet included with this product. It provided the parent or educator with thought-provoking questions that can be tailored to meet the needs of the audience's age group. The directions also provided Biblical verses to sprinkle in your presentation if you feel your children are ready for them. The second time we used this tract I added in the verses and questions to dig a little deeper.

The True Story of Christmas Animated Tract
I did not share the True Story of Christmas Animated Tract with my daughter yet, because I wanted to use it as a stocking stuffer this year. I absolutely love this tract! The tract begins with a true account of the Christmas story beginning with Mary's visit from the angel Gabriel. There are images of Baby Jesus crawling, their trip to Bethlehem on a donkey, the birth of Jesus in the manger, angels telling the good news to the shepherds, a one of a wise man following the star. The last illustrated page of the story does not need the plastic strip. It ends with a reminder of why we truly celebrate Christmas. We celebrate the birth of Jesus and his love for us all. It also references John 3:16. This tool may help children memorize the verse. 

This would be a great tool to give to students who participate in or to guests that attend our church Christmas event. 

Note: Remember to hold the plastic sheet horizontally across the images of the animated tracts. At the end of each tract, information about salvation and accepting Jesus Christ in your heart as your Savior is provided. Additionally, a prayer to say sincerely is included.
 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks

Pop-up Tracts
Our package included two pop-up booklets: The Lost Easter Egg and the The Most Amazing House. The tracts read like a story in the form of a miniature pop-up book. Basically, Alyssa turned the pages of the book and charming images popped up telling a portion of the story.
 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks 

The Lost Easter Egg is a story about three friends searching for Easter eggs at the park but one egg is missing. Obviously this book would be best used during Easter time. The children persistently search for the missing egg. They eventually find it beneath a sheep-shaped spring rider which reminds one of the children of The Story of the Lost Sheep as told by Jesus. The pop-up tract reminds readers that Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that they can be forgiven. It also states that he became alive again on the third day and discusses the real reason why we celebrate Easter. I am saving this pop-up for Alyssa's Easter basket this year.  

This miniature 3D pop-up book below is titled the The Most Amazing House Pop-up Tract. As you can see by Alyssa's face she enjoys reading it. The images jump out at her and are meaningful to the story. These pop-ups will help non-readers better understand the story if it is being read aloud. The story talks about God's home in Heaven. It explains that God wants you in Heaven with him. The pop-up defines sin. Sin is anything we do that makes God unhappy which includes telling lies, fighting, and stealing. My daughter was reminded that Jesus came to Earth to take the punishment for our sins and that he died on the cross so that our sins can be forgiven. The book ends with an explanation of how your child can get to the amazing house and a prayer. The salvation message is clearly stated. Alyssa prayed to Jesus by first admitting to her sins and asking God for forgiveness. Then, she stated that she believed Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Lastly, she invited Him into her life again.     

Overall Thoughts
The colorful sampler tools pack is a fun and engaging way to help children understand God and His Word. Children will quickly understand their salvation in Christ. The message is profound yet clearly stated and explained in the simplest terms for children. I believe these interactive tools are powerful and any child or new believer will benefit from using them. We plan on sharing all of these tools with our church leaders in hopes that we can utilize them in the near future. I love that so many of the products included detailed instructions and prayers.

Some items may require practice to gain familiarity with how the activity works. For example, the FlipAbouts and the double sliding knots which are required for the Wordless Bracelet Kit will take extra time and practice. The written directions for the Wordless Bracelet Kit were easier to follow than the online video demonstration. It was hard to see the knots via the video. Helpful illustrations accompanied the written directions of the more complicated or challenging activities. Some assistance may be needed at first especially with younger children. It is always best to model the activity first as the parent or teacher.

The hands-on component attracts and maintains their attention. The activities, tracts, and booklets are age-appropriate. I really appreciate that instructions are provided for each item. If you misplace any of the directions or if they are missing from the package, you can easily find and download them at their website. I did not receive specific detailed instructions for every item so I visited the website to obtain them. Many activities did not require directions, because they were self-explanatory.

Alyssa's Thoughts
My favorite tools are the FlipAbouts! They were challenging at first, but the more I played with it the easier it became. I also really like all of the the animated tracts. The picture movements fascinated me. However, I didn't like the fighting image in the Where's Everybody Going? animated tract. 
 Let the Little Children Come Gospel Tracks

If you are wanting to share the Gospel with your children, then the Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack is a product worth checking out. I highly recommend this sampler pack to churches, pastors, Vacation Bible School program leaders, church camps, prayer groups, Sunday school teachers, children's outreach programs, individuals in children's ministry, and those participating on missionary teams. The items can also be added to Easter baskets or used as stocking stuffers. The tracts and miniature booklets can be used individually, in small groups, or with larger groups. There are so many things you can do with these tools. I offered a few ideas on how to use these tools today, but I am sure you will think of many other useful ways. 

The sampler pack costs $11.95 for 1-10 packs, $10.95 for 11-20 packs, and $9.95 for 21 packs or more. The sampler pack includes 10 items in each pack. You can also purchase the products individually in bulk through the online store. Visit the website for pricing plan options. Discounted rates may apply when purchasing larger quantities for specific products. The company offers free standard shipping for all products and orders worldwide. 

Note: All prices are subject to change without notice.

Social Media

The Homeschool Review Crew Blog has several Let the Little Children Come: Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack reviews for you to read.
Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools {Let the Little Children Come Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Blogging Through the Alphabet: C is for Costume Contest

I love this time of the year! The weather is getting cooler, leaves are changing, and the holiday festivities begin. Alyssa and I recently attended our local library's Monster Bash. These community events are always so much fun. She played several games, received candy, had her fortune told, and posed in the photo booth. The library also held a Costume Contest which was organized into several different age groups. My daughter always participates, but she hasn't won since she was a toddler. This year she went as Evie from Descendants 2. We added in a few more details this year and she was one of the winners for her age group. She won an awesome chapter book! She was ecstatic, because she really wanted to start reading this particular series. Today I just wanted to share with her a picture of her in her costume and the book she won. I love that the library chooses to encourage reading by offering books as prizes.

I will link this post up at the Blogging Through the Alphabet Linky. This week posts are centered around the Letter C.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Botany Lapbook Progress

I am participating in another week of Blogging Through the Alphabet this week and the focus letter is B. We've been studying Botany using Apologia resources and the A Journey Through Learning's Apologia Exploring Creation with Botany Lapbook. I wanted to update you today with our progress.  As you know I reviewed the Exploring Creation with Botany Lapbook and we've continue to use it throughout the year at a slower pace.

We are currently working through Lesson 4 Pollination in the textbook and digging deeper into the topics and concepts using experiments, activities, field trips, literature, video, lapbooking, and note-booking. We are having a blast!

My daughter still enjoys the study and is learning soooo much! Her research, writing, and note-booking skills are improving. She's been able to focus on and summarize the most important and relevant information. The lapbook definitely adds a hands-on component to her learning.

Look at all the mini-books she's created below and these mini-books are only for Lesson 4. This is our second folder which covers Lesson 4-6. It's gonna be a HUGE lapbook to share with others when we complete it at the end of the year. Last week my daughter learned about Self-Pollination and The Pollinated Flower. She is showing you one of the mini-books in her hand below.     

I will link this post at Blogging Through the Alphabet hosted at Hopkins Homeschool, DoodleMom's Homeschooling Life, and Biblical Womanhood. Visit the party to link-up your Letter B post. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Above Average Dice Game

Learn Math Fast is the curriculum that we are using this year. My daughter is zipping through the first volume. She reviewed previously learned information about how to find an average or mean this week.

The book sent us to their website to play a game called Above Average Dice Game. This Math game is suitable for children in 1st through 8th grade. The previous link offers a video showing you how to play and provides you with a free copy of the score pad to print. You'll need two players for the game. This simple game encourages your child to practice addition, multiplication, division, negative/positive numbers, and finding averages.

After watching the video, follow the steps below:
1.) Print out the score pad. 

2.) Find 2 six-sided dice.

3.) Roll the dice and multiply the two numbers.

Note: Beware of double numbers. If you roll double numbers you must subtract the number from the score. If the score ends up negative, then you get "0" for that round. 

4.) Write the number on the score pad in the blue box.

5.) Take turns rolling and writing numbers in the blue boxes for the first round. 

6.) Add the two products together for Round 1 to find the total. It will be written in the blue box in the right-hand column. 

7.) There are 2 rolls for each round. You'll play three rounds having a total of 6 rolls.

8.) This process continues for three rounds. The boxes are color-coded to help you.

9.) You will add the three total numbers for each round (blue, purple, and gray boxes). Write it in the green box. 

10.) Each player must then find the average score. After the child has added the three totals together, then the sum in the green box must be divided by 3 to find the average. Write the average in the yellow box.  

Note: The mean or average may be in decimal form and might have repeating numbers. I asked Alyssa to round the number to the nearest whole number to practice rounding skills too. 

Sorry about the shadows in the picture. I will link this post up at Blogging Through the Alphabet hosted at Hopkins Homeschool. This week "Letter A" is the focus. Come join the fun and share your blog posts!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: CTCMath


We had the opportunity to review a one-year Single Membership to CTCMath. Homeschool families receive a discount of 60% off + 6 bonus months! I jumped on the chance to review CTCMath, because we've been looking for a new Math curriculum preferably one that allowed my daughter to work at her own pace and possibly challenge her level of thinking. I received a digital subscription for a single student. We had 24/7 unlimited access to ALL the lessons across ALL grade levels. CTCMath is a comprehensive online homeschool Math curriculum which is designed for children in Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade. The K-8th grade curricula options are considered full or complete curricula and the curricula content beyond 8th grade are supplemental courses.

Program Courses Available
  • Kindergarten
  • 1st Grade
  • 2nd Grade
  • 3rd Grade
  • 4th Grade
  • 5th Grade
  • 6th Grade
  • Basic Math and Pre-Algebra
  • Elementary Measurement
  • Elementary Geometry
  • High School Algebra I and II
  • Geometry 
  • Trigonometry
  • Pre-Calculus
  • Calculus
The content is first divided into courses or grade levels which are further broken down into broad streams. The streams are organized into various lesson topics. Each topic is then sectioned off into more specific concepts or skills. Let me explain with more detail and examples.

First, the program lists individual grade levels. Then, it allows you to open and extend the list to view junior high (middle school) and high school courses. As you can see the fourth grade curriculum is broken down into 4 main streams including Number/Patterns/Algebra, Measurements, Space/Geometry, and Statistics/Probability. Measurements consists of two categories: Units of Measure and Area and Volume. Space and Geometry teaches Planes and Solids, Position, and Angles. Statistics and Probability covers Graphs and Chance.

Each broad stream is further divided into topics. For example, the Number/Patterns/Algebra content is organized into sections such as Numbers I, Addition/Subtraction, Multiplication, Division I and II, Number II, Fractions, and Decimals. 
Fourth Grade Scope and Sequence
Those topics break down further into specific lesson concepts such as Numbers Up To 999, From 1000 - 9999, Greater Than Less Than, Ascending and Descending Order, From 10,000 - 99,999, Place Value, Rounding to the Nearest Whole, 100,000 - 999,999, and Greater Than Less Than of Larger Numbers.
Number I Concepts

Homeschool father and Math teacher, Patrick Murray, taught the video lessons. He has an Australian accent which did NOT cause us any concerns. His natural voice-over narrations were pleasing to the ear with words clearly spoken. 

The beauty of this subscription-based program is that it allows your child to work at their own individualized pace. They can get ahead, challenge themselves with advanced concepts, skip lessons, work in sequential order, etc. The choice is yours!

The program also offers several diagnostic tests: Short, Standard, and Comprehensive which varying in the number of questions provided. The Short test contains 20 questions, the Standard tests consists of 30 questions and the Comprehensive test has 40 questions. These diagnostic tests can be given as pre or post-tests. Children can take the tests before completing any lessons to see what they already know or have mastered enabling them to skip lessons. Another option would be to require the test to be taken after completing an entire module to check their level of mastery.

There's a feature which allows the parent to print helpful grade level checklists to keep track of their progress. Go to the Parent Dashboard under the Tools Tab. You'll find a list of the courses or grade levels. I chose 4th Grade and printed out the list so that I could track my daughter's progress in printed format. I was able to indicate when she completed a lesson and jot down her grade. Check out the screenshot of page 1 below.

CTCMath features three games for the student to play after completing lesson tasks. These games can be used as quick break sessions when you assign two or more lesson tasks. The three games are Speed Skills, Times Tables Shoot 'Em Up, and Swap the Blue and Red Pieces. These games are excellent ways to practice basic Math operations, speed or Math fluency, and logical thinking skills. You'll need to download the most recent version of the free Adobe Flash Player in order to view and play these games.

How We Used CTCMath
I utilized CTCMath with my nine-year-old daughter, Alyssa, who works at a 4th-6th grade level in Math. You will need a program such as Adobe Reader which will allow you to open and view PDF files. My daughter used the program on our early 2009 iMac computer version 10.11.6 using Chrome as our preferred browser.

Set-up was super easy. I already had an account from when we used the program in the past. I was surprised to still see all Alyssa's old work recorded and maintained under our account. We had a parent and student account with separate dashboards. Each account had their own log in credentials. At first there was no way to save the password, but throughout the review period we notice a remember the password feature was added. We were most grateful for this feature, because it enabled my daughter to log in without having to wait on me. She could start working on her lessons whenever I was not working at the computer. I saved the student log in password for easy accessibility. 
Parent Dashboard

The next step was to choose the grade level or course for my daughter in addition to a specific topic to begin. After viewing the scope and sequence covered for each grade level, I focused on Elementary Math. I decided to assign the 4th Grade Curriculum content to my daughter. She worked through the lessons in sequential order beginning with Numbers I under the Number, Patterns and Algebra stream. If desired, you can allow the child to choose any topic to learn about within a grade level or across several grade levels. You can even assign the topic tasks in the Parent Dashboard.

Alyssa simply logged into the program using her username and password. Her lessons were completed independently. I supervised and stayed nearby in case I was needed and to familiarize myself with the program for the purposes of this review.

Alyssa worked on CTCMath lessons 3-4 times per week completing 1-2 complete lessons each day. Even though she was allowed to work through the lesson content for 30-45 minutes, most daily sessions were finished in under 15-20 minutes. A full lesson includes a video tutorial and interactive questions. She usually enlarged the screen for better visibility.

First, she would watch the short and concise online Video Tutorial that lasted approximately 2-10 minutes long. She viewed all lessons in full screen mode by clicking on the icon that enlarges the screen. Most of the 4th grade voice-over videos Mr. Murray presented were under 5 minutes which helped capture my daughter's attention. The "no fluff" lessons will appeal to audio-visual learners. The content taught is NOT distracting or overwhelming. The video tutorial contains basic colorful diagrams and graphics that are easy on the eyes. The material is presented in small manageable chunks with clear straightforward explanations and plenty of practice examples taught using a step-by-step direct teaching approach. The author explains the content in the simplest terms. The text may be highlighted to draw in the user's attention and to help them focus on the steps. Alyssa could pause, rewind, or repeat all or part of the lesson if it was not mastered during the first viewing. If she's mastered a concept, then she could move on to a new skill.
Multiplication Array Lesson

Numbers Up To 999 Lesson

Subtraction From 1000's Lesson

The animated and narrated video lesson was followed by online Interactive Questions that reinforced the lesson concepts and skills. These questions were posted on the screen one at a time. Alyssa completed a set of Interactive Questions related to the lesson topic. She usually had to type in or use her mouse to choose a response to answer the questions. There were 10 online questions covering the material taught. The blue progress bar and number of questions were seen at the top of the screen. Alyssa received immediate feedback and scores as she worked through the problems. Percentage scores and the number of questions correct out of the total number of questions were updated in the live progress bar. This automatic grading makes it easy to see her strengths and weaknesses.

At the end of each lesson, we had the opportunity to print or save the results as a PDF file. One important note to remember is that once you close out the lesson, the results printout will NO LONGER be available. I require my daughter to print out all lesson results. Her results were printed and hole punched to eventually place in her portfolio. The PDF printable was then stored in a 3-ring math folder. She could easily glance back at any lesson or share her accomplishments with her father. The printout showed the correct and incorrect answers. Green checkmarks indicate that she answered correctly. Incorrect responses are marked with an "x." Correct answers are given for incorrect responses.

My daughter was given the option of redoing a lesson if she made a score of 90% or less. On many occasions she decided to redo a lesson in order to raise her percentage score. If she made below an 80%, then I expected her to re-watch the video lesson and complete a new set of online interactive problems. All attempts were averaged. If she made a 100%, then she moved on to the next lesson. The program maintains a student record.

A comprehensive 40 question diagnostic test was given to Alyssa as her final test or exam after she completed all of the lessons for a specific topic. She took her first diagnostic test in under 7 minutes and received a passing score of 100%.

A certificate was awarded to Alyssa when she completed ALL the lessons within a broad stream or module. These awards motivated my daughter and built her confidence level. We printed them out for her to place in her folder after hanging them up on the fridge for a few days. The certificates were based on a reward ribbon system. The certificates provide the student with an overall percentage score and indicate an accomplishment level such as Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum. Alyssa always aimed for the Gold or Platinum levels.

At the end of each week, I received an activity log email containing a helpful PDF printable report summarizing the concepts covered and scores obtained. The weekly report revealed log in dates, times, and topics explored. A color-coded efficiency rating key was also provided so that as a parent I could see her percentage score range. The report also stated the number of lessons completed and the overall percentage score.   

Overall Thoughts and Results
I believe CTCMath is a solid online homeschool math curriculum that effectively teaches skills and concepts in an efficient, logical manner. I didn't have a chance to look at the higher grade level content, but I'm sure I'll be just as impressed with the content as I am for the elementary Math curriculum. I believe the Math coverage is complete for its purposes. The instruction is thoroughly covered and easy to understand. We are loving this curriculum! Children and adults can easily navigate the website. I love teaching Math, but this program simplifies our day and crosses one more item off my to-do list. My daughter's confidence in Math soars when she utilizes this curriculum and she masters the content quicker. She never complained when I assigned CTCMath tasks.

Alyssa's Thoughts
"I enjoy doing CTCMath more than my core curriculum. I really liked taking the diagnostic tests, because I could see what I learned and earn a grade. I also appreciate seeing my progress on the bar as I work." 

We will definitely continue using CTCMath as a Math supplement this year. I am also considering it as her core Math curriculum next year. I love the fact that she has access to ALL lessons across All grade levels. I appreciate the idea that she can work on several different topics at different grade levels based on her needs and abilities. Not to mention, depending on the length of her session and number of session each week, she could possibly complete 1-2 grade levels in a year.  

She retained and understood the content taught. Her scores remained high (mostly above 90%) for the duration of the review period. Many of her mistakes were simple ones when she was distracted by her environmental circumstances.

Features We Liked
  • Progress Reports Showing Topics Studied, Time Spent, and Scores
  • Weekly Activity E-mail
  • Self-Paced Meaning Less Stress and Pressure
  • Age Appropriate Content
  • Differentiated Content By Grade Level 
  • Access to ALL Grade Levels ALL Lessons
  • Simple Video Presentations Taught With Direct, Explicit Instruction
  • Optional Short, Standard, and Comprehensive Diagnostic Tests
  • Promotes and Fosters Independent Learning 
  • No Prep or Planning Required
  • Rewarded and Motivated With Certificates
  • User-Friendly
  • Short and Quick Lessons
Possible Vendor Suggestions
  • Offer Reteach Videos to Reinforce and Teach the Specific Concepts in a Different Way
  • Consider Adding "Extra Practice" Printable Paper-Pencil Supplementation
Possible Cons
  • Unfamiliar Australian Terminology and Vocabulary
  • Elementary Levels Don't Have Paper-Pencil Component 
  • Supplementation May Be Needed Depending on the Child's Abilities and Needs
  • Australian Accent May Not Appeal to All Children
I HIGHLY recommend CTCMath to all home educators, classroom teachers (private and public), tutors, after school care workers, and parents. If your child enjoys computer-based learning or if you struggle with your confidence level teaching Math, then you'll want to consider using this Math curriculum. This program is especially beneficial to audio and visual learners. However, all students can definitely benefit from it. Gifted students can learn more advanced concepts at their own pace. This would be a wonderful program to utilize over the summer month to prevent learning loss.  

CTCMath would be a reasonably priced Math curriculum for larger families. One price of $118.80 covers ALL children giving them access to ALL grade levels. Compared to other online and printed Math curriculum prices on the market, this program will give you more for your money. Last year I spent around $150 on printed Math curriculum for only 1 child and still had to pay for online supplements.

You can purchase the Single Membership for one student at the retail price of $197. However, CTCMath is currently on sale for only $78.80 using the following link 60% off + 6 bonus months. You'll have access for 18 months instead of the regular 12-month subscription.

You can try CTCMath with your children by signing up for the Free Trial so you can see if it will be a good fit for your family. It is a content restricted trial without a time restriction. This means you'll only have access to the first lesson of each topic. Head on over and check it out while you're visiting the website.

The bonus months offer ends November 15, 2017.

Note: Prices are subject to change. Visit the website to view other monthly or yearly pricing plans including the Family Membership for 2 - 10 students.

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Don't forget to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read my crew mates reviews about CTCMath. We reviewed several different grade levels so you can see the range in content covered.
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