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CTC Math: Online Math Tutor {Review}

April 24, 2014

We've tried a few different math programs with my son over the past couple of years and we have finally found one that we are happy with.  However, with all our jumping around and different approaches each curriculum used, I have noticed that my son lacks confidence in his abilities and that is evident in how he acts when it is "math time".   With that in mind and knowing my son loves time on the computer, having the opportunity to review CTC Math, an online math tutoring program for K-Grade 12, seemed like something we definitely wanted to try.
We received access to the 12 Month Family Plan  for this review.  Currently homeschoolers can purchase this 12 Month Family Plan for $118.80- 60% savings off regular price.  The family plan is good for two or more students and may also be purchased monthly and/or for 6 months.  CTC Math also provides single student plans. 
CTC Math Review
CTC Math lessons are taught by Australian math teacher and founder, Pat Murray.  I must say, his Australian accent made for a unique learning experience for us in the US!  We used CTC Math online math lessons with my 6 year old son 4-5x's/ week; it was a wonderful addition to our existing math program.  Having access to an online math tutor all day, every day encouraged my son to go at his own pace and explore topics at his leisure. 
  • CTC Math provides 1400+ math tutorials ranging from simple addition to trigonometry.    
  • Has automated grading system
  • Includes several levels of Speed Skills drills 
  • Provides Standard and Comprehensive Tests for each topic {I personally appreciate that they are not "mandatory" to access lessons}.
  • Short lessons
  • Easy to use
  • After a topic has been completed, a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Certificate may be awarded.
Once logged in, we had unlimited access to every level of math CTC Math offers.  The "homepage" allows us to choose our Course, Stream, and Topic.  My son completed topics within the Kindergarten and 1st Grade Courses, so our experience choosing the day's tasks went like this:
Course: First Grade -----> Stream: Number, Patterns, Algebra ------> Topic: Addition -----> Adding Up to 20.
* watch short 3 minute video explaining concept
* complete 6-10 questions
The questions provide immediate feedback once an answer has been given; a green check mark for correct and red 'X' for wrong.  Once completed, you are given your percentage, able to review the solutions and print them out, and have an option to try more questions.   

Because I used this in addition to our current math program, I chose topics with no particular rhyme or reason.  So my son dabbled in a variety of math topics in K- Grade 2 Courses.  My main concern is for my son to understand and be confident in his math skills; we are still working on that, however, I can tell CTC Math has been a huge confidence booster for him!  He was so proud to have received a Bronze Award in Multiplication.  And, the day he beat his score AND got every answer right on the speed drills he came "flying" into the room, jumping around and yelled, "I got 28!!!"  Needless to say, he was pretty thrilled. 

Another feature, CTC Math offers is receiving weekly reports via email.  They were a nice addition to the subscription, but not necessary as it lacks details such as what was missed.  It tells when your child logged in, percentage scores, and overall performance.  I believe that math is a subject that needs to be taught, but because this was more of a supplement, reinforcing material we most likely have already covered, I was not always right at his side when he completed his lesson.  With that said, my son didn't always tell me when he was finished and would close out the program, so other than relying on his weighted score (which is an average of first three attempts), I have no real concrete way of knowing if he understood the material or why certain mistakes were made.  I would appreciate having some way to access the lesson summary and/or view the problems that were answered incorrectly to help my son understand why this is the answer, not that

A few other small "issues" we came across were:
  •  cultural, i.e. asked to "compare "cricket ball" to one metre".  My son doesn't have a clue what cricketball is! 
  • The questions within the lessons were not spoken, so for a beginning reader, someone would have to be nearby to help read the questions, which I think kind of negates the "tutor" element of the program.  My son did fairly well reading given the context of the first few questions, though.
  • The images for coins and dollars used to teach Money were very difficult to be read clearly, the images were too little and not very clear.
  • Approach to learn addition; in 1st Grade addition it relies heavily on counting your fingers to add numbers together.  That is how I learned it, but nowadays, there are several other approaches and counting your fingers seems to be frowned upon.  
  • There isn't a way to assign topics, which would be a nice addition to the program.
  • A personal preference, but I would like to know about the founder, Pat Murray and his credentials in some type of "About" page explaining how CTC Math was formed, etc.
  Overall, I have been very pleased with this online math program.  I loved that it was easy to use and naviagate so that my son could do it on his own.  During the past several weeks, my son would sometimes even get on all by himself!  Choosing to do math on his own free time?!  Well, sure!!  We also very much appreciated that he could do any topic he chose- no "unlocking" sections or "show what you know" quizzes.  It was simple and to the point-- exactly how math should be!  I definitely see value in having my son continue to use CTC Math as a supplement to his current program and we will continue to use it beyond this review period.  I've seen my son's confidence blossom since using CTC Math and I am so very grateful! 
Want to know what others thought?  Check out what other reviewers said....
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©2011-2013 School Time Snippets. All rights reserved. You are free to link back to my website but all text, photos, and other content may not be reproduced without the written consent of the author.


Preschool Math: Teaching 1:1 Correspondence

April 23, 2014

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Little Sis LOVES to count; she loves to tell me how old she is, how old baby brother is, and that I need to read 3 more books at night because she is not going to bed yet!  And so I came up with an idea to work on 1:1 Correspondence, but it also happened to reinforce shapes and color matching skills, too.

The only thing you need for this activity is a package of cheap rings.  I purchased a bag of 18 from The Party Store.

I placed them in a tray and invited Little Sis to come over to the table with me and explore.  And since she loves all things "sparkly," she loved this simple preschool math activity.
1:1 correspondence
please excuse the dirty finger nails; bath time hadn't happened yet!
I initially set it out for her to sort through the shapes first, but she immediately began doing what I had originally planned for the activity; she began putting one ring on each finger.  I tried getting her to sort shapes and colors later, but she still didn't go for it.  However, we did count A LOT!
We counted as she put a ring on each finger, which reinforces 1:1 Correspondence.
We counted as she took them off her fingers.
We counted forwards.
We counted backwards.
I even introduced simple story problems!
1:1 Correspondence

Needless to say, it was a fun and sparkly activity working on several preschool math concepts!
 ©2011-2013 School Time Snippets. All rights reserved. You are free to link back to my website but all text, photos, and other content may not be reproduced without the written consent of the author.


Teach Poetry with the Five Senses

April 21, 2014

5 senses poem
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April is National Poetry Month and I've teamed up with Carla from Preschool Powol Packets and several other co-hosts to bring you the 2014 Poetry Celebration and Contest.
There are many different types of poems being highlighted during this celebration and today we are exploring poetry using The Five Senses.

Writing poetry is about creating visual images and understanding that words have meaning.  

What better way to be descriptive than to incorporate and explore a topic than with your Five Senses-- touch, taste, hearing, sight, and smell?!  A five senses poem follows a very simple outline of choosing a topic and then describing it through your senses.  
I see...
I smell...
I taste...
I hear...
I feel...

As with all poems, the first step is to pick a topic.  Anything can be a subject for a poem.  So grab a pen and paper and start brainstorming!  Topics can be concrete or abstract; something that can be observed and/or experienced.  Some topics my 6 year old and I brainstormed were:
race cars
his bedroom
ice cream 
mac n' cheese
clam chowder
If this is your child's first time writing a poem using his/her five senses, pick a subject that is tangible, like a piece of food.  My kiddos love working, I mean... learning, when food is involved!  I grabbed a bag of M&M's and invited my 3 and 6 year old to explore them using their five senses. 
5 Senses Poem
I created a graphic organizer to help sort through their observations and to encourage my 6 year old especially to be descriptive and look beyond the obvious.  I would often encourage him to describe them to me as if I didn't know what an M&M was.  
With some encouragement from me, this is what my 6 year old came up with:
I see colors red, yellow, green, blue.
I smell chocolate.
I taste yummy chocolate.
I hear a crunch sound when I bite on it.
I feel small, round, circles.

Afterwards, I had my son write it on our Five Senses poem outline and draw a picture.  I wrote and helped my 3 year old daughter with "I hear" and "I touch" and also had her draw a picture.
5 senses poem
A Five Senses poem is a great way to introduce poetry.  There is no "right" or "wrong" way to do this poem as it is dependent on one's experience, which differs for everyone. It is simple, encourages one to be descriptive using adjectives and expands vocabulary.  A Five Senses poem does not have to rhyme and is easy enough to involve children of all ages and skill levels.  

Will you be using your Five Senses to explore poetry today?  I've included the graphic organizer I created and the Five Senses outline for your child to use, too!  Enjoy! 

And don't forget to submit it in the Poetry Contest!

Finally, a quick thank you to our wonderful 2014 Poetry Contest & Celebration Sponsors and co-hosts!  And here's a cool giveaway, too! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway (click link to enter)

Thank You to our sponsors! Check them out!

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 ©2011-2013 School Time Snippets. All rights reserved. You are free to link back to my website but all text, photos, and other content may not be reproduced without the written consent of the author.


Heart of Dakota {Beyond}: Units 18-20

April 17, 2014

If you follow along School Time Snippets for our weekly Heart of Dakota {Beyond} updates, you may have noticed that there hasn't been an update in several months!  We are still using the curriculum, however after Christmas we finished Unit 17 and then took two months off just "doing the basics" for a few reasons: 1. it was hard to get back in the groove after such an exciting holiday and 2. we went to Disney World for a few months!

Yes, yes I did just say months. : )  One of the benefits of homeschooling- you can do it anywhere!

So after two months off, we jumped right back in where we left off!  Here's some snippets of Units 18-20:

In Unit 18, we read a couple of stories that focused on Trouble in a New Land.  We read that a couple of boys were taken by a group of Indians and once the men of the village knew they were gone, they went looking for them.  The dogs led them to a river that the Indians crossed, but lost their trail at the water's edge.  For science, we did a fun activity using our sense of smell using q-tips, vanilla, and orange.  My son had to follow a certain scent, and it ultimately ended when he reached a sink of water.
Another fun science activity was about camouflage.  In our History readings, a girl was watching a couple of young children enjoying the lovely morning and watching butterflies when she noticed an Indian nearby.  I hid several butterflies around the room, some that blended in with their surroundings, and some were easy to spot. 
My son's "Sparkler Candle" for an Art activity.
Here are some snippets from Unit 19--
Artistic Expression: After a young girl cleaned her house while her mother was away, she sprinkled salt on the floor in pretty patterns.  So for art, we did the same!  In hindsight, I wished I had grabbed black paper, but it turned out very neat.  My son really enjoyed this art activity and it was easy to do!
Science Exploration:
We talked about how it isn't the sun that "goes down," but the earth turning away from the sun that brings night and day.
Language Arts:
Learned that we capitalize the months of the year.  I wrote the months on post-it notes and my son also worked at putting them in the correct order.
Unit 20 focused on Colonial Schools.  We read that ribbons were given out each month to children that had learned their school lessons.  For Art, my son made his own.  And it was pretty sweet that he wore his the rest of the day AND made one for Little Sis!!
Good to be working through Heart of Dakota again!  It's so nice that it is {and was} easy to jump back into!  Lots more learning happened, but hope you enjoyed the snippets of our last three weeks.

 ©2011-2013 School Time Snippets. All rights reserved. You are free to link back to my website but all text, photos, and other content may not be reproduced without the written consent of the author.


Tot School: The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry & the Big Hungry Bear

April 14, 2014

red ripe strawberry activities

We did a little something different for Tot School this week.  Instead of focusing on a letter, I chose to do some activities around one of our favorite books, "The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, & the Big Hungry Bear.  We just love that book; is it a favorite at your house too?

This also  happened to be the first Tot School with Little Sis as a 3 year old!!  Hard to believe we started her Tot School journey just a year ago.  Though she still has language delays, she is smart, sassy, and so very creative.  I love watching her little imagination at work.  She loves helping mama, playing dress up, making messes, and playing outside.  And here is how we spent her birthday....
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Spending her birthday at Disney World was such a special treat!  We had lunch with the princesses and she just LOVED it all.  It truly was a *magical* time watching her sweet expressions at everything around her!  We actually had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time down at Disney Land-- and your can read about our tips/tricks HERE, but for now here is our week with The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, & the Big Hungry Bear.

Strawberry Shape Match:
Little Sis really enjoyed the Watermelon Shape Match we used during our week with Letter W, so I thought I'd recreate the same activity using {pink} ripe strawberry's!  The cute strawberry clipart came from mycutegraphics.com, and there was only a pink strawberry to use!  I don't think Little Sis minded at all. 
red ripe strawberry big hungry bear
 Strawberry {Button} Seed Number Match:
Using the buttons, Little Sis put a certain number of seeds onto each ripe strawberry.  We worked on this together and I ended up pulling out a small stash of buttons I have because we didn't have enough buttons out; hence she decided colorful seeds were much better : ) 
red ripe strawberry big hungry bear
red ripe strawberry big hungry bear
 Strawberry Craft with fingerprint seeds: 
Little Sis did her best to cut the strawberry outline and then used her fingerprints to create seeds..... 
red ripe strawberry big hungry bearred ripe strawberry big hungry bear
She loved that part!
red ripe strawberry big hungry bear
 Pre-Writing Activity:
I created a tracing sheet for Little Sis; she had to help the mouse get to the strawberry before the Big Hungry Bear!
red ripe strawberry big hungry bear
 Strawberry Sensory Bin with Beans:
With a bin full of beans, I gave Little Sis a scoop, tweezers, and a spoon to aid in her free play.  For the strawberry's, I used pink sparkly Easter eggs I picked up at the Dollar Store.  I added in a few fruit squeezy pack tops and coincidentally with a little push, they fit on top of the strawberry!
red ripe strawberry big hungry bear
 Where is the Strawberry?
Little Sis is great at counting to 5 without help and can count to 10, but typically only does it when someone is counting with her.  To work on counting and number recognition, I made up a game "Where is the Strawberry?"  It was inspired by Homeschool Creations number game for "Going On a Bear Hunt".  Under one of the mice was the hidden strawberry.  For the first round of play, I called out the number she had to look for, but she was more interested in flipping them all over to find the strawberry.
red ripe strawberry big hungry bear
red ripe strawberry big hungry bear
It was a fun week of activities to go along with one of our favorite books! Thanks for stopping bye!

Follow Kristina {School Time Snippets}'s board Tot School Activities on Pinterest.
I created all of Little Sis's printable activities this week using clipart from mycutegraphics.com.  I so enjoyed making them and I'd love to share them with you. Just click the links below to download each activity for your personal use.  Enjoy!
Strawberry Pre-Writing Activity for Tracing or Cutting
Where is the Strawberry? Math Game
Strawberry Shapes Set 1
Strawberry Shapes Set 2
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©2011-2013 School Time Snippets. All rights reserved. You are free to link back to my website but all text, photos, and other content may not be reproduced without the written consent of the author.


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