Thursday, April 24, 2014

CTC Math {Schoolhouse Review}

We found our groove with math this year. I found a curriculum that both of the kids respond well to and seem to enjoy (as much as one can enjoy math). We have spent the whole year learning the ins and outs of multiplication and were just a few lessons away from being ready to move onto the next year-long level on division. And then an opportunity to review the 12 Month Family Plan from CTC Math became available.

CTC Math Review

To be honest, I wasn't very enthusiastic. I mean, why mess with the methods that have worked so well? When I was chosen to review the product I didn't go into it with the level of enthusiasm that it deserved. We have been using a dvd/workbook curriculum with great success. The 12 Month Family Plan from CTC Math is a web based curriculum. As we have not had a lot of luck with those types of programs, I went into this review with a negative attitude.

And then my socks were knocked off by how great it is. In fact it is so great that we are going to continue to use it past the review period.

CTC Math Review

What We Received

We received a full year subscription to the 12 Month Family Plan with unlimited access to all lessons across all grade levels. These included Math for kindergarten through 6th grade, Basic Math and Pre-Algebra, Elementary Measurement, Elementary Geometry, Algebra 1, Pre-Calculus, Algebra II, Geometry, and Trigonometry. The product is intended for children of all ages from kindergarten through Grade 12. The necessary materials were all within the online format.

How We Used the Product

When we received access to the 12 Month Family Plan, I registered both my 8 and 10 year olds. They each received their own username and password.

I looked over the program thoroughly to try to decide where we should start. I could either start them at the beginning of their grade levels (3rd/4th grade) or I could pick and choose what topics I wanted them to cover during the review period.

I decided that for the purposes of the review that I would have them start with the very beginning lessons of Division in whatever grade level it started. That happened to be 3rd grade.

I had each of the kids start there with the first video lesson and then do practice problems for that lesson for 15 minutes. That usually had them going through three levels of practice problems which was enough for me to gauge their understanding of the concepts.

The next day they went on to the second division lesson in 3rd grade, then the third lesson on the next day, and so on until they completed all of the lessons on Division for 3rd grade.

Then they moved onto the lessons on Division for 4th grade, which included two separate levels with multiple lessons under each. As of the date of this review, they have completed 2/3 of the lessons on Division for 4th grade. Today they learned Remainders by Grouping. Next week they will start Remainders by Division Facts and by the end of the week will be doing 2-Digit Division, 3-Digit Division, and Short Division with Remainders.

Do you know what? My kids have learned how to do division without me having to give the first lesson or grade the first problem! The video instruction is thorough and succinct enough for them to understand the concepts and the practice problems are graded and corrected as they go along.

What will we be doing next? After the kids complete the 4th grade division problems, I will have them move on and complete the 5th grade division section. Then this summer I plan to have them go back to 4th grade math and start at the beginning to go through all of the 4th grade math concepts. CTC Math will be our exclusive summer math program.

Some Neat Features

One of the things I really appreciate about this program is the Weekly Report I receive to my e-mail. It tells me how much time each of my kids has spent on the program each day and their progress on the lessons. Although I check what they are doing each day, these reports are a nice touch.

The kids are also working towards a Certificate of Completion with each set of lessons. There is a Platinum Certificate, Gold Certificate, Silver Certificate, and Bronze Certificate based on the cumulative percentage of correct answers. Each time one of the kids receives a Certificate, it is e-mailed to me so I can print it off and award it to the kids.

I can also print off Summary Reports and Detailed Reports. These are fantastic if you live in a state that has reporting requirements. I plan to print them off and keep in our portfolio. I am treating the reports as assessments.

There is a Search feature whereby you can enter a keyword and the program will pull up each lesson that covers that search topic. For instance, when I typed in "Angles" it provided me with 12 different lessons from Grade 2 to Grade 6 from which to choose. You can also search by Lesson Number if you know it.

There are Speed Skills whereby you can choose a level between 1 and 4 and then the concept. The kids can then play speed drills to test their quick knowledge.

At the end of each set of lessons, there are Standard Tests and Comprehensive Tests. I have used these as a Final Exam at the end of each set of lessons.

My Opinion

The 12 Month Family Plan from CTC Math is a winner. If we continue to have success with it, we will likely purchase it as a supplement to our regular curriculum. I do believe that it would be an appropriate stand-alone and full program. If I had kids in high school, I would be all over this for their math curriculum.

Product Details

The 12 Month Family Plan includes full access for one child. The regular cost for one child is $197. However, at this time there is a special pricing for homeschoolers of just $78.80 for one child. For two or more homeschooling children the total regular cost is $297. But the current sale has a full-year subscription for two or more children for just $118.80. That is a phenomenal deal and I would grab it while it lasts!

To read other reviews on this product, visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

Click to read Crew Reviews

My Husband

I talked with my husband today as he shared news with me of just another injustice he and I have to deal with on a daily basis. He tries to shelter me from the consequences of his past, as I try to shelter him from the consequences of mine. We each have enough to deal with of our own.

It made me realize how blessed he and I are to have each other. I am thankful for the daily sacrifices he makes for me and his children each and every day. He works hard, is away from us all week, lives as frugal a life as one can, and exhausts his body and his car every weekend as he drives four hours each way to be with us. His life is not easy. But he sacrifices much for the ones he loves.

While the majority of society manipulates it and/or fails to stand up and face their responsibilities, Rick and I take it all head on. The consequences of our actions are many, but we don't shirk the responsibilities attached to them. We sure wish we would have done things differently … lots of things …. but know that we can't change the past but can only hold tight to each other and make a better future for ourselves and our kids. Lord knows we wish we could leave some things and people behind.

I am just blessed to have those I do have. I have a good family. Rick and I have a strong marriage. And we have kids who love us and want to spend time with us. Those are true blessings. All the hardships make those blessings so much sweeter.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Celebrating Easter

I have to say that this is the best Easter we have ever had as a family. The weather was beautiful all weekend and we spent all of our time together outside playing games and just hanging out. I couldn't have asked for a better day spent with my family.

We spent Saturday evening coloring Easter eggs. Kyndal and Collin joined in and Dawson stepped up to make a Pokemon and Spiderman egg.

We got up bright and early so the kids could check out their Easter baskets before I had to go to early service at church to play bells.

The Easter Bunny usually brings video games and dollars for the Easter baskets. A family favorite was Frozen on dvd.

Then we celebrated our risen Savior at church. My kids in Sunday school helped hide eggs for the younger kids, and I played bells in service. It's always so great to look out and see my whole family filling a pew.

We came home from church and the kids hunted Easter eggs.

Then we went to my parents' for a family fish fry. My grandma and uncle joined us, as well. We played a few games outside as a family and just hung out and ate and enjoyed the day.

My WHOLE family

And my original one

I am one blessed mom

My sister and nieces

Grandma and Papa with the grandkids, minus Bell who is in South America.

The big cousins. We have this same picture of them as they have grown up.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up ~ End of Our Break

Sadly our Spring Break has come to an end. We took this week as a vacation from our vacation, and it was just what we needed! But next week we start the final weeks of our school year. Only two more weeks left!

The Past Week in our Regular Life

Life this week consisted of sleeping in, lounging in pjs, and resting up for our final couple of weeks of school before our next break. I finished up my church handbell choir practices for the year and Brynne started softball practices. Otherwise, we just enjoyed a quiet week at home.

The Schooling Basics

We didn't do any school work this week, with the exception of Eli picking up his book to read one morning. I promised the kids we wouldn't do any school work and I stuck to my promise. This was a true week off!

The Schooling Fun Stuff

The only thing we had on our schedule this week regarding school was our final Lewis and Clark class at the library. I gave the kids the option of whether or not they wanted to go and they did. They graduated and received certificates of completion. They will start a new class in a couple of weeks on gardening. It will meet once a week through the summer and into fall.

The Kitchen

Spaghetti, tacos, and pizza for dinner (none of which I can really eat.) But for breakfast and lunch I have been trying to get back on track on my healthy eating. I have stuck to eggs in a mug, steel cut oats with berries, asparagus with turkey and melted cheddar cheese, chicken salad, and tilapia with brown rice and black beans. They are easy lunches and healthy.

The Days Ahead

We are back to regular school this week with softball practice in the evenings. Then next weekend we are taking Eli and Brynne to their state bowling tournament.

The Books We are Reading

Mom: Fly Away (finished) by Kristin Hannah, The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, Living So That by Wendy Blight.

Brynne: A Surprise for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher.

Eli: Big Nate: In the Zone by Lincoln Peirce.

Read Aloud:  The Raft by Robert Trumbull.

The People and the Places

We had the BEST weekend with lots of family time. It was one of my favorites! We had some teenage boys over on Friday for hot dogs and s'mores on the fire pit. On Saturday we bowled and went to our town's egg hunt and then played outside as a family for a couple of hours. 

Then today we went to church, had our egg hunt at home and opened our Easter baskets, then went to my parents' for lunch and more outside play time. I'll be posting all about our Easter tomorrow.

The Savings Jar(s)

I put $9.63 in the change jar this week!

The Bible in a Year

I am not completely caught up on my Bible reading, but I am getting there. I should be completely caught up and back on track by the end of the weekend. I am currently reading 1 Samuel.

The Favorite Things

The girls and I have been doing a little dreaming and planning for an upcoming event. It has been fun and a little stressful at the same time. It's going to be life-changing in the best of ways.

Linking up

Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Thumbs Up

We just finished our MUCH-DESERVED Spring Break trip to Florida and are now back home in Missouri. It was a perfect week and we are sad it's over, but are looking forward to our final Spring Break week at home. Good thing we have no plans because it's supposed to snow today??? What?

The Past Week in our Regular Life

We left our house last Friday afternoon and drove two hours to spend the night at our friend's house. Then we were up at 3:30 a.m. ready to leave for our trip. We had a very good drive considering we were piled in one car with five kids. There were lots of movies watched and snacks eaten.

One of the kids has asthma and he was having some troubles at the beginning of the trip. Then Brynne arrived in Florida with a sore throat and a fever. She had a very fitful night of sleep that first night and ran a low-grade fever all day on Sunday. They spent the first day on the couch playing Minecraft. But after that they were both all better and ready to have a fun vacation.

The Schooling Basics

NONE. The End.

The Schooling Fun Stuff

We did log some school hours this week! We spent 3 hours at the National Naval Aviation Museum.

We spent 2 hours at Mess Hall - an interactive Science museum.

We watched a practice show of the Blue Angels and got autographs and talked with them.

We spent many hours wave jumping. (If you don't think that's P.E. then you have never jumped waves.)

We toured Fort Pickens.

And we stopped by the pier to chase the pigeons and look at the boats.

The Kitchen

Jodi and I made a specific meal list and stuck to it this week. It was nice to share the kitchen and meal preparations with a friend. We may or may not have sipped a few glasses of wine.

The Days Ahead

This week we are on vacation from our vacation. We are taking off this week from school and just getting the house reorganized. Brynne has softball practice a couple of evenings this week, we have bowling on Saturday, and Easter is Sunday.

The Books We are Reading

Mom: Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger (finished), Fly Away by Kristin Hannah, Living So That by Wendy Blight.

Brynne: A Surprise for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher.

Eli: Big Nate: On a Roll by Lincoln Peirce (finished), Big Nate: In the Zone by Lincoln Peirce.

Read Aloud:  The Raft by Robert Trumbull.

The People and the Places

We had such a great time with these people this week!

The Savings Jar(s)

I put $5.30 in the change jar.

The Bible in a Year

I did not read my Bible each day this past week. But this week I will be reading two days' worth each day to get caught up.

The Favorite Things

Rick surprised the kids by coming home on Saturday evening to greet them when we walked in the door. They didn't know he was in the house and when they saw him they pounced on him! Brynne just sobbed and sobbed. They love their daddy so much and were so happy to see him.

Kyndal and Dawson were awesome while I was gone and I came home to a clean house. I was so grateful to them.

Linking up

Friday, April 11, 2014

Five Days of …. Missouri - Quirky Places {Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog Hop}

I have had a lot of fun sharing my home state of Missouri with you this week. I have shared all of the fun things to do in St. Louis, Kansas City, and the Ozarks. I have filled you in on a couple of remarkable historic landmarks in the Laura Ingalls Wilder home and childhood home of Mark Twain. But today I thought I would tell you about some of those quirky places that you might want to pull over to see if you are traveling through the state.

Here are a few of my favorites on the Roadside America list of Missouri Tourist Attractions and Oddities:

Big Chair in Branson, Missouri (there are several things in Branson .. it is a quirky town!).

Precious Moments Park and Chapel in Carthage, Missouri.

Jim Brown's Gas Station in Center, Missouri.

Oldest Continuously Operating Motel on Route 66 in Cuba, Missouri (heck, just drive the old historic Route 66!).

Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline, Missouri.

Beverly Hillbillies car at Ralph Foster Museum in Point Lookout, Missouri.

And there is even one right near our stomping grounds … and I didn't even know about it … You can spend the night in a train at the Cruce's Cabooses Bed and Breakfast outside Calhoun, Missouri. Well how do you like that?

I hope that you have enjoyed your trip through Missouri this week, and hopefully we will see you here soon!

Be sure to check out all of the other bloggers joining in on this blog hop. Specifically, I would love it if you would visit some of my good friends …

Dusty @ The Moon and Back ~ Five Days of Babywearing
Kristi @ The Potter's Hand Academy ~ Five Days of Spring Studies
Jennifer @ Royal Little Lambs ~ Five Days of Essential Oils
Annette @ A Net in Time ~ Five Days of Science
Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Five Days of Frugal Fitness
Meg @ Adventures with Jude ~ Five Days of Homeschooling from the Kitchen
Lori @ At Home: Where Life Happens ~ Five Days of Favorite Books
Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker ~ Five Days of A Christ-Centered Home

April Blog Hop