Wednesday, July 29, 2020

CTCMath Is Our "Easy Button" for Math Success!

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

"Mom, can I do some more math?"

These are words that I hear often from my 10-year-old who has fallen in love with CTCMath and was psyched when we received another 
12-month family membership for review. They are also the words that come to mind whenever I find myself recommending 
CTCMath to other homeschoolers.


CTCMath has proven itself easy and enjoyable here and has driven my youngest to want to do math regularly even during his free time while also becoming his big brother's go-to math curricula and remaining a resource that my daughter occasionally goes to practice Speed Skills and Times Tables.

Seriously, our 
12-month family membership is one of few math resources that has consistently stood the test of time in our home and has required very little from me.

So, if you are looking for a mainly an online math program that your children can progress through with success and independence - and one that you can also easily check in on, print things from, and even make assignments with if you wish - I highly recommend a 
12-month family membership from CTCMath!

It works beautifully here - and is 1/2 off for homeschoolers!

What is CTCMath

CTCMath is an online, subscription-based math program for grades K-12 that is used by over 200,000 students worldwide to learn math from Kindy to Calculus. Created by Pat Murray, a math teacher and homeschool Dad of 10, the program aims to help students progress easily through math with short, interactive lessons that speak to a variety of learning styles.  

Courses within the program include ones for grades K-6, plus:

  1. Basic Math and Pre-Algebra
  2. Elementary Measurement
  3. Elementary Geometry
  4. Algebra I
  5. Geometry
  6. Algebra II
  7. Triginometry
  8. Pre-Calculus
  9. Calculus
Each course is delivered through brief video tutorials, interactive online questions, printable worksheets and solutions, diagnostic tests, and reports of progress.

Families have separate student pages for each child and a separate parent/teacher page, too, all of which are easy to navigate.

The teacher pages gives access to tracking information, scores, tasks to be assigned, tools, and more.  It also allows you to easily switch to student view pages, which is quite handy when checking in with a child side-by-side or on your own.

Student pages allow students to easily jump back and forth between grade levels and skills as they need to or to progress on a more linear track. This works fabulously well in our home and makes this math program stand out among others we have tried as one that offers the ultimate in family and student-friendly flexibility.

I am so grateful for how all the features of CTCMath come easily together so that students can work independently with some freedom as to what they wish to work on while parent/teachers can also assign specific tasks.

All you need to use the program is an internet connection and a device with a web browser, plus, if you like printed material, a printer, ink, a pencil, and paper, are good, too, since there are optional printable portions to lessons.

Our CTCMath Experience

We began using 
CTCMath with all three of my children about a year ago and, it quickly became the go-to curricula for my oldest and a surprise success with my youngest.

Surprise, indeed!

When I posted a review about the program a year ago, my then 9-year-old has the least enthusiastic words to share about it, saying:

CTCMath is good. I like the time tables and speeds skills games. They help me enjoy practicing, and I think I am getting faster.
The regular lessons are okay. I don't like how long some of the tests are, but it's easy to use. I'd like to keep using it as a supplement.

Then, something changed and my now 10-year-old began liking the main lessons more and more, whipping through his 4th grade math and moving onto 5th grade lessons even after I told him he could take a math break for the late spring and summer since he'd completed 4th grade skills.

Indeed, my boy did not want a break, had already complete 1/3 of the 5th grade lessons, and regularly asks, "Mom, can I do more math?"  

Wow!  That is success!

Here is what he has to say about CTCMath now:

CTCMath is a great program. It is easy to access, and kids can do it by themselves.

It is perfect for me, because I can do as many lessons or as few lessons as I want a day, and I am already 1/3 of the way through 5th grade before I even start my 5th grade year. 

When I use it, I ask Mom if I can get online (sometimes. Sometimes, I just get on.) Then, I look at the first question in a lesson. If it is hard for me, I go back and watch the video. Then, I do the lessons.

If I get stuck, I do it again and again until I get it. Very occasionally, I ask Mom or Dad for help. 

The way the program teaches is good. There are examples, they explain what they are doing, and it moves step by step.

I would recommend it to everybody! 
I am pleased with how CTCMath has gone from being something my son was not as enthused to give commentary about a year ago to something he recommends to everyone today. I am even more pleased that he is succeeding to well with the program!

My 14-year-old is also succeeding, and had this to say:

I like CTCMath, because it is easy to use and helped me get through Algebra 1.

While I was doing that, I also worked on Geometry, because I wanted a break from Algebra, but still wanted to work on my high school math credits.

In the year or so I have used CTCMath, I worked regularly and ended up finishing Algebra and am about 75% done with Geometry.  

To do the lessons, I log in, click on the next lesson, and usually just jump right into the questions.

If I get stuck, I watch the video or use the pdf lesson summary. (An example of one is below.)


If I am still stuck, I keep working through it or jump to a lesson in a different category. I appreciate how easy CTCMath is to navigate.
I was happy to get another year subscription and hope to finish Geometry, Algebra II, and Trigonometry this year. I am ambitious!
Yep!  You heard that right. My 14-year old has big plans for his math progress using our current 12-month family membership! That delights me!

I just love how the program allows my oldest son to meet his goals for independent learning and working through his high school credits. I also appreciate that the program allows me to easily check in on how he is doing.

Truly, since beginning with CTCMath when we reviewed it previously, I have come to depend on the program as the "easy button" it has become for us.

works wonderfully for my boys and has stood the test of time as an easy-to-use, helpful, and expedient way for them to successfully progress in their homeschool math studies!

All I have had to do for my boys' main math studies in the past year is provide them with online access, check in via the parent access occasionally (typically when an email prompts me about their progress), and offer them some quick help on one or two lessons when they got stuck.

That's it!

Learn More

You can learn more about 12-month family membership from CTCMath by watching this video:

I wholeheartedly recommend the program since we get a lot of us out of our 12-month family membership with two children working independently at their own pace and another logging on for Speed Skills and Times Tables at times.

I appreciate the
 ease and effectiveness of 
CTCMath and can attest that is has become a staple in our homeschool.

If you and yours
 seek a straightforward, clear, easy-to-use independent math resource that can be used by children at various grade levels with Mom or Dad easily checking in on progress and occasionally helping, this is it!

As we continue to use 
CTCMath, I have witnessed:
  • my 10-year-old become a bit of a math lesson "addict" (in a good way) asking to get online to do lessons even in his free time.  
  • my 14-year-old appreciating the short, to-the-point lessons as a way to progress with necessary math skills so he can earn high school credits in more than one course concurrently.
  • my 13-year-old supplementing her math studies with CTCMath Speed Skills and Times Tables.
  • my children learning at their own paces, sometimes with the video tutorials and sometimes just jumping right into the problems.
  • only "healthy" frustration during math time - you know, the kind where a kid gets "stuck" for a bit, takes a break, then, comes back and has the "click" happen, which gets the endorphins going, and spurns more math progress
  • stress-free math learning and easy check-ins on progress.
Great stuff!
Find the reviews.

See what 60 families that reviewed CTCMath though about the program by clicking through to find video, blog, and social media reviews.

You can also connect on social media: 

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Get FREE Solemn Act of Consecration - According to St. Maximilian Kolbe Copywork

Next month is the Month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so today I put together a simple Solemn Act of Consecration - According to St. Maximilian Kolbe Copywork Set using the words of the prayer as found on  the official website of the Franciscans of the Immaculate in the United States.

My family is blessed to have some of these wonderful faithful friars within driving distance and so appreciate their ministry. You can find them on Youtube and on Facebook, too. (They often post their daily homilies on Facebook and those are well worth a listen!)

But, back to the FREE 
Solemn Act of Consecration - According to St. Maximilian Kolbe Copywork Set... 

As with most of the free copywork sets I share here, this set includes a cursive model...

...a print model...

...and blank line sheets.

That way, your children can choose to practice their printing, cursive, or both.

Also as I typically do, I used a double thick line at the bottom of each line on the blank sheets to help children remember to ground their letters and have used spaces between each word on the models to help children remember to leave spaces between words as they copy.

I hope this copywork set is helpful for your children as they work on practicing prayers and handwriting. I also pray it encourages your family to learn more about Marian consecration.

You can find more free, printable prayer copywork and journaling pages here!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Celebrate St. Martha with a Cook Off!

Want to have some fun this July 29th? How about enjoying a St. Martha's Day Cook Off?

July 29th is the Memorial Day of St. Martha, who is patron to b
utlers, dietitians, domestic servants, homemakers, hotel-keepers, housemaids, housewives, innkeepers, laundry workers, maids, manservants, servants, servers, single laywomen, travelers, and, of course, cooks.

That's right: cooks!

So, it is an ideal day to get your kids into the kitchen - or around a camp stove - for a Chopped-style cook off.

My children have enjoyed such cook offs for years and have been itching to do one again.

We've learned from experience not to do a full "Chopped" with an appetizer, main course, and dessert round, because it takes a long time and results in a huge mess to clean up. So, typically, we do just one course.

For St. Martha's day, I think I might do a main dish cook off with the following basket ingredients:

  •  bread, since St. Martha is sometimes depicted serving bread
  • a small bowl of fruit, since a bowl of fruit is one of her symbols
  • lentils, said to have been common in Biblical times
  • onions, chives, or leeks, since such things were also said to be a part of Biblical diets
  • garden herbs mix, since herbs were also part of Biblical cooking.
You could do similarly or pick basket ingredients from whatever you have in your fridge, pantry and garden.

Then, enjoy your family cook off.

If you've never done one, here are some pictures of a recent Sweet Crunch Dessert cook off two of my children enjoyed recently so that you can an idea of how things roll.

I secretly set up two baskets with five ingredients each. 

The kids were called for the big reveal to see what they'd have to include in their dessert dish.

We announced each ingredient as they took it out of the baskets.

Thirty minutes was set on the clock and they began to cook using their basket ingredients and pantry/fridge items.

Each had their own portion of the table as a prep area.

They dashed about some, being mindful of safety and the clock.

They created different batters and concoctions.

Sweetness was added.

They know their way around out kitchen and easily shared space.

Each took one side of the stove to cook on.

Different strategies were tried.

Some worked better than others.

When one thing failed, another thing was tried.

Sometimes, mistakes had to be cleaned before pans could be used again.

The clean up of other mistakes was left until later.

A beautiful dish was created.
Plating went right down to the wire!

In case a Plan B dish did not bake in time after Plan A failed on the stove, a Plan C dish was created.

Dishes were presented to the judges - Mom and Big Brother.

Some plating could have been better (but flavor was great!)

Unity could have been considered, too, when Plan B and Plan C were both presented to the judges.

Our sibling contestants were asked to leave the room while Big Bro and Mom judges conferred, then hid the plate from the polished off winner's dish and put the other dishes under a large pan cover.

It was a close match, but the happier looking contestant in this photo actually lost due to lack of unity and not featuring the basket ingredients as much as the pantry apple, while the winning child was puzzled, thinking she has surely lost even though she won.

Clean up and requests for another cook off soon commenced. (The requests will be granted on St. Martha's feast day.)

Of course, before or after your cook off, I'd encourage you to read from the Bible, the
Daily Readings, or another source about St. Martha, to highlight that there is both active and contemplative work in life, to take a few moments of quiet to contemplate and pray, and to chat about ways your family might serve Christ is by serving others.
I'd love to hear how your cook off goes and also to hear other ideas and resources you use for celebrating St. Martha. Enjoy the feast day!

Almighty ever-living God, whose Son was pleased to be welcomed in Saint Martha's house as a guest, grant, we pray, that through her intercession, serving Christ faithfully in our brothers and sisters, we may merit to be received by you in the halls of heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
~The Collect 

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Get a FREE St Bonaventure Copywork or Journaling Prompt Set

July 15 is the feast day of St. Bonaventure, the saint after which my childhood parish church was named. Thus, I decided to create another FREE PRINTABLE copywork/journaling set with a quote from this Franciscan saint on it.

You might use the quote as simply copywork in cursive...

... or in printing.

Or, if your children are beyond the copywork stage or just like to journal, you could use the quote as a journal prompt, having your child fill blank lines with thoughts that come to mind after reading the quot
Either way, I pray this simple FREE Printable St. Bonaventure
 Copywork or Journaling Prompt Set encourages your children to write beautifully and think deeply.

You can find 
more free, printable copywork here. Also, feel free to make requests for any copywork or journaling sets you'd like me to share or any saint day you'd like ideas for.   

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that, just as we celebrate the heavenly birthday of the Bishop Saint Bonaventure, we may benefit from his great learning and constantly imitate the ardor of his charity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
~The Collect 

Friday, July 10, 2020

Immerse Kids in Survival Skills & Adventure with a Classic Book & Excellent eGuide {A Progeny Press Review}

{Some links which follow may be affiliate ones.}

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor compensated in any other way.

If you are a book study guide lover or just want to cherry pick ideas from an excellent eGuide as your lower elementary through high school students read classic stories, I encourage you to ch
eck out Progeny Press, a popular Christian vendor of study guides for literature that makes it their mission:

"To teach our children to think clearly, to understand literature, and to rely on the scripture for truth and values, and enjoy themselves while they do it!"

We're recently been checking out their 
My Side of the Mountain Study Guide by Carol Clark - an eGuide meant for students in grades 5-8 which can be completed in 8-10 weeks - and I can honestly attest that it is a thorough, varied guide chock full of ideas for learning, review, and discovery.

The guide is written to be used in its entirety for independent unit-based engagement and study. However, it is also designed and organized in such a way that parents and/or students can easily scan it to pull an idea here and an activity there for more flexible enrichment or targeted study.

The Study Guide Comes in a Handy Digital Format

When you order your
 My Side of the Mountain Study Guide, or any eGuide from Progeny Press, you get instant access to a downloadable study guide and separate answer key.

The interactive PDF format of the eGuide works on our Windows laptop, and, I hear, works on Macs, too.

Once  opened with the FREE Adobe Readerprogram, the eGuide allows students (or parents who have students narrate to them) to enter answers directly on the computer and save their progress as they work. (I believe with an a
lternative app the fillable fields of the interactive guide can work on mobile devices and tablets, too.)

This interactive PDF format is convenient! It means that do not have to print any of the guide if you'd rather just have your kids work onscreen. Or, you can easily print just what you need or want - the whole guide at once, a single lesson or page as students need it, or multiple copies of pages for your family's use.
All the convenience and learning. None of the paper and ink waste. Love it!

What I love even more is that the answer key can also be easily printed or accessed onscreen which can help parents/teachers to check student work without having to read and answer questions on their own.

Plus, there is free technical support offered should you encounter any difficulties when using the digital guide and answer key. This, though, I doubt would be needed by anyone, since the eGuide and Answer Key are so easy to use. Seriously, everything worked A-okay here with this study and one we did previously.

The My Side of the Mountain Study Guide Is
One Complete Study Guide!

When I said the My Side of the Mountain Study Guide is "a thorough, varied guide chock full of ideas for learning, review, and discovery" earlier I meant it 100%.

The eGuide offers:

  • author information
  • story synopsis and background
  • pre-reading activities
  • vocabulary study
  • Bible study
  • critical thinking
  • comprehension questions
  • post-reading activities
  • writing prompts
  • resource listings
  • literary device activities
... and more. In doing so, it really gets students engaged and learning as they immerse themselves in reading classic literature and thinking about survival skills, adventure, and faith.

Included in the 63-page interactive eGuide are:

  • Literary Techniques to include adjective use, alliteration, allusion, anthropomorphism, assonance, comic relief, coming of age (obildungsroman, which was a new word for me), conflict, dramatic structure, facts vs. opinion, flashback, full-circle ending, irony, metaphors and extended metaphors, mood, onomatopoeia, oxymoron, paraphrasing, point of view, recapping, similes, suspension of disbelief, verb use, and more.
  • Moral Lessons and Character Values about such things as acceptance, being alone, bullying, fear and worry, daily life, honoring parents, hospitality, lying, patience, provision, superstitions, and understanding God.
  • Activities and Writing Assignments to include at and design, cooking, creative writing, a crossword puzzle, drama projects, essay choices, field trips, health & nutrition, journalism, journal writing, letter writing, legends, maple syrup, math connections, parody, plant research, poster projects, research writing, rock climbing, safety chats, science connections, wooden toys, and more.
  • Suggestion for Further Reading, which include more materials by the same author and books that tie in with or are similar to My Side of the Mountain.

You can find samples of the eGuide at My Side of the Mountain Study Guide.

Why We Chose the My Side of the Mountain Study eGuide and What We Thought

A few years ago, I got it in my head that I wanted to use the well-loved classic, 
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, to start an outdoor book-and-adventure club with friends. However, life kept happening and the club never came to be. Still, I wanted to read the book with my younger two children before they age out of it. Thus, when an opportunity came up to review the My Side of the Mountain Study Guide by Progeny Press, I took it as a prompt to break the book out for some relaxed Mom-and-us style learning.

Key word there is relaxed! Because we were using this thorough resource during the bridge from spring into summer when we tend to wind down more formal studies, I opted to use the eGuide in a non-traditional way with my children.

Basically, we read my old, weathered copy of 
My Side of the Mountain together as we swung on an outdoor swing together, laid on a blanket in the sun, or snuggled before bedtime. Then, every few chapters, I would break out the study guide with the kids and use it for prompts for faith-and virtues-chats, oral quizzes about vocabulary, literary devices, etc.

I also browsed it for ideas for enrichment for practical life and survival skills among other things.

This led to nature walks and explorations...

 ...salads with wild edibles...

 ... some strawberry picking...

... foraging for clay and trying to make clay ovens...

... picking mulberries...

...building fires...

... picking black raspberries...

... making chocolate covered strawberry deliciousness...

... foraging for and whittling walking sticks...

... and more!

There has just been so much inspiration for hands-on, outdoor, fun and learning!

Or course, there has been indoor learning, too.

Sometimes, I read my children questions from the guide and had them answer orally while I took quick notes on their answers in the fillable fields so I would remember which questions we'd already covered.

One time, when we did this, I set a timer, gave the kids game chips as points for every correct answer and, let the child who had the most chips at the end of the game choose if we would have a snuggly read together or watch one of the movies we'd found in the resource section together before bed.

The winner chose the latter, so we found free access to one of the recommended movies on Youtube. Then, as we began watching it, my other child came in, and the movie engaged us all.

After watching, the movie we dovetailed into natural conversations that night and the next day during which the kids compared parts of the movie to My Side of the Mountain (especially the survival aspects and the ideas of running away and coming of age), chatted about survival skills, and discussed some cultural and faith points that  the movie and our eGuide-enriched study of My Side of the Mountain brought to the fore.

I was delighted with all this and grateful for the eGuide, since I had never heard of the movie before and do not think we would have happened upon it without the eGuide's suggestion.

I also do not think our entire experience with My Side of the Mountain book would have been as rich as it has been without the eGuide. I am grateful that the eGuide allowed us to embrace natural, relaxed learning, to find some great extension activities/resources, and to review some key literary devices, vocabulary, and more.

The My Side of the Mountain Study Guide certainly is a blessing that has all the typical vocabulary exercises, comprehension questions, writing prompts and literature device studies that you'd expect in a literary unit study which can be used traditionally or in a more relaxed way. It also focuses on connections between the classic book of one boy's adventure and coming of age and Scripture and offers a wide array of optional activities and further resources to engage students in wonderful exploration and learning.

I most certainly recommend the My Side of the Mountain Study Guide to others with middle school age learners whether they like independent literary studies or relaxed, hands-on family learning like us.

Learn More

Progeny Press gets a two thumbs up from me both for this My Side of the Mountain Study Guide and for an earlier Progeny Press review of their Give Me Liberty E-Guide due how well it is written and designed and how family-friendly they are with wonderful extension ideas and permissions that allow you to use the eGuides with multiple children within your family.

Progeny Press earns similar ratings with other families, I hear, for its wide variety of E-Guides geared toward elementary schoolers, middle schoolers, and high schoolers.  You can read about some of the other titles offered among the 64 Progeny Press social media, blog, and video reviews that Review Crew families have shared.

You can find Progeny Press on:


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