CTC Math review

CTC Math Review

CTC Math provided me with the 12 Month Family Plan (U.S. Curriculum).  I was able to set up accounts for all 8 of my children.

We reviewed CTC Math last year, so you can read some other details at this CTC Math review post.  Today I’ll share some of our other experiences with this wonderful math curriculum.

The first thing is that our last membership ended in March.  We didn’t get renewed until May, and I was worried that all of the kids’ work would disappear.  But it didn’t!  It was all still there, so I was able to see which lessons they had completed (and which of those should be repeated because they didn’t score very highly) and which ones still needed to be done.  The dashboard that shows all the math topics and a colored bar to show their “score.”


Almost all of my 8 kids have tried CTC (well, not my 2-year-old!) and have thought it was great!  For this review, it was my 8-year-old son who used it most consistently.  He is definitely the one who enjoys doing schoolwork on the computer the most.  He was doing lessons from both 2nd and 3rd grade.

Here are the lessons available for 2nd grade (those in bold are what he did in the past 6 weeks):

  • Number Patterns & Algebra (whole numbers, addition, subtraction, mental strategies, multiplication, division, fractions, patterns, money)
  • Measurement (length, area, mass, volume & capacity, time)
  • Space and Geometry (angles, plane shapes, position, solids)
  • Statistics and Probability (chance, graphs)

It’s very easy to skip ahead or behind a grade level or more if it’s discovered that a certain concept is too easy or too difficult. He did some lessons in whole numbers and multiplication in 3rd grade. There are also diagnostic tests so you can determine where the student should be.

CTC Math review

I really love that you hear the teacher’s voice explaining the lesson. There are graphics to demonstrate what the concept is.  And then, the kids do the questions.  If they don’t do too well, they can repeat it.  Also, if they get interrupted and have to stop in the middle of the lesson, they can save it.

One thing that was really helpful for me was receiving the weekly email update.  Below is an example of what is included in it:

Social Media:  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ctcmath

CTCMath Review


CTCmath Review

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Series: Preparing to Homeschool Ninth Grade- Our Curriculum Choices

Preparing to Teach Ninth Grade-curriculum choices

It’s time to homeschool ninth grade! So, I thought I’d share today what we’ll be using for my oldest son’s curriculum during his 9th grade year.

History/Geography, Literature, and Writing:

We started using Tapestry of Grace this year, which is a full curriculum for grades K-12th and includes the subjects of history, literature, writing, church history, philosophy, and government.  Next year we plan to use just the history/geography and literature portions,which will cover the historical time period of Creation to the fall of Rome.  The following year we might add philosophy and church history if we can fit it in our schedule.  We plan to continue with Tapestry for the rest of his high school years.

I have several writing curricula that I will choose from (IEW-The Institute for Excellence in WritingUnlock the Secrets of Compare-and-Contrast Writing by Writing With Sharon, Creative Freewriting Adventure by Homeschool Adventure Co., and Write for Life Volume One: Writing the Research Paper by Karen Lange.). I’d like him to focus on essay-writing in the fall and write a research paper in the spring.  The following year his composition focus will be creative writing.

If I discover that he has any gaps with grammar (through reading his compostitions), I’ll have him use IXL language arts for practice in those skills and to gain mastery and/or watch the grammar DVDs that come with the Cover Story writing curriculum.  I really like Greek Morphemes for vocabulary building (which will help with college entrance exams), so I hope to have him work through some more of that next year.


For math we have been happy with Teaching Textbooks for Pre-Algebra this year.  We will use Teaching Textbooks 2.0 for Algebra 1 next year.  I like how both my sons are able to do it completely on their own, it grades them (I can just check the gradebook), and if they can’t figure out how to do a particular problem they can see it worked out for them.  Others have mentioned that Teaching Textbooks isn’t as rigorous as some other math curricula, but we’ll just supplement if we need to.  This summer they are both doing some daily math practice with IXL math (which is awesome!)

For Algebra 2 and Geometry we plan to use Teaching Textbooks as well.


He will taking German at home with a computer curriculum such as Rosetta Stone or Mango Languages.  I’m going to see what our library offers for free before I purchase one.  He will take 2 years of German.


He’ll be taking Biology for science and we’ll use the Apologia Biology text for the book work.  We have signed up for Landry Academy’s 2-day intensive for biology labs.  This is going to be so cool!  They’ll do 2 full days (9-5) and get a full-year’s worth of labs.  We plan to use Apologia for Chemistry and Physics as well.


Electives are easy for us!  He will continue with private violin lessons and started taking voice lessons with me this summer.  He will also be in Spotlight Youth Theater doing classes and shows.  I think he wants to take an acting class all year (improv) and be in the musicals “Les Miserables,” “Seussical,” and “Annie.”

He will also be in the Institute for Cultural Communicators (ICC) speech and debate class, writing and giving speeches and preparing for debate for tournament in the spring. He’ll be attending the national tournament and convention in Virginia this summer to compete in two events for which he qualified this spring at tournament: duo interpretation and radio broadcasting.

This summer he is working on a 1/2 credit of Bible using the Teen Prasso Bible Study.  I think there will be a lot of Bible study with the ancient literature class he’ll be taking with Tapestry of Grace.  If not, I’ll add some lessons from The Picture Smart Bible.

We have signed up for an upper level art class at our homeschool co-op for next year.

In future summers he’ll go to an incredible week-long camp called Worldview Academy.  I also hope he can go to TeenPact next year for a week at our state’s capitol.

Physical Education:

For physical education, we’ll use Family Time Fitness’s Homeschool High School program.  They have a 1-year access for only $17 that includes everything for the younger ages as well!  It also includes an online Health course.  Hopefully, he can find time to do the Health course this summer and get that out of the way.


I have the book Mother, Should I Trust the Government that I would like him to read this summer.  I’ll add a few supplements to it that we are getting in the High School Bundle with the Build Your Bundle sale: For You They Signed by Marilyn Boyer, A Journey in Liberty by Knowledge Quest, and We the People: Getting to Know Your Constitution by Homeschool Legacy.


Another subject I would love for him to knock out this summer would be economics. I reviewed a great book a couple of years ago called Simply Put: A Study of Economics by Catherine Jaime that will be perfect (just adding a few supplements that she recommends).

Community Service/ Ministry:

He is a student leader in our ICC speech group and helps out by teaching and mentoring the younger students.  Other ways he serves the community are by playing and singing on our church worship team, doing graphics for the church service, and leading worship at his youth group. He might also join a service group called HYPE (Highschool Youth Pursuing Excellence) which helps out with our Spotlight theater program.  He’ll also be a camp counselor (unpaid) at our Spotlight Youth Theater summer camp this summer.

And that should about do it!  I’m excited for the high school years and to see where God leads our first son.

Read the other posts in the series here:

Posts in this Series:

Post #1: The How-To Book 

Post #2: Choosing the Coursework

Post #3: Using a 4-Year High School Planner

Post #4: Our Curriculum Choices


(Disclosure: This post contains affililate links.)


2015 Build Your Bundle Sale: The Details

Woo-hoo–the Build Your Bundle homeschool curriculum sale is finally here! I promise not to overload you on this topic all week. But I want to have one post here where you can have all the details you might want in order to make a decision about whether to buy a bundle or not with the annual Build Your Bundle Sale. 
2015 Build Your Bundle Homeschool Sale

  • There are 19 different bundles of digital homeschool curriculum
  • All curricula is massively discounted (up to 90% off)
  • One week only 5/25 thru 6/1
  • 9 bundles are under $20
  • Buy 2 bundles, get one free
  • There are some Premium products for sale (memberships and courses)
  • If you make any purchase, you will receive some great Bonuses (physical and digital products, as well as coupons)

Over 200 products in 19 bundles priced starting at just $10!

  • Another thing you can do is to build your own bundle. Pick any of the items (items $19.99 and under) and get exactly what you will use!  Pick 5 for $25 or any 10 for $39.

2015 Build Your Bundle Homeschool Sale


Now for the details of what is in each of the 19 bundles:  

(see the Build Your Bundle site for more specifics)

Preschool/Kindergarten Bundle

Handwriting Lessons Through Literature, Uncle Rick’s History for Preschoolers, Baby Lamb’s Book of Art, The Picture Smart Bible, God’s Little Explorers Preschool Curriculum, and 8 more. Value $174.70, Cost $29.

Preschool Bundle of Curriculum - Huge Sale!

1st – 3rd Grade Bundle #1

Human Body Detectives Go into the Immune System, Reading Lessons Through Literature, 101 Independent Kids Activities, Write From History Level 1, Bible Road Trip Year One, Spanish 1 Interactive Notebook, Knights and Nobles Unit Study, and 4 more. Value: $284.89, Cost $49

Elementary Curriculum Bundle - HUGE Savings!

1st – 3rd Grade Bundle #2

Writeshop Primary Book A Set, English Lessons Through Literature, Simply Cursive, The Fun Spanish, Around the World Geography Copywork Bundle, and 5 more. Value $299.61, Cost $49.

Elementary Curriculum Bundle - HUGE Savings!

4th-6th Grade Bundle #1

Mastering Essential Math Skills: Fractions, Weather on the Move Unit Study, Human Body Detectives- Circulatory System, Write From History Level 2, USA State Bird Realistic, How to Write a Book Report, Help! I Have a Reluctant Writer!, and 5 more.  Value $203.86, Cost $39
Elementary Curriculum Bundle - HUGE Savings!
4th – 6th Grade Bundle #2

Draw Around the World: USA, The Elements, The Brain: An Introduction to Neurology, Ten Great Adventurers, Feed My Sheep by How Great Thou Art, Keyboarding for the Christian School Elementary Edition, Bible Road Trip Year Two, The Renaissance, and 3 more.  Value $251.47, Cost $39
Elementary Curriculum Bundle - HUGE Savings!

Just for Boys Bundle

Frank Webster Adventure Audiobook Collection 1, Celebrating Manhood: A Rite of Passage Guide, Warfare by Duct Tape (choose title), Ten Great Adventurers, Of Knights and Fair Maidens, American Wars Volume 1, Transportion Alphabet Copywork, Dragons of the Bible Copywork, and 4 more.  Value $163.73, Cost $19

Bundle Just for Boys - HUGE Savings!
Just for Girls Bundle

Girls of American History Units 1-8, Mommy Why? A Titus 2 Story for Young Girls bundle, Heroines of the Past Bible Study, Thoughts of Mothers and Daughters, Raising Maidens of Virtue, and 6 more. Value: $198.68, Cost $19
A Bundle Your Girls Will LOVE!
Character Bundle

Lads and Ladies of Wisdom, The Children’s Character Building Collection – Set of 11 Titles, Proverbs People Book 1, Write Through the Bible: 10 Commandments (Cursive, ESV), Growing in Wisdom, God’s Little Explorers Preschool Curriculum, Family Bible Bites Devotional, and 7 more. Value $141.94, Cost $19.
Character Building Bundle  - HUGE Savings!
Middle School Bundle

Mastering Essential Math Skills: Pre-Algebra Concepts, Classical Astronomy Field Guide, Carbon Chemistry, The Picture Smart Bible New Testament, Revolutionary Ideas: The Story of the American Revolution, Book of Many Colors by How Great Thou Art, Overview of American Government and the Election Process with Study Guide, Creation vs Evolution: Learning How Science Supports the Bible, 100 Most Often Used Social Studies Vocabulary Words, and 3 more.  Value $241.19, Cost $39
Middle School Curriculum at a LOW Price - 85% off!
High School Bundle

For You They Signed: The Spiritual Heritage of Those who Shaped Our Nation, Nutrition 101, The Picture Smart Bible Old Testament, British Literature, How Great Thou Art, Mastering Essential Math Skills: Geometry, Teach Your Students How to Take Notes, Unlock the Secrets of Compare-and-Contrast Writing, We the People: Getting to Know Your Constitution, and 2 more. Value $288.82, Cost $39
Save Big on High School Curriculum!
Charlotte Mason Bundle

Simply Charlotte Mason: Your Business Math Pet Store, Considering God’s Creation Science, A Young Scholar’s Guide to Composers, The Student’s Guide to Keeping an Art Journal, NaturExplorers Captivating Clouds, You Can Make Your Own Unit Study Using Charlotte Mason Methods, Write From History, and 5 more.  Value $236.50, Cost $49
Charlotte Mason Bundle of Curriculum  - HUGE Savings!

Copywork Bundle

Copywork Notebooking Pages Complete Set, American History Through Copywork and Dictation, Around the World Geography Copywork bundle, Write Through the Bible: 10 Commandments (Cursive, ESV), Learning to Speak Life Complete Copywork Companion, The ABCs of the Bible Scripture Copywork, Vincent Van Gogh Copywork bundle, Grammar Copywork, Town Mouse Country Mouse Copywork, and 3 more. Value $207.61, Cost $12
Copywork Bundle  - HUGE Savings!
Unit Study Bundle

Weather on the Move unit study, Delightful Planning: A Unit Study Planner for Every Homeschool, Revolutionary Ideas: The Story of the American Revolution, “Any Novel” Novel Study Guide, Sunflower Unit Study by See the Light, We the People: Getting to Know Your Constitution, You Can Make Your Own Unit Study Using Charlotte Mason Methods, and 5 more. Value $174.83, Cost $19
Love Unit Studies? This Bundle is awesome - 89% off!

Fine Arts Bundle

Beethoven Who? Family Fun With Music, Fine Art Pages Collections 1 and 2, Feed My Sheep by How Great Thou Art, Modern Craft Book, Book of Many Colors, Historical Skits, Vincent Van Gogh Notebooking and Copywork, and 2 more. Value $206.43, Cost $29
Fine Arts Bundle - SAVE BIG!
Mom Bundle #1

Mom’s Toolbelt, Activity Days for Homeschool Groups and Families, Teaching Science and Having Fun, Create Your Own Leaning Portfolio on Any Subject, Teach Kids How to Cook, and 7 more. Value $126.75, Cost $12
Bundle for Mom - Only $12!
Mom Bundle #2 (Christ-centered)

Learning to Speak Life: Fruit of the Spirit, Wait Only Upon God: 40 Days of Praying the Scriptures In The Waiting, Hope for the Heart of the Homeschool Mom, Home Improvement: The Parenting Book You Can Read to Your Kids, My Brother’s Keeper Junior and Youth Bundle, Complete Personal and Homeschool Planner, I’d Rather Be Your Mommy, and 5 more. Value $143.89, Cost $12.
A Bundle for the Christ-Centered Mom  - HUGE Savings!
Secular Bundle

Human Body Detectives (choose one), Ellen McHenry’s Science Curriculum (choose one), Math Essentials (choose one), Mom’s Toolbelt, Warfare by Duct Tape (choose one), English Lessons Through Literature, Draw Around the World USA, Girls of American History units 1-8, Fine Art Pages Collections 1 and 2, and 9 more. Value $445.27, Cost $69
Bundle for Secular Homeschoolers - Save 85%!
Notebooking Bundle

Spanish 1 Interactive Notebook, People of the Bible Notebooking Unit Volumes 1 and 2, Hands on Africa, Hands on Europe, 3-D Notebooking Pages Templates and Mini-Books, Vincent van Gogh Notebooking Pages, Wildflower Notebooking Pages, Tree Notebooking Pages, Shark Notebooking Pages, and 2 more.  Value $122.76, Cost $12
Notebooking Bundle - Only $12
Special Needs Bundle

Super Star Speech, Learning in Spite of Lables, ASL ABCs, Too Wise to Be Mistaken Too Good to Be Unkind, Dyslexia 101, and 3 more. Value: $80.33, Cost $10
Bundle for Special Needs Families - Only $10
(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.)

Review of A+ Interactive Math

A Plus Interactive Math review

Here is a new curriculum review for you today:

A+ Interactive Math

I specifically gained online access to the

Adaptive Placement Test and Individualized Lesson Plan.

I tried out A+ Interactive Math with 6 of my children.  For some it worked better than others.

My oldest son just finished Pre-Algebra with another math curriculum.  I decided it would be a good idea for him to take the A+ Tutorsoft Pre-Algebra math Adaptive Placement Test as a final exam. He discovered that there were some subjects in the exam that weren’t covered in his other curriculum, so he’ll be doing those lessons through A+ Interactive Math.  Math curricula can be different, so I’m happy to know that this will fill out his math learning for the year.

A+ Interactive Math

The child we used A+ Interactive Math with the most was my 8-year-old son.  He took 1-3 tests daily until we finished the whole Adaptive Placement Test (13 separate mini-tests in the 2nd grade test).  He was at grade level for some topics and not for a few others.  Then he started in with the lessons which he worked on most weekdays.  They are divided into categories (addition, subtraction, money, etc.) and then into specific lessons.  I let him skip around to different categories, as long as he went in order with the lessons contained there.  After watching the lesson (which took about 10 minutes) he did the online worksheet.  If he couldn’t finish it for some reason, it would be saved so he could come back to it later.

Adaptive Math Placement Test

He did enjoy doing this math curriculum. He definitely prefers learning and practicing math on the computer as opposed to any other way. I liked that the Adaptive Placement Test told me exactly where he needed more help, so we could focus on those areas in the lessons. The lessons were well presented. He understood them, and did well with the online worksheets. Even though it didn’t work well for some of my other kids, I’m glad to have A+ Interactive Math for my 8-year-old son and think it will be great for my 14-year-old son who is working his way through the Adaptive Placement Test now and my 13-year-old son who just started it today.

I also had two instances where I called and emailed the company to ask questions. I received great customer service!

Adaptive Math Placement Test

We discovered that the Adaptive Placement Test wasn’t a good fit for my daughter with dyslexia. First of all, I needed to read the test to her (there wasn’t an option to click to have the questions read aloud). Then, when it was discovered by the exam that the questions were too difficult, they added a whole new set of questions. This meant that the exam was too long for her to be able to focus. She began to get very frustrated, but we couldn’t stop because it’s a timed exam and if you stop, you’ll have to start over from the very beginning. I decided not to use A+ Tutorsoft with her after that initial day.

Another student who took the Adaptive Placement Test was my 6-year-old daughter. It was nice that the 1st grade exam was broken up into different sections because at her age she couldn’t do too much every day.  After a couple of days of taking the test I decided not to use it with her, though.  I don’t push formal math at this early of an age.  She did occasionally, throughout the review period, ask to do A+ Interactive Math, though, so she finished a few of the sections from the Adaptive Placement Test.

My 5th grade daughter got very frustrated after trying to take the Adaptive Placement Tests for three days.  It kept kicking her out of the exam, and not saving her answers.  Then she would have to start the whole test over.  I decided not to frustrate her with this experience any longer since she already has enough math frustration. I never found out why it was doing that with her particular exam.

Adaptive Math Placement Test w/ Lesson Plan


Read more about it at  Top 12 Reasons to do Adaptive Placement Test w/Lessons and

Top 12 Reasons to use “Family Math package” program.

2-week 40% to 50% off sale on “Family Math Packages” and “Adaptive Placement Testing w/ Lessons” program from 5/4/2015 –  5/18/2015

Adaptive Math Placement Test w/ Lesson Plan


There are lots of freebies for homeschool families to try to make sure the program is a good fit for them before you make purchase.

Free Math Placement Test

Free Family Math Packages

Free Software Download

Free Single Grade Level

Free eBook

Follow A+ Interactive Math on Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/APlusTutorSoft
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aplustutorsoft
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/aplustutorsoft
Adaptive Math Placement Test w/ Lesson Plan

A+ Interactive Math Review
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Review: La La Logic online preschool curriculum

La La Logic Review

Today I have a review of La La Logic Preschool Curriculum

This is an online resource with items to print.  It’s specifically for preschoolers and is a resource designed to help them with thinking skills and problem-solving.  There are 100 weeks of material!  See below for example of online activities to do.

La La Logic Review
I had my 4-year-old start with Week 1.  He did the online lessons which included a variety of different activities.  By far, his favorite was a reward for one of them where a monkey danced.  He and his 2-year-old sister cracked up every time!  Each week includes some lessons to print as well.  This particular lesson included a story about “The Eagle and the Fox.”  After reading it aloud to my son I asked him to narrate it, which simply means to tell the story back to me.  We’ll have to keep working on that skill!  Then, there are comprehension questions to make sure he understood the story.  Next is a nature study activity where the child names some sea animals and land animals and decides which category each animal belongs in.  Then there is a math activity to see how many elephants make up the size of a blue whale.  They draw it to illustrate it.  Finally, there is copywork of the sentence, “The fox tricked the eagle.”  The child can either write it or trace the letters that you write. Below are some examples of worksheets that are available for printing out.

La La Logic Review
I skipped ahead to Week 91 for my 6-year-old daughter.  The online lessons were too easy for her (in that she didn’t get anything wrong), but she said she still really enjoyed doing it.  I printed out the lesson to do with her as well.  It told the story of “Where Yap-Yap the Prairie Dog Used His Wits” by Thornton Burgess.  I read the story aloud and had her narrate it back to me.  I used to do narration with my older kids, but I realized after these lessons that I haven’t done it with this second set of kids!  I’m so glad to have all these wonderful stories to print out and read aloud to them so they can practice narrating them.  After the story, we talked about prairie dog homes vs. woodchuck homes and the sizes of prairie dogs and woodchucks using the internet to find pictures.  Then she did copywork of “Right away he set his sharp wits to work.”  There was also a tangram of shapes to cut out and then taped them onto the shape of a boat.

My 2-year-old daughter loved watching her brother and sister use La La Logic, but she doesn’t really understand the concepts quite yet. In this picture her older brother was helping her by saying things like “Point to number 3.”  I’m so glad I have a lifetime subscription, because she will definitely be using it within the next year!

La La Logic

The bottom line:

I’m happy with La La Logic.  It was perfect for my 4-year-old son, a little too difficult for my 2-year-old, and we were able to find some activities that were good (like narrating the stories) for my 6-year-old.  I love that there is so much available: 100 weeks!  It’s also great that is gets increasingly harder.  I loved that there were three modes from which to choose:  continuous brain mode (just keeps giving them more online activites to do until you stop it or they can choose a particular activity to practice), the week’s online lesson, and the printed lessons.  You can pick and choose what works best for your child.  My kids did it anywhere from 10-30 minutes at a time.  (They also begged to do it far more than I let them!)

Follow La La Logic on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/lalalogic


La La Logic Review

La La Logic Review

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IXL Math and Language Arts Review

Christmas Book Review
I have a really exciting program to review for you today!  For the past 6 weeks several of my kids have been working with the online program called IXL.  If you have read my blog for a while, you will know that I have not given favorable reviews of a couple of other online programs we’ve tried.  But IXL–well, we loved it!  My kids worked on both IXL Math and IXL Language Arts.

IXL Math and Language Arts Review 009

What is IXL?

There is so much there–you’ll really have to head over to the website to see for yourself.  It is an online PRACTICE website for grades PreK-12th (up to precalculus) in math and grades 2-8 in language arts.  We used it mostly on our computers (both Mac and PC). They also have some apps which work with various tablets.  We were able to use it with our iPad 2.  (But even if your tablet doesn’t support the app, you might be able to still use IXL with the tablet’s browser–I know a lot of people use it that way.)

IXL is not meant to be used as a class or textbook which teaches the material.  The material (math or grammar) should be taught with another curriculum or teacher.  Then, you can use IXL to practice those skills!

How we used it.

My 7th grade son usually uses a grammar workbook to practice grammar skills, but used IXL instead.  He mostly focused on vocabulary such as analogies and suffixes.

My 6th grade daughter used IXL almost every school day.  She used just the language arts section as well and worked on apostrophes and commas.  She found it quite challenging.  Here how it works:  Each topic starts out pretty easy.  Then the level of difficulty increases.  The score goes up with each right answer and goes down with a wrong answer. The goal is to get to 100–that will mean that they “mastered” the skill.  In math the younger kids get a “prize” for mastering the skill.  See below where I explain more about that.  If they miss a question, there is an explanation about the correct answer and how to do the problem.  Some people might use this teaching section as a way to let IXL “teach.”  Kids are not only rewarded for how high their score gets or how many topics they master, but also how many minutes they spend practicing a skill.  This is encouraging for those who are really struggling with a topic–at least they can get a prize for spending more time trying, even if they are having trouble mastering it!

My 2nd grade son used the 2nd grade math section, and my 1st grade daughter used the 1st grade math section.  For both of them, they had to skip around a bit (which is no big deal at all) because they kept getting to a level where it was too difficult because they hadn’t learned it yet.  We actually suspended their regular math curriculum for the past 6 weeks so that they could just use IXL.  In the future, I will have them use their math curriculum, and then come to IXL to do the extra practice to master each skill.

These same two kids also did some of the lessons using the app on our iPad.  They both felt it was easy enough to do it.

Another nice feature on the website is the option to have the questions read aloud for the younger kids.  The kids I had use IXL were good readers, but they occasionally clicked on it just for fun.  The only negative I have is that sometimes it was difficult to understand what they were saying.

Now I’ll show you some screenshots so you can get a better idea of how it works.

Here is a grammar question for 6th grade:

IXL Math and Language Arts Review 019

These next 3 are parent report pages so you can see how your kids are doing:

IXL Math and Language Arts Review 017 IXL Math and Language Arts Review 016 IXL Math and Language Arts Review 015

The kids each have their own individual account because it keeps track of what they have accomplished and reports it to the parent.  You’ll also receive emails telling you when your child has accomplished something special like mastering a skill, practicing for an hour, or answering a certain number of questions.

IXL Math and Language Arts Review 014

A first grade math page:

IXL Math and Language Arts Review 013

And what happens when they get it correct!

IXL Math and Language Arts Review 011

This is a list of the Math page and some of the skills available for practice at each grade level:

IXL Math and Language Arts Review 007

This was my daughter’s reward page.  On the side it says that she had earned 29 medals, answered 1,112 questions, practiced for 5 hours 53 minutes, and mastered 28 skills!

IXL Math and Language Arts Review 006 IXL Math and Language Arts Review 005

I didn’t have to beg any of my 4 kids to do their IXL work each day.  The happily did it!  I think it will be hard for my 1st and 2nd graders to go back to their regularly scheduled math next week!  I think I’ll keep my 2 older kids grammar here at IXL, though!


Pricing for family memberships starts at just $9.95/month or $79/year for one subject. Each additional child costs $2/month or $20/year. For more information or to purchase a family membership, go to www.ixl.com/membership/family/pricing, and select your preferred membership option to view pricing details.

 This is a good page to look at as well:  https://www.ixl.com/membership/family/subscribe/yearly/math

So, an annual subscription for one child for math is $79; for math AND Language Arts, it would be $129.  For two children for math, it is $99 for the year; for math and language arts, it would be $149.

Visit IXL on social media:


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Review “UberSmart Math Facts” software

UberSmart Math Facts Review


Are you looking for a great way for your kids to learn or practice their math facts?  Today I’m happy to review UberSmart Software, which has created the product we used called

UberSmart Math Facts.  

Math facts are so important for kids to learn.  They can’t easily go on to the next concept in math if they are still trying to remember them.  If you aren’t sure what I mean by “math facts,” it’s knowing their basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems by heart.  They should know the answers to 6+7 or 9 x 3 without having to think at all.

How do they accomplish that?  They could use paper flash cards or a computer game.  They can take written tests or have someone quiz them orally.  Or they could use  UberSmart Math Facts.   

UberSmart Math Facts is actually not a fancy computer game.  It’s a simple no-nonsense and straight-forward way for learning and practicing math facts.

It’s specifically geared for grades K-6, but any age that needs math facts reinforcement can utilize it. 

This is a DOWNLOADABLE SOFTWARE for mastering math facts. It can be used by eight or more students and will enable your student to practice the following:

*Dot Cards (like adding domino faces)
*Keyboard Entry (Ten-Key Numbers)
*Flash Cards (add, subtract, multiplication, division)

*The Addition/Subtraction goes up through the 9s
*Multiplication/Division has the option to set it to go up to 9’s – 20’s. 

SYSTEM SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS: This is for Windows 7, 8, XP and Vista only.  There isn’t a Mac version.

Take a look as some of these screen shots to get a better idea of what you’ll find in UberSmart Math Facts.

Here is a test.  You see the previous (just completed) problem first, then there is the one the student is supposed to answer by typing, and third is the next problem.  This particular test is testing the “12’s.”  You can choose which numbers need work, just like you can choose which operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division) needs work.


UberSmart Math Facts Review
This screen shot is giving the child the opportunity to practice typing numbers fast and correctly.  They can’t “master” without typing the answers accurately and quickly.

UberSmart Math Facts Review
The next screenshot shows a Practice screen.  When kids are just learning a new fact, they can use this screen which first shows the flash card without the answer.  They can try to answer it out loud, and then hit “enter” to see what the answer is.

UberSmart Math Facts Review
This next screen is fun and reminds me of dominoes! This might be great for younger kids.  (The ones I had using it were 6 and 7 years old.) 
UberSmart Math Facts Review
Overall, we really liked UberSmart Math Facts, and I’m so glad we have it now!  I have all 8 of my kids listed in it so I can keep track of their progress and know which facts still need to be worked on.  We had trouble at first getting the software to work, but the developer was extremely helpful and worked on it for a few weeks to get it updated.  It now works great!
The cost is $24.95 for a Family License. With this license you can run Math Facts on all the computers in your home! You also get free upgrades and support.

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Review of CTC Math

CTC Math Review

Today I have a review of CTC Math.  We recently got to spend time with the 12 Month Family Plan.  CTC Math is an online math curriculum for grades K-12.  The child who spent the most time using it is my 7-year-old son.  He worked on the 1st and 2nd grade levels.  I also had a few more kids try it out–my 3-year-old, 5-year-old, 12-year-old, and 13-year-old.

CTC Math Review
The way CTC Math works is you get a parent account and a specific child account for each child.  The child logs in with their username and password each time they are ready to do math.  They then click on the next lesson to do.  It’s pretty organized into categories, so they know what the basic topic is that they are studying and they know how many lessons are in that category.  The lessons are taught by an Australian man.  (His accent is fun!)  For the 1st grade level, the lessons were pretty short (usually less than 5 minutes).  The lessons often have graphics to describe the concepts.  There are a lot of pictures and cute graphics for the younger kids.  After watching the lesson, they do the questions.  There is a downside here if your child isn’t an independent reader because these aren’t read out loud like the lesson portion is.  One thing that’s neat about the lessons are the bar at the top that shows them how close they are to finishing it.  For first grade there were 10 questions for each lesson.

The first grade math covers these categories:

Number, Patterns, and Algebra:  whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, patterns, money.

Measurement: length, area, capacity and volume, mass, time.

Space and Geometry: plane shapes, solids, position.

Statistics and Probablilty: graphs, chance.

One thing I really liked was getting weekly emails that told me exactly what my kids worked on that week and how they did.  They even have certificates to print out for reaching certain levels!  The younger ones got really excited about those!

After completing a category, there are 2 types of tests called standard and comprehensive (one is longer than the other) that the kids can take so you can check their progress and decide if they are ready to move on.  Or you can use the diagnostic tests to determine where in the curriculum your child should start working.

Another feature on the site is Speed Skills, which is a fun math game a couple of my kids played.

My older boys (6th and 7th grade) did a few lessons from the 7th grade section called Basic Math and Pre-Algebra.  At this level there is a sheet to print out for the questions, so the kids can do their lessons on paper.  On the side of it there is a bank of answers to choose from.  They will enter the letter associated with the correct answer on the computer for grading.  My oldest son didn’t like this because he felt it was too easy to guess what the answer would be if he didn’t correctly work the problem the first time.

I would recommend CTC Math for two different types of people.  If you want to use it for a full curriculum, it can be that for the elementary ages.  Or if your child needs extra help in math (for all levels up through 12th grade), it is a wonderful resource for an online math tutor!



Here is the current pricing:  Homeschoolers get a huge 60% discount off the regular price!  It’s $118.80 for Membership for 2 or more students for 12 months. I set up accounts for 7 of my kids!  (The 12-month family plan.)

Visit their Facebook page at Facebook CTC Math .


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Homeschool Essentials: Math-U-See Decimal Street lapbook for “Alpha”

Math-U-See Decimal Street lapbook 003


Penguin lapbook 002


Penguin lapbook 001


Penguin lapbook 003


Today is Day 3 of “5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials” and I’m sharing about my favorite math elementary math curriculum: Math-U-See. I love that this curriculum has the lessons on DVD (Steve Demme is funny and connects well with the kids). But most of all I like his approach of trying to help the kids “see” math rather than just memorizing how to do it.

One of my children just started with the Alpha level. Place value is being taught in the first lesson. We created a Decimal Street lapbook for her to practice using the units (ones), tens, and hundreds place. I’m sorry I can’t give credit to the lady on whose blog I first saw this. It was many years ago and the blog site no longer exists.

What we do is write a number in the boxes at the bottom.  If the number is 632, she’ll put on 6 red “hundreds”, 3 blue “tens”, and 2 green “units.”  The boxes are covered in clear packing tape, so it wipes off really easily using a dry erase marker.  Then we practice with me putting the blocks on and she writes down the number.  After a few days of practicing this, I think she understands!

And my younger kids just like playing with the blocks!

Penguin lapbook 006

The blocks are what makes Math-U-See unique. The units are green, the tens are blue, and the hundreds are red. The kids can see and count them in each spot. And they can see that only 9 can fit in each house. This is important for them when they start learning about carrying or regrouping. No, Math-U-See doesn’t completely eliminate math tears, but it helps!

Do you have a favorite math curriculum?  Please share in the comments!


5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials



Be sure to read about more Homeschooling Essentials at the following blogs:

61. Lisa @ Our Simple Kinda Life

62. Tabitha @ The Homeschool Four

63. LaRee @ Broad Horizons

64. Gwen @ Tolivers to Texas

65. Amy @ Counting Change. . .  Again

66. Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning

68. Adena @ AdenaF

69. Stacie @ Super Mommy to the Rescue

70. Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker
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And don’t forget to enter to win an iPad Mini here!

 This post is linked up to some of these great blogs!

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Times Tales set on Sale!


I’ve mentioned before how I’ve used the Times Tales DVD to help my 3 oldest quickly learn their times tables!  There is a sale right now (until August 8, 2013) to get these 3 items for only $29.95!  You get the bundle which includes: Times Tales (print or DVD), a Mini Flip and Memory Triggers: Elementary Math Terms.  If you have  a child working on multiplication, head over to the website and see if this is something you’d like to try!  Use the code GOTTHIS.


My 9-year-old daughter learned her times tables in 2 weeks using Times Tales!


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Homeschool Curriculum 2012-2013

Here is our 2012-2013 Curriculum


Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

B (age 11, 6th grade):

Following “The Grammar Level:  Ten Things to Do From Ages 10-12″

Bible:  Discover 4 Yourself Inductive Bible Studies for Kids — Revelation (Bible Prophecy for Kids and A Sneak Peek into the Future)

Grammar:  Daily Grams 6 (Easy Grammar)

Latin:  First Form Latin

Music:  violin lessons, band (saxophone) at Christian school

History:  Mystery of History and Story of the World, vol. 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with notebooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction

Pre-Logic:  Logic: Building Thinking skills, book 3 figurative

Math:  Epsilon math, then Zeta math from Math-U-See

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

Composition:  How to Write a Story by Evan-Moor, then Writing for 100 Days

Public Speaking:  Institute for Cultural Communicators Basic Public Speaking book
Worldview: Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
Geography Bee
Spotlight drama class (and possibly perform in a musical)
J (age 10, 5th grade):

Following “The Grammar Level:  Ten Things to Do From Ages 10-12″

Bible:   Discover 4 Yourself Inductive Bible Studies for Kids — Revelation (Bible Prophecy for Kids and A Sneak Peek into the Future)

Spelling & Grammar:   Better Spelling in 5 Minutes a Day and then Spelling Power;  Daily Grams 5 (Easy Grammar)

Latin:  First Form Latin

Music:  violin and piano lessons

Art:  ocean boxes

History:  Mystery of History volume 2 and Story of the World volume 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with lapbooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction

Pre-Logic:  Logic: Building Thinking skills, book 2

Math:  Epsilon math from Math-U-See

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

Public Speaking:  Institute for Cultural Communicators Basic Public Speaking book for public speaking class

Worldview:  Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
Geography Bee
Spotlight drama class (and possibly perform in a musical)
M (age 8, 3rd grade):

 Reading and Handwriting, Narration:  read to self 30 minutes a day; finish reading Rod and Staff readers–Bible Nurture and Reader Series  (finish brown books and first gray book); copy work of Revelation

Arts and Crafts:  ocean boxes, sewing projects, Picture study of paintings

Music:  violin and piano lessons

Bible:   Discover 4 Yourself Inductive Bible Studies for Kids — Revelation (Bible Prophecy for Kids and A Sneak Peek into the Future)

Math:  Alpha and Beta, Math-U-See

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

History:  Mystery of History volume 2 and Story of the World volume 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with lapbooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction

Public Speaking:  Institute for Cultural Communicators Basic Public Speaking book

Worldview:  Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
Pre-Logic:  Think a Minutes from Critical Thinking
Spotlight drama class (and possibly perform in a musical)


R (age 7, 2nd grade):

Reading and Handwriting, Narration:  phonics (TATRAS) and read aloud to Mom (McGuffey readers then Rod and Staff Bible Nurture and Reader Series, green books); Explode the Code (book 3 – ?);  finish printing Handwriting Without Tears books and then do various copywork.

Bible:  Mom reads aloud The Jesus Storybook Bible ( Lloyd-Jones)Roma Downey’s Little Angels Bible Storybook, and Leading Little Ones to God (Schooland)

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

Arts and Crafts:  ocean boxes, sewing projects, Picture study of paintings

Public Speaking:  Institute for Cultural Communicators Basic Public Speaking book

Worldview:  Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
History:  Mystery of History volume 2 and Story of the World volume 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with lapbooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction
T (age 5, Kindergarten):

Reading and Handwriting, Narration:  phonics (TATRAS) and read aloud to Mom (McGuffey readers then Rod and Staff Bible Nurture and Reader Seriesgreen books); Explode the Code (book 2 – ?); Handwriting Without Tears books and then do various copywork if time

Bible:  Mom reads aloud The Jesus Storybook Bible ( Lloyd-Jones)Roma Downey’s Little Angels Bible Storybook, and Leading Little Ones to God (Schooland)

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

Arts and Crafts:  ocean boxes, painting, play-doh

Public Speaking:  Institute for Cultural Communicators Basic Public Speaking book

Worldview:  Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
History:  Mystery of History volume 2 and Story of the World volume 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with lapbooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction
Music:  violin lessons
L (age 3, Preschool):

Reading and Handwriting, Narration:  phonics (TATRAS); Handwriting Without Tears books and do various copywork

Bible:  Mom reads aloud The Jesus Storybook Bible ( Lloyd-Jones)Roma Downey’s Little Angels Bible Storybook, and Leading Little Ones to God (Schooland)

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

Arts and Crafts:  ocean boxes, painting, play-doh

History:  Mystery of History volume 2 and Story of the World volume 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with lapbooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction

Worldview:  Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
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How I got interested in the Classical Method for Homeschooling

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How I got interested in the Classical Method for Homeschooling

How I got interested in the Classical Method for Homeschooling:

Probably the best way to start is to explain why I started homeschooling in the first place.  I started out as a public school teacher at a junior high (7th-9th grade).  It didn’t take me long to understand some of the inner workings of that system–things most parents never even think about or consider.  I was amazed at the discipline problems and how little time I was actually able to teach the kids.  Even as a strong Christian I felt strapped in how I could express my beliefs, and usually didn’t do it at all.  There was so much wasted time.  There was also a lot of crime (we even had a full-time city police officer on campus at all times.)  I would look up at a few dedicated, sweet kids in my room and think, “It’s so sad that you are in this situation; I never want my kids to be in a place like this if there is an alternative.”

But I didn’t know of any alternative, except for private school.  I had still never heard of homeschooling.  Then I had a child transfer into my class midway through the year who had been homeschooled.  I was very skeptical about it.  And then the drama teacher next door to me told me her daughter was homeschooled because she had severe learning disabilities and was pursuing a singing career.  I thought, “How can you be homeschooling her when you are teaching here all day?”  I later learned that her husband actually did shift work, so he was home with the girl during the day; she was old enough to do a lot independently, and there is so much flexibility to when you can learn (evenings and weekends).  My paradigm was beginning to shift.

After three years I couldn’t handle the junior high environment anymore and went to teach at an elementary school.  It was brand new.  The teachers and administrators were wonderful.  I had a full-time aide in my classroom to help me at all times.  You’d think this would be the perfect situation for the sweet little kids!  But I was seeing what was wrong there, too.  The children spent SO much time standing in line in the hallway, waiting for the bathroom or P.E. or lunch.  It was such a waste. The children had to be treated as a group and taught as a group, instead of as individuals.   And there were those teachers who were screamers or so focused on the problems in their own homes they really couldn’t take care of 22 young kids at school very well.  The saddest moment for me was on the last day of school one year I looked around at my kindergarteners (I taught K-4th grade music and had 600 students) and realized how few of their names I knew.  If I didn’t even know their names, how could I be teaching to their needs?  I was pregnant by this time and decided to spend some serious time investigating homeschooling.

The first method I studied was about Classical Education.  I read Dorothy Sayer’s article “The Lost Tools of Learning” and was really inspired by it.  Another book that I read soon after was For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Shaeffer Macauley.


What an incredible book!  I learned so much about education and was introduced to Charlotte Mason and her wonderful ideas.  (More on her in amother post!)

I went to my first homeschool convention (Illinois Christian Home Educators, www.iche.org) when my oldest was 17 months old and my 2nd child was 6 weeks old.  I was blown away and brought my husband with me the next year.  He was blown away, too!  Now, after all these years, homeschooling is such a lifestyle for us, we don’t see how we could do it differenly. We pray that the Lord will allow us to continue until our children graduate from high school.

One of the seminars I attended at that first homeschool convention was with Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn of triviumpursuit.com.  They said many things that really resonated with me and helped to form my philosophy of education.  I love their article “Ten Things to Do Before Age 10″ and have followed it (though not perfectly) with all my kids.  I also use their book Teaching the Trivium: Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style
as a resource for choosing homeschool curriculum each year.  I love that their style of classical education mixes in the unit study and Charlotte Mason methods.  That’s exactly how I love to teach!

We are now using Tapestry of Grace, which is based on the classical education method.  Each year (there are 4 total) uses history as the spine for learning the other humanities (literature, writing, arts).  We read “living books” rather than textbooks (Charlotte Mason!) and study the same lessons as a family.  But the lesson plans are specific to the child’s level of learning: grammar, diaectic, or rhetoric.

Do you have questions about Classical Education?  Please leave a comment and let’s talk about it!

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Homeschooling Moms With Apps–Math

When I started this series on homeschooling moms with apps 3 weeks ago I had no idea an incredible new website would burst on the scene last week.  It’s called Apps for Homeschooling.  Jennifer shares reviews, codes for free apps, and insider information about sales.  It’s great!  I’ll keep writing these posts to share what we like to use, but for more comprehensive information on great apps for homeschooling, be sure to visit Apps for Homeschooling!

This week we’ll talk about math.  The iPad is a wonderful tool for practicing math facts, and there are some really neat math apps out there.  Here are the ones my kids enjoy:

Math Bingo

Rocket Math

Dot to Dot Numbers and Letters

Pizza Fractions

Factor Samurai

Pizza Sudoku

Snowman Math

And these are some math apps I’ve heard good things about but haven’t looked into personally yet:

Math Ninja

Match up Math

Pop Math lite

Math A+

iLive Math

Math Girl Number Garden (and House)

Digit z lite

Fractions app

Kids Time Fun

Trade First Subtraction

Math Magic

Park Math


Do you have some favorite math apps I missed?

Homeschooling Moms With Apps–Preschool

It’s time for our next installment of Homeschooling Moms With Apps! This time our focus is on Preschool. (Check out last week’s post on geography.)

As you can tell by the picture on my blog header, I have a number of preschoolers. And they all love to use the iPad! (I’m embarrassed to say that even my 14-month-old loves it!) But I want the limited time they use it to be educational, as well as fun for them. Here are some my favorites that they come back to time and again.

Teach Me Toddler

Teach Me Kindergarten

Teach Me 1st Grade

Bob Books

Lots of picture books (mostly the free versions, which are only parts of the book: Dr. Suess’s ABC, Just Me and My Mom, Green Eggs and Ham, Peter Rabbit, etc.)

Dot to Dot Numbers and Letters

Pocket Phonics Lite

Rocket Math

Math Bingo

Pizza Fractions

Montessori Approach to Geography lite

Drawing Pad

Hello Chalk

Hello Crayons

Hello Colored Pencils

Animal Fun

Learn Sharks

Sound drop lite

Aquarium lite


Do you have some favorite Preschool Apps I missed?