Math: Homeschooling a Child Who is Ahead

My daughter loves math. Me?

Not so much. In fact, I still remember struggling my way through my high school math classes and being thankful I didn’t have to take a ton of them in college. My daughter, though? She eats up those problems for breakfast and picks up concepts like nobody’s business. I am in awe of her math enthusiasm and try to nurture it as much as I can. Homeschooling makes that easy.

Being Ahead in Math

About three years ago, I noticed that she was getting ahead in math – really ahead. Honestly, I was a bit concerned that she was doing the problems, but not retaining the process or completely understanding how to do them. Despite my worries, her yearly standardized testing math scores indicated she was grade levels ahead. Year after year, she continues to perform a couple of grade levels above the grade she’s in. It’s exciting to watch!

Homeschooling a child who is ahead in math is a slightly daunting prospect though. Mathematical processes need to be mastered and there needs to be a firm grasp of basic skills in order to move ahead successfully. In other words, she can’t wing it and still do well. That means that, as the homeschool mom, I need to keep a close eye on what she’s doing and monitor her progress. Closely.

CHOOSING A HOMESCHOOL MATH CURRICULUM

We have been using Teaching Textbooks for the last three years and, while she loves using it, I’ll admit that I have a hard time monitoring her progress. Yes, I know I can log in and check, but getting to the computer that she uses for it is logistically challenging sometimes. I’m also not so crazy about not being able to move her ahead or have her review concepts she struggles with – higher multiplication facts, I’m talking to you! So, I was really excited to have the chance to try out a new-to-us online math program called CTC Math. You can check it out here. We’re in the process of deciding on next year’s Fourth Grade curriculum and I know that I want something online, but I also want something that’s slightly different from what we’ve been using for her.

One of the things that I’ve learned about homeschooling a child who’s ahead in math is that she still struggles with some concepts. She may test at the seventh grade level overall, but she still needs practice in concepts that are more on grade-level. I loved that I was able to assign her more practice in those areas through the CTC Parent Portal. In fact, I was able to assign her multiple practice sessions on skills that she was struggling with. The fact that I could schedule her lessons from different grades was also a HUGE plus.

Now let’s talk about assigning lessons…I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t know which lessons to schedule or be able to monitor her progress. What I really liked about CTC Math was that I was able to see the complete course for the year with the names of the concepts being taught. Instead of just “Lesson 45”, it says “Multiplying By a Multiple of Ten” or “Improper Fractions to Mixed Numbers” so that I have a better grasp on what she’s learning and when. I had the option of assigning her lessons in order or, if she already mastered a skill, I could skip it and go to the next. That flexibility is key when homeschooling a child who’s ahead in math!

LET’S TALK LESSONS

One of the reasons we’ve stuck with the program we’ve been using for awhile now is that my daughter enjoys the actual lessons. She listens intently, does the practice problems, and then moves on to tackle the actual lesson problems. It’s a model that’s worked well for her. CTC Math does the same thing in most regards. The lesson is taught in an easy-to-understand way and the lesson problems are one tab over for practice. Since the company is Australian, the instructor does have an Australian accent, so just be prepared for that if your child has any auditory processing issues. I wish that there were practice problems before the actual lesson problems, but she has the ability to go back and complete more lesson problems should she not score well on the initial 10. There is also a button for “More Questions” should she want want to do more – or I want to assign her more. 😉

There’s no explanation for the problems that she got wrong, so that does require a lot more parent interaction and explanation. While I’m comfortable explaining those concepts now, it might be a lot more challenging the higher up she gets. Explaining why she got a problem wrong in the Linear Equations and Inequalities lesson in Calculus? Yeah, that’s not going to go so well. Thankfully, we have years to go before we get there.

PARENT UPDATES AND REPORTS

Now this feature right here? Parent updates and reports that are emailed to me every week? This is the part of the CTC Math program that made me swoon. Not only does it give me a quick glance at what she’s been doing, it gives me a record to include in her homeschool portfolio. I love that! For me, it’s the feature that’s been missing from the math program that we currently use.

SO, WHAT DOES IT COST?

Now, in addition to the whole reports being emailed to me aspect of the program, I love the cost of the CTC Math online curriculum. It’s less than what we’re currently using and, if I needed to add one of the boys to the program for practice or math enrichment, it would still be less than what I pay for a single year for one student. Homeschoolers also get 60% off the cost of the program (it’s also used in schools!)! Yay for savings!! BUT before you purchase it, I highly recommend that you take advantage of the FREE 4-week trial that they’re offering. The offers (both the free trial and the 60% off) are only good through July 31, 2017 so, please, please, please go scoop yours up now. I would hate for you to miss out and not be able to try it out for free or have to pay a higher price.

Homeschooling a child who is ahead in math requires a lot of flexibility, monitoring, and the ability to think outside of the box. You have to be willing to try new things to keep them interested and engaged in math lessons, so that they don’t get bored. Boredom has killed the interest in more subjects that anything else, so making learning fun is key. I’m still weighing the math curriculum decision for next year, but you may just be hearing more about CTC Math in the near future. (Wink, wink)

What programs will you be using the next school year? Share with me! I need some curriculum inspiration!

Want to save this math curriculum idea for later? Pin the image below!

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