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Take the Stress Out of Math for All Ages and Grade Levels

take the stress out of math for all ages and grade levels

Math. Most people either love it or…well…don’t love it. 😉 But it’s a necessary subject, and it’s one most students can learn to love if you find the right curriculum. Math was my best subject in school, and it’s been very difficult teaching it to my teenage daughter since it’s a subject she doesn’t love and that doesn’t come easily to her. I’ve always had trouble figuring out how to explain math concepts to her in a way she can understand. And, to be honest, it’s very hard to be patient with her since it’s often necessary to go over lessons multiple times.

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In an attempt to find what would work best for her, we’ve gone through quite a few math curriculums in the last few years. Nothing clicked. Nothing worked well. And nothing helped her enjoy math or feel successful at it. That’s why I’m so excited (and relieved!) to have finally found CTCMath!

Take the Stress Out of Math for All Ages and Grade Levels!

At first, I was leery to try CTCMath because my daughter doesn’t generally enjoy online learning. She typically likes physical/print materials that are very hands-on. I’m thrilled to say that she loves this curriculum!

Top 3 Reasons My Daughter Loves CTCMath

  1. First, with her full schedule, it’s easy to fit math into her day whenever she has time. If she were taking a live online class, she would have to attend class at a certain time and on certain days. She very much prefers having the ability to do a lesson at whatever time works best for her schedule on any certain day.
  2. She likes the fact that the videos that are used to teach lessons are short. For students who aren’t great at math, a long video with lots of information can be overwhelming.
  3. She enjoys being able to review and re-watch videos when needed. If she has trouble with a new concept, all she has to do is watch the video again until she understands it. She loves the fact that the teacher never loses his patience or gets frustrated no matter how many times she needs to review a lesson. 🙂

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The 5 Top Reasons I Love CTCMath

  1. Learning to use CTCMath was so simple! My daughter did not need any help from me besides setting up her username. Also, there are several helpful videos showing users how to get started and explaining how to use the various tools.
  2. Instead of a regular placement test, CTCMath uses diagnostic tests. This simply means that, instead of doing a placement test, the student jumps in and does a lesson at whatever grade level the parent thinks is appropriate. If that level is too difficult or too easy, the student can then move backward or forward to a different level as needed. Once your child is working at a level that is challenging but not too difficult, you know he or she is at the proper grade level.
  3. CTCMath includes all grade levels. Being able to work at any grade level gives both my daughter and me the confidence that she is learning what she needs to know before she moves on.
  4. It is not Common Core aligned. I don’t like Common Core-aligned curriculum. It’s confusing and often seems to make math concepts more difficult to learn and understand rather than making them understandable and doable.
  5. Parents get emails with progress updates. I love the email reports that tell me how my daughter is doing! They tell me when she logged on, what she finished that day, the grade she made, and even how long it took her to complete the lesson.

I’ve already listed the 5 top reasons I love CTCMath, but there are lots more reasons you might love it! 

  • CTCMath includes math curriculum for students from kindergarten through high school. This means everything from kindergarten math all the way through high school algebra (I & II), geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, and calculus is included!
  • If you choose a family membership, up to 5 students (at any ages/grade levels) can use this curriculum! This makes CTCMath affordable for almost any family.
  • The Question Bank allows parents to assign extra practice if they feel like their students need it.
  • If your child enjoys or would benefit from having a printed lesson to review, you can print out the lesson summary at the end of a lesson.
  • There are optional worksheets that can be completed without an internet connection. When you do have internet access, your child can enter the answers and see the solutions.
  • The parent can choose the passing grade for each student.

The video below gives a great overview of this curriculum. It’s worth taking a few minutes to watch! 

We love this curriculum. We don’t have to keep searching. This is the one that will get her through to graduation. CTC Math is helping her to stop saying, “I’m not good at math.” It’s boosting her confidence in her ability to do math and helping her enjoy math so much more than she ever has before! Below you’ll find more information about how to try a free trial of CTCMath, how to use a discount code to get a huge discount, and how to enter for a chance to win a FREE family subscription!

Get a FREE Trial or a Huge Discount on a Subscription!

Click here to get a FREE TRIAL of CTCMath.

And you can get 50% off your CTCMath subscription by clicking this 1/2 Price for Homeschoolers link!

Enter for a Chance to Win a FREE Family Subscription!

CTCMath 12-month Family Membership

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3 Simple Tips for Teaching Shakespeare

3 simple tips for teaching shakespeare

Are you a homeschooling parent who is considering leading your student (or students) through a study of Shakespeare? Maybe you’re excited to get started, but  you’re also feeling nervous because he is, you know, Shakespeare: the father of Western poetry and drama, the guy whose plays are taught in every contemporary schoolroom. No pressure.

As someone who loves Shakespeare, studied his works in graduate school, and has tutored students in his plays and poetry, I’m going to make a guilty confession to you: I have totally “zoned out” while reading Shakespeare. I’ve done it more than once. As wonderful as his language is, it happens with antiquate language…unless you have a strategy. In today’s post, I want to share 3 tips that I’ve discovered which have helped me stay focused on, and therefore find a lot of enjoyment in, Shakespeare’s works.  If you feel like you need a little guidance, or a little more focus, while getting started with “The Bard”, I hope these tips help you out!

1. Grab Some Popcorn and Put on a Movie

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Shakespeare’s works, especially his plays, weren’t really meant to be read silently. They were meant to be watched.  The first thing you can do when reading/ teaching a Shakespeare play is to conjure up  strong visuals to accompany your reading.  Having a visual not only helps show us more clearly the meaning behind Shakespeare’s language, it also shows us that the characters in these plays are not very different from ourselves. One of the reasons that Shakespeare is still so famous today is that his characters capture the full scope of human experiences: they address, from birth to death, all of the major emotions and conflicts that arise in a person’s life.  Thanks to the dozens of films which depict Shakespeare’s works, almost anyone can experience these depictions in action.  Take advantage of this and watch some movies.

I would especially suggest checking out film versions which leave as much of the original rhetoric intact as possible while portraying the tale within a modern or creative setting, such as: Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing (2012), Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Kenneth Brannaugh’s Hamlet (1996).   I recommend this type of adaptation because it can act as inspiration for creating your own unique visual landscape. At the same time, you are getting to see how Shakespeare’s original words were meant to be read, with the proper power, intonations, and emotions to channel them. So grab some popcorn and watch a movie!

2. Read for Themes

Create a connection with a Shakespearean through focusing on his themes, and then looking at how more specific passages support and discuss those themes.  To start out with this approach, you will need to do a little secondary source research. Discover what “big questions and ideas” scholars have pondered over for the particular work you are reading and keep them in mind as you read. This can help you to focus on Shakespeare’s wording and insight.

For instance, if you are reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you might do a little reading on the theme of “the rashness of love.” This play contains several examples of the unwieldiness of love and the crazy things it makes us do.  With that theme already in mind, let’s say you come across the following lines of the play from Act 5, Scene 1.  “Lovers and madmen have such seething brains/Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend/ More than cool reason ever comprehends.” Because you will realize that these lines speak directly about a crucial theme in the play, you can spend a little time on them to think about what Shakespeare is saying and how he is saying it Sometimes the proper context is all you need to be able to focus in on lines like this, which can seem crisply insightful and fresh, even centuries after they were written.

3. Consider the Sound

As you discover the universality of the characters and the themes, another thing you can do to create an interactive Shakespeare experience is to learn to appreciate the sound of his writing. Shakespeare was a master of iambic pentameter, a pattern that most of his writing follows.Iambic pentameter means a pattern of five “iambic feet,” each containing an unstressed/stressed syllable which flows like “baBUM.” Therefore, the beat of, “baBUMbaBUMbaBUMbaBUMbaBUM,” is similar to the rhythm of most of Shakespeare’s writing.

Once you’ve got a grasp on the pattern, read some of the lines you are studying aloud to yourself and see if you hear it in the flow of the words.  Try this with your student. Can she tap the iambic beat of a line while reading it aloud? You might be surprised by how getting involved involved in the sound of the language can connect you to it in a new way.

Once you (and your student) are comfortable with reading in meter and hearing the beat of Shakespeare’s words, you can really start to get “fancy,” with your Shakespeare discussions by beginning to think about how meaning and sound come together.  How?  Look for places where the language breaks the pattern. For example, are there lines that, when read aloud, throw the beat off? Are they just a little too short, too long, or forcibly crammed together?

Considering Shakespeare as a master of both poetry and a playwrighting, ask yourself and your student why he might have decided to change the flow at that point.  How does the music alter to the storytelling? Even today, Shakespeare sets the bar for the deliberate interaction between meter and meaning.  In asking these kinds of questions about his text, you are not only exploring the study Shakespeare, but also the art of poetry itself.

Actor Craig Wallace said of performing Shakespeare: “It’s not easy. When we get it and convey it, it’s a beautiful thing for us and it’s a beautiful thing for the audience to hear. And that’s why Shakespeare endures.”

Today, as readers and teachers of Shakespeare, we have a similar challenge, though the play we perform is mental.  Getting past the language differences may be difficult, yet there is beauty in the discovery that Shakespeare’s characters and stories are still relevant today. The music in his language and words also allows each generation to breathe new life into his work every time it is read. It’s a valuable experience and a beautiful one to share through teaching.