Saturday, June 27, 2015

Garden Update June 27

It’s been a busy week in the gardens.  Most of the week it was very hot and humid here, then it turned cool near the end of the week.  We’ve had so much rain in the past few weeks that most things in the garden are very stressed.   All the rain and heat is bringing out the flowers!

mallow flowers white mallow flowers

The wild mallow is flowering.  I love this plant we have both white and pink growing here.comfrey flowersThe comfrey is flowering like crazy.  You can always hear the buzz of the bees and humming birds on this. phlox flowersMost of the phlox has finished flowering, but we still have a few! tomatoes in the greenhouseThe tomatoes in the greenhouse are doing great! mortgage lifter tomatoesThese are the Mortgage Lifter tomatoes, they’ve grown at least 2 inches in the past few weeks. Golden Spice Pear TreeWhen hubby was out doing our big bulk shopping trip he surprised me by brining home a pear tree!  He knew I had been wanting one and decided to surprise me.  It’s a Golden Spice pear and it hardy to zone 3.  Since we are a zone 5 it should do well here!  He was talking to the owners of the nursery and we were not the only people in the area that lost a lot of trees over this past hard winter.  Many people who bought apple trees from them in the past that were rated to a zone 5 died over the winter. squash squashThe zucchini is starting to get flower buds on them to.  I can’t wait for these to start producing. IMG_5232


These are two little flower gardens up by the house.  This past week our kids weeded them out and transplanted the bachelor button flowers that they had started for me at Mothers Day.

This week we need to finish building our 3rd greenhouse so we can get the last of the peppers planted.

What’s happening in your garden?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Little Bird Chased By A Bumble Bee

Recently I was out working in the gardens when the little male finch started singing his little heart out.  It didn't take long before a big bumble bee came to bully him and chase him off!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

CTCMath Online Learning From K to High School!


Math is one of though subjects that can be a real struggle to both teach and learn.  In our family we have a wide range of ages and learning styles.  It can be a difficult task to find one program that works well for all of your children.  When I had the opportunity to review the 12 Month Family Plan from CTCMath both the kids and I were excited to try it out!

What Is CTCMath?

CTCMath is an interactive online math curriculum covering Kindergarten levels through Trigonometry.  CTCMath offers both single student and family plans for monthly, 6 month and 12 month memberships. The family plans include up to 10 children making this a great value for large families!  Their memberships include access to ALL grade levels.

CTCMath uses a multi-sensory approach.  Each lesson is introduced by a short video that are narrated and animated with diagrams.  This is followed up with a interactive questions session for grades K to 6.  Starting in grade 7 students print off worksheets and enter the answers into the computer for instant grading.

CTCMath also has some fun math games including Speed Skills and Times Tables Shoot 'Em UP.  These help children to practice learning math facts quickly.

Student Dashboard

CTC Math grade 1 student dashboard

CTC Math lessonsWhen your child first logs into CTCMath the dashboard the left side lists all the courses available to them.  When you click on a grade or course the available subject groups are shown under the stream column in the center.  Then you select what stream to work on and the topic column is show.  The next step is to pick your topic.  This opens a screen that shows all the lessons inside that topic.

 CTC Math video lesson

Grade 1 sample

When the child selects the lesson they are going to work on the instruction video instantly starts to play.  These are short videos that are narrated slowly and the topics are demonstrated using images.  They walk the child through a few demonstration problems.  After the video is finished they can watch it again if they aren't clear or move on to the questions.

Each lesson has a summery page that you can print off to reference while working on the problems.  We've found this handy when the lesson worked on number charts and number lines in the lower grade.  Also in the higher levels where the children may be working away from the computer on their worksheets.

CTC Math grade 1 math question

Grade 1 sample

CTC Math grade 7 worksheet

Grade 7 sample

The questions are instantly graded, in the lower grades there is about 10 questions in each lesson set.  When the lesson set is finished a printable copy of the lesson worksheet is generated.  Older children in grades 7 and higher need to print off the worksheet.  After the questions have been answered they can come back and enter the letter answer into the enter results box. 

The graded worksheet can be saved as a PDF or printed.  The top of the worksheet shows the students name, date the work was done.  Then it shows the score of the worksheet, a bar graph to show the history of work completed in this level.  This is a great way to see a quick progress.

When all of the topics in each unit have been completed the grades are averaged out and the child receives a certificate.  This is printable from inside the both the student and parent dashboard and a copy is also emailed to you.

 CTC Math grade 7 sampleCTC Math grade 7 video lessonSamples of grade 7 video and lesson index 

What We Thought Of CTCMath

I have to say that I've been very impressed with CTCMath!  I truly wish I had started using this program much sooner.  Our children love the program, including our oldest who "hates" math.  The family math program that I reviewed is the USA edition but I found it lined up very well with the Canadian content we have used in the past.

I really like that each student has access to all of the grade levels.  Children are not "stuck" in a certain grade and can work a head in some topic areas or move back a level to work on a harder topic.

The instruction videos are narrated so well.  Even though the narrator has an Australian accent he speaks slowly and clearly.  Of all the math videos we have watched our children felt these were the easiest to understand.

I love that it is a multi-sensory math program.  We have a wide range of learning styles in our home and all of our children have done well with this program.

I receive updates by email!  This is a big help if I forget to login to my parent dashboard.  By email I receive a weekly summery of all the lessons each child has completed and the scores.  I also receive copies of certificates they've earned.

The only thing I would really like to see added to CTCMath is an audio option.  I think for younger children and children who struggle with reading this would be a big help!

For some of our children that need this audio help I normally use a Chrome browser plug-in called SpeakIt.  This lets them highlight the text on a page and it will read it to them.  However the default login option for CTCMath is flash based and you can't highlight the text.  I was really glad that CTCMath also offers a HTML5 login option.  This is intended for tablets that don't use flash, but it worked great on our computers for this purpose!  When you login this way the screen looks different but it's very easy to use and my children that need a little reading help can just highlight the text and have it read to them.  I’ve found that using this login has an audio option for the younger grades already set.  There is a small speaker symbol beside the text they can click on.  I would love to see this expanded for the higher grades as well.  In the mean time using a browser plug-in solves the problem for us.

I have been so impressed with CTCMath that it will be a core part of our math learning for many years to come!

Would you like to try CTCMath?  They offer a free trial that would help you decide if it's a good fit for your family.  CTCMath also has a wonderful option for homeschooling families 60% off their normal price!  So make sure to signup using their homeschool page.

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