Posted on

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.

student working on computer

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. 🙂

CTCMath banner

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

Posted on

Fun and Educational St. Patrick’s Day Activities!

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up soon!  This Irish holiday honors the official patron saint of Ireland. However, the fun traditions of St. Patrick’s Day aren’t limited to Ireland. In fact, St. Patrick’s Day traditions have caught on all over the world! St. Patrick’s Day is now proudly celebrated in many countries, such as the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, and New Zealand.

St. Patrick's Day activities

Whether you are Irish, have Irish ancestors, or are just looking for some festive  ways to celebrate the unique culture of Ireland, we’re bringing you some fun and educational activities that you can use to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in your homeschool!

These crafty activities inspire hands-on learning and can be fun for the whole family to try together!

Create a “life-sized” Leprechaun hat with this fun and simple craft that utilizes those used up K Cups in your kitchen!

St. Patricks' Day Leprechaun hats craft

This shamrock wire bookmark is beautiful and features a very Celtic-inspired design! This would be a great craft to make with older kids, and one that they’ll enjoy using, too!

The rainbow is a popular symbol in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations (after all, it’s where you can find the mythical leprechaun’s pot of gold!) Here are some rainbow-themed projects that combine a little bit of art and science to make some colorful, magical fun.

Create a Saint Patrick’s day masterpiece and teach your little learner about ROYGBIV (color order) using playdough and this printable mat!

This article also contains links to even more crafts and activities that you may enjoy using for St. Patrick’s Day!

Just download and print these educational worksheets out to add some instant St. Patrick’s Day fun to your homeschool! 

This shamrock-themed printable offers a great visual aid to help children with multiplying by 3s and 4s!

Use these worksheets to give your child some extra practice counting to 100 with festive, Leprechaun-themed pages.

Teaching young kids about skip-counting? Use these printable shamrock-themed worksheets that they can fill in and color, too!

This article includes links to a variety of downloadable activities: a not-too-hard word search, a grammatical scavenger hunt, and a mad lib activity (all on theme for St. Patrick’s Day, of course!)

Practice different tenses of verbs in a fun way with this Leprechaun-themed grammar printable!

Use this St. Patrick’s Day Adjective Word Wall to introduce your child to adjectives or reinforce learning about parts of speech (or just use them for some St. Patrick’s Day themed spelling words!)

Use this Leprechaun-themed word wall to help teach your child more about action verbs this St. Patrick’s Day! These also make great spelling words for young learners.

This St. Patrick’s Day themed word wall will make it fun and easy for young children to learn about nouns!

This fun and interesting cultural study will get kids involved in learning about the nation of Ireland! This printable has a huge variety of engaging activities that work for a wide range of ages.

It’s funny to think that so many countries around the world celebrate a holiday that honors Ireland’s patron saint, but they do! This printable booklet would fun to read as a family and discover traditions that different places around the world observe on St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe you’ll even find some that you want to try in your homeschool!

These Rainbow Tie-Dye Cupcakes would be the perfect colorful treat to enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day!

This healthier twist on classic Mac & Cheese has hidden treasure (AKA green vegetables) and may just be your new lucky dish for picky eaters.

These thumbprint cookies are fun to make, look at and (of course) eat!

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate (and a pinch of bright green!) You can’t go wrong with these Reverse Chocolate Cookies.

These fun-to-make cupcakes represent the rainbow (on the inside) and the gold (at the top) which are both symbolic of Irish lore!

I hope you and your children have some fun celebrating St. Patrick’s Day while sneaking in some educational benefits using those activities.

Posted on

30 Days of Valentines Books!

Valentine’s Day isn’t just about celebrating a significant other, it can also be a special season to share some sweet moments with all the people we love, especially our children! We get excited about Valentine’s Day around here. Don’t believe me? Check out this Huge List of Valentine’s Day Ideas, Printables and Activities that we recently published! Of course, as homeschooling moms, we think one of the best ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day is by snuggling up with our kids and enjoying some heart-warming reads. Today, we’re sharing 30 books to share with your little sweethearts, around February 14th or anytime of year! Below, you’ll find a complete list of books (with links to purchase each one) followed by a free, downloadable calendar containing all of these books that you can print and use to guide your reading! These are all picture-books that are especially well suited to read aloud with toddlers through mid-elementary aged students. We hope you enjoy them!

1. Snowy Valentine by David Peterson

This sweet picture book is perfect for young children and tells the story of a bunny who searches all throughout the forest for the perfect gift to say, “I love you.”

2. Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff

This board book is the perfect introduction to the topic of Valentine’s Day and to the fantastic “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. . .” series for toddlers and pre-schoolers.

3. The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond

This Valentine’s Day book is perfect for young kids who like to get crafty. It tells about a girl who decides to make some creative valentines.

4. The Biggest Valentine Ever by Steven Krell

How do you make the best, biggest valentine ever? In this story, it’s all about teamwork! Young readers will also like the foil stickers that are included in this cute book (and could be used in creating their own valentines).

5. Pinkalicious: Pink of Hearts by Victoria Kann

The Pinkalicious books are great early readers, and this one is all about creating that perfect Valentine’s Day card! Your 4 or 5 year old will love this one!

6. Slugs in Love by Susan Pearson

How do slugs show their affection? Read all about it in this sappy and slimy tale that will appeal to boys and girls alike.

7. My Furry Valentine by Deborah Zemke

This cute book shows how different animals show affection for one another.

8. Love, Splat by Rob Scotton

Join the adorable cat, Splat, on his question to express his feelings for his Valentine’s crush, Kitten.

9. Consider Love by Sandra Boynton

This sweet homage to love and affection has received rave reviews from people of all ages, but it’s definitely accessible and meaningful for kids, too!

10. Love Bugs by David Carter

Everything about this adorable pop-up book is fun for young kids– it even looks like a Valentine’s Day box of chocolates!

11. Dinosaur Valentine by Liza Donnelly

Dinosaur-loving early readers will especially love this book!

12. The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

Tear-jerker alert! This one is about the invisible (but strong) thread that connects people who love one another.

13. A Crankenstein Valentine by Samantha Berger

Do you have a kid who’s more into Halloween more than hearts? He or she might get a kick out of this funny and fun picture book.

14. Hug Machine by Scott Campbell

This one is all about spreading positivity, with whatever and whomever you encouter!

15. Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink by Diane Degroat

This children’s book contains some valuable lessons about the importance of being kind and thoughtful.

16. Froggy’s First Kiss by Jonathon London

This book is part of the much loved Froggy series and chronicles Froggy as he experiences his first big crush.

17. Be Mine, Be Mine, Sweet Valentine by Sarah Weeks

This rhyming book is perfect for toddlers or young children who love animals.

18. Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch, by Eileen Spinelli

This book has a lot of heart as it tells about the effect a simple expression of love (a valentine) has on a lonely elderly man.

19. The Story of Valentines by Day by Nancy J. Skarmeas

Looking for a little bit of historical info to share with your child about Valentine’s Day? This picture book tells about the start of Valentine’s Day in a way that’s easy for kids to understand.

20. If You’ll Be My Valentine by Cynthia Rylant

This one is a touching Valentine’s story about the love of family.

21. Love Rubie, Valentine by Laurie Friedman

This book about a little girl who loves Valentine’s Day is a good reminder that showing love all times of the year – not just on February 14th- is a great thing!

22. Valentine Mice by Bethany Roberts

This one is a Level 1 reader, so it’s a great Valentine’s gift for children who are just starting to read on their own!

23. Valentine by Carol Carrick

This book is beautifully illustrated with watercolor paintings and portrays the special bond between grandmothers, mothers and granddaughters.

24. Olive, My Love by Vivian Walsh

Follow along with a puppy named Olive as she discovered what it means to give all of your love!

25. Hugs and Kisses for the Grouchy Lady Bug by Eric Carle

Written by the acclaimed children’s story teller, Eric Carle, this book expresses how even (especially) the grumpiest among us need love.

26. Groggle’s Monster Valentine by Diana Murry

This monster-inspired Valentine’s Day tale is funny and beautifully illustrated.

27. Love Matters Most by MIJ Kelley

This beautiful book is about the unconditional love that a mother bear feels for her cub.

28. Little Ant’s Valentine by S.M.R. Saia

This book reveals why no one should be alone. Life is always sweeter with friends!

29. Love Monster and the Last Chocolate by Rachel Bright

This book has an important Valentine’s Day lesson: chocolates are sweet, but sharing them might just be even sweeter!

30. How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You by Mark Teague

This book is great for dinosaur-loving kiddos and shows that parents love their children all the time…even when their behavior is a little wild!

We hope you found some books that you are excited to read with your children for Valentine’s Day this year! Since love is always an important theme to talk about, we think that many of these stories are wonderful to share any time of the year. Don’t forget to grab your printable calendar containing all of these books by clicking the link below!

Click Here to Download Your Calendar with 30 Days of Valentine’s Day Books!

Click Here to Download Your 30 Day Calendar of Valentine’s Day Books!

Posted on

Fall Sensory Bins for Preschoolers

Fall Sensory Bins HHM

Do you have preschoolers? Then you probably already know how keeping them interested and focused is key to having a few minutes to homeschool the older kiddos and sensory bins are all the rage right now. I’ve created some fall sensory bins for preschoolers to give you some ideas that you can easily re-create!

Sensory bins are a great way for kids to learn about the world around them through exploring the way things feel, smell and look. In my opinion, every household needs to try making and using a fall-themed sensory tub at some point. Several of the materials in these bins are probably already in your home, making it all the easier to put them together.  Keep reading to get some ideas for fall sensory bins for preschoolers, toddlers, and older children, too!

Fall Sensory Bins for preschoolers

Preschoolers are such little sponges, aren’t they?! They want to learn and explore the world. They are hungry for making sense of things, and they enjoy their experiences of discovery and investigation. Sensory bins are a perfect outlet for that. Many families create different sensory bins for their preschool-aged children on a regular basis.

In making sensory bins for preschoolers, why not take inspiration from the seasons? Toddlers and preschoolers love to learn about different holidays and celebrations through sensory play. We have made some fall sensory bins every year because it is our favorite season, and it has always been so much fun!

In making a fall sensory bin for preschoolers, consider hiding some small pumpkins or gourds in a large container filled with dry rice, lentils and beans.  You can even use several different types and colors of rice and beans so that little ones can sort by color and shape! Below, you can see a simple sensory bin with white rice that we made with preschoolers in mind (there are several additional links to fall sensory bin ideas at the bottom of this post!)

Fall Sensory Bins for Preschoolers

Adjusting for Toddlers

If you want to create an autumn sensory bin for toddlers, you’ll obviously want to make sure that you avoid any choking hazards (so no dried rice, beans, etc).

For a toddler-safe fall sensory bin, here are some items you may want to use instead:

  • Cut-up flowers (mums or daisies)
  • Giants marshmallows (they have different fall colors)
  • Pieces of crinkled paper in fall colors
  • Cheerios
  • Cane sugar

Fall Sensory Bins for Preschoolers

Sensory bins for preschoolers can be as simple or as complex  as you want them to be. I do suggest having a designated place for the sensory bin that’s easy to sweep (and keeping a trash can nearby.)  If the sensory bin involves paint or other wet materials, I suggest considering doing it outside.

The sensory bin can go on a small table or on the floor (on a tablecloth), and the children can sit or stand during play. Once everything’s set up, the fun can begin!

Personally, I like to invite my children not come over and take a look. I let them explore while I sit back and observe. While they investigate, I pay attention to their conversations to see how much they know. I listen to their vocabulary to find out if they know the names of all the objects in the sensory bin. What do they pay attention to most?  What is completely ignored?

Then I step in. I introduce new vocabulary and review the words they already know. I give equal attention to all materials and talk about them and let the children join in the conversation. We have fun digging in, burying objects, playing with different props, and then continuing with the fun.

Fall Sensory Bins for Preschool

Do you make sensory bins for your children? What are your favorite materials to use when making fall sensory bins? Please share your ideas in the comments!

More Awesome Fall Sensory Bins Ideas

Fall Sensory Preschool Activities

All-in-One Fall Sensory Bin

Fall Sensory Bin with Practical Life and Math Activites

Fall Cornmeal Sensory Box for Toddlers