I have written quite a few posts on the topic of anxiety – both my own and my son’s anxiety. I have focused mainly on language anxiety, because for the most part I have really started to feel good about how we’ve been managing his writing-related anxiety triggers. Have you noticed yet that I have written very little about math? Well the very simple reason for that – my son and I have had some very serious struggles when it comes to his math lessons. I just had not felt like we had a solution, or like I had anything to offer my readers in terms of ‘been there done that’ for dealing with math as an anxiety/panic trigger. Until now – discovering how effective online math can be for a child like my son has been a total game-changer.
(I was given free access to this product, and compensated for my time. My review is all my own opinions and experiences. This post contains affiliate links – see my disclosure policy here)
Math Anxiety, Tears, and Frustration
Something that I have learned from my own experiences living with anxiety disorder, and something I am seeing from the parent’s point of view with my anxious kiddo – is that self-managing can be exhausting. I am talking bone tired, weary soul, suffocatingly, exhausting. And when one of your MAIN triggers as a child is something that spans your whole curriculum, your whole school day/week/month, then it can be really overwhelming.
My son has a deep panic response when he’s asked to write. This doesn’t only manifest during language arts lessons – writing, and the fatigue he feels at having to do a lot of pencil-to-paper work, is part of nearly every subject. Language arts, history, science, and yes – even math.
I was feeling completely at the end of my rope this year with this math struggle we’ve been dealing with. Math has been the source of some of our ugliest, nose-to-nose, knock-down-drag-out, fights. It’s brought forth tears, and shaming, and frustration, and overwhelm. Just as we would start to think maybe – JUST MAYBE – we had finally turned a corner with it, it would all start up again.
Giving Online Math a Shot
I was convinced that I would never get this figured out. I was also convinced that the best way to learn math was to put your pencil to the paper and just DO the dang WORK. And then, just in the nick of time, along came CTC Math to my rescue. When I was given the opportunity to take CTC Math for a test run, I was excited – but a bit skeptical at the same time. I mean, I never really took online math curricula very seriously. So many of them really seemed silly, or lacking in practice or reinforcement.
CTC Math was not only surprising in its effectiveness, but it was like my son and I were finally able to take a big deep breath and high five each other saying, “I think we’ve got this.”
How CTC Math Works
- CTCMath is a full online math curriculum created by math teacher and homeschool parent Pat Murray. Not only does it include curriculum lessons, but there are also timed tests and practice sheets.
- CTC Math allows for each student to have their own login and profile – which really gives the parent the ability to easily focus each student on their own work.
- CTC Math is very easy for the student to navigate – from their profile to tasks and lessons, this is a program that is very intuitive for the child (and parent!) to use.
- CTC Math allows the parent/teacher to assign tasks for the student to complete, along with setting a minimum score that the child needs to reach.
Online Math and Anxiety
So, how then would an online math curriculum help an anxious student? Here are FIVE ways that it is helping MY son feel more comfortable with mathematics lessons.
- Online Math Encourages Independence and Confidence: Giving an anxious child some form of independence as they are able to manage it, is one of the most effective ways we have found in our home to dealing with their anxiety. When you feel in control of your day and your path, you feel more confident to tackle the panic responses that may come up. CTC Math is so easy for students to navigate, making it a wonderful vehicle for children to start learning to become more independent.
- Online Math Removes the “Kid vs Parent” Power Struggle: A major factor in the struggles my son and I have experienced in this subject area is this power struggle that kept happening. I felt like there was a ‘best way to learn’ math, and my son resisted me. My own anxiety disorder manifests with a real need to control the situation. So as it went, my son would resist, i would worry that he wasn’t learning something I saw as essential, my anxiety would trigger, I would control. He would resist more. I would control more. It would just turn into a spiral that was really difficult for either of us to stop. When we discovered CTC Math, having well-instructed lessons from SOMEONE ELSE resulted in me being taken out of the equation. Now, he doesn’t see me as the one inflicting the pain – but I am always around to help or offer some suggestions. It’s truly removed that power struggle out of the day. At least when it comes to math… the other subjects? Well, it’s a work in progress.
- Online Math Eases Hand Fatigue and Writing Stress: As I mentioned near the beginning of this post, my son particularly struggles with fatigued hands when he has to write. He also has a pretty intense panic response to having to not only physically write – but also simultaneously do calculations, think through what he has to write, and make sure he writes properly so there aren’t any calculation issues. With CTC Math, he’s able to spend his lesson time focusing on what is important – the math. He is able to watch the video, do the practice questions, and most days he will also do a timed test (I love that feature!). He wouldn’t be able to work half the amount of time if he had to physically write every single problem, and answer.
- Online Math Allows the Student to Move Topics When Needed: So, as homeschoolers, we all know that you can work through any resource in any way that fits your children. But, to a perfectionist anxious student, jumping around a workbook can be very frustrating. My son used to feel something akin to shame or annoyance when I would suggest we “skip this section and come back to it”. Since CTC Math gives parents the ability to ASSIGN TASKS to the student – if I sense that he’s needing a brain-break from multiplication, I can simply assign a few days of measurement lessons for instance. For MY anxious kiddo – this removed that sense of “skipping things”, and appealed to his linear need to “check off the task list”.
- Online Math Incorporates Technology Into Curriculum: This one is actually really important to me. I mentioned earlier that I was a bit skeptical about online math curricula. I was worried about retention and lack of pen-to-paper time. Above all the other bonuses and unexpected surprises to our time with CTC Math – I think one of the most positive outcomes is that my son, who is absolutely passionate about technology, got to utilize something that is a strength of his. Using the computer is second nature to my son, he enjoys it, it relaxes him – so when he got to use that platform to do something that DOESN’T come as naturally, it seemed to help bridge that panic response.
While I was initially very skeptical about using an online math curriculum for this particular student, I am now a believer. When you have a child who fairly consistently needs to approach learning in different ways – you learn to never-say-never and stay open to trying things. I am so grateful to CTC Math for giving my son not only a way to move forward in his math work but gave him a way to do that confidently and independently.
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