View Full Version : Connect the Thoughts

09-15-2010, 04:53 PM
Is anyone else using the CTT curriculum this year? We're just starting it - using the science, creative writing and some of their supplementary materials. Just curious if anyone else is using CTT.

10-02-2010, 09:03 AM
Vicki, I'm not using it, but I'm intrigued by several aspects of the curriculum. How is it going?

10-05-2010, 11:48 PM
Hey, Christina -

Overall I am liking CTT very much. The subjects start out in such a basic way, though, that I've been inclined to skip some of the initial lessons because they are just so easy, although as we've gotten into some of the more involved lessons, I can now see the worth of those beginning pages. I like the premise of the curriculum very much - it encourages kids to get through the fluff and search for the facts. He is doing a program called 'You or Them' and is learning to spot misinformation quickly (you know, the kind of stuff the media hurls at us daily). From a secular perspective, this is a very good curriculum. The various religions of the world are still represented, but merely as perspectives. I like that aspect a lot and that's one of the reasons I zeroed in on CTT. Scope's up!

Have noticed the author's bias a few times (i.e., a few derogatory statements about the Iraq war and President Bush), but that's righted by talking about it with Max. Generally the author remains neutral and gets out of the way. It's still too early to tell whether or not we'll stick with CTT for the duration, but there are definitely some strong reasons to do so. There is some humor inserted in it, too, which is fun.

If you are curious about it, try out the free journal they offer on their website - you learn a ton in just a week and can pick and choose what you find interesting. Max really enjoyed learning about some figures in history - and with some of it he just couldn't have cared less :). It was a lot to keep up with, but I did like the format and the multi-faceted approach to a subject. Maybe I'll keep up with the journals to broaden my mind!

The unit on 'How to Do Research' is very useful, too. Some of the extracurricular materials they offer look good, too. I'm giving CTT a 7 out of 10 so far..............we'll stick with it for the year. Thanks for asking!

10-06-2010, 12:07 AM
Thanks very much for the thorough review, Vicki! I'll see if I can find this week's journal. So far what I've found has been a week or two behind (which drives me batty!).

10-12-2010, 08:55 PM
I just found their web site last night and at first glance was thrilled with what I saw! I have been looking for something long term for a history path to follow. We are not a "Memorize it" family, but want understanding of basic premises and familiarity with names and events. We also highly value learning being more self-directed and this curriculum seems to fit the bill nicely. I also liked some of the other subjects presented and am going to download a couple tonight and check them out thoroughly. They are so inexpensive that we have lost virtually nothing if I don't like it. But from what I can see thus far, this was exactly what I had almost not dared hope to find!

10-18-2010, 10:05 PM
Hi Cyndi -

Try some of the free weekly journals, too - this will give you a good sense of how he sets up the curriculum. And note, too, that he starts each subject VERY slowly..........we are doing the creative writing curriculum and it is taking awhile to get going, although what he is emphasizing is important and foundational. Best wishes as you try CTT - we are enjoying it. I'm using the creative writing, the 'You or Them' and 'How to Do Research' units and we have the science stuff, too, but haven't started that yet. I'm supplementing history via eclectic materials. I really liked what I read about this curriculum and so far so good.

10-19-2010, 08:22 AM
I've been wanting to add them to our Curriculum Page (http://www.secularhomeschool.com/content/204-Secular-Homeschooling-Curriculum), but I wasn't sure what to put under "Curriculum Type"...for those of you who have used them, would you call them a "curriculum package," "hands on", or something else?

10-19-2010, 05:34 PM
I think a curriculum package fits well :).

12-09-2010, 03:25 AM
I continue to be flumoxed by history options and wondered if you have still remained with Connect the Thoughts now that you have used it awhile. Can you share how it is going? Thanks!

12-09-2010, 05:58 AM
I am curious about this also. We have been using the CTT creative writing and the kids love it. My 6 year old asks for it every day and has been doing each lesson 3 times over. Granted it does start off very slowly as already mentioned but still she is loving it and getting a lot out of it.

12-10-2010, 06:19 PM
We are battling a bit about school these days, unfortunately. Max has decided that he doesn't like the CTT curriculum all that much, so I have set it aside for a little while. He doesn't do well with pages of writing set before him that he has to read and then do the corresponding exercises; he is much more of a kinesthetic learner and learns with his body (he's a really good drummer and martial artist). The challenge for me lies in finding things that either fit his learning style, or making him do the work anyway (?????), or finding some happy balance in there. Ack!

So, for the moment I'm flummoxed about how to proceed. We've done the 'You or Them' course, part of the creative writing course, some of the daily journals (which I love), 'How to Take a Vacation' short course, the spelling program (which is very simple and efficient) and part of the animation program. But this seems to be his pattern of late - he starts something and decides he doesn't like it. Argh.

If CTT happens to be a good match for your child, then I would encourage you to stick with it! I think we're going to take a break and come back at it after the holidays. Maybe we're just burnt out. Sorry to sound so whiney and negative - I'm just worn out from trying to get him to do his work :(.

03-09-2012, 10:52 AM
I was searching for curriculum yesterday when I saw your post. Thank You!! This is what I've been looking for in a curriculum! Critical thinking, self-motivated, and not as teacher intensive! (Pretty reasonably priced, too!) My son (9) will love this! My daughter (7) will love that I can focus more on her studies as well. Love that they make them go outside, self-correct, etc. I am about to order, just waiting- apparently, they have a 20% off sale starting March 11!!!Now if I could just get focused about a Math program to add on, we'd be great! (Looking for something like math-u-see for my youngest, who needs lots of concrete hands on, but she HATES the teacher on Math-u-see??!!!)

03-09-2012, 01:03 PM
I'm also interested in this curriculum, but am struggling to get input. Hopefully others will chime in, especially since the material is on sale!

03-09-2012, 01:22 PM
This is a very old thread that's been resurrected since Maxaroo last posted in 2010, but I will say our experience was similar to hers. We tried CTT when we first started homeschooling and my son hated it. "Hate" is not too strong a word in this case. He actually wanted to feed the pages to the shredder when he found out we were switching curriculum. And it's not that he didn't want to do the work; he puts a lot of effort into his assignments. This just wasn't a good fit.

03-09-2012, 01:31 PM
Can you give some more info? What was it that he didn't like?

03-09-2012, 01:40 PM
I just turned around and asked him, so I'll let him tell you:

"I didn't like the way the lessons were written. It's like it was written by a teacher who thought all of her students were too stupid to understand the lesson."

I think I'd have to agree with him. The tone did come across as a little condescending and simplistic, but then again, we were using the lower elementary level. Maybe the other levels are better but we never tried them. I was also discouraged at the large number of typos and broken links in the documents but maybe that's improved, too.

As they say, your mileage may vary. I know families who are thrilled with CTT.

03-09-2012, 01:45 PM
So I'm piecing things together and using CTT piecemeal, which the guy does not recommend but I think it's going to work really really well for us. At least for my oldest, probably not my youngest--but maybe. He (the oldest) learns by TALKING and talking and talking. CTT gives me a script to use with him. So that even without doing all or most of the things they say to do, he learns it. So in my case I am using it for my own peace of mind, as we're doing things primarily with a Charlotte Mason bent, so that I know I'm for sure hitting on key facts and concepts. It also gives me a framework with which to plan, which I really like.

03-09-2012, 02:06 PM
I'm using CTT for my 3 boys. I can see that if a kid was doing it on his own he might find it annoying. My youngest just turned 5 and I'm not starting him with this yet. But, I've actually started my 7 & 8 1/2 year old on the 5-6 year old history, science and creative writing. I read through the lessons and pull out the stuff I want to use. I take out a lot of the repetition and where he has you ask them questions it's really more of a conversation we have. I think that the stuff is WAY to hard for a kindergartener but the information in it I think is a great foundation which is why I'm teaching it to my older boys. We will be finished with the kindergarten stuff in another few weeks so it will take us about 2 months to get through it. Again, I take out a lot of the repetition he has you go through.

Honestly I don't think that it's cheap unless you are buying just one lesson at a time. I am buying a semester at a time and it is about $100 per kid per semester and that seems really expensive to me. But I'm doing it anyway because I haven't found anything that can compare and because I am using everything 2-3 times so after I buy a few more semesters I'll have everything I need through 5th or 6th grade and then I'll just be buying one year at a time. I buy the semesters because there are so many of the living your life classes that I would want to buy anyway. And I do like the creative writing and spelling method he uses.

Anyway, I've only been doing this for less than a month but if you have any questions I'd be glad to answer them.

03-09-2012, 03:47 PM
I'm new at using it, but I like it. The kids see to like it (we are using elementary 7/8). I like the structure of the lessons - geography, vocab, listen/read, do. My dd could read it herself, but I read to both of them since they are doing the same lessons and ds isn't that fluent yet. I do not follow the lessons word for word (some is repeat of what they know, some is too repetitive within the lesson), but I think it is a great "spine" for what I want my kids to learn. I will keep them at the same history and science, but will move dd up in the creative writing in the next few weeks. I still follow the kid's interest on topics that are not currently part of the curriculum. His sale starts Monday night, so I plan on buying more.

03-10-2012, 05:58 AM
"I didn't like the way the lessons were written. It's like it was written by a teacher who thought all of her students were too stupid to understand the lesson."

I think I'd have to agree with him. The tone did come across as a little condescending and simplistic, but then again, we were using the lower elementary level. Maybe the other levels are better but we never tried them. I was also discouraged at the large number of typos and broken links in the documents but maybe that's improved, too.

This was our experience, as well. Thankfully, I didn't purchase too many. The creative writing one was the worst. I don't even think I can give that away, lol. I did however, convince her to use CTT for civics this year and she still doesn't like the way he speaks. However, I am not following it precisely and purchased other books so she didn't have to listen to him explain anything. So far, we've done most of the activities. It is a shame that there isn't a lot of choice for civics in the 8-12 crowd. I'm considering the two tag-along ones but we'll see if she manages this one first. Of course, it loses it's appeal this way "independence" but at least it is working for cheap:)

The typos were quite bothersome to me, as well. I don't know so much about his core subjects, only samples. I started by buying a few elective courses first. That many errors are unnecessary in today's digital world of Microsoft, IMO.

01-08-2014, 02:42 AM
I'm seriously intrigued by CTT. But I can see that it could be a little overwhelming. Do you guys think that separate classes could be done as "blocks"? Like, do a block on history for first quarter, then do something else entirely (like outdoor biology study or something) for the 2nd quarter?