A very enjoyable and well rounded curriculum. The ideas are intelligent and the sources wide and varied. I have recommended this to many people.  - H.A.


Here you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the Connect The Thoughts™ .  If you have questions that are not answered here, you may send your questions directly to our founder: click here .

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

1st Step is what we used to call our Starter and Elementary Program.  Starter is for ages 5-6, and for students who are preliterate.  Elementary is for students ages 7-8, and for students who are developing literacy.  

We also provide Lower School for ages 9-10 , and Upper School is for ages 11-adult.

The only "overlaps" we recommend would happen 1) if a student was not able to read well enough to do the courses for their age group, in which case they might start at the next lower level, or 2) if the student reads too well for their level, at which point the student might start at the next higher level.

Wherever a student starts (excluding Connect The Thoughts Upper School), the student does as much of that level as is needed for them to solidly gain the abilities and understandings that level provides, in terms of both subject matter and literacy. The next level up will generally cover some of the same ideas, but will also cover new ideas, old ideas with more detail and depth, as well as elevated challenges to the student's reading and thinking. 

We want each student to move up to the next level as soon as they are able.  There is no reason for a student to stay at a level to "complete" it!  The only level a student should finish no matter what is Upper School.  This is not to say that a student won't get tremendous benefits from doing any level of CTT - they certainly will.  And if they're having fun, let them stay with a level until they want to move to harder material.

Let me provide you a few examples.

Let's say your 8 year-old Elementary child does Elementary curricula for about 1 year (two semesters), and then does the Reading Test for Lower School successfully at that time. Rather than do the second year of Elementary, what I would suggest is moving your student up to Lower School, the next level up. Upper School would probably be too hard. Staying at Elementary when ready for a move up would bore the student.  That's why we created Lower School - as a bridge from studies structured for young students and students who are developing literacy, into more challenging, adult studies.  (And yes, 11 year-olds can study the same materials college students study - using CTT's approach to education.)

Let's say you have a 9 year-old who struggles with reading.  There are two ways we might address that issue.  1) We might ask the student to do Elementary studies, easier to read than Lower School, but rich with ideas and in ways to develop language skills.  Or 2) we might ask the student to work more closely with a tutor on Lower School (usually not, though), and have the tutor/parent/teacher assist with the reading chores.  This is less of a solution because it does not allow the student to own their own education, or to succeed on their own merit.

And after all, education is not a race.  Every child should achieve full and profound results, acquire skills and understandings that they can use in  life, and generally expand in ability and in their view of life.  So who cares if a child "graduates" at age 13, or age 20?!  Again, it's not a race - it's preparation to live a happy, successful, interesting life. 

The idea is to place the student initially where he or she can win but are still challenged. Then we  want to move them up to the next level of difficulty as soon as their skills and perception allow, and testing demonstrates that they're ready.  Except for Upper School, completion of a level is simply not that important unless it's something the student really wants to do.

In CTT, placement of a student is not really a function of age. It is rather more about literacy, which is why sample lessons are provided on our site for every course, and reading tests are made available with sample lessons, for each level above Starter.

The student should start where their literacy permits. At any time in their CTT studies, the student should study at the level his/her literacy permits.  If at any time it becomes clear that a student is ready to jump up, that should happen.

Please note - there is no reading test for Starter (ages 5-6), as this level is for preliterate students.  A fairly literate 5-6 year-old can certainly do Starter, though, as described in the courses, and will be allowed to read extensively. 

To use our Elementary (ages 7--8, and for student developing literacy) free Reading Test, composed of lessons from this level, to determine if this is the right level for your student, click here.

To use our free Lower School Reading Test (usually ages 9-10), made of sample lesson plans from the level, to determine if this is the right level forr your student, click here.

To use our free Upper School Reading Test (usually ages 11-adult), made up of sample lesson plans from Upper School, to determine if this is the right level for your student, click here.

As a rule, I would not ask a child to skip an entire level as you'd be setting them up for likely loses. It would be a bit like skipping, say, elementary school and going straight to Jr. High (or Middle School). Most students would not survive such a maneuver well. Each level is constructed to help prepare the student for the next level up.

But if you have that extraordinary student who handles the reading test for a higher level, and who has the maturity to deal with more "serious" and detailed material, I would not stop them from doing so.  If you have a 9 year-old (say) who can handle Upper School courses, let them have at it.  But be ready to provide Lower School as an option if things don't quite work out.

     Steven Horwich
     Connect The Thoughts


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