We had two of our moms review the online Pre-K through 8th Grade curriculum by Time4Learning. See what each had to say…
Our family has chosen to homeschool our children. It has been simultaneously wonderful and terrifically challenging. Our oldest is almost ten and does not yet read. Our middle child is five and is just learning to recognize his letters and numbers. We also have another child who is almost two. The three of them keep me hopping! Because of our present learning situation, each child needs to have my undivided attention for the majority of their lessons. This presents an interesting balancing challenge and has taught me to appreciate opportunities for learning that my children can do on their own.
When I heard about Time4Learning and checked out their online curriculum, I was so excited to see such a comprehensive package available for homeschooling families. My oldest was also excited to hear about a “game” she could use for learning. It is so much more fun to learn while playing games!
Time4Learning allows you to set up an account for each child. It asks questions about each child’s abilities in each area and makes recommendations for where to begin. Because of this, children can focus on skill areas where they need to “catch up” and advance in areas where they already excel. I really appreciated this part since my daughter is not functioning at her grade level in any area. I was also happy to discover that Time4Learning was not just for learning phonics or math, but included lesson plans for math, science, language arts and social studies. Plus, the site makes available progress reports for parents to view at any time.
My daughter found the host mouse and “games” exciting and fun and asked to keep playing them past her allotted screen time. I like to hear her ask to keep playing something that is focused on learning. I believe she did not realize she was playing learning games, even though they involved reading, math, etc. Her little brother enjoyed sitting next to her at the computer and watching her play while providing his “input” on what she should do. He is a non-reader and recognizes only a few letters and numbers, but loves to share what he knows. He enjoyed watching her play her “game”, and gave her lots of “input” regarding answers and instructions, but was reluctant to play by himself. Even though I created an account for him, he never used it.
Despite all the advantages that Time4Learning offered, my kids did not use it much. This is not a criticism of Time4Learning, it is just what happened with our family. Here are the reasons I believe it happened:
- I seriously restrict the amount of time they are allowed on the computer, even for learning games. Therefore, the kids do not use the computer often or for very long periods of time.
- If my children are online, I stay nearby to monitor their activities. It is too easy for them to go somewhere unintentionally. This also limits the amount of time the children and I have available for online learning and games.
- My middle child was unwilling to try the “game” himself, without me sitting with him and doing it for him. Instead, he enjoyed watching his older sister play and asked to be allowed to do that each time.
In the end, I determined that while Time4Learning was a program just like what I would want my children to use, because it is online only, I was less likely to use it. Because I feel the need to be right next to my children when they are online, the amount of time available for online learning is limited (and non-existent on some days). It is our family’s decision, but will not apply to everyone. I think Time4Learning is a terrific program. I love the variety and options it provides, but it did not work well for our family. Your family may be different. I encourage you to check out the variety and scope of Time4Learning to see if it would work for you. It may be just what you were looking for!
Another one of our moms added…
We have a preschool-aged child who loves to play games on the computer, so I jumped at the chance to try the online Pre-K curriculum, and have him learn while simultaneously gaining computer skills. The Pre-K program is divided up into 2 levels, 1 and 2, and we started at level 1, since this is his first official year of preschool.
While it is very comprehensive (probably one of the more comprehensive online programs on the market), engaging the child through shapes, weather, rhymes, memory, number of syllables, matching, “writing” stories, nutrition, manners, interactive songs, feelings and more, I found that the Pre-K Level 1 program was a bit basic for him and would be a better fit for a child who is just starting to learn letter and number recognition. Still, we completed the entire series in that level for review purposes. Besides, he was having a blast doing them, even though he already knew all the answers.
We then decided to proceed with the Pre-K Level 2. Even at the start I could tell that this was more promising, as it was more skill-appropriate for him, and I was excited to have him complete it and possibly even move on to the Kindergarten level.
Level 2 had lessons on insects, color mixing, seasons, animals, healthy habits, staying fit and of course, just like Level 1, numbers and letters. Only a little bit more advanced, of course. With only a 1 month trial for the review, we didn’t complete much of the level 2, much less move on to the next level. Looking back, I wish that we had spent less time on the first level and just got right down to business on level 2.
Time4Learning boasts on having over 1,000 student-paced multimedia activities. As I mentioned before, it is one of the more comprehensive programs I have yet discovered on the online market. Most other programs focus on math and reading skills, and not much else. So on that level, I was very pleased. I was also very delighted to see my son zipping through lesson after lesson at his own pace, laughing and having fun the entire time.
I invite you to take a look at some of their interactive lesson demos to see if this program would be a good fit for your family – chances are, it is (but I suggest that you assess your child’s appropriate level first rather than doing what we did and “wasting” time). I can also see how this would be an excellent tool for those who need a little supplementing (if your child is having trouble in school) or those who need to freshen up in the summer time before schools starts.
Some other features I like about Time4Learning:
- My son gets his own log-in. This makes him feel important and self-sufficient.
- I have my own log-in as well, where I can assess his progress in detail.
- It is easy for my son to navigate, even though his computer skills are extremely limited.
- There is an online parent community and forum where you can connect with other parents, ask questions and even find homeschool support groups for your state.
- As it is online with no downloading required, you can access it from any computer, anywhere.
WIN IT! Time4Learning is offering one of our readers a one month’s membership for up to 4 children!
Winner will be emailed after the giveaway closes and also announced on this blog under the featured “Recent Giveaway Winners” section on the homepage of our blog-azine. Winner will have 72 hours to respond to our email, or another winner will be drawn. We never share your email with third parties.
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