Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Time 4 Learning - TOS Review!

Let's face it. Our children have different learning styles. Our children have different learning motivations. Our children do not fit into cookie-cutter molds.

So in my very limited experience with homeschooling, I have found that what motivates and inspires one of my children to sit down and learn, does not necessarily work with another.

I've been looking for something online to be interactive on a one-to-one basis for those times I need to shift my focus between three different levels of schooling, a baby, and a household that still needs cleaning, care-taking, and COOKING!

I was excited to be given the opportunity to review a one-month subscription to Time 4 Learning, an online learning system that can be used as a homeschool curriculum, an after school supplement, or in place of a summer school to catch up for the next grade level.



Time 4 Learning is for students from Preschool through 8th grade and includes these benefits:

  • Gives access to 3 grade levels of lessons (the grade level you sign up for, one above, and one below)
  • Over 1,000 student-based multimedia activities
  • Language Arts and Math for everyone starting at Kindergarden,
  • Science for first grade and above
  • Social Studies for second grade and above
  • Detailed progress reports for record-keeping
  • Lesson Plans and teaching tools for parents
  • Lessons correlated to state standards

Getting started is quite easy. From the Time 4 Learning Home Page there are easy to find tabs for Lesson Demos, Lesson Plans, The Parent Forum, A Site Map, Help/FAQ page, and Sign up, as well as a Member Login. From the Home Page you can also find links for the overview of each grade level, how to use the curriculum in a homeschool, afterschool, or summer school setting, and complete curriculum overviews. If you still need help getting started, try the Getting Started link, where you will find helpful videos that walk you through the welcome process!

Each grade level overview includes screen shots of different activities for you to see a little bit of what to expect and tells you what major milestones for that level that will be covered in the curriculum.

There is so much to the Time 4 Learning website to help you make a decision on whether this will be a good option for your present schooling situation, from helpful hints to shared experiences of current Time 4 Learning users! I encourage you to check it out and spend a few minutes exploring the site!

We used the Second Grade curriculum for Joshua, Kindergarden for Emmy, and Preschool for Elayna. I wasn't sure if Emmy would be able to navigate the First Grade pace on her own, and I wanted to be able to set her up and see her be engaged at a level that didn't frustrate her to start with.

I shouldn't have been worried. One of my favorite things about T4L is how it is appropriately engaging for each level of learner. For instance, some of the instructions at the Grade 2 level are "read on your own". This level of learner is expected to be able to follow instructions with minimal help, or at least, with an understanding of how to press the "next" button, find the help button, etc. For Elayna's preschool level, on the other hand, the instructions are given by audio command and students are given the cutest little smiley faces to choose from - one is green and is "nodding" for yes, the other is red and "shaking its head" for no. It's pure genius, at least in my book! I don't even have to sit next to my 4 year old and constantly watch and direct. She does it herself!

The children were so entertained during the learning process with T4L that they would often want to sit and watch their siblings do their lessons and asked when it would next be their turn. They loved the engaging characters, enjoyed the interactive games, which were also very age/level appropriate, and hardly knew they were learning at all.


When you have a few kids to homeschool and keep track of, keeping records can be tricky. Time 4 Learning takes the guess work out when it comes to remembering what lessons your children have done and how they did. The progress reports are quite comprehensive and you can even adjust what portion or time increment you want to check up on. It has color-coded bars for quick reference on whether your child has mastered a lesson or needs to work on that one a little more to achieve mastery before moving on.



There was only one thing that I did not like about the Time 4 Learning program: the science curriculum is not based on a Christian worldview. It has traditional public school values of science and evolution, that sort of thing. That may not be an issue at all for some homeschoolers, but for us, if we continue with T4L, we will choose to use a different curriculum for science and skip those lessons in the T4L program, which would not affect any of the other subjects or their progress at all.

The other point of interest to think about when using this as a comprehensive curriculum is that you will need to add in a penmanship and writing course for a more complete language arts learning circle.

Here are a few more screen shots of the various activities and levels the students will see:

Third Grade Language Arts:


Second Grade Math:


Phonics:


Time 4 Learning is a subscription based program. There is nothing to download, nothing to purchase, just a month-to-month subscription that you purchase access to.

Pricing is as follows:
  • $19.95 for first student
  • $14.95 for each additional student
  • NO contracts! Cancel anytime!
  • 2 week money-back guarantee!
Sign up HERE or call (954) 771-0914 for more information.

I do want to continue using this but need to figure out if it fits into the budget or not. I would like to recommend that if you are looking into a computer based curriculum that you give this a try for two weeks and see if it's a good fit for your family!

I received access to the Time 4 Learning online program for three of my children for one month free of charge in return for an honest review only.

Go HERE to see the Time 4 Learning post on the TOS Crew blog and read more reviews!

2 comments:

Jackie said...

Love your review. My DD uses T4L and really likes it. I pay quarterly for a discount. You can also pay yearly for a different discount.

As for the handwriting, we supplement with Spelling and Vocabulary City It's free and offers handwriting sheets, spelling, and vocabulary practice in the form of games. It is a sister site for T4L.

I understand what you are talking about with the science. I do allow my DD to do some of the lessons because I use it as a teaching opportunity to explain why we believe what we do and also to give her background in what other believe so she can stand up for her beliefs. Of course, my DD is much older than your kiddos.

I guess the Lower Level doesn't have a writing program like the Upper Level. My daughter has writing assignments and uses "Odyssey Writer" in the Upper Level. It's a tool for writing.

Thanks for sharing!

Joyfully,
Jackie
My Attempt at Blogging

Pleasantly Peavey said...

Hi there. Just stopping by from the Crew to see what you thought of T4L. I really like the background, set-up and pictures on your blog - adorable! Good review, looking forward to more. :) Roberta from Pondering on the Prairie

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