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Apr 10, 2012

Time4Learning Review

Last month I found the opportunity to use Time4Learning free for 30 days in exchange for my honest review.

The Basics:
Time4Learning is an internet based curriculum for grades PK-8. Lessons are offered in Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies.* The cost is $19.95 for one child and $14.95 for additional children. That's per month. Online Progress Reports are also available for you to view.

A parent forum is available, but I found the amount of content to be somewhat lacking. I don't think the traffic there is high. After a quick look around, I surmised many parents were left hanging without answers to their homeschooling questions.

They offer a short, free guide, "Welcome to Homeschooling" which offered some good helps including sources of information online, advice such as getting familiar with your state's homeschool laws and your child's learning style, and planning your day. I found the disclaimer " NO program, either online, video, or text-based should be the sole homeschool curriculum, especially for younger children." in the guide and I certainly agree. That includes Time4Learning. While they offer worksheets to print and use, I thought it was lacking as a complete curriculum, at least in the lower grades.

I liked that once you assigned a grade to your child, you could access the grade above it and below it. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to determine where to place either boy. I decided to guess low and put Xav in PK and Mal in K for math and first grade for language arts. Xavier definitely was capable of the K work, but I had no way of knowing that ahead of time and I felt that he wasted a lot of the time I allowed doing activities he was (mostly) more than capable of doing. One thing he was clueless about was syllables. I had no idea you are supposed to teach 4 year olds hand claps (or in the case of T4L, drum beats) to represent syllables. *shrug*

Xav *loved* doing school on momma's computer. We used Time4Learning twice a week during our month long trial. He completed a good deal of the PK offerings online as well as some of the Kindergarten activities. Mal was not as big of a fan. I really thought he would especially enjoy it, but was wrong. His first activity involved bugs launching a rocket. He was captivated by that and was very disappointed to find out all of the activities he would be doing didn't involve bugs and rockets.

I had intended to check out the science section during the trial, but never got to it. Maybe with the science and social studies added, I would have felt differently about it. I still don't think I would pay for the service. I've become pretty good at finding free or nearly free educational products that do basically the same thing, so I doubt we would ever purchase Time4 Learning.

Bottom Line
It was a fun way for the boys to pass the time and a more exciting way to learn than bookwork. The activities were quite cute at the lower grades. The progress reports and printable worksheets were handy. I didn't think the website qualified as a complete curriculum on it's own. If you have the money to spend and your child enjoys that type of learning, go ahead and use it. You certainly can't go wrong if your child is captivated by the characters and learning is made fun.

You can see some screen shots of the activities here.

*Science is only available in grades 1-6 and Social Studies in grades 2-7.