Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review of Time4Learning


Time4Learning is one of those ubiquitous products that, if you know about homeschooling, you're aware of it! Then, once you delve into its wonderfulness, you wonder how you got along without it. More than just a supplement or a learning aid, Time4Learning is fun and games for your kids that is teaching them almost without their being aware of it.

What It Is

Time4Learning is something for everyone. It is for after schooling, homeschooling, and summer schooling. I don't think that it can stand alone as a homeschool curriculum, but it is definitely an amazing supplement for grades PreK-12 (the high school portion was just added a few weeks ago, and nothing else in this review pertains to grades 9-12). While you sign up for a certain grade level, you have access to the grade levels immediately on either side of that one level, meaning that there is a nice range available to your child. If you find that you have chosen the wrong grade level, T4L will allow you to change (through an email to customer service) to the more appropriate grade level. N.B.: I did this. I had originally registered Mary-Catherine for 4th grade, but quickly saw that it was too easy for her in Language Arts. It was very easy to switch her to 5th grade in this subject, giving her access to 4th-6th grades. My review will focus primarily on 4th grade.

Time4Learning's Fourth Grade Learning Objectives can be seen here. Fourth graders learn math, science, social studies, and language arts. By entering in a couple of pieces of information including your child's name and grade, you can demo some lessons here. Most questions you can think of are answered by the FAQ. There is also a Parent Forum. Time4Learning costs $19.95 per month, with each additional student costing $14.95. For that amount, students have unlimited access to three grade levels, as indicated, and, after one month, they also have access to art (as shown in the large picture in the second collage below). Now, on to the fun stuff!

How Mary-Catherine Used Time4Learning and What She Thought

When M-C (8) found out that I was working on this review, her comment was, "Say it's really fun!" Well, that's about as good a recommendation as one can get, right? The fact is that there is so much to Time4Learning that it becomes very hard to review, so I will try to do "Review by Screenshot."

The math screenshot below shows the math tools to which your child has access, but it only shows some of them. You truly do have a virtual math toolkit at your fingertips. In the second collage you can see the base ten blocks at work. Using T4L for math does not mean that you also have to drag out a bin of math manipulatives. They are included for you!

The screenshot of the planets is part of the 4th grade science. Although Mary-Catherine was initially a little scornful of the cartoony presentation of the material on the Solar System, she got over it very quickly when she realized the depth of the material she was learning. She was completely drawn in and the level was just right for her. Much of the material was review, but there was enough that was new that her interest was held. When the material turned to rocks, soil, and natural resources, just about everything was new to her, and I *really* appreciated T4L filling in my gaps!

The final screenshot is of the screen writer, which is a word processor. My daughter *loves* to write stories on the computer, and I love that she can do so without needing to use the word processing program on the computer. She stays in the safe confines of Time4Learning. So far, she has not had to use it for any of her Time4Learning activities, but she has had a lot of fun playing with it!

The only screenshot I haven't talked about here is the large one on the bottom. This shows one of T4L's neatest features: its parent reporting (My Portfolio). Parents can see at a glance, any time and anywhere, where a child is at any point in the program. You can see on what date your child did something and how much she did. You can see how much of an element she got correct. You can see how much she has left to complete in that section. It really is a complete snapshot of the entire program, and it makes checking up on your child's progress so easy! There is so much on Time4Learning that it is easy to become overwhelmed. Children have a way of being able to navigate through a program like this very easily; they tend to discover all of the nooks and crannies quickly. For parents who have a little more trouble, this report can simplify the process tremendously.

Mary-Catherine's favorite part of Time4Learning was definitely Language Arts. It was the first place she checked out, and it is where she spends most of her time. She loved doing synonyms and antonyms and had a lot of fun with idioms (with which she was familiar, although the term was new to her). She has also been enjoying science, although she has really only "done" the Solar System. She looked over some of the other sections with me so that I could do justice to this review, and she is anxious to move on especially to Sounds of Music!

Social Studies is another section that M-C really liked. This is where having access to the multiple grade levels is such a great bargain. For example, in terms of ancient civilizations, Mary-Catherine can learn about cultures from the Vikings and the Inuit, to Mesopotamia and Egypt, to Ancient Greece. She can also learn about the Inca, the Maya, and the Olmec. She knows, of course, that this is school, but she loves history so much that we don't use this part of Time4Learning as school; we use it as computer time. 

In Sum

Essentially, there is so much to Time4Learning that it is one of those products that you absolutely have to investigate for yourself. Fortunately, Time4Learning lets you do that. By following the procedure outlined at the beginning of this review, you can try demo lessons to see if it is right for you. The price may seem steep at first, but there is so much to this program that it is actually very fair. Because every family will undoubtedly focus on different features of Time4Learning, be sure to read all of the Crew reviews by clicking the banner below.

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1 comment:

  1. I loved reading your review. Gives a whole new perspective to this program.