Monday, December 15, 2008

Time4Learning.com




Time4Learning.com is an online program providing complete language arts and math for pre-K through 8th grade. Science and Social Studies are added as a free bonus for many of the grades. Lessons are presented as fun, interactive educational games with lots of color and humor. These are based on public school curriculum through their software partner, Compass Learning.

Computers are a way of life today and I love that there are companies providing interactive, online programs for homeschoolers. My children love to be on the computer, whether its Webkinz or Runescape, and school becomes much more appealing to them in the form of online lessons that utilize games and humor. There are some homeschoolers who feel school should not be fun- this is not the program for them. If you're one, like me, who desires that your children love learning and you don't mind a little wacky humor now and then, then this should a product you enjoy!

I have shared in previous reviews that we are mostly a right-brained, hands-on kind of family. We love curriculum that is bright, colorful, story based, humorous, and interactive. Many online programs are just a tad too serious for us but Time4Learning has been a perfect fit. I have caught my children logging on during non-school times, just for fun. Their retention of what they have learned has been great, for the most part. And my daughter who struggles with reading has improved her skills through the Language Arts activities.

Setting up the program was easy. The lesson plans are already done, you merely choose the grade levels for each child in each subject and then they log on and begin. I needed to adjust the Language Arts grade level for the daughter I mentioned above and had no trouble bumping her down a level. Each student has their own password and it's very easy for them to sign in and get started. Even my six year old can do it on his own. As the parent, I can check their progress anytime from their account. So far, it has been an easy to use program.

My biggest concern personally is that the program is based on the public school curriculum. One of my many reasons for homeschooling is to avoid some of the humanistic viewpoints coming from the public school. As a Christian, I do teach evolution as a theory but dislike it taught as fact and have to keep an eye out for evolutionary content in Time4Learning (and yes, there is evolutionary content throughout). While I don't mind much of what I call "Jr. High humor", there are times when it goes a little past what I am comfortable with and projects attitudes I'd prefer my children not copy.

That said, I hope to use Time4Learning for Language Arts and Math for my own kids during the next school year. Despite the concerns mentioned, I enjoy Time4Learning and think it's a good fit for those two subjects at this time. The ability to progress at their own pace, the interactive teaching, the built in grading and record keeping, and the fact that they can work independently in these two subjects is a huge blessing to me. This is a great solution for the mom of many if she has a couple of computers in her home!

There is a parent forum for members to discuss different ways they are using Time4Learning and they have recently added a forum identifying potentially controversial lessons so parents can determine for themselves if they'd like to have their children skip that particular lesson. There are also many helpful links to check out on their web site, including using this with Special Needs, the benefits of Online Math, and information on their Phonics Curriculum. You can also Try Out The Lessons!

Time4Learning is a monthly subscription. The membership fee is $19.95 for the first child and $14.95 for each additional child. New members enrolling with a credit card can try out Time4Learning for 14 days, risk-free. I always love free samples or trials, as this gives you the opportunity to try it out and be sure its something you like!

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