Um… We haven’t officially started school yet this year. Last year this time, I had a schedule and curriculum planned to a T; we had a grand first day and steamrolled right on ahead.
This year, my motto is “Sometimes it’s OK if the only thing you did today was breathe.” Oh, there is so much more happening than that, but life is flashing by and planning is set on the back burner.
So for the past month, we’ve been enjoying just pulling out that computer and embarking on educational adventures with no prep time, thanks to Time4Learning.
Time4Learning is a new approach that takes advantage of today's technology. It's a convenient, online home education program that combines learning with fun educational teaching games.
The online language arts and math comprise a comprehensive program for preschool, elementary school, and middle school. Science and social studies programs are provided as a free bonus for most grades.
Kids like using the computer to learn and to develop their skills. The Time4Learning educational teaching program gives students independence to progress at their own pace.
Parents like that Time4Learning tracks progress and helps students advance along individualized learning paths. Students master the skills and concepts needed for academic success.
Price: $19.95/month for your first child; $14.95/month for each additional child. No contracts; cancel anytime.
For More Info/To Purchase: Time4Learning
For More Reviews: TOS Crew
What Esmé Liked:
Learning about bluebells! The online coloring pages. The puzzles. The stories. The printable poems.
What Mom Liked:
- Interactive lessons. Here’s an example: today we did the LA Extension topic of Plants. The first activity was a quiz on plant part vocabulary; each correct answer resulted in a little presentation on that plant part, as well as a puzzle piece to place on a puzzle board. After six questions, the puzzle was complete and Esmé was rewarded with a printable picture/poem that used those words. She uses this to “reinforce” her lesson with others throughout the day. The next activity started with an online coloring page and read-along story that ties to the plant theme. There are several read-along options so the student could read the story on her own when she reaches that level. There is a comprehension activity and quiz to wrap up the topic. Fun and learning all tied up in a neat package.
- Science. Science was by far our favorite section. We whipped through ALL the 1st grade science activities in a handful of days. The 2nd grade ones will take us a little longer :).
- Use of outside resources. With the science activities, Time4Learning gave us a list of outside books and links which would allow us to extend the topic further as desired. It is relatively easy to incorporate hands-on ideas; for instance, after studying magnetism, we checked out magnetic properties of different metals – figuring out what objects had iron in them – as well as doing experiments with magnetic force and attraction/repelling of poles.
- Printables. I loved that Esmé took pride in the printable poems! It gave her something tangible to demonstrate her knowledge with long after the computer had been put away.
- Blend of media/content. I thought the mix of graphic/video/audio fun with learning content was pretty good for this generation of techno-kiddos…
- The ease of changing grade levels. I made the mistake of signing Esmé up at the Kindergarten level because I figured she’d be learning computer skills and I didn’t want to overwhelm her in content. However, this level bored her, even with the option of moving up/down a grade level. I requested an official grade change for her, and it went seamlessly.
- Pricing package. $19.95 may seem a bit steep for some of you, but I like the fact that you can get just one month at a time. If you’re in the middle a big transition and need something to keep your kids busy without a lot of prep time by you, this is perfect. It would make a great summer program, too.
- Coverage. I would not call this a complete curriculum – I imagine we would get through the whole thing in far less than a year – but much of it can be expanded with outside resources if you DO want to use it as a base. I like that it covers a wide range of topics.
- Parent resources. There is an active parent forum for discussion, and if your child works independently, there is a status page where you can keep up-to-date on progress, quiz results, etc.
What Mom Didn’t Like:
- Secularism. I didn’t have any specific issues in this area, but I’ve been told by others that evolution and some non-Christian values do pop up especially in the later grades, so be aware of this.
- Kindergarten level. While I do think Esmé is a genius – :) – I also think the program runs a little below grade level. With only three areas of lessons, I felt that the K-level was lacking in content, particularly if your child has phonetic knowledge and math skills already. When I changed her grade level to 1st, a whole new world opened up in Language Art Extensions and Social Studies, as well as additional Science options. MUCH better!
- Inability to limit the activities for your child. If I wanted Esmé to work on a specific subject or topic today, or in a certain order, for instance, I can’t limit her workspace to just that topic or activity. She can bounce around or redo the same lessons over and over.
And BTW, if you have a blog or website, you too can get a 30-day trial in exchange for a posted review…