Tuesday, September 10, 2013

TOS Review - Time4Learning

*I have been woefully neglectful of this poor blog.  *sigh*  Too many irons in the fire, I guess.  I've been trying to get my new Sunday School room up and running - Fail!  Still not done.  We just started our new school year this week and we are still alive to tell about it - Success!  I will try to post more regularly now.*

Leading up to beginning our new year, we were asked to review Time4Learning.  Julianna enjoys to play online games, however, it seems every online educational program we've been asked to review has been solely a reading program...and our usually met with great trepidation.  With this program, there is, of course, a Language Arts component, but also, Science, Math, and Social Studies. That made for a much more willing participant!  

Time4Learning is a online educational program that covers Language Arts/English, Science, Math and Social Studies for Pre-K through High School (just added!)  For a monthly fee ($19.95 for Pre-K thru 8th and $30 for High School), you have access to a lot of activities.  A lot. Don't let only five subject titles listed fool you.  There are hundreds of activities in most of the academic areas.  I'm not sure I'd spend the extra money (not that it's super expensive) as a supplement for our homeschooling program, but if it was my main curriculum, then it might be worth the investment.  Check out the Lesson Plan page for a list of what is covered in each grade.  You can click each subject/activity link for a breakdown of the scope and sequence.
My musings:
I am very impressed with the large range of activities available through Time4Learning's website.  Initially, we started the program in the third grade level.  We realized pretty quickly that it was a little bit higher than Julianna was currently at (actually, the biggest problem was it was a lot of text based instruction/activities rather than being interactive which immediately posed apprehension for her and reluctance to even try), so I requested that she be moved to the second grade level and she has done super with it!  She wanted to do Math and Science and "no reading", but as it worked out, she gravitated towards Language Arts (and Science) activities anyway.  :-)  She seemed to enjoy the majority of the activities which meant she was content to complete them with minimal fussing.  I also liked that it showed a countdown timer to when the "playground" (games and activities (not necessarily "educational", but definitely fun - i.e. Pacman!) that are available after doing a set time of lessons.  Parents have control over the minimum lesson time and maximum playground time (which can each be set up to 59 minutes).  The time settings can be changed permanently (which means you don't have to go in and change it everyday, but you could if you wanted to) or just for the current day.
Parents can also go in and see a report of the results of all the activities completed (with percentage grades, if applicable).  There is a way to set assignments that need to be completed, but I couldn't, at a quick glance, figure out how to do that.  Not that I really wanted to do that yet, so I honestly didn't try very hard.  Maybe that is something only available to teachers?
*  Engaging, interactive activities
*  Large number of activities in each academic area
*  Parents control the time settings
*  Customer Service very accomodating if you need to change academic levels for your child.  (It says when you request it, that it could take 24 hours, but mine was completed within a couple hours.)

*  The website isn't the easiest to navigate - easy to get to the activities, but you have to back out of things to get to parental areas.
*  Hmm, I'm having a hard time coming up with more cons.  :-)

We enjoyed the website.  Will I renew the subscription when our six months is over?  Not sure.  Maybe if we need supplements in specific areas that are offered.  We'll have to assess where we are at the time.  You can get a customized demo of the Time4Learning curriculum HERE to see if it might be a good supplement for your homeschool.  It's definitely worth a look!