Thursday, July 30, 2009

Review: Time4Learning

Over the last year or so I have heard a lot about this site called Time4Learning. I had read about it on some blogs & I heard about it from friends. When the opportunity came up to do a trial and review of it, I decided to check it out.

Time4Learning is an on-line site that has math, language arts, social studies, and science for ages preschool up to middle school. It is an interactive learning site. They have various levels that work with grades preK up to middle school. I was able to trial both the Lower Level and the Upper Level since I have one in K, one in 3rd, & one in 7th. Of course, those are arbitrary grades since we homeschool & teach at their level. However, that works well with Time4Learning. For instance, I signed N up for the 2nd grade level (since he just completed that) but he had access to both first and third grade levels.

Another key feature to Time4Learning is the Parent access. On each child's log in there is a "portfolio." By clicking here I can see what the boys have been doing and what they did or did not know about a certain subject. A parent can also set up how long each child must do lessons before they go to the "playground." The Playground is a game site. Parents can set how long the children need to work on lessons first (I have mine set to 15 minutes) before they can go "play."

What I liked:
  • It's an interactive site. I didn't need to sit & help J because the program will do the reading for him.
  • It's a great to have to help fill in downtime. I could see myself using this during the school year when I need one-on-one time with one or two of the other siblings. This would help keep the other boy(s) focused and learning.
  • It's inexpensive.
  • There is a parent forum to help you use the site to its fullest advantage.
  • Parents can set how long students must work.
  • Parents can set up lesson plans.
  • There is a scope & sequence to help you decide what to use and what is taught.
  • It gives me a good reason to let the boys have "computer time."
Since it was technically our summer break here from homeschool, I wasn't able to get the boys to use it as much as I probably would have during the course of the year. However, one of my very good friends is a subscriber to Time4Learning and uses it extensively with her two children. So I asked her for her thoughts on it.

The best thing I like about the site is the ability to individualize the teaching to each child and to each child's level. Math can be set at one level that is different from language arts, different from science, etc. There is also an upper level and lower level depending on a child's skill age/grade and abilities. And the lesson plans are a great feature as well and very easy to use.

I also like the subjects. They cover a wide range of information. The lessons grow on each other and build so that by the time the child gets to the end it all connects together and makes sense. Sometimes though the information is repeated from one to another lesson and my kids get bored as it is information already read. This is especially true in history. Sometimes the kids think the information is boring when it repeats too much. I do like the activities it suggests to make it interactive.

The reporting is pretty good also. It has the ability to review what a child did each day/period and the amount of understanding/ learning gained. I do wish the reports had more sorting options so I could review what was done in different ways. This is an area that appears limited (unless I just don't know how to use it well).

The parents forum is nice and has good information. I would like to be able to review my child progress on the parents forum vs having to go into each child's log in and get the information. It seems a bit disjointed especially when you have more than 1 child.

I would also love to see some period and end of year test assessment capabilities to see where your child is compared to the expected grade level. This would also give the parent the ability to structure the learning in more specific ways and areas.

Overall I felt that Time4Learning was an excellent program. If you are a member (membership is free) of Homeschool Buyers Co-Op, they do have Time4Learning as one of their vendors. I would recommend purchasing through them. There is a low monthly cost for this program & each additional child is extra. Time4Learning also offers a two-week money back guarantee.

Disclosure: This is a review done independently from my TOS Homeschool Crew duties. All opinions expressed therein are my own. All content was written by myself and I was compensated by Time4Learning for this review.

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