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Saturday, July 21, 2012

My Review of the Time4Learning website

Last month I posted that I had been given a one month free trial of the Time4learning website, in exchange for writing a review of their site on the blog here.  Our free trial expired this week so I am here to share my family's  thoughts and experiences over the course of the last month, as promised.

First a little background - I found the site while looking for non-religious based homeschooling curriculum for my two youngest sons, ages 8 & 9.  The site focuses primarily on Mathematics and Language Arts, and it is geared towards independent learners from Kindergarten thru 8th grade.  This is a subscription based web-site which charges a monthly fee of $19.95 ( plus $14.95 for each additional child) for access to all of the lessons and materials, which are all hosted on-line, there is nothing to down-load.

I was happily impressed with our free trial.  Enough so that I have agreed to stay on with the site as a paying customer.  And when you consider my limited income each month this is probably the biggest compliment I can give anything!  $35 a moth is a LOT of money to me, but I have looked at the costs of alternative programs and this is about as affordable as any I have found, especially considering all that is included. 

Both of the boys are enjoying the website immensely, and they are learning.  The site allows the parent to set the child's grade level for each subject independently, and gives the child independent access to all of the material in that grade level, as well as the grade level above and below in most cases.  This was a perfect option for my sons as we are able to adjust the program to fits their needs on a daily basis.

I do hope they continue to expand the site to include more Science, Social Studies, and other subjects, and it appears they are working towards that aim.  There are a few basic lessons for these subjects available now, and what there is appears to be good quality, but more would be helpful.

Our only real complaint was with the way the "Playground" access was set up.  The site provides a "Playground" with games and stuff for the kids to play when their lessons are done.  In theory, this is great.  Our problem came when the kids tried to get into the "playground".  Parents set up a time constraint, so the child has to spend so much time on their lessons before they can go play.  Well, that's a great idea, but the timer seems to only count if the child goes directly from the lesson to the "Playground", with no break in between.  My kids don't operate that way.  They wrok for a while on the computer, then they go do something else, then they want to come back and play, but the time they have already put in no longer counts.  It caused a little frustration the first couple of days, but we worked around it by just setting the timer to zero.  I know my kids will do their work first, so they didn't need the timer anyway, but we found the whole system there a little awkward to start out with.

A little more, or perhaps clearer introductory directions for the kids would probably also be helpful.  My kids are pretty computer literate and internet savvy for their ages.  They have had their own computer for 6 years, and monitored internet access for more than two years, so they know their way around these things, but their were a lot of options and things that they still didn't understand about the site after using it every day for weeks.  I am still learning it along with them, but I think we have gotten a pretty good handle on all of it now.

We are really enjoying the web-site.  They boys both rush to start their school work as soon as they are dressed each day, and they usually do at least double the amount of work I have asked them to do there.  When they were asked if they wanted to continue after our free trial ended, the answer was a resounding yes.  And from a Mother's point of view, not having to correct all those papers, and put all those lessons together myself, definitely make it a worthwhile investment for me.  I can print out a pdf file each day, or each week, or each month of the lessons that each child has completed and I can know in an instant what they need more help on or where they are having problems without leaning over their shoulders all the time.

I just wanted to add how much I appreciated the web-site's free trial in return for this review.  As a self-employed struggling artist, money is always hard to come by, and being able to explore the full capabilities of the site before laying out any money was a major selling point for me.  I will continue on as a paying customer for the foreseeable future as I believe the value for my family far exceeds the cost of the monthly fee.

Disclaimer:
 As a member of Time4Learning, I have been asked to review their online education program and share my experiences. While I was compensated, this review was not written or edited by Time4Learning and my opinion is entirely my own. Write your own curriculum review or learn how to use their curriculum for homeschool, after school study or summer learning.

2 comments:

  1. I certainlyl appreciate your review. We are a Time4Learning family and have been for more than 5 years. You touched on a couple of things that make T4L priceless for me. I love that the lessons are planned and graded for me, and that the records are kept in a very sortable fashion. My daughter loves that she can do school at her pace, sometimes that is really fast, sometimes that is much slower. I have found that the amount of curriculum available in math and language arts is more than my child would be exposed to in public school and that certainly makes me happy. I am so glad you have enjoyed the trial, and continued with Time4Learning. Your continuing (including monitary commitment) the curriculum is indeed high praise. Happy homeschooling!

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  2. Hi,
    I too have used time4learning and I just wanted to touch base with readers and let them know to please check your state laws and regulations as they may not accept this program as "curriculum" but will accept it as supplemental.

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