Sunday, February 24, 2013

Time4Learning - Is it really all that it is cracked up to be?

Last month I sent an email to Yang's K12 teacher advising that I would be withdrawing her and submitted my notice of intent to our county Board of Education. I received her acknowledgment letter from the BOE 4 days before her withdraw was complete from K12!

Just as I had made my decision, I received an email for a 2 week free trial for Time4Learning. I took a look at their site again and found I could do a 1 month trial in exchange for a candid review. I submitted all the required information and waited. Since I had already looked at their site a few times and had contemplated using it when I withdrew her. the email came at the right time. I have heard many good things about Time4Learning. Some saying they use it as their sole homeschooling curriculum while other supplement with it. I've always been worried that it wouldn't be enough, so this free trial was a great chance to check it out.

In the beginning things were crazy with Owlet taking semester finals, my best friends little boy getting into a bad 4-wheeler accident and Yang getting sick, that we weren't able to use it each and everyday as I had planned. Luckily, we got past all of that and things feel into place!!

I really like the fact the T4L covers multiple subjects (math, language arts, science and social studies) instead of just a single subject, or even just math and reading like most do. However, I do not like that there is no history included. I would have liked to see more with the science. Yang really likes science a lot, and as a kinesthetic learner the hands on of experiments are right up her alley. 

In Language Arts Extensions the reading comprehension has cute and silly interactive lessons which Yang really enjoyed. I would have liked to seen on the "Read by Myself" sections that there was a recording option of the student reading. This way, parents can go back to see words per minute read and/or missed words to practice with the student.

I really like that I have the ability to set minimum time limits for working in T4L each day. If there was the ability, I was unaware of it, but I would have liked to been able to set time limits per subject. As Yang is getting more comfortable with things she is wanting to work more independently, something that we never encountered while we used K12. With this I have found on a few occasions that if she does not like what I have assigned her to do she will page through or just exit the lesson. To prevent this it would be nice to have 2-3 questions about the lesson at the end that must be answered, or the ability to set password to be entered in order to exit a lesson that was not completed. This would prevent children from manipulating the system by spending just enough time in the lesson to not drawn suspicion without actually doing it. I found several times we would have to restart a lesson because there is no pause option during audio parts. This became very frustrating and while we did our best to time breaks and such, sometimes it is unavoidable. 

All in all, we really like T4L but I do not feel that it is a stand along curriculum. From a homeschool standpoint you definitely have to supplement. If you are looking to use it as supplement or even for reinforcement/additional help for a child attending a brick and mortar school,  it would work great.

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As a member of Time4Learning, I have been given the opportunity to review their 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. For more information, check out their standards-based curriculum or learn how to write your own curriculum review. My review is based on the use of the 2nd grade level.

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