Kids these days are very techno-savvy. I think they come out with more knowledge about how to use computers and electronic devices than I have gained after forty-ahem-never-mind years of living. Even though by the world's standards of "a TV in every room, a gaming system for every child, an iPod for every ear, and a phone for all who can speak" our family's attitudes toward media are fairly conservative (one TV for dvds and videos, no cable, only parents have cell phones, gaming with the one game system only as a rare priviledge, etc.), we do LOVE our computers and all the fun and interesting stuff we find to do with them.
Here is what Tex says about Time4Learning:
- I can see how this program would be very useful to a mom who has many kids, or even just one child, and needs to have time to get something done around the house...ie. you just can't sit and do school ALL day. It is available for Preschool through Eighth grade, so it would work for many students for many years.
- Because there are loads of lesson plans available on the site (to tell you how to use the lessons), and also some great evaluation and reporting systems, this site would be useful for a newbie, or for someone who is required to provide regular reports on their kids' progress to their state board or an umbrella school. If you were uncertain if you were doing enough, or doing it right, using this site would probably help you feel more comfortable, even if you wound up supplementing it with other materials (which I would definitely recommend...computer lessons can't replace real books, but I don't think the T4L folks would dispute that).
- Another positive side to this program is that Time4 Learning will charge you on a per month basis, so it would make a great temporary measure for a parent/teacher who is temporarily ill, or otherwise indisposed, has to care for an elderly parent, work from home for a season, etc. as it would allow you to keep homeschooling without worrying that you are unable to do the job you need to do.
- My favorite thing about T4L: I LOVED the timer feature that forced my kids to work first, play later. Work more, play more. Awesome! I wish I could come up with something like that for my website/kids' blogs.
- Students can be placed at different levels for different subjects. That's neat because what kid is exactly the same level for every subject?
- The question style varies throughout the lessons, so your child stays engaged instead of falling into a rut.
- Kids practice using keyboarding skills, which to me, is a plus in this technology-driven world.
- Older kids (especially) can be in charge of pacing and completing their own work. Parents can monitor using the progress reports. Quizzes are available at the end of many lessons. Progress is shown with checked boxes on a chart that shows the student what has been completed. My kids liked this.
- Most kids like using the computer. How cool to be able to use it as a learning tool.
- I found out that T4L correlates to state standards, so it can be used by homeschoolers and public schooled children alike. It would be useful as an after-school supplement, a summer enrichment course, or even as extra help (tutoring) for a child who is struggling in an area.
- The site updates and adds new content regularly.
- I had good experiences with their Customer Service department (we wound up not using T4L at all during the week or so around Christmas, and they kindly extended my trial so we could get a better idea of how the program worked. I also asked a question about posting this review and they actually called me at home to answer it!)
- This is not a Christian program (which is why Tex was perfering his Science curriculum to what T4L had to offer). If you use T4L, you will have to deal with all this entails by monitoring what your children choose to study, supplementing when necessary, editing when required. This was not a big deal for Tex, as he is a mature 7th grader, but for younger ones whom you might just want to "turn loose" with the program (like 3-6th graders, maybe?) this issue might prevent you from being as easy going as you'd like. I thought it was interesting that Tex came to me today and said, "I don't know why people don't like math more since it is so black and white, so absolute. I like it better than history because with history everybody has an opinion and you have to filter out what is fact and what is not." How astute. We felt the history portion of T4L was great, though (it was the science and the evolution we did not agree with).
- The cost is a bit steep for poor little me. The monthly membership fee is $19.95 for the first child, and an additional $14.95 for each child after that (that adds up if you have four school-aged children!). Payments are set up as a recurring monthly fee using Paypal or credit card. You may cancel at any time, and there is a money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the product. If you pay for 12 months in advance, you get a discount and pay only$169.95 per child. I plan to continue for a month or two so Tex can finish the history, but will not be able to do so after that.
- I personally thought that some of the games were a bit silly, but the kids did not mind them. Maybe I just have high expectations because of all the fantastic, high-quality free stuff I see when researching for my homeschool-for-free site, but even though I might be able to find you a more exciting game on the internet somewhere, I can't guarantee you won't click and go somewhere you don't want to go, and I certainly can't offer the great timer feature.
**I received a free month's subscription to Time4Learning for the purposes of offering my honest opinion here on my blog. All of the opinions you see expressed in this review are based on our experiences with this product and do not necessarily reflect or predict your experiences. If you have questions about this product, please feel free to contact me.